Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dog Days Are Over Haven S3E02 Stay

I'll start you all off with a theory that arose while we were waiting for the ep: maybe Vince and Dave are the town, in some way. They're certainly the only recurring characters who don't have a Trouble we know about at this point. Though that may be about to change with the addition of a new character or two. First two seasons, all the non-Troubled are: a) extras b) biologically related to a Troubled person or c) married to a Troubled person.

And now you know what Kitty and I do when we're muttering at the clock. One of these days we'll toss up a quoteboard as a behind-the-scenes post, because we get so very punchy on Friday nights.

On to the episode! We were spoiled for this, but I'd like to think that between the feral, the broken rope, and the overall canine body language, we would've figured it out sooner rather than later. Fairly standard introduction to the Trouble of the week, as standard as such things ever are in Haven, and then we cut to Duke and Audrey, having the kind of quiet early morning coffee that's going to make Nathan jealous in a few seconds. He makes bad jokes, because Duke's coping mechanisms are incredibly predictable and also terribly adorable. Audrey, seated and still, as she tends to be when not in times of crisis and also to some extent when stressed out; Duke standing and fidgeting and sitting and pacing and he's gonna make me seasick if he keeps this up. Discussion of the metaplot, and this is actually shot like two close friends, not like lovers. Not that that matters to Nathan, but I mention it here because the body language isn't at all that of lovers. Maybe a little bit of Duke's crush showing, but nothing they can't both ignore. Unlike Nathan, who will now freak everyone out by seeming to be a manwere or a prowler, depending on if you're the audience or Audrey and Duke. Duke, you're showing how much you care again. And I love his smuggler "okay, anything can be used as a weapon" attitude. (Quick. Name everything in the room that can be used as a weapon.) They are, of course, tenser than usual in the immediate sense because they're talking about the Colorado Kid and this vague looming deadline that they haven't figured out yet, but after last week it's entirely valid to assume the worst until proven otherwise.

Dessine-moi un mouton? Grimm S2E05 The Good Shepherd

Ominous quote is, as usual, ominous. I like the placement of the quote against a field of little white lights with one red light in the middle of them. We have some metaplot to start us off with, Nick and the Eisbieber covering Bud's unfortunate conversation with Juliette. Nick, of course, doesn't hold it against Bud, who is about prostrating himself on the floor with apology. We also get a nice demonstration of Nick's Grimmstincts! But between the crowded bar and the lack of a good look at whatever's following him there's not much more that he can do but to get the hell out of the middle of all the civilians and be on his guard.

Our episode-specific opening is fairly standard horror, victim closing out at work, everything dark except for one or two lamps, working late. Killer comes up, there's a lot of screaming and please-no's, and some red eyes that we knew to expect because Blutbad. There's also a few moments of false reassurance that we're not going to see an incredibly gross murder scene because it cuts away right before the poor Seelengut is dropped into the grinder.

Buffy style opening credits! Sans narration, thank you whoever that was.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Are You My Mummy? Grimm S1E22 Woman in Black

Because I didn't already have enough stuff to do with home renovations and moving, I'm doing the whole damn episode. There is very little of this episode that isn't connected to metaplot in some way, so rather than trust my judgment to cherrypick, you're getting the whole damn thing. And if you've looked at some of our other Renard/metaplot heavy stuff, you'll know that means this thing is going to be approximately the size of a novella. One of our fellow fans and in-person friends's direct comment upon hearing my intentions was "oy gevalt", which, roughly translated, is a verbal eyeroll. Me, I consider it a mitzvah. Ignore the horns propping up the halo.

So! You have been warned. (And if you're certain people, you have been deeply confused.)

