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.

Juxtaposing a cloud-filled, most likely peaceful, if unnaturally long sleep we have Hank's nightmare about Woge-d out Monroe and his waking from a clearly troubled sleep. His face is sweaty, the first thing he does is grab for his gun and sweep it around the room, aiming at whatever might be moving. Then he flips on the light. He's at least smart about his paranoia in that he doesn't sleep with a gun beneath his pillow where restless movement might set it off, no matter how many safety measures have been built into it. He starts out aiming center and forward, then sweeps right, apparently towards the door to the rest of the house, which shows some degree of at least subconscious threat assessment and awareness of safety procedures. I say some degree because that discounts the very wide windows that someone could be coming through, though admittedly if there was a stealth intruder it'd probably be coming through the door, and Hank would damn well know if someone crashed through those windows. After he flips on the light he puts the gun down, and we can infer from the positions of his hands that his finger isn't on the trigger. We also pull back to get a decent look at his room: dark woods and warm colors, deep red and red and chocolate brown on the bed, deep green on the upper and more easily seen portion of the walls. It makes the room very cozy, both in the sense of impression of warmth and in the sense of emphasizing small rather than large. Under other circumstances the colors and the coziness would be reassuring, but right now and under such stress, and with the camera angle that's just a few degrees downward of the "something in the corner of your ceiling is going to drop down on you and eat you" angle of horror movies. (Seriously, that camera angle is, as far as I can tell, mainly used for Death From Above.) Well, it all makes for an intense and uncomfortable clip.

From night terrors to early morning coffee and other benign things! We open with a shot of the steamer in mid hiss and then come around it to, well, sneak up on Nick and Monroe. It's a good furtive shot, setting the mood to tense and clandestine, and Nick is sneaking around on just about everyone with Monroe. Slash not intended. They converse about Hank and his trauma, and Monroe lets slip about how that terror Hank displayed was a look he'd seen before, which is interesting. In the sense that Monroe caused what we'll call the Delirium in another vanilla human, or in the sense that Monroe was present when it happened? We might find out more about that in the future, but it's also a subtle reminder that Monroe didn't always used to be the hipster vegetarian wolf we all know and want to cuddle. More conversation, and we get Monroe bringing up Nick's response when he first saw a Wesen's true form, which we are reminded via flashback was Adalind. Nice foreshadowing there, it was, of how important she's going to be. It's also another subtle underscore of how much stronger-willed Grimms are, or are supposed to be. Nick sees a couple of different Wesen woge, as the term is supposed to be, and doesn't do much of anything. He may think he's going crazy but apart from a few dreams involving waking bolt upright like you do in films, he does nothing. Hank has hit full-blown paranoia, high startle reflex, night terrors, and something akin to PTSD. We can attribute this to evolving characters, but it's likely at least some of it is also due to Grimm hardiness. Which of course they'd have to be, to survive their lives. Monroe suggests it'll wear off, trailing off with the 'couple, three years' comment. Which, in terms of mental illness or injury, isn't actually that bad a timeline.

And then we cut to outside, with a traditional spy-vs-spy shot followed by the usual clicks of camera shutters. Which is kind of hilarious, since most (and this investigator's) cameras are digital nowadays. Oh noes, someone's watching them! Who? It'd be a great place to cut to title card, but we don't; instead we cut to a portable printer plugged into the digital camera printing out those photos of Nick. We also see this guy has a pile of Nick shots, none of them terribly close or invasive, but there are many of them. He pulls out the most recent print and adds it to... his murderboard! Awww, someone else has a murderboard! The angle of the thing makes it difficult to see what's on the wall, but on the hotel room bed we have, in no particular order: Nick, lots of Nick, something involving wood paneling and I'm not sure what that is, Marquesa, Flynn and Hans, the jewelry store robbery clippings, oh, that's the hardwood, it's the floor where Flynn and Hans died, a couple pictures of Renard, more of Hank, some of Monroe. Pretty much everything we see again later. He calls someone up and says he found the other person's friend, and that it's time for him to get on a plane to Portland. Another good place for a title card aaaaaand... no. We cut to Nick staring at a computer screen, Interpol, of all things with a header field that looks like a standard public-access website and yet the document on the screen looks like an internal one. Though given the scarcity of information on it, it could just be a summary sheet for interested parties like bounty hunters. No significant new information, just the name, pictures, a booking number, and known accomplices which is the list we had before.

