Sunday, January 29, 2017

Grimm 6x04 Review: “El Cuegle” (All the Better to See You With) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]

“El Cuegle”
Original Airdate: January 27, 2017

“Foretold our fate, by the gods’ decree, all heard and none believed the prophecy.”

I don’t know about you, but I sure am loving that Grimm is back for another season. Er, half a season. Uh, well, let’s just not talk about how this is the last season, okay? We’re on episode four, which means we’re about a third of the way through their 13-episode final season and as such, the Grimm writers have been packing each episode with so much crazy, twisty drama you’d think Shonda Rhimes was writing it now. But I guess they do have a lot of subplots meandering all the way back through season one to wrap up, don’t they?

The latest episode picks up in Renard’s mansion, where he’s just come home after an unsuccessful fistfight with Nick. Meisner is there waiting for him, but is it Meisner? After all, Renard killed Meisner — shot him in the head — and you don’t really come back from that. But here he is, looking pretty solid and un-ghostlike and lecturing Renard about choosing the wrong side.

Before Renard can do much more than argue with Meisner, he has to field an angry phone call from a Black Claw member and try to explain how Nick was able to shapeshift into a Renard lookalike and wreak havoc in the span of 30 minutes or so. When Renard gets off the phone, Meisner has disappeared again. So, still looking like Meisner is just a hallucination Renard’s mind has thought up to torment him. As long as it gets us more Meisner screentime, I’m okay with this.

Back at the spice shop, Diana is demanding a few answers about why Nick showed up looking like her daddy. The team’s answers aren’t really cutting it with her, nor is the explanation that she, baby Kelly, and Adalind are all going to go live with Nick now. But before a huge blow-up can occur, Diana gets distracted by Rosalee. She can tell Rosalee has a baby inside her, but she has a bombshell for the group: Rosalee is pregnant with more than one baby. This is news to everyone and when Monroe questions just how many constitutes "more," Diana says she’s not sure. This could get interesting.

Meanwhile, a new desperate-looking Wesen has arrived in Portland and is busy googling “Portland babies,” which leads him to a website with a bunch of newborns and their parents’ addresses, because that seems like a real thing one could stumble upon? He pays a visit to one of the houses and successfully kidnaps the child. When the mother tries to interrupt the kidnapping, he woges, sprouts a third arm out of his back (his original two were busy holding the baby, naturally), shoves the mom out of the way and runs for it. The husband comes in too late and all he sees is his wife on the floor, mumbling something about someone taking their child.

Back at Nick’s loft, Diana is having a hard time settling into the new home. Who can blame her when she’s just gotten used to living in a mayoral mansion? Plus, she can tell that “lots of people died here,” and not just because of the blood stain on the floor. After she falls asleep, Nick and Adalind discuss her future and we see that Eve/Juliette is still hanging out in the tunnels and can hear every word. She’s more than a little uncomfortable overhearing them and just as she turns to go deeper into the tunnels, she spies the place where Nick hid the Elder Wand. This doesn’t seem good.

The next morning, Nick, Hank, and Wu are all back at work. Nick is greeted with a round of applause, which is nice considering it was only a few hours before that he was at the center of a massive manhunt and had a shoot-to-kill order on his head. Renard calls them all into his office to lecture them about not getting in his way and then dismisses them. After they leave the office, Meisner suddenly appears, lounging in one of Renard’s chairs. Renard starts shouting at him. This does not go unnoticed by Hank, Wu, and Nick, who are still standing just outside the door. From their perspective, Renard is talking to himself, ranting and raving at air.

Nick and team don’t have much time to speculate because they have a kidnapping case to look into. They deduce the kidnapping is Wesen-related due to the hysterical mother who claims to have seen a three-armed, three-eyed monster take her baby. The husband thinks his wife has gone crazy, but Nick, Hank, and Wu believe her. They’ve seen stranger things.

The monster seems pretty harmless so far, though. At his hideout, he’s taking good care of the baby. So, at least he’s not the type to eat babies. Or is he?

Back at the precinct, Wu has discovered a pattern of missing children from all over North America – all from social media-addicted parents who post way too much info online. They head out to gather more info, but as Nick stands up he gets lightheaded. Turns out, Eve/Juliette is down in the tunnels right now, where she’s nabbed the Elder Wand from its hiding spot. It doesn’t like being held by her, however, and does its quavering thing before knocking her backward and leaving her with a red welt on her hand. A red welt that soon turns into a symbol she’s seen before: on the dead guy who tried to drag her down to hell with him.

