Saturday, October 27, 2012

Flores Para Los Muertos Grimm S2E09 La Llorona

Previously on Grimm! Juliette was bespelled! The Captain was creepy against his will! Hank was informed! Monroe is a Wesen! Much to no one's surprise. And the Captain was desperate and Juliette has amnesia and for the amount they focused on that plotline there was surprisingly little of it. Odd juxtaposition of previouslies. I'm assuming this was meant to reflect Juliette now being informed.

Okay, before we launch into this, I will say, this episode freaked me the fuck out. I turned on all the damn lights in the living room to watch it, and I still woke up this morning feeling like I'd come off the worst in a cage match with a Siegbarste. That said, I'm deeply amused at basically guest starring in the show. The detective, with long dark hair and wearing pretty much the same clothes that I wear, referring to herself as a Balam which is the Mayan term for Jaguar (I'm half-Mayan, and have been called by that somewhat hippie nickname for well over half my life by this point, and it's a powerful symbol for the Maya and hush you all.), fighting a legend that gave me screaming nightmares as a kid? I think there were one or two other points I forget in all the staring and protesting to A that I was not a goddamn Na'vi Balam. (A: She so is. Also, you all have no idea how much of a struggle it's been for me to remember to call her Kitty and not Jag in posts, I'm just saying.) Ahem. And yes, I speak Spanish. Nervously, but fluently. So, yeah. That happened.

Yeah. I've had days like that.

Right. We open up with a quote from some textualized version of the La Llorona story. I've never actually read a text version, and I don't even actually remember who told it to me, because my parents never believed in scaring the crap out of my as a kid. I'm going to blame either a friend, a friend's parents, or a couple of family friends who did like telling ghost stories. Or maybe my grandmother. Come to think of it that's in character for her. Anyway. I'm going to assume you all know the story by now, because there's not much to it and the episode did a good job of explaining. Opening quote, La Llorona. Conveniently enough, placed over the river! That's the easy part. I then spend the next five minutes screaming at the screen to pick up the kid, call 911 in case that's a real person, and run the other way because dammit, weeping woman in white on a riverbank augh.

And then we have another river, but this one looks much friendlier in broad daylight, warmly lit, with a bridge over a small dock. I'm exhausted and still a little zonked from the episode, so if anyone else can point out where we've seen this bridge before, please do so in comments. A man and a boy, who are later confirmed as father and son, settle down to do what appears to be some fishing. Awww. The man looks pretty reasonably well to do and the boy looks happy, so, yeah, familial or familiar relationship of some sort. He tells the boy to keep quiet (Silencio!) and I'm not sure why, but my guess would be because they're not allowed to fish there. Though, really, what keeping quiet is going to do when you have fishing poles and nets, I don't know. Maybe just not call attention to you, since sound does carry further over water. He pulls out the worms from the container and comments on how they're nice, big, fat worms. (Oye, estos gusanos estan bien grandes y gordos.) The boy shushes him, now. Which is cute. Of course then the man catches sight of a woman walking into the water, dressed in a relatively (for current fashions, anyway) conservative white dress, rather like a bridal dress. And instead of picking up the boy and running like hell which I'm screaming at him to do, he tells the boy to stay there (Quedate) and goes running over to her. Calling Señora, Señora, stop and something I didn't quite catch. It sounded like get out of there. The father goes diving down to try and rescue her, of course, noble poor bastard, and she isn't there. And as I knew she would, the third (Rule of Three, take a drink!) time he pops up he sees her walking the little boy off somewhere. We learn the boy's name is Rafael, sadly, by the father screaming it in terror for his child.

At some point we're just going to have to give in and do an analysis of the way the opening credits change because THEY DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE. This is just annoying now.

Nick opens up the Cabinet O Death, pulls out a weapon, and closes it again. Under any other circumstances this would probably be ominous, given the abduction of a child a moment ago and now Nick arming up, but since we know it doesn't usually get that serious so immediately, not for Nick anyway, and since our next shot is panning across the most Halloweeny yard ever, we know it's not to use that on someone's skull. Despite Nick's resigned, somewhat grim look. No pun intended. The yard is lined at the front with skulls, dotted with gravestones, there's a fog machine somewhere, really, Monroe, between this and Christmas do you just have a storage unit somewhere full of holiday decorations? I've seen professional displays that weren't that full of kitsch. Just to make sure we get the ghost story message, we pan across a couple of white-dressed stake-figures with skulls for heads. Oh yay. Nick pulls up, walks up, and is barked at by a pop-out zombie dog from a kennel. That, I actually wouldn't mind having. Monroe wants to know if he brought "it." Of course he brought it, you don't think he's carrying around someone's head-sack for no reason, right? I'm serious, that black sack looks like it should have severed heads in it. Given Grimms, if he didn't bring that from home, it might have done at one point.

Nick asks, because we're all wondering, if he does this every year. Nick is even wearing the same resigned/amused face I probably am right now. Monroe is all about Halloween, it's bigger than Christmas, and then he proceeds to tell the usual urban fantasy story about how on All Hallow's Eve (the other name for Halloween) there's a tradition of everyone wandering around with their true faces on inciting Delirium/scaring the crap out of normal humans willy nilly. You know this trope. I know this trope! But it works, because really, what easier costume for a suburban "monster" to wear than his true face? Backing up a bit, I'd like to point out something since we seem to have a pretty international readership here (Hi Non-Americans!), Halloween is a big deal in the States. Huge. We love it. Hell, I love it, but I love any excuse to dress up in a costume and gorge myself on candy. However, Halloween as it is commercially known in the States with the candy and the trick or treating is not as far as I know widely celebrated outside at least the US, and to a lesser extent Canada and Great Britain. Halloween did start from old traditions, with various mash-ups the idea that on All Hallow's Eve the veil between worlds is thinnest, we can speak with spirits of the non-dead-people variety, ghosts or spirits of the dead-people variety, mystical things will happen, etc, with the idea of it being a night when it's permitted to act a little crazy and put on costumes and have wild fun. And play pranks, Monroe and your woge I'm looking at you. Which is all an incredibly simplistic way of putting it, but you're not here for US Holiday History, you're here for Grimm. All of this is by way of saying, Monroe's association of running around all woge'd out probably isn't with Halloween itself as we know it in the States, but with the idea of things going a little bit hinky and sideways on All Hallow's Eve. Which is a more global thing. So, Monroe goes on, makes the obligatory literally scaring the crap out of villagers joke. Nick would like to be sure he isn't continuing this tradition in Portland please and thank you, as a cop he probably approaches Halloween with a certain amount of preparatory headdesking. Monroe wouldn't do that, of course. Unless he could find some villagers. Dammit, Monroe.

But Nick's not here for that! He's here to loan Monroe his flail. Monroe drools over the history, Nick prefers to cringe from the skulls broken, knees shattered. Me too, Nick. Me too. We pause here to point out that this is an interesting bit of foreshadowing, whether on purpose or subconscious because they knew what was coming up, of Grimms being an antagonist in the next episode. Grimm weapons breaking Wesen windows. And later, breaking Wesen bodies. What fun. But right now Monroe has to give us a demonstration of how this contraption of his works and why he needed the flail, and while I love Silas for Monroe's little kid joy as he shows Nick how the automated skeleton smashes the pumpkin (and how many pumpkins do you GO THROUGH, Monroe?) I'm still with Nick on the oh-dear-lord aspect. That house is even more decorated on the inside than the outside. Nick gets the call, makes Monroe promise that no one's going to get hurt, I question Giuntoli smiling and looking like he's trying not to laugh on the phone. I mean, maybe that was the best take, but you just got a call about a kidnapped kid, Nick. Please don't smile like that. It's unnerving. Monroe promises to make sure no one gets hurt with adolescent sullenness, I think because Nick's questioning his ability to keep things under control. Or his judgment. Or both. Monroe, I question both, too. LOOK AT YOUR HOUSE.

