It’s season finale time on Grimm, which means that it’s wedding time! Naturally things don’t go quite as planned.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Blond Ambition’ is a solid episode built on a shitty foundation. In order for this episode to work, the characters have to keep pertinent information to themselves instead of just saying things like normal people do. In a continuation from last week’s episode, Adalind (Claire Coffee) uses her mother’s Hogwarts Hat to impersonate Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) in order to strip Nick (David Giuntoli) of his Grimm powers. On paper this sounds reasonable, but its execution requires Renard (Sasha Roiz) not to tell Nick about Adalind’s home invasion and not to just come out and tell Juliette that they kissed. It also requires Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni) to realize that something odd is going on with Juliette, but not to say something about it (and in fact requires her to hide in the bushes from Nick and Juliette). Basically if the characters on Grimm were better communicators, none of this mess would have happened and that’s frustrating because it feels more like a narrative convenience for the writers than an authentic way for the characters to interact. They don’t normally have difficulty telling each other what’s going on, but for the sake of convenience, here they do. For me, that just doesn’t work.
If you can put aside this fact, however, ‘Blond Ambition’ is actually pretty decent. It’s clear from the opening scene – during which every member of the wedding party hilariously insists that Nick must wear his sunglasses – that a Grimm will be revealed during the ceremony. In a nice inversion of expectations, the Grimm who messes everything up isn’t actually Nick and his prescription sunglasses; it’s Trubel, who causes a riot when she bursts in following the vows in an attempt to give Nick the cure. That’s followed by a panic as every wedding guest attacks her, setting up an opportunity for Nick’s sunglasses to get knocked off and crushed. “Here we go”, we think, expecting the reveal of a second Grimm to exacerbate the problem, only for Grimm to invert our expectations again with the discovery Nick is no longer a Grimm. It’s a nifty little twist of a cliffhanger that’s all the more impressive considering how blatantly the show telegraphed this exact development only a few episodes ago – Prince Viktor (Alexis Denisof) literally ordered Adalind to do to Nick what the Grimm had done to her (ie: remove her powers).
The fact that Nick’s sudden loss of status still surprises is a testimony to how well the second half of the episode is paced, keeping our attention as the tension mounts and preventing us from reaching that conclusion before whipping the rug out from under us. It’s not surprising that the episode gets really good when characters actually begin talking to each other. All of the stuff between Adalind-as-Juliette and Renard is strange – not only because Adalind has clearly not studied Juliette well enough to pretend to be her and also because Renard should have reacted much differently. Considering his obsession with Juliette last season nearly destroyed them both, you’d think he would be less casual about it. (Side Note: If I’m being nitpicky, Adalind’s seemingly includes Renard in her plans as a way to discover when Juliette will be out of the house so that Adalind can sleep with Nick. This is incredibly convoluted. Why not just find out when Juliette’s hair appointment is some other way? Surely keeping the Captain of the police force out of the plan would have been less complicated?).
Once Wu (Reggie Lee) informs Renard of the storage locker and Adalind-as-Juliette slips into a negligee, the episode takes a turn. From that point on, ‘Blond Ambition’ is kinda amazing. Renard is shot (!) by a vengeful Agent Steward (C. Thomas Howell), who is then decapitated (!!) by Trubel. Juliette and Nick very quickly realize that he didn’t sleep with her and they then have to awkwardly continue with the wedding like everything is okay. And then there is the tension about whether Trubel will interrupt Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee’s (Bree Turner) wedding before they are officially married (since we know that the minute she arrives at the Lodge, she’ll live up to her nickname). Each time we cut back to Monroe and Rosalee I kept whispering for them to hurry up because everything was about to turn into a shit show.
And lo and behold it does. And then just as suddenly the episode is over and we’re left with a series of cliffhangers, the most significant of which puts the entire premise of the series in jeopardy. How do you tell a story about Grimms when your main character is no longer one? Clearly Adalind’s spell will be undone somehow, but for now Nick is human, Adalind is en route to Vienna and a big disappointment, and Renard may die from three close range gunshot wounds. Well…at least Rosalee and Monroe got a happy ending (sort of)!
- While investigating Agent Steward’s death, Wu discovers Trubel’s grimoir, which he (conveniently) opens to the Aswang page. Guess he’s going to have to be brought into the fold next season after all!
- I really appreciate that both Rosalee and Monroe’s families return (particularly Dee Wallace and Chris Mulkey). It’s a small thing, but bringing them back and referencing their previous appearances reinforces the show’s dedication to narrative continuity.
- I mentioned that Adalind doesn’t fare very well as Juliette (the clothes are wrong, the cadence of her voice and her language don’t fit Juliette), but it’s a testimony to Bitsie Tulloch’s acting that we can clearly determine all of the ways that Adalind-as-Juliette feels off. Early in the series, Tulloch and David Giuntoli were very clearly the weakest actors on the show. Heading into S4, they’ve both grown quite nicely into their respective roles.
- While I can appreciate how shocking it would be to find out that your long time boyfriend just slept with a skanky Hexenbiest, Juliette’s “I don’t know if I can live this way any longer” comments feels like it came out of nowhere. I appreciate that things have been crazy for them because of Nick’s calling, but the writers should have built up to this moment throughout the season rather than just dropping it into the finale. She hasn’t seemed phased in the last few episodes so this development doesn’t feel earned.
- As AV Club wonders, does Nick losing his powers negate all of the superpower-via-Baron Samedi-coma stuff that began this season? I didn’t bring it up because I honestly completely forgot about it. Hopefully one of these seasons, Grimm will plot out its arcs a little better.so that there’s a wee bit more consistency.
- Finally, just in case you feel like you don’t know Juliette well enough: she loves bacon. If she says she doesn’t, you know it’s Adalind.
- Monroe (to Rosalee’s sister): “We hated that dress.” So say we all!
- Beat cop (to Wu, while surveying the murder scene at Nick’s house): “Seems like a lot of weird stuff happens in this house.” He’s not kidding…
So that’s a wrap on S3. What did you think of the finale? Were you frustrated that people didn’t just come out and say what was happening? Did you anticipate Trubel upsetting the wedding? Are you happy Monroe and Rosalee got through their vows? Do you think Renard will survive? And how long before Nick is back to Grimm status? Speculate away below.
Grimm has now finished airing its third season on NBC. It will return in the fall. Thanks for reading!