Our opening shot is a time-lapse sequence of clouds moving over the mountains, covered by a quote from Sleeping Beauty, the sleep of a hundred years into which the princess shall fall. And since we've all seen either the episode or the previews or the commercials or some form of publicity ever, we know that the princess in this case is Juliette. The time-lapse photography neatly underscores the rapid passage of time while she sleeps. I will note here, although we didn't do it during the The Kiss analysis even though we probably should have, that Juliette is in a coma for three days. We all remember the Law of Three, don't we? I thought we did.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Truth Is Out There: Haven S3E01 301

Previously, on Haven, your friendly neighborhood recapper did not cover all the previouslies establishing the ins and outs of Haven because she is exhausted from starting to renovate her new house. And because she and her partner will be analyzing them individually for you as time goes! Which is better than recapping previouslies. (And then A took over partway through. And then K took over again. And then A powered through the rest of it. Feel free to play spot the changeovers!) Suffice to say that Haven is afflicted by supernaturally powered people called the Troubled, AudSarLu (currently known as Audrey) is functionally non-aging and attempts to help the Troubled with compassion and doggone stubbornness. Duke is going to be killed by a tattooed man who appears to be Nathan, currently, and Nathan is pissed off because his breakfast date with Audrey was interrupted by her violent kidnapping. Everyone on board? Good, because this shit's about to get weirder than Willy Wonka's boat ride.

We pick up almost exactly where we left off, interrupted by two establishing shots, the first of Haven and the second of Duke's boat. In case we didn't know where we were. Hey, it's Haven, these things happen. Nathan is holding a gun on Duke still, Duke isn't so much attempting to talk Nathan out of shooting him as stalling for time while considering his options. He picks the one that involves reasonable self defense, and we hear that the gunshot that freaked us all out last season did not, in fact, go into a person. Yay! I strongly suspect, given a lot of the themes they seem to be building up, that they shot and lit this scene (and clothed, probably) to make Duke and Nathan look as alike as reasonably possible. There's a barrage of fisticuffs, a pause for them and us to recover and reorient, and then more fisticuffs ending in Nathan on top of Duke. And not in the way the fangirls would like.

Unfortunately for Nathan, while he's snarking off at Duke and trying to choke the daylights out of him, he also manages to bleed on him. I have no idea where that blood is coming from, you guys, although given the amount of flying fists it's entirely possible it came from the nose or mouth in sufficient quantity to drip, insufficient quantity to make a significant face-stain. Duke knocks him across the room and unlike last time when he forcibly disembarked Dwight, he seems to be in control this time. One has to wonder if he's been practicing, and if so, where the fuck did he find the blood of a Troubled person not himself to wipe on his skin. That's just creepy, Duke.

Not that we have much time to think about this, Nathan and Duke have to fight for the gun some more. Why there is suddenly only one gun in play is a bit of a question, but it does give us a good opportunity to see them both crawling on the floor after the one gun they and we can see, which seems to include Nathan crawling overtop of Duke. Again, they're very close in appearance, with the main difference that Duke's jeans are black and Nathan's are blue. Of course, the Trouble of the week beats them both to the gun, as everything metal goes flying up to the ceiling. At which point even their pose is similar-but-mirrored, one hand outstretched while they lie on the floor waiting for a clue as to what just happened.

Nathan continues to see Duke as a threat, while Duke is trying his best to calm Nathan down by being non-threatening and speaking clearly and evenly. Hands out, body posture ready but without the implicit threat of violence, fingers spread. While Nathan looks quite a bit like he did back in the first season, do we remember the episode with the mental institution? He's giving us a very Kubrickian stare, his eyes are sunken, and his mouth is pressed in that thin line of imminent explosion. Duke meanwhile explains how his power works, which we so amply saw demonstrated, points at the ceiling and says "But, this? Not. Me." Just in case Nathan didn't get it the first time around, which in his emotional state he might well not have. Because he asks yet again where Audrey is, and Duke is getting sick of this shit, and probably worried, himself. He doesn't know. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

War Games Grimm S1E18 Cat and Mouse

I'm going to skip Nick writing up his previous adventures and just note that it's a nice bit of writing to begin the ep in a way that ties Nick to his ancestors, as much history and metaplot as we get in this. It's also useful in that it hints at how much off-screen time Nick spends in the trailer, writing or researching or looking for clues about the key, so that the later scene at Rosalee's is a little less jarring.

