This review contains spoilers.
5.21 & 5.22 The Beginning Of The End
This season of Grimm has had its ups and downs, it’s fair to say. For the most part its now-established formula of fairy-tale creatures, romance, action and modern-day heroes and villains has continued to excite fans – but there have also been a few issues with pacing, gaps in storytelling and questionable plot twists.
The show’s two-hour season five finale, however, went above and beyond what we’ve seen this season. Despite its extended length, the episode crammed an awful lot in, yet remained fast paced, keeping the dramatic tension high at all times.
What really comes across is that Black Claw’s grip on society now seems unbreakable. The group’s plans to methodically infiltrate every aspect of government, police and other agencies is paying off, and there is an overwhelming sense that our heroes are fighting are engaged in an increasingly hopeless struggle.
They are thwarted at every turn. Each time the Nick and his friends think they’re making ground they find themselves out-manoeuvred and out-smarted by Black Claw’s master manipulator Conrad Bonaparte. They appear almost powerless against the increasing might of the organisation. Further, with the new regime on the brink of total power, the group Wesen supporters are now showing their true colours without fear of the consequences.
In some ways, it reminds me of an old Western, with our determined band of warriors – the Magnificent Seven is all that’s left in this case – trying to overcome overwhelming odds to beat the bad guys. The few against the many, trying to fight back while being constantly on the defensive and on the run.
(Perhaps this week’s episode quote is rather fitting: “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”)
The villain here, Bonaparte, is also the most dangerous we’ve encountered so far – even down to his Darth Vander Force choke. While past seasons have seen the Royal Family offer up a selection of princes that were slightly amusing and almost camp in their villainy, Bonaparte, who is apparently full Zauberbiest, is something else. He appears ancient and malevolent.
As such, Black Claw leaves some serious wreckage in its wake by the end of the episode, including the destruction of Hadrian’s Wall and Nick’s home. There was also the shocking death of resistance leader, mercenary and all round good guy Meisner – a deed that may or may not see the viewer echo Trubel’s anguished cry of “No!”
The death of Meisner also shows us to which mast Renard has tied his flag. Despite his “compassion” he stands back and lets Bonaparte torture Meisner, a man who he has worked with and fought alongside in the past. If he can do that to Meisner he can do that to Nick – not to mention Hank, Wu, and the rest of the gang. He even looks on as Bonaparte later chokes Adalind, the mother of his child, for information as to Nick’s whereabouts. There’s no doubt, there is blood on his hands.
On a lighter note, the fact that Renard, now Mayor of Portland, appears to believe his own hype. In a heated exchange with Adalind she throws at him: “Did you expect I was going to hop into bed and take my clothes off with you?” “Well I am the new mayor!” he responds indignantly.
Also inadvertently amusing were the two ‘mommy and daddy’ dolls that scary Diana uses to try to get Adalind and Renard to reunite. They look like they came from the imagination of Tim Burton, and the emo Renard doll was particularly hilarious.
Interestingly though, the moment of forced passion did serve to remind us how much on-screen chemistry still exists between Adalind and Renard’s characters.
Another little scene of joy comes after the corrupt North Precinct forces Wu to go all wolfy. It’s very quick, but when he walks into their station afterwards and finds two corrupt officers with guns drawn on one another – Eve’s handiwork – his look of glee is priceless. Lesson: don’t piss off Drew Wu!
The episode’s lump-in-the-throat-moment, of course, comes from Rosalee’s confession to Monroe that she’s pregnant, and his subsequent reaction to the news. In the midst of so much desperation, it was a genuinely touching moment that made us feel all gooey inside.
By the end of the episode we also come to the conclusion that Diana is probably the most dangerous Wesen alive, and will kill anyone if she thinks they pose a threat to her mommy.
One potential fly in the ointment? It looks like Juliette is back, thanks to the effect of the Stick of Destiny. We don’t know how she was transformed from Juliette to Eve, but whatever happened, she has an adverse reaction to the stick and appears to have reverted back to her previous incarnation. We can only hope Juliette 2.0 isn’t as bland and one dimensional as she was previously written.
After a climactic scene where Nick takes on a horde of Black Claw henchmen single-handedly (notably doing quite a lot of damage just with his cooker) we are left with a showdown between the Grimm and Renard. With Diana literally forcing Renard to stab Bonaparte in the back, we are left wondering what’s next for the new mayor. Will he take up the reins and attempt to lead Black Claw? Will he even make it out of Nick’s apartment in one piece? Well, we’re not going to know until next season, as that’s where we were left hanging.
There is a feeling that many bridges have been burned – including Nick’s job as a detective. As a result, season 6 could be unlike those which have proceeded it, with perhaps less emphasis on police procedural and the usual Wesen-of-the-Week cases, and more on fighting Black Claw.
The renewal is also only for 13 episodes (so far) so it will also be interesting if that affects the pace of the action, as it won’t be drawn out over the usual 22.
The Beginning of the End? Yes, possibly.
Read Christine’s review of the previous episode, Bad Night, here.