Saturday, March 30, 2013

Where They Know Your Name Grimm S2E16 Nameless

There are no previouslies on Grimm! Do not let this fool you into thinking there is no new metaplot information, however. This just means that someone finally talked them out of wasting 10-15 seconds on that shit. THANK. GOD. Akela, if that was you, keep stabbing them until they keep doing that, because as much as these eps are trying to fit in since the show came back? You need ALL your seconds. At any rate, last week on the blog we were extremely cranky and spent way too damn long trying to make the procedural part of the ep suck less. This week on the blog, we still question some of the pacing (seriously, who the fuck thought it was a good idea to have a procedural plot, a B plot, AND a C plot in a forty-minute show, the latter two of which are both overarching? Really?) but we also cackle madly with glee over a great deal of it. And have appreciation for the fact that nobody tried to go the Carlyle-Rumpelstiltskin route with this, because that would have been doomed to failure, not to mention the genre-skewering that occurred. Sometimes literally. Well, slicing in half is LIKE skewering, right?




We open with a shot of Alice in Wonderland, the book, and it's not a first edition (I checked) but judging by the art and the bindings it's definitely an older edition, in keeping with the themes of the show: old, old myths and books are as prominent as anything else. So, to the title page, where we finally see a hand - white male - reach up and rip it out. We twitch over desecrating a childhood favorite, and get the title screen with the quote from Rumpelstiltskin (I'm not even bothering to look this up, because we all know it offhand) right over the opening paragraphs about the White Rabbit and his perpetual tardiness. "Then he seized his left foot with both hands in such a fury that he split in two." So, from the start, we know that we're focusing on several things: the power of words, the power of naming, layers of words and deception, and the sheer gibbering madness that comes with the titular character of this fairy tale. Okay! This should be FUN.

Cutting over to what's clearly a party of some kind, okay, someone's gonna die. An older white guy in a crowd of young and bouncy professionals who honestly looks like nobody so much as Joss Whedon in the middle of the Much Ado crowd on the bus, what, yes, I follow that Twitter account. It's not really his scene, but everyone there likes him well enough that they're taking care not to make him feel out of place. Cut to the unsub being all lurky up above, and we see that this is a launch party for a video game. (Trust me on this. I know what those banners look like.) Black Forest 2: Lost in the Woods. Once I recover from facedesking and giggling because sometimes certain writers don't know the meaning of subtlety, I remember that given all the shit they've piled on about the Black Forest, that would be a Watsonian reason for a Wesen to be attracted to the game in the first place. Still. Facedesking. So, white guy inna suit gets up and starts giving a speech of the general awkward but delighted nature at really successful launch parties variety! Starts calling the lead design team up, starting with its head, and we're pleasantly surprised to find: an Asian woman heading it up, a white dude who's her boyfriend rather than second judging by the looks they're exchanging, a white woman, and probably someone from the Middle East, if the name's anything to go by. Holy hell! Diversity in the extras! Say it ain't so. I love Grimm, but sometimes they are really bad at that. Cut back again to the unsub while Jenna gives a speech; he will now proceed to lurk in an upstairs conference room and oh, hey, those two long finger-claws with the acid? That's faintly disgusting, yes.

At any rate, Jenna finishes up her speech, this is the sequel to the flagship game for the company, they did awesome work, she's a good team lead who acknowledges everyone else, and now Brody will shove his nose in and make the sort of awkward geekboy toast that only other awkward geekpeople find endearing. (Don't say it.) So then he hauls her down off the stage and clearly wants to go have nookie somewhere private. IN FRONT OF EVERYONE? Jenna, your boyfriend's kind of a douche. At least he could have stopped long enough for you guys to circulate and make plausible excuses to escape for awhile. Still, geek culture, I guess nobody's overly worried about excuses. More acid dripping, now with visual Aliens reference, and can I just note that the director on this ep is new to Grimm but is not new to directing procedurals, most recently and most obvious in his style Criminal Minds? Because a shitton of the shots in this are reminiscent of late s4/early s5 Criminal Minds, especially the ones that focus on the unsub and on Wu's profiling later. (Haid also voiced the unsub in the Fisher King eps of s2 CM, but that gives us twitchy only because of the Arthuriana. Because sigh.) The slightly tipsy couple picks the conference room the unsub was in! Of course they do! Possibly because that's their primary workspace, which would give a plausible reason for Rumpelstiltsacid to have chosen it. So, makeouts, which Jenna puts up some brief verbal resistance to but, tipsy and giddy with success and probably a little nervous what happens next day at work if she and Brody have a fight about this. At least, I would be. (This is why you don't date coworkers, guys.) Then the unsub moves! I'd say dumb unsub, except I'm pretty sure the goal here is to get one of them out of the room so he can torment the survivor. Jenna gets up and puts herself back together and leaves and Brody threatens to kick Rashid's ass. Well, someone on the team's a prankster. I don't think acid fingers to the midsection are much of a prank, though. Nor does Brody. We also have to take a minute to recover from cackling about killing off the white guy first right after the horror makeout that would normally have killed the woman; meantime Jenna hears the crash-thud and wow, Rumpelstiltslices, you are not subtle at all. Nice horror factor here, when she comes to check on him, because yeah, he might be just barely alive enough after that to gasp out her name and writhe unpleasantly on the floor. Definitely the latter, because nerve bundles. I can only assume that screaming was a requisite part of auditions for her role, because goddamn, that's a scream. No judging: I'd be screaming too.

Roll credits! When we come back, we come not to the callout for the cops, but to Renard's phone buzzing as he works at his laptop, Royals ring in prominent display. Uh-huh. He does not answer his work phone! Renard gets expensive burner phones, apparently, and so does his canary. (Who we STILL don't have a name for, not even by the end of this ep, yes I'm putting that out there now because it pisses me off. DATA DATA DATA I CANNOT MAKE BRICKS WITHOUT CLAY. Right now we're calling him the canary for a couple of reasons: canaries, like stool pigeons, sing for their lives, and for those of you who aren't aware of the practice, miners used to put canaries in coal mines to warn them of invisible dangers, like gases. If the canary turned up dead, they knew to get the hell out of there. Morbid and ruthless as it is, I suspect Renard is keeping an eye on his canary's activities and life for that reason as well. We would, at least.) Or rather, that's a burner phone his canary called him on in the first place. Just for the record, ca va is a rather casual greeting, and can be translated a variety of ways, including "how's it going," "what's up," "how are you," and probably a plethora of other possibilities. The canary uses the il faut que construction, which is a more distant/formal construction than nous devons, the other common version of "we must." Il faut que translates in nuance more to "it is necessary that." So, he's using formal construction but has no hesitation about raising concerns to Renard without the usual pleasantries or prefaces. This is, I think, a combination of Royal training and conspiracy training, forcing a pair of people into more intimate and immediate discussion than they might otherwise be prone to. The rest of the French is pretty much as-is, with the exception that fucking FINALLY do we get the canary using "you" to Renard directly and it's the vous form. So, yes, formal. Inquiring minds would like to ask for the umpteenth time if the canary knows that Renard is half-zauberbiest. Inquiring minds would also like confirmation that the really obvious tail is, in fact, sent by the Pustule, instead of, say, Mia or Antons Vater for revenge against Renard, for starters. For that matter, inquiring minds would like any sort of name to go with the other families ever, because it seems like they've been going out of their way to conceal those. At least obvious tail will also be coming along the journey to Portland, and dude, if this is a discussion that needs to happen in person I'm duly concerned about a number of things: what the fuck is going on, and where the fuck is Eric Renard? Just for starters. Also, how long does the canary have to live, because while we didn't expect him to survive to the end of this ep, we really don't expect him to survive much after it. Unless he's going to stick around Portland in a safehouse and be a convenient plot device to reveal more machinations. I'm okay with that last option. Like, really okay with it.


On over to our C plot! Juliette is about as wary and nervous coming home as I'd be if my brain had started providing memories in the form of ghostly shapes at me. Though I'd be wary and nervous and ARMED, because I'm like that. This is a really, really excellent brief scene that establishes that Juliette's dealing as best she can with the apparent insanity of her life, and it's a great bit of acting from Tulloch, who has nobody to play it against (which makes it that much more difficult).