Cut over to the woman in the white dress floating under the water. Floating, floating, eerie music in the background, wait for it, AUGH WHITE VEINY FACE I'M NEVER SLEEPING AGAIN. I am not kidding when I say that face popped up in my nightmares and took me and the circle of kids I was sitting with down to the abyss repeatedly when I was little. Or, well, a face very much like that one. The makeup is even almost right. Grimmfolk, I am judging you. Hard. From behind my couch. With all the lights on. I can't believe I'm actually subjecting myself to this a couple of times over.

So, then this woman who is not me jerks upright from her desk, like you do when you wake from a nightmare in a TV show or movie. She's fallen asleep over her desk, also like you do when you're an obsessed person on the trail of a murderer. Which she is, as we see by her radius. For those of you who don't cross-read, I described someone's radius in a Haven episode recently, the area around their workstation which gets cluttered by the detritus of daily living and the phenomenon of oh I'll just put that over there and then really put it away in a minute. Which of course never happens. This lady's radius consists of a yellow legal pad with writing on, a keyboard that may or may not be wireless because half of it's covered. Also that looks suspiciously like my damn keyboard what the hell. Three open file folders extending outwards from her immediate vicinity, and one to two dozen more stacked beneath and behind them. Pens, pencils, and highlighters in a cup and on a holder, a tipped over capped white-out container, what looks like a banker's lamp. In short, this is a woman whose entire life has now been consumed by this case, there is literally nothing else in her immediate vicinity. The headlines on the paper articles are at a bad angle to read most of them, but we can definitely see 'abducted' and 'missing' and 'children. One of the ones on one of the files says "Bodies of Three Missing Children Recovered From River", another one on the wall says "Three Children Abducted From Provo on Halloween" (Provo being a city in Utah, and my first guess for a location there) and then "Colorado Faces the Loss of Two Abducted Children" with the subheading "Third Abducted Child Still Missing" There's a picture of a woman pinned to the wall as well, and then we focus in on this just-woken-up (and very exhausted looking) woman who's breathing hard and looks ready to punch someone. Me too, esa, me too.

And we're back to the bridge! Rafael's papa is trying to talk to the police, listen to me, you're not understanding me, I've told you a thousand times, I saw the woman in the river, she took my son. Por favor, escuchame, no me estás entendiendo, te lo dicho mil veces, vi a la mujer en el rio, se llevo mi hijo, por favor and then Wu starts talking over him and I can't quite make out that last part. So, in other words, a hysterical father begging the police to find his son with a hell of a language barrier. Wu's Spanish is no bien, and I have to agree with him on that. He asks him to wait and goes over to the just arrived Hank and Nick, while the father says pretty much the same thing (no, no, espera/wait) while flailing against the other unnamed cop trying to get him to calm down and wait. Wu gives them the rundown prefaced by "we're going to need a translator" in that "oh dear lord this is going to suck" tone. God, yes. I've done translation work and the look of relief on people's faces when they realize they don't have to put forward that effort to making themselves understood through a language barrier. The father's name is Luis Alvarez, and I will pause here and note the absolute and complete lack of anything like disdain or eyerolling or disgust for the hispanic man because of his race, insinuations that he's an illegal, complaints that the father and son were doing anything illegal (remember my speculation on the shushing earlier?), or other slurs and put-downs. No one is treating this as anything other than a man whose child has disappeared and with whom no one can communicate clearly because of the language issue. There's a pile of reasons I could go into why I'm sensitive to this particular issue, starting with the obvious as mentioned above, but somewhere in this long diatribe Wu or someone else could have interjected something derogatory, and no one did. So big hugs to Akela and kudos and props to the cast and crew. All the hugs to Wu. He's already got uniformed cops searching the area and Search and Rescue on their way, even if he's only "pretty sure" the problem is someone took the guy's kid. The kayakers have a witness report! A really good one, too, since it's a camera-phone video. We see the weeping woman walking the kid up the path and a location for the bridge, Cathedral Park, which we definitely have had mentioned before.

The father is still flailing and yelling and trying to make himself understood, poor guy. He shouts, "he isn't in the river, he isn't in the river, she took him from the bridge that way and then I didn't see them anymore." Ya no está(n?) en el río, no está(n?) en el río. Se lo llevo del puente par aca y ya no los vi. And actually rewatching I think he says They're not in the river the second time. The two cops taking down his statement are just sort of staring at him both politely waiting for him to be less hysterical and uncomprehending of Spanish. Poor everyone, really. Nick will take Alvarez and the camera back to the precinct and after one look at the hysterical non-English speaking father, tells Wu to tell Sanchez to meet them there, too. I try not to twitch because dammit, that is a common name, there is no reason to twitch, and Wu says he already tried to contact him, he's off in Botswana not dealing with ghost women. I may have added that last part. At this point I want to facepalm for so many reasons, the first being the precinct only has one translator on call? Really? And the second facepalm being because as far as I know that's not at all inaccurate for some areas, and Portland certainly has no reason to expect the kind of hispanic population the entire southern half of the US does. And there's very, very often a shortage of translators in this country, regardless. It's a complex problem. I'd also like to point out before we get deeper into the show that the proper term is interpreter, not translator. A translator is someone who translates mainly text, sometimes audio when it involves subtitling TV or film (or in the case of this recap/analysis, when it involves discussing TV or film). An interpreter is someone who does real-time in-person language to language conversion. The skillsets are related in that both people have to be fluent in the languages involved, not just for grammar but also for context interpretation and semantics as well as colloquial speach. But the translator has to consider the overall intent of the document, is often working from a finished piece with a beginning a middle and an end, and can consider the full meaning both summary and sentence-by-sentence when choosing words and structure. An interpreter, working in real-time, has to not only consider what words are being said but what the person speaking means by them (which isn't always clear) and choose the words in the other language accordingly. They have to be accurate to the immediate message, and they may not know the overall goal or point each person wants to get across until that person is done speaking, and maybe not even then. This page provides a brief, what I consider to be well-stated comparison of the two roles.

That said, I will try to describe Juliette as an interpreter but use the word translator when other characters refer to her as such. Upon being told the usual person the precinct calls is off on vacation, Nick does something else very familiar to me, he calls up his Spanish-fluent girlfriend to act as translator. I've been on the other end of those phone calls, though not too recently. And while it may seem like this is a bit out of the blue for the writers to pull a skill out of their ass like this, and I know I've complained about writers doing that before in other forums and stories, in my own personal experience it's a lot like this for someone who speaks another language but doesn't use it in their everyday life. You can go for several months, a year, speaking pretty much only one language and getting along, and then someone you know remembers that you speak said language and calls you up and asks if you can help with this emergency. It might not even be the first time he's called Juliette for this purpose, Portland's a big city and if they only have one interpreter on staff for the precinct or, worse, for the whole city, they'd surely need to call in backup. Though also, family members will often use other family members to act as translators both in daily life and in emergencies. In this situation, though, it seems like the only bilingual family member is the one who's been kidnapped.

