In this final season of Grimm, let’s take a moment to recognize Officer Franco. Played by Robert Blanche, Franco has appeared in 32 episodes according to IMDB, more than anyone who isn’t in the main cast—that’s even more episodes than more plot-vital characters as Meisner, Trubel, or Bud. He’s the show’s go-to representative of a Portland beat cop, the officer who’s frequently on site with Wu to introduce Nick and Hank to the week’s dead body, and the one who has to concern himself with the cleanup efforts without knowing the exact otherworldly cause of death.
I mention Franco partially to acknowledge Blanche’s work as a small yet sturdy part of the cast, and partially because “Trust Me Knot” did a lot to instill sympathy with his plight. As the structure of Grimm’s Portland continues to break down, looking at it from the perspective of those who are outside of the wesen world it’s nothing short of pure insanity. In the opening scene alone the mayor-elect gets arrested for murder, a SERT team is set on a decorated detective despite an unclear chain of command, said SERT team is disabled within minutes, and said detective vanishes and steals an armored car. Charges are dropped and reinstated and dropped, everyone’s acting outside the norm, and in general this does not appear to be a well-managed city government.
That being said, the madcap nature of “Trust Me Knot” is a step up from the bleaker and more cluttered nature of “Fugitive.” While things are still chaotic, it’s a chaos that’s more in keeping with the Grimm of old and one that seems to acknowledge not all of this chaos is sustainable. The final season could certainly be our heroes going to ground and fighting the ascendant Renard for thirteen episodes, but doing so would mess with the rapport and settings that the show has largely preserved for five seasons. “Trust Me Knot” manages to both take a couple steps back into the comfort zone while also remaining cognizant of just how much trouble everyone is in.
The most seismic development is the resolution of last week’s cliffhanger, as Hank and Wu offer an eleventh hour save by arresting Renard for Rachel’s murder. It’s a particularly clever move by writers David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, both to deflate the tensions of the cliffhanger and undermine Renard at the height of his power. Renard may be on top, but his hold on power is a tenuous one at best, grounded on outside influences he no longer has and magic he can’t explain to the bulk of his constituency. Now he’s able to be caged by former subordinates, whose cautious respect for him is far out the window. Hank and Wu treat him with the disdain they normally reserved for criminals and his normal reserve cracks in a rageful woge, a genuinely unsettling moment that’d be unthinkable two seasons ago.
Putting Renard in the hot seat like this also helps pull Adalind out of the kept woman dilemma she’s been for much of the last season. While disappointingly Renard doesn’t try to employ her as his attorney against the charges, he does try to use her to cover up his involvement, a move she’s less than comfortable with. (Adalind: “You expect me to be your alibi for a murder you didn’t commit because you were actually murdering the person who was your alibi?” Renard: “Basically, yeah. Shouldn’t be too hard.”) After sending Adalind up and down the love-hate spectrum with Renard, things have now settled into amusingly awkward resentment, and both Claire Coffee and Sasha Roiz play their mutual disdain nicely.
Getting Adalind out of house arrest also means that the show finally remembers she’s an incredibly powerful witch, and she uses her powers to concoct a bind between Nick and Renard. Hexenbiest magic is a reliably innovative detail in Grimm, and the deployment of the Trust Me Knot produces the most memorable visuals to date—most other shows aren’t going to have a rope soak itself in blood and twist itself into a noose. It also serves a welcome narrative purpose, both to acknowledge Nick and Renard are both written into corners at this point and that things have deteriorated so badly between them magic is the only possible thing to even bring them close to detente. Case in point, their discussion of getting Adalind’s assistance turns into verbal dick-swinging. Renard: “A little late for that, she already turned me down.” Nick: “She didn’t turn me down.”
The fact that the spell turns out to be irrelevant, far from invalidating the events of the episode, winds up reforming the battle lines nicely. If Renard’s arrest exposed the weaknesses in his power, the fact that he’s able to outflank Team Grimm to this extent reminds us he’s still the manipulator we were first introduced to all the way back in season one. With his position placed in such jeopardy, the desire to get Nick and company out of the way now goes from pragmatism to a personal grudge, and he’s now got the power to enforce those grudges—which he does immediately by demanding Hank and Wu’s resignations. If they stick with this, it’s a ballsy move for the final season, meaning there’s no member of Team Grimm still working for the Portland Police Department and no reason it needs to keep trying to be a procedural. (Unless Officer Franco gets that promotion, we suppose.)
The rest of the episode is more of a mixed bag. The better scenes are the ones that focus on Monroe and Rosalee in the Spice Shop, as they’ve made the conscious decision to get back to their old lives—and their old lives almost immediately get complicated as Adalind recruits them to watch her kids. While it surprisingly steers away from the two comparing this to a trial for parenthood, it does let Silas Weir Mitchell and Bree Turner do one of the things they do best as they share dumbfounded glances at the way events develop. It’s a more engaging way of looking at Diana’s unlimited powers to see how people react to their casual application—telekinetic shelving here—rather than building a body count. And she also helps nudge the story along by interpreting the designs on the Splinter of Destiny’s cloth, producing a diagram that could be anything from a Gravity Falls journal to Arnold’s maze.
Moving the diagram is only one of the various magical sideplots, which continue to feel like muddled as opposed to mysterious. Julievette remains caught between two personalities, but the end result is that she feels like there’s no personality at all, plowing ahead on determination rather than curiosity about her situation. The Splinter of Destiny is pulling out even more new powers, with Nick becoming possessive of it in a matter that feels only a couple degrees removed from dropping a “My precious” in conversation. Grimm continues to struggle with providing some resolution to all its stories by the end, but “Trust Me Knot” is a more encouraging sign that that the other parts of the show still work.
- This Week In Portland: Renard triumphantly strides out of the Gus J. Solomon United States Courthouse after the judge lets him go. Yet somehow he doesn’t walk into a press scrum who want to know about the mayor-elect’s potential murder charges, so add Portland’s press to the police department as institutions that are dropping the ball on this wesen thing.
- This Week’s Epigram: “Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.” French novelist André Malraux’s viewpoint on duality is right at home in the Grimm universe.
- We should probably come up with a name for the cloth that held the Splinter of Destiny. Handkerchief of Lore?
- Trubel is ignobly shuttled off the show yet again by mysterious orders from Hadrian’s Wall, barely even pausing for a goodbye beyond warning Nick not to die before she comes back. Yes, guest appearance budgets are a thing, but Jacqueline Toboni’s comings and goings are almost laughably abrupt at this point. It’s your final season, either she’s part of the show or she isn’t.
- Monroe and Rosalee really are the best of friends, given they agree to watch Adalind’s kids and don’t ask any questions about how she was essentially blackmailed into being Renard’s wife and placed under house arrest for the last handful of episodes.
- Bud truly is the best in these high-pressure situations, going from saying maybe his wife should think he’s dead to suggesting she could move down with him. After a moment’s thought: “Oh. Yeah, she probably wouldn’t like living down here. The kids sure would!”
- “That is a big weird gene pool to be diving into!”
- “How are you gonna do that? That guy is a dick.”
- “It’s like some kind of symbol-filled equation-esque kinda hieroglyphically astrologically cornucopia of something I’ve run out of words for.”