Nick meets the godfather of death and uncovers the dark side of Wesen eldercare
In your wildest fairy tale fantasies, did you ever expect Grimm to feature a somber rumination on dementia, eldercare, and dying with dignity in its final season? I didn’t, but I’m certainly glad it did — and in an episode where seemingly divergent plot threads tidily weave together in the end, to boot.
First, let’s check in on Eve (but really, Eviette, given her downright animated personality these days). She’s decided she needs to be proactive and kill the mirror monster, rather than waiting for it to get her, so she asks to borrow Adalind’s mother’s Hexen-books to learn more about creating portals to other worlds. When Adalind hesitates, Eve points out only she and Diana can see the symbols, so they could both be in danger.
That does the trick, although Adalind dispatches Nick to tell Eve not to tackle this alone. (Adalind worries that Eve’s looking for redemption, then murmurs, “Aren’t we all?” Gotta say, the apologetic, cautiously supportive dynamic that’s emerged between the two women this season has been welcome.) When Nick finds Eve up to her still-bruised neck in books with skulls on the front, he tells her he’s worried, and she promises not to make any solo moves.
The oversized Hexen-books give Eve some trouble. First it’s the letters scattered across the page that she has to shake like an Etch A Sketch, and then it’s the book locked with a stake through a hasp that she has to woge to open. Eventually, she finds a chapter on blood magic. (In the history of magical TV shows, has blood magic ever been used for cheerful, feel-good spells?) She flashes back to her blood coating the hand mirror and excitedly calls Adalind to get her take on whether blood can be used as a form of payment to pass into the other world. Adalind says maybe, then wisely asks if Eve can be sure it would be a two-way trip.
Now to the cases of the week. First, we have the murder of a woman walking to her car after dinner. We don’t see who attacked her, but we can tell it was vicious, and the lack of any stolen items leads Nick and company to suspect a Wesen. Wu discovers a similar murder that happened 10 days ago, and available security footage shows an elderly man with a cane walking past both victims just before their deaths. Coincidence? Prolly not, and yet he looks harmless and the picture’s too blurry to identify him.
Crime the second: In a nursing home, orderly Mason Wilcox is escorting dementia patient Mrs. Cutler to her room as she reminisces about running through the woods with “the sweet taste of blood in my mouth.” “That’s a new one,” Mason replies, humoring her… until she woges into a white-furred Blutbad (I think) and attacks Mason. Then a nurse comes along to find Mason, who thought he was defending himself against a monster, choking a 91-year-old woman. Awkward.
That night, an insectoid Wesen creeps into Mrs. Cutler’s room, opens a window, and inserts his feelers into her nose. The next morning, she’s found dead, and the police get involved because of Mason’s “assault” the day before.
The physician on call, Dr. Landeaux, tells Nick and Hank that Mrs. Cutler’s vital signs were good after the altercation with Mason, which means her death was likely from natural causes. Still, because of the nurse’s testimony, Hank and Nick bring Mason in for questioning. He describes Mrs. Cutler’s yellow eyes, furry face, and teeth like a wild dog and is shocked when the police believe him. But privately, Hank wonders how poor Mason is ever going to mount a defense in court.
Mrs. Cutler’s autopsy results complicate things when they reveal an unnaturally high level of the toxic saliva from an assassin bug. The ME is baffled about how so much of it ended up in Mrs. Cutler’s system, then shrugs. “I suppose if any place was going to have a giant assassin bug, it’d be Portland.” Man, they should really recruit her to the team.
Cut to the spice shop, where Rosalee’s selling an enormous dose of melatonin to one of her regular customers, Elizabeth Stanton, who says it’s hard for her to get out of the house these days. (“Oh, you don’t want to take too much melatonin, Mrs. Stanton. Trust me,” Monroe advises.) Rosalee asks after her husband, and Mrs. Stanton looks like she wants to say something more, but in the end, she thanks Rosalee and leaves.
When Rosalee bemoans growing older, Monroe busts out a Yeats quote: “But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face.” Relationship. Goals.
At this point, Nick and Hank bust up the love fest to ask about bug Wesen with toxic saliva. The mood immediately changes, and Monroe and Rosalee somberly, almost grudgingly, explain that they’re dealing with a Gevatter Tod, or “godfather of death,” and that the police need to leave it alone.