So. Cut to the Captain's office as we all cringe from what we suspect is coming with Juliette coming in on a case. He is, for once, not in his usual abducted-child clothes, though that could be either because this is a boy child and so it doesn't hit so close to home or because he's just now getting the news. Also that baby picture's migrated again, further to the left as you're facing that back pedestal thingie. His face is more relaxed than I expected it given his current problems, albeit with furrowed brow because, missing kid. He asks if Search and Rescue is working the river just in case, which is a good call, but nothing so far and we know they won't find anything. There is a nervous tic of the thumb scratching the forehead, which is I think the first time we've seen that in his office. He's fiddling with his pen, too. And a brief mention of the FBI, since they often handle/take over kidnap cases, and we learn that they're waiting to see if the FBI wants in. So far, so good. Relatively speaking. Also there's no computer on his desk at all this time, which makes his desk look a bit empty despite the preponderance of files. Interrupted, now, by Intern Chekhov Ryan. Intern Chekhov Ryan proceeds to give me a bad case of embarrassment squick by not being able to string a concise sentence together to announce that the translator's here. And then a further vicariously embarrassing pause before Renard fills in the gap with a bit of a sigh and a "why don't you show her in?" On the plus side, Renard, this does give you a moment to pull together your not inconsiderable will and brace for the onset of potion-induced-love/lust, so you might want to take advantage of that. And Juliette comes in and indeed we have a moment where her smile fades as she looks over at him like he's the only person in the room. Nay, the building. And when he looks up at her he has the expression known as mustn't-smile-mustn't-smile-not-smiling-people-will-stare. I adore Tulloch and Roiz for the subtlety with which they show this in the space of about two seconds even as I weep for what their characters are going through. Then there's a visible moment of Juliette pulling herself together, sealed with a clasping of her hands in front of her, as she asks what she can do to help. Her eyes continue to dart around the office, though, at anyone but Renard.

Cut to interrogation! We have a frantic father pacing in the room and I get to stop translating because we have a Juliette here to do it now! Yay! Juliette, Hank, and Nick in interrogation now, and for those of you who were wondering (if anyone) yes, her accent is really good. Latin Spanish rather than Castillian, too. For future note, when Juliette's interpreting I'll only speak up here if I would have interpreted a different way, or if there's something that she doesn't translate. Like this! She tells him her name and that she's going to help him speak with the police. Now, what she says is pretty well abbreviated and accurate, which is probably a good thing in a police interpreter for this case, but here's the fuller translation. "Thank you, you need to help me, please. The woman in the river took my son. She was drowning herself. And I went to help her but she wasn't there. And I thought she had died, but the next moment I saw her taking my son." Hank and Nick provide some standard questions, to which he answers and she interprets. Interestingly, she interprets "custody issues" as "problems in your home," which isn't inaccurate but when I suspect what Hank's getting at is custodial interference, I might have interpreted it a different way. Maybe not, that's also a pretty tactful way of asking without leading him to a specific conclusion. Nick asks if there's anyone who might wish him harm, Juliette tacks on "or to your son" to the end of her Spanish interpretation. Understandably, considering he's spent the past few hours not being understood by anyone while he's in the middle of a parent's worst nightmare, he starts to get agitated and claims these questions won't help him find his son. Juliette interprets Hank's statement of "he's got to take us to where he lives" as "They need to know where you live" and adds on "the police will help you." Pobrecito.

Cut to a fan spinning above some French doors, and at first this seems like Luis's home? But no, it's the home of that woman from earlier. (Which is a nice bit of cultural consistency without playing the all-look-same card; yes there's a similar feel to Espinosa's place and Luis's home, but they're very different in the details.) She's pacing up and down like she's waiting for something, and in short order we see what it was. Or maybe not. An Amber Alert pops up on her screen and beeps at her; it seems a safe bet that given the established schedule of murders she was already pretty tense, plus nightmares, so she was expecting an Amber Alert. The alternative explanation is that she is tied to the weeping woman in some way. We don't know at this point if that's a ghost or a mentally ill Wesen serial killer. But the Amber Alert pops up, not surprising her but rather pissing her off and straight into a woge! In which she is a... um. Blue. Cat person. With spots. At this point I have to say, I know what they're going for, but those spots and that fur color looks nothing like a jaguar. And this is why I got called a Na'vi for the rest of the night. Anyway, the Na'vi Balam lady gets ahold of herself and puts the fur away, grabs the phone and needs to book a flight. In a considerably thick accent, too.

Over to another house all decked out for Halloween, and as Hank's car pulls up followed by a black and white (well, blue and white?) three neighbors walk up, upset and clearly having already heard about the abduction. Because that's how they roll here. They ask if he's found Rafael, Juliette interprets, Hank comments on how they really love their Halloween. Oh Hank, you haven't even seen Monroe's place, have you. Juliette makes commentary on Dia de Los Muertos, although the decorations outside of the house look more like Halloween decorations to me. Still, it's not unreasonable for Juliette to expect that. Inside, oh yeah, that's Day of the Dead all right. And now I want a sugar skull. The house is very neat and tidy for two bachelors living on their own, which actually makes sense and underscores both Luis's devotion and the panic he must be feeling right now. He keeps a tidy house as difficult as it is raising a kid on your own, pays attention to his son and spends a great deal of time with him, I'd expect the son to have household chores as well. And now his boy is missing and Luis is frantic. They go through more cop things, Luis doesn't have an answering machine, and they need to see the boy's bedroom. Just to make sure. In the bedroom we do get a look at the full immediate family unit, which means his wife hasn't been deceased long, given Rafael's age. Unnecessarily I translate for you, "Yes [that's Rafael] and that's his mother." The boy's bedroom is clean and tidy and everything put away, which we'll file under proof that Rafael has chores and is probably pretty good about sticking to them. Nick takes a picture of the boy's picture with his family, specifically the boy, we see, on his cameraphone. I question how much that's going to help, but Rafael hasn't changed much as he's grown older, so it won't hurt, either.

And now the woman we saw earlier comes into the house, the one who hadn't spoken. It looks like she suggested or told the other couple to go away, maybe to tell everyone else, it looks like this is a very in touch community. The sort where everyone will come over to bring you casseroles when something terrible happens. Yes, that example is deliberate. She wants to know if Juliette is police, which is natural, but I think also because she says she isn't police the woman feels more comfortable telling Juliette some things that are deeply personal to Juliette. Not to the woman, mind you. But first she has to tell the police that she knows who took Rafael, and I have to severely question her judgment. The police aren't going to either stop looking because Rafael is beyond saving or start looking for a ghost woman. You're old enough to know that by now, lady. Besides, now the father comes storming in because he knows the story, he knows what she's going to say, and he doesn't want any part of it. Whether because he knows the story and he doesn't want to think his boy's fallen victim to some demon ghost woman or because he knows the story and he doesn't believe in it, I'm not sure. Despite his protestations. Despite everyone's protestations! Juliette asks her what she knows, she says La Llorona took Rafael, the father says "Don't start. She doesn't know what she's talking about." And Hank asks what's La Llorona, for our dose of brief monster exposition, and in a pretty good accent for a non-Spanish speaker too, because Hank is (take a drink!) the best. And Juliette explains and the woman tries again, this time to the father, "you've seen the woman, you know..." at which point the father, does, indeed tell her to shut up. In the same tone my grandmother used when I was being obnoxious as a kid. Hee.

They have footage! Now, La Llorona predates video so I don't know if she's supposed to show up on camera, but I've never heard of ghosts showing up on camera. However, this episode never outright says she was a ghost or a Wesen who had a psychotic break because of some traumatic event and became a serial killer. So it's hard to say. The woman says "Yes, that's La Llorona, the dead woman who steals the children." And since the father's talking over her I'm not too sure what he starts with, but he finishes with "She's crazy." At which point even Hank is telling him to shut up. In decent Spanish. I love you, Hank. Te amo mucho. Wu comes up, holds up the picture, asks "this is what we're running with?" in a voice that suggests he's thinking the same thing I am, a current picture would be more better. But that's what they've got, so more cop instructions, two officers staying behind in case of kidnapper calls, etc. More father fussing at the cops, Juliette interprets for their benefit that he says to stop talking and find his son. Which the father follows up with "I've told you a thousand times, and you haven't done anything." Oh honey. They're trying.

