Grimm: Season 6
A few years ago, reimaged fairy tales were trending in popularity. Following the standard course of events, this manifested in projects in both film and television. In the venue of TV, there were several series that thankfully minimized the overlap in fundamental themes and construction. What some may not realize is a significant number of the stories we tell our children as the lie in their beds were horrific. Murder, mutilation, betrayal, and cannibalism are all prominent themes in the original. Un-bowdlerized versions were better suited as source material for Eli Roth than Walt Disney. This provided a natural pathway to bring the stories into the new millennium by taking the content exceptionally dark. One of the best incarnations of this trend has been a mainstay of a television program for NBC. ‘Grimm.' Set primarily in Portland the show focused on a police detective who discovered that he was a Grimm, a person that can see the true for of shape changing creatures collectively known as Wesen. Capable of appearing like normal humans they are creatures usually based on some form of an animal. Many are peaceful, but the dangerous ones resulted in the need for Grimms to locate and kill them. This is a simplistic synopsis that might lead a person to imagine the series as a string of episodes featuring the hero slaughtering a new, special effects driven monster. If that were the case, the show would have been correctly canceled before finishing the first season. The main reason the series lasted for six seasons, retaining both quality and popularity, is the creative showrunner and writers crafted a fully formed world complete with elaborate backstories, character development, and an incredible internal consistency. The sixth season was its last, but in keeping with a new found respect many networks developed for the fan, they pulled everything together, wrapping up loose ends and providing exciting entertainment till the very last scene.
Over the course of six seasons, the show established several defined factions each with a specific vested interest in the overall story. As mention, the two dominant groups are the Wesen and Grimms. Both have been active and mutually antagonistic for nearly a millennium. This plot point was gradually elevated from backstory to significant drive theme when it was discovered that a group of Grimms were Knights Templar during the Crusades. The protagonist Grimm, Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) took the investigation to the Black Forrest, added by his best friend, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell). Breaking with an ancient natural order Monroe is a type of Wesen called a Blutbad, the basis of werewolf legends. It was unheard of that a Grimm and Wesen would be anything but moral enemies. The existence of Wesen is known only to a few including Nick’s partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby), and police Sergeant Drew Wu (Reggie Lee). Initially, both characters were in the dark, a plot point that was entirely impossible to continue. In this final season both characters became crucial to the revelation of the endgame, Nick found a mysterious stick wrapped in a piece of cloth. The cloth had faint remnants of odd symbols of unknown origin. A tunnel was in the loft where Nick lives with his girlfriend, Adalind Schad (Claire Coffee), a witch-like Wesen called a Hexenbiest. She had a son with Nick while disguised as Nick’s fiancée, Juliette Silverton (Elizabeth Tulloch). Nothing is ever simple in this series. Shapeshifting, dark magic and consistently shifting alliances complicate what typically are simple matters. Adalind also had a daughter with Police Captain Sean Renard (Sasha Roiz), who is also a Wesen, called a Zauberbiest (the male form of Hexenbiest). He is also the bastard member of one of the royal families. The Royals have been exploited Wesen and manipulated Grimms for centuries in a move to consolidate wealth and power. He is politically savvy and associated with militant Wesen group determine to have Wesen live in the open.
The final episodes concentrate on how the strange symbols reveal another dimension inhabited by feral Wesen and a very powerful demon. Juliette was turned into a Hexenbiest and subsequently killed. She was reincarnated as Eve, an emotionless assassin who becomes allied with Nick et al. Typically, so many moving parts would be extremely difficult to manage, resulting in a mess spiraling into an incomprehensible morass. Thanks to brilliance on every level of production from teleplays to the direction and through to performances, the story inexorably attaches itself to the viewer, retaining intense interest. There are some elements of the conclusion that appear to be telegraphed, a stick from the Knight Templars that can heal, but even in those cases, the journey to the revelation was constantly at the apex of entertainment. The show could have continued for several more seasons but the showrunners, Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, wisely decided to bring the story to a definitive conclusion that respects the fans with a satisfying end to one of the best supernaturally oriented shows to occupy a major network’s programming slate.
So often a series nearly completely dependent on a mythology runs the risk of imploding. The elaborate internal story is responsible for binding the numerous threads and impact of the characters. What was unique about ‘Grimm’ was despite the exceptionally dark aspects attributed to the ‘evil’ Wesen never overshadows the ultimate objective, to provide enjoyable entertainment. The series aptly avoided the pitfall of taking itself too seriously. When the subject matter turns decidedly to the dark side, the ideal modicum of levity is introduced. For example, when Hank and Wu are told the truth about Wesen they decide that his first contact should not be something as inherently frightening as a Blutbad. It would be best to ease then into their new reality such as Monroe’s wife, Rosalee Calvert (Bree Turner), a Fuchsbau. This is a fox-like Wesen not generally in association with the predatory Blutbad. Ultimately the decide on a friendly Wesen, Bud Wurstner (Danny Bruno), who is the beaver-like imbiber.In contrast to the monstrous Wesen slaughtering their way through the Portend area, Bud is timid, practically afraid of everything. Instead of underplaying the reaction of people to Wesen, the writers tackle it head on utilizing it for some comic relief.
The series incorporates many socially relevant issues without allowing them to overwhelm the story lines. Monroe and Rosalee are different types of Wesen, a situation that is the basis of a significant amount of prejudice when they became engaged and had to break the news to their parents. Think of it like ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ with shapeshifters. Blended families are explored in the situation between Sean and Adalind who share custody of their very daughter, Diana Schade-Renard (Hannah R. Loyd). On top of the normal issues inherent in a child shifted between two households, Diana is tremendously powerful able to kill with a thought. Again, such children are typically used as a form of Deus ex machina, but such sloppy writing contrivances are not part of this-this series’ style. It is sad when a show embodying such notable quality comes to an end, but it is better than the alternative of steadily declining quality. Thankfully the practice of a canceled show drifting off into limbo is no longer tolerated by fans. This series deserved the exciting final season.