Reviews

‘Grimm’ Season 5 Finale Review: ‘Beginning of the End’

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I’m Back: For the past few months, life has gotten in the way of me doing one of my favorite things: writing about Grimm for your enjoyment.  Fortunately, as the season has drawn to a close, my schedule has opened wide, giving me the opportunity to catch you up on what we’ve missed and cover the epic two hour season finale that just aired this past Friday. Because there’s so much territory to cover, this will read quite a bit differently from my usual intensive recap and review format.

Last Time on Grimm: Nick and company have faced some really bizarre Wesen since dealing with the Lyncanthrope back in March. The parade of characters included a photographer who siphoned of the youth of his models to sell as an anti-aging serum, a Wesen revival preacher who looked like Satan when he woged, and a son who fed his parents the liquefied bones of those he found near death. Pretty wild stuff, am I right?

However, as the season moved towards the finale, these Wesen of the Week encounters paled in comparison to the issues facing our gang of Scoobies. First, there’s Wu. Having been infected by the Lycanthrope, he’s now suffering from his own scary transformation. However, he’s not turning into a wolf. Instead, he transitions into a Neanderthal form reminiscent of the Geico campaign that dare not speak its name. Along the way of learning about his affliction, Wu coughed up some furballs, killed some bad guys, and eventually developed some sense of control over the transformations.

Wu, of course, wasn’t the only one changing these past few episodes. Adalind is once again a full blown Hexenbiest. Worried about how Nick will react, she doesn’t tell him, but Rosalee does. Pretty much everyone already knows her powers have returned before she tells Nick, but he remains supportive of her. To be fair, she’s grown as a person, despite the secret keeping. However, she’s not the only Hexenbiest who returned to the show’s canvas: Diana is back.

After hooking up with Rachel and being offered the mayoral candidacy, the return of Diana is enough to get Renard drinking the Black Claw Kool-Aid. Using very different methods, he and Diana manage to persuade Adalind to leave Nick to see her purple eyed demon daughter. She brings Kelly in tow and leaves a not for Nick filled with apologies and confessing her love for him. As you can imagine, this sets up a pretty tense dynamic between Nick and his boss going into the final, especially as Renard is elected mayor with Adalind and Kelly in tow as part of his perfect family.

Nick isn’t the only person dealing with relationship drama though. Hank’s former physical therapist, Zuri, resurfaced; she last popped up as a potential love interest for him back in season three. Unfortunately, the Yaguaraté ends up being affiliated with Black Claw. Even worse, she helps Tony, Rosalee’s abusive ex, steal Hank’s phone. Tony’s failure ends up costing them both, as he gets arrested and Zuri is figured out and taken to Hadrian’s Wall. The penultimate episode before the finale is the last we actually see of her, but I’m okay with that. Hank deserves better.

Frame Job: One would think that after the disappointment of Zuri’s betrayal, Hank would be out of the Black Claw meat grinder, but instead, he ends up getting framed at the start of the finale. The victims are actually a couple of Black Claw agents killed by Nick in the previous episode. Nonetheless, two detectives from the North Precinct claim Hank was identified as the perpetrator of the killings by one of his neighbors. Everything appears on the up-and-up, even though both Nick and Hank know it’s all a fabrication, so Hank goes with them. It doesn’t take long for the detectives to reveal themselves as Black Claw agents themselves. They attack Hank and cart him off somewhere that is decidedly not a police precinct. When Nick heads to where the detectives work, he finds out the North Precinct is an exclusively Wesen outpost. Essentially, Black Claw has an entire precinct in their pocket.

Meanwhile, Hank is giving the bad cops a hard time, even as they’re holding him captive. By interrogating Tony—something I’ll elaborate on a little later—the Scoobies get the necessary information to find Hank. Which is good, because the detectives are getting annoyed, especially Baribeau. Did I mention they’re waiting for Bonaparte to show? When Nick arrives with Eve and Trubel, they make quick work of the bad guys. This wasn’t difficult, since there were only two of them. You might have picked up by now that Bonaparte was never going to show up. It doesn’t take long for our heroes to realize this was a set up too, in more ways than one.  While I’m relieved Hank is safe—I spent a lot of leading up to this episode worried about his fate—the fall out of this diversion will be deeply felt. Read on to find out why.

Hadrian’s Fall: After building up Hadrian’s Wall all season long as the government sponsored opposition to Black Claw, it’s devastating to watch the Portland branch of the organization collapse during the finale. Initially, I thought Grimm might pull a Buffy and turn Hadrian’s Wall into an Initiative like organization, but there was no bait and switch. Black Claw is without a doubt the big bad in season five and nothing exemplifies this more than the way they almost totally wipe HW off the map. Using Hank’s kidnapping as a diversion to keep the Portland branch’s most powerful players, Eve and Trubel, away from the base, Black Claw shows up and lays waste to numerous agents of the organization. It’s one thing to watch a bunch of randoms die, but when Bonaparte and Renard corner Meisner, it’s something else entirely. Meisner has been on the show for a good few seasons now and his profile has never been higher than as leader of HW. Sadly, this put a huge target on his back.