Which leaves Juliette and the woman and I'm just going to go ahead and call her a bruja, okay? Because I deeply suspect she is. (A bruja is a witch, and the connotation varies pretty wildly from positive to negative and especially these last couple of decades, but basically that's what it is.) So, Juliette and the bruja, who takes Juliette's hand for no reason I can tell except possibly to express some very inappropriate comfort, and then gasps over Juliette's scratch scars. Those are some nasty looking scars, too, given how healed they should be by now. No surprise there. The subtitles would have you believe she says "we need to talk," which I would translate as Necesitamos hablar de algo, literally "we need to talk about something," or necesito hablar contigo, "I need to speak with you." What she actually says is tengo algo que decirle, "I have something to tell you." Oh really, mysterious lady who probably doesn't know Adalind from a hole in the ground. Bruuuuuja. Juliette pulls her hand back, like you do when a strange possibly ghost-believing-in woman takes your hand prisoner and tells you she needs to talk to you. She keeps insisting that Juliette believe her, but Juliette doesn't want to think about the cat, the scratches, or how weird her life has been and what she doesn't remember. Really, if I were her, I probably wouldn't want to talk about it with a stranger either, but on the other hand that's really strong proof that the bruja does have information she needs to know. Juliette gets more and more riled, culminating in a very Spanish-sounding 'okay' and me giggling a little as her accent shifts. Hee. Nick interrupts/intervenes at this point, I kind of think he heard Juliette getting upset and picked that time to interrupt them, but it's probably also about the time they were wrapping up all they could do there. They're heading back to the precinct and he needs her to stay behind and translate for the cops who are going to stay behind, and did the bruja say anything more about Rafael? This would be an excellent time to talk about the bruja being creepy at you, Juliette, I'm just saying. But she doesn't know why, so she just puts it down to the stress of cop work and Nick is sympathetic and caring, and possibly in too much eyeliner. Seriously, what is up with that? It's distracting.

Na'avi Balam is stalking down the hallway with ... I don't know, do I get that same sort of look when I get pissed off? She's wearing my stupid damn shirt, my stupid damn jeans, and a brown leather jacket that looks like a pleather one I have in black. Which, okay, is actually standard attire for Woman Who Is Most Often All Out Of Bubble Gum, and that white/cream colored shirt has another purpose which we'll go into later. But for a moment I have to bang my head on my desk. She's carrying a satchel, too, presumably with the case files in it. Or at least the distilled versions, because I'm betting she has cabinets and cabinets worth of files on this. Sort of like we've now written a whole damn novel on these two shows we've been analyzing.

Renard is more concerned with something on the phone than he is with the abducted child, at least for the moment. "I saw the photographs of Duval's body," at least I think he says Duval. His mouth is in shadow so I can't see the shapes his lips make for interpreting the syllables, hush all of you. And apparently this Duval was tortured badly. Poor Duval. But they have to find out if he talked, if he gave any names, because security and we all know most of this. That Renard's working on something clandestine, and that he has people on the inside. Renard has people on the inside of a lot of things. They need to know who Duval met with the night he was taken. So, it's all very informative for the future? But none of it helps one jot with the metaplot now. Current theory is that Duval is either Renard's canary, who we have not yet seen being tortured and killed but who certainly was in a position to be both, or the man Eric was torturing in the beginning of the season. Who certainly most likely was killed after being tortured. Take your pick! Either way, Renard's already in a bad mood when Intern Chekhov Ryan knocks on his door to announce a detective from Albuquerque. Well, send her in, Ryan. Yes, now, as much as I appreciate Renard's "Really? Seriously?" looks I don't need to see them every five minutes. Angry Na'vi Balam introduces herself as Valentina Espinosa as Intern Chekhov Ryan closes the door very quietly behind him. Seriously, he takes a full one to two seconds to close the door, which redeems him a tiny bit, as unnecessary as it is. I still wonder why he's there for an in-universe reason, but presumably if the police station has a rotating crew of interns as indicated by the habitual sound of "New intern, everybody! *raucous laughter ensues*" presumably not all of them are as diffident as Chekhov. I mean Ryan. Seriously, he better go off in the third act, I'm just saying. But, Valentina Espinosa, and she does have information on the kidnapper of Rafael. She also has a look on her face like she'd give Renard competition for ferocity. Me gusta. Pay attention to that description, because it'll come in handy later.

Nick and Hank have cleared parent and child, because sad as it is both the possibility that the parent killed the child and the child ran away have to be cleared, and they got nothing. Which means Renard comes up with something! Introductions all around, Valentina explains that they've been tracking this unsub through New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah, and they can expect two more abductions before the day is out. Which, okay, from the point of view of a driven Wesen/ghost, this makes sense, but statistically that is a hell of a quick turnover time between victims, especially in a city the person may not know very well, depending on when she arrived. The obvious explanation, if she's a ghost, is that she's driven to find/drawn to the children and places in question. If a Wesen, I'm just not sure. Valentina probably has some theories in that stack of files she drops on their desk as we move to...

... a creepy run-down shack on the bank of the river. Yay! Ay, no, la otra cosa. The woman is kneeling in front of the apparently comatose boy, petting him and humming. I tried to put the tune to any of the childhood songs I know, but alas, I could not. It might not be anything, but the sequence of notes is familiar. My bet is on some common song the actress knows. She's petting the child, he's looking up at her, she's petting him, he's looking up at creepy disgusting dead woman augh.

When A coaxes me out from behind the couch we're back at Monroe's house! Watching the pumpkin smasher in action, and a collection of kids dressed as various things with varying containers for their loot come knocking on his door. Awww. Monroe's dressed as a skeleton and they don't even have to knock or ring the doorbell before he's there with the bucket of candy. Which just goes to show you how much he loves Halloween. I giggle at the Krishna in the background (seriously, blue kid, beheaddressed and bejeweled) and Monroe compliments a kid on his wolfman costume. Says it looks just like Uncle Herman before they chopped his head off. Awww? Seriously, it's a good thing the kids know adults tell silly untrue stories on Halloween, I'm just saying. But while the first group of kids are walking off Monroe catches sight of another group of kids doing the fairly stereotypical thing of stealing another kid's candy and playing keep-away and ring-around-the-victim. Sadly, this is stereotypical because it's true. Clearly what this situation needs is an adult to make everything worse break it up, and Monroe is happy to do the job. As we know from being kids ourselves and, hell, even from being adults, the response of bullies to an authority coming in and telling them "that's mean don't do that" is usually to get even more pissed off and lash out. Sometimes at their victim when the authority is gone, and sometimes at the authority as payback. But Monroe hasn't quite realized that this applies to the situation, and he makes the skeleton bully give his candy back and apologize, adding humiliation to his list of transgressions against the bullies. They run off, Monroe checks to make sure the kid is okay, gives her a lollipop, and I die of cute because that is the most adorable witch I've seen in a long time. It's also highly entertaining to note that the neighborhood kids know him by name. As they might, if he's going to make such a big production out of Christmas and Halloween, but oh Monroe. You big softie. We get a highly entertaining Dutch angle as he shakes his head fondly and walks off again, entertaining because those are most commonly used in horror movies. And yet the only time we get one here, really, is with the comedy plotline.

