So Season 2 of Grimm, NBC’s offbeat, violent fairy tale-cop dramedy set right here in Stumptown is in the books and last night’s finale leaves us on the brink of an epic cliffhanger. Lucky for us it’s been picked up for another year! For anyone who’s going to watch this episode later, I’ll try not to spoil anything, but no promises.
I readily admit that when I watched the first few episodes of Grimm last year, it was mainly so that I could point knowingly at the location set and go “That’s not a coffee shop,” or “Wait! They were just in Southeast. How did they end up in St. Johns?” But over the course of two seasons the darn thing has taken hold of me, and where I once saw wooden, one-dimensional actors trying to cram as much backstory gibberish into a given episode as humanly possible, there are now some decent characters trying to assert themselves—none more so than Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), the title character who discovers his secret ass-kicking heritage and that we humans are unknowingly cohabitating with several species of beast people (Wesen).
It’s taken Grimm a while to find its feet amid a myriad of subplots, extraneous characters, and the ubiquitous Monster of the Week, but writers/producers David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf are definitely in a groove, as many of the plot points they’ve been diligently nursing along for two years are (finally!) starting to take shape.
In my modest opinion, here are the most promising developments to date.
As a veteran of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Greenwalt is showing his pedigree by forging the central characters into a goofily compelling team of mystery solvers. Yay! Scooby Gang! Everyone (except Reggie Lee, as Sgt Wu, a cop who’s never off duty) knows what’s going on in regards to the Wesen among us, and we don’t have to waste valuable time tap-dancing around with evasion and excuse making. OK! We’re all on the same page, now let’s figure out a course of action.
The whole Grimm mythology, which I used to find incomprehensible, is stabilizing. While I’m still not sure how comfortably zombies fit alongside “big bad wolves,” we must credit Greenwalt and Kouf with casting a wide and ambitious net.
Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) continues to rule and is easily the most nuanced character in the ensemble. And I like the implication in the finale that he and Rosalie (Bree Turner) are becoming more comfortable as Wesen in each other’s presence, especially when they’re feeling randy.
Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) is evolving into a determined supporting character beyond the scope of her original pigeonhole of “pretty woman who needs to be rescued.” I still think she could use a power of some kind. Couldn’t she have acquired a useful ability while she was stuck hovering between madness and reality?
Nick has grown up. From generic handsome guy to a badass capable of dispatching a pair of reapers and sending the heads back to their boss, he cuts a believably heroic figure that still can’t quite believe all this weird stuff is happening. And as we saw in Episode 20, “Kiss of the Muse,” he’s as capable of being tricked and beguiled as the next guy. Nick’s increasing likability is in direct proportion to his finding out how little he really knows and understands this new reality. Just like the rest of us!
And if I may be so bold, allow me to offer a few suggestions to Misters Greenwalt and Kouf.
Please return Grimm to Friday nights at 9 pm. Staying up to 11 on a Tuesday night blows. Friday has traditionally been a night for supernatural-type shows, such as X-Files, and this is where Grimm belongs. And yes, I realize this complaint makes me sound like I should be watching Matlock reruns instead.
Hank (Russell Hornsby) is a perfectly nice fellow, but could use some beefing up. Please have him develop some kind of “specialty” that will allow him to become a thriving and productive team member. Hank probably wouldn’t complain about a recurring love interest, either, since he got burned in the romance department by the devious hexanbiest Adalind Schade (Claire Coffee).
At one point, Fred Armisen was going to make a cameo on Grimm. This is entirely appropriate. Fred and Carrie Brownstein and perhaps Kyle MacLachlan (as the mayor) should make periodic appearances. Let’s tie all of our Portland dimensions together, shall we? My original idea to have Fred and Carrie in the opening of each episode as different Portland characters that get savaged by this week’s wicked Wesen, is probably too conceptual and more trouble than it’s worth.
Last, but not least, don’t forget to play the Grimm drinking game, which is as follows: Any time a character talks on a cellphone and then hurries off to another location, you drink something. And believe me, it’s much easier to recover from the Grimm drinking game if the next day is Saturday instead of Wednesday.
For more on Portland arts and culture, sign up for our weekly On The Town newsletter, subscribe to our RSS feed, and follow us on Twitter @aarondavidscott. Visit our Arts & Entertainment Calendar for our editors’ event picks.