Grimm recap: 'El Cuegle’
Nick’s back to chasing bad guys, although this week's target may have a good motive
A modest proposal for you: Eating babies isn’t always wrong. Hey, where are you going?
Grimm returns to the monster-of-the-week format tonight, and the team’s reaction to the new baddie is much like yours: Babies? This shall not stand. But the truth is a bit murkier than they might like.
We pick up with Renard trying to convince himself that the Meisner standing in his bedroom isn’t real when he gets a call from (I assume) Black Claw, expressing their displeasure at how much his mayoral resignation will cost them. They must regret stocking up on Mayor Renard bobbleheads.
At the spice shop, everyone’s explaining to ol’ Murder Eyes Diana that Nick looked like her daddy in order to help him. Diana’s cool with it and goes along with the plans to move in with Nick. Then she looks at Rosalee and announces that she’s got more than one baby in her stomach. “How many more?” asks a freaked-out Monroe as he and Rosalee try to parse Diana’s unsettling parting glance at them.
Next, we’re reminded of the danger of sharing every scrap of our lives online with shaky privacy settings. A sweaty man deals with crippling headaches as he searches Portland birth announcements and pulls up an online map to find the location of the Malers, one of the happy families.
Did I say happy? I meant tense. Mom Haley’s busy taking pictures to share with her social networks while dad Paul forgets the “passive” part of “passive aggressive” when he complains about how many pictures of their child she’s taking and sharing. When said child cries that night, Haley shuffles into his room to discover a man leaning over the crib. He woges an extra arm from his neck (gross!) and knocks her into the dresser, escaping with the child. Sure, Haley, this is upsetting, but at least you didn’t end up on the ceiling, on fire and bleeding from the stomach, amiright, Supernatural fans?
In (hopefully) happier family news, Nick escorts Diana and her brood into his loft. Diana immediately spots the blood on the floor. “A lot of people died here,” she says matter-of-factly. Yep, just normal little girl stuff. Nick and Adalind agree they have to protect Diana and her abilities, then enjoy a little couple time. “I am so happy to be back here with you,” she says. He agrees. “I thought I was gonna go crazy without you.” Nadalind shippers, take a second to bask in the sweetness.
But hang on, Nuliette fans. (Nuliette? What’s their couple portmanteau? Jick?) Eve’s lurking in the tunnels right below Portland’s hottest couple and hears their declaration of love. Her face ripples with an attempted woge, and then she glumly slumps near where Nick bricked up the stick. Man, she really has a nasty case of the emotions.
When Nick’s able to tear himself way from his family and return to the precinct, he and Hank are greeted with applause. But they’re immediately called into Renard’s office. And you think you’ve sat through some uncomfortable meetings with your boss?
Renard starts with an understatement. “Well, we’ve all made mistakes.” HAHAHA YA THINK? Then he reminds them that he’s still in charge, and they’ll be bounced if they get out of line. “Soooo no medals, then?” Nick asks.
Once he’s alone in his office, Renard’s visited by Meisner. The captain yells and throws a cup of coffee at him, which of course just splashes against the window because nobody else can see the dead beardo. (If anyone’s curious, Renard apparently takes his coffee with plenty of cream.) Meisner says the real reason he’s dead is that Renard betrayed everyone. Oh and also, Bonaparte says hi.
Our crime-fighting trio leave Renard shouting at himself and head to the Maler house. The couple openly argue in front of the cops, with Haley insisting it was a monster and Paul insisting that she’s cuckoo. “I love my son, but she’s obsessed with him,” Paul seethes. At this point, I started googling “Portland divorce lawyer” for Haley.
We now see baby Auggie, whose feverish crying is stressing out his already conflicted kidnapper. It should be noted that this Wesen has a third eye on his forehead and upsetting visions in his brain. But it turns out, his third arm is useful in comforting a fussy baby. Aww, a kidnapper with a heart of gold!
NEXT: Ugh, not another baby-eater
As they investigate, Wu finds three other monster kidnappings over the years and across the country, while the Grimm books turn up references to a three-eyed, three-armed Wessen.
“Oh my God, don’t tell me it’s another baby-eater,” Rosalee begs. But it is. El Cuegle is a Spanish Wesen who keeps kidnapped babies alive for “the hours of dread,” until El Cuegle is certain to “abort the bad future.”
The team isn’t sure what that means, precisely, but Monroe goes red-eyed and insists that El Cuegle be stopped. Once they’re alone, Rosalee asks Monroe how they can possibly stay in Portland with everything that happens around Nick and, by proxy, them. She’s terrified that she’ll lose the husband and child she never even knew she wanted. Monroe agrees that it’s exhausting waiting for the other shoe to drop, but Rosalee wants to live someplace without metaphorical shoes.
Man, the pacing this season has been so good. Monrosalee brought up their reservations about living in Portland in the premiere, and that concern was left to simmer for the last few episodes before popping up again. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s addressed as we get closer to the end.
Luckily, the police get a break in the case when a man shopping for baby cough syrup collapses and rushes out. The pharmacy employees don’t understand that they saw a woged Wesen (“Maybe he was disfigured in a nuclear accident?”), but they’re able to get the man’s license plate from security footage.