Over to the case again, alas, and away from the cute witches. Always two boys and a girl, always on Halloween, and no forensic evidence. About what you'd expect from missing children then drowned by a river, and some of the bodies never turn up or turn up a very long ways away from where they were kidnapped. She knows for certain of twelve and thinks maybe fifteen, which goes along with her naming five cities earlier, if in a tenuous sort of a way. Renard's back in his usual position of looming over everyone looking grave, which is a bit of a relief from his hanging out outside of the way the last time we had a child potentially abducted. She shows them the composite she's been toting around and Renard comments that that looks like the woman they've seen, leading her to a surprised "you've seen her?" Nick brings her around to the opposite computer to show her the footage, Renard leans over the one she's been using, presumably to look at her files. I wish he wouldn't, because the second Valentina sees the woman her eyes go yellow, and I would dearly, dearly love to know if Renard saw that or can see that. But I don't. Because not only is Renard looking at the screen instead of at her, we don't even see him except as a tall, dark blur in one side of the screen. Argh! Nick sees it, though. He makes that 'OMG WESEN' face. Nick, seriously, you need to take lessons from Renard, any decent poker player would clean you out. He snaps her out of her half-woge'd fury by asking her if she has an ID, which of course she doesn't, no forensics, nothing to tie it to any person, just the same image. Her voice lilts upward on the last words, too, making her sound confused and questioning. Over to Renard again, with a slightly deeper frown, more furrowed face, but nothing that can't be accounted for by the upsetting nature of the case. Because unlike Nick, Renard can control himself. When not bespelled.

They seize upon the fact that it's always three children taken, which gives them an incomplete pattern, as far as they know, and thus gives them hope that they can catch this woman before she kills her current victims. And Valentina explains, drawing a rough sketch, how the children are always taken from near a place where two rivers meet. Two from each of the upriver branches and one from the downriver, united branch. Now, right here that should give them a geographical profile, an epicenter, and thus a place where they should stake out and wait for her to show up again. But no. No one figures it out and A and I want to smack them for it. It's the weeping woman's signature, Valentina tries to explain to Nick, who still hasn't figured out how she knows this. Four abduction cases, possibly five, come on, the woman probably is an expert by now. And Renard shifts somewhat, his body language brooding and pulled in on himself, shoulders hunched. Stressed. We confirm that everyone thought the woman wanted to kill herself, the names of the specific cities where she appeared (sans Provo), and while Hank wonders aloud what they're probably all thinking, that Rafael might already be dead, Valentina points out that no bodies are ever found until after the day she abducts them. She postulates, and it's not an unreasonable theory given the speed of the kidnappings themselves, that she kills them all at once. If this were Criminal Minds we'd now get a pile of expospeak in psychological terms of how she's re-creating the event that traumatized her and trapped her into this endless loop of deadly events. Since it isn't, we'll have to make do with remembering that folk tales about ghosts are often about the ghosts reliving the events that made them that way. Franco comes up with that file Renard requested, and he excuses himself. And Hank takes his place perching on the desk, which is most likely a neat dodge to get him and Valentina in the same frame. She, like me, is tiny, making a close shot with her and anyone but probably Nick difficult.

Now that the Captain's gone they can discuss La Llorona in somewhat private without being asked why they're wasting time on a ghost story. Not that Valentina necessarily believes they're serious about their questions, but she does offer that she thinks the unsub believes they are La Llorona. Not a stretch of a theory, a lot of unsubs believe they're on a mission from God, from Satan, or some similar connection with their faith or family lore. Hank sounds a little disappointed when he says they're not after a ghost, aww, Hank! But Valentina says 'of course not' just a little too quickly, which I think is less that she thinks it's a ghost and more a factor of two things: one, Kate del Castillo is a good actress but a little too used to daytime TV, as it were, and hasn't quite scaled back the emotive output to match everyone else, and two, Valentina as a Wesen knows damn well that there are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio, etc.

While Renard's hurrying a bit into his office he's giving more orders to Franco, telling him to put in a request for Espinosa's records for all data relating to the kidnappings. Smart Renard, he knows cops in general as well as his cops, and he's sensing something hinky or perhaps just overinvolved in Valentina's mannerisms. Which do, in fact, scream overinvolved, the emphasis and the insistence and the frustration. And the brief woge, but it's still anyone's guess as to whether he saw that. Franco leaves to get that done and only now does Renard open the file his sergeant handed him. Oh, hey, look, it's Adalind's passport. Which, semi-randomly, gives us a birthdate for her, so we'll add that into our files and timeline. Interestingly, on the scan of her passport her name is still spelled consistently as Schade, but in the printed text beneath it's written as Shade. Presumably just because bureaucracies are rarely perfect. I can't even begin to tell you how often my name's been misspelled. And, oh look! Well, now Renard knows what we know, that she's been in Vienna, and we can guess that he's guessing she's been to see his brother. Though there's certainly plenty to see in Vienna besides one smarmy, oozing Royal. Yes, I have prejudices. We can also see that before that she was in Paris, France; London, England; Portland, Oregon; and somewhere in British Columbia. Presumably those are in chronological order starting with the most recent, that would make a certain amount of sense. Which, again, given bureaucracy, might be why we shouldn't assume it at all. Renard looks tense, pissed, but also like he wants to smile and show some teeth. It's time to back slowly away from him now.

On to more Halloweening kids! Being scared by adults, it looks like some sort of group event, church or school or what have you. Of course the little girl in the princess outfit goes off, hears crying, and all we get is that her name is Callie and she's with her male guardian (presumably father) before she gets swallowed up by La Llorona. Renard brings them the news as they're trying to predict where the next abduction will occur, but that is a lot of territory to cover. Which is why you guys should be looking at the epicenter, I'm just saying. No, no one's figured that out yet, and the new abduction took place at Sauvie Island State Park, which is indeed along one of the branches of the river. Le sigh.

Juliette is watching through the window of Luis Alvarez's home as a cop stands outside the door, as children go by trick or treating, as the bruja talks with the other couple we saw earlier. And yes, she has a casserole dish in her hands. Tradition, you know. Wu gets the call about the other abduction, nods to some instruction we don't hear, and heads to the door. The father, understandably, takes this as a sign of something and asks if he's found Rafael. I'm not entirely sure that needed much interpretation what with the upward lilt of a question and the name 'Rafael' in there, but Juliette does anyway. Sadly, too. She's been around cops long enough, even if she doesn't remember Nick specifically, to know that Wu would look a lot happier if they'd actually found Rafael alive. And a different thing that wouldn't be happy but something else if they'd found him dead. Wu actually tells her to tell the father that another child was taken by the same woman, I'm not sure if that's procedure or that that would help him any, but he would at least know that the cops aren't just walking off for no reason. And, too, there's also the morbid aspect and hope that Missing White Child syndrome would kick in, or at least there would be for me. And again, for those of you unfamiliar, it's a sad but often true cliche that the press and thus the public pressure will be much greater surrounding the abduction of a white child, usually female, than around a minority child. Which also could just be me being cynical. But that's been discussed in a couple other police shows as well, and it seems worth bringing up here, most notably for its absence either as a discussed trope or as a trope at all. Thank you, Akela, for that. 

