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.
We get our first Renard scene early on this episode - not as early as in Love Sick, but it's still a good indication of how metaplot-heavy this is going to be. Renard doesn't always show this early in metaplot-laden episodes, but when he does it's always safe to say that some serious shit is going to be revealed. Which will inevitably give us more questions, because that's just how the writers on this show roll. At any rate, let's begin with the scene.
Bonus metaplot points, as Kitty just said, for our establishing shot of Renard being him entering his condo. The way they set this up for the callback in Woman in Black is beautiful. We have the long, dark hallways, a better shot of that abstract painting and the dry bar, some dark and blurry indication of the table in the hallway with the family pictures on, and the doubtless expensive area rug. And then to our left beyond the kitchen is the hallway that leads to the bedrooms (surely a condo this expensive has multiple, though we never see interior shots of them) and bathrooms. And, dimly visible in the light off the hallway (points to lighting for making a dark apartment actually dark, by the way!), the island in the kitchen where the action will be focused in a moment. Note again the use of sinister and dexter here. Renard opens the door fully, giving us a decent shot of that hallway table but nothing close enough to see the pictures, and not incidentally showing his coat over his right arm, hiding his gun hand.
I still want to know what it was that tipped him off - the concierge at the desk, or something being out of place before he ever got in, and if so, what. Especially because Kimura gets the drop on him in Woman in Black with a much messier entrance.
(I kind of hate Waltz. There may be copious name-calling this post. Blogger's privilege.)
Renard, as is customary by now, responds in English because he doesn't have time for your multilingual status game-playing bullshit. Waltz gives it another sentence in German, "Sehr gut," because he's slimy like that and the writers want to be sure we know it. (I'll get into the new bits of Renard's living room in another post, never fear, but right now I want to focus on their interactions.) Waltz lowers his stance and in a still shot he looks still balanced and square, but he's really not, as he walks over a little ways and pulls his gun hand up a few inches. He's still too far away for Renard to rush him, but if Renard had decided that Waltz needed to be dead right there, it would've been fairly low-risk. Pity that Renard's more curious than that - he needs to know what brings a probable Verrat agent to his home so soon. Especially after last ep, he'll be wanting to know if the Families have sent one of their pet hounds after him for killing Cousin Menton, or if this is unrelated. Still and nonetheless, he doesn't take his coat off to reveal his gun in hand (and even THAT is done in such a way that it looks almost like a sleight-of-hand gesture), and then he smirks. Just a little, but in case we weren't clear already, he doesn't like Waltz, either. There's a lot of shots that pan around, change point of view from over Renard's shoulder to over Waltz's shoulder, very much a callback to the Mexican standoff at the beginning of last ep. Only this time both parties start out armed, and only one of them knows it. We pan around behind Renard's back and Waltz gives this little laugh that means he really doesn't find it funny but he's used to laughing at things that aren't funny because the Verrat and the Families are neither one of them nice people to hang around with. Used to being in a position of less power, too; it's got shades of a henchman's courtesy laugh to royalty. And then he holds up his hands in the customary unarmed-and-harmless gesture, which not incidentally displays the Verrat tattoo on his hand.
Protocol isn't much of a leg to stand on with Renard, and he should know from legs to stand on, as long as his are. He stalks forward, apparently unconcerned about getting so close that Waltz will pull the same trick on him that he did on Woolsey last week, and then we see that he's just walking forward to use his height to intimidate. He's also still a bit more Captain than Prince, here, which is interesting; I think he's about halfway between code-switching right here. Not so much of the cold rage as we've seen in prior episodes; he's issuing a threat as a statement of fact. He won't shoot Waltz now. But he's quite sincere, and he wants Waltz to be convinced of his sincerity, about shooting him if he ever pulls this again. I would go so far as to say that he expects Waltz to report this entire conversation back to his superiors, so that Renard can declare the Verrat as having fair warning if they ever pull this shit on him again.
Not that I blame him. He passes it off with a slightly lighter "in self-defense, of course," indicating that he's not underestimating Waltz, even as he tosses his coat down and puts his gun away. Now they can pretend to be civilized! Waltz lets out another of those nervous laughs, head tipped back to look at Renard. Unlike Cousin Mouton, he doesn't take Renard lightly. It's also a good way of showing just how close Renard's gotten. And from this angle, we can see a certain amount of throat-baring, a standard show of submission and obedience in canines. Waltz calls him "my dear captain," which, given what we now know of Renard I think I can safely call a dig at some or all of Renard's (lack of) status within the Families. Bastard, more likely by far due to the Verrat proscription against inbreeding (which lends a certain poignancy to discovering said proscription later this ep. seriously, it's like someone THOUGHT THIS THROUGH); and that probably on top of the fact that Portland isn't much of a territory by the Families' standards. And some more posturing about if Renard didn't speak German, he'd be dead by now. HAH. Which is pure posturing on Waltz's part because Renard had his gun out before he ever, ever opened the door. With how deadly Renard can be fresh in our minds, we know that he could have gotten the drop on Waltz had he wanted. Instead, he's chosen to find out what brings an agent of the Verrat to his home, as pissy as that makes him, because it's likely to have some serious impact on himself or his Grimm or both.
