From the first ep straight into the second! Or at least that's how it was put out and how I'm choosing to interpret it, given the conspiracy goings-on. Which puts last ep taking place a day ago, unless Portland time and Austria time are running on two separate tracks right now. Who knows? NOT US. Isn't it great? We open on a Christmas shopping scene with O Tannenbaum lyrics which are more focused on the original steadfast/faithful aspects of the German folk song than on the Christmassy themes it's been coopted for. Yes, I said it. You wanna get in an argument with a cranky, tired blogger about folk music? I didn't think so.
We have a couple teenage boys breaking into a car to steal presents and looking, frankly, like they've done this before. They're not completely inept at avoiding detection, is what I'm saying, though they could stand to move a little slower and look like they belong. Also, there's a Santa. And apparently this takes place in the Northwest Christmas Village, which a quick google does not inform me is an actual thing in Portland. It does look like a standard shopping district/affluent neighborhood, though I question the word "normal" in relation to anything in Portland. Anyway. Kids, stealing. Kids under a bridge, emphasizing that they're total jackasses. One of them hears something. One of them is gearing up to smash a snowglobe. I continue to be unimpressed, both with the length of this setup and with the kids themselves, though okay, they do not deserve to be switched and stolen and eaten. Tossed in juvie and taught to be productive members of society, sure. I'd be more inclined to interpret them as broke homeless teens if they weren't obviously well-clothed and well-fed, and if this ep weren't all about Krampus coming to take the naughty children away.
Then, oh god it's a phallic tongue! And a birch switch. I see we're not stinting on the actual mythos of Krampus, here, though I will admit I forgot the part where the kids aren't always killed immediately but instead shoved in a sack and carted off somewhere. Which means no underage deaths onscreen in a network show, which would be really unusual if not actually against network rules. Kid who escaped is not actually very good at hiding and has definitely not seen enough horror movies and, okay, I'm going to nitpick this now since the kid who was taken turns out to be an Eisbieber. Dude. He should have better instincts than that, for one. For two, dear writers, should Quinn not be wogeing out? The only way I can fanwank this is by saying that we're not getting Grimm-o-vision because Nick's not there, and they're trying to maintain some aura of mystery, but honestly it's not like they haven't indicated that someone's Wesen before and left us wondering when and how Our Heroes will learn this information. Maybe we're too far away to see Quinn woge out? Sure, um, we'll go with that even though we got several close-ups as he was dragged off initially. Oh wait, I have a better solution, he could be a halfbreed! Thank god for Grimm genetics. That's my final answer, anyway, even if it wasn't what the writers were thinking. You may argue against their being Eisbiebers except the dad showed up in Leave it to Beavers, so continuity can bite me. Grumblemutter. Lump of coal gets dropped in the dirt! Everyone may now facepalm.
To the Austrian Alps we go, the only direct connection I can think of offhand is that Tavitian (for so it is he) is so on the naughty list. Oh like you didn't see that coming. Driving through the hills which are more alive with the sound of plotting than music and rather not covered in snow the way we'd expect for Austria in December, guys, your continuity says hi, by the time he gets into the trees where not coincidentally visibility is less good than in the open field, he runs into a, um. Traffic accident. Yeah, if that's a traffic accident I'm Julie Andrews, we've seen this trap before. And right on this very blog, even! A traffic accident is a good way to get all the elements of a quiet-ish assassination: paid-off or outright fake police, a barrier across the road, extra personnel in case the mark tries to rabbit, and extra vehicles and room to stash bodies or weapons, make a getaway, or otherwise maneuver logistics in your favor. Sadly for the Verrat, Tavitian seems to know all about this, too, as he shoots the cop who approaches him with hand upraised in the manner of "please detour good sir." Two shots, center of mass, and a smile for the cop, the other cop, the guy who allegedly hit the biker, who is on the ground. Once he comes around the biker she, took, gets two shots to the center of mass, which is frankly all I would expect considering she was going to kill him with one of those M5s the Verrat are so fond of. He does go back and take the police officer's glove off just to be sure and, yes, they have tattoos. Not that I expect Tavitian to be overly concerned if he shot two police officers, but the response if he shot two honest police officers and two dishonest civilians would be different than if he shot four Verrat. But no, he shot four Verrat. And then he gets in his car and drives smoothly away, taking his gun with him, because how are the rightful authorities to know that he was there? And the unlawful authorities, well, they probably already knew he was coming since they bothered to set up the trap in the first place. So, so far, in the first couple minutes of his appearance we know that Tavitian is ruthless (which backs up what Meisner said about Tavitian resolving his differences with the other guy), efficient (two shots center of mass), perceptive, and has seen some sort of violence by fire before. Wait, what? Yes, the burn scars on his hand tell us that. No one in the episode even mentions them and I'm not entirely sure if those are actor or character scars (character, at a guess) but it gives something both concrete and mysterious at the same time about this new player, indicating that at least the writers plan to discuss him more. Whether or not they will, we'll see.
