Grimm's first season finale was a thoroughly enjoying cap to a show that has gotten progressively stronger week-to-week. And while the finale didn't really answer any burning questions (i.e., WHO EXACTLY IS FRIGGIN' RENARD?!), so many of the key pieces sprinkled throughout the season, clues to Nick's role as a Grimm, fell into place in a way that felt completely pitch-perfect and natural, advancing character story arcs in such a way that I cannot wait for the show's return in "late summer" (how exciting is that, late summer instead of "fall"?).
The episode opens with Nick (David Giuntoli) and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) meeting for coffee (how adorable is THAT?!) to discuss the problem of Hank and his recent Wesen sighting, when he caught a glimpse of Monroe in his Blutbad form. Nick is really worried about Hank (Russell Hornsby), as he's edgy and not sleeping, but he's limited in how much he can help his partner since seriously, who is gonna believe the whole Grimm business?! Unbeknownst to them, a private investigator is tailing their every move, taking photographs as they leave the shop and then calling to report to an unseen employer. Among the PI's things is a newspaper clipping detailing the death of Soledad Marquesa, killed during the "Three Coins in a Fuchsbau" episode -- and also one of the men behind the attack that took the lives of Nick's parents. The employer turns out to be Akira Kimura (Brian Tee), the fourth man Nick recently discovered who also participated in the hit on Nick's parents. Kimura is after the Coins of Zakynthos, and armed with the PI's intelligence that Nick, Hank, Renard, or Monroe were involved in the Marquesa case, and one of them most likely has the coins, he morphs into a Schakal and kills the investigator. After he leaves, a mysterious woman in black (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) enters the abandoned room, finds the mangled body, and then leaves. (So I have to ask, who at this point suspected her identity?)
Meanwhile, Adalind (Claire Coffee) makes a reappearance sans her Hexenbiest powers (side note: I really hope she appears in season two so her role as a Wesen "outcast" can be explored further). Apparently the day of reckoning has come for Nick since he succeeded in making her "normal." After feeding her cat Magick (sp?) milk laced with some sort of potion that turns his eyeballs into freaky black orbs, she takes him to Juliette's (Bitsie Tulloch) office (yay for seeing Juliette at work two weeks in a row!). As Juliette examines the animal, it leaves three deep claw marks on her hand -- and this is where the fairy tale inspiration for this week's episode comes into play. The episode opened with a quote from "Sleeping Beauty," which is BEYOND awesome because it is my all-time favorite fairy tale. I suspect -- hope, rather -- that this inspiration will be revisited in the season two opener. The cat's scratch is obviously the enchanted "hand prick," Adalind's revenge play. But this show being what it is, a twist is all but guaranteed. *wink* More on Juliette in a second...
While investigating the PI's murder, Nick and Hank are pretty taken aback to say the least when they discover that the investigator was tailing them (as well as Renard and Monroe). Before they can warn Renard (Sasha Roiz), he's arrived at his apartment to discover it ransacked and his poor housekeeper murdered. Kimura gets the drop on him and starts beating the you-know-what out of Renard. This whole sequence of events is packed with pretty much unbearable levels of Renard-hotness, and I'm not gonna lie when Kimura was threatening Renard's perfect face with a gigantic kitchen knife I was getting pretty tense. :P Kimura lets drop the fact that he is looking for the coins, but before he can harm a single hair on Renard's head (thank goodness), Sgt. Wu (Reggie Lee) shows up, shortly followed by Nick and Hank. The mysterious woman in black is also seen loitering outside Renard's building (VERRA interesting, hmm?!). After returning to the station (with Renard in a sweater and khakis, be still my heart the man looks amazing in casual clothes!), the captain reveals that it was Kimura who was in his apartment, and he's after the coins -- and suddenly more than ever Nick is invested in getting to Kimura first. OF COURSE if he's going to do this he needs Monroe's help -- and despite the possible danger, Monroe is more than willing to help Nick gain a little "Grimm time" with the baddie.
