“Tree People” is Grimm’s green episode. The message is: hurt the forest, and the forest will fatally hurt you. The wesen forest protecter murdered two characters for harming nature. The first victim poached; the second victim dumped toxic waste. The creature, named a Kinoshimobe, forcefully dealt with the violators. Nick, Hank, and the gang had to determine how to fight something that protects the natural world. Kill it or not? Hank said that they had to stop something that would make humans an endangered species. Grimm rarely has a binary black and white ending.
There’s a long tradition in storytelling of the forest retaliating for the destruction man caused it, the most famous being JRR Tolkien’s Ents in The Lord of the Rings. The Kinoshimobe looks a spiritual sibling of Tolkien’s creations. Tolkien created the Ents partly as a response to the industrial boom in the early 20th century. Environmental concerns will persist for all of time. Here in the 21st century the current administration wants to strip environmental protections across the board, from Clean Water to the destruction of the EPA, so that big corporations can continue dumping waste into bodies of waters people use for drinking. During the episode, Nick told Wu to call the EPA in for toxic waste cleanup. Who will cleanup spills and dumps when the EPA is no more?
Monroe expresses ambivalence about destroying nature’s protector. His lines, too, were PSAs for why it’s wrong to ravage nature. Would any person want someone to cause the same destruction in his or her home? The Kinoshimobe doesn’t die. Its protective tree protects at the end, ensuring that in Grimm’s world, something more than human will continue protecting nature from the serial greed of man. “Tree People” takes the time to showoff the great beauty of Nature, the serenity one finds in the woods, and the wonder of watching wildlife. Wu paused to admire a deer. Hank smiled as he watched squirrels play. Nick stared transfixed at the gigantic womb of a tree deep in the woods.
The episode is pretty and part tranquil because of the forest locations. We never see the first victim’s buddy again after Nick and Hank interrogate him, but it would be fair to conclude that he’ll never harm nature after his experience with its vengeful side. Aside from the central case in the episode, we’re reminded of another outside threat to the characters—a threat from another world. Diana, who’s primarily use is exposition, delivers exposition about the inevitably of this mirror demon coming for everyone. Dasha told Renard essentially the same thing, though Dasha explicated more about Diana’s connection to the symbols and urges Renard to investigate the tunnels.
I’m not opposed to the writers ending the series with a series of case-of-the-week episodes, because I think the mythology surrounding the stick, the cloth and its symbols, and The Face from another world is uninteresting. Grimm has more often than not dropped plotlines, right? Kouf and Greenwalt won’t drop it, I know; however, with four episodes left, how satisfying whatever comes of it will be for fans is in the air. The mystery is usually better than any explanation or answer given for that mystery.
-I liked “Tree People”. It was funny in that wry Grimm fashion, especially in the last act.
-Renard and Nick glared at one another in the precinct. They haven’t interacted since their face off in “Oh Captain My Captain”. One assumes they will become allies in the final run.
-Grimm fans over at the avclub have mentioned Grimm’s steady, solid ratings, which raises speculation about why NBC announced season six as the final one last summer. No executive explained why for the record. No one interviewed David Greenwalt or Kim Kouf about why it ended. It’s likely the cast didn’t want to re-up for more seasons. Actor contracts end after the sixth season. David Giuntoli was quoted in an interview saying that Grimm got a hospice ending. He seemed over it, anyway.
-Brenna Kouf wrote the episode. Jim Kouf, her father, directed it. He last directed “Headache” in season four.