And BACK to the murder scene. Wu gives us the rundown while the techs do their thing; with a scene this big and messy even the detectives aren't going in to fuck around until after they've grabbed all the evidence. Victim's mid-20s, that fits with the attitude and appearance they established earlier, and poor Jenna is in the bathroom with an officer. Either sobbing, puking her guts out, or both, at a guess. Or recovering from same. Nick calls attention to the cauterization, because generally speaking being sliced in half involves a lot more blood and guts. Literally. And burn cauterization would leave the smell of it, so, acid's not a bad second choice though I somewhat question the logical leapage. (Also, the initial slice starting a couple inches in on poor Brody's left side, rather than being a clean cut all the way across, but eh. Halved is halved, right?) Wu would like to turn our attention to the killer's little game, too. I would like to file my standard complaint about how writing in blood is more difficult than Hollywood would have us believe, but standard trope is standard. Hell, with this case it could be blood mushed up with viscera. Aren't you glad I think of these things so you don't have to? I know I am. Standard dark cop humor is standard, but points out that the game could be targeted to the vic (in which case it's over, not that any of them buy that), to someone else in the company, or to the cops themselves. Which is about the most serial killer type profiling we've had on this show in an age! I missed it.

Time to interview the assorted witnesses. Or, well, civilians, since the only one who saw anything was Jenna. Spinner (you guys REALLY don't like subtle, do you) gives the standard spiel about creative friction but nobody hated the guy enough to kill him. We make terrible puns about what kind of friction, again? Then Kitty makes terrible acid jokes and I take her puns away. More for me. (K: For the record, I was complaining that acid covers a lot of bases.) (A: And then I had to hide under the desk.) The rest of the design team for the game is sitting together, which makes me a little bit twitchy except they all look too shocked to do anything and they're under observation by at least a couple uniforms. Still, SOP is not to let the witnesses talk to each other, not just because one of them might be the killer but because witness contamination: it's a thing. Anyway. Spinner makes another terrible meta pun about monster breakthrough and now I'm taking the Grimm writers' puns away too. That was AWFUL. Hank is adorable and awkward trying to deal with the tech aspect, but it does explain that there's been, essentially, a breakthrough that means they get more money. I'm not overly concerned with the details of it, and nor is the plot. The point here is the money, both for the owners of the company and the employees who are getting stock options. We also get the point that Spinner's a decent, intelligent boss who knows what his employees are up to and delivers standard warnings while looking the other way if it's not interfering with anything else. It's a reasonable policy, considering the long hours and difficulty connecting with someone outside the industry software engineers would be going through. So, over to Jenna for the details! It was a pretty new relationship, probably started at the very end of their deadline and one of those things that starts as a result of immense stress and never got tested on a less intense platform, to coin my own bad puns. The witness interview is nothing special except we get a moment of Nick being an actual decent and empathetic cop again. I missed that, too!

Hank's got the other woman on the team, who goes on to talk about the competitive aspects again, emphasizing that no matter how much credit matters they all do well if one of them does well, which if that's a company-standard mindset lowers the probability of sabotage a good deal, at least from internally. SPEAKING OF INTERNALLY, hey, there's a phone call! On an office phone! Now, I don't know about you guys, but most of the phone systems I'm familiar with have different rings for internal versus external lines calling them. Which the woman does actually catch onto, so I guess people have gone to their offices, places where they feel comfortable, and they're holed up waiting for the cops to release them. A reasonable hope, that the call's about that! Hank, being the best and also justifiably paranoid, has her put it on speaker. Oh hi there unsub. So nice to hear from you. To everyone's credit, they immediately realize that the unsub's still in the building, and not just anywhere, no, he's gone to Brody's office for extra taunting! I have no idea how many times Russell Hornsby cracked up while delivering the inside the building line, but I kind of expect it was a lot. Wu is the one who dashes out first, though, highlighting his increased prominence in this episode, they clear the offices, and he contacts the uniforms to let them know that the suspect may have recently left the building. Guys, now would be a great time to engage a floor-by-floor search, because I wouldn't try and leave a building that was swarming with cops right away. I'd hide out and wait for things to die down. Though the surveillance is a good move too, and he left them presents! Aww, such a thoughtful unsub. So, Brody's ID cut in half, no symbolism there, and three title pages out of books. All of them, we note almost straight off, authors writing under pseudonyms. (It took a second. We were busy facedesking over Rage, aka the Stephen King novella that hasn't been reprinted since Columbine for exactly the reasons you think.) We will apparently not engage in a manhunt or a Wesenhunt right now!


Instead it's over to the precinct, where Wu gives us the rundown on the surveillance: it's useless. The cameras were shut down remotely 22 minutes before the 911 call was placed, so probably a couple minutes before the unsub walked into the building. Nobody noticed, because they were all at the party. This also establishes the unsub with a fairly high level of tech skill right away, because that's not easy. (Wu's appositive statement of using guy in the gender neutral way is also an amusing lampshade on the problems women face in the tech industry as well as the fact that this episode was written by a woman who would be aware of these issues. Hi Akela! We love you!) That little bit of information also doesn't eliminate any of the members of the company necessarily, because without knowing their level of technical expertise in various subfields of IT and what their specialties and concentrations are, theoretically any of them could have the skills to do that. I love a large suspect pool, oh wait, I don't. Do we have a murder weapon? Well, not one physically present, although the evidence is leaning towards 'sword made of or dipped in acid' and the ME's working on it. Okay, on to the next piece of evidence, the phrases the unsub uses. Short, three-word phrases that give absolutely zero clues via dialect and word choice as to, well, anything about the unsub. Renard asks for theories, gets bupkis, makes a cranky comment about a zodiac killer redux in Portland. No, the Zodiac killer gave people more to work with, this is just six words and three pages out of books. I do question why no one's attempted to pull fingerprints off of the pages or the phone in Brody's office yet, but on the other hand maybe they have and it didn't do anything. Which would also be inexplicable because the opening scene clearly showed a bare-handed and human-formed unsub oh never mind. If the unsub was smart, the pages have been wiped already anyway. No one knows enough about the books to form a profile until Wu speaks up! Hi Wu! They apparently connect in that they're all... fantasy. I love you less, Wu. (Unless he's simplifying for the muggles, which is entirely possible.) Rage is a horror novella set in our normal world. It has no direct supernatural elements and at best is a study in Stephen King's playing with magical realism due to the first person narrator. I'm assuming this was written as such because it's rarer than hen's teeth since Stephen King asked to have it go out of print nearly 20 years ago and because Stephen King is known for writing horror with supernatural elements. I have no idea if Akela or anyone in the writer's room read it and remembered it well enough to know that, though. So now we all know! Anyway, there's definitely a connection between the killer and the Black Forest game if not a connection between the stories and the game, and Wu volunteers to jump on that angle since he does "[his] fair share of gaming." Renard is more than happy to let him! Once Wu leaves Hank feels free to wonder if maybe a creepy bisected body that's been cauterized by acid has something to do with Wesen. Which would make more sense than a sword made of acid. Nick, of all people, is the one to theorize that maybe it's just a normal murderous human being, albeit one with unusual weapons. This actually also isn't implausible, because if anyone were inclined to build unusual weapons and have them lying around to murder people with, it'd be someone who spends a great deal of time focusing on and thinking up alternate worlds and so on. Whether that's as a game programmer, fantasy writer, comic book aficionado, or what have you. Nick also looks a little too happy about that possibility, and Sasha Roiz's delivery of "One can only hope" has us rolling on our couches. Because really.

Over to Chez Monroe at the end of a long day, where Nick is sharing the gruesome details of the case with Monroe while the latter is folding laundry, god, Monroe, how adorable can you get? And so they're casually talking about bisecting people widthways or lengthways, drawing and quartering, etc. And doing so with weapons of acid and while on acid. I love this whole dialogue. It's absurd and a bit twee, but also very hilarious. Particularly with the sock, which is hilarious for personal reasons. And then we take a side trip into the serious and much less hilarious where Monroe is awkward about emotionally-related personal stuff and asking about Juliette. Nothing gets resolved in this conversation, but it's a nice bit wherein the boys get to bond, Monroe gets to sympathize, and everyone gets to show a bit of vulnerability or awkwardness. Not that Monroe rarely gets a chance to show awkwardness, but it's cute, and Giuntoli and Mitchell do have decent chemistry. As Monroe totters off to bed in preparation for his early clock fixing, Nick gets a phone call that saves him from whatever less friendly wolves are nipping at his thoughts tonight. Because you know there are some. Hey, it's Spinner (har har), with some newly recalled information about the case! Well, that's distracting. The newly recalled information is Jenna's ex-boyfriend's name, which both speaks to his attention to his staff and possibly his watching too many crime dramas. The unsub being the ex would certainly account for Jenna getting to live and Brody getting bisected, anyway! From there over to a brief shot of an unsub who, from this angle, we get little description of except that he's lean and (still) white and most likely young and male going by the body structure. He's undoing a sudoku puzzle! At this point it's too early to have an identity reveal on the unsub so we can be pretty sure it's not the ex-boyfriend, but that's a decent part of misleading, particularly if the ex-boyfriend turns out not to be at that address and not findable with other conventional means.