A penny did drop after publication (so yes, this was edited in): stance, training, high degree of situational awareness: Tavitian himself has some serious military or police training. That's. Interesting. And goes with his authority at the villa, and the ways in which he matches Renard.
A penny did drop after publication (so yes, this was edited in): stance, training, high degree of situational awareness: Tavitian himself has some serious military or police training. That's. Interesting. And goes with his authority at the villa, and the ways in which he matches Renard.
And now we're up at the villa again. Tavitian gives an impassive look to the guard, who doesn't so much as raise his gun to him, so at least he's known to the general rank and file as well as the leadership by sight. The music swell would also like us to know that This Is The Big Boss, just in case we hadn't caught it already. About the only quibbles we can find with the German is that we're pretty sure Likewise is another loanword and not an actual German phrase, although it might be a loanword in the more common sense that casual American English speakers use tete-a-tete or schadenfreude and not a loanword in the sense that actors are slipping up. Also, "what language shall we meet in" sounds more like Which language am I/are we speaking here, and I'm not entirely sure why they rephrased it. The only face we see in this little initial meeting that we don't have a name to looks like the blond in the leather jacket and blue scarf, so it looks like we're meant to be familiar with at least most of the leadership of the Resistance by now. Which becomes half once the meeting starts, but in this initial meeting we know most of the people standing around outside. We would also like to bounce around in glee at a German speaker who speaks clear German, because Tavitian's is the crispest and most comprehensible we've heard in a while, even if we do need dictionaries now and again. Interesting to note, while we're out here, that Meisner gets a near-hug from Tavitian but everyone else gets nods and polite chit-chat. More, it seems a bit, on Meisner's instigation but both of them do seem closer than the others. On to the business of the meeting, Tavitian wants to know where Breslau is. Frenay offers the concise three-sentence explanation of what happened last episode, ending in Tavitian giving Renard a very evaluating look and openly calling him the Royal bastard by way of, what, a test? A lot of Royals wouldn't take kindly to their parentage being questioned like that. Renard keeps his hands in his pockets and his body language both proud and reserved but acknowledges both, turning his parentage into what might be considered a badge of honor by admitting the colloquial as well as the literal. He's less than impressed with the choice of barb, though it's at least a good one to make sure that Renard is everything his reputation says he is. He's likely, if Eric is anything to go by, heard that insult a lot over the years, and it no longer has any impact, so he confines himself to the one half-jest and a look that's somewhat "Really? Seriously, that's it?" That seems to please or amuse Tavitian, or possibly both, and they shake hands while looking at each other as if they're not yet sure whether or not to trust each other. We can't see Tavitian's face but we've definitely seen that look on Renard's face before. That's the "I may have to kill you someday" look. Frenay either doesn't see the look or doesn't consider it significant because, let's face it, it's entirely possible that they're all thinking that about each other and coming to terms with it. He's impatient to get the meeting going, through, which isn't a good sign whether it means he's more worried than the rest or more stupid than the rest. Or as a third alternative, the one in the best position for counterintelligence against the Royals. Insufficient data to determine which of the many options it is. They all file in, guns go on the sideboards for some emphasis that this may be an expensive villa but right now it's also a fortress. Stereotypical Germanic leather and wood and I'm pretty sure this is deliberately designed to look like a miniature Viking feasting hall or something. Tavitian takes another dig at Renard over hating his family, and at this point Renard is about half a step away from outright laughing at him. I also do believe it's somewhat of a relief to have at least one person who's not so afraid of Renard or of his family that he's willing to say that outright. He's still wary of Tavitian, and who wouldn't be, given that lack of fear, known ruthlessness, and apparent connections. But he's also entertained by the guy. Entertained while thinking he's a massive dick! I can get on board with that. Sebastien, meanwhile, looks nervous and pointedly does not trust Tavitian. Or Viktor. Or much of anything about this situation. Nobody does, Sebastien, it's just everyone else has enough practice to be hiding it behind bravado and snark. We see down the length of the table that there are at least two female Resistance leaders who we have no names for, and everyone's eying Renard with varying degrees of dubiousness. This is going to be oh so much fun, isn't it. Especially with that blocking.
