‘Grimm’ Season 4 Premiere Review: ‘Thanks for the Memories’


On Friday night the excruciating wait for the season premiere of Grimm came to an end. I’m sure you’re all aware of the great personal suffering involved in waiting for your favorite show to return for a new season. It made for a rough summer, considering the Grimmiere—as it was hashtagged on social media—had to pick up from an explosive third season finale. Our hero Nick ended the season sans his Grimm powers, having been tricked into bed by a magical transformation that made Adalind look exactly like his beloved Juliette. This left Trubel the only Grimm in Portland. Trubel had her own issues at hand though. She was witness to rogue FBI agent Weston Steward’s attempt to assassinate Renard and lopped Steward’s head off with a machete for her troubles. Wu, arriving at the crime scene with the rest of the police and still suffering from Wesen induced PTSD, discovered one of Nick’s old Grimm diaries. Meanwhile, Monroe and Rosalee made Monrosalee official before all of the aforementioned events crashed into the ceremony like a wrecking ball.

Now that we’ve caught up, let’s talk “Thanks for the Memories.” The episode opens with Renard in surgery at the hospital. As you might have guessed, he’s no better than when we last saw him months ago. The scene quickly shifts to the car containing Nick, Juliette, Hank, and Trubel. Hank’s on the phone with info about their fallen captain, but the conversation quickly changes direction towards Nick’s Adalind induced powerlessness. I feel like now is a good as place as any to acknowledge that this weird dynamic with Nick, Juliette, and Adalind has already become very frustrating. When Juliette explains what happened to Hank, you get a shot of Nick’s reaction. It’s a tiny moment—the sort David Giuntoli has excels at—but it’s also irksome. There’s an ugly undercurrent that his current predicament is on him and that will carry throughout the episode. That said, the episode itself directs Juliette’s aggression towards Adalind. I know it’s only the premiere, but these two women need a showdown and I won’t be happy unless Juliette walks away with two fistfuls of blonde hair. In the car, the characters get their story straight regarding Renard’s shooting and Steward’s beheading. I’ve got to say, I’m thrilled with the fact they go with the truth here. Trubel chopped the guy’s head off and there’s no reason for her to hide it, even though Jacqueline Toboni does a great job of conveying her character’s understandable worry.

Although the show has quite a bit to deal with from the fallout of last season, that doesn’t mean they can’t capably introduce a new Wesen of the Week into the mix alongside all that stuff. This week we’ve got what might be the creepiest Wesen in four seasons: the Gedächtnis Esser. When woged this sucker has a tentacle head inspired by an octopus. It uses its tentacles to devour the memories of its victims, leaving them with gaping wounds on the backs of their heads and full blown dementia. Yes, it is as disturbing as you can imagine. In this episode, we’re introduced to him in mid-memory flash before he finds his intended victim Henry Slocombe. Freaky octopus head guy takes poor Henry out with relative ease. Unfortunately for Henry’s girlfriend Alexandra, she returns home and the Gedächtnis Esser bludgeons her to death before stealing her car. Once far away from the scene of the crime, Octo-dude flings the object he used to kill the girlfriend into the water and calls a mysterious older gentleman. The murderous octopus wants to cut things short with whatever mission he’s on, but the older guy refuses. Later on, he shows up at a diner and uses Slocombe’s memories to hack into a top secret defense computer system. How this ties into his mysterious employer, it seems we will have to wait and see.

Back at Nick and Juliette’s place, Wu is still spellbound by the contents of the Grimm diary, though the arrival of the homeowners with Hank and Trubel in tow brings him back to earth. As mentioned a little bit earlier, they make no effort to hide the fact Trubel decapitated Steward.  That said, they Nick and Juliette practically playing dad and mom to the fledgling Grimm is really fun, as is the look on Wu’s face when he hears Trubel’s confession. It almost matches his reaction to the diary. Reggie Lee is doing great work with his character. When they enter the house, Steward’s head is still at the foot of the stairs. I shouldn’t laugh, but seeing C. Thomas Howell’s disembodied head sporting gritted teeth made me cackle just a little bit. This begs the question, “Do get actors get paid when a fake severed head of their likeness appears in a television program?”

The detectives dealing with the case plan to question Trubel about what happened, but the FBI arrive on the scene and trump the locals. Special Agent Chavez and her partner escort Trubel inside the house where she explains everything that went down. Trubel sticks to the group’s agreed upon truth—the one void of explicit Wesen references—and agrees to join the agents back at the precinct. Meanwhile, paranoia runs rampant. Wu eavesdrops outside the bedroom door. At Kronenberg Castle in Austria, Viktor gets the news about Renard and Steward. They too are paranoid about the end results of what happened at Nick’s house and plan on pinning it on Nick somehow as not to displease Renard’s father the king. Meanwhile, still at Nick’s place, Chavez reveals herself to be a hawk-like Steinadler after finding the same Grimm diary that has made Wu so freaked out.  I’m pretty sure the lesson here is to put your books away when you’re done reading them.