We'll leave that simmering for now and go over to Juliette. In bed. Alone, which wouldn't be noteworthy except for Renard's nightmare last episode and the fact that Juliette looks pretty similar in position and lighting to then. So we'll all take a moment to be thankful that she's not having an equivalent nightmare and skip to the part where she's hallucinating Nick. And still confronting it matter-of-factly and bravely, oh Juliette. If she's anything she's frustrated when Nick disappears as soon as she tries to touch the spirit. Yes, that's Nick from the trailer, standing in the rain and begging her to listen to him, so at least it seems like she's going more or less in reverse chronological order of memory-recovery. Which makes sense, with the heavy emotional content of that and that being the last thing that happened before she went into the coma. And there's a certain amount of irony here in that she's less upset while this is happening than she was when Nick was doing the original explaining. The most likely explanation is that after having had her brain pulled out and replaced with a rabid Renard-hungry beast, a ghost-Nick isn't that hard to swallow, whereas before she was forcibly flung into the world of Wesen all she knew was that someone she had spent several years coming to know and loved very much seemed to be going batshit insane. As it is, right now she's probably questioning her own sanity a bit, but approaching it rationally seems to be helping her cope.

Well, Nick-ghost isn't going to give her much more tonight, so it's back to the investigation the next day, and Nick's knocking on the door of apartment 216. Hahah, get it, 2x16? Home of Debra and Ridley Cooper, which are apparently Akela's parents. Or at least their names. Awww, hi Akela's parents! Or at least their names. I will admit that that apartment looks not unlike college dorm rooms I have known, what with the Usagi Yojimbo and BPRD all over the walls, and the sibling bitchery back and forth rings true as well. The cops will start with just verifying whereabouts, to which they respond that they were online all night. Hank will now proceed to do his weekly check-in from position of The Best and point out that just because they were logged in doesn't mean they were there the whole time. And this, as we know, is true. The Coopers will now point out that leaving your avatar logged in WIZARD BADGERS? Wizard. Badgers. While we scrub out our minds of the badger-badger-badger song Debra Cooper will now point out that leaving your avatar logged in when you're not there to defend yourself and your stuff is just plain stupid. Which it is. Hank loses some points from Gryffindor for opening blinds for no apparent reason other than to be mean, and while this is going on Ridley offers up more and more proof that yes, they were online last night. There's chat logs, voice logs, it's probably the voice logs that'll work best. And now that they've coughed up all this information they want to know what this is about. Like you do. Nick, being a good cop here, is the one who asks the questions, and will now ask them if they know Brody. Well, they do, and clearly by the word choice and correction Ridley isn't over breaking up with Jenna, but no, he doesn't seem to know that Brody's dead. To say nothing of the sniping at Brody, which could be gamer snark but turns out to be him knowing that Brody and Jenna hooked up after she dumped Ridley. He's surprised that Brody is dead in real life because, as it turns out, Brody's character was killed in the game last night too! Cut in half. Gee. That's an interesting way to deliver a death threat, and effective, really, once the word gets out. Also potentially destructive for the game as a whole right on the launch, because once the word gets out the less hardcore gamers who don't have the same urge to log on for reassurance and escapism will stop playing, either because of associations of game murder with real life murder or because lacking a motive, they could be the next target of a psychopath. All in all, it's not a bad technique to have the unsub using. I just have to groan over the unsub's character having the username of Nameless. The Coopers are of the opinion that it's impossible to find this guy, to which I say they don't know enough hackers who can backtrace an IP. Which isn't a sure thing, but it's at least a start, especially since they don't know the unsub is technically experienced and skilled.


Anyway. High-level player worship aside, back to the precinct! Where Wu is laying out the pages and the theory that all books are united by their authors using a pseudonym, yes. (He's also singsonging that like he's on Buffy. Wu, I love you again. It's not a demon, but I love you for that anyway.) Which is a reasonable thing to do for someone who's got a severe guess-my-name fetish. So their next steps are to look at the designers, put the video game character under surveillance (I like it too!), and somehow not to look up where and when those books were purchased. Or stolen. Because that is at least an old copy of Alice in Wonderland, Rage is, as previously noted, long out of print, and oh, you know what? Never mind. I count these less as procedural errors and more as there is so much jammed into this episode that they didn't have time to deal with both the set-up and the follow-through on following all potential leads, but that's where I would have gone if I were them. Still, identifying the unsub via the Nameless tag is more in line with the Rumplestiltskin fable, so, yes, as a writer's choice that makes sense.

And now for something completely different! Not the least awkward courtship ever, but definitely getting into the smoother territory of two people who know each other relatively well. Monroe is giving Rosalee a clock that's been sitting in his attic, that he has from his grandfather and that he thinks belongs more in Rosalee's shop than in his attic gathering dust. I can't argue with that, it does look at home on that wall. Monroe will now proceed to exposit about the clock, to Rosalee making faces of "I have no idea what half of that means but all of it is adorable" and us making faces of "What VIENNA AGAIN?" In this case it's not likely that it means something plotwise, that does appear to be a style of a Gustav Becker and everything Monroe burbles can be found on Wikipedia and verified elsewhere, but we're still going to facedesk over Vienna again. Rosalee and Monroe will ignore all of this in favor of being cute and, hey, it's Juliette's turn to walk in on Monroe kissing! I appreciate the quiet symmetry here even as I wonder if the spice shop is becoming the new theatre tech booth. Those of you who have worked in theatre know exactly what I'm talking about. Anyway, Juliette walks in, Rosalee is not so much immediately concerned as focuses her attention on Juliette because agitated and driven. For all that Juliette says she's not okay, her not-okayness seems to be taking a back-burner towards figuring out what exactly is making her not-okay, for which we will take a second to adore her. The visions are getting clearer, and she saw Nick, who looked as though he'd been standing in the rain and trying to tell her something. Hey, Monroe remembers that! And even says so, because apparently some of the lessons about talking to each other about things have stuck. Either that or Monroe's set his filter to off again. He does that a lot. Juliette now believes her memory may be coming back! To which we all say IT'S ABOUT FUCKING TIME. I have to wonder how relieved Akela was to find this shoehorned into her script, or if she put it there herself, initially. Juliette is also not going to tell Nick a damn thing because he will try and stop her from finding out, so GO JULIETTE. YOU GO LEARN THINGS WITH YOUR BAD SELF. And then she calls out Monroe on keeping things from her and I about leap out of my chair with glee. Rosalee both deflects this line of questioning and moves on to the sharing and discovery part with aplomb, asking what Juliette thinks they should do next. Well, clearly they should all go over to the house of secrets or mysteries or whichever one this is (sans Cain or Abel) and when she gets a vision, she can tell them and they can tell her what it means! Apart from this taking up most of everyone's day when they probably have other things they could be doing, that's a great plan! Monroe doesn't think it's a great plan. This is because Monroe is not the best. Which is a bit like being Not the One. Monroe, you were doing so well with the communicating a second ago, what happened to talking to each other makes things better?! No? No. Fine, Juliette and Rosalee will now turn their weapons of woobly pouting sad-eyes on you. No, that's not fair. No, all the "that's not fair" faces in the world won't save you. I have zero sympathy, Monroe. Zero.

