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‘Grimm’ Review: ‘Mommy Dearest’

Scott Green/NBC

The folks at Grimm have been touting a Wu-centric episode as part of the show’s post-Olympic return; the latest episode “Mommy Dearest” certainly fits the bill. Not only does Reggie Lee get to show off his acting chops beyond the amazing lines he usually delivers every week, but we get to find out Sergeant Wu’s actual name!

(It’s—Spoiler Alert!—Drew. Yes, he’s Drew Wu.) However, before we get into Wu’s storyline, we’re presented with Meisner playing midwife to Adalind in the Swiss Alps. Grimmsters can rejoice, because instead of spending the entire episode waiting for her to pop, the baby comes right on out.  Sure, it’s no picnic for Adalind who is suffering through the labor—nor is it so great for Meisner, who has to dodge telekinetic attacks by the yet-to-be-born babe. However, it’s relatively brief and we finally get to see Adalind slip back into her gruesomely familiar Hexenbiest form.

Once that major series plot point is out of the way, we’re back in Portland with an adorable Filipino couple, Dana and Sam Tomas. They banter about the salty food and prenatal vitamins, which ends with the husband leaving to get said vitamins for his wife. In true horror movie fashion, this was a horrible idea. As she tries to go to bed, a ticking noise can be heard and this terrifyingly long forked-tongue snakes in through the window. It slides up the woman’s bed sheets and latches onto her belly. The sequence that follows is one of the most gruesome I’ve ever seen on this show, both from the violence and gore and from the horrific visual of the Wesen.

I’m not lying when I say I was taken aback, which is saying something. While this horror show is taking place, one of Dana’s neighbors breaks into her house, because, of course, Dana is screaming at the top of her lungs. Despite the serious loss of blood, she’s able to fight off the creature. Elsewhere, Wu is with his partner when they get the call about an attack. He shows up to find the victim is a childhood friend of his. All she can muster is muttering “Aswang, Aswang.” Considering what just happened, even that is impressive.

After a much needed break, Nick and Hank are on the scene and Wu explains what’s gone down. They all get to enjoy the blood splatter everywhere and claw marks on the window and tree. Nick and Hank talk to the witness and she explains she heard a ticking sound and saw a creepy shadow. Although this isn’t much to go on, when it comes to identifying Wesen, it can go a long way.

At the hospital, Nick and Hank get more information about what happened. Wu plays go between for the detectives and Sam. At this point, Wu has gotten more development this episode than he has in ages—perhaps even since the time he ate Adalind’s poisoned cookie back in season one.  However, Nick is still our hero and the episode leaps to his place where he, Hank, and Juliette talk about the case. The question about bringing Wu into the Wesen loop is posed by Juliette, to which Nick suggests they lie.

I’m not a fan of Nick’s response, but given the sorts of things that have happened to his girlfriend and partner when they found out, I can sort of understand. Nonetheless, the shift in tone about keeping Wu deliberately out of the loop irks me a bit. It’s clearly something that won’t end well.

Back at the hospital, Wu watches over Dana at the hospital. Sam comes in and seems eager to get rid of Wu. There’s a small amount of tension between the two men; Wu leaves and Sam calls his brother in Manila. Clearly, he knows more than he’s been letting on. During the phone call, he woges into his true form—Sam is an Aswang. Just to accent the nightmare inducing qualities of these suckers, the scene shifts to a sleeping Wu’s dream—he’s back at the scene of Dana’s attack and soon walks into a separate room, where his grandmother is explaining the myth of the horrifying creature to him as a child. He seemingly wakes up only to see an Aswang in the window ready to attack. This causes him to wake in an understandable terror.

In the Alps, Meisner shoots Renard a phone call to inform him his possible child is a girl. Renard’s reaction to this news is an awkward pause and “A girl.” Take that as you will. Their exchange is brief, but puts the wheels in motion for getting everyone out of there. Towards the end of the episode, we get another brief scene with Meisner and Adalind, wherein her new child telekinetically wraps her mother’s hair around his hand. It’s creepy as hell. Two words, folks. Demon. Baby.

Meanwhile, Nick and Hank are going back and forth with further details about their case, like the fact a powerful sedative was found in Dana’s system, when they get news that she is awake. While they head to the hospital, Wu is doing some investigating of his own—he finds his cousin and they reminisce, for lack of a better word, on the horrors of the Aswang myth. Things get personal quickly though when Dana is brought up and we find out, at least to Wu’s cousin, that she and Wu should have been a couple.

Wu brushes it off and brings it all back around to the fact that Dana’s attack “resembled” an Aswang attack. You know, that it was one or anything. At the hospital, Nick and Hank question Dana, but she doesn’t have much to say that would further the case. However, Wu shows up, prepared to share a theory of his own. He chickens out about sharing it though, which is a cruel tease to viewers, because we know he’s exactly on the money and that the detectives wouldn’t have a hard time buying the suggestion.