Anyway, whatever the father thinks of another child being taken and whether or not he connects that to all the ways it might actually help Rafael being found, he's distracted by the approach of the bruja and her casserole. Probably not as doomy as a hexencasserole would be, though, this bruja seems like a good witch. He tells her he doesn't believe in her ghosts, and another reviewer/recapper said this scene struck him as over-the-top emotional. I respectfully disagree. This is exactly the amount of hand-wringing and shouting I'd expect from the father, from just about any parent with his background whose child is missing. Actually I'd expect even more loud, rapid-fire talking, which I assume the sugar skull (I hope that's a sugar skull, or ceramic) smashing against the wall is a shorthand for. Denials and praying and pleading and the like. It's one of the typical traits that a lot of hispanic families in the US share. Gesticulating and talking wildly and animatedly, with great enthusiasm and passion, rapid cycling through emotions not because of any kind of disorder but because the expression of emotions is expected. For all that we are told as children to shut up, sit quiet, be respectful of your elders, take care of your mother, pay attention to your father, etc., there is a much more permissive undercurrent to passion, positive or negative. So, I suppose, the only way in which this display of emotion from the father surprises me or is more or less than what I expected is that I would expect more rapid-fire Spanish and waving his arms before he went and locked himself away from strangers (Juliette) or people who are not helping (the bruja).

Ahem. Anyway. The bruja doesn't seem in the least surprised, either, which should also say something. Thwarted in her attempt to explain the supernatural to the father, she turns to Juliette! Seriously, Señora, I know you want to fix everyone and make them understand what you do, but not everyone takes the supernatural for granted the way you do. Their dialogue is pretty accurately translated, though I would call attention to the way the woman calls Juliette mi hija, my daughter. It's a generic-ish term of affection from an elder to a younger, but it also implies a more close relationship than she's demonstrated in her speech so far. Up until this point the bruja always calls Juliette by the formal pronoun, usted, where no one else seems inclined to use it. Which is to an extent true, as far as I and my family know the formal pronoun is slowly dropping out of more casual non-business-related use, but this bruja seems like the sort of stately older lady who keeps to a more classic formality. By calling Juliette mi hija, she's moving forward from that a bit and into a more maternal role. Not terribly much. It's not being too forward of her, it's roughly equivalent of being "honey"ed by an older female retail/food service worker. Also of note, when Juliette gets pissed off and protests that she's not choosing between anybody in English, the bruja just nods and smiles that that's what you think smile, pats her on the shoulder, and walks off. Which confirms that all her only speaking in Spanish was because she didn't feel like putting words into English, perhaps because her spoken English isn't that good or because she's stubborn, but she damn well understands basic English.

And over to the scene of the second crime. Halloween party, father saw the little girl go down a path, didn't see her come back up again, and another person saw the weeping woman. All they found of the girl was the tiara, but they head back up the path after giving orders to look for footprints to talk to the kayaker who saw the woman.

Renard's on the scene! Almost as one might expect for a child abduction, especially one that's increasing in profile with every subsequent abduction, but Renard isn't interested in hearing about the witness, which should startle everyone. It doesn't even slow Valentina's stride, she wants to talk to that witness and she wants to get to La Llorona before the third child is abducted. No dice, Valentina. Renard reveals that he's been talking to the FBI and to the Albuquerque PD and that Valentina was actually relieved of duty three years ago. Nick is shocked, shocked to find drinking in this establishment that Valentina would play them like that, and she protests that they don't have time, but Renard doesn't want to hear it. By now he's probably double pissed because not only do they have missing children, a cop who otherwise could have been a big help to them has to be detained for questioning by the FBI, she's cast doubt on everything she's told them so far, and basically created a giant clusterfuck by not at least being up front about not being there in an official capacity. And now he has to deal with that. That's definitely Renard's pissed off face, the Captain's version of the kind of fury he showed chopping that Reaper's ear off. I think we last saw it when the Feds were trying to railroad Nick for the murder of the Mauvais Dentes and their two officers. He tells them that she (note, she, not, this) is the FBI's case now and to bring her in for questioning, and Nick does indeed move to restrain her. At which point she woges and Nick stops her just in time from, as he puts it, doing something she's gonna regret. So, so true. Nick doesn't know what she is but for the first time since Monroe we get a Wesen who tells us what she is, a Balam, and I fall off my chair again. I pick myself back up and stop yiping about Mayan vs Aztec names for jaguars (ocelotl, in case you were wondering) quick enough to see Valentina doing the usual evil nasty tricksy Grimms wants to kill us speech. But no. Nick intends find the kids and to take her to the precinct like the Captain said, and if she tries anything, he'll blow her head off. I know from the tilt of his head that he meant Hank, but the context really made it sound like he meant Renard, and suddenly I have this image of Renard lurking somewhere with his rifle waiting for Valentina to woge again so he can kill her. I'm easily amused.

More ghost woman! Oh yay. Because I wasn't jumpy enough. She takes the girl into her cabin of creepy and lays her down, and the girl's even smiling. Because, as we find out shortly, they think she's either awesome or an angel or both. They make very cute future murder victims, I have to say.

At the precinct Renard is conducting the interrogation himself, and I think this is actually the first time we've ever seen him conduct an official police interrogation in the actual interrogation room. (A: It is.) (K: It's hot.) (A: It IS.) Remember what I said about her maybe matching Renard for ferocity? Now she gets a chance to prove it! Or at least, bullheaded stubbornness. Renard doubts that she knows about this from hunting the person, which isn't as unreasonable as it sounds, many many serial killers try to work their way into police investigations somehow. And by now the leather jacket is gone, leaving her both more vulnerable and dressed similarly at least from the mid-torso up where they're shooting her to the weeping woman. Her white blouse with the subtle lace edges, her straight and simply done hair, it's a good reflection of how they're both repeating the circumstances that traumatized them until a conclusion happens. He asks if she was involved, where she was, standard questions for a suspect. He also doesn't flicker at any of her responses, just moves from one question to the next, almost like he's conducting a lie detector test. Which, given his upbringing, I wouldn't be surprised if he was and I wouldn't be surprised if his test was at least as accurate as a polygraph. He doesn't even react when she says that her sister's son was one of the ones taken, which of course was the start of the obsession. They go back and forth from his face to hers, him calm and impassive and sometimes in regal profile, her fierce and passionate and pissed off, very much so. And probably on the verge of angry tears herself, considering there's no small amount of guilt driving her. We learn that she was in the father's role five years ago, but unlike this time, we know her story didn't have a happy ending. And still, Renard doesn't blink. About the only sign that any of this bothers him is that he's a little messier than usual stuffing the papers back into the file folder. He leaves, then Hank leaves, then Nick leaves with one last look at the angry Balam. At this point A and I were actually thinking this was some sort of shorthand for "and let me leave you alone with my Grimm while I go deal with the FBI," but alas no. That would have been kind of awesome for all that it would have implied about how Renard uses Nick, but no.

From this to Monroe's house. And as much as I love the Monroe plotline, I'm actually getting a little tired of the way he only seems to appear in the plot lately as a complete sidebar of his own. It's feeling like a male twist on the variant where the usually female character is defined by who she has sexual tension with. Obviously that's not the case, we had Nick stopping by earlier and right now he has no legitimate reason to go talk to Monroe about the very time-sensitive investigation he's working. Last episode he helped Renard, and by helped I mean told Renard that he was pretty much fucked unless Renard gave in and brought Juliette with him to be cured, so, pretty much fucked then. But it still all feels perfunctory. I'm not sure what would fix it, though. The only thing I can think of is bringing back Monroe's disappearing-reappearing scenting abilities, which so far have only appeared when there's Blutbaden involved. It does show where Monroe rates on the sliding scale of character importance, since his perfunctory scenes are more numerous than Renard's were last season. At any rate, Monroe's handing out more candy, the kids are once again calling him Mister Monroe which is still adorable, and the three bullies from earlier pop up behind a gravestone like Lock Shock and Barrel to mutter about revenge. Oh children. You picked the wrong house to mess with.

