Saturday, November 30, 2013

Y Justicia Para Todos Grimm S3E5 El Cucuy

There is no previously on Grimm this week. Sorry, guys. The title card, though, is indicative of the rest of the episode: subtitles for everyone! I have to say, too, that I was always less terrified of El Cucuy for some reason as a child, than I was of La Llorona. I do not know why, my little child brain seized upon the weeping woman and made her scream in my nightmares, while the other one? Pfft. Pshaw. Anyway, yes, this is an actual Thing. The title for our recaplysis, since we don't have the benefit of subtitles, translates to "And Justice For All," which our American audience members may recognize as the final words for the pledge of allegiance. I found it appropriate.

And now we have the intro that happened two weeks ago during a windstorm, it seems. At least enough of a windstorm for the price sign to blow over and the poor gas station attendant to have to come out and straighten it. As a point of interest and perhaps by way of explanation for those of you who weren't there on Twitter while this was going on, in Oregon it is actually illegal to pump your own gas, which is why the poor bastard's in a small glass-enclosed hut in the middle of the pumps instead of safely in a brick building somewhere. Not that that necessarily would have helped him, but it does make him a little more vulnerable. Enter two? I think two guys in luchador masks, literally wrestling masks for those of you who aren't familiar, so right away even before they start shouting we know that these guys are either Latino or from a very Latino neighborhood, enough to have picked up luchador masks first and before the traditional ski masks. Of course then they start shouting, and it's all in Spanish. Things like, open the cash drawer, move, get out of the way. No actual swearing that I heard, which is sort of curious but possibly also simply because this is a family friendly show in whichever language. The other interesting thing is that at least the main shouting person speaks slower and with more of an American accent than I'm used to hearing. I don't know if they were deliberately asked to slow it down for the audience, if the actors simply aren't used to speaking Spanish (anymore?) (although I haven't spoken Spanish daily for many years and if I get going, I can get pretty fast, so maybe not.), or if they don't know much Spanish. It's a curious thing! It may or may not be plot relevant, but I put it here so you can hear it. And then, of course, they cheese it. Followed by a news broadcast about the fate of the beaten gas station attendant as a montage of people reacting to this, concluded with the young man's mother. We learn that the poor young man was only 18, that at least in the eyes of his mother he had never done anything wrong, and by implication by the brief montage that we see, we learn that he comes from a close-knit community. Or at least, generally when there is a montage of responses of groups of people in public places to a broadcast of bad news, we are meant to take from it that everyone watching shares a set of emotional responses and a community bond of some sort. Also of note, listen to Andreas's mother speak agitated but otherwise ordinary Spanish and contrast that with the Spanish coming from the luchador-mask robbers; hear how stilted they sound? The subtitles for her words are by and large accurate, though I didn't hear the part about "don't let my son die" so much as "make him well again." Still, by and large accurate for such a large chunk of monologue not in English. Another montage over the neighborhood starting with through the window, implying that whatever she's saying, her prayers are being carried towards someone or something else. And let's all take note of this right now: for whatever reason, it's the Latino legends of El Cucuy and La Llorona that are implied to be something otherworldly or more spiritual, and not at all Wesen. I'm really not sure what to make of that. There's also Volcanalis, but there's little to indicate that it's an outside context creature as opposed to a very rare Wesen, especially since we don't have much interaction between it and anyone else. La Llorona was very definitely outside context, and El Cucuy... there's one evidence for Wesen and a few others for something else entirely. I don't think it's maliciously intended and, honestly, I don't think it comes across poorly either. It's just odd and something to note. Certainly this opening implies something more spiritual, although there's no confirmation that El Cucuy actually heard the woman's prayers so much as, as we see, saw the news broadcast and got really, really pissed off. That's a perfectly good chair you're ruining, I hope you realize that. Roll credits!

From the mystery of the week to the overarching mystery, we're over at Nick and Juliette's place and Juliette is fretting (and possibly a little too caffeinated) over the email. In case we forgot it a series of sharp, quick pans across the screen remind us of the text, though not in a coherent form, more disjointed, more like what phrases and words pop up in Juliette's mind as she thinks about it. This also might as well be a good place to talk about the use of color in this episode. Juliette and Nick's place is warm and cozy, but dimly lit as compared to how we've seen it previously. The hospital room and most of the other places we saw during the beating were, by contrast, either cooly lit despite the warm colors or cooly lit and full of cooler colors, somewhat washed out, and full of shadows. We're going into X-Files and Supernatural type lighting here, as my co-blogger put it in her notes, dark times for dark deeds. Nick and Juliette get somewhat less darkness and softer shadows, but it's still darker than we've seen them recently, even at night. Enter into this dark time, Nick! Not pursued by any bears. Juliette has wolves, though, she has wolves of insecurities nipping at her heels, which causes her to prevaricate a bit before she tells Nick what's really bothering her. We'll start the prevarication with his results from his doctor, which are even more diplomatic in the not saying "Dude you should be dead with that heart rate" when filtered through Juliette. Continuing on with Juliette's guilt for snooping through his email and finally explaining the email. Which she's already memorized, and even though it's a short email and she's had a couple of hours, that shows how much it's been on her mind. Nick, for his part, doesn't deal with surprises all that well and still seems to be wrestling with the idea that his mother is actually alive, as well he might. For all that he may be compartmentalizing it away when he doesn't have to deal with it on a regular basis, we see here with Juliette that he's still shaken by the whole thing, and compartmentalizing it hard enough that he hasn't told her about it in all this time. Granted, they've both had a lot of other things on their mind, but still. It's quite a big thing!

