Grimm usually delivers a riveting and entertaining season finales. Finales of season pasts were always broken up by one week. This year, NBC decided to combine the two into one two hour block, either because they botched the schedule, or it was their plan all along. “The The Beginning of the End” was no different
The first part of “The Beginning of the End” primarily concerns the destruction of Hadrian’s Wall via the Hank trap. Black Claw dropped the bodies of the men Nick killed in “Bad Night” in Hank’s house knowing Nick and HW would work together to free him. Black Claw, having assumed power in Portland, wanted to eliminate its last strong enemy. The wesen in town feel empowered. Portland’s north precinct is made up of wesen, all angry with Nick for killing their kind. Part one shows what a Black Claw world is. Wesen feel free to act against whom they consider oppressors.
Nick and the gang rescued Hank but they lost Hadrian’s Wall. Renard, now a blank slate of a character, watched and meekly pleaded with Bonaparte not to prolong Meisner’s suffering, which led to Nick and him facing off in the precinct, putting Nick right where Black Claw (and the North precinct) wanted him. Season five carefully placed Nick and Renard on opposite sides. Besides the fight, Renard’s barely a presence. He continues to be a pawn of Black Claw’s and the writers’ in both parts. He’s an easy way to inject personal history into the main arc. Diana murdered Rachel. He expressed rage about it but moved past it; ditto with Meisner. At the end of the episode, he stabbed Bonaparte in the back; however, Diana made him do it. So, someone else forced his biggest act of the episode. Is Renard never his own man/character?
The end pits Nick and Renard against each other again. Renard stood with a bloody sword. Nick looked ready to fight, but their blood feud is hollow. Bonaparte freely acted throughout the finale. Renard betrayed Nick by urging Adalind to reveal Nick’s address to Bonaparte. The writers write Renard ambiguously all the time, so he urged her to tell Bonaparte for her safety after seeing what his phantom stranglehold did to Meisner. He would not let go. What will they fight about? Renard assured Hank and Wu they’d have a safe place in Black Claw’s world. His interests align with his former friends. Neither him nor Nick wants to watch the world burn.
Season five promised change. Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt emphasized change during press tour in August. Some changed occurred. Renard switched sides. Juliette became Eve. Adalind and Nick built a domestic life with Kelly. Diana returned. Meisner returned as part of a secret government organization not even the Federal Government knew existed. Monroe and Nick found the keys, new grimm books, and a magic healing stick. The end of season five, though, sort of went backwards. The magic stick brought Juliette back (in a plot move so obvious I guessed it in August). Nick eliminated most of Black Claw’s Portland base. Network procedurals can’t change. This season had its string of stand-alones and its string of serialized episodes, as always, though the show weaved its serialized elements more deftly into the stand-alone episodes, but it’s Grimm. It won’t reinvent itself this late into its run.
“The Beginning of the End” had lots of flash and moments made for a finale. Overwhelming stakes. One pregnancy. Characters making big decisions, such as Adalind trying to show Nick she didn’t abandon him or betray him through Diana’s magic. Secondary characters gruesomely died. Nick died for a second before the stick brought him back. Wu used his newfound ability against Black Claw members. Grimm did not put a ribbon on the season (or a bow or a button—whatever the parlance is). The finale ended on the cliffhanger mentioned above. The season began with them as a threat and, presumably, they remain a big threat. Renard ascends to the top of the executive chart. It has operations throughout the world. But Grimm will have to reset by the third episode next season, and it’s such an odd mess of a show that it will work through the murder of an entire Portland precinct.
The finale highly entertained me, though. Grimm’s a crazy batshit show. The thought that it’ll ever bring its many disparate parts together for a coherent ending is ludicrous and totally impossible. This show begins well and ends well and everything in between is like a fever dream. What matters? What doesn’t? Does any of it matter? What’s the meaning of life? It can be great fun once you stop thinking about it all.
-Eve’s probably the longest rehab plotline in recent network broadcast history, or in the history of television. Trubel asked her how she felt after the stick brought her back. She seizure and then awoke all Juliette like. Juliette, with tears, said she feels a lot. Yes, she feels the pain and regret of her massive heel turn last season. She’s still responsible for the death of Kelly.
-Most of the Portland PD North crew blamed Nick for killing their friends and family, which means they were related or connected with many of the gruesome murders in Portland. Nick only took out the worst of the worst.
-I wanted to see Meisner bond with Diana and Adaind again. Oh well.
-Diana’s mood has a body count. She took out Rachel and Conrad. No one will survive hurting her mother. Will Diana age to 18 overnight?
-Jim Kouf & David Greenwalt wrote part one. David Greenwalt directed his first episode in some years when he directed part one. I love a Greenwalt directed episode. He directed many fine episodes of ANGEL and Buffy. Thomas Ian Griffith wrote part two. Norberto Barba directed part two.
-Season 6 will air in the fall. NBC announced its schedule last Sunday. Grimm’s reduced episode order (with an option for a back-nine pickup if it performs well) could’ve meant a midseason premiere in January. I’ll guess Grimm premieres October 28. The episode will open not with Renard’s and Nick’s bloody standoff but with them enjoying sea breezes at a karaoke bar.
-Thanks for reading my reviews and following along, if you did either or both.