A wild coffee appears! The coffee is wielded by Hank, whose state Nick comments upon and receives a brush-off for his pains. Hank isn't interested in talking about his problems or what's causing him to look like hammered shit, as one might expect given the stigma against cops with emotional issues. On the one hand they make for good story drama, on the other hand, there's a lot of pressure involved to keep things level, to be calm and steady under fire, etc. We get some exposition about who Akira Kimura is for those who weren't paying attention the last time or didn't get to see that part, and now the new exposition is that Kimura is wanted in the beating death of a coin collector in Hamburg who sold the coins of Mordor to Bertram, the jeweler who had them when we first met the damned things. We also get some apparently unnecessary exposition about the snowflake tattoo, the Eieshelmer? If I'm spelling that right, which I'm probably not. Which is apparently a symbol the Vikings wore for invincibility in battle. I don't have enough of a knowledge base to know how accurate this is and at the moment I'm elbow deep in house cleaning and renovations, but if someone wants to research that it would be faboo! Hank will trust his flak jacket, which is probably a good idea. Kimura's last known is from 14 months ago, in Lisbon. His current knowns are easy! A cab pulls up outside the Governor Hotel and a valet opens the door to reveal Kimura with his snowflake tattoo, just in case we didn't recognize him. Another not-title-card cut later, our snoopy investigator opens the door to Kimura, who asks him where Marquesa is. Possibly the investigator didn't tell Kimura that Marquesa was dead. The investigator, hoping to keep his client (and us the audience) on the hook, says he found a lot more than him and closes the door to a potentially significant 122. So if we're going to collect numbers that may be significant, that's one of them? Unless it's the episode number, in which case we won't see it ever again. And NOW we get a title card.

And then some sinister milk! Being poured into a sinister bowl! We know it's sinister because the camera focuses only on the milk and the bowl, and the music that plays in the background is a few beats short of Psycho strings. The box subsequent is more sinister on its own, as it says Phialas Irae, which roughly translates to 'vial of wrath.' Fun! This unknown subject dumps the entire contents of the Phialas Irae into the milk, although 'entire contents' amounts to a few drops, which indicates that this is pretty potent stuff. Usually vials that size and shape don't amount to only a few drops unless there's a lot of storage safety involved. At this point all we've seen of the unsub is a manicured hand, but shortly thereafter the whole of her body comes into view, revealing that it is a her. And she reaches and opens a kitty carrier, inviting the kitty to come out and see her new home and drink the contaminated milk. I am stomping all over my cat lover urges to write this, you guys, I hope you appreciate that. The Psycho strings continue, the cat laps up the milk, and rather than pan up the camera just cuts to Adalind's face smiling like, well, the cat who got into the potentially contaminated cream.

Audio overlay takes us into the investigator's summation of the Coins subplot, nothing new to begin with. It does give us that the investigator is either intrigued enough by the mystery of why everyone is after the coins, reason enough to want to figure them out, or the investigator is coin-touched just from looking at the pictures of the coins. Which is a bit of a scary thought. I suspect that's just my paranoia, though, because the investigator holds up the picture of Renard and suggests a deeper mystery he can unravel, by indicating that he has the names and addresses of all involved. He says that Kimura needs him, so probably all he's after is a big payday. Unfortunately for him Kimura is most likely coin-touched, says an ominous "Not anymore" and woges out, lunging at the investigator in time for a few screams and a discreet shot of the outside of the hotel.

Standard footage of ominous, most likely feminine by the curvature, legs coming around a corner. Standard footage of ominous hand coming down, a flick-knife being opened. I'm trying to figure out how you jimmy a modern hotel door with a flick knife, but we'll skip past that and pretend she had other tools. The ominous person doesn't remain a mystery too long as she comes in, sees the body, makes a quick check of the hotel bathroom and then rolls the body over to examine the injuries. She gives us the investigator's name, Mr. Adams, and seems to know he's an investigator. By now we've had some blatant sinister telegraphing, but also a little softening of the usual signs. For instance, she faces roughly front rather than give us a three quarter view. And the sunlight coming through the window isn't the usual sort of lighting we get for an enemy, even during daylight. We'll have to leave her behind, though, and switch to another sinister lady!

Just so we know she was doing nasty things to the cat, Adalind shows up cat first in this shot. There's some feeling each other out, since a lot's happened since the last time Juliette saw Adalind and Adalind likely isn't feeling certain of her reception, though probably she's certain of Juliette's animal loving instincts. For her purposes, Adalind doesn't need Juliette to like her, just to be willing to treat the cat. Still and nonetheless, Juliette gets in a little dig by saying she doesn't judge patients by their owners, implying that she's one of those people who prefers animals to some people. I know how you feel, Juliette. That cat is not an Egyptian Mau, by the way, as far as I can tell. Siamese? Siamese cross? I'm not sure if that was intentional, if Adalind just pulled Egyptian Mau out of the air because of its rarity and therefore its use as a status symbol, or what. The cat, as we saw in the previous scene, seems to have been bought/adopted for that specific purpose, so if Adalind does have a cat personally that's probably not it. Difficult to tell, given the available data though, or lack thereof. She's also running on a minimum of makeup here, too, which may be Watsonian or may be Doylist, but either way it gives her the impression of actually being tired, worried, maybe a little regretful at roofie-ing Hank. Probably not that last one. Juliette, being Juliette, takes Majique in hand to examine her, which Majique rewards in typical temperamental kitty fashion. Most likely with nudging from the potion, given how psychotic that cat seemed later. And since we had the opening quote from Sleeping Beauty, we know that this is meant to be the pricking of the finger that puts Juliette to sleep for umpty thousand years. Or three significant days. Adalind is of course very apologetic, Juliette has of course had worse as a vet, and the kitty looks self-satisfied and demonic with the black eyes and yellow tongue. Also rather Halloweenie. I approve.