Fortunately for him, he doesn't have to deal with it alone! And in a lovely display of exactly why we adore this show, he tells Juliette straight out that the email is from his mother, that she's not dead. Juliette, for her part in the awesome, takes it about as readily as she can and only disbelieves it for the first moment; when he repeats the story and with more detail she accepts that it's at least his truth, and tries to work it out in her head to be her truth as well, to change what she's known about him for several years now. It probably helps that he wasn't actively lying to her or trying to hide his mother from her, Juliette was kind of comatose at the time. The explanations and interchanges are chaotic and a bit fraught, but nowhere in there is there any mistrust or accusation as the two of them try to work things out together. (I still wonder why the friend was in the car in such a way that the assassins mistook the friend for Kelly but that's a whole other barrel of monkeys.) So, now out with it, they haven't had a chance to really talk about it before now and she's like him. Or, as Nick puts it, he's like her, whichever way you want to think of it. Juliette still being new to this and very much caught up in the Masquerade part is adorable when she whispers the Grimm part, never mind that there's no one else in the house to overhear. And she frames it as "so it's genetic" to give her some sense of structure that she can understand, a way to bring it into her world rather than have to completely transfer to a whole new one with strange and scary rules. It's a fair enough description, anyway! We conclude with a couple of standard interchanges, is there anything she can do and just being able to talk to her and not lie to her is enough, for both of them. Followed by, adorably, did Kelly like her? Well, for someone who was in a coma! Really, this entire sequence is lovely, Bitsie Tulloch and David Giuntoli have amazing chemistry together and this is a very good example of why. Golamco has given us some tightly written, very demonstrative dialogue of why they work as a couple, and Tulloch and Giuntoli carry it through beautifully. This is exactly the kind of thing we love to see from these two on Grimm, and we're hoping for more of it as the season progresses.

And now for something completely different! Vienna, and Adalind's obstetrician's office. That's a marked contrast here between two people who may eventually want a family (although I wonder if Juliette was thinking about that when she realized this Grimm thing was genetic, or if she hasn't gotten that far yet) to an impending single mother intending to sell her baby to someone with potentially really bad intentions. Um. Yes. In addition to the contrast of mood we have the contrast of light and color, everything is very, very bright here. Which is in and of itself an overall contrast to the rest of the show; normally up to this point the Austria scenes have been either night shoots or dimly lit while the rest of the show at least had some brightness to it, here it's completely reversed. The German is accurate to the subtitles, so far as I can tell and leaving out the victory dance I may or may not have done at picking up more of it more immediately, but what's really curious is the fact that there are two heartbeats on the monitor. The obstetrician thinks it must be an echo. I wouldn't be so sure. Twins is a possibility, Claire Coffee and I and who knows how many other Twitter-wits cracked Time Lord jokes (and how much do we love Claire Coffee for that bit of geekery? all the love, I say!), but there's always the possibility that it's an echo of Frau Pech, or something more sinister going on. This is, after all, a hexen pregnancy potentially on both sides, with magical shenanigans while the baby is in utero and developing. Dare I say that performing that kind of magic is like getting an X-Ray while you're pregnant: be very very careful and most often, just say no? Inquiring minds. Still, the doctor would like her to come back in two weeks for a follow up. And now Adalind is outside and heading back to her car and who is that across the street with a camera? Hello, Sebastien! (Look, I got his name right first time!) Requisite we-hope-he-doesn't-die out of the way, it looks like Meisner's headed his way. While I'm at it, it looks like Meisner's wearing the same damn clothes he was wearing before, and why is Meisner back in Vienna this soon? This is bad spycraft, you guys. Meisner. This is bad protocol. Meisner and Sebastien's German is much harder to decipher, Damien Puckler having it probably as his second? language and Christian Lagadec as maybe his second or third. And yes, Lagadec has a French accent to his German, though slighter than Roiz's initial burst of German. What? We pay attention to these things. Medical records, yes, would be helpful, and it makes sense that they'd want them. Personally, I would want a DNA sample from the child, but that would be incredibly hard to acquire, so medical records will be the best they'll get. As far as I can tell the German is accurate to the subtitles and both parties are using the formal, or at least Sebastien is. Puckler still needs marbles. And Meisner is still more than a little creepy, the sort of guy who doesn't seem to really react to much of anything except "oh goody, a challenge." I don't have quite the right words to describe it and I hesitate to use the phrase "flat affect" just yet given how little we've seen of him, but his responses definitely aren't what we've come to think of as usual or normal. Certainly he doesn't seem inclined to make an effort to be anything more than coldly professional to Sebastien, whereas Renard got a bit of at least verbal teeth if not the full on Sabretooth smile.

Back in the States, the two luchador robbers are getting out of their traditional twenty-or-more-years-old clunker (though it sounds like it's been well maintained) and swaggering up to a convenience store where a Little Old Lady has finished her shopping and bid farewell to the clerk. Seriously, she looks like a more stereotypical version of Sophia from Golden Girls, only without glasses. Then comes a man with some groceries up to the counter, and then we have the robbers! This time one's in a luchador mask and the other's in a skull face mask for, what, Dia De Los Muertos? I have no idea, that's a suggestion from Pilar's actress, the always excellent Bertila Damas. Either way, masks for everyone! At least for all of the bad guys, who will now proceed to do copious amounts of highly unnecessary violence to everyone and anything remotely appearing to stand in their way. Really, these guys are just assholes doing this at least as much for the violence as for the money, and probably more for the violence. Gas station and convenience store clerks rarely defend the money in the cash drawer because it's just not fucking worth it when the other guy has a gun. No, these guys have to go around and terrorize and beat everyone. So, they run off with their ill gotten gains, back to the car, where they promptly get turned into chum by one of the most entertaining supernatural vigilantes since Eric Draven. Accompanied by doglike snarls, so as to set up one of the red herrings later, though it's also entirely possible that they just ran past the dogs, which were snarling at the goings on.

