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‘Grimm’ Review: “El Cucuy”

Grimm "El Cucuy"
Scott Green/NBC

It’s either bold or stupid that ‘Grimm‘ is releasing a new episode the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s hard to say which. But we’re happy to spend some time with weird Portland people for the holidays, so that’s the up side.

Tonight’s episode opens with the quote “Sleep child, sleep now… Or else the Bogeyman will come and eat you.” while the episode sets up that it starts “two weeks ago.” Eighteen year-old  Andres Venegas is working at a gas station only to be robbed by thieves and beaten severely. The crooks get away while he’s left in critical condition. His mother hovers over him and promises revenge as she prays for someone to help her. Then we see the hand of some new beast.

Back at Nick’s, Juliette is still stewing over the email from M when Nick comes home and Juliette confronts him about it. Nick reveals that his mother is still alive and explains the attack from the start of season two as it flashbacks to the events. He explanation is pretty reasonable, all things, and Juliette goes for it. He also reveals his mother is a Grimm. They’re both happy there’s less lying going on. Back in Vienna, Adalind is getting a checkup on her baby, when she finds out that her baby possibly has two hearts. When she leaves, Renard’s man photographs her, and finds out what she was doing. In Portland the two crooks are back at it and rob a convenience store, but when they get back to the car one is mauled to death by the monster. The other runs, but doesn’t get to far before he’s killed.

Nick and Hank are called in on the bodies, and a witness describes what he heard, which he says was like hearing someone torn apart by wolves, then recants everything. The two check out the crooks’ car and find their wallets and their masks, weapons and cash. They go to the convenience store where a citizen named David Flores yells at them for their poor policing of the neighborhood. They check the security footage and find three possible witnesses. Nick talks to the possible witnesses, but they get nothing but the name of a guy who has dog fights. Juliette tracks the IP of Nick’s mom, and finds out that she’s in Slovenia, while Nick says she’s on her way to Greece. At the station, Hank looks up the dog fighter, Ray Bolton, and finds out that Ray knows the dead crooks. They go to Ray’s to take the dogs,and Ray reveals himself to be a Wesen, while Flores shows up and is happy that Ray’s arrested.

Monroe is exercising when the phone rings and Rosalee gets it, it’s Monroe’s mom, and he hasn’t told his mom about Rosalee moving in. Oops. Nick and Hank interrogate Ray, but they get nothing out of him. The dogs turn out to be clean, so they want to get a saliva sample from Ray. During dinner, Juliette, Nick, Hank, Monroe and Rosalee go over the case, and Monroe thinks he knows what variety of wesen it is. A woman gets off a bus and is followed by two men. One grabs her while the beast ends up killing the attacker.

Nick and Hank are called in about the body, and since it matches they previous MO, they have to let Ray go. They put it it together that it’s a vigilante wesen, and it turns out that Flores is there at the scene. Nick and Hank talk to the victim who tells them that the vigilante was El Cucuy. Nick asks Juliette about it, and it’s a bogeyman in Spanish culture. They go to the psychic from season 2 to get information about El Cucuy, and find that people pray for El Cucuy to get vengeance. Nick goes with Juliette to the trailer, and they find nothing (though Juliette looks extra cute while they try). Ray drives up to confront Flores the good Samaritan, and then punches and threatened Flores. Back at the station they check on both Ray and Flores, and then check security footage and see that an old woman who was at the first robbery was on the bus as well. Meanwhile Flores comes home and gets his military uniform and large knife out.

Nick and Hank go to the old woman’s apartment and bring her in for questioning, while Renard gets footage from Adalind’s sonogram. Wu calls Nick to tell him how angry Flores is, and so Nick and Hank take the witness with them while they drive to Ray’s. Flores shows up at Ray’s and Ray and Flores fight when Nick and Hank break it up. The witness gets out of the car and kills Ray. Nick comes in and finds her, and she’s shocked Nick’s a Grimm. When they question her, she reveals that there’s nothing they can do to arrest her as she’s an old woman and no one will believe them. She then heads off to Seattle and finds a new criminal to kill.

Okay, so this is ‘Grimm’ firing on most cylinders. Sure, it’s a medium episode in the scheme of things, not much happens besides another monster of the week, but what makes this a winning episode in that is that it has the moments that make the show great. Monroe and Rosalee are great together (especially in small doses), but the dinner where they look at corpses is a perfect representation of what this show can be. It’s a scene that’s funny, dark, but also about family.

It’s also good that they set up the most obvious red herring in the world, and then switched their game up. That too is an obvious technique, but it’s good to see them introduce a groan-worthy idea and turn it on its head, and have fun with the big bad being a little old lady. That said, Adalind’s arc this season — especially now after a couple of episodes — is looking to be the weakest element of this season. All things considered, this was a good night of ‘Grimm.’

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