At the spice shop, the team is pouring through books looking for a three-armed, three-eyed monster, when Hank stumbles across the drawing and description of El Cuegle. According to the book, El Cuegle stalks mothers and steals their newborn babies then, well, eats them during the "hours of dread." This riles the team up — especially Monroe, who gets very upset whenever kids are in danger. Of course, this gruesome description of El Cuegle doesn’t really jive with what we’ve seen of this dude so far. Especially because he’s currently at a pharmacy purchasing cold medicine for the baby, who has a slight fever. Unfortunately, his simple shopping trip goes awry when he suffers what looks like a terrible headache, uncontrollably woges, and terrifies the shop clerk. Then he bolts from the store with his cold medicine and not long after, Nick, Hank, and Wu are called to the scene.

They’re able to track El Cuegle’s car from the pharmacy to an apartment building, where they bust in and find him with the baby. Fighting a dude with three arms is as tough as it sounds and it takes all three of them to take him down. El Cuegle’s panicked when they take the baby, but they just chalk this up to him being upset about missing out on his midnight meal of newborn baby.

Over at the mayoral mansion, Adalind has dropped Diana off so she can spend some quality time with her daddy. While Renard and Diana make dinner, he questions her about how Bonaparte died. She cheerfully tells him that he killed Bonaparte because Bonaparte hurt her mommy. She doesn’t admit that she was the one who forced Renard to kill Bonaparte but it’s probably as close to a confession as Renard is going to get from a child. Renard then subtly encourages her to hurt Nick if he ever does anything to hurt Adalind. Diana says that if Nick ever hurt her mommy, he’d be very sorry. This pleases Renard, who is clearly hatching some sort of plan in that evil head of his.

Back at the precinct, El Cuegle is schooling Nick on why he does what he does. He says his three eyes see the past, present, and future, and he is compelled to take babies based on the visions his future eye shows him. He claims the children he takes are all destined for evil. And he has proof — one of the babies he took years ago, he returned unharmed. And then the baby grew up and murdered 10 innocent people as an adult.

As they’re verifying his story, El Cuegle has another vision — of the baby grown up and murdering his parents. In the vision, the teenager has wrapped a gun in his old baby blanket to silence it and shoots both his parents.

The vision causes El Cuegle to start seizing and foaming at the mouth. He then woges, knocks out a guard, and escapes the precinct. He makes his way to the baby’s house. Nick and Hank aren’t far behind though. El Cuegle breaks into the house and knocks the father out, who again doesn’t see him in his woged form. The mother manages to run into another room with the baby and lock the door. Nick and Hank arrive just in time and scuffle with El Cuegle, who’s thrown down the stairs and dies. As he’s dying, he mumbles something about “the bears.”

Nick and Hank can’t figure out what he means until a little while later. The parents are arguing again: the husband still doesn’t believe that his wife saw a monster. He thinks she’s crazy. Nick tries to assure him that she’s not, but he just sneers in disbelief and storms up the stairs to continue yelling at her. That’s when Hank spies the baby blanket on the table. The same blanket that was wrapped around the barrel of the gun in El Cuegle’s vision. The blanket is embroidered with teddy bears. I guess they should have believed him after all.

As much as I love Grimm getting back to doing what it does best — which is the serial format of introducing a new Wesen mystery to solve each week — trying to do that AND wrap up the ridiculous number of unresolved subplots is a bit too much. The episode felt jarring, cycling between its procedural roots while still trying desperately to wrap up subplots involving Elder Wands, Diana the demon child, the Adalind-Eve/Juliette-Nick love triangle, and more. I wish they could just go back to a weekly procedural with interesting new Wesen each week, but they’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole of meandering subplots to do so effectively. The writers need to focus their attention on wrapping up all the loose ends that have been collecting over six seasons and give us a solid conclusion by season’s end. I just hope they can pull it off.

Bonus Musings:
  • “Look, if this is some kind of revenge haunting, don’t forget I shot you to put you out of your misery!” “Yeah. Thank you for that. Really. But, don’t forget you betrayed us all. That’s the real reason I’m dead.” 
  • “How many babies can one guy eat?” “Is that a real question or a riddle?” 
  • “I’ve got three arms and two cuffs!”
  • “Anything you say or eat will be used against you in the court of law!”


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