Review by C.J. Bunce
With NBC’s recently announced decision to renew Grimm for a sixth season, the network indicated it knows what TV viewers know: The fifth season was simply fantastic, full of gripping writing and a change-up of character roles in a way we’ve never seen before. Who knew a horror series full of fantasy, magic, and monsters could fare so well? And who knew Grimm would outlast so many competing shows? Constantine, Hannibal, and Dracula fizzled out but Grimm is still going strong.
In fact, if Friday night’s season five, two-hour finale is any indication, nothing can stop this action-filled freight train of fun. Grimm’s completely new universe of storytelling surprised us year after year. But last night we saw some of the best action, twists and turns, and flat-out excitement than we’ve seen on any TV show this year. This is the same series that, back in the fall of 2011, no one believed it had a chance against the ABC/Disney fantasy Once Upon a Time.
So many factors make this a standout series that will stand the test of time and make a great re-watchable series in syndication one day. It’s not another New York or Los Angeles or even a Vancouver-based series. It is another “save the city” series like The Flash and Arrow, but it uses the lavishly dark, forest-trimmed Portland, Oregon as its background for an all-out war over the supernatural world. Local supporting roles are filled with the local acting community, which grounded the show. The main cast proved their range and revealed that each individual–from David Giuntoli to Claire Coffee to Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Reggie Lee, Bree Turner and Sasha Roiz–will likely go on to even bigger roles once the series wraps. CGI and make-up monsters provided us that “monster of the week” series we’ve missed since classic episodes of The X-Files.
And, oh, that storytelling. Pulling bits and pieces of folklore from Western and Eastern mythologies and everything in between, the writers delivered all season long. Totems like Grimm books from Monroe’s uncle, and a magical wooden wand that heals were highlights of the season. The writing team’s best work was what they have done all along, taking the story in a direction no one could have predicted. They brought in a new young Grimm named Trubel and made her edgier and grittier. Even Wu got powers. They took the Hexenbiest Adalind’s powers away, and then gave them back. They took the Nick’s love interest Juliette and made her more powerful than anyone as the sinister stealer of senses and torture-master, Eve.
And then with a switch they unraveled it all. Captain Sean Renard started as a bad guy, but then spent years as a good guy. Then this season he was manipulated from all sides into someone no one could like. He was even manipulated by his very young daughter Diana. Who would have thought a little girl could have played such a huge part in setting up a new playing field for season six? And that leaves us even more to hope for as her half-brother Kelly gets older over the summer.
All our main cast, luckily, is still here for season six, although we lost a key good guy and what could have been the most powerful villains of them all with the finale. Power and manipulation will certainly again be major themes for next season.
We can’t wait to see what’s next.