Season 5 / Episode 13* / NBC
We are in mid-Monroe and his miraculous recovery when we re-join the gang. They figure that they have a magical healing stick… maybe. They can’t read the writing on the cloth it was wrapped in or the box it was kept in. And they are more than a little weirded out so they decide to keep the stick a secret and to lock it back away. Hmmm. So you mean the thing that the Seven Grimm Knights buried under a church behind skeletons in a box with seven keys that they scattered across the globe might be powerful and perhaps dangerous? Who am I kidding? I’d have looked for it, too.
We cut to a scene of an older man hunched over a desk, working in his shop. A younger man comes in and after establishing that he doesn’t speak Spanish, much to the older man’s chagrin (and pity), he picks up a wrestling mask that the shopkeeper was repairing for him. But it turns out the kid is a “jobber,” a warm body in the ring who loses. He’s pissed about it and wants to be a winning luchador like the men he idolized as a child.
And then the soundtrack gets eerie and the lighting dims (figuratively) background. The old man is like, “you are not ready for a mask like they had and if you were, I’d get half your earnings. And it costs a lot.” Wait, what?
The young guy is like, “First, hell no. Second, I’m late to my professional ass-kicked gig.” Then we have to watch him get his ass kicked in the ring.
In the locker room of his hurt feelings, the seedy manager starts giving him the world’s worst pep talk, which goes like this, “You are the best at getting the shit kicked out of you. You make that guy, the winner, look so good when you lose and bathe in a bath of your own humiliation.” Young dude is on some “put me in the game, coach” type shit, but the manager tells him flat-out: you don’t have the charisma to be a headliner and you don’t speak Spanish. So basically there’s all sorts of language-based shame in this episode.
So he does what any professional loser would do, he storms back to the old man’s shop to get the mask. Pro tip: any time you sign a contract, make sure it’s in a language you can read. Bonus pro tip: any time you sign a contract in blood, don’t. Do not sign a contract in blood. For fuck’s sake, that’s always a bad idea.
So this desperate-to-win guy signs a contract in Spanish in blood and storms off into the angst-ridden night with the promise that he’ll have a mask tomorrow. The minute he’s gone, the old man woges and signs in blood, too. In some extra freaky Wesen magic, the blood from the two signatures join together to form a mask.
The next time we see the old man, he’s in a darkened alley watching a mugging. He interrupts long enough to say he wants the muggers face. The mugger woges and so does the old man. Old dude takes down the young mugger quickly and then things take a turn for the creepy AF: he takes an old shaped knife out of his pocket. Oh! Oh, you really do want his face.
Next thing, he’s in his shop with the face-skin stretching over a mold while he casts a spell.
On the other side of Portland, Nick comes back to the Fome (fort/home) to Adalind and their awkwardness. Nick lies to her about finding the treasure. He did after all agree to keep it a secret.
Adalind starts asking about what Nick would do if she hexenbeisted again. Y’know, hypothetically. So the sexual tension is second to the hexenbeist tension, now. And the oh fuck please don’t kill me tension.
Nick and Hank are called to the scene of a murder: dead faceless guy in an alley.
When the young man comes to pick up his mask, the old man asks him if he’s sure he wants to do this? He does so he tries it on, but the old man won’t let him keep it on for long. “Never again wear it outside of the ring,” he warns.
At HW headquarters, Eve is restless. So she decides to watch and re-watch the murder on Andrew Dixon and she notices what Renard noticed, that Rachel Wood is dirty. Oh, what is it about Eve’s smile that makes me want to douse my body in holy water?
Eve does what any insanely powerful hexenbiest with a hunch does: confront Renard in his car cryptically. She asks him why he supported Dixon and then bounces. (So we get no clue as to Renard’s decision about running for Mayor or working with Lucien, Rachel Wood, and Black Claw.)
Then Nick delivers the episode’s most disturbing line: Looks like flayed faces are not that unusual. Oh god. Then Wu comes in with the M.E.’s report: the dude had neurotoxins in his system that caused paralysis, so his face was cut off while he was alive. Oh god. And it’s officially time for a field trip to the Spice Shop.
The young guy (you know the one who promised not to wear the mask outside the ring?) he’s at his apartment lifting weights and decides “fuck it. I’mma wear this here mask,” and then starts lifting weights like they are made of cotton candy and the morning mist. Even he is freaked out by that and takes it off.
By that time, Nick, Wu, and Hank are with Rosalee and Monroe talking through the crime when Nick shows them pictures (face and no-face) of the victim. Monroe recognizes him as Wesen. So now they know that the victim and the perpetrator were Wesen. Rosalee has an epiphany: Vibora Dorada, an Aztec Wesen who could make masks that give the wearer the power of a warrior.
Which leads us to our young, masked luchador in the locker room. He’s ready for his first fight with his new mask. As soon as the opponent got in the ring, he was beaten. And by beaten, I mean
So of course the guy who was supposed to win is pissed and the manager/promoter is like “You hear the crowd? Good job! Tomorrow you headline.”
Back at the old man’s shop, the wrestler drops off his 50% and the old man is quick to remind him not to wear it outside the ring. When he leaves the shop, he is confronted by the guy he beat in the match. Antics ensue. He wears the mask. They fight. And pissed-off sore-loser guy dies.
Nick, Hank, and Wu are on-scene to investigate the death. They quickly realize that this is related to the skinning murder and go to the victim’s job.
Back at his apartment, I-don’t-know-how-to-listen young dude puts the mask back on. It’s not really surprising when the mask seems to meld with his body against his will.
At HW, Eve is researching Rachel Wood, so when Renard meets Wood in a bar to press him to join Black Claw, she’s there, listening. She hears Rachel tell Renard about his daughter and Adalind and how family life is a good look for a candidate. He hasn’t heard anything about Diana in so long.
Nick and Hank talk to the manager/promoter who fills them in on the ass-beating their latest victim received in the ring. He mentions the new mask, so now they have two leads: the young fighter named Goyo and the mask-maker. Right then, Rosalee calls with the numerous ways the mask can go wrong, including “losing your mind.”
Which seems accurate as Goyo goes to the mask shop to get help from the old man. And – funny story – ends up killing him. Nick and Hank interrupt the violence and manage to hear the old man’s last words: the name of the ceremony that can save Goyo.
Seems like a job for Rosalee and Monroe. (Why didn’t they just call the Santera who told them about the ceremony?) So they do it. It works. And this dude now has to face two murder charges. And guilt. And the masks that are talking to him.
Nick is writing all of this down in a Grimm notebook when Renard and his abs calls Adalind with a tempting phrase: “I might have a way to get Diana back.”
Is Nick the new Doogie Howser? Is Renard joining Black Claw or playing them? Will Eve give a fuck or will she just kill him to be safe? Where has Diana been this whole time? What happens when Adalind leaves Nick to go play house with Renard?
*This episode’s epigram sums up all my feeling about anonymity and the internet: Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face.