Renard goes to the dry bar, pours himself (and only himself, to drive home the point that he is Waltz's superior) a drink, probably brandy. Maybe scotch, though that's usually a little less brown. As he does, he finishes pulling his Princehood around himself. May he introduce himself, indeed, that's a classic "oh please" look on Renard's part. He's holding back the anger now in favor of authoritative curiosity. Although he's also uncomfortable, and we know that he's both this and hiding his true feelings because his left hand goes in his pocket as he turns with the glass in his right to face Waltz again. He wants answers before he makes any decisions, and he gets right down to it. "Who are you hunting?" He could give half a damn about Waltz's name except insofar as it allows him to misuse police resources if necessary to track the Hundjager down. And we get a name on our mysterious figure, finally. I find it intriguing that Waltz names Harmon as the leader of the Resistance, not a leader; frequently such organizations have multiple leaders to prevent them from being crippled by the loss of any one person. And then he goes on to say "one of the few still alive," which contradicts his earlier implication that Harmon's the only leader. It's very sloppy English, which I'm sure was deliberate on either the writers' part or Roche's. Perhaps the Verrat is clueless about the true structure of the Lauffeuer, perhaps the structure is different than we'd expect from them. And perhaps Harmon's the only leader outside of Verrat cells and still alive. It's gloriously ambiguous, not helped by English being Waltz's second (or third, or fourth) language. Renard, true to form, doesn't give a damn about who Ian Harmon is. "What's he done here, in Portland?" In his territory, under his authority; this is one of the clearest signals yet that Renard does not care about what the other cantons are doing, or the rest of the Families. He does care if the law is being broken in his city. This isn't the first time we've seen Renard placing human law over Wesen/Family/Verrat law, but it's one of the most blatant.
Throughout this scene Waltz's attitude is of a good, loyal henchman just doing his job, who has explicit short term goals and believes that Renard can be a useful ally - right up until Renard refuses his help point blank. "The Verrat's problems with the Resistance are not my problems." Interesting, by the way, that it's the Resistance to Renard and Waltz but the Lauffeuer to those who are actually a part of it; that's a nice small bit of world-building. Names have power, and denying the Lauffeuer its preferred German name denies its members full recognition as a power to contend with. And then Waltz says something verrrry interesting. "Maybe your past is not as far away as you think." On the one hand, sure, Renard's past does involve the Families, which would presumably involve the Verrat as well. On the other, the way that's phrased implies a potentially close former relationship between Renard and the Verrat that we don't have any further data on as yet. This bit is shot very oddly, again sort of over Renard's shoulder but also catching the edge of the wall in with, making for a couple seconds where the left half of the screen is entirely black and the right half has Waltz framed against Renard's living room, between the dry bar and the sectional couch. It's a dark, foreboding shot, the kind where you half expect someone to come around the corner guns blazing, but there's no Ominous Music to cue us on that (in fact, there's no background music at all); it's a purely visual effect. And now we pan around to follow Waltz as he walks a step, step and a half, so that he can keep Renard in a clear line for action as well as a clear line of sight. Subtle, but a very nice restatement that Waltz (unlike Cousin Menton) takes Renard seriously as at least a physical threat.
(And if there was a prior relationship between Renard and the Verrat - perhaps that's where some of his training comes from - then Waltz would have every reason to know how deadly Renard can be. But that's purest speculation.)
Renard walks away, standing against the massive wall of windows at the side of his penthouse. Hand still in his pocket, so he's decidedly uncomfortable with this situation still, and I won't be at all surprised later if we find out his canary has ties to the Verrat, which will have made at least part of this scene filled with lies. "The Verrat does not make decisions for me," and that, at least, I do believe. In the instances where his decisions align with what the Verrat wants, I'm sure Renard plays that politically for all it's worth. But he's a stubborn, contrary sort of bastard, and a large part of his image at this point is in playing the black sheep - so he does, very deliberately. And again we're forced to wonder: just how far does the Verrat's influence reach? And how long can Renard keep them out of his canton without revealing himself to Nick? Of course, that question's brought to a screeching halt by Waltz's reference to the High Command. DETAILS, WALTZ, EXPLAIN YOUR STUPID HIERARCHY TO ME. Especially since the Reapers don't seem to be talking to the Hundjager, or at least, Waltz evidences no knowledge of the Reapers that have been in Portland this season throughout this episode. So who directs these two sides of the Verrat, and how united is it really?
"I'm not concerned" comes too fast for it to be anything other than a lie. Renard is concerned, and deeply, with what the Families and the Verrat are doing in his city, not to mention the daily odds and ends of contrary Wesen control (cf. Leo Taymor). At which point Waltz calls him on it with a nice melodramatic threat, ending with the Latin. Renard lets him, his face going the kind of carefully blank that's hiding all of his reactions rather than pulling out a useful one and letting someone have it, which is a good indication of how cranky and worried he is, that he feels the need to hide everything. I would bet good money that this is the point at which he decides that maybe he'll have to have Waltz killed, and in the event that he turns up dead Renard doesn't exactly shed tears over it. There's that chin-lift as Waltz quotes the Latin at him, on "para bellum," which is as much a regal, nonverbal "get the fuck out" gesture as anything, but it also kind of looks like that surprised Renard, a little. I'm not quite sure why, aside from more speculation about previous ties to the Verrat, which we'll examine a little more in depth the next time we see Waltz and Renard interact. Waltz gets this smug little smirk like he knows he's struck some kind of nerve. Maybe it's the family motto of the Renards? (Assuming, of course, that the Renards are the name of the Family our Prince belongs to. Given how tangled royal bloodlines can get, that's not necessarily true.) And though he's a slimy arrogant ass, Waltz does know when not to push his luck any further, and he turns to head out. Renard doesn't move so much as a twitch until he sees and we hear the door close behind Waltz, at which point he turns to stare out the windows and drink his brandy, which I'm sure he needs. (We don't, by the way, see him take more than one sip of that drink until Waltz leaves.) And then we get a classic shot of Morally Ambiguous Man In A High Place, as he quotes and then translates the Latin for those of us who were not utter dorks in school. Angst angst brood brood angst, would be the usual operative phrase, except I'd bet good money that's mostly brooding, followed by consideration of his next dozen moves. The zoom-out here is mostly so that we have final confirmation that yes, actually, that is a penthouse condo.