Once the police have vacated the premises, Juliette wanders her home, taking in the damage. There are bullet holes here and puddles of blood there. When she ascends the stairs, she sees more blood. However, what might be most alarming for her is the messy bed and discarded negligee from Adalind’s encounter with Nick. Without saying a word, Bitsie Tulloch conveys a weight of emotions here. It’s a great scene, disrupted by a knock on the door and the arrival of the freshly married Monrosalee. The chaos has caused them to cancel their honeymoon for now, much to Juliette’s disappointment. Monroe and Rosalee provide Juliette with much needed support and the viewers with their much needed presence. It’s great to see them on screen again.

Back at the precinct, the FBI agents drill Trubel and find no reason to charge her for Steward’s death. Meanwhile, Nick is a bundle of jitters, giving Hank multiple cups of unasked for coffee and slurping down his own fair share. When Chavez comes over, she gives Nick a look as if she expects him to see her true form. Chavez’s behavior makes her really difficult to trust, but so far, she has no clear agenda. I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see her.

Much later on, Hank and Wu are having a heart-to-heart at the hospital. Wu, freaking out about the Grimm diary, confesses what he saw while at Nick’s and Hank does his best to handle the situation. It’s a great character moment for both men. Hank knows what it’s like to feel crazy for seeing Wesen and Wu still feels crazy because he’s totally in the dark. However, before Hank can spill the beans, a classic soap opera style redirect occurs when Renard’s surgeon shows up to tell them just how bad Renard is doing. No big reveals for you this time, Wu!

Back at Nick and Juliette’s place, Monrosalee are eager to help figure out what’s happened to Nick. Monroe echoes Juliette’s desire earlier in the episode to rough up Adalind. That’s a sentiment I can get behind, no matter how much I love Claire Coffee. Once Nick and Trubel return home, the discussion really gets started. Yet again, Nick has to explain what happened between him and Adalind, much to Monrosalee’s shock and disgust. Rosalee delivers a withering “Oh no?” before Nick can explain that although he slept with the blonde Hexenbiest, she was in the form of his beloved girlfriend. This is followed by another “Oh no!” and a brief explanation of something called an “entwining twin curse.” The awkwardness subsides briefly, which allows Nick and Monroe to have a nice little broment before the newlywed Wesen depart. As a fan of their bromance, it’s nice to see their friendship isn’t entirely overwhelmed by all of the stuff going on around them. Once Monrosalee depart, things get a little tense again. Nick and Juliette finally talk about what happened and it isn’t nearly as infuriating as it could have been. Nick’s undeserved guilt makes me want to give him a hug. I’m also impressed by Juliette’s resilience. The third season finale showed a version of the character I don’t love, but this week definitely showed more of the progression that she’s enjoyed as a character overall since last season.

Speaking of the finale, there are plenty of flashbacks to what happened haunting both Trubel and Nick. The young Grimm harbors guilt for being unable to get Nick the antidote for the curse in time and Nick recalls his seduction at the hands of Fauxliette. Nick, unable to sleep, heads downstairs and does his best to clean up the blood everywhere. The real Juliette, realizing Nick isn’t in bed anymore, follows him downstairs and helps him scrub the floor. It’s another bridge building moment, but it also makes me worried. Nick offers that maybe their lives will be better since he’s no longer a Grimm anymore. I know this is going to fertilize an already growing seed in Juliette’s mind and I don’t like it.

Later that morning, Nick finally gets the call regarding the murder by the Gedächtnis Esser. As a viewer, this crime scene is a welcome return to routine, complete with Wu banter. Nick and Hank do their best detective act and then head to the hospital to hear about what has happened to Slocombe. He appears in a daze and this is when we’re treated to what those tentacle wounds really look like. It’s gross, to say the least.  During the commercial break, Nick and Hank head to the trailer, which is now in a lovely forest location. It’s a nice change from the storage yard. When they get there, they find that Trubel has been there for a while. At the trailer, they figure out the identity of the Wesen of the Week and hatch a plan to identify the Gedächtnis Esser, who has been picked up by the cops in Slocombe’s car. After an interview, they let him go and Trubel, in disguise as a street thief, sees him for who he really is. After confirming with Nick and Hank, she follows him, setting the stage for next week’s episode.

While dealing with the octopus, we return to the hospital and Renard and a mysterious blonde woman. There’s clearly some Adalind-shaped misdirection going on here, but the closing scenes reveal an entirely different blonde. Oh, and Renard is dead. I mean, that can’t possibly change next week, right? I guess we’ll have to see, though the preview for the season artfully avoids anything but his declared death. Oh, and that blonde? She’s also a Hexenbiest.

As season premieres go, “Thanks for the Memories” roared ahead into the new season while still handling the massive amounts of fallout that preceded it. The “Trubel is the only Grimm in town” set up is fun for now, but won’t be able to sustain the show in the long run. I’m a little worried they’ll milk it for longer than they should, a la Juliette’s amnesia and Adalind’s prolonged repowering quest. However, there’s a lot of promise in the story being unraveled here too and the cast—which is arguably one of TV’s most unsung ensembles—will no doubt deliver the goods. I, for one, can’t wait to see Giuntoli tackle Nick’s struggle. I’m also really excited to see Adalind get her ass kicked in the near future.  Fingers crossed, y’all! Here’s to Grimm season four. May the ride be bumpy and wild, but enjoyably so.

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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