Nick and Hank don't think Valentina's lying, but they have no explanation for any of the shit that's been going down, so it's off to the Scooby Trailer! Hank's looking through the books again and twitching, like you do, and wonders how Nick sleeps at night. On the couch, lately. Nick claims trust in Hank by saying he's got his back, and Hank replies with "Yeah. But who's got mine?" Which is... an incredibly sad thing to say, really. I'm not sure Akela meant it to come across this way, but it sounds to me like Hank doesn't entirely trust Nick right now/anymore, which, oh Hank. Come here and be hugged. Nick finds something, but it's a something entitled La Llorona, which is both no help and no clarification as to whether or not this is a ghost, a Wesen, or both, or neither. I'd be all about the neither, seeing what's in this world besides Wesen and humans. And half-Wesen. Hey, speaking of La Llorona! Thankfully just a cameo. Back to the trailer, in which we have bits and pieces of both German and Spanish, but nothing I can make out. Something about all the parents said and the innocents found drowned the day before Dia de los Santos, All Saints Day. Point of interest, the word used, víspera, is either more archaic or more European, or at least I'd never heard it in common use when I was a child growing up bilingual in this country. It means the evening before, but it also means vespers. Anyway. Their lives lost in the embrace of the river, yes, Hank. I do love how it's translated from Spanish to German to English, clearly by humans and most likely by humans famliar with multiple languages because the meaning remains mostly intact down to the specific word choices. It turns out that Nick's ancestors didn't know who she was either, which almost puts paid to the Wesen idea, particularly since the sketches and drawings look the same as what she looks like. They're not sure what they're dealing with either, but they're damn sure the FBI can't handle it. So Nick decides the FBI isn't going to handle it, they are.

Back over to Monroe and his Plotline of Candy Goodness! I'm glad this is almost over because this is really making me want the Halloween candy I'm trying not to eat before the trick or treaters. Monroe's out of candy, to his chagrin, but the kids are there for the trick rather than the treat. Predicably, one of them triggers Chekhov's skeletal executioner and the flail goes flying into Monroe's window. And they find it funny and go running, and Monroe's eyes go red. Oh kids. You have no idea what you've just done.

Enter Nick and Hank to Valentina's interrogation room, and they're taking her with them. Nick asks if she's ever heard of the "river's embrace," but apparently that's not actually a Thing, or if it is she's never heard of it. Once again Nick asks her how much she knows about La Llorona, possibly in the hopes that she'll cough up some new information now that she knows he's a Grimm and not going to kill her on principle. But she doesn't actually know anything new, nor does she believe it's actually a ghost. Ghosts aren't real, she says. Real is a relative term, Hank says, having just recently found out that a lot of things he took for granted as real, weren't. I'm going with Hank on this one, you guys. Especially the Balam, who probably knows that what she is is a boogeyman or a folk story to other people. Why couldn't a ghost story be real to a whole other subset? Insistent skepticism aside, Hank and Nick walk her out with her hands cuffed behind her back, just in case anyone asks. Good thinking, guys, very good. They don't uncuff her till they're out by Hank's car in the parking lot where, apparently, not a lot of people are going right now. And just as they start talking about stopping her before she abducts again, hey, look! It's a timely police radio announcement about another abduction. Everyone, but especially Valentina, has that 'oh fuck' look of exhaustion and broken hope. Oh you guys. Nick pulls out the map and maps it for her, and between that and talking it out over what they know already they manage to figure out that abrazo del rio means the cross point or the join of the rivers into the larger river, also known as the goddamn epicenter. Oh you guys. Geographic profiling, you clearly do not speak it. But now they have a location, and they pile into the car as Valentina helpfully reminds everyone that they have until midnight before she drowns them.

Back to la casa del creepy! And the weeping woman leads the kids out to the water. Lots of good close-ups on the murky water, too, just in case it wasn't sinister enough. Quick intercuts of the woman calling to the ghosts of her children and the cop crew running to intercept her, and oh look. Child ghosts. About this time I start to revisit the idea that it's the children who are doing the drowning and not the woman (a common twist in popular media, though not present in the folklore I knew), and we have some more quick interchanges. She reveals that the abducted children are meant to take the place of the drowned ones, which, clearly that's not going so well. The cop crew runs out shouting, the children sink back into the waves, leaving the impression that they've disrupted the ritual and causing the weeping woman to turn and look over her shoulder with that fucking creepy face that I just managed to pause on, augh. Of course once she turns around she's normal again, except for the weeping blood. Like you do when you're a murderous angsty maybe-ghost. The cop crew grab the kids since she isn't actively resisting or even trying to drag the kids under, and for once we have an episode where nobody dies! Say it with me now, all you Doctor Who fans, just this once, everybody lives!

Hank and Valentina get the kids, after I built up all that expectation singing a parallel a parallel a most ingenious parallel. It'd be a nice one, too, Nick and Hank for the boys and Valentina for the girl, but no, the other two take the kids and Nick tackles the weeping woman in a truly bizarre, first time ever display of parahuman speed. Seriously, he gets the ridiculous frames per second rate and goes blurring into the water, knocking La Llorona in. I just have to say, if you're going to try and deal with a ghost-Wesen-creature-thing, why on earth would you try and do it in her element instead of your own, like, say, land? Just asking. Hank's probably wondering the same thing, he's certainly worried about Nick. Who is currently fighting the wogeing woman, at first for control, maybe? And then to get away from her to get some air. See above note about dealing with ghosts or whatever on your own ground rather than theirs. And just when he's got his hands around her throat she slips back into her human face, which I refuse to believe is anything other than her manipulating him with surprise and perhaps compassion. He lets her go, and she sinks back out of sight, at which point Nick remembers he does not have gills and pops to the surface again. I have to say, it was not as sudden as he makes it sound, though it might have felt that way to him. It wasn't, he had her and then she wasn't there, it was, he had her and then she made sad eyes at him and he let her go. I don't think he's obfuscating that fine but important point on purpose, though. I think it really felt that way to him on account of lack of oxygen and long, frantic day.

The kids want to know where they are and how they got there, indicating that La Llorona had a mysterious hypnotic ability. None of this, notably, actually gives us any kind of answer about whether or not that was a Wesen, a ghost, or something else entirely. Which I'm sure is the point. I look forward to next Halloween. Valentina gives the time as one minute after midnight, so everyone is safe, everyone lives. Who started the episode alive, at least. Sirens blaring the whole way back to the police station, three happy reunions with three frantic parents, and Nick and Juliette exchange an exhausted smile of victory and satisfaction. A Happy Squirrel is Nick! Intern Chekhov comes out again to re-establish his place on the mantel and make me squirm with awkwardness squick, repeating the word unbelievable as if to underscore how no one in this episode is sure what to believe. Lampshaded by Hank asking if we believe in ghosts now. Valentina won't know for another year, but maybe this will put some of her ghosts to rest. They head back into the precinct and oh shit, here comes the Captain. He doesn't, however, look terribly angry. He's doing a small face scrub thing and then hands on hips, authoritative but not upset or angry, and his face is more relaxed than we've seen it since the beginning of the episode. He doesn't even start out by reprimanding them, only pointing out that he's got two pissed off FBI agents in the other room. The brief dialogue where Nick brushes off the FBI agents' feelings and then Renard looks directly at him when he addresses the comment of "you took a big risk," and then Hank interjecting that it wasn't just him, that interests me. The simple answer is that Hank's refusing to let Nick take the FBI heat alone, but the more complicated and symbolic answer is that while Renard knows Nick's a Grimm and aware of the Wesen world, either he or Hank is about to find out that the other knows about it too, symbolized here by the "Wasn't just him, Captain"/"I know" bit. Time will tell, but that blocking and dialogue combination makes me wonder if it won't tell sooner rather than later. Renard isn't as pissed as he could be about Valentina, no one's pressing charges and he's apparently already got a plan in place to smooth the federal feathers with that "we'll just throw a little credit their way" comment. The constant shifting his weight is a fidgeting we haven't seen in him before, but there's a number of things we could attribute that to: exhaustion, changing hats subtly from A Father To His Men to Respect Mah Authoritah, nervousness at having Juliette in proximity to his police work. Because, as we see, she comes in the doorway to watch them talk. And when she smiles, despite the fact that Nick sees her and at least tries to meet her eyes, it's hard to tell who she's smiling at. Just in case we didn't get it already, a blue-tinged flashback anvil slams down on our toes with her vehement assertion that she's not choosing between anybody.