Metaplot, though, begins in DC. This is a smart choice as the first US city we see outside of the West Coast/Portland area for a lot of reasons. First, it's the national seat of government, and the view down the Mall is one of the more iconic ones. (Kitty, after much glowering at the landmarks and declaring their monuments to be pastede on yay, believes this is either the Teddy Roosevelt or the Arlington Memorial Bridge.) This foreshadows the (inter)national scope that's about to be blown open for our protagonist this episode. Second, it's one of a couple logical choices for someone coming in from Europe who proceeds to hop across the country. Second and a half, the bridge scene is about five minutes' drive in good traffic from a major national airport. And since we've been primed all season to read cuddlier, cuter Wesen as good and uglier ones as bad, we know right off that this fugitive is probably a good guy and the hunter chasing him is definitely a bad guy. Very, very nice use of visuals.

Though this is then brought into question, because nothing in Grimmworld is black and white, by the very next scene in which Ian Harmon shoots his Hundjager tracker rather than try and outrun him again. In St. Louis, which is one of the places referred to as the heartland of the US. He confirms it's a Verrat agent, more for our benefit than for his, so we know that there's a Significant Tattoo later on. And now Harmon really is the fugitive he was pretending to be before, but instead of the cops finding the body it's Waltz. It's implied though not outright stated that he was the other Hundjager's partner, which would make sense. Hunting dogs usually don't work solo. Certainly it's implied that no more than twelve hours, give or take, passes between Harmon shooting the unnamed Hundjager and Waltz finding the body, though if they were partners I want to know why Waltz didn't twig to something being wrong sooner.

At any rate, we're finally in Portland, and Harmon has a bad feeling about this. Smart. Also, silencers don't keep guns nearly that quiet, but it's TV so I'll give it to them. Also part two, we have Sebastian Roche, who hasn't played a non-creepy non-bastard type as a guest spot in years, so even more clues pointing toward This Is A Very Bad Man. Leaving that bag behind is, as it turns out, going to be the MacGuffin for this episode which allows all our players to connect in various ways.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Better The Devil You Know: Haven Profiles (Dwight, Vince, Dave)

Note: File numbers redacted for security purposes.

Date: 9/21/2012
Subject Name: Dwight Hendrickson
DOB: 10/30/73
Gender: Male
Age: 38
Place of Examination: Data compiled at Chandler/Hammett Investigations offices
Occupation: Cleaner. Renditions. Updated 10/20/13:
Police Chief, Haven PD, for approximately six months.
Marital Status: Single
Race: Troubled
Classification: WR-####

Presents with: Flattened affect and heightened startle reflex consistent with time spent in combat, with a degree of control consistent with the amount of time since last deployment. Wary of others, but not unfriendly. Potential for PTSD is moderate, though due to the subject's known military training it is likely that he has substantial coping mechanisms for same. Highly competent in his chosen field(s).
Updated 1/28/13: Subject is known to have been a Ranger, though for what of the several military definitions is at this time unknown. Regardless of the specifics, we may generalize this to assume a greater than usual level of survival skills, along with a near-infinite capacity to learn and assimilate new data rapidly. This appears to come at the cost of subject's social skills; subject has few to no friends and has difficulty relating to those he deems civilians, which category includes almost everyone in Haven. Notable and probable exceptions are subjects TD-BD-#### and IN-####, though not subject TL-BD-####, who he treats more in keeping with a family member of a soldier. Subject has been seen to have significant interaction with both Teagues brothers, however, and we may safely assume that he views himself as alternately working for or working alongside them to contain the Troubles. When subject does attempt to relate to others, our sole data point thus far indicates that he reveals a source of trauma when given the opportunity to do so; this suggests that he wants people to commiserate with and quite probably misses the camaraderie of the military, but has no clear path to acquiring such connections. Subject does not engage in small talk and conversational pleasantries, thus forming connections is more difficult and awkward for him. He was unaware of subject TD-BD-####'s relationship to the Guard but also unsurprised by it, indicating an ability to comprehend patterns of data though preferring to wait for confirmation before taking direct action. Updated 10/20/13: Subject's affect continues flattened, though notably less so now that he has been placed in a position of trusted authority and allowed greater latitude to assist all parties, civilian and otherwise, in resolving the aftermath of Troubled outbreaks. As with many individuals who have engaged in combat zones and at best incompletely reintegrated into civilian society, subject appears to be at his most functional when in a position most similar to the originating trauma.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Haven Murder Dotplot (pre Season 3)

