For a while there, it seemed as though the finale of GRIMM was on a crusade to make sure the show could never be rebooted, massacring almost the entire regular cast one by one, which in an age where IP is more important than anything else would have been a fairly brave move. But NBC and its in-house studio weren’t likely to sign off on that idea (and it also would have gone against the spirit of Grimm, which for all its bloodshed was always fairly benign), so everyone who’d been temporarily dead came back to life, in a scene that started to feel like the end of The Wizard of Oz: “you were dead, and you were dead, and you were dead…” In fact, series co-creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf went so far as to set up future chapters of the story with a flash-forward to 20 years later, where the next generation of monster-hunters were on the job.
It was satisfying and also a little tacky, and that matched Grimm in general. In the six years Grimm was on the air, the world of fantasy-adventure on TV exploded, becoming increasingly expansive and ambitious, as networks prayed for the next coming of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. Grimm stayed modest, both in its production values and its storytelling, a mid-level bureaucrat of moderately imaginative mythical creature tales. Much of the time it was content to be a supernatural procedural, as Grimm and police detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) tracked down the Wesen of the week, with the help of fellow cops Hank (Russell Hornsby) and Wu (Reggie Lee), buddy (and Blutbad) Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), Monroe’s lady (and potion specialist/Fuchsbau) Rosalee (Bree Miller), and Nick’s own romantic interests, Juliette who later became Eve (Elizabeth Tulloch) and Adalind (Claire Coffee), both of whom at one time or another were super-witch Hexenbiests. When Grimm decided to tell more complex serialized storylines, it often got into trouble (those keys!), much of the burden of which was felt by the the character of Nick’s police Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz), a morally ambiguous Zauberbiest who was part of any number of conspiracies over the years.
The finale, written by Greenwalt and Kouf and directed by Greenwalt, concluded the story of the super-evil Zerstoren, and it was an example of the show’s shakiness at tackling big storylines, with a multiple-dimension saga that barely made sense, including the seemingly random delineations of which characters’ powers would be operational and when. But there was no question that all the deaths made for some accumulated emotional power, and the writers had a surprise for the final confrontation: appearances by Nick’s dead mother (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and aunt (Kate Burton) to help him wage battle and remind him of the strength of Grmm-hood, although they may or may not have just been in his head. Grimm was a stalwart supporter of family, love, and loyalty, and all of those values were prominently on display, along with its relatively meager special effects and sets, and its on-the-nose dialogue.
Grimm never became the breakout hit that NBC initially hoped it would be, but a 6-year run is impressive in any context, and the show accomplished its mission of providing an hour of weekly diversion to viewers who didn’t want to have to think too much about their fantasy world of choice. It didn’t exactly cast an eternal spell, but its magical powers worked well enough.