Though I'm going to gloss over a lot of the rest of the opening to this ep, I want to note how easy and close Juliette and Hank and Nick all are. And I really want to note the careful way they slipped in the mention of roofies as relates to what happened to Hank, because yes, that was rape. And while Hank isn't saying that out loud, he comes a damn sight closer to admitting that that was Not Right than any other male character in a similar situation I've seen in the last few years. Come to that, I'm not sure how many male characters I have seen on TV that were date raped, which is generally a much harder thing to admit to than a violent rape. So! Kudos to the writers for not brushing that away and pretending it didn't happen.
Rosalee and Ian! I would say the most interesting and important part of this scene is not the reunion of two friends and presumably ex-lovers, but the fact that Rosalee's been trained in basic self defense. Very basic, foot stomp followed by an elbow, but effective, and she barely hesitates. I'd love to know where and when she picked that up, not to mention why. This is also, I believe, the first clear indication we've had that Freddie's illicit activities weren't just of the "exchange money for human gallbladders and other assorted bits" variety.
You know, I want to know why robbery/homicide was called in on this, since that amount of blood would not actually indicate a corpse. Just saying. I guess maybe everyone else was busy? We get an obviously false name for Ian, and then it's back over to the shop! Exposition, catching Monroe up, and then we get a name beyond the Resistance: the Lauffeuer. I will pause here to complain about the NBC failtern who misspelled it for the longest time, leading me and Kitty to believe it held some kind of run/running/runners meaning. No no, Lauffeuer is German for "wildfire," which is a whole other kettle of fish as far as associations and implications goes. Without more data on them, it's hard to extrapolate for certain, but I would guess that it's intended to evoke the image of something that's impossible to stop, that has to burn itself out naturally. Which isn't a wholly accurate image; you can often direct and sometimes delineate the boundaries of a wildfire, but it takes a great deal of knowledge, specifically the ability to predict where the fire's going to go and then get there first to set down a trench. And it requires an enormous amount of effort. These are all things that we've seen lacking in the Families, of course, since everything we know of them indicates that they're lazy and prone to using brute force rather than thinking through their moves properly.
We also, notably, get the repetition of a motif that we'll see most particularly in this episode but throughout the show so far. "Isn't that old country stuff?" "Well, it's here now." Everyone, at least everyone in this generation, believes the Verrat, the Lauffeuer, and the Families are things that don't touch on their lives in the US, perhaps not in this hemisphere. It raises all kinds of interesting questions about when and how Wesen immigrated from Europe, and what their lifespans are, if the sample size the writers want us to look at still refers to Europe as "the old country." Though it's also an indication of insularity, since as we find out the Verrat enforced purity of Wesen lines, and that tends to push a certain degree of familial connectedness that might otherwise be a little less prominent.
To Monroe's credit, he just rolls with it. Ian's cover identity of a journalist is a really excellent one, by the way. Someone famous enough that Monroe's heard of him, so people - possibly even humans - would pay attention if he went missing for too long. And someone whose job it is to get into odd places and ask odd questions. It's traditional in a lot of spy/conspiracy genres for a reason. "Are we talking about the Verrat? Because those guys are serious." And now we're sure that it's not just a Royals thing, it's a thing most Wesen are aware of (I would go so far as to say all Wesen, with exceptions made for people like Holly). Which, of course: if the Royals and the Verrat only had the kind of power where they existed in a vacuum of posturing amongst themselves, they wouldn't be able to wield the kind of real power we've seen. This, in a few short exchanges, packs almost as much information as we get in the rest of the episode: the Verrat exists, they're to be feared, they're NOT the good guys (at least not in the present moment, though they may once have been useful/necessary), and they're not commonly found Stateside. And then we get down to the business of doctoring Ian, and we get still MORE information that's expounded on later. We know from Island of Dreams that Rosalee's parents were apothecaries, not doctors, so not people you would expect to be digging bullets out of people. Especially not in front of their young daughter. And indeed, she later confirms that her parents were part of the Lauffeuer.
(In some respects I feel like the massive scene later on, where all of this is spelled out for us in the shop with these three and Nick, should have been dropped into a second episode. This ep packed a LOT of infodumping into 42 minutes, and though in many ways it was necessary to bring the audience fully up to speed, I think it would've felt less rushed had it been spread out. I kind of assume this was a case of the requirements of actors' schedules, since I know Sebastian Roche isn't exactly hurting for work and might not have been able to commit to two eps even back to back.)
