ByJuliana B., writer at
I'm a TV nerd. SciFi, Fantasy, Thriller, Anime. Occasionally moved to write an article. Find me live tweeting @QueenofBasPays

I've been watching Grimm since it started. If you're like me, you like fairy tales and will watch near anything related by default. As I've watched the seasons progress, I've thought the same thought and spoken it aloud to family members during episodes - in this modern day fairy tale anthology, our hero is actually our villain.

First, I do concede that rarely in fairy tales themselves are our heroes bastions of pure virtue. Moving on...

If you don't know the story of Grimm, it goes as follows. Our main character, Nick Burkhardt, finds out that he is a Grimm, a person of a specific lineage that is able to see specific people who are, at least from a human perspective, monsters, or wesen, as they are termed canonically. Nick is also a cop, so most generally the show is a police procedural with humanoid monsters. The first few seasons saw Nick coming to terms with his new identity and dealing with his new reality.

So it sounds like hijinks, especially when you consider that as viewers and presumably humans, we are supposed to automatically side with Nick. However, when we reevaluate one of the most endearing (though heavily one-sided or one-leaning) friendships we see we are wrong. In the first season, Nick mistakenly attacks a woged (transformed) wesen named Monroe, who with his encyclopedic knowledge, super convenient command of German, fluid comprehension of other languages, eventually becomes his de-facto mentor into the world of wesen.

The baseline rules of the wesen world are that grimms are enemies, because as we learn not only does a peer into their eyes serve as like a dark, fearful reflection of your wesen soul, but for centuries they have they been indiscriminately policing the wesen world. Fear of grimms is a serious thing. Children are told stories and sung frightful songs to let know the dangers of the grimm. Friendship or relationship between grimm and wesen are frowned upon.

When we consider the wesen, we have one group of people who are different. A group with an inbred, innate fear of a group they logically perceive to be their mortal enemies. The wesen have secret self-governing society and actively hide themselves from, but also in the human world.

From Nick's perspective and from the presumably human one we are to take, as a Grimm, Nick is doing the best he can to prosecute killers can not be prosecuted realistically under the recognized law. On the other hand, some of these "killers" are following their biological imperative to eat or defend themselves.

To call wesen human would not be entirely accurate, as they are generally animal-like and differ significantly physically from humans. So from a human standpoint, yes, wesen are, or rather, can be dangerous. In the first few seasons, (especially before he came out to his partner Hank about his abilities) Nick was exercising his own brand of justice on these wesen citizens. Killing, hunting, and burying citizens - all outside of the confines of the law. In the current season, with a motley crew of people in the know (including a Lieutenant (Wu) in the same precinct and his Captain, Sean Renard), Nick still goes about secretly killing people, but instead finds creative ways to prosecute them through the law.

[I should mention at this point, Monroe is a blutbaden (aka some kind of werewolf). But no, he's different - he's a vegetarian blutbaden. In the first season, this is seen as a fundamental rejection of who he is, and this theme of identity conflict plays out in other characters (Adalind, Juliette, Rosalee, Sean Renard). Also, when Nick discovers he's a grimm, he also inherits a trailer that contains numerous family heirlooms, among which are tomes of accounts of wesen hunting, anatomy, and respective murder methods. Very disgustingly from a wesen perspective, but understandably as a history buff, Monroe is often in awe of the information they contain.]

Fundamentally, Grimm is a show about a cop covertly exercising his own lethal brand of policing on a specific, predetermined group of people and getting away with it, week after week, with the help of his co-conspirators, several of belong to that same group. This is why Grimm is the worst. We are made to be on the side of the oppressive police regime. As a minority myself, this is not the story I want to like. If we substitute the wesen community for a given ethnic/racial minority community in the United States (because the show does take place mainly in Portland, Oregon), and simply take Nick as a cop exercising his own unaccountable justice on selected individuals, it is a horrible, horrible show. But that's not to say the wesen Nick kills are pure-hearted creatures or that Nick indiscriminately kills wesen. He's just not held accountable, as a police officer or as a person. Though that is not the surface story, for those of us reading between the lines, it contributes greatly to the complexity that would be native to a shared human-wesen world, and that is why at least I keep watching.

In summary, Grimm is a story about:

  • police brutality and unaccountable, prejudiced policing
  • identity politics (intraracial, interracial, and more)
  • the story of the oppressed (especially this season with black claw)

Unfortunately it is also rife with old tropes and bad delivery and had the series more directly addressed Nick's more hypocritical moments, the show would have been very different.

To sum it up, Grimm is still a horrible show about an oppressive cop and is friends who hate themselves (see Adalind and being a hexenbiest), but like I said at the beginning of this post, I end up watching anything vaguely fairy tale-themed, so.....

......leave your comments and your thoughts!


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