The cops are on the scene! Sgt Franco, always excellent, describes what the police know of the scene which isn't much apart from all the blood. He has the reporting neighbor in the back of his car partly to keep the neighbor from going anywhere but, given his description of the guy, partly also to give the poor bastard somewhere to hide on account of being shook up. The throats were ripped out so there's plenty of reason to be shook up, no wallet or ID on the body. Let's all note that when Nick asks if anyone else heard this, Franco responded that the neighbor Martinez was the only one willing to talk. We saw footage earlier that implied this was a close knit community, between the montages and the behavior of the people at the convenience store, now we're seeing a distrust of the police in particular or authority in general which can also result from a close knit community, particularly one where response time is slow and/or harassment and abuse of authority is common. There's a lot of commentary I could make here about the Latino communities in real-life cities, common perceptions and the potential for distrust between law/authority and the people in the communities, and how they're seen as a generic group to be pacified and appeased rather than a community with shared elements who need police and emergency services like every other community. I won't. I will highlight the rather excellent portrayal, again, of this community as a community and not a collection of stereotypes; the stereotypical qualities to some of the characters reflect actual common traits. But suffice to say, this distrust of authority in certain communities is not at all a rare thing. The one neighbor who is talking to them sounds calmer when Nick and Hank go over to talk to him, says he didn't see anything but only heard it, and given both the tone of his voice and the readiness with which he describes that I'd tend to believe him. Like they were being ripped apart by wild dogs, he says. Ew. He's forthcoming with the first couple of questions, but after that, after he's had a second to think about what they're asking him he looks up and down the street and then starts blatantly lying. Repeating that he didn't see anything, he'd like to go now. Sure, he can go, but now he's made himself look awfully squirrelly and suspicious. Hank suggests it might be because of whoever did the throat ripping, and no one seems to disagree. It's a theory, at least! And whoever did the throat ripping wouldn't be terribly happy about someone ratting on them to the cops, so it's a pretty damn decent theory. Over to inspecting the car, now, where they find wallets and IDs in the glove box and, oh, hey, the masks and guns and stolen money in the back seat! Which invites the question why didn't the killer take the money? Also, given what they know, is this Wesen related? Nick does have a point that Wesen like money just as much as everybody else, but may I say here that Russell Hornsby's delivery of "Feral dogs?" as a follow-up theory is fucking hysterical. It's hard to say whether or not he believes it, but it's clearly the less probable alternative to Wesen and given that feral dogs tend not to be a problem in Portland, Oregon (though they are apparently a problem in other cities in other parts of the world) Wesen killer might not be a bad idea. Even if "feral dogs" is what they're going with for the benefit of the Muggles, one of whom is coming up to talk to them right now. Franco! Hello again, Franco! He has news of a convenience store robbery nearby. So, that's where the money came from, then.

At the robbery site there's a very loud heckler in a Marines t-shirt shouting at the cops about not doing their job. Because that's a productive use of your time and contributes to the safety and well-being of your neighborhood and its residents. Sarcasm aside, this is both indicative of and contributory to the attitude of community against cops, and the self-policing vigilantism that gets people in trouble. Both victims of amateur profiling and hasty judgments and the vigilantes themselves. It's also delivered in the kind of rapid-fire, loud volume exposition that indicates agitation beyond normal anger; he's not as concerned with the police understanding his message as much as he is venting some sort of negative emotion. Let's all mark that down for later. The presumably local uniform cop is familiar with the shouty guy, his name is David Flores, he constantly shows up to crime scenes to tell the police how they're not doing their job, etc. Yay. Wu gives them the rundown on the robbery, which is to say very little to go on, and Hank and Nick trade him for the rundown on the murder and why they think it's these robbers. Along with some traditional Wu bantersnark, we do love you for that, Wu. And now to review the tapes and see who was there just before or around the robbery to identify potential witnesses. Three people who might have seen either the robbers or what happened after! It's a place to start, though given Franco's and our boys' lack of success earlier with the one guy, I feel safe in saying that they're not going to get anything out of anyone they pull in off those tapes. Maybe the run-around.

Meanwhile, back at the Burkhardt-Silverton residence, Juliette is engaging in some amateur but surprisingly realistic hacking! Which is to say, yes, you can track an IP address down to the town. Well that's definitely a town from one of a handful of Eastern European countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia. Maybe Serbia. Quick googling gives Slovenia the prize! And is that anywhere near where Mama Grimm's supposed to be disposing of the coins? Well... sort of. Not near in that you've got five or six countries in between, but near in the sense that that's a bit like being five or six states away.

Interviewing the witnesses! Which is one of your standard clip compilations to save time. To save time, none of them saw anything useful. None of them have deception tells to speak of, the first most lacking in tells, the second is a little too eager to help without actually being able to but displays no other signs of dishonesty, and the third has minor inconsistencies but no other signs of a lie, and the minor inconsistencies could be due to memory and pressure from the detectives since they're pressing the final one the hardest and the episode is giving him the most time. We learn that he was taking the bus because he had groceries, that he doesn't want to cause trouble for himself although that comes between the lines from the way he's trying to dodge. And finally we learn about a man named Ray Bolton who has dogs, vicious ones, that get out sometimes and which the witness thinks Ray uses for fights. Dogs aren't consistent with the wounds on the dead robbers, but it's as good of a theory as they're going to get unless they want to match all the Wesen available in the books Nick has in his trailer to the wounds. Plus, there's an easy way to rule out the dogs as the attackers; dogs don't exactly brush their teeth regularly, and it's not likely that someone who fights dogs and pays little enough attention to them that they get out is going to remember to brush their teeth good and proper after they've killed a person.

Not that they'll find out tonight, not yet. Tonight Nick goes home to an incredibly caffeinated Juliette! Who has data! I can't really blame her, we get like that when we discover data. Although apparently Bitsie Tulloch method acted this one with a fair amount of espresso. (A: And this is why we love this cast.) It turns out Juliette has been on Google too and has found out where Visnja Gora is, printed out some maps for Nick, and generally took the IP trace about as far as she can without mad leet Penelope Garcia hacking skillz. Nick is duly impressed! Juliette takes another sip of coffee. She really doesn't need more coffee but I can't complain too hard since, well, A and I get pretty much exactly like this when we're on a tear. Oh these two. It's also a nice interlude touching on the metaplot and adding weight to how well these two work together, be it in their relationship or on Grimm stuff or whatever.

