Recap and review of Grimm – Season 2 Finale – Goodnight, Sweet Grimm:
Cliffhangers are an undoubtedly cruel, yet thrilling way to end a season of television. This goes double for a show like Grimm, which is more serialized than most genre shows, never mind most procedurals. “Goodnight, Sweet Grimm” is a bit of a plodding episode, doling out exposition, intrigue and character moments in tiny increments throughout the hour. However, the slow-moving nature of the episode is offset by the steadily building sense of dread that creeps into the story, making for one of the tensest episodes of the season. We know something is going to happen, and most viewers could probably have deduced just what that something would be (the release of the Cracher-Mortel’s zombies, and the start of Prince Eric’s revolution), yet there’s an unease permeating everything that happens, as if we’re seeing the last burst of normalcy (well, relatively speaking) before everything goes to hell. The climax is a final, chaotic burst of mayhem topped off with a brief, yet awesome duel between Nick (David Giuntoli) and Baron Samedi (Reg E. Cathey) that culminates in Nick’s capture by Eric (James Frain). While we know that, as the main character of the series, Nick is encased in several layers of Plot Armor, we can’t be certain that bad things won’t necessarily befall Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch), Rosalee (Bree Turner) and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), whose truck is surrounded by Samedi’s rage zombies at the end of the episode. To make matters worse, Adalind (Claire Coffee) is back, and her powers being returned is all but a foregone conclusion, so it makes a certain kind of sense that this episode ended as a cliffhanger. It’s just way more plot than any one episode could handle. Yet the fan in me wishes it were fall, so we could see where this all is headed, even while the pragmatist in me understands why it had to be this way. Ultimately, “Goodnight, Sweet Grimm” is a fitting cap to a stellar second season.
Renard (Sasha Roiz) receives a report from his confidant (Christian Lagadec) about what was found in Eric’s desk, namely the passport and death certificate with no picture. The confidant explains that the file containing these documents has the heading “Thomas Schirach,” a name with which Renard isn’t familiar. All this shadiness comes to a head when Eric invites Sean to dinner, and the brothers discuss family business, in between recollections of their troubled youth. Eric’s mother once attempted to have Sean and his “hexenbiest whore of a mother” killed, and Renard still feels the sting from his bastard upbringing. However, Eric insists that not only is Sean’s bastardy a badge of honor in this day and age, he goes a step further by essentially inviting his brother back into the royal family — provided he can procure Nick’s key. Renard says he’ll think about it, only to later be seen tailing Eric as he leaves his hotel. I’ve never been that big on the Royals storyline, but I appreciate the amount of political intrigue on display within the Wesen hierarchy, as it contributes to a sense of worldbuilding. This otherworldly community feels more authentic when there’s an established power structure that works not dissimilarly from our own (historically speaking). In addition, the storyline makes great use of James Frain’s oily performance, as he really portrays the slimy nobility of Eric while also portraying his sociopathic villainy, which makes for a fine foil to Sasha Roiz’s more stoic performance.
On the subject of passive-aggressive rivalries, the war between Stefania (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and Frau Pech (Mary McDonald-Lewis) reaches its conclusion. Frau Pech employs a bellboy at Adalind’s hotel in order to poison her and render her unconscious. Frau Pech then enters the room and extracts a blood sample from the unconscious Adalind. She mixes this into a potion, and once she drinks it, the effect is immediate: Frau Pech essentially exchanges her elderly body for a younger model, transforming into the youthful Adalind while the still-unconscious Adalind is transformed into the aged Frau Pech. With the body-swap complete, Frau Pech meets with Stefania to see what the gypsy is planning. Stefania doesn’t seem any the wiser when she meets with Frau Pech (as Adalind) to discuss how she can restore her powers by removing Frau Pech’s still-beating heart. This is a terrific scene simply for how it plays on expectations, as conventional wisdom would suggest that, since we just saw Frau Pech enact her body-swapping plan, she will now use her change in appearance to finally bring this war to an end. Yet the story goes in the opposite direction, as Stefania gets the drop on Frau Pech. At no point was the gypsy fooled by Frau Pech’s little charade, and so it’s with great pleasure that Stefania stabs her mortal enemy while her son holds her down. Stefania tells her sons to keep Frau Pech in place, since she needs to pull the heart out through the stomach while it’s still beating. Thankfully, we don’t see this, but we do see Frau Pech revert to her former body before death…at which point Adalind awakes, puts two and two together, and rejoices. “Ding dong, the witch is dead! And another witch is back.” Sounds like a nightmare in the making.
