A rash of crimes brings out the El Cucuy, a Vigilante Wessen that turns out to be exactly who you expect in a silly episode of Grimm.
Let’s bitch it out…Before we delve into ‘El Cucuy’, let’s revisit 3×04 ‘One Night Stand’, the episode that I missed while traveling a few weeks back. I can honestly say that the way the episode begins – with Nick (David Giuntoli) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) interrogating the male survivor of the water attack with a million questions – made me think that it was an early candidate for worst episode of the season.
And then suddenly the episode morphed into something far more interesting. After revealing the true perpetrators are a pair of misogynistic male “relatives” of the female water nymphs we’ve already met, ‘One Night Stand’ takes on a far more allegorical angle. The idea of men physically abusing women for what they believe to be sexual “misconduct” is an upsetting and mildly contentious (religious) issue and frankly I was surprised that Grimm would explore it. Admittedly it’s not as though the writers really delve into things too deeply as the rationale for the men’s behaviour is pretty surface-level and mildly problematic (sterility = sexual violence/abuse), but it definitely elevates the episode above the routine “case of the week” that the series sometimes settles into in between key mythology episodes.
There’s one other significant moment when Nick manages to hold his breath for a record length of time in order to rescue the mute nymph. It’s important because Hank actually witnesses his affliction first-hand when Nick emerges from the water. Previously only Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) has seen it. At this point we still have no idea what has caused this new condition, but unlike say Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where each week we’re reminded of Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) mysterious return from the dead, Nick’s mysterious ailment remains interesting. Perhaps by this time it’s because Grimm has only aired four episodes compared to S..H.I.E.L.D.‘s nine, but thus far I’m inclined to give the NBC show the advantage for execution alone.
Nick’s mysterious ability doesn’t reappear in 3×05 ‘El Cucuy’, but if we’re being honest, I wish it would because it might have made the episode more interesting. The majority of the episode’s most interesting elements are the B-stories, not its avenging boogeyman storyline. Once again an ethnic folk story fails to make a dramatic impact, but unlike 2×09 ‘La Llorona’ (which, you’ll remember, introduced us to Betila Damas’ Pilar), this myth is played more for laughs. The writing is on the wall almost immediately when we see the the kindly old grandmother at the second crime scene. Naturally she’s revealed to be the creature that Nick and Hank are after when they notice her at the other crime scenes (the only other possible candidate is Manny Montana’s Danny Florez, but given the choice between the hot head and the cardigan-wearing grannie, it’s pretty obvious who makes for a more interesting “villain”).
It’s a paper-light premise that isn’t overly memorable besides the jokes at the end as Hank and Nick listen in disbelief as the old woman explains how they’ll be unable to pin the crimes on her due to her age and frail appearance. Aside from that, the A-plot in ‘El Cucuy’ is mostly a write-off.
- Once again Juliette’s knowledge of animals is put to good use – here to determine that the El Cucuy murders could not have been committed by a dog. It’s clear that the show’s decision to bring Juliette in as a fully-fledged member of the team is paying off as her appearances no longer drag the plot to a standstill.
- Since we’re armed with more background knowledge than Juliette (who’s still learning that shit happened while she was in her coma), we immediately identify the affectionate “M” as Nick’s mother, Kelly (an unseen Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). It’s hard to believe that the last time we saw Kelly was more than a year ago in 2×02 ‘The Kiss’ (she’s been name-dropped several times since). Hopefully this new reference indicates that we’ll see Mastrantonio soon (if there’s any justice in the world, Hostages won’t keep occupying her schedule much longer).
- In case you’re playing Where In The World is Mama Grimm?, Juliette tracks her IP to Slovenia, and Nick deduces that she’s possibly headed to Greece. Tune in next week to see where she’s off to next! (Side Note: I love that Juliette has nothing better to do than do these kinds of searches. Doesn’t she, you know, have animals to look after or something?)
- Aside the grisly crime scene photos, how much do I want to be hanging out at the “team” dinner with everyone, drinking red wine and eating edamame (mmm…so salty)? Answer: so much. I love that no one really laughs at Monroe’s (Silas Weir Mitchell) joke except Rosalee (Bree Larsen) – it’s such a couple-ly thing
- Speaking of the two Wessen love birds: their relationship continues to evolve in small steps as Monroe comes clean to his mom that he’s dating someone. How long before we’re into Meet The Parents territory?
- Finally, Adalind (Claire Coffee) learns that her baby is seriously messed up as it appears to have two hearts. Clearly that thing is going to be some kind of evil hellbeast…or the most adorable little tyke ever. The cat and mouse game between Vienna and Portland continues thanks to the efforts of Sebastien (Christian Lagadec), who continues to inform on recent events for Renard (Sasha Roiz), who now knows all about the results of Adalind’s sonogram and visit to the OBGYN. At some point Renard’s going to have to make a trip to Vienna, no?
- Monroe (asserting his and Rosalee’s independence from their parents): “We’re grown people” Rosalee (correcting him): “We’re adults”
- Hank (in disbelief at Mrs. Garcia’s alibi): “You’re 77 years old”
What are your thoughts on ‘One Night Stand’ (if you remember it)? Were you amused at the vengeful grandma in this episode? Are you hoping to see Kelly Burkhardt again? Who should be cast as Monroe’s mother? And do you think that Grimm is doing better stringing along Nick’s mysterious abilities than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Hit the comments below
Grimm airs Fridays at 9pm EST on NBC