We take a brief moment to further the Royals and Renard's coterie plot by having the canary arrive in Portland. English, this time, probably because they're both on American soil and maintaining cover is a Good Plan. Renard will set the time and place, which is a quick and dirty establishment of authority on his ground, but we don't get more than that because Renard's at work and it's time to cut on over to the boys at work, too. Which at the moment involves giant screens and handling Mr. Spinner to get him to give them data on this Nameless guy. So, several things about this, as they deal with catching the CEO up and he delivers us some technobabble that gets halted in the middle of explaining that an IP address can be faked and should not be taken as a location device, anyway. One: castle of the black stag? Really? Because white stags aren't a common symbol at ALL in mythology or anything. (That may also be a Game of Thrones reference, too. Coat of arms of House Baratheon, motto Ours Is The Fury, which would suit Rumpelstiltsidiot down to a T. This may be unintentional, though; we can't be sure, and if it were really a GOT reference the black might refer to the black of hair debacle.) Two: Miller's Daughter? FUCKING REALLY? Because that's not integral to the whole Rumpelstiltskin story or ANYTHING oh my god. Three: level three? I wouldn't mention it except the writers enjoy Rule of Threeing us at the slightest provocation, so. We know, of course, that this is Significant because conservation of time won't let us have an irrelevant dead end (pun not originally intended but I'll leave it for humor value) and it can't be Jenna because it's too soon and most men who play female characters online don't go for something as tame and understated as "Miller's Daughter." Therefore, hi Vicky! I am so sorry you're about to be cut in half, though I appreciate the speed of police response on this one and, really, throughout the ep. It's a huge, huge contrast from last episode, and while we obviously like this better - more competence is more better! - we would also very much like it if the writers' room could settle on an approximate level of confidence, with reasonable fluctuation for external circumstances, and stick to it. Again, I would have gone and gotten the machetes and also launched myself the hell out the open window instead of staring at it wondering who opened it, but genre savvy is apparently not a thing that extends to everyone on this design team. Mostly just to Jenna.


Since we don't need to see the second hack 'n slash, we go on over to the woman in question, who's looking through pictures of her and Brody on her computer. Oh honey. Over to her ID, over to her phone, oh look, Vicky's calling. That's not Vicky at aaall. (Also, I think Jenna might be one of the only people on TV not to have her phone on silent, though given she's caught up in the middle of a police investigation I don't blame her. I'd have that ringer turned way the hell up in the hopes the cops were calling with information.) The dialogue that follows is, yeah, some of the clunkier in the whole script, or at least some of the worst delivery; though it's clearly supposed to be horror trope dialogue served up on a bed of nudge nudge wink wink for us genre viewers it just doesn't quite make it. Again with the taunting and since he called the office Vicky was being questioned in last time to torment her, it's a safe bet that Jenna's his next target. Why Rashid is out of the picture entirely we don't know, probably because we just don't have enough time to address him in this episode. (Certainly not because he's off being the Gatekeeper. Come on, you knew the Dresden joke had to come in eventually. We're actually quite curious how many of these names have deliberate other-SFF-nods in them. Vicky being a reference to Vicki Nelson is the other possibility we came up with before grumbling over the lack of evidence.) So, then. Cops up to the front of the house, Wu and his uniforms have already knocked on the doors and gotten no response, Wu has a very valid point about she may be hiding in a closet or something. Oh Wu. Sometimes you're such an optimist. Jenna will kill the mood by calling and freaking out, like you do when a killer calls you and is a psychotic stalker in your ear, and hey, let's doorsmash! That's always good, right? Notably, this scene is not sexualized in the violence, whereas Brody had his shirt still unbuttoned when he got slice 'n diced. Have I mentioned I love the inversion of the (bad) traditional horror tropes here? 'cause I do. The knife embedded in the counter is also nice and prominent and frankly if this were an ep of Criminal Minds I would be expecting all kinds of discussion about what the chopping plus knife says about our unsub's yucky pathology as well as the sudoku puzzle. Instead we get Hank staring at it and kind of twitching, like he's seen those before and thinks they're horrible monsters from the black lagoon. Wu doesn't! I love you Wu. (Kitty thinks I'm a monster from the black lagoon for doing sudoku on expert level to unwind.) (K: I do not. I think you're a Spider from Mars.) Anyway. Wu will solve all your puzzles!

But not before sleepover dinner at Juliette's place! Rosalee breaks the tension with that well-timed comment, letting them have dinner together like normal people. As normal as it gets when you're hunting ghost-memory-things. Juliette's question is very valid, and well timed as far as her getting to know Rosalee goes, it's just that there's a reason nobody talks about that. Except when Freddy and his ties to the Wesen Council and Rosalee and her ties to the Lauffeuer are being hammered in obliquely, that is. Cue some quiet reminiscing where Rosalee holds onto the best part about her brother's death, that the killers were caught and vengeance was had, and that she got a Monroe out of the deal. Aww. Who will now open his mouth and aim for a witty quip that deflects the conversation away from sadder things, except Nick's memory-ghost is a much better distraction for everyone! Hi Nick. And that's an early one, of Nick in the trailer, so it's not entirely chronological. We wouldn't expect it to be, we'd expect a flurry of associations that are half-random and half-explicable. In this case, the two that resurfaced this episode are both tied to the trailer, source of all knowledge about Wesen just ask the Grimms who went around killing everything they didn't understand. Not that I'm bitter. Anyway, trailer, old books, Rosalee being awesome and calm and guiding Juliette down the path of as much reason as you can get under these circumstances. Monroe freaking out because he knows exactly what's going on and doesn't want to say it! Monroe, I hope you never have to keep an actual conspiracy from anyone, because you SUCK AT IT. And it goes away the second she tries to touch it again, which I sincerely hope leads Juliette to, I don't know, NOT try to touch her hallucinations in the future in the hopes of getting more information from them?

Nick's not gone! He's right next to Wu, hanging over his shoulder while the sudoku gets done. Wu, you have a little metal board of sudoku tiles? Now I want one. Stop laughing. (K: No. Shan't.) Anyway, now they have a string of numbers to decode. And they go through latitude/longitude, phone number, social, address. I would also submit that it could be a login or other personal context of some kind, but we were never given groundwork along those lines so, yes, likely to be one of several common numbers. Nick hits on date and something, March 12th, that's not bad as a recent date for a triggering event, but 1915? Well, in this TV show that's entirely possible for the metaplot, but since we're dealing with the MotW plot Hank will whip out his credentials of The Best and point out that 1915 is 7:15 in the evening on the 24 hour clock, which he describes as military time. Because it is, among other groups that use a 24 hour clock. So they have a date and a time, but no place or event to tie it to. Well, time to bring in the one living person who might have half a clue what the context is! Or at least, the one person we've seen before and know is alive. Hi Jenna! Welcome to a question and answer in the Captain's office. It's not going well, which isn't so much to say that Renard is biting answers out of her as that she can't remember the answers. Or, given her body language, is ashamed to admit them. Between the glancing left, the evasive language, and the inward pulled body language it's not likely she's telling the whole truth when contrasted with her calmer voice, or at the very least the date triggers guilty feelings in her. I get briefly distracted by the fact that Renard's baby photo of whatever baby that is has moved to one of the bookcases and meanwhile outside the office Wu is figuring something out! Because Wu is also The Best. So in he goes to the Captain's office, knocking on the door frame and babbling about a nom de plume, or in this case, Nom de Plume. I choose to believe he would have spit it out sooner or later, but Jenna beats him to it by remembering that she stood someone up on that date for reservations to Nom de Plume. Which a) sounds pretentious as all hell, both the restaurant and the standing up, and b) is definitely either motive or a trigger or both. (It's not a real Portland restaurant, unless it's un-googleable.) She proceeds to spin them a story (what? whaaaat?) about how it was late and she and her team were getting nowhere, and they were going to tank the project, when some magical IT guy who comes when called fixed her computer for the low low price of a date. Which is better than her firstborn, I think. She doesn't remember his name or what he looks like, which visibly frustrates Renard, I'd be frustrated too but it's not unreasonable, either. Renard would also like to know why the guy is ready to kill her entire team because she stood him up on a date, and I would like to know who replaced Renard with a pod person. The Captain we know and love would damn well know the pathology of your basic love stalker. Mostly I question either Roiz's delivery of the line as a genuine question rather than a prod for Jenna to talk more, or the choice of giving the line to Renard rather than Nick or maybe Hank. Wu then will pick up the opening to suggest that it wasn't because of the date, but because the computer wasn't the only thing the guy fixed. Ah-hah. And, yes, that's what happened, she and her team took credit for someone else's work and now said someone is rightly pissed. Though it's an open question if anyone asked Rumpelstiltsfixes to fix the code, or if he just decided to do it as part of his stalker pathology. Between the sleep deprivation fog and the self-deluding desire not to be the bad person/people, it's hard to say, and it leads to the weakest part of this ep: explaining the unsub's motives in a manner we the audience can identify with. Jenna will now proceed to break down into guilty sobs. While we're on this scene, and this part of the scene in particular, there's a lot of odd camerawork choices here, more suited to either a darker procedural or a horror show than Grimm usually gets with the camera work. Extreme dutch angles, extreme close-ups on everyone but Renard, including slow zooms. I'm not sure what effect they were going for here, but it was definitely uneasy-making. Renard decides to put her in a safehouse, because, well, yes. Regardless that what she did was wrong, she's still the target of a murderer, so. Safehouse it is!

