Once upon a time there lived an ordinary police detective named Nicholas ‘Nick’ Burkhardt, who is about to discover he has an extraordinary destiny that will turn his life upside down, bringing with it new steadfast friends and deadly enemies. Welcome to the TV show Grimm, a world where the mythical figures depicted in fairy tales are real and living amongst us, where Portland Oregon is hub-central for supernatural situations of all kinds, where instead of werewolves you get Blutbaden, and where Hexenbiests are their version of witches.
Collectively referred to as Wesen, this community of creatures appears for all intents and purposes like everybody else, but with one difference. In situations of great emotional impact, or when they choose to do so, they can Woge, an action that exposes their true natures through the altering of their faces from human to that of a creature. Just a few of those showcased throughout the show’s run include snakes, lions, mice, foxes, a muse, mermaids, wolves, rabbits, dragons, and ogres.
Though most normal humans (or as Wesen call them, Kehrseites) live in complete ignorance of their Wesen existence, there is an exception; those known as Grimms, who see the Wesen-side of these people when they don’t want seen. The origin story of these Grimms also has close ties to fairy tales, with the moniker belonging to a long line of guardians/hunters which include the Brothers Grimm. Their purpose? To not only police and dispatch Wesen, but also record everything they can about each one they come across. This results in a massive library of knowledge for Nick, who only discovers his Grimm heritage in the Pilot, to draw upon and add to.
The cases that Nick, his police comrades Hank and Wu, and Wesen friends encounter are based on slightly grittier versions of fairy tales and folklore than the more sanitized Disney adaptations everyone knows so well. One of my favourite episodes in Season 1 takes on the challenge of re-crafting the Pied Piper legend with DJs and high school bullying, while another has Hansel and Gretel transposed into a story involving organ harvesting. There is a Red Riding Hood interpretation, the Three Little Pigs, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty, and more obscure tales such as El Cucuy, Krampus, and The Golden Key, with the history and world-building of this show’s universe fantastically complex and ever-evolving.
One of the best things this show gives its viewers however is the sheer gift that is Blutbad Monroe. He makes his way onto my Top Favourite TV Characters Ever List because of so many reasons, but primarily for the delightful mix of complete contradictions he embodies; the Big Bad Wolf who in this reality is a Vegan eating, clock-fixing, cello playing, compassionate, kind-hearted Pilates-devoted softie with courage and convictions and so much adorableness it is impossible to contain. Bucking convention left, right, and centre, not only does he end up falling in love with and marrying Rosalee, a Fuchsbau or fox who in another life he might have eaten, he also befriends Nick, a Grimm, and someone who in the past would have killed him. The evolution of their partnership and friendship in fact is another of the major highlights of this show, and a complete delight to watch unfold from its inauspicious and hilarious beginnings to a bond strengthened to steel by series end.
Another terrific aspect of many fairy tales is when they have a strong romantic thread. Grimm has that covered. While Monroe and Rosalee will always be the ultimate Grimm couple, having been together from the second half of S1 on, there is another pairing that snuck up on me with how much I ended up loving them: Nick and Adalind. Enemies/tentative allies from Seasons 1 to the last few episodes of Season 4, the way their Beauty and the Beast-esque relationship developed over time into one of trust, protectiveness, romantic passion and loyalty is something I enjoyed watching unfold (though full-disclosure, I will admit quite a few parts of their story are messed up and far from ideal).
One feature of their story I found myself admiring however is Adalind’s character evolution from being the Beast to someone you want to root for. Having spent most of her life as a Hexenbiest, every relationship Adalind had from day one was rooted in selfishness, manipulation, and deceit. So, it stands to reason she has a warped view of what love looks like when the series starts, and no clue how a real, healthy relationship should work. It’s only after she discovers she’s pregnant again and turns to Nick for protection (due to him being the father) that she realises the powers that comes with being a Hexenbiest are not worth returning to the person she was when she had them; power-loving, vindictive, selfish. Nick’s kindness towards her opens her eyes to something she had been searching so long for; having someone in her life whose DNA it is to be the protector, who gives expecting nothing back, no strings attached; a genuinely good and kind man.
Bottom Line: With more than one romance, a boatload of mysteries rooted in fairy tales and folklore, a fascinating and exciting mythology, and a fantastic found family in Nick, Hank, Wu, Monroe, and Rosalee, what more could you ask for?!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hopeless romantic, fervent bibliophile, and aspiring word-smith, Kirsty Pearce also has a deep love for fantasy, fairy tales, & history. With a wide range of TV obsessions from Outlander, Bitten, & Grimm, to Dancing With The Stars, Nikita, & Horrible Histories, she enjoys watching as many Hallmark films as possible, knitting, baking, and sharing all her fan-girl thoughts on her blog.