‘Grimm’ Review: ‘12 Days of Krampus’

Scott Green/NBC

Although the episodes don’t quite flow into each other, “12 Days of Krampus” is the second part of the two-part fall finale for Grimm. Actually, that’s untrue. There were no commercials to separate us from the alligator men of the previous episode and the punks stealing Christmas presents at the start of this week’s episode.

Said punks, Derrick and Quinn respectively, take a break from ruining other folks’ holiday season to check out the goodies they’ve swiped, which ends up being a bad move as a creepy as hell Santa-like figure appears declaring, “You’ve been naughty!” This guy has horns and wiggling (and glowing) forked tongue. One of the kids cracks wise, but this twisted Santa is having none of that and proceeds to whip the crap out of him. The other kid evades their attacker, but Quinn gets stuffed inside Santa’s giant sack. Now, I’ll be honest, this twisted take on Ol’ Saint Nick is pretty terrifying. When the other boy escapes, he pursues him, slashing the kid across the face as he hides. The kid manages to keep his attacker at bay long enough for him to give up. He leaves with Quinn after dropping a piece of coal in exchange.

Oh hey! It’s a mystery bearded guy in the Austrian Alps! Actually, the guy’s name is Tavitian and he just shot a cop. Oh, and then another one—and a couple of other folks on top of it. Don’t worry too much about it though, because he’s part of the Resistance and the cops are Verrat. When he and Renard meet, there’s quite a bit of bantering about the Royals and how much they suck. Renard delivers the choice line “Well, I am royal and I can be a bastard.” Because he’s royal though, the members of the Resistance are reluctant to work with him. However, his list of credentials—which include having a Grimm—persuade them. I think it’s a bit of a stretch about having a Grimm though. Nick is his own man.

We got a critically low dosage of Monrosalee last week, but the horrible clock jokes  Monroe slings out at the start of their scenes briefly makes me question why I missed them. Only briefly though, because they’re great and because Rosalee thinks the jokes are awful too. She slips away, allowing Juliette—who wasn’t much of a presence last week either—to come in and help Monroe with some mysterious plan.

Meanwhile, while Renard is bromancing Tavitan and Juliette is being secretive with Monroe, Nick and Hank have some police duties to handle. You know, that whole Santa thing that started the episode? They’re on the scene of the crime assuming that Derrick is dead. However, he’s not. Wu finds this out when he reaches to the back of the car he was hiding in and he wakes up. Honestly, I thought him being dead was a little fishy, but Wu’s reaction was golden. Did I mention they bag the lump of coal as evidence? They do.

After the commercial break, Monroe and Juliette’s dastardly plot is revealed: decorating for Christmas! If you recall the show’s last Christmas episode, Monroe loves the holiday. Juliette finds out just how much love he has though: 42 boxes worth. Have fun you two!

At the hospital, Nick and Hank are talking to Derrick’s dad. His dad is pretty close to washing his hands of his son and even goes as far as to hope he gets arrested. They ask about a jacket they found with the initials Q.B., which allows them to figure out there’s a missing person. While Nick and Hank pepper Derrick with questions about his attacker and Quinn’s kidnapper, the traumatized teen has a terrified reaction to a Santa Claus in the hospital hallway. By his reaction, I’d say Christmas has been ruined for him forever. Oh well! Back at the precinct, Nick and Hank go over Derrick and Quinn’s police records, which are somewhat lengthy despite their youth.

Elsewhere, another kid steals a woman’s bag of Christmas presents while on his skateboard. He gets away, but that twisted Santa is there to tell he’s been naughty and punch him in the face. He proceeds to whip the little criminal before picking him up by the ankle and dropping him in his sack. Unlike the previous attack and kidnapping, there’s a full grown adult who sees what’s going on. However, this guy doesn’t do much. He weakly shouts, “What are you doing over there?” before threatening to call the cops. Santa doesn’t care though, drops a lump of coal, and heads out with a brat in a bag. At this point, I started shipping Santa and El Cucuy from a few episodes back. I mean… these Wesen are just giving people what they deserve, am I right?

Over in Austria, Meisner helps Renard break into Adalind’s hotel room. One of my favorite parts of this scene is when Renard opens up the jar of goop Adalind harvested from Frau Pech’s corpse. He takes a whiff and can’t help but woge. It’s got to be potent stuff if it knocks the Wesen out of you. A while later Adalind returns to her hotel room, where she finds a note left by Renard. We get a great disembodied voice over from Sasha Roiz on this one. I think I’d listen to him narrate an audiobook. Anyway, he fills her in on the fact there are cameras in her room and that they should meet. She’s clearly weirded out.

Back on the case, Nick and Hank are visiting Quinn’s father to find out about the missing teenager. However, who do we see, in all his Eisbiber glory? Bud! Bud is friends with Quinn’s father and assumes Nick and Hank are visiting because of a call the father made earlier. Nope! Things just happened to converge that way! Bud introduces Nick and Hank to the dad, but they soon get a call to another crime scene. Yup, it’s that skateboarder.

