Grimm returned to the wesen-of-the-week in “El Cuegle” after a run of serialized episodes that began at the end of season five. The wesen-of-the-week story in this episode is a doozy. I wrote last week that one of Grimm’s strengths is the stand-alone episode and “El Cuegle” supports my opinion. It’s a dark episode that borrows from David Greenwalt’s other genre show, ANGEL.
The wesen is an El Cuegle. He has three eyes and three hands. The three eyes show him the past, the present, and the future. The future comes to him in visions. His visions give him crippling visions; his visions only point him to babies he must eat, but the babies will turn out evil. So, when Nick and Hank stop El Cuegle, he info dumps everything about why he kidnapped Auggie the baby and what’ll happen if he doesn’t eat Auggie. Auggie will kill his parents at 19 because their marriage will deteriorate and leave him isolated. Nick believes him, but what will he really do? Let El Cuegle free to eat a baby? He can’t. The end leaves us with the ominous sounds of Auggie’s parents fighting and the faces of Hank and Nick, aware that the baby will grow up to kill them. It’s good, dark stuff for Grimm, and a throwback to the darker stories of season one.
ANGEL’s Cordelia Chase experienced crippling visions, sent to her from the Powers that Be, which helped her, Angel, Wesley, Gunn, Fred, and Lorne to help the helpless. I wonder if David Greenwalt pulled the “El Cuegle” story from a pile of discarded pitches. Was there an ANGEL pitch in which Cordelia had a vision like El Cuegle’s? ANGEL was a darker show than Buffy and more ambiguous. Its morality was grey rather than black and white. I remember reading about some of the ideas that were too dark for ANGEL’s first season. Prior to the writing of “Lonely Hearts”, for instance, David Fury wrote “Corrupt”. The episode introduced a darker, drug-addicted Kate, an undercover cop, who wanted to kill a cult of pimps who worshipped a demon that possessed prostitutes and made them commit violent murders. Fury told an interviewer that it wasn’t “what you usually see on TheWB.” The WB pulled it two days before production began because it was too dark in tone. Tim Minear commented that it was “a little bit too hopeless, a little too grim” for TheWB.
“El Cuegle” has that hopeless, grim quality to it. People would die no matter what Nick and Hank did: either an innocent baby, or his parents nineteen years later. El Cuegle dies at the end of the episode, of course, after falling from second floor to the first floor.
Three other stories happen around the A story but are unconnected to it. Rosalee and Monroe discussed leaving Portland behind in light of the babynapping case. Diana created more urgency by revealing Rosalee will have twins, or maybe more. Will Portland be a safe place to raise a child? I’d say no. Also, I liked when Monroe’s eyes turned red after hearing about El Cuegle. It was a good character moment for an expecting father.
Diana and Renard bonded more in his temporary residence, and he made sure she’d choose him over Nick. They also had a feeble conversation about Bonaparte. Meisner continued haunting Renard. He hasn’t told Renard what he wants. Ghost Meisner’s more energetic and fun-loving than Alive Renard was. Renard/Meisner in his office injected the only humor in the episode. Nick, Hank, and Wu watched Renard yell and then throw coffee at the ghost.
Elsewhere, Eve’s hanging out with the stick, drawing on bricks, and getting marked by death symbols. Overall, I really liked “El Cuegle”. The episode reminded me of my beloved ANGEL, and it was a solid, dark 41 minutes of TV.
-Grimm took a dig at the culture of oversharing of baby pictures on social media. None of the mothers of kidnapped babies (the two of them) had set their profiles to public and tagged their GPS location.
-Eve messing about with the stick made Nick lighthearted in the office. Also, she looked hurt when she overheard Nick tell Adalind that he loved her. There is no pattern to when I’ll use Eve over Juliette or Juliette over Eve. Nick/Adalind/Juliette is the least needed love triangle.
-Brenna Kouf wrote the episode. Carlos Avila directed.