* HO HO HO! THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW! **
“I have but to swallow this, and be for the rest of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins, all of my own creation. Humbug, I tell you; humbug.”
Christmas is without a doubt a most magical time of the year.
Of course if you’re Nick Grimm (David Giuntoli, his girlfriend Juliette (Bitsie Lee Tulloch), friends Monroe (Silar Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Calvert) or police partner Hank (Russell Hornsby), you could well argue that life is pretty magical every single day of the year, such are their Wesen-fuelled less than ordinary lives.
Or nightmarish; you know, same same.
In the case of “The Grimm Who Stole Christmas”, it’s a bit of both with some eggnog-soaked odd and tinsel-garlanded strange thrown in, as what appear to be goblins romp their way through the gaily-decorated homes of Portland, smashing giant decorative candy canes here, pushing over immaculately-festooned Christmas trees there, and even roughing up one of the inhabitants who was unfortunate to get in their over-exuberant, naughty way ( no prizes for guessing which list Santa has these mischief makers on, assuming he has any idea what they are).
With one man in hospital from his injuries, and some very traumatised home owners on their hands, it’s up to Nick and Hank, and by extension Monroe, Rosalee and Juliette to figure out what they’re dealing with, and put a stop to it before any morning festively-decorated homes end up looking like a post-Christmas decorations bargain sale.
Given the world they work and live in, the first assumption is that they are Wesen but neither Monroe nor Rosalee recall seeing these small bauble-crushers before, ruling out them being part of some as yet un-encountered species.
This leaves the unsettling idea that they are non-Wesen creatures of myth, the likes of which Nick has come across before – think La Llorona and Volcanalis (season 2), or Krampus (season 3, whose origin was not definitively proven) – but some time at the trailer rules this out too, leaving them scratching their heads until a further trawl through the treasure trove of Grimm manuscripts uncovers references to Kallikantzaroi, goblin-like beings which appear for the 12 days of Christmas before disappearing never to be seen again.
So now there’s a name for them, an explanation for why they are running rampantly destructive in a circular pattern around an old Greek church in the centre of Portland and even a pointer to the Wesen from which they spring, Greek-originated Indole Gentile, a species who Monroe remarks have to be one of the nicest Wesen species around but whose pubescent children can, in a small number of cases, turn into monstrously mischievous beings over the Christmas season.
While they prove almost impossible to capture, track down or keep in a cage, they do have one achilles heel – a fondness for fruitcake so great that they can’t resist going after it wherever it might lie, in this case a whole van full of it (yes Portland has fruitcake vans; well if they don’t in real life, they should get one, seriously).
This then is how Nick, Hank and the others capture the three Wesen pubescent terrors, end their 12 days of Christmas terrorising of good decoration-loving citizens everywhere and promote the virtues of fruitcakes, as reviled a festive food as any you can think of (but nowhere near as bad as people seem to think, trust me).
What makes this light-and-frothy decidedly festive episode so charming, even if it is not as robust a story as last year’s “Twelve Days of Krampus” (season 3), is the way the producers of Grimm seem to have gone all out to create the kind of over the top Christmas wonderland, the goblin-ish crime notwithstanding, many of us would love to indulge in if only we had the time, money and a house big enough to do it justice.
It’s not only Monroe that is getting into the spirit of things this year, although as always he has pulled out all the stops, his endearing and infectious love of the season also now having spread to new wife Rosalee who admits to Juliette that Monroe’s given her the childhood she never really had; Nick and Juliette’s home is tinseled up as as are all the houses the goblins drop messily in on.
It seems Christmas is everywhere – even the goblins aren’t truly evil; just very naughty, hormonally charged boys with hygiene issues – as are all manner of narrative arc-advancing sub-plots.
Juliette may or may not be pregnant, Monroe and Rosalee are still being hounded by the the Secundum Naturae Ordinem Wesen, who object to the couple’s mixed-species marriage, something Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni) and newly-arrived in Portland friend Josh (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) find objectionable and do their best to stop but alas not before departing permanently to Philadelphia, and Sergeant Wu (Reggie Lee) is increasingly suspicious about the unexplained creatures he keeps seeing, making it clear to Nick via less-than-veiled comments that he knows something is up (“strange is your speciality”).
That’s a lot of moving of the narrative chess pieces, meaning that “The Grimm Who Stole Christmas”, which on balance was mainly a whole lot of fun and frothy silliness, just what the festive doctor ordered in fact, also functioned as a way of positioning the show for its final episode of the year “Chupacabra”, which frankly would be best eaten with some fruitcake.
No seriously, would like me to get you some?