Way back in the beginning, made a point of emphasizing that hero Nick Burkhardt , the Portland Police detective-turned-supernatural criminal profiler, had the same ability to see fanciful creatures that the Brothers Grimm possessed. The very first “Grimm” episode, in fact, was a contemporary twist on the classic “Little Red Riding Hood” Brothers Grimm fairy tale.
As “Grimm” reminded us, before Walt Disney and other family friendly folk got their hands on the Brothers Grimm stories, they were often as dark as the Black Forest, with monsters preying on innocent victims, until the happy ending — we hoped — restored order.
It was fitting, then, that the “Grimm” series finale, appropriately titled “The End,” sent Nick through a nightmarish journey, before closing the book with an ending that evoked both fairy tales and the show’s own mythology.
And yes, spoilers are coming right up. So if you haven’t yet watched Episode 13, and don’t want to know what happens yet, you know what to do.
Co-creators and executive producers David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf crafted a series finale that got almost the whole gang back together (missed you, Bud, aka Danny Bruno) and then put fans through the emotional wringer.
Before the series finale, we wondered if a major character would die. But then came the climax of the next-to-last episode, which saw the devilish Wesen Zerstorer kill everyone (but Nick) at a Portland Police precinct. Yes, including our beloved Hank ( and Sgt. Wu (
But that was just the beginning. Who could have predicted that the finale would kill off pretty much everybody?
Except — whew! — it didn’t. Greenwalt and Kouf may have been willing to make “Grimm” fans (and poor Nick) think we were seeing everybody we had grown attached to meet a fatal end at the hands of Zerstorer. But the showrunners were too kind-hearted to really do that to us.
In the end, the “Grimm” season finale gave us the fairy tale, complete with what we thought were terrible deaths, only to conclude with the happy ending we so wanted, and that Nick and the rest of this terrific ensemble of characters deserved.
Let’s break it down.
Nick’s nightmare: Guintoli did an outstanding job in this episode, showing us the despair, rage and grief that seemed in danger of overtaking him, without ever hamming it up or overdoing it. And what a horror show Nick endured. Zerstorer is, he thinks, in Portland. Nick tries to use the magic stick, the ancient treasure his Grimm ancestors buried in the Black Forest centuries ago. But it doesn’t heal Hank or Wu. Nick tries, but can’t bring his friends back to life.
Before finding out what this all really was — Nick’s experience in “the other place” — it seemed shocking and cruel that Nick would leave Hank and Wu (and the rest of the police officers) lying on the floor of the precinct. And I wondered, hey, wait a minute, wouldn’t more police show up on the scene if an entire precinct had been wiped out? But this was a dark fairy tale, a hero’s difficult journey, as we ultimately learned. So logic didn’t apply.
Everyone dies!: Nick has to watch as Zerstorer forces Eve to stab herself, as Nick then holds her in his arms as she dies — again. “Eve,” he cries, then reverts to her name before all this happened: “Juliette.” In one of Tulloch’s best moments, she tells Nick, “No regrets,” then dies.
But the real blood bath comes at the cabin, the one where the evil Wesen we met back in the first episode lived. Renard , Adalind , Diana (Hannah R. Loyd) and baby Kelly have been hiding out there. Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni) arrives, and then Monroe and Rosalee do too, in Monroe’s old Volkswagen bug.
Shortly after Nick turns up, with the awful news about Eve, Zerstorer appears at the door of the cabin, since he knows where Nick is because of the magical stick. Diana, the child bride Zerstorer seeks according to prophecy, says not to hurt him, because “he needs me.”
Even though the blood potion, made with the blood of a Grimm (Nick), a Hexenbiest (Adalind) and a Wesen (Monroe) seems to temporarily stop Zerstorer, he roars back into deadly form. In no time at all, the woods outside the cabin are a graveyard, with the dead bodies of Renard, Adalind, Rosalee and Monroe all lying on the wet, muddy ground.
Trubel is trying to take baby Kelly to safety when she confronts Zerstorer, and she too, is killed, stabbed by Zerstorer’s wooden staff.
“You’ve taken everything from me,” Nick yells to Zerstorer. “You’re not going to take my son.” Zerstorer says that doesn’t need to happen. If Nick will just hand over the magical stick, Zerstorer will bring everyone back to life, as he does with Trubel.