Next day at the precinct we get the data on Ray Bolton! Narcotics, weapons violations, assault, generally he's an all around bad guy who hasn't quite graduated to murder yet. Better than that, the dead guys are known associates, one of whom testified against Bolton recently! I believe we pronounce this as "motive." It's at least probable cause to search the house and the dogs, so it's out to the house with animal control just in case! He does have a number of dogs, all of them very loud. Though I do catch a few tails wagging, which is the only drawback to having well trained dogs playing angry, poorly trained dogs for someone who's paying attention. Speaking of paying attention, looks like the neighbors? his girlfriend? the implication is that it's another woman who lives in the residence, at least. Is/are both watchful and afraid. With good reason, Bolton has a temper and isn't afraid to use it or to attack a police officer, as it turns out! Nice, pick the police officer who's also a Grimm. And Bolton is some kind of a something with pointed ears and a pointed face, unidentifiable by the woge form alone. Hopefully no one else saw that anyway! Flores gets there in time to see them haul Bolton off and gloat, which gets him the predictable shouted threats from Bolton and not quite a threat from Flores. It's not so much that he says he's going to kill him but more "you're dead," which implies that he's glad Bolton's screwed up badly enough this time to be in serious and perhaps lethal trouble.

Meanwhile! Back in the land of adorable couples, for a change of pace we have Monroe doing his pilates oh dear god that's cute. Stop that, Silas Weir Mitchell. He's in the middle of a routine when the phone rings, which is fine because now he has someone there to ask to get the phone for him! Rosalee answers it while carrying what looks like some laundry and telling him she's going to be late in tonight because she has a delivery at the shop, it's all very domestic, as if in contrast with what we've heard is coming down the pipe at them later. The person on the other end of the phone thinks she has a wrong number, which is understandable since Monroe's been baching it at that phone number for a long time, clearly. Rosalee does the polite thing of asking who she should say is calling, and the voice at the other end is clearly puzzled if not in the hostile way when she gives her identity as Monroe's mother. Cue oh-shit look from Rosalee, for any of half a dozen reasons. For one, as Monroe confesses, his mother doesn't know about Rosalee yet! Never mind that moving in together is the kind of act that usually precipitates calls home if one is at all close to one's family. It's all right, as it turns out, Monroe's mother is more amused than anything else to find out that Monroe has a girlfriend. Possibly the kind of amused that will translate itself into passive aggressive nagging later, but for now it's just amusement and commentary about how he sounds busy and she'll call back later. Uh-huh. Well, right now they're busy figuring out when and how to tell their parents what they're doing, with all the hesitant uncertainty of teenagers. It's a cute veneer over an underlying potentially very real fear; let's all cast our minds back to a video Nick watched back in season one, a video where Wesen were being executed for marrying outside their own species? Yeah, that happened less than a hundred years ago so, much like those embarrassing relatives who still talk about those [insert racial stereotype here] at the dinner table and especially when your partner who you've brought for the first family dinner IS one of those [racial type], Monroe and Rosalee's parents might not take too kindly that their son/daughter is dating a Fuchsbau/Blutbad. Particularly not with the living with one. Rosalee's family I'd expect to take it a little more calmly or at least passively than Monroe's, given what we know of them. Still, it's a worry.

Speaking of Wesen species, let's go back over to the precinct where Hank and Nick are discussing what the hell kind of a Wesen Bolton is. I would have gone for bald Hundjager crossed with a Murcielago myself, but, sure, that kind of works. Also worthy of note, as Nick does, is that Bolton doesn't seem bothered by Nick the Grimm, indicating that either he doesn't recognize Nick's authority as a Grimm and thinks Nick shouldn't either, or he considers himself to be as badass as a Grimm. Neither of which bodes well. Let's move on to the interrogation! Yeah, no, as much as Nick does sometimes run rampant over his police authority in the interests of getting dangerous Wesen off the street, you attacked a fucking cop, dude. The cops have every right to arrest you and put you in interrogation and charge you with assaulting a police officer if they want. Especially since you got at least a couple witnesses there. After the requisite I-know-my-rights-you-can't-keep-me-here we go straight to the murder, circling around the motive issue by confirming that Bolton was mad about one of the robbers, Guzman, testifying against him. He isn't doing himself any favors by admitting that he could have done it either way, himself or using his dogs, but he doesn't admit to actually having done it either. Irritating! Even more irritating is that when they come out of interrogation Wu has the results back from the dog swab saying that they didn't do it. They're still not giving the dogs back, though. The dogs' owner assaulted a police officer! It's not likely he's getting out any time soon and therefore won't be able to care for his animals.  With Wu dispatched to relay the message back to animal control they can discuss the fact that having the dogs is a good cover for potentially attacking the robbers in woge form himself, not counting on the cops having a Grimm in their ranks. Nick does point out the perpetual and persistent problem that if he did attack the robbers, proving it to the standards of an arrest is going to be difficult considering the cause of death looks very much like animal attack. What the hell, Hank decides, though, swab him anyway. Oh Hank. We're so keeping you. Swabbing him in this case is by way of letting Bolton know that they know (assuming they know what they think they know) and Nick wants to know what the fuck they're dealing with. So say we all, Nick. So say we all.

In order to better find out what they're dealing with we take the problem to the Scooby gang! Who, in good tradition of cop shows everywhere, are discussing the grisly crime scene photos over food. I love everyone in this Scooby gang. Even the background music is jaunty as Juliette explains, largely correctly, that a dog wound tends to be more of a bite and shake with more tearing rather than a rip and tear. Photographs with no zoom or ability to poke at the injury make it, I would argue, more difficult to tell what's ante and what's post mortem, but she brings up a very good point. Meanwhile Rosalee is serving up more food because these are all hardened cops/vets/apothecarys/predators/other people who do not balk at grisly crime scene photos over food! Monroe rules out Blutbad, no leg wounds (specifically hamstring, maybe?) and more than just a throat tearing. I'd argue that since Blutbad are more than capable of disguising their kills that that shouldn't rule anything out but, barring that we find a Blutbad with a motive, it makes sense for a generalized kill. Nick offers up his mashup Wesen description again, which Rosalee decides is a Höllentier. Apparently these are another of the all-of-them-are-jerkasses species, see also Hundjager and Klaustreich. It turns out this species also dates back to the time of the Pharaohs, which brings up the interesting question of if these Hollentier have something to do with the Set-beast. It would also go with the personality, or at least the popular perception of Set would go with the personality; as with a lot of ancient myths the legends have been somewhat altered in common perception. We interrupt this speculation for Hank to ask for more he doesn't know what it is but apparently he likes it! And concludes with, whatever Bolton is and whatever he's done, at least he's locked up right now. Possibly, I would add, for a couple of years? Maybe? A few months? Cue inappropriate/awkward jokes from Monroe, while everyone else looks around and Rosalee is the only one who laughs. Oh you guys.

