After re-watching BBC America’s brilliant SF show Orphan Black, my next re-watch was NBC’s urban fantasy police procedural, Grimm. Grimm is good fun and I am enjoying it although it is at nowhere near the level of Orphan Black or The Expanse. I don’t think the showrunners wanted it to be. They wanted to have a good time.
I’m actually liking the show better now that I can watch several episodes at a time and make the connections that eluded me. Season Three got bifurcated by the network is some weird way during its original run. Locally, my NBC affiliate pre-empted it at least twice per season for baseball (pre-season baseball!) and so there were episodes I’d never seen. Plus, in its original run NBC yanked it all over the schedule. It’s nice to sit down and watch it through.
I had some problems with the plot and the themes the first time around; I’m still having them, but this is not a review. This is about the non-human beings who inhabited the show and how much fun it would be to write fanfiction about them.
Grimm’s premise is that police detective Nick Burkhardt discovers that he has a mystical power to see the non-humans in our midst. He works in Portland, Oregon, and apparently lots of these mythical creatures live there. In fact, I would say they aren’t the weirdest things in Portland. The non-humans are called Wesen (it’s German; the W is pronounced like a “V”). Many of the creatures come from Germanic folklore. The show began to borrow from other cultures, including a Chupacabra, and even just made some creatures up. Because Nick is a cop, he tends to meet the criminal element of the Wesen, but we soon realize that many Wesen live regular lives and want to be left alone to be law-abiding citizens. Grimms, to them, are the bogie-men. Originally, Grimms killed the Wesen that predated on humans, and were protectors. Later they became corrupted and joined forces with the Wesen royal families, acting as enforcers for the royals, killing without mercy as a way to maintain the royals’ exploitation of people. Nick, as a green Grimm (hah!) coming from a “protect and serve” mentality, at least theoretically, doesn’t want to kill at random. He and the Portland Wesen community have a difficult journey to détente, and that’s part of the show.
Monroe and Rosalee cry out for fanfic and I’m sure there’s a ton of it. Yep, there is. I just went and looked.
And some of it is MonroseNick slashfic. (I’m not sure that’s technically slash, if it’s a three-way with Rosalee). Oooh-kay, then.
Monroe, the first Wesen we meet and a cast regular, is a blutbad, or wolven being (think “werewolf”). Rosalee, an apothecary, is a fuchsbau, a foxen person who is cute as a button. Rosalee and Monroe face censure in the Wesen community first for helping Nick, and secondly for marrying. The bigotry of the Wesen community as well as human-Wesen bigotry is thoroughly explored in the show.
Um, yeah… Okay, Rosalee, Monroe and Nick seem to have plenty of fanfic. I think I’d have to create my own original Wesen character. I like the steinadlers; “stone eagles;” people who display eagle-like characteristics when they’ve “woged” or shifted to their Wesen selves. They can’t fly, but they have powerful talons and strong beaks, and one could certainly mess you up in a fight. Plus, they’d steal your fish. Steinadlers, like other Wesen, are said to have specific character traits. While this is gross stereotyping on the part of the Grimms, who have written the so-called “textbooks,” it is a tempting approach to take. Steinadlers appeared twice in the show. The first one was a tough, detective-noir character who once loved Nick’s Grimm aunt, Aunt Marie, but had been corrupted by exposure to some magical coins. The second one, in the episode “The Good Solider,” was a good soldier herself. She was betrayed by the military but never lost her sense of honor. Originally, Nick suspects her of killing a group of private military contractors, but of course she is innocent of that crime. The show’s title comes from her repeated use of that phrase for her fellow soldiers; it is the judgment she measures people by.
For her, a good soldier demonstrates loyalty (to their fellows), courage and obedience. It’s easy to see how loyalty and obedience can become problematic when the person to whom you’ve given your loyalty is doing bad things.
A steinadler would make a lovely fanfiction character but now I’m thinking that a mad Grimm would be pretty fun too. Grimms come into their ability at odd times. If you’re an orphaned Grimm or a foster-child Grimm (the show had one), when you start seeing the Wesen, you believe you are mad. Truble, the teen Grimm who comes into the show in Season Three, spent time in an institution because the adults around her thought she was crazy. She thought she was crazy. She not only saw these creatures, but they all tried to kill her. It took Nick’s help to bring Truble completely into her Grimm power.
If a canny Wesen found a crazed street-child who could see them, and adopted them, that Wesen would have a powerful protector… and a weapon. I’m seeing a smart, manipulative fuchsbau right now, taking a mad Grimm child off the street and raising them. And then Nick, or another Grimm, finds them. And now the child has to questions their loyalties.
And I want a Grimm who isn’t a cop, but who runs an ice-cream shop. I don’t know why; I just think it would be fun