I like the trunk lid slamming down for a cut-in, although I don't think that implication of finality and coffins was on purpose. Maybe it was! If so, kudos to editing or whoever made that call. We follow Hank, Nick, and Wu over to the crime scene with a series of fast-moving pans while Wu gives us the break-down, including snarky commentary. Pan up and back from the body, using the body as the focal point for the scene in the hotel room, they discuss means and hatchets, and Nick notes for those of us who missed five minutes ago that the body was rolled. More relevantly, he gives us some detective chops by noting that the blood patterning on the rug indicates the body was face down long enough for the blood to soak into the carpet. I actually find Hank's explanation to be less plausible because the room wasn't visibly tossed, there's no indication that the killer lingered long enough for that much blood to soak into the carpet before rolling the body and checking the corpse. On the other hand, that's only reduces the plausibility a little bit, the killer could have done all kinds of other things. Had a nap, eaten a sandwich, taken a shower, sat curled up in a fetal ball of what have I done for two hours. Who knows. This and the following couple scenes give us a reasonable amount of detectiveness to balance the Grimm/Wesen-ness, all of it suitably professional and while I would say they're missing a couple details and theories, it's likely these scenes were cut down for time.

A hallway in a posh condo or apartment building! Or possibly, I suppose, a hotel or convention center. And a building staff cleaning lady! I'll have you know, I can no longer watch this scene without thinking of the blooper reel and expecting a wild Monroe to appear. Just saying. This is pretty boilerplate horror, we have the victim going to the door and opening it, covering a good portion of the screen, to do something in the room, and when the door closes, BAM! Villain. Who then eats her throat out. But not after she does something for him!

I pause to note Nick's desktop appears to be identical to Renard's; appears only, because we can only see half the screen. So presumably that's the standard police computer desktop, then. I wonder what Renard has on his personal computer. Nick pulls up the photos and, look! It's a nine photo spread of him and Hank! And, ooh, a nine photo spread of Renard. The condo, where he's dressed for work and, notably, some pictures of him in running clothes. Your friendly neighborhood analyst stops to drool for a moment, but apart from the fact that he jogs with an iPod there's not much there that we didn't know already. Depressingly. Nick and Hank react the way sensible cops do, by getting protection. Unfortunately for Renard, it's too late.

Out of the elevator and down the hall, glancing up every now and again as he has to negotiate corners or other places where he doesn't have direct line of sight and then he opens the door. And pulls his gun, because his place has been tossed. We get a good couple seconds as he creeps down the front hall, which means a good look at four out of five of the pictures hanging on the wall over to his right. Going from closest to the door top to bottom, we have the picture of Renard airplaning his little girl looking up at her; although we can only see his face we can still recognize both the expression and tilt and the background from a couple seconds later on. Below that we have a woman in a blue shirt and a white sweater, arms crossed in front of her. Next we have the little girl herself, in what looks like a white blouse or dress with a Peter Pan collar and a pink sweater. Could someone with a more Christian background tell me if that might be a First Communion dress under there? Just for shits and giggles. (A: I'm voting no, that looks more like a first day of school dress. Insufficient white.) Then on the far side we have a landscape/building type picture of the sort he has in his office. The glare is too acute for me to see the top far picture. There's a few things this tells us, the first one being that there are two women in his life whom he is or was close to. Their pictures are all over his condo where there is very little else in the way of personal touches that aren't also status symbols. None of these pictures are the kind that evokes 'look how rich and powerful I am', they're family portraits, focused on the people in them and little else. The second one, sadly, given the kind of threats he seems to be expecting, is that these two ladies are most likely out of his life and beyond reach. Whether that means dead or whether he has cut himself off from them so completely that they can no longer be used against him, sent away, publically alienated either by pretense or accurately, it's hard to say. But the fact that these pictures are out where any number of the people breaking into his apartment could see them (and that's another reason for these repeated break-ins to gall, they are breaking into his sanctuary and touching his connection to his old life, tainting it) means that he no longer fears someone finding out about them and using them as leverage. Which is incredibly sad. Three, it gives us a glimpse of a whole other Renard. Note that in these pictures, what you can see of them at least, he doesn't look like he's wearing anything formal. The girl's all sprawled on the couch. These are, again, not posed photos. At one time Renard was a family man who loved his wife and daughter deeply, and was able to laugh and have fun spending time with them. And now all he has, clings to, in fact, are a few photos and his wedding ring.

We'll pause here for a second while I dig out the half an onion someone left under my desk.

He walks down the hall at a semi-crouch with his shoulders up around his ears for reasons I know not. For a guy who's physically trained, and by this I mean Roiz and not Renard, and who demonstrably knows other ways Renard would move in other situations, I'm perplexed why his shoulders are up around his ears and his arms are locked stiff rather than gently bent at the elbows. This is not a battle-ready posture, this is tense to the point where the rigidity in his muscles will impede his effectiveness in combat. His gun posture is locked tight and tense, which might be the actual purpose here, to show us that Renard's sanctuary has been invaded and how on edge and upset he is. Mostly, it just makes me curious and rings a bit dissonant with the otherwise very coordinated and graceful Captain.