Look! It's something that's not Grimm! Yes, we really are doing something besides focusing on our dear Captain, because Haven is about to come back and lord knows it'll eat our brains. As most Stephen King-related things do.


Click through to embiggen. 
(As of end of Season Two)

Monday, September 17, 2012

50 Schades of Grimm S1E17 Love Sick

My dear co-blogger would like it known that she disavows this title. At least I think that's what she said, I couldn't hear her over the maniacal cackling.

"Forgive me for the evil I have done you; my mother drove me to it; it was done against my will." The line is from Donkey Cabbages, which is Tale 122 in Grimm's and also appears in the Yellow Fairy Book, which is where I know it from. Entertaining tidbits from Donkey Cabbages include "There comes one out of the wood who has a wonderful treasure in his body which we must manage to possess ourselves of," and the quote from Island of Dreams "Soon he was so in love with the witch's daughter that he could think of nothing else. He lived by the light of her eyes and gladly did whatever she asked." It also involves magic things which are eaten, so there you go. But then again, so do many fairy tales.

Anyway. We open on the quote in the woods, and Nick rummaging around in the trailer. And even though this is a mostly Renard-centric blog we'll start with Nick rummaging around in the trailer because he's about to discover the metap-- er, the map. Entertainingly, some of the drawers he pulls out of that apothecary shelf are around the same area as the ones Kelly pulls out to open up the secret door. I'm pretty sure that's not on purpose though. We'll let him look.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Love Potion No. 9 Grimm S1E15, 16: Island of Dreams, The Thing With Feathers

We only get a couple of scenes from Renard in each of 1x15 Island of Dreams and 1x16 The Thing With Feathers, so we'll conflate the two into one post since it's all primarily concerned with the same subplot. To recap: Hank is under the control of a blood magic love spell directing his affections to Adalind, and it's making him lose focus to the point where it's affecting his work. She is playing hard to get, under orders from Renard. We don't yet know what the motivations for or outcome of this are.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ten for Mortal Men Grimm S1E13 Three Coins in a Fuchsbau

While we're on hiatus, we've decided it would be a good idea (read: keep us and you entertained) to finally catch up on some of our backlog of S1 analysis. Due to our own proclivities and the fact that we don't, actually, have time to write up thousands of words of analysis on the entire back half of the season, we're sticking with Renard and metaplot-focused eps, with one or two posts scheduled near the end of the hiatus to cover the eps with little metaplot in them. (So: Three Coins, Island of Dreams/Thing with Feathers, Love Sick, Cat and Mouse, Woman in Black.) Bear in mind that we're now coming at this from the perspective of the reveals of early S2, and although the actors didn't know certain things, this still leaves everything the showrunners touched as suspect for foreshadowing.

Beginning with the very first shot of Three Coins in a Fuchsbau, as a matter of fact! We know in retrospect that this is Renard's apartment - more than that, it's his bedside table. And the quote. "For me there are neither locks nor bolts, whatsoever I desire is mine." Originally this seemed ominous but not necessarily more portentous than the ep it's contained within. Now, with all of S1 behind us, I would say that this also foreshadows the fact that nowhere is safe. They hammered this in a psychological sense with Renard possessed by the coins this ep, but then they go on to show it in a more visceral physical sense when Kimura breaks into his apartment in Woman in Black.