Of course, having established that Bolton's locked up it is now time to establish that he's not the one who's been carrying out the attacks by, well, having an attack! This time in the form of two shady guys going after a woman getting off the bus to walk down a dark street alone. This is why I'm very rarely unarmed when I walk around alone at night, and no, I'm not saying what I'm armed with. That and, you know, bears sometimes. This woman has something better than anti-bear-spray, she has El Cucuy on her side! Who will proceed to ripshredmaim the shit out of these guys, possibly literally if any of those deeper cuts are to the bowels. The woman in question will run like hell, as would any halfway-perceptive person, because first assault and then ripshredmaiming? Yeah, no. Outta there.

When we come back from commercial Nick and Hank are on the scene, confirming aloud what we already knew, that Bolton was locked up at the time of this attack so it couldn't have been him. I'd also question why it would have been him since, while he had a motive for the first attack, this one at least on the face of it is unrelated to his activities. It is, as Hank says, a vigilante pattern. And they have a witness, but if it was a Wesen vigilante chances are good she won't be able to coherently describe what she saw, what with having no frame of reference for it. Hey, speaking of the witness/victim, she's ready to talk and the EMTs are done with her! Flores is also back, and if anyone fits the profile of a vigilante in the making it's him. Fortunately they have a damn good reason to have a background check run on him via the police, so they send Wu off to do that while they talk to the witness/victim, Ms. Ramos. She's responsive, in a way, but offers only one-word answers (granted, not that the answers to those questions need much elaboration, but it makes her come across as recalcitrant and withdrawn, which she may well be at the moment) and she doesn't know what happened after the man attacked her. Or so she claims, and the only way in which I would argue is that she has some idea of the things she saw and heard but she can't make sense of them to put them in some acceptable framework of, this is what happened. Nick tries to rephrase the question so that she can give an answer, asking what she saw rather than what she remembers happened, which is usually a safe bet. Only they have no frame of reference for what she says she saw, which is El Cucuy. Fortunately they have someone who might have the proper frame of reference to describe El Cucuy, so it's back home to see if Juliette can describe it other than a thing or person that everyone knows about! Or it would be if Flores weren't giving them all a good jump scare by banging on the hood of the car and taunting them about how someone's doing their job for them. Wu drags him off, like the good police sergeant he is. Seriously, if there was ever vigilante material... And leaning on him for a jump scare only points the finger further in his direction. Which means he's likely our second red herring.

Back at home Juliette offers a pretty accurate description of El Cucuy, El Coco, El Cuci, there really are a bunch of different names for it and that's a pretty apt description of how the story gets passed down. I myself never had this happen to me, but I still heard stories about it growing up. Mostly I suspect my Mom just didn't want to encourage my active imagination to give me more nightmares. And El Cucuy is damn well the stuff of nightmares. In this case, also the stuff of urban legends; Nick tells her the witness said El Cucuy did it, and Juliette reacts pretty much the way most English-American-raised people would react if someone said the monster under the bed did it, or the Tooth Fairy. Well, maybe not the Tooth Fairy. Though, given that Juliette is now aware of the unMasqued world, she doesn't dismiss it completely out of hand -- it could be Wesen! Nick isn't sure anymore. But Juliette knows someone who was there the last time Latino legends came calling, and who might be able to help.

HI PILAR. HOLA PILAR. Excuse me while I bounce in my seat can we have more Pilar? Can we introduce Pilar to Rosalee? Can we just have more Pilar in general? Ahem. Subtitles, yes, are fairly accurate, I think more likely because the women just said words and then provided the translation for the post-production staff. It really helps when you have actors who are actually fluent in the languages they're speaking, though Claire Coffee does well with her German! At any rate, Pilar, meet Nick! Who she likely remembers from the investigation as well as hearing about him from a very distressed Juliette. And it's right down to brass tacks with her, let's discuss El Cucuy! I'm deeply amused that Nick doesn't seem to know what to do with Pilar, he's not exactly nervous per se, but he's definitely unsure of how to behave. Is this a witness, an expert consultant? A friend of Juliette's? Which makes me curious as to how much Juliette told Nick about her relationship to Pilar and what she's done for her, especially if Nick knows about her abilities. If he didn't before or, more likely, didn't believe considering she was very up-front about La Llorona. As up-front as she is now about how she could sense that it was El Cucuy. She invites them to sit and tells them about a time of great sorrow, as she puts it, during her childhood in Guadalajara. The women began to pray to El Cucuy to avenge them and deal with the evil that had come upon the town, and eventually the bad men started dying. Specifically, torn up like they had been attacked by wild dogs. Sound familiar? Though Pilar didn't see El Cucuy herself she describes it according to one of the other women in her barrio, in this case used in the original meaning of neighborhood for all those of you who have images of tricked out cars and people flashing gang signs. Neighborhood, I promise. El Cucuy was described as having yellow eyes, teeth like razors, and the kind of breath you would expect from someone who rips throats out with its teeth and doesn't brush afterwards. Juliette looks both gobsmacked and intrigued, in the way of someone who has already had her world upended once and is now much more curious to know what else is out there; Nick is taking this quietly but, I would guess, more like a cop. Now that he's had a while to get used to there being more things on heaven and earth, etc, this is just another potential perpetrator description. Neither of them looks terribly comfortable with the idea that there has been so much pain and anguish in that neighborhood that a folkloric demon has turned up to wreak vengeance, as well they might not be. Nick in particular because this, like La Llorona, turns upside down the whole notion that there is some sort of order to this change in his worldview, that Wesen are still people with society and rules and biology. This is magic and mythology and nothing he was prepared for.

