Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween "Classic" Recap: Grimm: "La Llorona"

“There’s a long Wesen tradition of the All Hollows Eve midnight Woge. Running through the woods, scaring the crap out of villagers. Literally, sometimes.”

This year for Halloween, I decided to switch things up a bit here at MTVP and blog an episode of “Grimm.” Grimm is a little (comparative) powerhouse for NBC in the Friday night death slot. While it’s not exactly deep television, I enjoy it as a supernatural drama with a police procedural structure. The basic premise is that police officer Nick Burkhardt is also a Grimm, a person with special powers to fight the supernatural. Most of the time Nick is fighting very corporeal shapeshifting beings called Wesen (of which there are many varieties). This episode, however, takes a different tack. Nick and his companions find themselves in the middle of a classic Latino ghost story. When it was broadcast, this episode was notable for its Spanish language content. Early in the episode, before Juliette arrives to translate, none of the Spanish is subtitled. I think it was an artistic choice meant to make the viewer feel as isolated at the Latino characters in heavily English-speaking Portland. I believe the episode was also simulcast on Telemundo.

The episode, which focuses on the Latino legend of “La Llorona,” begins with a father and son fishing on a river. They see a woman in a white dress start wading into the water while crying. She just keeps on walking in a straight line and becomes more and more submerged. Concerned, the father, whose name is Luis, jumps in after her. While he is searching for her in the water, the woman, who has appeared back on shore, walks off with Luis’ son, Raphael. Nick and Hank end up assigned to the missing persons case. Luis only speaks Spanish, and the police department’s one Spanish-speaking officer (kind of unbelievable) is on vacation, so Nick calls Juliet. She has Spanish relatives, apparently, so she’s fluent. We’re in the part of the “Grimm” storyline where Juliet had been in a coma and woke up with amnesia thanks to a kiss from Captain Renard. Things between Nick, Juliet, and Renard are super awkward because of this throughout the episode. An amber alert goes out for Raphael, and it attracts the attention of a Latina Wesen named Valentina who immediately buys plane tickets to Portland.

The side plot in this episode is kind of silly, so let’s get it out of the way in one go (even if it is the most overtly Halloween part of the episode). It turns out that Halloween is a major holiday in the Wesen world, and Monroe goes just as all-out for it as he does for Christmas. His house is decorated to the max, and he’s wearing a scary skeleton costume. Monroe defends a little girl (who has awesome witch makeup, by the way) from some bullies, and the bullies decide to try and get revenge on Monroe. They end up breaking the front window on his house, and they take a cell phone video of it. Monroe finds him as they’re admiring they’re work in the video, and he manages to give them a good Halloween scare by Woge-ing at them.

The police team (including Juliet) are holed up at Luis and Raphael’s, trying to learn more about Raphael. An older lady from the neighborhood stops by, and she insists that the culprit is La Llorona. She also freaks Juliet out by knowing way too much about what’s been going on in her life recently, including the fact that she’s subconsciously trying to choose between two guys (Nick and Captain Renard). Throughout much of the episode, the neighborhood lady freaks out Juliet and also really pisses off Luis. I guess Luis wants to believe that the cause of his son’s disappearance is more based in the corporeal. Luis is hit especially hard by Raphael’s disappearance because Raphael’s mother has died. Obviously it would be traumatic either way, but his emotions seem to be all tied up in both events.

Detective Valentina shows up at the police precinct knowing a lot more about what’s going on than the Portland PD. She says she’s from the Albuquerque Police Department. She is certain that two more children will be abducted (a boy and a girl), and all three will be dead by the end of the day. She tells Nick, Hank, and Captain Renard about other similar cases she has seen. All have taken place at the confluence of three rivers, and each of the abductions happens on the shore of one of the three rivers, in a symmetrical triangle. There’s a visually awesome scene where some kids are playing hide-and-seek in Halloween costumes by a river (a different one from where Luis and Raphael were fishing), and La Llorona takes a little girl in a princess costume.

Nick, Hank, and Valentina are investigating the latest crime scene when Captain Renard rolls up and announces that he checked out Valentina with the Albuquerque PD< and they say they relieved her of duty three years ago. The FBI also wants her for obstructing with their investigation of the river kidnappings. Nick and Hank are forced to handcuff Valentina and take her back to the police precinct. Meanwhile, La Llorona has taken the two kids to an abandoned house, and they’re just lying on the floor, amazed at how awesome La Llorona is. They think she’s an angel or something. It’s super creepy (fits for a Halloween episode, I suppose).

Back at the precinct, we learn why Valentina is so invested in these cases. Apparently her nephew was kidnapped by La Llorona while she was babysitting him. She has never forgiven herself. Nick and Hank visit the trailer to do some research, and they discover that La Llorona is a legit supernatural baddie that Grimms have tried to battle before. That leads them to take a chance on Valentina. They pick her up at the precinct and go to the confluence of the three rivers. This is where La Llorona will drown the three kids. In fact, as Nick, Hank, and Valentina arrive, La Llorona is leading the tree kids into the water. Three ghostly children appear from the depths, and I think she was trying to exchange the souls of the abducted kids for their souls. Hank and Valentina rescue the kids while Nick and La Llorona get into a rather epic water fight in the river. Eventually Nick prevails, and there’s a happy reunion back at the police station. Juliet, however, is still uneasy from the whole day.

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