And the man continues to remind me of my childhood with his tapestries, fine art, and hardback books everywhere. Just off a quick count there are about twenty books on the table against the tapestry, or that were on the table before they got knocked everywhere, five or six on the living room floor at first glance and more than that as he comes around into the living room, I stopped counting by now. This tells me that if he came home and somehow didn't have to do any paperwork, he would probably spend his leisure time quietly reading on the couch or in one of the chairs. Lamps overturned, chair stuffing pulled out, this is a really shitty job of looking for something as small as a set of coins. The drawers should be out of that sideboard and not just dangling, the pictures should be off the wall and so should that tapestry, and, okay, I'll stop mentally destroying Renard's apartment now.  

... No I won't. Okay, all that kitchen equipment tossed, but Kimura leaves the bowls and what appear to be an excessive collection of stainless steel travel mugs up on the top shelves untouched? Come on! At least grab one of those de-stuffinged chairs to stand on so you can look in there? If I were Renard I'd totally hide something in a tall place where probably no one else can reach. Renard comes into his destroyed kitchen, about which he probably gives no fucks because he clearly doesn't use it, and finds his housekeeper, about whom he gives several fucks. Being both a good cop and a good Prince he is dismayed by the death of Housekeeper Patty, although why he crouches down to examine anything before he's cleared the house of hostiles I do not know. Bad cop. No donut. Predictably, this is when Kimura comes out of hiding. It's hard to say if Renard looked up at the phone or at Kimura, but the phone rings its ironic shrillness to tell him that Nick wants a word with Renard about the man who's currently assaulting him. This would have been another great place for Renard to hexen out. But no. We don't even know if the writers/showrunners had decided he was half-hexen at this point.

Impairment shot of Kimura, blurry and slowly coming into focus to represent Renard slowly coming into focus, breathing hard, face drawn tight with pain. He's got the scrape on his cheek and a good-sized cut on his lip that probably is the source of the blood dripping down his shirt. I'm not entirely sure whose idea it was (apart from the writers/directors/set people/actors) to lose his shirt and tie, but it works well enough, implying both a struggle and that Kimura has been rummaging around on Renard's body. Rummaging. Don't go getting any ideas. Kimura starts demanding to know where the coins were, as if we couldn't guess from his being connected to Marquesa and slightly batshit. Those coins are never good news. And Renard gives him the look that points out torture doesn't actually work and by the way he's going to fuck your shit up soon, right before Kimura punches him back out again.

Not all the way, at a guess. When we fade back in it's still night, Renard doesn't look significantly worse off than he did when we faded to black, and he's still clear-headed enough to ask Kimura who he is. To predictable result, but it was worth a try. It looks like a very hard hit, too, because Renard's chair skids sideways and comes up off two legs for a moment. Kimura is the one who asks the questions here, dammit! Now, standard rules indicate that you don't hit people in the jaw, not so much because it's unsporting as because the easiest parts to break on a person's face are straight on, the nose and small edges of the orbital sockets, and a jaw is a sturdy thing. But on the other hand, we have Wesen strength that seems to be greater than human, at least on some Wesen, so maybe that accounts for it. Regardless, Renard's coughing sounds a touch liquid and as though he's choking on some of his own blood, there. At least I assume that's what he's doing, because I hope Kimura wouldn't be so dumb as to try and put pressure on the windpipe of a man he's actively trying to get answers from. It's hard to get answers if your victims can't speak.

"They were taken from me." "Give me his name." It's interesting, the kind of assumptions Kimura's making here. One, that it's a male. Two, that it's one person. Not as unreasonable as it sounds given that so far most of the people we've seen going after the coins are males working alone, but still. Kimura seems to assume that one of the other people he was working with or knew that the was working against has the coins now. I would have gone with a more open-ended 'who' rather than give even number and gender specifics and cue an interrogation victim what kind of answers to give, what kind of answers you're expecting. All together now, kiddies, physical torture doesn't work.

As it happens, though, Kimura's right. Both as far as Renard knows and even as far as what he doesn't know. Renard gives him Kolt's name and we learn that Kolt was last seen in Los Angeles being tortured for three days. Or rather, most likely being tortured for three days. There's a heavy implication here that Kimura tortured Kolt as well and there's a heavy implication later that Kolt is dead, considering Renard interprets Kimura as not intending to leave him alive. He's probably right about that. Just as it's also a safe assumption that Kimura tortured Kolt to death in order to get the information about the coins from him, but these are only things we can assume, not things we know for certain, and it's important to delineate and keep in mind the difference. It's also worth remembering that Kolt quite freely went with the police, gave out information, volunteered and explained a number of things most people don't do all in order to save his own skin. It's less likely but still possible he did the same thing with Kimura, gave him all the information he had about the coins (since he didn't have them on his possession he wasn't being directly affected to keep them) and then sat back and waited while Kimura verified his story. In which case Kolt might still be alive and in the wind, depending on how homicidal Kimura is and whether or not he decided Kolt was a liability. We still don't know.