Rosalee sets Monroe to work, and we cut to the grainy security cam footage of Ian disembarking from the bus. Cue standard cop-shop griping about the footwork. (Which, by the way, I love. Not so much of it that we think they dislike their jobs, but enough to remind us that no job is utterly glamorous and without annoying parts. Jobs involving bureau-crazy more so than others.) And then we get a ballistics report, which wouldn't seem important except for the over-a-century old pistol used in Ian's shooting. This emphasizes the historical nature of this episode in several ways, and also gives us a terrible fucking pun, in that the ammo for this gun is called 9x19 mm Parabellum. Yeah. I know. I KNOW. Pretty sure I swore in all the languages when I first looked that one up. And while Lugers and the Parabellum ammo for them are still in manufacture today, Nick's right, they're not something you'd normally find on the street. Nobody in the hospital, which everyone knows means whoever "Lester Cullen" really is, he can't or believes he can't be seen somewhere that'll leave records. There are any number of explanations for that, none of them good in police work. Hank goes to track Ian's alias back to last known location, and Nick comments, quite rightly, that if someone's got a reason to want the guy dead, he's not done.
And we cut to the assassin in question! Playing just plain folks in a Wesen bar, or at least I presume it's a Wesen bar since the two guys fighting run off when confronted by the Lausenschlange's gameface without totally freaking the way vanilla humans would. Waltz uses that, and the bond of the free beer coupled with the bartender's sense that he owes his customer for the disruption to his quiet drink, to weasel more information. I wouldn't, come to that, put odds on whether or not Waltz paid a couple Wesen to start a fight in the bar so that he could use it for leverage. He doesn't strike me as the kind of person capable of geographical profiling to set himself up in the right place, but he definitely strikes me as the kind of person who'd use some random Wesen in need of a few bucks to set up the right situation. At any rate, he deepens the accent very slightly to emphasize the stranger in need of help appearance, and gets the guy to fork over the name of the best forger in town. It's very clear that Waltz is quite clever, with this setup, but he's very specific in what areas his cleverness lies. Good hunter. Good assassin. Not so good at understanding people and their emotions, and not all that quick to adapt to new data.
This, though, is definitely deliberate. Waltz leaves the passport, guessing that the bartender will pick it up and perhaps look through it in order to address him by name, which gives him a few moments of taunting. We get a good look at Ian's passport, too, and aside from noting that his middle name is Montgomery and that he's a British citizen (at least, by passport and by accent) there's nothing of interest on it. I check so you don't have to! It intrigues me that Waltz's first comment is "How is it that they allow a Lausenschlange to serve food?" Granted, yes, snakes and poison, but that speaks to a stringent hierarchy and set of restrictions on societal roles much more in keeping with feudal ideals than modern ones. And the bartender has a slight accent that comes through on the German "Hundjager." Or at least, that's a better pronunciation of the German than I'd expect out of most Americans. (Monroe, I'm looking at you.) It seems fairly evident that any number of Wesen know what the Hundjager are and who they work for, judging by the terrified look the poor guy gets out before Waltz shoots him.
Bullet extraction scene! Rosalee's pretty good at this, we get a reveal on her past relationship with Ian which we could've guessed from her expression when he grabbed her in the shop originally, but the confirmation is nice. Also, bullets don't usually keep such a pristine shape when they've gone through part of a person, I'm just saying. And Monroe's got a point: Nick would feel obligated to try and keep their friend safe if they vouched for him. Plus it's not a bad idea to show him a real live member of the Lauffeuer, if the Verrat's taking an interest in matters Stateside, get Nick at least a little on the Lauffeuer's good side. I'm not at all certain that Monroe's thinking along those lines consciously, but it's still a good plan. And then the adorable, adorable ex-lover foxes who still care about each other a great deal. They don't need to tell us that if Ian's circumstances were different, or if Rosalee were the kind of woman willing to trail after him and support him in his work, things might be very different. Instead, Monroe's confronted with realizing that he's got a crush already. Oh Monroe.
Cut to the new crime scene, and this time I assume Hank and Nick were called in the second the CSI unit figured the bullet was the same. For the benefit of the majority of the audience that neither knows their ammo names off by heart nor dives for Wiki in the middle of the episode, we get the pun spelled out. Thanks, guys. Really. Waltz apparently staged things to look like a robbery, and hello Ian's passport. Nick brushes off the part where it makes no damn sense for Ian to have obtained possession of the gun that SHOT HIM not twelve hours ago; I guess he could be assuming that they just haven't discovered the body of the original shooter yet but that's a bit more of a leap of logic than I'd feel comfortable making in his shoes. Particularly with a possible witness, because we all know killers never insert themselves into the investigation. Ever. Waltz is, frankly, completely unbelievable here as an innocent bystander; he's way overselling it. Eyes too wide, mouth turned down too far; he's trying too hard to make up for his usual fairly flat affect. His American accent's also not perfect - vowels a little too rounded, whole accent a little inconsistent. Nick shows him the passport and Waltz woges out on him, which is a blatant test to see if this is either a Wesen or a Grimm cop. Still, Nick lets it pass - I think partly because he can't quite believe the killer would have this much sheer nerve, and partly because there's no point in making a big deal of it without proof. Waltz gives his alias of "Max Kurtz," which, beyond being close enough in last name to his real surname that he wouldn't have a hard time remembering to respond to it, has the benefit of dragging my English-major brain straight back to Heart of Darkness. No, I don't know why; feel free to expound on possible connections in comments. Up to and including the rather colonial attitude of the Families and the Verrat toward the US so far. Waltz's accent also goes even flatter, rather Midwestern, on the last name, I think because he's trying to keep from going Germanic instead. It's a nice, fairly subtle bit of acting on Roche's part.