We move back to a much friendlier family dynamic (because yes, the Resistance has something of a family dynamic. it's fucked up and skewed beyond healthy, but it's there) with Rosalee and Monroe getting ready for work in the morning! Or more accurately, Rosalee's getting ready to go down to the shop and Monroe should be getting ready to head into his workshop but… isn't. And is hiding something. Behind some truly atrocious clock jokes, dear lord, that secondhand one was hideous I'm going to crawl under my desk in protest now. They're cute, the blocking doesn't suggest anything's directly off, but the musical cues are a bit worrisome. On a show with more soap opera tendencies we'd be meant to think that Monroe and Juliette are having some kind of affair, but no, she's here to do… something? Which we will not yet see.
Because we're going to go back to Austria where the Resistance is talking about Renard over his head like he's an errant child. Complete with his parentage being an open secret among them as well as among the Royals, okay, at this point I'd like to know if there's anyone other than the rank-and-file Wesen and, y'know, Nick, who didn't know this. One of the women, we don't see who but I think it's the one with a pageboy, says that the king is his father, the guy with a black skicap is insisting he can't be trusted and that a hexenbiest is his mother, Tavitian sounds like he's at least on the side of bringing Renard into the fold. Trusting him, eh, maybe maybe not, but treating him as a valuable ally rather than a wayward child, yes. This whole thing is shot very much like Renard's lesser, the way that comes to mind most readily is that of adults wrangling over the head of a child who's present but expected to be silent until spoken to. And when spoken to, is expected to be at least as well-spoken and mature as the adults, if not more so, in his own defense. You might get the impression I don't think much of the Resistance's ability to maintain order in the brass, let alone in the rank and file. I don't. Bickering in front of your new alleged ally a) demonstrates your weak points and b) indicates just how much you're underestimating him, which c) tells me that nobody here except Tavitian and perhaps Meisner and Frenay have done any homework. (K: Given Meisner's inability to spycraft I'm going with Tavitian and Frenay.) Since information is the lifeblood of a movement such as this, they are sucking right now. Not only that, but we had it implied last season that the Resistance as well as Renard's cell of Royals suffered a good deal of attrition. And that along with Breslau's recent betrayal implies their information security, well, isn't. On the one hand, it might explain why it looks like the D team is running things. On the other hand, my god you people. You're supposed to be the scrappy but fearsome Resistance. Suck less.
Going back to the scene proper, as Tavitian says they need to coordinate their efforts now more than ever and we pan out from the left-to-right blocking of people objecting to Renard for what we might infer as strongest to weakest reasons, maybe? And we see that Tavitian's sitting on the table with his back to Renard, which I'm choosing to read as both a sign of trust and a sign of disparagement, that he doesn't feel the need to protect himself against Renard. On the one hand, lots of trained people with guns hanging around the room, all of whom would presumably defend Tavitian against the Royal (please do imagine the sniffs of disgust over that, or, y'know, just rewatch the scene). On the other hand, this is exactly the kind of situation where showing a healthy respect for your ally's more deadly capabilities is actually showing respect. Sigh. The woman in the pixie cut complains about the pressure from the Pustule's assassination, the other woman is unimpressed with this complaint and seems to be playing the part of Hotheaded Advocate For Action. As demonstrated by her response to Frenay's hydra comment. Tavitian appears to agree with her, though quietly, Meisner is leaning on the back of a chair next to Renard and not participating, rather like he is just the muscle. Which fits with what we've seen of him so far, and makes me wonder how far his leash goes (or went, prior to the shift in leadership, and goes now) given Sebastien's reaction to bringing Meisner in way back last season. Let's all remember that he's said to have pioneered.... something. We don't know what, we don't know how, and now we're starting to think that was a throw-away line reference to the acting school pioneer rather than anything meant to be a plot point later on. Which is vastly annoying if true. He's also supposed to be interested primarily in consolidating his position, but we've seen him carrying out tasks for other people and Tavitian's been the one doing all the consolidating, so what the hell there, as well. In short, what we've heard about Meisner and what we've seen him demonstrate in terms of ability and leash are two very different things; we're waiting to be impressed and/or worried about him so far. If he's working to set Renard up for something, he's doing a poor job of it. If he's working to gain Renard's allegience or trust, he's still doing a poor job of it. If he's working to assassinate anyone... well, he's biding his time, is all I can say. For what? Who the hell knows? We're still waiting to be impressed.