And back over to Juliette's house, where Monroe is trying desperately to make her hallucinations be something other than what they are, memories of Nick in the trailer. Sorry, Monroe. You do not get to get out of telling Juliette things today. In fact, after Juliette describes it as writing and a weird creepy drawing Monroe proceeds to demonstrate his utter lack of brain-to-mouth filter and exclaim that Nick has to be in the trailer! To which Rosalee goes "wait, what trailer" and Juliette goes "Aunt Marie's trailer" and I fall over laughing again. The combination of the woman who has all her faculties intact having no clue what's going on and Juliette having most of the pieces but they're all blue sky and no corners to start with is priceless, plus the delivery of Bree Turner and Bitsie Tulloch all episode has been amazing. Monroe isn't sure which way to lie, either, which makes it even funnier. Rosalee gives Monroe all the side-eye while Juliette does the dance of "it's on the tip of my brain." We know that dance well, Juliette. We re-enact it whenever Grimm brings out its sideways sneakyass references! We get some odd Dutch angles on Juliette this scene as well, though those are more explicable as us sharing in her feeling of imbalance and dis-ease. Monroe will now attempt to prevaricate even more and weasel out of taking them to the trailer, Monroe, you're a Blutbad, not a Gehrinwiesel*, stop weaseling and just drop it already. Rosalee appreciates that Nick is Monroe's friend but her first priority is to help Juliette, who's in some genuine distress here. That and given her attitude of the last few episodes I'm increasingly getting the feeling that Rosalee is also of the "more informed is better" school of thinking, though why she hasn't told Juliette about Wesen yet I'm not sure. Lack of an appropriate segue, maybe, she might not feel she has the relationship to have that conversation with her. Which shows some care to how she drops the story on Juliette, which is at least more than Nick did the first time. Monroe hems and haws some more, at which point Juliette beats him in the head with how hard this is for her, questioning her own sanity and whatnot, and either somebody stops keeping secrets or she's outta there. (*not an actual Wesen.)


Hey, speaking of secrets, Renard will now text his canary the time and place for their meeting. And, oh look, the tail's cloned the canary's phone and also gets the text! This ought to be fun. We have a quick break for a noir staple of Taxi Cab Going Down The Street In The Rain And The City Lights At Night, and then it's back to the precinct for a Walk and Talk. Starting with a nice distance shot so we can admire Renard's legs. What? The walk and talk is standard albeit in this case not one continuous shot, so maybe it's the walk and talk's little brother. It's a pedeconference where the upshot is that the IT guy doesn't work for the game company's standard firm, he's an independent contractor, he hacks every system ever to get phone access, electricity, probably even housing and cash when he needs it. Modern technology, folks, the world isn't run by weapons anymore, or energy, or cold hard cash, it's run by little ones and zeros, little bits of data. It's all just electrons. I'd argue over the convenience of this except in this day and age, with allowances for film/TV exaggerations, it's entirely possible. Nick concludes with how the whole thing is a maze of twisty corners all alike, and nothing leads to their guy. To which Renard shrugs, says "so what does?" and just walks off, in an epic and hilarious fit of "How nice, you found a problem. Go fix." Renard, how awesome art thou, let me count the ways. (Also how overstressed art thou, let me help you relax some. Ahem.)

Time for a quick trailer scene! Ground-shaking stomp, acid-secreting muscles, and yet not a xenomoph. The spelling is Fuchsteufelwild, which apparently translates into fox-devil-wild (what.) and along with that description we have a series of weirdass anagrams which if you did not immediately translate them into Rumplestiltskin, you are hereby presented with your bad conduct discharge and get thee to a library for some remedial reading. Because come the fuck on. I can only assume that the Rumplestiltskin myth doesn't exist in Grimmworld, too, because otherwise fifty points from Gryffindor for not recognizing the goddamn anagram and ten points from Ravenclaw for writing the poor bastards into a situation where they have to at least nod at the story or risk getting strangled by the fans. Which makes no goddamn sense because we've established that Grimm, Grimm brothers, this is an actual thing, oh I give up. Anyway, they work out that it's an anagram in reasonably short order, remember that Jenna said it started with a T, and take the anagram to the precinct puzzle solver Wu! Have I mentioned how much I love that Wu gets more face time and plot time in this episode, that doesn't involve him being a couch-eating buttmonkey? Because I really, really do. Hank gives an explanation for the letters that in no way involves plausibility, to which Wu gives an appropriately skeptical look. We wouldn't buy it either, Wu. Seriously, you guys should have figured this out in the car on the way back. Anyway, Wu goes to a site for anagrams that looks not unlike at least one that exists on the internet, because what do you do when you need to display all variables of a certain combination of things in short order? That's what computers are for! Bonus points to Reggie Lee for saying both of those combinations without cracking up. Or at least doing so in one take or another. Now if they can match one of those names with one on the game server's registry, hey, they can track a suspect! Except this is a guy known for hacking so why the hell wouldn't he use a fake name oh never mind. Maybe it's not within the rules of his game to do so.

Fortunately for the police, the guy in charge of the servers is friendly to their investigation. I take a brief moment to think of Zelda and giggle at the number of players who registered as Tinkle and we watch the names scroll by without a match. And scroll. And scroll. And scroll. Oh, hey, they found a match. Trinket Lipslums? Really? Seriously. Hank offers us a lampshade by way of consolation, and Nick suggests they need to draw him out from within the game. Cut to Jenna's apartment, where she's gaming and fighting this Nameless/Trinket Lipslums/etc fellow. There's really no way to make this any less boilerplate or more interesting, so we'll just sum up with he bites her about the deal she failed to keep, she names him, kills his avatar, and he ragequits everything in his place. Which is a lot of expensive looking equipment. My soul weeps. Also he looks a lot like a goblin from Legend. I'm just saying. Oh, hey, he's got a GPS tracker on... something of hers. Most likely her phone since she'd carry that around with her. Guess he's found something more satisfying to smash. We do appreciate the Farscape reference with Aeryn Sun, badass extraordinaire. And it's very telling that our first reaction to this scene was not "oh, nice setup" but "WHO LET HER HAVE A COMPUTER." This dovetails nicely with another review we saw in between chewing this ep to itty bitty bits and rendering it down for soup stock, which pointed out that the show can't decide whether it's being accessible to absolutely everyone or catering to the genre crowd. Obviously, we're part of the latter and we like it more when it does that - witness our take on this ep as compared to last - but some consistency would be nice, guys.

Speaking of games that aren't over, let's go visit the Lotus Cafe, preferred watering hole of His Royal Spyness and convenient civilians for cover! Renard takes a look around outside the cafe before entering, presumably to check for a tail, and politely waves off the waitress. Much to absolutely nobody's surprise, the canary claimed a booth in the corner with a good view of the door. Also, I have no idea if Roiz and the actor who plays the canary have worked together before Grimm, but good god they have chemistry all over the place in this scene. If fandom hasn't written fic for them by next week's ep I will buy a hat just to eat it. Kitty writing it doesn't count. Also also, I have to say it's good to see the two of them as actors in the same place at the same time, because they turn out to be both amazing actors who can bring up each other's game, and they were already playing in the majors to begin with. This scene is all over enjoyable, and it's a nice surprise to see how well Lagadec matches Roiz. (As a matter of fact, having taken a closer look at Lagadec, WE WANT ONE. Snarky and French? Yespls.) Pleasantries in a secret coterie of Royals looks like "I'm glad you're alive!" "I'm glad to be that way!" Oh boys. Meantime I don't know if this is just Renard taking advantage of his surroundings or if the canary set it up so he'd have a reflection to look in (I'm betting the former more than the latter based on the canary's absolute shit field skills), but hey, there's a businessman in a trenchcoat with a briefcase and he's all by himself. THAT'S not suspicious or anything. We can also see Renard staying in cop mode throughout this meeting, interestingly, possibly because that's the skillset most useful to checking for tails and engaging in conspiracy, possibly also because it makes a good cover and attracts less notice than His Princeliness, and finally possibly because it induces the canary to underestimate him. Regardless, he notes the bomb-to-be and waits for it to be confirmed while he keeps most of his attention on the canary. Which says something about who he views as a potential threat, too. No, we don't trust the canary any longer. We don't trust those odd little half-smiles at certain times that could be giddy relief at being alive, sure, or could be the canary incapable of hiding his evil glee. We don't even trust that the bomber was intended for the canary at all. If the bomber had wanted to take the canary out he could have done it at any point between being set on him and his arrival Stateside. Anyway. The canary is supposedly in Venice for the weekend, staying at the something or another dammit Christian stop swallowing your words. Hotel Cipriani, at a guess since that's an actual hotel, though that sounded like a T rather than an Italian Ci. SIGH. Brunig? Breunig? SOMEONE is there in his place, who for lack of information we haven't added to the murder dot-plot yet. (Though if you missed it this morning, the update is over here.) His stand-in is nervous, the canary looks away and looks nervous when he says it, Renard looks guilty for a moment as he allows as that's a reasonable response given the situation, not personally as though he did a bad thing guilty but the downward solemnity at the conclusion of the sentence shows a bit of resignation or perhaps sadness that he has to put good people in danger. In the general sense, not in the suitcase bomb in the bar sense. Otherwise he's cool and collected despite knowing there's a probable assassin in the room with a suitcase bomb. I leave parsing who we want to climb like a tree as an exercise for... well, nobody by now. Laziest exercise ever. (The parsing, not the climbing.) Renard would justifiably like to know where the fuck his brother is THIS time, expanding his empire, as he puts it. That sounds ever so hopeful. Yay. No, wait, the other thing. Guangzhou, says the canary, which is VERY interesting because that's the first we've ever heard of China in this show. It's also an interesting choice because it's one of the sort of second-tier sized cities in China, and not one we'd expect to get straight off (Beijing or Shanghai are the usual Western writer go-tos, although we've established that Grimm writers tend to avoid the usual suspects unless they serve a larger purpose), and also a city in Canton, which means it's about 50-50 on Cantonese and Mandarin for native speakers. Sadly, if Chinese comes up as a language in this show we are all screwed, because neither one of us has a tutor and we're not willing to tackle tonal languages without it. And to bring it into the WWI&II themes they've had going, China was on the Allies' side in WWI and was busy getting invaded by Japan during WWII, though most people remember their subsequent place in the Cold War more than either of those facts.