Ian issues his standard "I am a dangerous person bodies follow me the Verrat's hunting me" warning, and Monroe takes advantage of the opening to bring up Nick again. Rosalee's not exactly happy about it, witness her blunt reveal of Nick as a Grimm. Still, she backs Monroe up in his defense of Nick, and the look on Ian's face when they tell him Nick's a cop as well is more telling in some ways than Monroe's friend Hap's first response of "is that even legal?" And then YET MORE data about the Verrat, and the Resistance, and what knowledge Monroe actually has of both. I do find it interesting to note that whether or not it was a chosen English name for the Lauffeuer, they seem to have embraced both names. And I badly want to know if the one refers to the movement over all and the other refers to the leadership, or some similar split. At any rate, Monroe knows about the Resistance and knows what Hundjagers are, but not that they're who the Verrat sends after Resistance members, which is an interesting demarcation of knowledge, there. I wonder what the Hundjager do in their spare time. We also learn that some Grimms acted as some kind of mafia, either on an individual or group basis, with the comment of "how much did you have to pay this Grimm?" Ian, with a certain glorious snark that makes me want to see him again, eventually agrees to be introduced to Nick.
And now, finally, we come back around to the Captain! In his office, and the first we see is his blurry head off to the right as Nick leans over to start the debriefing. Not like that. Renard looks at the passport, just brief glances down, a couple times. Nothing hugely telling if we didn't have the opening scene with Waltz establishing Renard's knowledge of the name if not the face. I would bet he's taking the time to ingrain Harmon's face in his mind, just in case he runs across the man before either Nick or Waltz does; what he'd do in that event I'm not sure and we never get the opportunity to find out, sadly. He directs them to focus on finding Harmon; the words "before Waltz/the shooter does" are unspoken but quite clear on both the Captain and Prince levels. Renard directs his detectives to Scotland Yard; while I can't quite imagine there's any record in there connecting Waltz and Harmon it's not a bad idea. And he clearly wants them to find Waltz, arrest his sorry ass, and get the Hundjager the hell out of Renard's city. Not that I blame him. They still haven't brought up the weirdness of Harmon having the same gun (or at least same model and ammunition) as the kind that shot him, which kind of irritates me. At least they should be wondering if that's an underworld kind of connection.
Normally this would be the part where they cut away to Hank and Nick's investigation again, and the divvying up of duties, but this is a Serious Metaplot ep so instead we linger on Renard's face as a Troubled Prince while Nick's phone rings off-camera. He gets called down to the spice shop, and again, we should flash to him making excuses to Hank. Instead, this time Renard's phone is the one that rings while he looks over the crime scene photos from the bar. It's an unknown number, which doesn't appear to give him any pause. Perhaps he expects this kind of bullshit from a Verrat agent; certainly we have reason to expect similar by now. Waltz opens in German, "wie geht," a more casual greeting than their acquaintanceship really calls for but he's presumably high on the chances of success in his mission and being less cautious with his formality. Smug bastard.
I'm going to pause here and be irritated about that deleted scene in Game Ogre again, because this would have been SO much more meaningful a line reference. As it is, the little false pause before "Firenze," and the sidelong glance as Renard raises his head from the photos to give his full attention to the call is a good confirmation that Renard has ties to Florence, and that Waltz knows about at least some of them. What they are, WHO THE FUCK KNOWS. Not us, not for sure, anyway. And Renard's already pissed off, sparing no time for pleasantries, while Waltz is in a mood to play. That would cost him, were Renard to get there first; as it is it probably costs the Verrat knowledge of the circumstances surrounding their agent's death. Renard, of course, has criticism of the setup: our good Captain favors patience and subtlety. Between this scene and the opening of Love Sick we can safely say that not only is he good at the long game, he prefers it to anything more blatant. Familiar with the various other possibilities for acquiring knowledge and power, but disdaining them - I would guess that's a combination of disdaining the sort of power plays that characterized his upbringing, and his upbringing also requiring a far greater level of self-control than it would have for legitimate children in the Families. Waltz smugs and slimes all over the sound waves some more, assuming that of course now Renard will help him, since he's brought Renard's day job into the matter. He really doesn't understand how Renard works. At all. But then we finally get to the main point of this call, which is Waltz questioning why Renard didn't mention there was a Grimm in the city.
