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Grimm, Ep. 3.05, “El Cucuy” entertainingly subverts expectations

Grimm, Ep. 3.05, “El Cucuy” entertainingly subverts expectations

Promo pic for Grimm S03E05

Grimm, Season 3, Episode 5, “El Cucuy”
Written by Michael Golamco
Directed by John Behring
Airs Fridays at 9pm EST on NBC

This week, on Grimm: Nick and Juliette have a heart-to-heart and El Cucuy comes a-calling

Grimm has had a lot of fun with folk tales and legends over the past three seasons, attributing the stuff of our childhood bedtime stories to various Wesen. This week they do something different, implying that the monster (ish) of the week may be something else entirely. It’s the first step the series has made towards branching out into other supernatural threats and mysteries and for the most part, it works. With the Portland Scoobies coming together into an increasingly cohesive and efficient unit (great to see Juliette fully onboard), throwing in new elements that aren’t in Nick’s ever-useful tomes makes sense and while the show doesn’t seem ready to commit fully to such a different approach, the occasional detour out of Wesen-land should help keep things fresh.

El Cucuy herself works well. The creature design is appropriately creepy, feeling very much out of the old school Brothers Grimm world as opposed to the decidedly more cheery Disney one, and the spark of malevolent glee in her eye as she punishes wrongdoers is a nice touch. The reveal that el Cucuy is the nice old lady, rather than the heavily-foreshadowed neighborhood activist, is a fun surprise, as is the detail of him being a decorated veteran. Twice now this season Nick has run into conflicts between his police and Grimm duties- he’s no longer getting the tidy outs of the criminal justice system punishing the wrongdoers in the Wesen community. How long before he accepts this and alters his approach, psychologically if nothing else?

As mentioned previously, it’s lovely to see Juliette in full Scooby mode, diving into the Grimm mythology and clearly enjoying every second. She’s still a surprisingly unexamined character three seasons in (does she have any relatives? She clearly doesn’t have any friends or coworkers, as not a single one was there for her during her memory loss), but while we have no clue what in her history made her who she is, at least we have a strong sense of her personality. She’s downright adorable reading Nick’s books in the trailer and once again, the strength and honesty of their relationship is incredibly refreshing. In what other show would finding a mysterious email signed “Love you” in the fiancé’s inbox be discussed and resolved respectfully and openly in a matter of moments? There’s no manufactured melodrama or manipulative mind games- an email is nothing after standing by your girlfriend through spell-induced amnesia or your boyfriend through Wesen-induced psychosis, and unlike so many of its genre brethren, Grimm knows this.

Elsewhere, we get another morsel of Adalind’s pregnancy arc, as her doctor hears a second heart beat; maybe Baby’s a Time Lord! (Probably not. Probably something much more disturbing.) With the show otherwise so cohesive, these detours to Vienna are starting to wear thin. Hopefully we’ll either get significant progress with her soon or let her and her baby bomb rest offscreen until the writers are ready to dive in. The other ticking clock this week is the phone call from Monroe’s mom. Who wants to bet his parents won’t be particularly thrilled that their son is living with a Fuchsbau? Monroe’s family has been teased for seasons now- it’ll be fun to see if they live up to the hype.

Overall, this is a fun and atmospheric episode and, much like “One Night Stand”, one that sees the writers toying with different influences, be they Disney or the boogeyman. It’s nice to see the show stretching, however subtly, in its third season and it’ll be interesting to see which direction they take things next.

What did you think of the episode? Were you glad to see Pilar back? What’s your theory about the second heartbeat? How will Monroe’s parents respond to Rosalee? Post your thoughts below!

Kate Kulzick