“The victim was Wesen, right? Suffering from dementia?” Rosalee asks, and then the Wesen couple spills some hard truths: Dementia in the Wesen community can lead to uncontrollable woges, and when that happens, the family calls the Gevatter Tod to, well, offer painless euthanization. It’s safer for the community and, ultimately, a kinder end for the dementia-afflicted Wesen. In fact, this is such a reality in the community that Monroe and Rosalee made a commitment to make the call for the other should dementia set in.
Rosalee says every Wesen apothecary has the godfather of death’s number, but she’ll only place the call if Nick promises not to arrest him. When she does dial the number, they’re greeted with a recorded message: “Stay by your phone. I will call you within a few hours.” Don’t you love that we’re still learning about new facets of Wesen society at this point in the show?
As they wait for the phone to ring, Rosalee tells Monroe that she saw the godfather come for her grandpa when she was 5 or 6. “That’s a lot for a little kid to digest,” the ever-supportive Monroe says. Then her phone rings, and the voice at the other end asks if it’s a parent or a loved one. She says it’s her husband. WAIT! NOT COOL! Make up some ailing great-uncle, woman! Monroe seems to feel the same and responds by glugging his wine. She gives the Gevatter Tod their address, and Monroe insists that they get Nick over there right meow.
In no time, Rosalee’s ushering the godfather of death inside, where she and Monroe explain the real reason for his visit. And surprise, surprise, the Gevatter Tod is Dr. Landeaux! Nick introduces himself as a Grimm, and as usual, everyone woges. Then Landeaux admits that he killed Mrs. Cutler and regrets that he waited so long. But his responsibility is to protect the Wesen community, so he’s not eager to step forward and exonerate Mason, even though Nick and Hank urge him to change the nurse’s mind and maybe even testify.
At this point, Landeaux receives a call about a Drang-Zorn with severe dementia threatening his wife. Rosalee recognizes the address and realizes it’s Elizabeth Stanton, who was just in her shop. They all head out.
The police enter her home first and find her slumped on the floor, her husband gone. The melatonin she bought was an attempt to keep him asleep, but she’s worried he’s out doing bad things at night. (I’m embarrassed to say, I didn’t connect the Wesen attacks to Mr. Stanton until this points in the episode. Your recapper was sloooow on the uptake tonight.)
Mr. Stanton’s on foot, and the police locate him before he’s able to hurt another innocent Portlander. As they usher him to the car, he wavers between hostile and heartbreaking, threatening them and then whimpering that he wants his wife.
Once he’s back home, he doesn’t recognize Elizabeth. Landeaux helps her calm him, and together, they guide him to his favorite chair. “I’m right here, sweetheart,” she croons. At this point, the police match his cane to the one on the video, confirming that they’ve got their murderer.
Realizing that they can’t arrest him or take this to trial, Nick tells Landeaux, “Do what you have to do. We’re not going to interfere.” Um, as if they could — or should, frankly. Sorry, but Monrosalee’s right; this is sacred Wesen business, best left alone.
Rosalee and Monroe stay with Mrs. Stanton as she strokes her husband’s hand. “You sleep now, sweetheart. I love you. I’m going to miss you. I’ll see you soon, okay?” He looks at her with love and confusion in his eyes as her hands slip out of his and Dr. Landeaux woges to do his job. It’s legitimately This Is Us-levels of sad, so I’ll pause here so you can grab a tissue, blow your nose, call your grandma, whatever you need to do.
Have you composed yourself? Good. Because we end tonight with Eviette doing a brave, stupid thing, peeling the paper back from the cheval mirror at Monrosalee’s and dragging the Hexen-book’s lock stake across her palm.
“I know you’re in there,” she murmurs, drawing a bloody line across the surface of the glass. She woges and makes another pass. At first, nothing happens, and then the surface ripples and the death grip void opens up again.
Ignoring her promise to Nick, she disappears into the mirror, which parts for her like water. And we never see her again.
JK. We’ll totally see her next week.
- This week’s Renard roundup: Captain tall, dark, and sexy demands that Nick take him to see the carvings in the tunnels, insisting that he be involved because his daughter might be at risk. Nick says that if Renard shares what he knows, Nick will do the same. I dunno, guys. Is Renard doing this for his daughter’s safety, or his own lust for power? Whatever the answer, I hope it nets him more screen time in the episodes that remain.
- Monroe joked about having bad hair days, but with everybody covering their mirrors, shouldn’t they all look a little rougher around the edges?
- Quote of the night comes from Adalind’s instructions to her daughter: “Make sure your brother doesn’t fall off the bed. No making him float, either.” My God, her mommy blog would be amazing.
- Did, uh, did we make sure Mason was going to be okay, legally speaking? I feel like we did not.