Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Grimm: “Synchronicity"

Image for article titled Grimm: “Synchronicity"

Kelly Burkhardt is back, and her return has nothing to do with those pesky Fuchsbau coins. Thank goodness for that.

It’s been a while since Grimm devoted an entire episode to serialized plot advancement—basically since the beginning of the season with Baron Samedi and zombie Nick. But as the end of the season approaches, there’s a sense of urgency to do something substantial with Adalind and her baby, so bringing her back to Portland—with Nick’s mom as her unknowing protector—creates the most complicated quagmire of mistrust. There’s no case-of-the-week here, just Adalind’s escape, Kelly shepherding her to Nick’s, and then the shitstorm that erupts once all the cards are on the table. Oh, and Viktor is pissed that everything slipped through his fingers, but not so frazzled he can’t somehow presume Adalind is heading back to Portland with only miniscule pieces of evidence courtesy of his new Verrat leader.

Adalind’s escape doesn’t take much, just an intervention from Kelly whooping Verrat ass and then hopping an old plane somehow equipped with enough extra fuel tanks to make it from Switzerland to Portland, Oregon without stopping. Kelly is a mother—or at least, she knows things about being a mother, so she can connect a bit with Adalind. But in addition to bringing back the Woman In Black, there are also a few flashbacks to previous episodes, and to Kelly and her sister, the future-former Aunt Marie, shuffling Nick in order to…protect him…or something. I’m not quite sure how to read that moment. It’s possible that Kelly was just being vague about saying her sister had children but she didn’t, but it just throws a wrench into a past that has never really been significant in any way to the story. Nick’s mom has been gone for a very long time, and she hasn’t help explain much of anything to him about his family in a concrete fashion. In this episode, she merely functions as a way to get Adalind back to Portland in a way that incites the most heated conflict upon arrival.

It all culminates in a funny, tense, and ridiculous reunion scene at Nick and Juliette’s house. Because of all the warm fuzzies from Monrosalee and working out the best man problem, Nick wants to propose again. (Dude, it’s a bad idea—she essentially said that she doesn’t want that right now.) He thinks an ordinary dinner with just the two of them is as good a time as any, but then Kelly shows up. It’s the first time Nick and Juliette have seen her since Juliette was in a coma, but instead of talking about the laundry list of things to catch up on, there’s more pressing business. The immediate aftermath of the Adalind reveal is one of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen in an episode of Grimm, and while I don’t think it’s entirely intentional, it’s so heightened and full of fast-paced melodramatic line deliveries that it’s at least knowingly campy.

The reactions are priceless, from Nick’s utter disbelief to Adalind’s crippling fear to Juliette’s rage. (“That was a hell of a coma you put me in BITCH” is clearly the line of the episode.) The sequence of events between the pertinent characters adds up quickly, and becomes so convoluted that it doesn’t really make sense for this group to work together. Nick took Adalind’s power, but she went through a painful ritual to get it back. Adalind put Juliette in a coma with a hex. Renard woke Juliette up with a kiss that intoxicated them both and took some herculean effort to reverse course back to a better status quo. Renard impregnated Adalind. Kelly killed Adalind’s mom (which Adalind doesn’t know). That’s the whole list of connections between these characters as far as I remember, and all of the progress over 61 episodes now comes to a point where Nick is potentially on the opposite side as Renard and a rejuvenated Adalind. Which is…exactly where the show was back in the first season. Sure, there’s now another villain out there between them—Viktor pursuing the royal child—and a resistance group also trying to claim and raise the baby. But for all the jumping through hoops to get the show back to a more complicated version of square one is a whole lot of something adding up to nothing.

One of the reasons Grimm needs its episodic structure is that right now, with only a handful of purely serialized installments, the show doesn’t really know how to craft a parcel of plot into a compelling structure. There’s some information from the past the audience didn’t know, a tidbit about Wesen/Grimm interaction that fills in a gap that never seemed like a giant mystery, but mostly this is just an episode that gets all the pieces back to the one location they need to be in to bounce off each other. It serves that function well, with one of the more memorable confrontation scenes in the history of the series—and it doesn’t even feature violence.


And in the middle of that, there’s some whiplash editing to jump sideways and deal with Monrosalee’s wedding. The show is heading toward a wedding and a showdown with Viktor, but first there are more battle lines to be drawn and negotiated. Nick and Sean have to deal with each other—with Hank and the rest of the supporting characters backing Nick up but not able to compete in the arena with the mother/son Grimm duo. This is an opportunity for the show to ratchet up to a higher gear, bringing every valuable character to Portland to fight it out over a baby with fast-developing Wesen powers. There’s a lot left to explain about that little girl—and she still needs a name—but at least Grimm is bringing the disparate threads together around her heading into the final stretch of this season.

Stray observations:

  • I haven’t kept up with the companion comic for Grimm, which apparently deviates in some significant ways from the plot of the show. If anyone in the comments feels like discussing what Kelly has been up to since her last appearance at the beginning of season two, just be sure to clearly mark comments with spoilers.
  • After cursory glance at the comics, I find myself wondering why those plots aren’t on the actual show. They sound pretty awesome.
  • Nick gets all freaked out that he can’t be Monroe’s best man, but then he finds out that Wesen tell he’s a Grimm because his eyes change when they woge—so all he has to do is wear sunglasses…during a wedding ceremony taking place at night. (Cue the music.)