However, while the two plots above are certainly substantial in their own right, they aren’t really the meat of the episode. That honor belongs to Nick and company, as he continues to try and piece together what the Cracher-Mortel is up to. Things have officially gotten out of control, as the rage assaults are now spreading throughout the city at a volume that proves too large for the Portland PD to handle. Seventeen missing persons reports have been called in, and it’s unsurprising to find that the majority of the missing loved ones in question have turned up as rage zombies. Of particular note, Al the Mechanic, last seen pulling over to help Baron Samedi, and getting spewed in the face by green slime for his troubles. Luckily, Nick is able to subdue Al and, with the help of Hank (Russell Hornsby), get the unconscious victim to the spice shop. Rosalee consults her books and discovers that victims of the Cracher-Mortel are often utilized to instigate a revolution, meaning that the Cracher-Mortel is staging an uprising in Portland. Thankfully, Rosalee is able to piece together a remedy for the affliction. It involves three painful shots that must be given simultaneously during the final, and most dangerous, phase of the transformation, and while she has enough to cure Al the Mechanic, there might not be enough formula in all of Portland for the revolution to come. Nick anticipates that his key might be what the bad guys are after, and so he gives it to Rosalee for safekeeping. However, this still doesn’t change the fact that the group is hopelessly outnumbered.
But hey, at least the team has a new helper in Juliette, a veterinarian who’s experienced when it comes to syringes. Granted, we never really get to see her use these skills, but I guess they needed a reason to justify her presence in the climax? You know, other than simply because she loves Nick and wants to be a part of his life as a Grimm (a perfectly fine reason, if ever there was one). I continue to love the renewed Nick/Juliette dynamic, as they declare their love for one another, culminating in a morning after that illustrates just the kind of easy chemistry David Giuntoli and Bitsie Tulloch have developed. Sure, Juliette is still a bit awkward, but that awkwardness feels like a genuine part of her character now, and less like a crutch that’s used to propel friction between herself and Nick. Here, she asks him not to shut her out of his life as a Grimm, and it’s one of those situations where you know bringing her into harm’s way is a terrible idea, yet it’s also easy to understand why Nick acquiesces. He clearly loves her, and the idea that his Grimm life is something he can now share with her has to be a frightening, yet exhilarating prospect. David Giuntoli does a solid job depicting this internal conflict, and Bitsie Tulloch even gets some rare comic moments in her attempts to “help.” first by questioning Al about the type of wesen he is, not realizing that he’s just a regular guy. I like Juliette’s “learning curve” arc and wish there had been more time in the season to develop it.
This all builds to the climax, where Nick, Rosalee, Juliette and Monroe use the information gleaned from Al to track down the Cracher-Mortel’s victims to the shipping containers by the docks. Once there, all hell breaks loose, as Baron Samedi releases the zombies on Nick and company. What follows is complete chaos, as Juliette and Rosalee attempt to cure some, while Nick and Monroe just haul off against the others. It’s an all-out melee, and the gang is quickly outnumbered, prompting their escape. Nick gets separated from the others while he runs through the labyrinthine shipping yard — yet when Nick catches sight of Baron Samedi atop one of the containers, he can’t allow the Cracher-Mortel to get away. He climbs the container and squares off with Baron Samedi, one-on-one, and the resulting fight is the best moment of the episode, brief though it is. After some brief hand-to-hand combat, Nick grabs onto the sheath for Samedi’s sword and uses it as a weapon, resulting in a makeshift sword fight. The two men then go crashing through the roof of the container, leaving Nick in the dark against an unseen (though sinisterly laughing) Baron Samedi. Nick ventures through the container and comes across a coffin. Inside, Nick finds the passport and death certificate for “Thomas Schirach”…only to find his own picture on the documents. Before Nick can register his shock, Baron Samedi comes up behind him and spits the green liquid into his face. As the episode comes to a close, we see Baron Samedi presenting Eric with Nick’s “corpse,” which will now be shipped to Europe under the name “Thomas Schirach.” “Goodnight, sweet Grimm,” says Eric, before shutting the lid on Nick. “And may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” And that’s a wrap on season two!
“Goodnight, Sweet Grimm” is compelling all the way through, though the early half leans a bit too heavily on exposition that’s slowly dealt out. However, the climax really brings it all home, resulting in a finale that best exemplifies the hard-hitting, fast-paced, intense show Grimm has become.