Alright. So that's that player chewed over to a pulp for all the data, not that there was much at all. Renard would like to know why he's here; a valid question. Let's go back to Europe and the cabals within cabals. Apparently this is a phrase that makes Akela giggle. Which makes us giggle because we can only imagine the horrible, horrible lecherous jokes that came out of that. Ahem. (Also, for the record, that's a slightly swallowed "malheureusement" on the subject change from the canary, which is "unfortunately" if you don't have basic Latin roots for your French. You knew we were elitist fucks when you walked into this bar, okay?) Nobody knows anything about any of the players except that they exist and someone controls some things! I hope to tell that's mostly Renard's coterie, but I'm not hoping very hard. As many players as we've got and as much bitching as we've done about needing 3D murderboards and a Jarvis to keep track of it all, it's in some ways ten times worse to keep track of when you're personally invested and in danger of, y'know, death. It does sound like Eric Renard controls at least one of the families, which makes us wonder yet AGAIN about Papa Renard and if we have a Fisher King/Lara Raith type situation on our hands. Eric and the other six families are aiming for the dissolution of the union, which makes us wonder WHAT union, and based on location we actually are not thinking any of the Wesen-only unions. No, we're thinking the EU. Now, it's possible that there's a union, either of the Seven Families or of the Families with the Verrat, or something else entirely we don't yet have the data to speculate with any degree of certainty on. (Families and Council, anyone?) That's possible. But the Families have also always been about temporal power and wealth, and that means paying a-fucking-ttention to the purely human sphere as well. The Families are, so far as we know, headquartered in Europe. Therefore, European Union. Which is the best guess we've got for you at this point, and would, in fact, be really earth shattering. It's also supported by talk of legal means, which suggests a more human, less Wesen based set of laws. Not that the Families give a good goddamn for legalities when it doesn't suit their needs. The canary has a flash drive! Yay! Information would be GREAT if we got it with any context whatsofuckingever but no, no we do not. We instead get Renard saying that the chess game begins and proceed to smash our faces into our desks and ask what the FUCK he's been playing up until now, Go Fish? (No, that's just what asking for data from the Grimm murderboards feels like to us. Or throwing darts at a board with a blindfold on.) Anyway, that's a list of names and backers and alliances so far as the canary (and his people, presumably, or maybe that's the other way around) has been able to determine. I specify because when you're dealing with parsing this kind of data it's really easy to forget that the characters delivering the data will be necessarily biased and potentially wrong. Renard takes on a little bit more authority, though mostly along the lines of the Captain because he's still crowd-watching and hunching his shoulders so as to be smaller and thus hopefully less conspicuous. I hate to break it to you, Renard, but people are just gonna remember a big fucking guy wandering around being lurky.

And he says, we need to stay strong and not make moves to break their alliance with the Resistance. Well. 'cause yeah, dumbfucks, you don't want to be getting hit from ALL sides at once. Even if that takes you places you're not entirely happy about. The canary has extremely well-founded concerns, being that he's been in Europe and dealt with the aftermath of various and sundry people getting tortured and killed by the Families/the Verrat/both/the latter working for the former. As the case may be. Now, it's possible that those who talk under torture are saying anything to get it to stop, there's a reason we frown on it around these parts as a useful interrogation method, but there is absolutely no way to be sure of that. And since the existence of Renard's coterie and/or their ultimate goals seems to be still obscured, it seems likely that they're extra-paranoid about revealing their connections to the Lauffeuer. Not least because the Royals and the Verrat have a particularly strong prejudice against the Lauffeuer, as in, terminate with extreme prejudice variety. This next segue makes no goddamn sense and I hope to hell we'll get an explanation sometime soon. Meisner, whoever he is, and the "methods he formulated in his vagabond days in Vienna," which nobody trusts. So a) who the fuck is Meisner? b) what methods? torture methods? is he head interrogator for the Verrat? is he a totally different player? c) formulated? as in scientific formulae? does this have to do with hexencrap? or that weapon the key is supposed to connect to? d) FUCKING VIENNA WHY. It may or may not be worth noting that Meisner is known at least in the top of his google hits for creating an acting technique that is now popular and in much use both practically and as a method taught. But is this significant as a wink or significant as a clue? We have no idea! In short, we have a name, some very vague context, and ABSOLUTELY NO SUPPORTING DATA I HATE THIS CRAP. Dear execs: for the love of god let them go back to the serialized story they want to tell. PLEASE. GOD. PLEASE. This metaplot wants to barrel like a freight train and someone out there's making it creep like a snail, and my money's on network execs. Because reasons. Anyway, as with everyone else, Meisner is on Meisner's side and doesn't give a flying fuck about Renard and his coterie. Where's the damn jar. I haven't used it yet this ep, and I'm feeling like inflicting some blunt force trauma with it about now. Renard is far more resigned to needing Meisner than his canary, as we would expect from the half-zauber bastard son who uses whatever tools he needs and disposes of them when he must. Sometimes very, very literally. Renard then proceeds to sneer about what they really want, and for a guy who's so feudal and fond of the idea of himself at the top of the pile (look, I avoided the obvious innuendo, do I get a cookie for not taking the cheap shot?) he does a really convincing disgusted tone. Maybe that's disgust for the idea of the Families returning to their idea of the natural order of things. Maybe Renard would like people in place who have an idea of when to step back. Maybe he's like the Operative in Serenity, deliberately creating a world in which he has no place. WE DON'T KNOW ISN'T IT GREAT. One last behavioral note before we enter Action Captain time, which is that Renard keeps both his hands in plain sight on the table the entire time, in blatant contrast to when he deceives and conceals things and hides his hands. This has the added benefit of proving he's not armed. One last filming note, they've put the canary sinister and Renard dexter throughout this scene, both in shooting over shoulders and in how they're seated in the cafe. That doesn't give us confirmation on how little we should trust the canary, but it's a good indicator.