Luckily, Waltz doesn't give Renard room to say something that would have the tone if not the exact wording of "because it's none of your fucking business." Noting the contrast, here, for a second - the indoors/outdoors is a little less important except inasmuch as it places Renard in his office, which is a place of power for him. More importantly, Waltz is perpetually moving, perpetually talking, giving away information about what his assumptions and expectations are with every word. Perhaps nothing that's news to Renard, but it's useful to us to realize that Waltz expects the Royal and the Grimm to be working together in more than one boss-and-employee style relationship. Not to mention the jabs Waltz takes at Renard, which demonstrate to us how little respect he has for the Royal. I expect the greater part of that is due to Renard being a bastard, but I wouldn't be surprised to know that some of the more senior Hundjagers have a general lack of respect for Royals. Something along the lines of sneering at those who won't get their hands dirty, which, if that's the case, we know damn well that Renard doesn't balk at that. Again with the bad assumptions on Waltz's part. By contrast to Waltz's movement - which is with purpose, we see at the end of the call, headed to the camera shop to bully the forger - Renard is very still, very controlled. Every word and motion is carefully chosen, not just because of who he's talking to but because Waltz is forcing him to conduct Princely business in his Captain's office, and that's a boundary he dislikes being forced to cross. Renard's not exactly in a place where he can get up and close the office door, or take the call elsewhere; that's not his usual MO when answering his cell. So instead he's even more closemouthed than usual, and to his credit does a fairly decent job of making his side of the conversation suitable for the precinct. Still, all the indicators of a quiet, cold rage are there as he hangs up. Not that I can blame him. And yes, Renard, that is a very dangerous game you're playing.
Poor, poor camera guy. I think the most interesting thing to come out of this scene is the spiel about the Luger, actually. Been in his family for generations, not much of a surprise there, probably his grandfather given Roche's age. And? 1926 is the Weimar Republic, not Nazi Germany, which is verrrrrrry interesting indeed, especially since we've got the Coins tied to Hitler already. That shoves the Verrat back a little farther in our timeline, probably even the modern version thereof. This scene also serves to establish Waltz's willingness to do or threaten just about anything in order to complete his mission - something we already pretty well knew. Nobody sane or unambitious would break into Renard's home to announce his presence in the city.
We cut to Monroe looking not at ALL suspicious while waiting for Nick. Seriously, he is the least cut out for clandestine work ever. Cue Nick acting on cop instinct, and I will give him here that so much has happened with this case that he hasn't had time to sit and process and realize the massive fucking loophole to the argument that Ian could have shot the bartender using the gun that was used to shoot him. (I just. Even if he wrestled the gun away from his attacker, why he wouldn't have shot Waltz, why there wouldn't be more blood spatter from a struggle, AND why he would still be running so desperately makes NO sense. Grumble mutter.) At any rate, grumbling aside, cue the ad break on the snarky British dude. And between the three of them they browbeat Nick with the logical conclusion for long enough to get him to put his gun down and start listening to more of what Ian has to say.
And now for a massive, massive round of infodumping. No, the Verrat isn't just in Europe, though it's interesting that Nick also believes that based, presumably, on what he's read in the Grimm journals and on the lack of street-level chatter about them. Politics, industry, organized crime - interesting but unsurprising that those are the first three things Harmon thinks to list as spheres of Verrat influence. Even law enforcement, which is very pointed but not wrong - after all, there's been plenty of dirty cops in the past who were friends to the mob, no reason not to expect them to be friendly to a different sort of otherworldly group. Despite all the talk of what the Lauffeuer stands for, or rather against, and what the Verrat's trying to accomplish, we learn relatively little about their goals from this scene. Power and control, certainly, war perhaps (at least so Harmon believes), but there's absolutely no indication what their endgame is. Frankly, knowing about the map and the supposed doomsday sort of weapon doesn't help much either. What are they going to DO with it? What world do they want to make with this power? This is completely unhelpful. Nick, somehow, hasn't come across reference to the Seven Houses/Families in his reading despite knowing about the Verrat. Then again, I don't think he knew about the Lauffeuer, either, so I would take a guess that the journals in that trailer are suffering from a serious case of whitewashing. It's not like we didn't know the Grimms had a very black and white, simplistic view of Wesen before now; it's not much of a stretch to assume that Nick's family history neglects to include anything about a prior working relationship with any of the Families - assuming one ever existed.
Harmon specifies centuries; I wonder if that's dating back to 1285 or some other time. Insufficient data to know whether it would be earlier or later if the latter. We get more hints as to how the Families are Very Bad People, "choose stability over freedom," but that still doesn't indicate what form the stability would take apart from the proscription against interbreeding. SO IRRITATING. (I'm not saying that's an invalid reason to fight against the Families, I'm saying there has to be a lot more detail about their motives that we're not getting. Plus I dislike the power for power's sake trope, and I'd like to believe that at least some of the royals have better self-justification skills than that.) And now, this, this is real data, the Grimms choosing to work for the royals. Or more accurately, deciding. I want to know what prompted that decision so very, very much. Was it the lesser of several evils? Was it a desire for a more effective system in which to do their work? Who opted out of working for the royals? Which side did Nick's ancestors fall on? At what point did they stop working for the Families, assuming ever? As with all actual data in this show, it only gives us half a dozen new questions, but at least we can begin to see the shape of the patterns. It's also useful data on a less macro level to know that Rosalee is very familiar with how the Resistance works, and chose a different life. "It always seemed so far away" is something a lot of people say when they haven't been directly impacted by the thing their families and loved ones are fighting against. I would bet a substantially embarrassing wager that as the romance between her and Monroe develops this season, they'll start to feel some of the effects that used to be distant and forgettable.
Meanwhile, poor Nick would like to be doing his duty as a cop, but the whole thing is ridiculously complicated and I can see his urge to stick his fingers in his ears and go LALALALALA I DIDN'T HEAR THAT ILLEGAL THING YOU JUST MENTIONED. Oh Nick. Ian demonstrates how very used to being on the run, being out in the cold he is, with his commentary about how he and Monroe and Rosalee would all be dead in the event that Waltz knew about Freddie and his underground railroad for Wesen looking to get out of the country in a hurry. And there's another interesting thing about this scene, is that I don't get the sense Ian means Lauffeuer operatives necessarily, which means there are other reasons for shuffling Wesen off in secret. First and foremost, at a guess, would be mixed-Wesen families. Just at a guess, mind you, based on what we know.
