A Spirited GRIMM Goes Native


Episode 4:18 “Mishipeshu”

This was an unusual episode because the police case didn’t involve Wesen characters. There have been a few episodes that have been about something not Wesen causing trouble, but not many. This is one of them.


Grimm has explored the folklore of several cultures. This week we get the Native American legend of the Mishipeshu, sort of. Grimm never tells the whole story of any of these tales only parts relevant to the police case. Which makes sense. They only have about 43 minutes for the whole episode. How much background can you get in plus the police case plus something on our main characters?



Nick and Hank are called in on a case where something attacked a high school custodian working late. It looks like he was mauled by an animal. They are met at the scene by Deputy Farris. They worked with her previously on the Phansigar case. When they talk to the school principal they learn that the custodian, Larry, was suspected of vandalizing a student’s locker with racial slurs. The student, Simon, dropped out of school as soon as he turned 18.

I’m going to pause the story here. This seemed so petty to me that an adult would be scrawling graffiti on a kid’s locker. Why would anyone do that? That’s like pushing a toddler’s block tower over. Why? All the custodians and janitors I’ve met would never create a mess in the building they care for. In fact, the vast majority of them take a sense of pride and ownership in their work. It struck me as such a character flaw that it surprised me he wasn’t dismissed from his job for even the suspicion of vandalism.

Back to our story; Farris vaguely remembers the boy. His father, Gus, was killed thirteen years ago. Simon is a member of a local Native American tribe. Hank and Farris go to the reservation to speak with a tribal elder, Hector. Nick stays behind to visit Juliette in jail. She was booked on assault charges after causing a ruckus in a bar.


Simon is on a Power Quest to discover his Native American spirit guide. What he gets is a vengeful Mishipeshu, a horned water serpent panther, that is out to kill the three men who beat Gus to death on the side of the road late one night thirteen years ago. It’s not clear if that was Simon’s intention or if he was possessed by the spirit and unaware of his actions. Either way, he kills two of the three men and attacks the third.

Hank, Nick and Farris found that there was a connection between the three men so they went to find out if the the third man was Gus’s killer or the next intended victim. As they arrive at the house there’s a gunshot and the third guy comes crashing through the window. Now, how they can tell who it is who just came out the window I don’t know. But the writer said that they call out for Farris to stay with him while they go in the house.

Simon comes out of the house in full Mishipeshu mode, avoids them by leaping on the roof of the house and bounds off but lands badly on an ankle. Farris sees him land and run off into the woods. Now we’ve got another person who’s seen something that can’t really be explained.

They still don’t know that was Simon that jumped off the roof. They have no evidence to clearly tie him to these three men. Back to Hector they go. He leads them on a quest of their own into the dream world. Only, he won’t let Nick go. He realizes there’s something different about Nick and he thinks it would be dangerous for him to do this. Now, don’t you just want to know what Nick would have seen if he’d taken a drink of the what ever it was that Hank and Farris did? Of course. We all do. Too bad we didn’t get to. I don’t think that chance will come back soon.

Hank has the unfortunate burden of seeing what Simon saw as a five year old child. He now knows who killed Gus. Then the Mishipeshu draws him to where Simon lies injured. It leaves Simon and enters Hank.

We did get the payoff for the promo with Hank’s glowing yellow eyes. He didn’t become some sort of Wesen, which was what I was wondering. He’s just temporarily possessed by a water spirit. I couldn’t figure out how he could become a Wesen. But, then I wouldn’t have guessed that you could become a Hexenbiest the way that Juliette has. To some degree the writers set the rules and then bend them as they see fit. I guess that’s fair. This is, after all, their world.


 Working together they get the spirit to leave Hank’s body and not attack the third guy. The three police officers realize that although they know this guy killed Gus they would have a hard time making a conviction stick. They’re also concerned that if it were to come to trial that Simon might somehow be linked to the death of the other two murders. They leave the house, but later Mishipeshu returns and finishes the job, this time using Farris.

We’re still in a sort of holding pattern story wise for our main characters. Not everyone agrees with me on this and that’s fine. I write this. It’s my opinion. Each week there are new police cases, but the heart of Grimm are the storylines of our main characters. If Grimm did not have characters that the fans were vested in, it would not hold the audience share it does. I don’t think audiences would really care from week to week if the whole point of the show was to solve a case each week with a new creature feature. We tune in to find out what’s going to happen to our favorite character.

Juliette is getting angrier and more violent. Which is how she lands in jail. Nick is kind of glad she’s there. He finally knows where she is. I think she wants to be there. It’s like an out of control child needing rules in order to have some structure and help them manage his own confusion.

Probably the most bizarre scene was Sean Renard watching a guy ahead of him in line at a food truck go through a wad of $100 bills in his wallet. Then he follows him to his car, punches him out, and takes the wallet. Okay. I thought this was on purpose. I thought he recognized something about the blue ink marks on the money. Or the particular way the man handled the money meant something to him.

When he got back to his office at the precinct he looks at the money and checks the I.D. in the wallet. Sergeant Wu comes in they have an exchange and he gives Wu the wallet saying he doesn’t know how it got in his coat. Please make sure it gets returned and let’s keep in anonymous. I still thought he knew what he was doing. The NBC recap says he doesn’t remember what he did and how the wallet got in his coat. That’s even more weird.

The cast is wrapped on shooting this season. Now, they get to sit back and watch it like us normal folks. It would be fun if they’d give us some early breadcrumbs on what’s to come. Hint, hint.

[Show site at NBC]     [Previous recap: “Hibernaculum”]


Maia Ades

Maia Ades resented the demanding schedule of first grade, as it interfered with her afternoon TV schedule. Now she watches TV for "research" and in order to write show reviews. She is currently involved in independent film production, and enjoys creating fine art.

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