Speculative digression over! Kimura is getting tired of not getting the answers he wants, and goes over to Renard's kitchen and pulls out a giant boning knife? I have no idea what that is and even less idea what it's doing in Renard's kitchen, considering the man seems to use that kitchen less than I use my Facebook account. The one I don't have. He points the knife at Renard's eye and Renard gives him a truly magnificent 'fuck you' look for it. Renard's facial tension is somewhere between adrenaline rush and cold fury, but there's very little in the way of indication that he's afraid at all. Ever. Whatever it is Renard fears, it doesn't seem to involve physical violence, or at least not at the hand of random thugs. Kimura's taking the fast, brutal, and by and large stupid approach. He's not going to get any information from Renard this way, but he doesn't seem to notice. He does, however, notice someone outside the door and has the presence of mind to wait until there's only one cop out there instead of two. Cut to outside the building so we don't get to see what he does about this.

That mysterious woman from earlier walks up, we pan around her to get a good look at her face rather than her shadowed back and confirm it's her, and then Nick and Hank roll up with the lights and siren blaring. It's interesting, and I don't know if it's on purpose, but her silhouette from behind looks rather like a feminine version of Nick's. And if that's on purpose, kudos to wardrobe and lighting and directors and so on! We get some good blocking and mark-following as said mysterious woman  throws her hood up and continues forward after barely a pause, and the camera follows Nick and Hank on the transition from coming along behind her to sweeping the scene right to left as Nick and Hank come around to the door. It's one very long pan, speeding up slightly as it sweeps, and it's very well done as a transition of focus from the mysterious woman to the dynamic duo. Also well done is Nick's faint double-take in the woman's direction, who by now is off the screen. The cops meet up in the lobby, head upstairs, and the camera pans around again to reveal the mysterious woman watching them. With a somewhat perturbed look.

Immediately following we focus on the officer down, and get a floor-ways view as Nick and Hank enter the Captain's condo. Remember all those pictures on the wall? They're askew now. Things are even more messed than they were before, and the Captain is on his side and apparently unconscious. (I'd say dead, but you and I and everyone probably had a pretty good idea that they wouldn't kill him.) Nick confirms the unconscious, and I note here in praise of the good Captain's badassery that one wrist is undone and he appears to have something in that hand, his right hand. It looks like a shard of glass from whatever that is broken above his head, but I can't be sure. My best guess on this, at this point, is that Kimura went to deal with the cop outside the door, Renard started working on his bonds, made some kind of noise that Kimura heard so Kimura went back and knocked him out, by which point Wu and the others were already on their way and so Kimura cut his losses and cheesed it. Because we all know the Captain is too badass to be captured for long. And not only do we know, we have in-canon proof! But, yes, Hank, his housekeeper's dead. Poor Patty.

While Kimura sits in some budget motel playing eeny-meeny-miney-moe with pictures of the dynamic duo and deciding who to go after next, Renard gives his statement and suffers the crime scene folks to trample all over his apartment. Delicate hands, posture only slightly slumped, he commands dignity and respect even after he's gotten the shit kicked out of him. That looks like a cold pack rather than frozen peas or something he's icing his face with, further proof that that kitchen is a showpiece and not of use. The Captain summarizes the interrogation and doubts Kimura left Kolt alive, with reason. But now he knows Kolt doesn't have the coins and is appropriately curious as to who does, which leaves Nick speculating and groping for a distraction. Good speculation, though, if it weren't for the coins laying their covet-me geas on anyone who so much as looks at them. But Renard and Hank don't officially know that, so they can't call him on it. Nick's a better liar when he's got a plausible lie that's easily covered up, his eyes barely widen when he says that maybe Kolt got rid of them.

Hank disagrees, but he sounds puzzled as to why the private investigator would have photos of him, Nick, and the Captain. Which is a bit weird considering he knows the Captain had the coins too, though it might be less puzzled and more tired from not sleeping. Or not connecting it all together the way he would if he were less traumatized and better rested, poor guy. Renard repeats himself in the same phrasing about Kimura having no intention of leaving him (Renard) alive, possibly indicating a concussion, definitely as a result of exhaustion. He also indicates the wrong side of the head for the tattoo, which might be disorientation from a concussion or might just be a miscue. He does, however, seem to come more alert and focus on Nick when Nick knows who the guy is. Focus one gleaming eye on Nick, too, as the rest of his face is in shadow. It's a very sinister, anti-hero sort of a look.