So, off to the trailer! To try and find some information on El Cucuy that he can more comfortably accept. And likely Juliette, too, because let's face it if I ran into La Llorona somewhere, I would be trying my damndest to analyze the crap out of her before I went screaming for the hills. The books tell Nick nothing. The books tell Juliette a lot, but nothing relevant to El Cucuy, though her display of enthusiasm for the history of the whole thing is apparently endearing to Nick. Let's take a second here to appreciate all the couple-ness these two have been showing, not just in the conversations we described earlier in the episode but also in their posture and body language during the dinner at Monroe's, the conversation at Pilar's, all over the place. They orient towards each other, Juliette leans into Nick, it's all a sign of two people who are physically and emotionally so comfortable with each other that they gravitate towards each other lacking any other social constraint against public affection. And it's adorable. And did I mention the chemistry? Okay, so, anyway, Juliette speculates that maybe it's just something Nick's ancestors haven't encountered yet, Nick speculates that maybe it's in a book he didn't inherit, both of these are valid points as well as being ways to cope with the upending of their paradigms even more. Juliette being the one who has most recently had to adjust her thinking, it makes her a good choice for being the person to speculate that maybe it isn't even Wesen. She's believed in six impossible things already, why not one more? Nick is a lot more rattled by the idea, as described earlier, but he doesn't say anything. And while we're on the subject, once again, how come it's El Cucuy and La Llorona who are the supernatural beasties with no Wesen equivalent and no concrete explanation? Not that I'm complaining (too much) or that I think this is in any way maliciously intended, but explain that one to me, folks. Because I sure can't.

All right, in the category of questions not answered, Bolton and company would like some answers from Flores. Let's all take a moment to appreciate the sick irony of Bolton accusing Flores of walking the streets like he owns the place. I don't have enough pots and kettles for this, and I keep a well stocked kitchen. Bolton doesn't seem to be unaware of the irony so much as he just plain gives no fucks, this is about imposing his law on what he sees as his territory and making sure Flores doesn't cause trouble. For good measure he'll threaten his mother, too, which is not a winning move by any stretch of the imagination. Let's see, 1) Marine or ex-Marine, 2) already displaying vicious temper and poor impulse control, 3) already inclined to do vigilante violence, 4) if Bolton knows enough about him to threaten his mother, chances are pushing that button will trigger an emotional response all right. Just not likely the one Bolton was hoping for. They kick him while he's down a few more times, literally, then drive off. Because we didn't already know these were bad guys, or something. This is one part of the episode I do question, apart from it being filler and providing another inciting incident from El Cucuy, did it have to be as graphic and/or as prominent as it was?

CAPTAIN. WE MISSED YOU CAPTAIN. Seriously, where the hell have you been all episode. He's reading us off the background on the latest victim, Stillman, who doesn't seem to have a connection that anyone can find to Flores, Guzman, Ortero?, or Bolton. We learn that Flores was indeed a Marine and came back with a severe case of PTSD, which fits the increased aggression as one possible cause but isn't probative of anything, nor are the domestic disturbance calls. The most interesting part of this entire scene isn't so much that the Captain is inclined to point fingers at Flores, but more that they're talking to him with the office door open and no one is mentioning Wesen, El Cucuy, or anything else supernatural. If there was anyone they could take "the boogeyman did it" to it'd be Captain half-Zauber himself, but we aren't seeing any signs that they've done so. Ooh, but Wu has the footage from the bus, so maybe they can get some witnesses there? Everyone crowds around the iPad to get a look; they find the guy Ms. Ramos thought was following her, the guy who actually was following her, and, hey! The woman from the convenience store who looks like Sophia from Golden Girls! Yeah, the fact that she's appearing at two homicide scenes in rapid succession is not a coincidence. Renard knows from not coincidences. Renard will suggest in the manner of this is not a suggestion at all that they go talk to her again, though I doubt anyone else is of a different mind.

Meanwhile over at the Flores residence David, as he will now be known since his mother is fussing at him, is frothing mad. Almost literally frothing mad, and now we can see where the domestic disturbance calls come from. Probably not from him raising a hand to someone in his household, but from him smashing shit and freaking out his poor mother. Let's also take this opportunity to note the ongoing theme of concerned and protective mothers in this episode, from Nick's mother checking in with him to Monroe's mother finally making an appearance if only by phone (which is also a theme here, Mama Renard I'm looking at you) to, now, Flores's mother who we are briefly getting to know in more detail. This is the first actual episode we've seen focus on mothers quite this much, four mothers if you count the initial scenes, five if you count Adalind, although motherhood and family is certainly going to be an ongoing theme this season, probably more than it was last season. In this episode, even, we have the overall motif that it is the women, usually the mother and grandmother aged women, whose grief and rage triggers El CuCuy's presence. See also the first mother praying in the rough direction of the moon. I would go on to speculate, actually, that this is emblematic of something we're going to see a lot of in Grimm, not just motherhood and family but powerful mothers acting on that power, seeking vengeance, securing their children's safety. Not necessarily that their power comes from motherhood, but that the two signficant factors in these women's appearances are that they are mothers and that they are powerful. And badass. If that's the case, well done Golamco for layering that in so neatly. Even if that's not the case for the season, well done for layering it into the episode! Ahem. Back to mothers! In this case, a son galvanized by a threat on his mother's life and currently frothing about how the police let Bolton out, as you do when a criminal you taunted kicks the shit out of you and threatens your mother's life. Why exactly he goes for the knife and his dress blues I don't know, there's not quite enough evident in his pathology to explain that although we could take a few stabs at it, pun semi-intended, but the main takeaway from him choosing to dress in his fancy uniform to go after Bolton is that this is an Important Act for him, likely an act of honor and possibly a suicide attack. Which might also explain the knife.