Wherever that rant was going, it's cut short by the bomber walking out and Renard noticing it, because do you know what it's time for? Action!Renard! Action!Renard will not be having any of this bombs in cafes nonsense, and he will also shove his canary down. Who goes, but in confusion. I'm hoping that that's genuine lack of fieldwork confusion and not confusion that hides the fact that he's in on it. I'm not hoping very hard. It's definitely telling that the tail, no matter how shitty he was (because he was) and no matter if that was intended as a setup to kill Renard rather than the canary (because it might have been), didn't care that it might also kill all the civilians in the cafe. They're getting desperate at least and sloppy at worst. Renard shoves the waitress aside, too, judging correctly that a few bruises is better than a chunk of C4 or whatever that is. It turns out to be on a remote detonator, not a timer, because the bomber is really not well trained. A timer would have allowed somewhat more flexibility in the deception, including hiding the suitcase thoroughly ahead of time not to mention not being restricted in distance by the reach of the transmitter. I'm just saying. Your spycraft sucks and you should feel bad. (Look, if we're not honest, you can't improve, Mr. Bomber! Oh wait, you're dead? Nevermind.) Renard launches the damn thing into the middle of the empty street, which we did see was empty when he came in so it's at least good continuity. And I buy that Renard would have picked a nice quiet place at a nice quiet time so that it would be damn hard to tail him without being noticed. He's smart like that. The explosion comes and I definitely think the bomber was trying to kill Renard. Maybe trying to kill the information that he'd just been given as a priority, but you can't make an omelet without killing a few people, and all. Our Captain: too badass to be more than slammed across a table and probably a bit deafened by the explosion. The canary goes pelting over to see if Renard's okay, Renard shoves him down AGAIN and goes pelting out the door because the bomber surely had a backup weapon, right? And Renard's a cop, and he's pretty much never off-duty these days, which means he's in there armed. (Though not, I will pause to note, in full suit and tie getup. Because that would make him stand out more at the Lotus Cafe, and Renard is smarter than that. I love our Captain, I do. The all in black thing is also a really good look for him, to say nothing of reminiscent of Caprica - along with some of his mannerisms throughout this scene, come to that.) Big man yelling MOVE at me right after a bomb went off? I'd be trying to get the fuck out of the way too, yes indeed. As well as exiting the building with extreme prejudice, though probably through the KITCHENS because I'm me. And we've watched too many spy movies and read all the wrong sort of books around this place. So, yes, the bomber has a gun, which he will proceed to Be Menacing with and Renard will shove his IDIOT canary out of the way a THIRD time (rule of three! drink!) in order to be the man with the gun. Now, remember back in Love Sick? We know damn good and well Renard's capable of taking a headshot, though that was in daylight, alone, and not right after having a bomb nearly explode in his hands. This time he goes full on cop, though: classic Weaver stance, three shots center of mass, followed by holding up his badge to reassure the crowd. I assume it doesn't need stating that this entire sequence is unbearably hot, but I'm going to say it because HNNNGH, that's why. SOP on covering the body and making sure the bomber's really dead and not, say, carrying another bomb, which would be not out of the realm of possibility. (I do wonder if the bomber was prepared to do a suicide run of it had Renard initiated an evacuation of the building instead of playing clandestine spycop. I try not to wonder very hard.) Also, the canary is truly and thoroughly startled by Renard shooting the guy out there on the street in plain view of everyone. From this we can assert a few different things: that the canary hasn't seen much action, only its aftermath at best. That he doesn't know much about how American law enforcement works. That he may not think of Renard as law enforcement first (probably doesn't, in fact). And that he severely, severely underestimates the amount of power to conceal and withhold events that he doesn't want in the public eye as a result of his chosen occupation. Plus, he probably underestimated Renard's willingness to get his hands dirty, which if Cousin Anton's new hole to the forehead is a known event within the Families goes to a lack of ability to take intellectual data and internalize it properly. Meantime, Renard doesn't miss a beat through this entire scene. Conspiracy, checking his environment ad infinitum, instantly notices the changes, BAM briefcase out the door BAM takes down the bomber BAM is a cop securing the scene. Our bomber turns out to be a 39-year-old Frenchman by the name of Henri Leseuer, which thank fuck does not translate to anything. From Marseilles/Cannes, so THAT should be noted for future reference as a city of potential import. Or export. As the case may be.

We leave Renard dealing with that nightmare of paperwork (seriously, the man must have a superpower to deal with all the paperwork Wesen and Royal cases generate) and go over to our second action sequence of the night! "Jenna" saves the file, giving us a clearer shot of the Aeryn Sun username, aww, and titles it not at all forebodingly, NAMELESS is dead! Uh-huh. (By the way, and I mention this now, finally, because we haven't mentioned it explicitly at all? This is an excellent use of how to actually drop nerd culture into an episode of TV. I don't buy all the leaps of logic and tech they make, but the characterization is excellent and we're never supposed to think less of anyone for being a gamer.) Well, Lipslums/Nameless/etc is acid-etching his way in the window once her back is turned. This Is Not A Trap. They do, by the way, do a very good job of not showing us anything other than long dark hair on the woman in a way that doesn't make us all that suspicious at first, and I really, really love that they just hauled a random extra in to play Jenna's double here. I also love the dichotomy of fuzzy pink bathrobe and police-issue 9mil, because that is exactly my kind of woman. I do not love that the building they used for a safehouse/trap has a fire escape, though it makes it easier for the unsub to get into the apartment and no self-respecting cop safehouse is going to be on the ground floor. Still, alright, we'll chase him up the fire escape along with Wu and dear god that is a lot of cops. We even go the logical place with the acid claws and someone following insufficiently close behind! Poor Wu, left dangling in midair for a long several seconds while Nick and Hank burst out the rooftop door and attempt to take wosshisface into custody. He's not going into custody. He's going into woge - at a guess the Masquerade-breaking kind - and then getting even MORE infuriated when Nick knows not only what name he's going by but what kind of Wesen he is. At which point he launches himself off the roof, seriously? This actor, frankly, kind of sucks. I also feel like there was some expo-dumping that would have explained WHY the fuck these Fuchsteufelwild feel the need to play games all the time and we missed out on it. Again, motives, and the acting didn't make up for the lack given in the trailer or at any point in the witness interview process. I can only conclude that the Masquerade is now THOROUGHLY FUCKING BROKEN, at least if that really was the "fuck you humans here I am" kind of woge, as opposed to the uncontrolled emotions kind. Maybe it was the latter; I doubt we'll get follow-through next week to clarify because that is not, sadly, a thing this show ever does. And now Wu would like some help PLEASE AND THANK YOU before that ladder goes the rest of the way.


We get to see none of the cleanup tonight, evidently, just Renard coming back from his scene and popping the USB drive in. I am... not entirely certain that was a wise plan on what we believe to be a work laptop, but sure, okay, we'll go with it. A ten digit password which either Renard got from his canary in the aftermath (I will say this, nobody will be challenging the validity of shooting the bomber, between the detonator and the gun on him) or he already knew because they have a particular password for things like this. Standard TV encryption gibberish is standard, and hey look! Let's take a quick run through this data for analysis. FINALLY fucking London. Also Monaco, Tokyo, neither of those are particularly surprising. Rio is, a bit. Seattle, New York, Prague, and Rome are not, though having a Cardinal in their pocket is noteworthy that it's right up there on the front page and we've been waiting for some confirmation on the Catholic aspects for awhile now. Salzburg not surprising. Dubai not surprising but first we've heard of the Middle East's involvement directly since Ian's Arab Spring comment back in Cat and Mouse. Stockholm, Tel Aviv makes way more sense than any other Israeli city, yup, and fucking Cape Town. Budapest (which does indeed give us Avengers snickers and, again, is not surprising). San Jose (Costa Rica, not California), Geneva, DC, and what the fuck Bikini Atoll. (Nuclear fucking testing? Fuck you VERY much.) The names by and large fit the regions they're linked to by way of probable ethnicity, though it's notable that they did not go for the white Dutch name for South Africa. This gives us a much, MUCH wider playing field than previously confirmed, and is notable more for what it leaves off than for what it includes. It leaves off, for starters, Chicago or some other middle of the country US city that would be useful to tie the coasts together. It also leaves off Australia, New Zealand, the Indian subcontinent, and the vast majority of Asia. (One possibility is that Eric Renard is just now expanding into China. Then again, we're clearly only seeing a partial list.) Furthermore, there is no rhyme or reason that we can decipher to the order of anything. They're very roughly grouped by location, but not conclusively so, and they're not ordered by date or by name. The timestamps on the dates indicates that's a most recently saved/acquired date, not anything else, so the dates don't mean something else and are thus organized by date of acquisition. I got nothing. Renard, though, has the rest of the file. GIVE ALL YOUR DATA TO ZIM, RENARD. Please?