The Captain and his men in the precinct! For once, the Captain isn't in his work clothes, presumably because his apartment was still being treated by a crime scene and it was easier to grab his gym bag. Sadly, those are khakis, not gym pants, but we'll make do. They brief Renard on the connection between Kimura and the Trio of Crappy Robbers, and Renard makes the comment of "God knows those coins aren't healthy to be around," which should raise all kinds of eyebrows if Nick didn't know better and Hank hadn't experienced them for himself and (not that Renard knows this) come up with a thinly plausible explanation. It's a sign of how tired Renard is that he's letting something slip, not that it's telling that Something Hinky is Going On, but it's not one of the more normal phrases one would use about three coins which have little value other than as collector's pieces. Into the office for the infodump, which we recreate here so you don't have to go back and look at it. Kimura was connected to the Dragon's Tongue, an organization founded in 1901 and connected to the Japanese Imperial army, disappeared just after World War II (again with WWII) and then resurfacing with ties to the Yakuza at an unknown later date. Notably, Renard's orders to "tear this town apart and find the sonofabitch" is one of the few times I think we've heard him swear. Certainly the first. He never leaves anyone in doubt if he's unhappy about something, but it's a rare occasion that he's lost enough control to swear, especially in front of his men. The sidelong, kind of wary glance Nick gives Renard before leaving is a pretty clear indication that he knows how furious Renard must be to say that. Both parts of that, really, neither one being much in keeping with the calm and rational Captain he knows. And at this point the showrunners must have known that Renard is half-hexen, so either he has total inborn control about showing game face or he has the absolute best control of any Wesen we've seen. I'm leaning toward the former, personally, though I wouldn't be surprised either way.

We pause here for a few brief bits of trivia on the Yakuza for those of you who didn't read the Axis and Allies post. In their simplest form, the Yakuza are a type of organization that exists outside of Japanese traditional law to provide illicit or at least socially questionable services such as prostitution, gambling, protection deals, etc. They also as a matter of course, tradition, and honor provide assistance to the civilian population of their home districts in times of crisis. For example, after both the Kobe earthquake and the recent 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Yakuza mobilized to provide aid to those whose homes and livelihoods had been destroyed, in some cases arguably doing better than the Japanese government. The Yakuza follow a feudal mode of organization and are known for their intricate and body-enveloping tattoos, along with several other practices. The largest and most well-known of the Yakuza organizations is the Yamaguchi-gumi, or Yamaguchi family. As far as Grimm is concerned, a brief scan gave me no connection between the Yakuza and the Imperial army, and honestly going by what I know of both I didn't expect to find one. Not from 1901 on, anyway. But what is interesting is that immediately after World War II when the Dragon's Tongue (after the coins, remember) went into hiding, the Yamaguchi-gumi enjoyed its longest period under a single oyabun, or family boss, ever. The oyabun was in power for 35 years; the second longest oyabun tenure is less than half that. I'm not sure if the writers or showrunners researched that too, but a case might be made for the Dragon's Tongue being tied in with the Yamaguchi-gumi and having had some of the missing coins at some point and then possibly losing them, causing both the slight breakdown of leadership within the Yamaguchi-gumi  and the Dragon's Tongue to resurface as they tried to collect the coins. To underscore this, it was during this oyabun's tenure that the Yamaguchi-gumi went from a local power to an internationally notorious crime syndicate. So. I put this out there for your ponderation.

But those tattoos on Kimura are still backwards, and still don't look like goddamn Yakuza tattoos.

Back to Nick. Explaining the situation to Monroe, to ominous music and accompanied by suitably dramatic lighting. The only reason I can think of for Monroe to have the lights that dim in his home is if Nick woke him up or if he was turning things off to get ready for bed (and we know Nick frequently does both of these, poor Blutbad), unless he's one of those sorts of people who dims the lights around him to focus on his fiddly work. Me, when I'm doing fiddly magnifying glass type work I like diffuse bright light all around me, but Monroe might be different. Whatever the reason, the effect is that there are a lot of shadows around them and the house. Nick is kind of adorable being all protective over Monroe, but after he delivers the information he becomes the protectee as he starts talking about his parents and Kimura's connection to them. Not coincidentally, this is about the time Monroe stands and moves around the room, thereby putting Monroe's head above Nick's. It's both a visual trick and a lupine/canine trick, which amuses me. The very faint tightening around Monroe's eyes when he says "so you want a little Grimm time" is a nice, subtle indication of how he's controlling his bloodthirsty tendencies, too.

Requisite Grimmopedia scene! And we learn about schlaftrank, and Monroe digresses briefly on drawing and quartering. What is it with people and drawing and quartering? First Renard and then Monroe. I do appreciate Monroe's logic in that if the potion is applied with an eyedropper, it probably doesn't need to be a lot of schlaftrank. I also appreciate the ominous hissing noise as it drips into the crossbow bolts.

Nick is a sweet cop who thanks his fellow cops for looking out for him as he comes up past his security detail on the way into his house. Good Nick, have a Voodoo Donut. I really hope Juliette doesn't work at the vet's in those heels, but we get Nick and Juliette being cute and adorable for a little bit. (His guess of "sidewinder" amuses me.) I appreciate a couple things here, one that Juliette gets to be the aggressor and initiate the foreplay and despite the whole in a coma thing, we're pretty obviously not supposed to read that as punishment for her sexuality. And two, that we get just a line reference that says a great deal about how she approaches her work. "Just a cat? You never talk about your patients that way." By which we know that Juliette is the same warm, kind sort of person at work that we see in her interactions with Nick.