And finally, the inevitable conclusion of the Monroe plotline! We have the novel concept of a boy being smart enough not to upload videos of his malfeasance to the internet, which is a trick many many criminals haven't yet learned. Sadly, this won't save him from Monroe, who takes the phone away from him. He can have it back when he pays for the window he broke! Of course the stupid kids protest that they're not scared of him, which even if he weren't a Blutbad he could have them thrown in jail with that camera, so they should be. But he is a Blutbad, which means he scares the piss out of them and sends them running down the street with a well placed woge. Oh Monroe. I don't think that will come back to haunt you, so to speak, but that wasn't your best move ever.

Next week! Another Grimm! A more traditional Grimm. BUD THE EISBIEBER BEING TORTURED NOOOOOO! And finally we get Monroe, Hank, and Nick all working much more dovetail again, even without Rosalee (at least on the face of it), which brings me much relief. And this is why I continue have faith in the production people on this show, you guys. Though if Bud the Eisbieber bites it, I can't promise there won't be a fan revolt. I'm just saying.


  1. Um, not to be the editing police but this fragment just kind of hangs there. "At this point A and I were actually thinking"

    I know its an editing mistake more than likely borne of anxiety and a bit of tiredness but I really gotta know what you two were thinking. :)

    1. I'm not sure what's more impressive, that we were that tired or that I remembered what we were thinking at the time, this morning.

      Anyway, it's completed now, and thanks for catching that. ;)

  2. Wanna point out one tiny typo: when you translated the father telling Wu that they're not in the river, she took my kid, etc., in the Spanish half you wrote "se llego" not "se llevo," and while I'm sure we'd all prefer that kids be llegando and not being llevando-ed, that's not what happened. Just giving you a heads up!

    I completely agree about Monroe's ancillary storylines. It bugs me. At least they give him something to do in every episode rather than leaving him out of it altogether, but. I want their bromance back! Dinner for two with a 78 Bordeaux! Come on, show!

    Why do you suppose they made the Balam woge blue? Is there anything in Mayan tradition that associates the two, or were they just playing James Cameron for funsies? I appreciate that they're consistently bringing in Wesen from non-Germanic and non-Western-European traditions, even if they get short shrift (I want to know more about Balams, c'mooooon).

  3. No one saw that. >.> I swear, my typing is better when I'm awake.

    They did it last season with Renard, too, there were a couple of episodes in the latter half of the season where his cameo scenes were so forced I'd almost rather he not have been in the episodes at all. I'm not sure what the bits with Monroe in this episode were supposed to prove or show, though admittedly the brief cameos last episode furthered an overall plotline. Ah well. Next episode at least everything seems to be pulled together more smoothly.

    Well, blue is a significant color in Mayan tradition, usually symbolizing the West direction and associated concepts, but I'm not sure what that had to do with the Balam. Or at least, it didn't seem to have anything to do with the Balam.

  4. great post...thanks for sharing with us your keen eye for details (i can barely spot half of all this on my own).
    I had two WTF moments with the captain this last episode, first, when he saw that Adalind was in Vienna (i thought he would freak out but he almost smiled as if he had a plan of attack now...didn't see that coming), and second, the last bit with Nick and Hank when he kind of forgot Hank was there (talking to Nick only till Hank pointed out he took part in the action too)...still not sure what happened there so i was waiting for your comment to shed some light on the matter (also the intern had the same reaction, which i found even more disturbing, i mean, he congratulated and shook only Nick's hand)... but as i kept reading you pointed out that Renard was constantly shifting his weight,fidgeting which i didn't notice (i tend to suck royally at reading people and was distracted by Juliette's smiles) so couldn't we attribute his slip up with Hank and his fidgeting and his less then possible pissed attitude to the fact that he was pleasantly surprised that the kids (especially the little girl) came back safe and sound? I have a feeling that he didn't have even a shred of hope the kids will survive so Nick really managed to surprise him, in a good way. He doesn't often receive these type of good news so maybe this might be his controlled reaction to it.
    I just re-watched that scene and when Nick comes in, both Juliette (with the parents) and Renard come from the same part of the chances are they were together before he came in or in visual range of each-other. That could also account for the Renard's weird reactions

    Also, this might be complete bull, but did they just give away how they are going to solve the love curse problem??? I mean, the Spanish woman kind of told Juliette what was wrong with her and what she needed to do to solve the problem... choose/ commit to one of the men (hopefully Nick as true love beats curse induced obsession). the actress playing juliette said there will be a pretty hot bed scene (they even needed a stunt coordinator for that) but she refused to say with whom... maybe that's how she will choose (unless it's someone's dream again in which case i might just go to Portland and kick some writer behind). still, if they really end up breaking the curse like that, so smoothly, without having anyone know about anyone else, i'd laugh so hard for a whole day...
    Do you think this might be a possibility?

  5. I think Renard does have a plan for Adalind. I think, also, he'd rather her team up with his brother, who he knows and to some extent can probably predict, than with someone he doesn't know and can't predict. It's also possible that he and his brother have a cordial enough relationship that he feels Eric might warn him if Adalind was going to try anything too horrible. See his comment to Mia, "We always find a way to work things out."

    As for the focus on Nick, like we said up there, the simple answer is that it's a cop-and-FBI-dynamic. Nick's already been in trouble with the FBI, and recently, so it's possible that Renard was only addressing Nick because it's a bigger risk for Nick to come to their attention by interfering in a potential Federal investigation. Hank's under no such scrutiny. Yet. The more complicated answer here is that there's piles of subtext between the Royal-and-Grimm aspect and the Captain-and-cop aspect. I have no explanation for the intern. About anything, really. That intern bugs me as both a person in the audience and a writer.

    Definitely, the less angry attitude is due to the fact that all the kids came back safe, especially, as you say, the little girl. Considering he's a cop and has been so for a number of years, he's probably dealt with a lot of missing children that haven't ended so happily, so it'd be a huge relief that it did. That said, in the previous two times we saw him after a successful retrieval of a missing child, he didn't have the fidgets. My best guess is that it's a combination of exhaustion from fighting the potion and Juliette being in close proximity to the case, which makes it even more difficult to fight the potion. As you said, they were probably close by earlier, especially since the Captain would want to be at least somewhat accessible to the parents while their children are (hopefully) being rescued.

    Sadly, I think the bruja is going to be a one-off, and because of that I don't think they gave her any clear foreshadowing. I think she was mostly a plot device to make Juliette more aware of the fact that she's under a spell. That said, that's not a bad theory for how much they've been focusing on some traditional elements like pure of heart and blood magic. Certainly sex is a transition act for a lot of old ritual type things, it traps Merlin, it seals vows and bloodlines, it's used as a commodity, if she chooses and sleeps with Nick it could break the spell. Or if Renard, it could seal the spell. It's hard to say! But it's a reasonable theory. It's definitely one possibility!