Not only is nowhere safe, the coins themselves turn places of sanctuary into hunting grounds. In many respects they're the protagonist of this ep, more than Nick, more than Renard is the deuteragonist. They drive the actions of every single person, and they continue to do so in the background, jumping out into the open every so often. Obnoxious things.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Grimm: Axis & Allies Explicated

The Axis and Allies thing, like most of our series-spanning associations, came up by accident. We were tossing the clip from the Madrid-based Grimm's video back and forth, the one where several Wesen are shot ostensibly because they were rebels against Franco's regime but really because they married outside their species. There's actually a whole pile of stuff I could say about Franco's regime, some from general history and some from family history, and I was saying some of it to Adsartha when it occurred to us that if they were tying it into history obviously, they might also be tying it in subtly. By the time the Franco's army clip came up we'd already seen that Hitler was a Schakal. We'd also already seen that Renard had at least one contact in Paris whom he trusted enough to tell him that he had the Coins of Zakynthos, which was significant. We had Germans from all over, Monroe's grandparents plus Edgar Waltz plus Reapers, we had a particularly nasty Swiss guy in the form of Anton Krug. In short, we had a number of threads that all went back to Europe. And most of them went back to Axis powers, either powers in their own right or occupied lands that were on the Axis side by virtue of being taken over. And by the end of the first season, that includes Japan in there.

So we laid out a chart much like the one we posted several days ago. Allowing for the split between Vichy France and the Collaborateurs, that puts most characters from the Axis side on the side of the bad guys, most characters from the Allies side on the side of the good guys. It's not a perfect analogy, we'll admit, especially given the prevalence of moral ambiguity in the show, but it's pretty damn close. I'll go ahead and assume that most of you reading this know at least the broad strokes of history and deal mainly with the Grimm side of things; feel free to ask if you miss a reference.

The Mystery of the Missing Metaplot Grimm S1E08 Game Ogre (extras)

So, now that we are both back from vacation (not that perhaps you could tell) we will deal with the deleted scenes from Game Ogre! There's actually a lot of deleted scenes on the Blu-Ray discs (and possibly the DVDs?) but these are significant in terms of Renard and the metaplot, so we'll throw them in on their own post. For those of you who don't have the Blu-Rays (Adsartha, sadly, being one of them) I've included a summary before the analysis.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Grimm Legends: Go Fish

The Fisher King. Not just a movie with Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams! (Although I would say that movie is well worth watching.) The concept of the Fisher King is a simple one: in the abstract, the king is the land is the king, and what befalls the king befalls the land as well. In the slightly more specific, the origins of the Fisher King are tied in with some of the first Grail stories. The Fisher King is the keeper of an artifact of power, usually the Grail, and he is wounded or disabled in some way, usually in the groin or upper leg area. If a questing knight asks the right questions, the king and thus the land are healed and the artifact is passed down to the questioner, who becomes the new guardian.

This is a very popular trope. Just off the top of my head the places where "the king is the land is the king" appears include: Pirates of the Caribbean (succeeded by Will Turner), the Dreaming world from The Sandman by Neil Gaiman (succeeded from Morpheus by Daniel), the Last Unicorn both book and movie (succeeded from Haggard by Lir), the Dark Crystal (succeeded by the Gelflings), a couple of countries in the Kushiel trilogy (most notably Drujan, but arguably Phedre herself, buying ten years of peace with the lives of ten knights sworn to her), the Lord of the Rings series with Mordor and the
elven kingdoms, the Dark is Rising sequence, Discworld, the Wizard of Oz, the Chronicles of Narnia (always winter and never Christmas, anyone?), everything David Eddings ever wrote, Asimov's Foundation, Wheel of Time, I could go on. At length. Even in non-European myth this crops up, with the Green Willow myth from Japanese culture and there is mention of a king in the Ramayana whose emotions change the seasons of his country. I'm sure if we wanted to take another hour we could double this list, but you get the idea. The Fisher King and his (or her) kingdom appear all over the freaking place.