But then she says the A word and Nick freaks out, duly so, but Juliette doesn't know that. And so we get a very well written scene of Nick getting more and more freaked out trying to explain why he's worried to Juliette without blowing the whole thing and Juliette getting more and more freaked out because her boyfriend is panicking for what seems to her to be no good reason at all. I also appreciate the nod Juliette's line of questioning makes to the idea that attractive, successful women come under fire simply because they are attractive and successful in their own right and under their own power, and according to a particularly insidious and prevalent paradigm women should rely on men for their power. Not so in Grimm. Juliette doesn't need Nick to be her own kind of powerful, even Adalind doesn't need Renard to be her own kind of powerful, and her infatuation with him is a whole other problem. Both of them get more and more distraught, Nick's voice climbs into upper registers as he blurts out that Adalind's a witch out of possibly sheer stress. Juliette, in turn, seems to have a gut sense that this has to do with the secrets her boyfriend's been keeping for the last several months. And that whatever it is, it's even worse than she suspected, though for all kinds of common sense reasons she's not leaping to "the supernatural is real" as a reason. Makeup does a good job of making Nick look more haggard as this goes on, and is it just me or is there something ominous about Nick saying "You want the truth, you're gonna get it." The editor seems to think so, because we cut the scene there.

And in the next scene we feature a lot of flashbacks and Nick doing a truly, truly awful job of explaining to Juliette. Because he should know by now that a) what's wrong with Juliette won't be fixed by a doctor and b) there isn't anything he can do about it immediately. And he might as well take it slowly and gently and explain things to her starting from a point where she can understand and stretching understanding from there. But no. He starts from the chronological beginning. Here's a note for all of you who are trying to explain things to your loved ones that they might not understand: start with something they will understand, something they can empathize with, and build out from there. And do it from a setting where they feel comfortable, where they are in control and have some power. Instead Nick takes her out to a trailer she called spooky when she first saw it, parked in the middle of nowhere, and gives out a story that sounds like it came out of a George Lucas film. He dumps the past several months' worth of information on her, vocabulary, history, all of it, and expects to her to understand it. And as any reasoning person who doesn't accept the supernatural as part of their world view would, she thinks he's crazy. Possibly crazy in the potentially abusive way, because his physical movements are very jerky and uncontrolled, and his words are insistent and demanding. Protip, Nick, if you're down to "I know how this must sound but I swear it's all true" you've gone too far and you need to stop. He insists on her reading things, understanding things, meanwhile she's standing there unable to take in the torrent of babble he's unleashing. Naturally she bolts, we get a confrontation in the rain for a very anvilicious symbology of tears. And Nick grasping on something he should have addressed before, which is that DNA from the hair on the animals who were attacked by the Wildemann. Nick's main problem here in this whole scene and the next one is that he doesn't listen. To Juliette, to Monroe, not even to himself as an objective audience. If someone had come up and tried to throw all that Grimm stuff at him in the beginning, he probably would have reacted the same way. And to Juliette it's worse because this is someone she loves and thought she knew, who has suddenly become a whole other person. He hasn't even thought about how he would tell her what's going on, because he somehow convinced himself that it would never be necessary. Idiot.

This makes what happens to her in the second season even more tragic, because she and Nick never got a chance to reconcile their relationship with who Nick now is before all her memories of him were wiped.

So. Nick tries one last inadvisable thing, but fortunately Monroe turns around just as she's passing out. And it's time to get Juliette to a hospital. Except not, because a hospital still won't help, Nick. Seriously. I promise.

Meanwhile, at the budget motel! The mysterious woman is breaking and entering, tossing Kimura's things. There's a lot of that going around. Wu has the misfortune of being the one canvassing that particular hotel, and the director sends him up to the room being tossed by one hooded ninja lady. Here we can see how even Wu's affected by recent events; not joking or playing around at all. Serious and calm and all business, there's not even a flicker of a smile or hint of a wisecrack. Point of interest, between the rain, the neon, the man addressing the detective from a well-lit glass-encased booth, and the Asian (Indian, is that?) music, it's reminding me a lot of Blade Runner. Hell, the bulk of the episode being at night, some of it being in the rain, plus the neon alone would put it into the neo-noir category. I find it interesting that the Woman in Black (yes, I know who she is, but we don't yet, so I'm not using her name) doesn't run from Wu's 'Ma'am, stop, this is the police', but keeps walking steadily and to a purpose. I'm not sure if she's decided theres' no point in running on the narrow balcony or at least no point in running till she gets down, or if there's something else at play here. Either way, when she's bracketed, she kicks their asses and goes over the rail as soon as there's something there to break her fall. And then we have the requisite disappearing behind a large/long moving vehicle thing.

