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[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Friday’s season 4 finale of Grimm… or last week’s episode, for that matter]
David Greenwalt knows something about killing characters. After all, he was co-executive producer/writer/director on Buffy when that show sent the vampire slayer’s boyfriend, Angel, into a hellish vortex in Season 2. Then, he went on to co-create the spin-off Angel (yes, he survived the vortex) where not only did he kill off a series regular (Doyle), he did it 9 episodes into the freshman season, when the show only had three series regulars.
So it’s a bit surprising that it took Greenwalt and co-creator Jim Kouf four seasons to start picking off regulars from Grimm. Yes, lots of people die grisly deaths on the show, due to the Monster of the Week format, but series regulars have been safe. Until now. And, boy, did Grimm shake that foundation the past two episodes.
In the penultimate episode of season 4, Nick (David Giuntoli) returns home to find out the royal family went all Seven on his poor Grimm mother, leaving her head in a box. On the heels of that tragedy was tonight’s stunning finale, where Nick’s girlfriend, Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch), was killed in the final scene.
Once-sweet Juliette had literally turned into a monster in the second half of season 4 (a side effect from a procedure to get Nick’s Grimm powers back turned her into a Hexenbiest) and the show has been gradually building to a violent confrontation between the couple for weeks. Just as that conflict escalates in their shared home, an emotionally-crushed Nick finally gives up fighting and it appears like Juliette is going to end him. Enter Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni), Nick’s young Grimm protégé who turned back up last week after a long disappearance from the show. She’s armed with a crossbow. “Goodbye, Juliette,” she says, calmly, and fires two arrows into the only love interest Nick’s had in four seasons. Immediately Nick cradles her, and Juliette dies.
Or does she? Grimm is, after all, a supernatural procedure (Angel came back from hell to star in his own show, right?). THR spoke to Greenwalt and Kouf about the death, what it means for Nick and the future of the show.
So… let’s get right to it: Is Juliette really dead?
David Greenwalt: That’s a great question. Now, I think that’s a question that will be–
Jim Kouf: Hell yeah! We can only afford so many people in the fifth year.
Well, David’s reputation back with Angel and Buffy… it was not a problem killing off series regulars often.
Kouf: David’s been known to do it.
You kind of waited a long time. So if Juliette’s really gone, this is the first real big death in Grimm.
Greenwalt: It is a big twist, that’s for sure.
Can you talk about the decision to kill her off and how far back was this conceived?
Greenwalt: As she, you know, turned into a Hexenbiest and went kind of wild and then started enjoying her powers and then felt so betrayed by Nick having Adalind’s baby even though it wasn’t Nick’s fault… it was just the natural way she grew and developed in the course of the season and it seemed like that was something inevitable that had to happen.
How did that conversation go with Bitsie Tulloch?
Greenwalt: Fine. You know, I don’t think that’s as important as being true to the story. But she’s terrific and it’s all good.
She was quoted as saying the finale would change the show’s course and I was wondering if you wanted to talk a little about what that change of course might be and if you agree with that.
Greenwalt: I totally agree that it’s going to change the show’s course. I think it’s going to be even darker still in a way. You know, it’s not going to be the same Grimm.
What do you mean by that?
Greenwalt: It’s not the same dynamic anymore.
This by far seemed to be the darkest season of Grimm.
Greenwalt: I guess so, huh?
You guys put Nick through the ringer… he lost his mom and his girlfriend and… his trailer!
Greenwalt: Internal emotional changes rather than, you know, “I’ve lost my powers” or “I’m a zombie” or “My mom’s come back”… this stuff was more-
Kouf: It was about betrayal.
Greenwalt: It was about betrayal and it is darker, you’re right.
What kind of storyline do you see for Nick in the next season?
Greenwalt: Pretty serious repercussions and at the same time he’s got a lot on his plate. I mean Adalind is having that baby it sure looks like and he’s going to have a lot to deal with.
So, if Juliette is really gone, it clears the way for a potential Nick and Adalind love story. If you go back to the first season, that’s something that just seems totally crazy, but raising a child together can do things.
Greenwalt: Well, she’s changed a lot. He’s changed somewhat and you never know.
Kouf: We don’t know.
Greenwalt: We don’t know is the truth on that one, but he does have some obligation there.
It feels like a lot of the warnings Nick got from his aunt in season 1 are all sort of coming to fruition now.
Greenwalt: Yeah, and I think we even use a flashback to the aunt in a recent episode. I can’t remember quite what it was but the aunt saying Juliette’s perfect for you but you’ve got to give her up, you know, because bad things are going to happen. And then his mom told him don’t let true love get away, because I did and then she had a kind of different experience so he was kind of left with not knowing-
Kouf: He’s got nothing, this guy.
Greenwalt: He’s basically got nothing. It’s all been taking away from him.
He’s an empty vessel by the end of this season.
Greenwalt: The only thing he’s got is a fifth season.
Are you finding that you’re running out of fairy tale material? When the Jack the Ripper arc happened late this season, it was interesting, like “They’re moving on to different types of myths now.”
Greenwalt: Well any myth or “fairy tale” or story that’s passed for generations will do for us. You have to remember that the brothers Grimm, they had 200 fairy tales but there’s only 10 or 12 of them that anybody really knows. For good reason, because the other ones are like the donkey and the sausage go to town and play the piano, you know? They don’t quite translate.
I’m sure you could work something in with the donkey.
Kouf: It’s the sausage that keeps throwing us.
I can imagine both of you guys sitting in a Nick-like trailer pouring over books and trying to come up with some new sort of concoctions.
Greenwalt: I actually lived in a Nick-like trailer one time.
Did you? Did you end up torching it, like Juliette torched Nick’s?
Greenwalt: Way back when. I was drinking strange concoctions to fuel my imagination.
So any other things you might want to talk about with regard to maybe the upcoming season?
Greenwalt: I think it will be even bigger, even darker, even weirder. You know, I think it’s where it naturally will go.
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