While Renard thinks he can persuade Meisner to realign himself with Black Claw, Bonaparte has no desire to see that happen. He reveals a face that makes Deadpool look sexy and proceeds to telekinetically choke Meisner. It’s pretty gruesome. Renard tries to plead for Meisner’s life, but he’s ultimately too spineless to stop the actual murder and instead shoots Meisner to end his suffering. In this moment, I’m having flashbacks to last season, when Juliette went off the deep end and became an accessory to Nick’s mom’s death.  Renard, already increasingly hard to root for, is at a strange crossroads. Hadrian’s Wall, too, is at a strange crossroads. The organization is decimated. Their local leader is dead and the base is all but demolished. It leaves Trubel and Eve, who Meisner warned not to return before his murder, to pick up the pieces next season. But who knows if they will?

Bizarre Love Triangle: As one might imagine, there are a lot of weird relationship dynamics running wild at this point in the season. Adalind ran off to join Renard to protect her children, but she loathes him and loves Nick. Renard wouldn’t mind shacking up with Adalind, but he’s sleeping with Rachel. Meanwhile, Nick is left in the lurch, though Eve is surprisingly protective of him for someone who is supposedly no longer even the woman Nick once loved. On top of that, Rosalee’s stalker ex is in police custody and still making her and Monroe very agitated.

While a love triangle between Nick, Adalind, and Renard isn’t exactly unexpected, they’re not the ones even controlling their romantic entanglements at this point. Diana is incredibly powerful and has used her magic to influence her parents’ reunion from the moment she returned to Portland with Black Claw. In previous episodes, this has meant a sort of magic ventriloquism to convince her mom to come to her and Renard. In this episode, the violet hued demonspawn uses her dolls to force her parents together. These Tim Burton-esque dolls are essentially extra creepy voodoo dolls. She makes them kiss and her parents almost reunite, before they realize they’re under a spell. Adalind is a joy to watch in these scenes.

The vibe is rather different when it comes to Bonaparte though. While Diana has a sort of innocence to her evil, Bonaparte just wants to use Adalind and Renard. He threatens her kids and even turns her to stone before slipping what appears to be some kind of cursed ring on her finger.  Clearly this is another case of shipping gone bad. Renard was apparently unaware of Bonaparte’s machinations when he later sees the ring. Neither is gung ho about this arrangement. Nonetheless, there’s danger in resistance. Just ask Rachel, Renard’s erstwhile girlfriend.

After one more dalliance, she explains that they can’t be together anymore for fear of disrupting Black Claw’s plans. Of course, Diana already picked up on Rachel as a rival for her mother and has no interest in getting a stepmom, so she ends up astral projecting into Rachel’s room and smothers her in her own bed sheets. Of the finale’s three major deaths, Rachel getting offed by Diana was the least surprising. Later, Renard finds his dead lover and initially wants to blame Adalind, once again missing the point that she cares not one bit about him. It does instill a little fear into both of them though. How do you punish a child for long distance murder?

Later still, Bonaparte threatens Adalind, nearly killing her in front of Renard before she coughs up Nick’s address. It’s not a good moment for either Renard or Adalind, but in a somewhat heroic move, she uses Diana’s great power to get a warning to Nick and the other Scoobies.  Of course, among them is Eve, who through circumstances I will explain later, might be a lot more Juliette than she’s been in a while.  Of course, the finale means not getting much in the way of closure here, but needless to say, they’re in a messy situation.

All of that almost makes Monrosalee’s drama with Tony seem quaint. All season long, he’s been writing to Rosalee. When he showed up in town, his go to move was violence and intimidation, which didn’t quite work out in his favor, since Adalind showed up and her powers resurfaced at just the right time to protect Rosalee and herself. Monroe has spent these episodes stewing and in the finale, he finally gets to meet his wife’s abusive ex face to face. Tony, for better or worse, is their only source for figuring out where Hank is, so Rosalee and Monroe are more than happy to help. By “help,” I mean tear Tony a new one. He’s dismissive of Nick and Wu, but a fully woged and enraged Monroe puts the fear in him. I’m pretty sure this wraps up the Tony drama, but I have to say it was satisfying to hear his screams of anguish as Monroe kicked his ass. Rosalee’s satisfied face as she waited with Nick and Wu for the info? Priceless. If only all problems could be so efficiently handled in Portland.

And Baby Makes Three: While Monroe and Rosalee are dealing with Tony and trying to make it to the end of the season in one piece with everybody else, they have a story of their very own running throughout the finale. As a couple, Monrosalee have faced a lot together. One of the show’s most satisfying developments has been the progression of their relationship. So when Rosalee isn’t feeling well near the start of the episode, alarm bells were already ringing in my head. “She’s pregnant,” I thought. But when they close up on the pregnancy test in her hand, it became “SHE’S PREGNANT!”