Alas. Back to Monroe's place, where Nick's coming home after dealing with crime scene cleanup and probably tired and cranky as a result. Monroe is so unnerved that he's sitting on the stairs waiting up for Nick. Well, that's not good. A bit less than the usual jumping around, Nick would like it to be a good thing that Juliette remembers him only no, honey, it's not that simple. I won't even yell at him for being stupid because it's totally reasonable to hope for that and he's had a long day. I also won't yell at him for being annoyed with Monroe and his big mouth. I WILL yell over how this would be easier if Nick would just fucking TELL HER ALREADY and stop freaking out on his friends for trying to help her. And I will definitely yell over his desperate "tell her you can't take her there." Nick, sometimes I despair of ever training you to be good at relationships again. I swear you used to suck less than this, or at least he hung onto a girlfriend for four years and was on the verge of proposing. At any rate, Juliette is prepared to cut all her ties to Portland because this thing is driving her so insane and she would rather start over again than deal with the mess that is her life right now. As much as I don't want to lose her from the show, this is a good and valid motivation that in no way involves fridging Juliette and I approve of it SO HARD. I do not approve of Nick being a whiny mopey shit who can't be bothered to treat his ex-girlfriend like a goddamn adult who can learn some hard things after being through hell. A hell which she is arguably still in. Shape the fuck up, dude, or I'll shape you up with this here frying pan of common sense and basic decency.

Next week on Grimm: every one of these teaser scenes is metaplot-based. Expect swearing, now in ALL the languages. One for every damn major language we've seen on this show, I shit you not. Also, Juliette in the trailer! Adalind and Eric being slimy and cozy together and Eric might be going to Portland ABOUT TIME. HEY SEAN, PUT A BULLET IN HIS FOREHEAD, WOULDJA? Something involving Adalind being held down and this looks like pregnancy-related body horror oh GOODIE. Guys, really? Must we, every time there's a pregnancy in a genre show? Really? Some out of context shots that look like they're probably from the MotW case, and then a comment from Eric about a little bit of hexenbiest goes a long way. TOWARDS WHAT, ERIC. TOWARDS SHOOTING YOU IN THE FACE? One can only hope.

8 comments:

  1. If fandom hasn't written fic for them by next week's ep I will buy a hat just to eat it.

    In russian grimm fandom - one fic

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  2. I borrow your word for pairing - Renard/Canary
    ;)

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  3. "Renard launches the damn thing into the middle of the empty street, which we did see was empty when he came in so it's at least good continuity."

    He hurled the thing out the egress closest to their table, not the one he went through when he first came in. I'm pretty sure that's the back exit to the alley. Well, that's how it looked to me, anyway. Though, I agree that he would have made sure to set the meeting at a time and place that would be quiet and sort of out of the way.

    Great recap/review/analysis! Enjoyable as always. I was a bit disappointed that the episode didn't take more from the Rumplestiltskin myth. I personally have always found him to be one of the creepiest fairytale figures.

    I loved Rosalee, Juliette, and Renard in this episode. They were all fantastic. Nick, on the other hand, needs to get his head out of his ass on the telling-Juliette-thing.

    Do you guys have the name of the guy who plays the canary? It's frustrating that they won't give him a name. Is he really French? I had to rewind the "malheureusement" line twice to understand what he was saying. And, heh, you're totally right, Roiz and that actor had oodles of chemistry. The first time I saw the scene I immediately thought, "is this a meeting or a date?" For that alone, I hope they don't kill him off too quickly. I also really hope he's more friend than foe because while Wu says he only has himself and his cat, Renard can't even say that. Well, he had a maid, but he's probably discontinued service with them now. Considering the number of times his place has been broken into, I think he's decided to do it all himself rather than put innocent service people in the line of fire. The idea of him tidying up that place (obsessively vacuuming and straightening things out) strikes me as appropriate. He so prioritizes control that I have a feeling he's at least mildly obsessive-compulsive.

    Dresden fans FTW! My favorite book series. A lot of problematic aspects in it but, god, such a wealth of material to chew on during the in-betweens. Grimm keeps reminding me of Dresden actually. Not least because of the courts, councils, masquerades... And Renard himself reminds me of Marcone. There are a lot of parallels between them. Which really amuses me because of how they both started out (prince and pauper) and ended up (police captain and mob boss) in opposite circumstances. But both with an eye towards world domination. Or, at least domination of their respective cities.

    Rosalee, Rosalee. I love this woman. She's frequently the only voice of reason within the Scooby Gang. Whoever created this character deserves all the kisses. And I love that she's firmly on Juliette's side. Continue being awesome Rosalee. Also, I note that both Rosalee and Renard are exceptional at handling people and information. Unlike Monroe and Nick who can never seem to speak coherently when it comes to vital stuff.

    And, finally, why, in the name of all that is reasonable and not stupid, does Rosalee not know about the trailer? I was agape for that entire scene. Seriously, Grimm writers, why. She's been in the Scooby Gang for longer than Hank and should, by all rights, be considered the person most essential to having all that information. There must be stuff in that trailer that only she knows how to use (I mean, I think we saw spices and other Wesen-chemicals in there) and it wouldn't hurt to have her collate the Grimm books together with her books from the spice shop. Ah, right, reason and logic. Something Grimm always seem to have trouble with. At least on the sharing information front.

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    1. Just rewatched that bit again. I was wrong. Not an alley, apparently, based on the relatively straightforward layout of the interior of the cafe. I think it goes out to the street adjacent to the main entrance.

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    2. I will take your word for it on the adjacent street thing! By the time we got to the action sequence, our heads were, frankly, exploding with too much data, too little of it any good, to pay as close attention to more than "mm, badassery" than we might otherwise have. ;)

      And yeah, I really wanted some kind of explanation for WHY the Wesen was like that, and what exactly was going on with everything.

      There's a point where the whole keeping secrets for the sake of keeping characters in the dark thing gets old? They passed that a LONG time ago, and there are plenty of characters capable of/willing to shake sense into Nick, if the writers would just allow that to happen. At least next week we supposedly get SOME reveal. Assuming Juliette holds still for long enough at the trailer to get an explanation instead of seeing all the weapons and booking it.

      The actor's Christian Lagadec, and is apparently an honest to god Frenchman! (If my ear were trained I might even be able to tell you what region he's from, but it's mostly trained to English and Spanish accents. I can tell the difference between a Canadian and a Frenchman easily enough, but regions as yet defeat me.) Renard... might well have SOME kind of personality/behavioral disorder, though it's hard to say for sure since all the behaviors he's shown are clearly adaptive due to the demands of his jobs. Poor, poor prince.

      Both the fox or fox-named characters have that skill, yeah, it has not escaped our notice. We really want ANY explanation for Renard's name if he's not part-fuchsbau. We would also like more Rosalee-Juliette team-ups for great common sense please. ALL OF THEM. I'm still holding out for the secret Wesen clinic they co-run with ties to the Lauffeuer.

      NOBODY KNOWS. OH MY GOD THEY SUCK AT SHARING INFORMATION. Mostly Nick, but SERIOUSLY, Monroe. Especially considering the Siegbarste and the poison and WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE. Both writers and characters, really. Nobody thought of this? Nobody? I'm glad it got highlighted, but. And on the other hand, there's only so much frothing I can do over their inability to share information, because this is becoming a Theme and I desperately, desperately want the payoff to smack the offending parties in the face. Hard. Assuming there is a payoff. (There better be a payoff.)

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  4. I want some background on this new Rumpelstiltskin wesen. I know it's extremely unlikely that we'll see this one again outside of its MotW episode, but dude…this wesen CLEARLY has some very complex social dynamics. Every person's name, dating back hundreds of years, is comprised of the same letters? Names as sources of power, which they alternately share or hide according to their social motives? Riddles, codes, and games that they'd rather die than lose? This says to me that this is a group EXTREMELY grounded in tradition, power struggles, and a sense of identity and accomplishment…possibly rooted in the idea of Where You Come From. (Seriously, the thing with the names…it's almost like every member of this wesen grouping is from the same extended family. This may be related to why he said he "can't lose." Maybe it's a family honor thing, or maybe losing puts you in a position of weakness that allows you to be picked off by stronger relatives. It'd be an interesting mirror to Sean and Eric's relationship.)

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  5. "I'm still holding out for the secret Wesen clinic they co-run with ties to the Lauffeuer."

    YES, PLEASE.

    "...I desperately, desperately want the payoff to smack the offending parties in the face. [...] There better be a payoff."

    Word. Look, Grimm writers/producers/people... It might not be nice, but engaging in a bit of schadenfreude on behalf of all frustrated viewers would be nice every so often. Or maybe, you know, just a really big one. Death, dismemberment, emotional torture... I'm really not picky. This show needs a J. Walter Weatherman moment:

    "And that's why you always tell each other what the hell is going on."

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    1. Oh, oops. Forgot to put it in the thread.

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