Reginald does his damnedest to warn Rosalee off his shop, but to no avail. Poor guy.
And now Nick goes looking specifically for information on the Verrat, who we discover to have been working with Franco against the Spanish Republic. Which is a really interesting decision, that's not a piece of history most writers would remember or would ask their audience to remember. The old film reel is cited as being from 1936, which is the first year of the civil war, and it's here that we find out at least one of the functions of the Verrat: keeping Wesen from marrying outside their breed. We have the first occurrence of a 20th-century Grimm who actually has the last name Grimm, which is useful to know. And we also have the first incidence of a past Grimm expressing sympathy or good-feeling toward Wesen, at least as far as we know. Granted, Eduardo immediately goes on to badmouth the Hundjagers, but frankly from what we've seen of them I can't see many redeeming qualities. And anything else Nick might have discovered is interrupted by Waltz being a slimy fucker some MORE.
I'm gonna need a shower after I finish this analysis.
I'm intrigued but not wholly surprised that Nick doesn't recognize the voice of his "witness" over the phone. One, it's over the phone, and two, he's got his German accent back on. Nothing much useful out of this scene, so back over to Monroe wearing a groove in the floor. We finally get some intimation of what the Lauffeuer wants for their endgame, which is to put everyone on equal footing, or at least to give them an equal chance in the rat race. Pun only halfway intended. Freidenreden translates as having something to do with free speech, speaking freely, which is borne out by Ian's explanation of a truce. I'm deeply amused that he mentions the Hundjager's belief in the sanctity of rules, since Waltz has broken damn near every one. I'd say I wonder why he breaks this one, except in the most technical sense he doesn't. He only asks if Nick is familiar with the terms of one, he never says they'll abide by them. Typical fairy tale rules-lawyering bullshit. Ian does try to warn Nick, but lacking an exact transcript of the phone call he makes an assumption which ends up being to Nick's detriment. Though Waltz keeps Nick believing through their meeting that he agreed to something he didn't, because really, why not? If I were in his position I'd string my mark along too. Waltz also muddies the waters (and clarifies them in other ways) by mentioning the "allies of convenience" schtick between Grimms and Hundjager. This belies the film Nick just watched, but I'd believe other Grimms helped out, since we know the Verrat is loosely allied with the Families and we further know that at least some Grimms have worked for at least some Royals. And if there turns out to be no infighting between the seven Families and their heads I will buy a hat just to eat it.
There's surprisingly little other data in this confrontation, though I wonder where Waltz would take his pool of victims from. I would assume Wesen, but I wouldn't necessarily expect him to stay within those limits just because he has so far. Especially with that threat at the end there, if you attempt to follow me I will shoot the first person I see. I don't think he was planning to make that threat before he got the call from Reginald the camera-guy-and-forger, but it was nice timing to lend more weight to his "I am a bad bad man who will do anything, and you're constrained by the limits of the law and you won't be able to stop me" attitude. Luckily, this is exactly the kind of threat that Nick can report to the human authorities rather than having to handle alone.
Back to Renard, for the first time in awhile, and he's being lit in a more Princely manner even if he is still in his office and in Captain mode. He is NOT HAPPY about this, and under these circumstances he's both allowed and encouraged to show it. Not enough to make his men worry, but enough to make it clear that the Captain wants his men to regain control of the situation and is plenty pissed about having the bastard loose. Which is real, not feigned, the left hand in his pocket has more to do with hiding the Prince side of this than with any evasiveness about what he wants done. Perhaps a certain degree of concern - justified, I think - that Waltz might tell Nick who Renard is. And then they get a location! With even some halfway reasonable time on how long it would take to triangulate a cell phone location.
Again, we have some standard rules-lawyering of the fairy tale/Fair Folk variety. Waltz won't touch Reginald's family, but Reginald didn't think to bargain for his own safety. Oops. I'm also quite curious about how he hangs onto Harmon's bag long after it's any use to him - it's like nothing so much as a hunter retaining a trophy. Creepy. Renard comes along as the cops pull up seconds after Waltz leaves to stalk Rosalee, which is a little bit unusual but not so much so in a case like this. He does, after all, want to ensure that the bastard's caught - on multiple levels. And that service pistol still looks like a toy on someone that large. Renard's only line in this scene is a remark on Waltz. "He's playing us." Yes. And it's only pissing everyone off more, so that once this ends with Waltz's death, nobody's going to look at it too hard.
Back to the store, then, with a close shot so close it's intentionally ominous of Rosalee moving some jars aside to get to the secret safe in back (that's not all THAT secret, you guys, but okay), and now we know what the shelf in front of the safe looks like. I'm sure this will come up again sometime. The safe itself has a... rose? Some kind of a flower on it, but it's a bit too dim and blurry to properly make out. Yellow and red, though, which calls fire to mind, thank you, Lauffeuer. That is a fuck of a lot of cash Rosalee's hauled out to toss in that envelope, too, I think those are all $100 bills? Couple-three grand, easy. Waltz is slimy, Rosalee doesn't know, doesn't know, ignores her instincts, gets the note, starts to try to call for help. I'm still disappointed that wasn't a gun/taser/mace in her bag, though I bet these days it is. The most telling thing about this scene is how Waltz treats other Wesen - which is to say, like scum. Everyone is a potential criminal/target in his mind until proven otherwise; and while yes, Rosalee is harboring a known fugitive from the Verrat this combined with the way he treats the bartender earlier is a pretty good sign that there is no good side of Waltz. There is no allowance for Ian being a friend or a family member, there's only what's right and wrong in the eyes of the Verrat and more specifically on this mission.