At the Tomas residence, Sam gets a call from his brother with the location of a mystery person. As he’s about to leave, Wu arrives asking about the sedative in Dana’s system and the Aswang myth. Sam is eager to leave and even more abrasive to Wu. Meanwhile, Nick and Hank are researching the sedative at the spice shop with Monrosalee. They head off to the trailer for more information about the possible Wesen, when Sam arrives at a hotel where his mother is staying. This is when another gruesome wrinkle is added to the Aswang story: the eldest son usually feeds his first born to his mother so she can lead a longer life. As far as Wesen traditions go, this is among the most messed up.

While Sam is kind of prickly where Wu is concerned, he clearly wants to break away from tradition—a major theme of the show. When she gets close and says, “You can make another baby, but you only have one mother,” I really want to say back, “And one is too many.” Sam gives his mother a ticket back to the Philippines, but she woges and tears it apart. Back at the hospital, Dana is packing up to return home. Wu promises his protection with a hug; Sam, more abrasive than ever, seems annoyed by Wu’s presence. Things get really heated between the two of them, which culminates in Sam telling Wu to leave them alone.

At the trailer, Nick, Hank, and Monrosalee go over the Grimm research on the Aswang. Hank wants to bring Wu in on this, but Nick and Monrosalee all think it’s a bad idea. Monroe offers that it’s a bad gateway Wesen. Hank, speaking exactly what I was thinking, returns that there isn’t really a good gateway Wesen. Of course, Monroe was the first Hank knowingly encountered and that almost put him over the edge, so he definitely has a point. Hank cautions them all about what might happen, which worries me a bit. It seems like a bit of foreshadowing.

The Tomases arrive home, which is followed by a discussion on the anger between Sam and Wu and the continued friendship between Dana and Wu. Before they settle back in, the scene jump backs to the precinct. Wu fills Nick and Hank in on Sam’s mom Lani being in town and on his Aswang theory. Nick is stone faced, but Hank wants to show Wu support for his theory. I really like how supportive Hank is, because he’s been there. It’s a good character moment.

The two detectives hope Wu doesn’t encounter the Aswang, knowing the psychological damage it might cause. Later that night, Wu leaves the precinct and gives Dana a call. He’s parked at a distance from the Tomas residence. He spots Lani getting out of a taxi and she proceeds to woge and climb up a tree. So much for not encountering the Aswang, eh?

Nick and Hank, a little behind the curve, show up at Lani’s hotel to find her gone, but the pieces of her ticket and a jar of the sedative. At the Tomas home, Lani attacks Sam, causing him to fall down stairs. Lani, in her human form, comes to comfort Dana in a scene that can be described as “creepy as all hell.” I want to yell at the screen, “Your mother-in-law wants to eat your baby!” But Dana couldn’t hear me over the creepy lullaby Lani is humming. Once Dana is out, Lani woges again and begins to feed. Wu, worried about his friend, comes to the door and sees that Sam is at the foot of the stairs unconscious.

He rushes inside, checks on him, and then rushes upstairs to the ticking noise. Reggie Lee acts the hell out of this scene; the way his jaw drops and he gasps as Wu encounters the Aswang shows he’s capable of more than just delivering witty lines. Wu and Lani fight and he’s paralyzed with fear; fortunately, Nick and Hank have arrived. Nick puts a bullet through the Aswang’s head and she falls to the side, returning to human form. Of course, this traumatizes Wu. Nick tells Wu to calm down, but at this point, you get the feeling that he and Hank have failed Wu as a friend. Wu has a mental breakdown before their eyes.

Confirming said mental breakdown, Nick and Hank show up a psychiatric hospital where Wu has checked in. They try to comfort him with news about Dana and Sam, which he responds to. Then, a ticking noise can be heard and you can see the Aswang coming towards him. Poor Wu ends the episode with some severe PTSD. Despite the horrors inflicted upon him, I’m glad this episode happened; it gave the character some much needed depth.

However, I’m a little unsettled by how Nick acts and am not sure how to reconcile it with his usual behavior. I hope Wu’s situation isn’t left on the back burner—though there are some plot threads that have been dangling for a while that need further development. Nick’s bizarre post-zombie death state anyone? I look forward to next week, which deals with Adalind and Meisner’s escape with the creepy demon baby, but I don’t want this stuff to be pushed off. That said, my complaints are usually dealt with sooner than later. Here’s to that sooner being in the next couple of weeks.

About the author

Kenneth Lane

An occasionally ridiculous human being who will talk your ear off if you let him, recently earned his Master of Arts in English. While figuring out what he’s doing next, he’s dealing with his self diagnosed pop culture hoarding problem.