Grimm, Ep. 2.09: “La Llorona” asks if ghosts exist, but gets shy about the answer

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Grimm Episode 2.09 ‘La Llorona’

Written by: Akela Cooper

Directed by: Holly Dale

Airs Friday 9.00pm EST on NBC

Ever viewed those neighbours with elaborate Halloween decorations with a degree of suspicion? You were right to be wary. They were probably Wesen.

Halloween is special to Wesen, and for that reason provides a convenient opportunity for a mid season climax for the series. Even so, the lengthy recap highlights the growing obsession between Renard and Juliette, alerting us that this story thread won’t be allowed to slip. Not that this is surprising, the Juliette-Renard development is the best twist so far in the series, coming a close second to the revelation that Nick’s mother is still alive (and better still is Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio).

As far as the main story goes, the writers neatly use a familiar device to screw up the tension. A child goes missing (always a worry as we watch our little demons leave to go trick or treating) and the show plays the father’s distress for all it’s worth, using his inability to speak English to tighten the anguish-screws, as he desperately attempts to explain to the police what happened. The dad’s lack of English is also smart from a plot point of view: Nick asks Juliette to step in as Spanish translator -Grimm, like Buffy, works best when the characters work as a team – and holding part of the conversation in a language Nick doesn’t understand also locks him out of the information given to Juliette at the missing boy’s house about the spell placed on her by the cat scratch.

This is encouraging work by the Grimm team. One of my complaints about the series is the clunky plotting, but this is now improving, show by show. We’re still getting some holes – this time Nick and Hank are pointed to exactly where a third child is going to be abducted, only to forget that information when it suits the action.  But that’s a minor gripe, with better dialogue and better plot devices, the action is getting smoother and more convincing as this series progresses.

This allows the characters to develop and while Juliette and Hank are both becoming nuanced and believable – Hank big hearted and volatile, Juliette intelligent and sensitive – Nick remains stuck at the level of Good Cop: moral, but also cold and passive. For example, in a confrontation with a Wesen who has impersonated a police officer, Nick warns her that if she tries anything, Hank will blow her head off. I get that he’s kidding, but he could have easily made the threat himself, to greater effect.

The story teases us with the idea that ghosts might be real (and strange that Grimm should play skeptic  on this issue, when the whole premise asks us to swallow the idea that people can morph into animal versions of themselves at will) but doesn’t resolve the issue. Also unresolved is which way Juliette, now aware she has to make a choice, will jump. The hint is that this will be in the direction of Nick, but I’m guessing whatever decision she makes is not going to end up being simple.

Questions for next time: what information is Renard concerned Duval might have let slip? Is Ryan Smulson, the clumsy intern at the station, actually a Wesen mole? When is Hank going to get a girlfriend (and is she going to be a Wesen)?

 

 

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