Spoilers ahead for "El Cuegle" because, hey ... it's a TV recap!
The short version: Nick, Hank and Wu return to work on a kidnapping case when a baby is taken by a "monster" in a case that has a prophetic baby-munching Wesen written all over it. Meanwhile, pregnant Rosalee and Monroe consider moving away to a safer environment; Eve feels the effects of hanging out in the tunnels under Nick's apartment with the ancient healing stick; cranky Capt. Renard is haunted by dead Meisner; and Adalind and Diana move back in with Nick.
The good: Back to business, the baby-munching El Cuegle, Rosalee and Monroe's buns in the oven
Kathie: It's back to business for the final season of Grimm after a mythology-filled first three episodes that almost led to the end of our heroes. Nick, Hank and Wu return to the precinct to applause from their peers for their "undercover work" to face angry former Mayor-elect Capt. Renard (thanks to Nick and gang's efforts to dethrone him). While the good guys gloat and Renard fumes, it doesn't take long for a case to pop up. A baby's been kidnapped by a "monster," according to the mother. The wonderfully twisted storyline leads to many of the best "baby-munching" lines of the night, thanks to a Wesen called El Cuegle.
Krystal: The El Cuegle is a three-eyed, three-armed beast that's known for stealing and eating babies. Yes, it's horrible, but he swears there's a method to his madness. Apparently, this Wesen can see the past, present and future. His third eye shows that his latest victim will grow up to kill his parents and become more dangerous over time. It begs the question "Could you take one life if it meant saving multiple others?"
Kathie: Kidnapping a baby for any other series would be a somber turn, but somehow the writers get away with it, probably because we never really feel the baby's in danger and by delving into the humor I've been missing from the series for the last few mythology-heavy episodes.
While Nick, Hank and Wu track down El Cuegle a little too easily, rescue the baby, and capture the Wesen, he turns out to be a little more complex than we first expect. He escapes from the cop watching him in the police interview room (wouldn't you think Nick would have a Wesen cop watching him?) and goes after the baby again. Like most Wesen who do bad things for good reasons on Grimm, things do not turn out well for El Cuegle and he's killed in the fight. At the end of the episode there's a nice shot of Nick and Hank looking on as the baby's bickering parents go up the stairs of their home with the cops aware that things may well turn out just as El Cuegle predicted.
The baby story is perfectly timed for Rosalee and Monroe's baby concerns.
Krystal: Rosalee is realizing she and Monroe need a change of pace. According to Diana, who's also a human ultrasound, Rosalee has multiple buns in the oven. This spurred a great character moment between the future parents where they admitted something's gotta give. Now that they're married and starting a family, Rosalee wants to pull back. "I will not live like this," she said. "I can't be this vulnerable all the time." The writers are gradually moving them towards their endgame.
Kathie: While I love Monroe and Rosalee, I do miss Monroe's crime fighting days when he was part of Nick and Hank's investigations.
Krystal: I’m fine with Monroe leaving his vigilante days behind him. Just because Nick’s content with having a fome (fortress + home) for his family doesn’t mean Monroe should be. He knows Rosalee’s concerns are valid. He understands where she's coming from and is taking her feelings seriously. If that means hanging up his figurative cape, I’m fine with that. He's putting his family first, which is growth in the right direction.
The bad: Just say it's a mask, the problem with Diana
Kathie: While the procedural A story was well-done and darkly funny when it came to the investigation, why do Nick and Hank let the husband think the wife is going crazy and seeing monsters? El Cuegle pops up and walks into a mini-mart while trying to find the baby medicine, and the clerk assumes he saw a realistic mask, or "Maybe he was disfigured in a nuclear accident somewhere." Why don't the cops tell the husband that his wife saw a mask and that the kidnapper was trying to hide his identity? As the couple continue to bicker and the cops know there's a good possibility the baby will turn evil, why not throw the couple a bone? It reminded me of the Wu storyline where Nick and the gang let Wu think he was going nuts long past the point where it made sense.
Krystal: Diana is a huge problem for me. Earlier in the series, it was prophesied that she could do a lot of harm or a lot of good. Unfortunately, she's already committed murder (twice!) and her parents have barely questioned her about it. Tonight's brief kitchen chat doesn't count. The adults in her life need to do more than talk about how powerful she is. Let's get some direction going. Why is she this way when her parents have barely a fraction of her strength?
Kathie: She's a problem for me, too. She's just too all-powerful and it feels like the writers use her whenever they get written into a corner.
Lingering questions: The not-so-dead Meisner, the mysterious stick thingy, the Trubel with Eve
Krystal: Last week, Renard was confronted by a not-so-dead Meisner and it left us scratching our heads. We all saw him die, right? In tonight's episode, it was explained that Renard's mind is playing tricks on him. This isn't the Meisner we all knew and loved ... the first clue being his flat American accent. Plus, Renard's the only one who can see him. He threw hot coffee at Meisner and all it hit was his office window! I assume this 'vision' is meant to push him towards redemption. But who knows, it might make matters worse.
Kathie: Renard's evil turn has bothered me all along. He's been a complicated character, but it just never made sense that Black Claw would dangle the Mayorship in front of him and he'd just go for it. It does seem likely that redemption is in his future with Black Claw and Hadrian's Wall having been killed off or vanishing from Portland. The main bit of mythology that's stuck around is the ancient healing stick thingy, which seems to be building as a key element in the final season. What is it? What are the symbols Eve and Diana saw? What will it mean to the series? Why did the stick burn a symbol into Eve's hand? What's she drawing on the tunnel walls? And why didn't the producers get something cooler-looking than a stick to represent an important ancient magical artifact? Nick's obviously connected to it, as is Eve, though I'm not sure why Monroe doesn't seem to feel the same effects since his life was saved by the stick, too.
Krystal: Eve spent the entire episode in the tunnel under Nick’s loft. When she wasn't overhearing his private conversations with Adalind, which included declarations of how much they missed each other, she was struggling with her own thoughts. Should she or shouldn't she see what that stick's capable of? Eve took it from its secret hiding place and was immediately blown away – literally. I really want more for this character that doesn't include her sulking and being isolated. With Trubel gone, Nick and Adalind reunited, Rosalee and Monroe domesticated, plus Hank and Wu back at the station, she's the odd woman out.
Kathie: And will Eve become Juliette again? I like Eve and Trubel as a team, but once again they've shipped Trubel off to do mysterious work for the Hadrian's Wall group for no apparent reason other than they don't want or know how to spin her organically into the various storylines. Undoubtedly Trubel will be back before the series ends. Hey, maybe Eve and Trubel will fall in love. Stranger things have happened on this show.
Lines of the night:
"This is just wrong and we've got to stop the baby-eating bastard." - Monroe
"How many babies can one guy eat?" - Hank
"We got a name on this baby-munching Wesen?" - Wu
"I just want to live in a place without shoes, okay?" - Rosalee
Best line of the night: "Anything you say or eat will be used against you in a court of law." - Hank
Grimm Episode 4, "El Cuegle," aired on Friday, Jan. 27 on NBC.