Hank and Nick are over at apartment 305, because the writers can't resist being clever and symbolic, talking to not!Sophia who is totally El Cucuy. Seriously, you guys, we have a little over five minutes in the episode and this woman has been at both crime scenes, there's not enough time to pull up another suspect. But since Nick and Hank don't know they're in a television show, they're still just inviting her down to the station to talk about what she might have seen. A little pointedly, mind you, but not with anything more than vague suspicion. Yet. She does seem surprised that they knew she was on the bus last night, and a little wary of answering their questions until it's established that they just need her to look at photos. So, yeah. She totally did it. And she'll be happy to come with them to the station, she just has to get her coat. Hank doesn't think she's going to be much help, so at least he's picking up on her odd behavior. Just not what type of odd it is. The music is in on her little old lady act, all jaunty and bright. We're not buying it, lady. Not even with the hitting on Nick in that she doesn't get much attention from handsome young men anymore way. Seriously, not buying it at all. Nick shouldn't be, either, but it's hard to get a proper read on him. I do think he is fooled, at least for the moment. He's looking more for Wesen, and this is turning out to be a whole other kind of creature.

Speaking of a whole other kind of creature, here's Renard coming back into his office from something or another, and his desk is buzzing! We all know what that is, but it's nice to see he's still attempting to keep that work/conspiracy-vs-home life separate, inasmuch as he has a home life. His life in the place where he can relax and maybe get some degree of rest? No answering the phone, so it seems to be a text message since he then goes to his email to pull up oh, hey. The sonogram. We can see this hitting him, thanks to another excellent performance by Roiz, in the abrupt increase in tension in his face and the rhythm of his breathing; we can also imagine that this is not going down well. That is, potentially, his child on the screen, being carried by a woman he knows has more than enough reason to hate him, conceived solely as far as we can tell for the purpose of a power play. Maybe a multi-purpose power-play, but still. The only upside here is that she does seem to be invested in the health and well-being of her child, in that she's going to the appropriate doctors and taking precautions and whatnot. Poor Renard, though. He likes exactly nothing about this, and there's very little he can do about it except keep his spy watching her. Spies, plural, given Meisner, who is at best an uncertain asset and at worst, a complete loose cannon. Though the fact that they're giving him more face time to Meisner and consistent face time to Sebastien indicates that they want to use both of them further down the line. And that's one thing that's consistently bugged us here at Murderboarding, it seems obvious at least to us that the story the showrunners want to tell is an overarching giant conspiracy type story, whether or not they have it planned out or are just enjoying winging it. But so far, although they've done a decentish (One Night Stand) or better than decent (A Dish Best Served Cold, El Cucuy) job at threading in the themes, rivalries, and conspiracies, it seems like the episodic is constantly being pushed to the forefront at the expense of the overarching, regardless of whether or not it fits. To be fair, most of these scenes that touch on the metaplot aren't so much crammed in sideways as slipped in between action points, but it's still a jarring enough transition that we notice, and we wonder why.

All right, leaving that aside for further developments later on in the season, we're back to a different sort of loose cannon who is admiring Hank's car in the sort of way that makes them exchange a look and a sigh. The slightly too forthright, slightly inappropriate enthusiasm of old ladies who might be veering into age-related dementia, except in this case she is totally playing that up for an innocent act. Yes, I see right through you, Missy. Not that Hank and Nick do. Not that they have time to, there's Wu on the phone giving them a new problem to deal with: David Flores. His mother called the police station to report his shouting, frothing rage, and now they're all pretty sure he's heading over to Bolton's place to confront them. So, all right, they'll try to intercept Flores even with a civilian in the back seat, evidently, and meet the unis there to try and stop this confrontation before it goes down. I guess preventing a potential gunfight or at least a fight that could spill over into the streets and get innocents hurt is more important than taking the civilian either home or to the police station safely? There's logic to that, especially since they could park the car down the street or around the block with a reasonable expectation that she'd be safe. Assuming she stayed put. Heh. This is, of course, exactly what they do, and no, she's not going to stay put. We can figure this out between their last shot and the first shot of Flores  banging on Bolton's door. Aww, Flores interrupted Bolton and his friends counting their drugs and drug money! My heart bleeds. No, wait, that's just post-Thanksgiving heartburn. Bolton instructs his friends to get the stuff out of there and he'll deal with Flores, naturally, by wogeing out and going after him as his Set-beast self or whatever he is. No, the more I look at that, the more I think they were totally going for Set-beast. Or it's the happiest coincidence I've seen in a long time. Interestingly, we only get his head woge'd, his arms are still human. We've seen that sometimes before, but not all the time, the first example I can think of off the top of my head being the Nuckelavee who actually grew hooves over his hands. It's possible this was a post-production crunch issue. I can't imagine it'd be easy to woge the hands, which are moving somewhat more in combat than the head. At any rate, Nick and Hank will now interrupt, at which point Bolton will claim self defense which, sadly, he can do. And as a result they'll have to arrest Flores, which might even be good for him since he would at least get basic medical care. Flores is still rambling about how they shouldn't have let him go. Dude, shut up. Don't dig yourself in deeper than you already are. At least the cops have other problems to worry about right now: Not!Sophia Mrs. Garcia is gone like the wind. And where has she gone?