The strength of Nick’s blood: Nick is ready to make a deal with the devil, to restore those he loves back to life. But Trubel objects, saying Nick can’t give Zerstorer the stick, which could mean the end of the world.
Out in the woods, where it’s daylight now, Trubel and Nick battle it out. She grabs the stick and tries to run away with it, but it burns her hand. Just when Nick retrieves it, and seems ready to give the stick to Zerstorer, he sees an unexpected vision.
Standing there, in the misty woods, are Nick’s mother, Kelly (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and his Aunt Marie (Kate Burton.) Never mind that these two are both dead, they’re here to tell Nick that Trubel is right. Zerstorer can’t take the stick, and Nick musn’t give it to him. He must fight, and draw on the strength of his blood, his ancestors and his family.
The strength of one’s blood, as Monroe said earlier in the episode, is the only weapon that will destroy the destroyer. So Nick, along with Kelly, Aunt Marie and Trubel, battle Zerstorer. As Nick grabs Zerstorer’s staff, the magic stick flies into it, making the staff whole again. “You wanted it,” Nick says, as he stabs Zerstorer. “Here it is.”
Kelly and Aunt Marie remind Nick that they were victorious because of the power of their ancestry. And they remind Nick to guard the staff well, because of its power. It was especially great to see these two — examples of how “Grimm” gave us women who were more than capable of taking down monsters — back again, teaming up to help Nick see his mission.
Trubel rushes over, flush with the victory of her and Nick taking down Zerstorer. He looks around, and his mother and Aunt Marie have disappeared. But Diana saw them.
Just when Nick is ready to try again to bring his loved ones back to life, the Zerstorer’s dead body dissolves into ashes, then reforms into a whirling maelstrom. Nick holds the staff and is drawn into the powerful ball of energy, and then…
A happy ending!: Nick crashes through the mirror at Monroe’s house. “Mommy, it worked,” we hear Diana says. “I brought Nick back for you.”
Like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” Nick realizes he’s been somewhere else — the other place. And everyone is alive — Monroe, Rosalee, Eve, Adalind, Renard, Hank and Wu. The Zerstorer is dead, Diana says, and “I’m not afraid anymore.”
Nick hugs everyone, ecstatic that those he loves are alive. Then, Monroe walks over toward the mirror and sees the gnarled wooden staff. “Where did this come from?”
A happy ending, and a possible spinoff?: And then we hear a voiceover, as the camera comes close in on Nick, whose expression turns from disbelief to a tiny smile: “He didn’t know what to tell them,” the voiceover says, of Nick.
Then we cut to a trailer — very much like Aunt Marie’s trailer, that rolling repository of Grimm lore and weaponry — and onscreen, the words: “20 years later.”
We see the voiceover has been coming from a dark-haired young man, writing in a a Grimm book, putting down the account of how Nick Burkhardt held onto his heritage as a Grimm in “the final epic battle with the terrible beast from the other place,” and because of that, “the world was changed.”
Some will say, the young man writes, that this was “a myth, a legend, or fairy tale. But I know it’s true because my father told me so.”
Yes, this is Kelly Burkhardt, son of Nick and Adalind, named after Nick’s mother. And then Diana, all grown up, walks in, grabs some weapons from the cabinet and tells her brother to hurry up, because “Mom and Dad are waiting.”
“We’ve got Wesen to kill,” Diana says. Oh, and “the triplets” — that would be the children of Monroe and Rosalee — “are coming, too.”
Kelly heads out, as Diana waits for a moment, her eyes glowing purple. She makes the pages of the Grimm book turn, until we see the cover, emblazoned with a “G.”
What do you think? Would you watch the grown-up Kelly and Diana take over the “Grimm” mantle?
Who knows whether that will ever happen. But for now, this finale was both horrifying and richly satisfying. We went on the emotional roller coaster with Nick, mourning all the characters we’ve come to care about, and then delighting in seeing that they were all safe and sound.
And the time jump device, which has become perhaps a bit too common in series finales, worked perfectly here. It was comforting to think that the Grimm family bond was holding strong, even if Portland was still being threatened by deadly Wesen.
It was a fine fairy-tale ending to a series that has been an underrated pleasure for six seasons of wild stories, and wonderful characters.
What did you think?
— Kristi Turnquist