This phone call between Nick and Monroe gives us a glimpse of what Monroe must have been like before he became the hipster vegetarian Blutbad. Meanwhile, Waltz prattles on about the cycle of oppressed and oppressor and the only way to win is not to play. Er, excuse me, getting my 80s childhood mixed in with my Grimm, there. The thing is that he has a point, to some degree, but he doesn't seem to realize how viciously ironic it is that he's lecturing about this while perpetuating the same damn system he seems to abhor. Luckily, Rosalee gets to smirk at him and we don't have to hear any more of this nonsense. I'm not even sure Waltz thinks he's not a monster so much as he's saying what he hopes will rattle her most. In return, Nick comes up with a halfway decent plan designed to rattle Waltz! I approve. This scene is shot a little less like a Mexican standoff than the scenes with Renard in from this and last ep, but it still cuts back and forth rapidly. The problem with shooting it as a standoff is that everyone's normally armed in one of those, whereas only two of our players are traditionally armed in this, and Nick's got his gun still holstered. So instead we get a very confused set of POV shots as Rosalee goes for the ghost pepper powder and Nick and Monroe "insult" each other until Waltz can't figure out who to hold at gunpoint.
It's a messy plan, but given the assets they have to work with, it's actually quite good. And then Waltz realizes his mistake in calling Monroe her boyfriend and assuming he was a Fuchsbau, far too late, and we have an even messier scene of Monroe woging out and pinning him while Nick gets his gun out. And then we have Ian shooting Waltz in cold blood, and I find it interesting that either he's left-handed or capable of shooting with his off-hand with his right arm in a sling. Statistically, the latter is more likely, actually, which means he's got a good deal of firearms training. Nothing unexpected, given what little we know of the Lauffeuer, but useful as a data point. Nick, though he disapproves strongly of this, decides at some point that he's not going to arrest Ian who will certainly get dead in prison with the Verrat's reach. Neither myself nor Kitty can decide if he always knew what he'd do once Ian was holding a gun on Waltz, or if he changed his mind sometime after cuffing Ian. It's not quite clear, and while I kind of like the ambiguity, I wish for my profiler's brain I could sort out the switch. Which, actually, probably means we don't see the switch if there is one. At any rate, he tells Monroe to get rid of the body, because presumably Nick's realized that even if he does the right thing as a cop, the chances of people questioning his friends and then questioning why the hell he's STILL in contact with two people from prior cases go way, way up. Thereby revealing that he's into something off the books and potentially shady, thereby causing serious issues at work. Somehow, probably shock, Ian manages to miss this decision until they get to the train station and he's standing there with passport and cash boggling. Plus bad assumptions about what a Grimm is, and though I don't think Nick is deliberately being manipulative here about not telling Ian that this saves his own ass, it has the effect of emphasizing Nick's feelings toward Monroe and Rosalee and de-emphasizing personal gain. That small little smile there? I bet you anything Ian's going to tell his friends in the Resistance that they should avoid Portland, but if they have to go through, the local Grimm is a friendly. Possibly not even that first part, since Nick only told Ian not to come back.
And the very, very last scene, a shot of the bullet hole through the Verrat tattoo and then one up Renard's incredibly long legs. We know it's Renard by the shoes, or at least, I do at this point. He's in the tan trench again, crouches down and does the squatting on the balls of his feet thing again too, similar to the last time he took that pose in Game Ogre. Which, surprise surprise, involved another agent of the Verrat. Oh visual callbacks, you are so cool. At least, I'm betting we'll get a third to make this no longer plausibly coincidence. Maybe soon, with the Nuckelavee! Renard doesn't actually look concerned or upset, here. Thoughtful, yes. I'd be wondering how much of a hand Nick had in this, were I him, since he knows Waltz contacted Nick at least once. There's a bit of a brow-furrow going on, but it's the thoughtful-mildly-worried Captain look rather than the oh-shit-what-is-this-shit Captain look. And it's pretty clear, though unspoken among all three of the cops, that they may not pursue this case too hard. Someone came into their city looking to kill someone who I'm guessing has no Scotland Yard record or they'd have mentioned it, said someone got dead instead of creating new bodies. It's not a win, but it's not as much of a loss as it might be. Renard lets slip that someone may catch up with Harmon before the cops do, which is a reasonable sort of cop guess, except it's not at all a guess, is it, Renard? I doubt he'll interfere with the internal workings of the Verrat, but I doubt he'll try and prevent them from chasing Harmon outside of his canton - for that matter, I doubt Renard has the reach to do that were he so inclined. And Nick flashes back to Ian saying that the world is poised on the brink of war, but he still doesn't seem to make the connection between Renard giving him reason to think of such things and Renard being more than he appears. One of these days, Nick, that's going to bite you in the ass. More than it already has. Or Renard. Or BOTH. I'm voting for both.