Monday, April 18, 2016

Grimm 5x17 Review: “Inugami” (Guardian Ghost Dogs with Swords) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]

Original Airdate: April 15, 2016

“Revenge is the act of passion, vengeance is an act of justice.”

A new Wesen case and the same ol’ subplots were the basis for the latest Grimm. Let’s get to it!


A Japanese Wesen begins exacting revenge in Portland. The first victim is Brian, a teenage boy who was involved in the accidental shooting death of his friend, Kuma, a few months ago. Brian and another friend, Roger, both got community service for the tragedy. Someone doesn’t think the punishment fits the crime and kidnaps Brian, then cuts off his head. Kuma’s father, Jin Akagi, is the prime suspect since he threatened the boys during the trial. He claims to have had nothing to do with it.

Nick and Hank turn to the other boy, Roger, for answers. He recounts what happened that night and how Kuma ended up dead. Roger and Brian were smoking a bunch of weed when Kuma came over with his dad’s sword. Not to be outdone, Roger showed his friends his dad’s gun. Brian grabbed the gun from the case and it accidentally went off. This is the only thing the courts heard at trial. But when Nick and Hank press Roger, he admits there’s more to the story. When the gun went off, Kuma turned into “some sort of animal.” Brian was so startled by this that he dropped the gun and it went off a second time, this time hitting Kuma in the stomach and killing him.

Roger had only ever told his mom this, who instructed him not to reveal that part in court, convinced it was just the drugs causing the boys to hallucinate. But Hank and Nick know better. This has just officially turned into a Wesen case.

When Nick confronts Kuma’s parents, they still swear they had nothing to do with it. But when Nick tells them how Brian was found – his body was buried and his head had been cut off with a sword – they tell him about the Inugami, a ghost dog guardian. Inugami are Wesen who are bound in servitude to families that they protect and avenge. When they kill, they go about it in a very specific method: by cutting off the head of the person who wronged their family and throwing the head under a bridge. This certainly lines up with what happened to Brian.

Kuma’s parents explain that to cut off one’s head leaves the soul in eternal peril, so that they cannot pass into the afterlife. Sounds like a rough gig. The Akagis swear they don’t know who the Inugami is or why it’s avenging their family. Apparently, the only way to bind an Inugami to your family is to save its life, and the Akagis swear they’ve never saved anyone’s life. But then Kuma’s mother, Madoka, remembers that her father saved the life of his best friend when they were both just children. When Madoka’s father passed away, that man continued to look after her. She tells Nick and Hank that this man is Takeshi Himura, the family lawyer. Because he was unable to bring justice to Kuma in the courtroom, he’s now seeking it another way.

They race to Roger’s house but he’s already been taken and his mother has been knocked unconscious. For some inexplicable reason, they brought Jin with them, who reminds them again that the ceremony must be performed by a bridge. He tries calling Takeshi, but unsurprisingly, he doesn’t answer.

They race to the nearest bridge and arrive just in time (naturally). Takeshi is just about to perform the head-cutting-off ceremony. Jin jumps in the way, prepared to sacrifice his life for Roger’s, but Takeshi can’t harm anyone in the Akagi family. So, he throws Jin out of the way and again tries to cut off Roger’s head. But this time Nick and Hank wrestle him to the ground and apprehend him, and Roger is saved once and for all.


Oh, a Grimm episode wouldn’t be complete without its subplots. While Nick and Hank are dealing with guardian ghost dogs, the rest of Team Grimm is up to other pursuits.

The side effects from Wu’s werewolf scratch continue. We find him tossing and turning in the night, clearly caught up in some pretty intense dreams, before he bolts out of bed, races outside, and takes off through the woods. The next morning he wakes, safe and sound in his bed, and thinks it was all just a dream. But we know better! There are leaves and dirt on his carpet that must have gotten there after his romp through the woods the previous night.

Though Adalind hasn’t told Nick her Hexenbiest powers have returned, she does tell him about her job interview at her old law firm. He’s encouraging, and honestly I’m pretty excited to see Adalind out and about in the real world again. She’s been stuck in that depressing loft for too long. What we don’t realize until she gets to the interview is that her old boss is Wesen. Of the scaly, evil, reptilian variety. Of course, Adalind already knew that. After he woges, he asks her if her Hexenbiest services are still available in addition to her lawyer-ing abilities, and she woges to show that she is more than up for the challenge.

Since Nick’s been too busy to explore the tunnels and giant pit he discovered under the building he and Adalind are living in, he enlists Rosalee and Monroe to help. They’re eager to explore and take the opportunity to do so while Adalind’s out at her job interview. There’s lots of witty banter back and forth as they trek through the dark and stinky tunnels. I do love my Monrosalee adventures. Things are going pretty well right up until they happen upon a skeleton. Monroe and Rosalee decide that this is a good place to end their adventure, but just as they’re about to exit the tunnel entrance – which happens to be inside Nick’s loft – Adalind returns home. Because she wasn’t in the know about this little excursion (and because she may or may not be back to being evil) they decide to hide out in the tunnels. Well, Monroe decides. Rosalee is less than thrilled at the prospect of spending the night in a stinky tunnel.

All of a sudden Eve arrives in the loft to give Adalind an ultimatum. Eve knows Adalind is a Hexenbiest again and warns her that if she hurts Nick she will come for her. She also warns that Black Claw will try to recruit her and to stay away or else. No one doubts Eve is true to her word.

Fortunately, despite being trapped under an abandoned warehouse in a dank and stone-lined tunnel, it seems that Monroe still has cell reception. He texts Nick to explain that Adalind’s home and he and Rosalee are trapped. We’ll have to wait until next week to find out how they get out of this particular predicament, though.

Meanwhile, when Renard gets home that evening, Rachel is there and she has a visitor with her: Renard and Adalind’s daughter, Diana. Diana seems way more grown up than she should considering she was an infant just a couple years ago. Now she looks to be eight or nine. But considering we don’t really know much about what type of Wesen a Hexenbiest and half-Zauberbiest produce, it’s anyone’s guess as to what Diana is. She’s still doing the glowing purple eyes thing, so there’s that.

This episode was fine and all, but I’m going to air my same weekly complaint about subplots. Every week I think we’ll be done with the subplots, and every week we continue to be bombarded with them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all interesting and clearly going…somewhere. But there’s still too many of them, they’re taking too long to wrap up, and I’m just not invested in any of them at this point. And unless Wu turning into a werewolf somehow ends up saving the world from Black Claw, then I don’t understand why we needed that particular subplot at all.

Bonus Musings:
  • This may be a non-traditional law firm, but I still find it odd that Adalind brought her infant to a job interview. 
  • Are we really expected to believe that Wu, a pretty sound police officer who wants to make detective one day, would fail to notice leaves and dirt on his carpet the morning after dreaming about running through the woods? 
  • After all the adventures Monroe and Rosalee have been on, I expected them to come equipped with more than just one flickering lantern to explore some creepy old tunnels. 


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