I figured out “The End” about a one-third of the way through the episode. At a certain point, killing off characters loses the ‘shock and awe’ quality, and one wonders what’s going on. Major characters died every few minutes in “The End”, a fun trend that started at the end of last week’s penultimate episode. Once Renard took Zerstorer’s rod through the heart in defense of his suddenly pro-Zerstorer daughter, I started thinking about where it’d all lead. It didn’t take long for my Eureka moment. The writers made sure to emphasize the fact that two realities exist concurrently; thus, Nick was in the Bad Reality.
David Greenwalt did the whole ‘kill off nearly every major character’ before when he worked for Joss Whedon on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Greenwalt directed episode nine of Buffy’s third season when a wish demon grants Cordelia her wish by making a world in which Buffy never came to Sunnydale. A Sunnydale without Buffy is a bad Sunnydale. One of the iconic scenes in Buffy belongs to the end of “The Wish” when Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Angel die. (When Angel die, Buffy didn’t even wince, because her and Angel never met and fell in epic love in this bad wish reality). If Nick hadn’t been in The Other Place, I expected Zerstorer’s Rod to do its thing and resurrect everything.
Anyway, the series finale of Grimm highlighted two major things, both Nick related. Nick, like Buffy Summers, would be nothing without his friends. Losing his friends nearly motivated him to give Zerstorer the stick. Also, the Grimm line is strong, like the line of Slayer blood that united every slayer from the First to Buffy to…well, I won’t give away the ending to Buffy. Zerstorer’s most deadly power wasn’t the Rod, though its power neared ultimate—it was his ability to manipulate reality and to take away the people Nick loved the most, a loss so great he would’ve sacrificed the whole of humanity to bring them back. (And that’s another echo of ANGEL, though Greenwalt wasn’t involved in the fifth season or the specific fifth season episode “A Hole in the World”).
Trubel saved him from himself, and his mother and Aunt Marie provided him strength when he needed it most. Isn’t that what we, too, hope for in our lowest moments: the strength of love, fellowship, and family bonds to help us fight what we think we cannot defeat? I loved the shot of Nick, Kelly, Aunt Marie, and Trubel surrounding Zerstorer in The Other Place. That’s an image for a final Grimm poster—specifically the overhead shot of Zerstorer standing tall as four Grimms surround him (or three. Was Aunt Marie a confirmed Grimm).
A part of me felt bummed during the episode because of the quick deaths to the other major characters, because I wanted more impactful involvement from them. Of course, such a perspective is, ultimately, selfish and skewed. Characters don’t need to be active physical presences in someone’s specific story for them to be impactful. Let us not forget that Grimm was Nick’s story. David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf wanted to finish Nick’s story in “The End”.
Grimm began with Nick on his own (aside from Monroe). No one knew, not Hank, not Wu, not Juliette, and Rosalee wouldn’t enter his and Monroe’s life for another season. Like other supernatural genre shows, Grimm began as a show of discovery. Nick discovered a new life and a new world and began the hero’s journey. Aunt Marie called him to adventure. He refused the call, found a mentor in his Aunt and a guide in Monroe, and then he crossed the threshold when he saved the little girl in the “Pilot” and faced off with his first Wesen as a Grimm. He returned to his home, having changed. The hero’s journey repeated throughout the six seasons until “The End” when it reached its synthesis, and the writers switched from the monomyth to the Hegelian triad where Grimm then spiraled into a new thesis, twenty years later, with Kelly and Diana helping their Mom and Dad fight Wesen alongside the triplets and Monroe and Rosalee.
Now, did Grimm need to tell a trippy fever dream Other Place story over the span of three episodes? Sure. Why not? Grimm was a trippy, weird, crazy, fever dream of a show. This show dropped plotlines and characters without abandon. The writers wrote off major overarching stories with one line. I had no idea where everything in Grimm’s history would lead to in the end. I learned to go along with Grimm’s battiness after awhile. It turned out that Grimm returned to its roots to the end. The end of stories often return to its beginning in some ways. The hero in the monomyth returns home transformed, like Frodo at the end of The Lord of the Rings. Finnegans Wake “brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs” at the end, which is the beginning.
Nick returns to his home where his friends are, all of them, Hank, Monroe, Rosalee, Wu, Eve, Renard, and his lover, Adalind, where he’s stronger with them and because of them. Yes, every series on television resurrects characters now. Death doesn’t mean a thing, but it doesn’t always need to mean finality on television. Sure, it’d be nice if it did, sometimes. We get plenty of death’s finality in our lives, though. I wanted to see Nick and his friends together in the end somehow. I even liked the group hug. So, yeah, I’m a softie.
Grimm is over now. I wrote three weeks ago in my final post for The Vampire Diaries that ending a story is incredibly difficult. It is. A writer, or writers, can’t satisfy every fan in the world. Someone, somewhere, will feel disappointed. That’s unavoidable. It’s often to best to think about the whole of the story you experienced after it ends, whether it’s a book, a TV show, a movie, a podcast, or a music album, and consider whether or not you felt glad you watched and experienced it. Maybe you’ll think of it in terms of worth. Was it worth the time you invested in it? I’m sorry if you thought it wasn’t. I hope it was for you.
-Grimm was the weirdest show I wrote about, I’d say. One wouldn’t think it was weird. It’s a supernatural procedural about fighting creatures from fairy tales, right? Well, it began so simply. Little things about Grimm threw me: the structure of some episodes, for example, or the pacing, or the treatment of exposition, dialogue choices—not to mention some arcs as well as other things I’ve rambled about in past reviews.
-My thanks to Grimm’s delightful cast for great work over the years and to Grimm’s crew, writers, and many directors. Not many folks thought Grimm would make it to thirteen episodes in the late summer and early fall of 2011. I offer my additional thanks to all for giving me something to write about for the last six years. Grimm joins Everwood as the only shows I wrote about in toto.
-Jim Kouf & David Greenwalt wrote the finale. David Greenwalt directed.