With that in mind, and with Adsartha already having taken you through the Grimm-Grail Quest parallels, let's address the Fisher King concept specifically. There are no direct Fisher Kings in Grimm, yet. The prevalence of the trope alone, not to mention previously discussed literal and historical geekery, is enough to convince me that that's very much a yet. But we can discuss the potential Fisher Kings, the existence of artifacts that deal with one's spiritual health affecting the physical world, and other related phenomena. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Grimm Legends: Grail Quest

I'll be the first to admit that it took an outside perspective to smack me with the dead fish and point out the Grail parallels in Grimm. (Thank the husbeast.) But once I saw them, I couldn't un-see them for the life of me. I have Arthuriana goggles. They're worse than slash goggles. But they're HELPING.

We already know the writers and show-runners are using old-school symbolism. Characters have significant(ly groan-worthy)  names, Billy Capra, Hanson and Gracie, Leo Taymor. The allied species are the more benign ones, foxes and a wolf and Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, and the enemy species are hags, trolls, and ogres. The forest is the place where all the bad shit happens. Blood magic, both sympathetic and bloodline.

We also already knew that they were playing up the numbers game. We touched on the Rule of Three in the ritual with Renard and his priest-assassin thing in Last Grimm Standing, and seven is probably the most common number to choose when you want a blatantly Significant Number that's greater than three but manageable with a simple core storyline. Still, with the seven royal families and their seven knights (who I still suspect of being part of the Templars, but we don't have in-canon proof on that yet) and their one greatest treasure to rule them all, we've got some hefty evidence pointing not at the One Ring, but at the Grail itself. Or a Grail-like object, anyway.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Were It Not That I Have Bad Dreams Grimm S2E04 Quill

This was a very... odd ep. In contrast with a lot of the comments we've seen so far, we liked it BUT. Mostly it felt like it was about 1.5 episodes worth of plot, and while we've had eps like that before they felt better put together and more connected. This was a Wesen of the week episode with no obvious connection (though I won't be surprised if there is one eventually) to the metaplot bits. Even in S1 with, for example, Love Sick, the pacing felt at least considered. This felt in large part like Simkins brought in a full 43 minutes of script and they had to slide some metaplot in for season arc pacing. And maybe they did and maybe that's just a new writer to the show; we don't know. Regardless, I think we're going to take the metaplot bits of this as a standalone, because the two just don't mesh well.

(We hope it's a new writer thing! And that Simkins sticks around, because we've liked his work on Warehouse 13 and on one of the few good eps of S2 Human Target.)

On to the Renard analysis! We start after the setup with a report to the captain in his office. And we see, now that we have Nick and Renard in the same room, that enough time has passed between Bad Moon Rising (where they were still a little beat up) that both men have entirely healed from their injuries. I wonder about that, mostly because I don't think we have a clear indication on if Grimms heal faster than normal humans, and that would be another of those things Nick should be wondering about Renard if so.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hank Griffin: Underappreciated Badass

We promised you a post about how incredibly badass Hank is over the course of the show, and though this will by necessity not be everything, here's an overview!

Our first portrait of Hank isn't entirely flattering - he's a loyal partner, a good cop, but also it sounds like something of a womanizer. Best case, he's a serial monogamist with commitment issues. However, unlike a number of other shows where a cop's first characterization is cracking jokes about the number of his ex-wives, Hank is a good cop. He's not an asshole to the women he deals with on cases, he's senior to Nick and seems to confine his mentoring to his strengths, and he really, really loves his job.

(In many ways, for those of you familiar with Criminal Minds, Hank's ex-wives are passed off in much the same way Rossi's are: sure, the guy has issues in the romantic department, but so do a LOT of cops. Doesn't make him a bad person, just gives him a relatable flaw - that he compartmentalizes from his work. It's an impressive feat of characterization, and one both the writers and Hornsby pull off well.)