Well, right behind Bolton, as we see by the yellow eyes and, um, fur? Definitely claws. I'm seeing pointy ears, the fur stopping at the rough edges of the face, and a mouth way full of pointy teeth kind of the size and rough shape of an anglerfish. Okay, maybe the teeth aren't that long, but you get the idea, yes? By the time Nick gets into the house she's already gotten a few good hits in, though. If Bolton isn't dead on the ground, he will be soon. Grimm sees El Cucuy! El Cucuy sees Grimm! This, right here, is what I would consider the most persuasive argument for El Cucuy being a Wesen rather than any other sort of spirit or creature: she knows what Grimms are and she seems to be able to see them the way other Wesen can. She also says ay-chihuahua, which let me tell you is not something I have ever, ever said. Whether this is because people don't actually say that (I have no idea) or because I skipped all the light profanity and went straight for the hardcore stuff in both languages (very, very true) I don't know. I'm actually leaning towards the latter, which means that she's still putting on the harmless old lady act and using swear words that amount to "oh fudge." She also doesn't sound at all ashamed of herself, more embarrassed that she was caught and that she didn't recognize he was a Grimm. Sharp cut to Not!Sophia Mrs. Garcia in interrogation and now not only do we have her sitting across from our boys like she's the prime suspect, we get a nice dutch angle on her to make sure we know she's scary. Also the whole covered in blood thing doesn't help. She's still playing innocent while our poor boys try to make sense of the fact that a 77 year old woman butchered several bad guys in the neighborhood. Nick, honey, your aunt was dying of cancer and weak from chemotherapy or radiation or both, and she still managed to kick a fair amount of ass before she died. A 77 year old Wesen in good health is going to be fully capable of slaughtering grown men, especially if she takes them by surprise. Also her blood spatter on her clothes is way inconsistent with her very tenuous story that she was trying to save Bolton when Nick found her. My biggest worry with this case would be trying to prove that she did it with no identifiable weapons on her person, given that unless she woges no one's exactly going to know she has teeth like razors and claws like meathooks. The best reaction of the night award goes to Renard, who is staring through the glass with blatant jaw-dropped surprise and then turns to Nick and Hank when they enter the observation room with "Are you kidding me?" Because really, what else do you say to that? By the end of it all we're looking at the Space Needle above a train, followed by El Cucuy tottering down the road in her old lady face, so they had to have cut her loose for lack of evidence. We all know where this will lead, but just in case there was any doubt we have a goddamn purse snatching to set her off, and out come the yellow eyes and sharp teeth and I don't even with this show. In a good way, but I really don't.


  1. I'm dying to know what it means to be "royal", and what it means in the wesen world, all things (such as hexenhunking) aside. Are Royals a kind of wesen?

    I really liked this ep, especially the resolution of El Cucuy.

  2. Nice to see how comfortable the captain is getting with his team now that (almost) everyone is up to speed. Watch the scene where the team gathers in his office, and just look at how open and relaxed his body language is compared to previous seasons! Of course he still has his secrets, but not as far as police work is concerned.

    The ending I absolutely HATED. C'mon, what a letdown! First they give us this thoroughly delightful, defying-all-expectations wesen-whatever, I mean, honestly, it WAS nicely unexpected, and then they went and TURNED IT INTO A JOKE! A sweet old lady as a murderous wesen, how funny can that be, giggle giggle... Ageism much?

    And I am just not buying the captain's reaction in the end. Because however delightful Sasha Roiz' delivery of these one-liners is (and I love him more than I can tell), this was so out of character. The captain, if anyone, would know that you must not let yourself be misled by appearances.

    1. It IS nice. I can't wait till they have all the mains in on the action, but right now it is so very good to see Renard and the boys not having to dodge around each other with everything.

      Aw! I actually liked the ending, I'm sorry that you didn't. I saw it less as a matter of her age, though, and more as a matter of, this is a woman who won't even swear (and they likely could have gotten away with some un-subtitled swearing in Spanish, I've seen a lot of movies that do), who is clearly taking advantage of how everyone perceives her to get away with murder, literally. I'm not sure I can disagree with the assessment of Renard's reaction, though. Sadly. His comedic timing really has been excellent so far.

    2. It is possible that my reaction to the ending was strongly coloured by comments I read elsewhere about sweet old ladies and violence generally in films and on tv, which was very much of the giggle giggle variety. AND while I did very much like this particular unexpected perp, I just found the execution sloppy and a bit overacted. Shrug. Cannot always love everything.

  3. I think that there's a qualitative difference between La Llorona and El Cucuy (and, I would also argue, Baron Samedi) and the more typical Wesens who appear on a regular basis. While Monroe and Rosalee are certainly unique individuals, they are also members of particular species and therefore not one-of-a-kind. Maybe La Llorona and El Cucuy are also Wesen of a particular species but the stories seem to be built around the notion of an (eternal?) individual who wanders from place meting out terror or justice depending on your perspective. Or, maybe they're not all that different from angels, in Christian tradition anyway, where Michael, Gabriel and Raphael appear as individuals but with the understanding that there are hosts of others whose names are never revealed.

    In any case, I loved the La Llorona and El Cucuy episodes for the same reason that others have expressed here. Having lived in the Southwest United States for 20 years, the atmosphere and respect for the culture and individuals portrayed made me feel as though I was home. You don't see that kind of nuance in most national, dominant culture shows and I appreciate it.

    1. For me it's a thing I think about (and go back and forth on quite a bit) because these are the stories of my childhood and, honestly, I didn't ever expect La Llorona to show up in a popular fairy tales type show. It's the type of show where you see Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and maybe the Twelve Dancing Princesses or occasionally The Little Mermaid. Krampus and La Llorona and Baron Samedi are in that respect a pleasant surprise. And like Sasha, I'm looking forward to Baba Yaga or other such stories because those were also the stories of my childhood. I had a very mixed childhood.

      But, and I think it's mostly La Llorona here, I'm not sure what to think of the fact that she was so different and so strange that even these people who go back nearly a thousand years and have explored the Galapagos Island have no name for what she is other than, ghost. It sometimes feels like singling out. In a good way or a bad way, I don't know. In the days since we posted this I've come more to the conclusion that El Cucuy is more of an in-Grimm-Context Wesen, maybe as yet undiscovered and maybe more like Hexenbiests with supernatural abilities. But still part of the show, whereas La Llorona is entirely exotic and foreign and strange.

      Baron Samedi, I think, was just a Cracher Mortel who took on the identity the way some people take on the identity of Such-And-So, Living God. At least that's my interpretation based on the way he acted during his appearance. I'm sorry, I'm not doing a very good job of articulating why this makes me ... I'm not even sure I'd go quite so far as uncomfortable. But it's more personal than most of the other stories they deal with. I'd actually be curious to see what someone's take is on Krampus, now that that's aired, someone for whom that's also a cultural-personal thing.

      Don't get me wrong, though, I did love the episodes and I don't think they meant or did anything horribly disrespectful. And as far as the human cultural aspects, neighborhoods and families and so on, they actually did one of the best jobs I've seen in a long long time. It's just that the Wesen-related aspects are an oddity to me.