Back to Juliette -- when Nick returns home it seems like he might be in for a romantic evening until he discovers the deep scratches on Juliette's hand, and then proceeds to have a proper freak-out when he learns the scratches came from Adalind's cat. Juliette of course thinks he's being completely unreasonable and refuses to go a doctor until he explains exactly why he's been so weird (since last October, ha!). With Juliette's life in the balance, Nick decides to take the plunge and explain everything, taking her to Aunt Marie's trailer. This is actually kind of a painful scene. On the one hand, I loved seeing Nick's passion for his work as a Grimm -- he's really and truly getting into this twisty work and all that it entails, and I loved seeing that. But on the other hand, Juliette's heartbreak at what she views as insanity underscores a heartbreaking reality -- the lonely life of a Grimm. Nick is so desperate to let her into this part of his world, so hopeful she'll understand -- and at this point that is completely out of the question. So he takes her to MONROE. :)
Monroe is unbelievably shocked that Nick wants him to transform into his Blutbad form in front of Juliette, especially considering Hank's recent issues with seeing a glimpse of the Wesen world. I loved Monroe's reaction to Nick's sudden request -- he's so unassuming, lol! Just as he transforms, Juliette faints, falling into the "deep sleep" of the Sleeping Beauty legend. Now it just remains to be seen what type of poison Adalind utilized, and how her "spell" will be reversed. After seeing Juliette admitted to the hospital, Nick gets a call from Wu, who'd followed a lead to Kimura's hotel room. The catch is, he didn't find Kimura, but the woman in black, who is a kick-butt martial arts fighter. The working assumption is that she's a dangerous Kimura associate -- but Juliette is Nick's priority now, so he and Monroe head to her office to quarantine Adalind's cat.
Now this poor cat has either been made evil by Adalind's poison, or it just has an unusually strong reaction to Monroe -- if it's the latter, well Monroe's awkwardness around a cat was hilarious. *wink* They take the cat to the spice shop, where Rosalee (Bree Turner) makes a welcome reappearance (I have a feeling this was written in when it was announced that she is going to be a season two regular -- thank goodness). I love how Rosalee is the go-to person for Wesen drug analysis and medical care...it's like she was going to be a doctor but her career got derailed by her drug issues or something (possible backstory? you can have that one for free, writers -- ha!). Unfortunately for my inquiring mind, this episode doesn't reveal Rosalee's discovery (but how cute are she & Monroe together? I mean seriously, I can hardly stand it!) -- but Juliette is clearly facing some Wesen issues in season two since she wakes up with the same freaky all-black eyes Adalind gave that poor cat. Any theories on what she's been transformed into -- and if it can be reversed??
Poor Hank will be in desperate need of therapy in season two, especially after discovering that Kimura has completely trashed his house. I don't see him carrying the level of tension he exhibited in this scene for very long without some sort of breakdown, so I'm very curious if the writers are going to have him just "come to terms" with his "visions" or if somehow he'll be looped into Nick's Grimm-ish world. (I've gotta admit, the final view of Hank sitting in his trashed living room reminded me of Deliverance or something...or maybe the Hatfields & McCoys? I have that on the brain since I've seen so many previews for the miniseries. :P)
Nick realizes Kimura will be coming to his house next, and when he arrives at his home the place is trashed. He's very conveniently alone, so he gets his Grimm crossbow ready with arrows dipped in a solution designed to subdue Wesens so Grimms can extract information (forgot to mention that is what Monroe & Nick discovered during the earlier trailer research session). It takes a while for Nick to get his game on as his first shot misses, giving Kimura time to transform, and resulting in the biggest, baddest fight of the series. Seriously I had NO idea Nick was capable of this level of awesome. I have to wonder if, when he's really "inspired," if you will, by a Wesen threat, that something comes out in Nick -- some essential Grimm quality that transforms him into an expert in hand-to-hand combat. Just when Nick seems to be getting the upper hand, the woman in black shows up and he starts fighting her, Kimura comes to and nearly offs one of them with Nick's abandoned crossbow, she kills Kimura, and then Nick gets the drop on her -- and the show drops its season finale bomb. SHE'S HIS MOTHER!
At this point I started laughing like crazy because this is the second show I've seen this YEAR that ends with the lead guy's mother coming back from the dead (anyone else watch Hawaii Five-O?). I mean seriously, WHAT ARE THE ODDS??? But I like this -- once Nick gets over the initial shock of his mother letting him think she's been dead for eighteen years, I'm sure she'll prove to be no end of useful getting Nick up to speed on Grimm things. Thoughts on the finale? Personally I cannot WAIT for season two. This show, while not perfect of course, has gotten so much stronger over the past year -- and that's instilled a lot of confidence in me as a fan that the writers and team will deliver an equally thrilling second season. Bring. It. ON. :)