However, although Rosalee knows and we Grimmsters know, it’s not easy for her to tell Monroe. The confirmation of her pregnancy takes place between two incidents where Black Claw is staking out their home. On top of that, there’s the stuff with Tony, and all of the other chaos. It’s painful to watch Rosalee get close and then fall away as some other disaster falls in their lap. With two minutes left in the two hours, Rosalee finally gets the chance to make the reveal, but it’s only because the situation is so dire that she can’t go on any further. The news—and its revelation—give the finale some much needed lightness, which is often the task that falls on their shoulders. Now, with 13 episodes coming down the pipeline for season six, I’m curious how long it will take for us to see a little baby Fuchsbad. Or would it be a Blutbau? Something new altogether? I guess we’ll see.

Fight Club: At two hours long, the Grimm finale managed to pack in a lot of action alongside its story. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, because the visual spectacle is something you need to catch on your own. That said, when watching the finale, you get two kinds of fights. There are your one-on-one fights. These include Nick finally snapping and attacking Renard in his office and Eve having a ‘biest fight with Bonaparte that nearly results in her death.  Then you have the big fights where our heroes face waves of faceless Black Claw baddies. The shoot out at the North Precinct is an example of this one. However, the real star here is Nick’s last stand at his compound. When Black Claw approaches, he sends his friends away and proceeds to kick some serious ass. Props to everyone at Grimm for making these scenes work, because I imagine they are the biggest group effort of all. And remember, there’s no shame in rewinding the episode and watching Nick kill a bad guy or two one more time.

Nick’s Got the Magic Stick: As you might recall, the secret treasure discovered in episode 100 ended up being a stick. Of course, it wasn’t just a stick. We found this out when it saved Monroe from a nearly fatal case of blood poisoning. Until the finale though, Nick didn’t have much use for it. However, the two hours provided ample reason to have it around. The aforementioned fight between Eve and Bonaparte, while totally awesome to watch, ended with a shard of glass embedded in Eve’s stomach. While I freaked out a bit over possibly losing Eve, when we had essentially lost Juliette at this time last year, it didn’t take long to have a moment of clarity. I soon realized that we’d finally get to see the mysterious stick in action.  And we did.

When Monroe was hurt, the stick healing him was a total surprise. Similarly, Eve’s reaction to the stick is unexpected. It appears to work at first, but then Eve woges and goes into convulsions before collapsing. The fit is so intense that Eve shakes her wig off. After a little bit of time, she awakens and doesn’t seem at all like Eve. In fact, she seems much more like a pre-Hexenbiest Juliette in temperament.  Later, when the gang retreats into the tunnels underneath Nick’s compound, Trubel asks Eve how she’s feeling, but all that can be said is she’s “feeling a lot.” It’s a startling show of emotion.  The episode doesn’t explore the fall out of Eve’s near death experience or the resurfacing of Juliette, so I’m not sure if she’s still empowered or not. Nonetheless, I think the Eve identity is on its way to being defunct, which makes the symbolism of the character shaking off one of her signature wigs an especially clever visual.

The situation with Eve isn’t the only thing going on with the stick though. As I mentioned, the gang retreated into the tunnel, but Nick stays behind to fight off the encroaching Black Claw forces. In the midst of one of the shows best fight scenes to date, Nick is riddled with bullets. The perpetrator even calls in the murder to his Black Claw commander, even as Nick rises up behind him and buries an axe in the villain’s belly. It doesn’t take long to realize that Nick still had the magic stick in his pocket, thereby healing him from what would have made for his most depressing end of season fate yet. Now, since the stick was revealed, there have been implications that there are repercussions from its use. The object still has no origin, so I see the next season playing into identifying what it really is, especially as it has been used to save the lives of three of the show’s central figures.

To Be Continued: In the earlier seasons of Grimm, the show used to taunt viewers at the end of a season finale with a teasing “to be continued” sign. While the finale still ends with “to be continued,” there is no taunting of the show’s viewers, likely because of how on edge we are from the past two hours. The season five finale closes with Nick face to face with Bonaparte and Renard. Having survived one near death experience the moment before, it seems a bit gratuitous for Nick to deal with getting Darth Vader’ed by Black Claw’s chief Zauberbiest. Nonetheless, our hero is in the midst of getting telekinetically strangled when Renard proceeds to thrust a sword through Bonaparte’s back.

It’s somewhat surprising, considering Renard’s spineless behavior before with Meisner and Adalind, but soon we see that it’s Diana pulling the strings on this one using one of her Tim Burton-esque dolls. Once Renard realizes what he’s done, he’s left holding a bloody sword across from Nick while suspenseful music plays. The two men just make eyes at each other and out pops the black screen and “to be continued.” The ending is almost abrupt, but I get the feeling we’ll be picking right up from here when the show returns later this year. Considering how loathsome they’ve made Renard this season, this could be the tipping point for him playing the next season’s big bad or begin his path to a genuine redemption. I’m not even sure the writers know just yet where they’re taking this story, but I’ll be watching the sixth season just the same.

About the author

Kenneth Lane

An occasionally ridiculous human being who will talk your ear off if you let him, recently earned his Master of Arts in English. While figuring out what he’s doing next, he’s dealing with his self diagnosed pop culture hoarding problem.