However, instead of taking us to the scene of the crime, we’re back at Monrosalee’s place where it’s like Christmas threw up all over the house. Monroe goes full Christmas geek. Rosalee is visibly detached though, but Monroe doesn’t quite get that at first.  She tries to soften the situation, but Monroe gets her to share the origin of her hesitation—her favorite aunt and uncle died on Christmas Eve when she was 7. Bree Turner does some excellent work here. I’ve been begging for further development for her and the fact we’re getting some on the Christmas episode is like a holiday wish answered. A little bit later, we’re presented with a restless Monroe, who clearly wants to make Rosalee happy.

In the parking garage where the skateboarder was taken, Nick and Hank meet up with Wu to find out what’s going on. Wu explains that the witness described the Santa as out of “my worst drug crazed acid induced flashback nightmare.” Ho! Ho! Ho! The detectives take a stroll down the shopping center, where they check in on a man at a hot dog cart dressed as Santa. They question him, but he woges a “Oh crap! He’s a Grimm!” moment.  He runs, leaving Nick and Hank with no choice to take him down. Meanwhile, videos of cops beating up Santa are being recorded and a child is like, “Why are they hurting Santa”? Hey kid, at least didn’t lop off his head.

The morning after everything, Rosalee wakes up to find the home she shares with Monroe stripped of all its Christmas decorations and Monroe passed out on the couch. That video footage also surfaced the next day, annoying Nick on the morning news. Also annoying Nick? An overeager beaver in the shape of Bud asking about arresting Santa. Nick leaves for work, but first mentions the lumps of coal, which gets things going in Bud’s head about what might have happened. Back at the precinct, Wu teases Nick and Hank about arresting Santa and has some news about the coal—it’s from the North Pole.

While I enjoy the pacing of the show, this episode feels like it’s leaping from moment to moment more than usual. For example, the next scene is this great bonding moment between Rosalee and Juliette. Rosalee feels incredibly guilty about ruining Monroe’s Christmas; Juliette offers up some really helpful advice about cultivating a new shared Christmas tradition. Rosalee relates that her aunt would leave Santa a beer and a cigar. Kind of a funny tradition, but I like it.

While Rosalee and Juliette bond, Nick and Hank drop in on Monroe to get some help on their case. Nick recalls that Monroe had mentioned that Santa Claus is a Gefrierengeber. Unfortunately, the Christmassy kidnapper isn’t that kind of Wesen. However, that whole lump of coal thing? If you didn’t pick up on that reference being a big clue, then you weren’t paying attention to this episode. (Of course, the episode’s title is also a pretty big giveaway).

When the coal is mentioned, Monroe asks whether or not the victims were up to “naughty” behavior.  When Nick and Hank confirm this to be the case, Monroe shares the story of Krampus. Krampus finds naughty kids, beats them with a switch, bags them up, hangs them in a tree, and then eats them all at midnight during the solstice. You know, usually Christmas festivities. The scene jumps again to Krampus loading a teenage girl into a giant wicker basket. You can hear the anguished cries of other kidnapped kids. The camera pans away to reveal a tree filled with these basket balls. It’s the worst Christmas tree ever.

Nick, Hank, and Monroe try to figure out where Krampus took the kids, when Bud busts in. Bud figured out it was Krampus too, but he also doesn’t want to believe it is Krampus. They head to Council Crest where Nick’s enhanced hearing allows him to find the missing kids. While Hank, Monroe, and Bud help free the children, Nick and Krampus fight it out. I love this show’s fight sequences and this one was another fantastic one. Krampus briefly gets the upper hand, choking Nick to the point where he shifts to his death state. Nick knocks Krampus out with one punch. It’s ridiculously satisfying.

Next, Nick, Hank, and Monroe debate what to do with the unconscious Krampus. Hank and Monroe both think Nick should kill Krampus, but he resists. By the time the winter solstice occurs, Krampus reverts to the form of a middle aged freelance photographer from Salt Lake City. The guy has no recollection of his crimes as Krampus or even what a Wesen is. Later, Monroe suggests that he might only woge for three weeks out of the year and never know what he truly is. Nick, unsure of what to do with the situation, thinks it’s a job for the Wesen Council. Monroe agrees to ask Rosalee.

Getting back to their place, Monroe finds the house completely decorated once again.  He’s stunned. He also finds Rosalee asleep on their couch, not unlike how she found him earlier. Looking over, we can see she left out a beer and a cigar for Santa. Following that sweet moment, they drop a teaser that has me ridiculously excited for the show to pick back up next month. The highlight? Looks like Juliette will be opening up a can of whoop-ass on some random Wesen.

Not going to lie; I’m into it. This Christmas episode really delivered for me. There was the continued question of Nick’s death state, character development for Rosalee, and horrible teenagers getting what they deserve: lumps of coal. Here’s to more exciting episodes of Grimm in the new year!

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.

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