Nick and Hank aren’t sure why El Cuegle’s keeping the baby healthy until feeding time, but they’ll find out soon because they locate the car and take El Cuegle into custody. As El Cuegle begs Wu not to take the baby, Hank tells him, “Anything you say or eat will be used against you in a court of law.” Ah, yes, errbody loves Miranda rights jokes!
After Adalind drops off Diana for daddy time, Diana asks why Renard doesn’t love her mommy anymore. He says it’s because of Nick. “Mommy says you’d say that.” Woof, this is a dangerous game they’re playing, and it makes me nervous. But they agrees that Mommy loves Nick, Renard loves Diana, and it’s all good.
When Diana makes the pasta water boil instantly during dinner prep, Renard admires her skills: “It must be fun being you.” It’s maybe the most genuinely nice thing we’ve ever heard him say. Then he casually asks how Bonaparte died, and Diana chirps, “You killed him, daddy” and says it happened because Bonaparte hurt her mommy.
Renard tries to get her to stop her murderously protective ways and says she can come to him for help if, say, Nick ever hurts her mommy. “Oh, he’d be very sorry,” Diana says. YIKES. Yeah, remember what I said about the deliberate pacing of this season? It definitely feels like we’re being set up for a Nick/Adalind/Diana showdown sometime soon, and I’m Jesse Spano-levels of excited/scared about it. (Also exciting? The massive amount of garlic bread they’re making for one huge man and one tiny girl. Challenge accepted.)
NEXT: This… doesn’t feel like a happy ending
Under questioning, El Cuegle tells Nick and Hank that he has visions telling him to stop the evil. For example, he collapsed in the pharmacy because he had a vision of a shooting. He can see the past, present, and future with his three eyes. Hank appreciates the Charles Dickens of it all, but El Cuegle says his visions tell him about children who will do monstrous things. He knows it’s terrible, but he has to eat the babies to stop the evil.
For example, his visions tell him that Auggie’s parents’ crumbling marriage will turn violent, he’ll grow up isolated and unstable, and on his 19th birthday, he’ll murder Paul and Haley… to start.
So, yeah, long story short, he’s asking them to let him eat Auggie so Auggie won’t grow up to kill people. As proof, he tells them to look up a guy named Kenny Slater. El Cuegle kidnapped Kenny years ago but didn’t have the heart to eat him. He returned Kenny alive, and when he grew up, Kenny killed 10 people in Idaho.
“I could’ve stopped him, but I was weak. I couldn’t do it,” he says. “If you could stop Ted Bundy, wouldn’t you want me to?”
Guys, we’ve got a conflicted, psychic Wesen Dexter on our hands! Is this the worst possible Wesen power to have? I think it might be. When they learn that El Cuegle was in Idaho 19 years ago when Kenny was kidnapped, Nick starts to think the Wesen’s telling the truth — but, what, are they just going to hand him baby Auggie and a bottle of Sriracha sauce and tell him to have fun?
As they’re debating this, El Cuegle has a vision of Auggie using his baby blanket to silence the gun he uses on his parents. That’s dark, yo. El Cuegle woges and escapes.
At the Maler home, Haley’s happily rocking her returned son and Paul’s asking her to see a psychiatrist about her delusions when Nick calls to warn them that El Cuegle broke out.
Okay, so if I’m El Cuegle, I might look at this as an interesting nature/nurture experiment. If you kill one of the parents, would that create a happier household, meaning Auggie wouldn’t grow into a killer? Obviously, no human subject review board’s going to approve this research, but I think it has merit as a psychosocial study. Are killers born or made?
Alas, we’ll never know. El Cuegle bursts into the house, followed closely by Nick and Hank. After a brief fight, El Cuegle falls over the stair railing and dies. “The bears,” are his gasped, dying words. Nick and Hank are baffled.
Paul and Haley continue their vicious bickering, and Nick tries to get them to calm down, telling Paul that Haley isn’t crazy, but Paul responds in the most dickish way possible. The couple storms upstairs, and Hank’s eyes fall on Auggie’s forgotten baby blanket… decorated with bears.
The episode ends with him and Nick looking upstairs to where Auggie’s parents continue screaming at one another.
Now that’s some deliciously ambiguous storytelling. We’re left with the distinct impression that although baby-eating is bad, the wrong side prevailed here. What will happen to Auggie and his parents over the next 19 years? If Nick and Hank can keep on eye on them, will it change things? And what about the other babies that El Cuegle would’ve seen through the hours of dread?
I guess we’ll never know.
- Miracle stick update 1: Eve unboxes it and it burns her hands in the shape of a glyph that matches the one on Death Grip guy’s chin. (Gross.) Then she starts sketching glyphs all over the walls of the tunnel with a scope and ferocity that would even make Banksy be like, Girl, slow down, respect the wall.
- Miracle stick update 2: When Eve touches Nick’s stick, he gets lightheaded. We’ve clearly got more to learn more about this connection (and I clearly can’t be trusted not to make jokes like a 12 year old every time this comes up).
- Renard can actually touch Meisner. That’s an impressive vision/hallucination/haunting/whatever.
- Was this not one of the best stand-alone monsters Grimm has ever showcased? The “We won… didn’t we?” vibe felt like a classic X-Files episode — which is the highest compliment you can pay a television show. It’s sophisticated storytelling and continues a streak of knockout episodes in Grimm’s final season.
- So what did you think? Were you glad to get back to the monster-of-the-week setup, or do you want more miracle stick answers?