The doctors, they do nothing! Which Monroe tells Nick. Not that Nick's paying much attention. First the doctor tells him about Juliette's condition, which is basically that they know nothing and they're treating the symptoms, and then Hank calls up to warn him about the Woman in Black. He promises he'll be careful, but right now Nick has bigger worries, like picking up the killer coma-inducing cat. Which purrs just long enough to make that yowly screeching jump scare really make you jump. Stupid cat.

They take the cat to Rosalee's, because of course Rosalee knows what to do! Monroe's still unnerved by the cat's violence, Rosalee just has a look like oh, it's on, bitch. I approve. Back over to Hank's, and the fact that Hank's apartment's now been tossed is not helping his paranoia and night terrors at all. It's the same haphazard job of tossing, though, leaving a lot of places intact that could hide objects as small as three coins. To me, this indicates that Kimura is well and truly coin-touched, and not thinking clearly. Hank's not thinking clearly either, but for a whole other and oddly, less permanent reason. He does, however, put three very unnecessary bullets into the back of his closet. Hank, honey, if my house had been invaded I might do that too, don't feel too bad. Especially with a sneaky Grimm leaving behind your back.

Nick goes over to Adalind's place, but she's cleared out and he's got nothing. Which he probably knows from the second he gets to the door left ajar, but he has to make sure there's nothing left that might tell him how to help Juliette. Like that bowl! Yes, Kimura is at your place, Nick, although I'm not sure Nick cares as much as he might have a couple of hours ago. Now he's worried about Juliette. We get brief glimpses of everyone else to set where they are at the end of the season, Rosalee and Monroe working on the cat, Hank in his chair with a shotgun as well as his service pistol (oh Hank honey), Juliette in the hospital with monitors making worrying beeps and creepy black eyes like the cat had. And Nick comes home to an empty cop car outside his house. Which he doesn't even look in, Nick, I'm disappointed in you. Lots of quick pans, lots of jerky cuts as we go into an action sequence, messing around with fps. Kimura's more used to fighting Grimms than Nick is used to fighting Wesen who know how to fight, oops. And Kimura recognizes Nick as being the Grimm who has the coins, which, how he knew that I have no idea. Process of elimination, perhaps, but the way he says it implies that he knew there was a Grimm in the city who had the coins, possibly because Kolt told him? Which also implies that he was going through Renard, Hank, and Nick, trying to figure out which one of them was a Grimm. But on the other hand, he spent a considerable amount of time kicking the shit out of Renard asking where the coins are, so either he thought Renard was a Grimm or my interpretation of Kimura's phrasing is off base. Decisions! Complicated by the fact that English is not Kimura's first language and Japanese has very different article-noun construction. More fighting. The Kimura-Nick fight is much noisier and more chaotic than the Nick-Woman in Black fight. Then we get to a Woman in Black-Kimura fight and it's noisy and chaotic again. And she takes Kimura down and turns to find Nick pointing a gun at her, as you do when people break into your home, and it's not until she calls him Nicky that he lowers his gun. No hesitation there, either, he just lowers it, because by now he knows who she is, he just doesn't want to admit it to himself. And we close on the cliffhanger of "Mom?"

Leaving us all speculating WILDLY throughout the hiatus, I'll have you know. Oh the speculations that there were.


  1. Those pictures. Gah, this show. I love and hate that he had this family. They hint at what I so desperately want from Renard, which is motivation, but I fear his motivation is revenge for them. I want his family to be alive but you are so right about the pictures being on display meaning they are safely out of his life. This show!

    Once again, I always enjoy the commentary. Thanks for taking the time to write and post!

    1. Yeah, we're nooot looking forward to the presumable reveal, I would guess this season based on the spoilers we have for upcoming episodes, where we finally find out what happened to his family. Though I could be wrong! We might instead find out what happened with his parents and how he came to Portland. I do want to know if our convoluted theory about the Families giving him "go the hell away and leave us alone" money is accurate, since he has to have SOME outside funds in order to afford the penthouse (and now the new place) and clothes, and car, and so on.

      Thank you for commenting! I could wish for more people commenting, but the folks who do are always so enthusiastic and nice that I won't risk quality for quantity. ;)

  2. In an interview recently, David Greenwalt pretty much said Renard had to be sent away. Ah, here's the quote:
    Renard is, we've discovered, half-human, half-Hexenbiest (a Wesen creature). But how did this descendant of an Old World royal family wind up in Portland, working for the police force?
    "He had to be sent to the hinterlands," says Greenwalt.
    "When people go hide, they go to the farthest ends of the Earth." says Kouf. "Portland was better than Alaska."

    He's obviously not hiding very well if they all know where he is.

    1. HUH. Interesting... Well, if that don't just give us four other theories as to how Renard got to be Renard I will eat my old sneakers without sauce. It depends, though, on what he's hiding from, since he doesn't seem to be shy about hiding from the challenges the Families present. And if he's hiding or being hidden, considering Greenwalt says that 'he had to be sent.' By the Families or by the writers? Inquiring minds...

      With Mia coming in for at least one episode, that ought to at least give us some more background! And a whole pile of other questions.