When it started, I honestly didn’t expect NBC’s ‘Grimm’ to last three episodes, much less three seasons. What looked in the ads to be a very cheesy ‘Buffy’ knockoff turned out to be a little better than expected, and slowly developed its own unique vibe and settled into being a solidly entertaining show. With that said, the second season ended with a really weak cliffhanger, and the new season premiere struggles to do much interesting with the results.
As we last left things, a voodoo priest named Baron Samedi (who turns into a blowfish-like monster and spits poison on people’s faces) had amassed a small army of violent voodoo zombies that he keeps locked up in a shipping container down at the docks. In trying to stop him, Nick took a gob of spit to the face and fell into a coma. I’m sure that absolutely no one watching the show actually expects the star to get killed off in such a manner. We all know that he’ll pull through and survive.
The third season premiere episode, ‘The Ungrateful Dead’, actually replays a good five minutes or so of the prior finale – presumably hoping to catch new viewers up with the plot so far. When it finally gets around to rolling out the new footage, the very angry and aggressive zombies are unleashed and swarm Monroe, Juliette and Rosalee. Meanwhile, Samedi and Capt. Renard’s evil brother Eric box Nick up in a coffin with a fake death certificate and paperwork, and load him onto a plane heading to Europe.
Hank arrives at the shipping yard with a S.W.A.T. team that manages to round up and subdue the zombies, but unfortunately can’t stop the plane from taking off with Nick. Juliette desperately wants to find a way to chase after them, but Monroe and Rosalee argue that they have more pressing concerns, and need to whip up an antidote for the zombism so as to save all the innocent victims.
Before the plane can get too far out of town, Nick wakes up in a zombified state. However, because he’s a Grimm, the spell affects him differently than most victims. He resists Baron Samedi’s control, attacks Samedi and the pilot, and causes the plane to crash in the woods. As the episode ends, Zombie Nick stumbles away from the wreckage and wanders into a nearby town, where he gets into a bar fight. The episode ends on yet another cliffhanger.
This episode really feels like a placeholder. Again, no one watching expects Nick to remain a zombie for long. Of course he’ll be cured quickly. Dragging this out to yet another episode seems excessive.
‘Grimm’ is a procedural drama with a supernatural twist. At its best, it works within the limitations of its format to provide some clever and entertaining case-of-the-week stories. When it tries too hard to be ambitious, the series stumbles (a failing it shares with ‘Castle’ on ABC, for example). I hope we can wrap up this particular storyline and get back to the show’s strengths.