Okay, so. Meanwhile Renard keeps his hands in plain sight on the table, jaw muscle twitching as they discuss his parentage like he's not even there, head bowed, and if I were him I'd be taking in all of this data they're giving out about who thinks what of the Royals, who's most likely to break when confronted with a Royal in the full height of his wrath, who's most likely to turncoat, and filing it away in long-term memory storage as rapidly as possible. Which is, I'm thinking, why he isn't saying much. That and because he's probably working himself down from the pile of triggers they keep heaping on his head; at least, these two things are what Sasha's performance suggests to me. I have no idea what the writers were going for because I'm increasingly convinced that there are writers in the room who are decent at writing monster of the week plots and writers in there who want to be good at the conspiracy shit and nobody has a fucking show bible. Ahem. Blond with the scarf comes and mutters something to Meisner, who at this point resembles nothing so much as the master-at-arms rather than the mastermind we expected. Then again, you don't have to be a mastermind to enjoy bloody vengeance to a worrying degree. We'll see.
Tavitian claims they wouldn't be much of a resistance if they didn't resist. I'm inclined to agree. Obnoxious idiot in the black cap objects on the grounds that Renard's reasons are personal. Um. Guys? I hate to sound like a broken record, but have you really never heard the phrase the personal is political? You started a Resistance why, if not for personal reasons? This could be a jab at Renard's buttons again, particularly with the comment about hating his brother, except that we have no reason to believe that this guy is any kind of skilled at doing that. Actually none of them have evinced any skill at psychological manipulation; since Renard's parentage is an open secret they're doing nothing but hitting the big red buttons like bulls in a china shop. Which is why it's only about half-working. Yes, yes, we get it, you're all very distrustful of everyone except maybe Tavitian and you all suck at this conspiracy shit. How are you not all dead, again? I do admit that the actors are doing as good a job as they can with the clusterfuck they've been given, but it's coming across pretty clearly in the writing that this is a clusterfuck. Whether that's intentional or not and they'll sort it out for us I'm… dubious. At best. Then again, we have names to faces we didn't have only two eps ago, so maybe they'll get us there. It's also worth noting, while we're dragging out things we're dubious about, that apart from Tavitian, and very possibly Frenay or Meisner, none of these alleged Resistance members are displaying the kind of behavior customarily associated in fiction with Resistance Against Evil Something-Archy. Infighting, a near-complete lack of trust in each other's abilities, judgement, or in each other at all, no clear system of hierarchy or authority, and no indication that anyone in this group respects each other. Let alone carries the kind of values that usually incline a group of people to Resist The Evil Something-Archy (Oligarchy, Monarchy, whatever). Basically, they're acting more like a criminal insurrection than a Resistance we should root for, and hey, go back to the "we" that Sebastien and Renard were talking about in the cafe? What are their goals and who's on their side and why are they trying to court the Resistance? The fuck is going on with everyone here!
Anyway. Tavitian stomps on their petty childishness with at least a modicum of grace and all but orders Renard to put his two cents in. I dislike all of this, from the tired, annoyed, hurt look on Renard's face (look, you knew we had our favorites) to the utter incompetence of most of this room. Renard also sounds like he's trying very hard not to swear at them as he starts talking, and he's not pulling on even half the authority we know he's capable of. Strategically I understand this is a wise decision not to go all pissed-off Prince. Emotionally I would very much like to watch him rip them all a new one. He does list off three things he possesses that they don't: his blood on what I'm guessing to be both sides, his understanding that being a halfbreed gives him, and a Grimm. Fandom has already assembled (I had to don't look at me like that) the requisite "I have an army. We have a Hulk. I have a Grimm." gifset, and I have to admit, the delivery's about like that, yes. Also the penny just dropped for me, I don't know about the rest of you: was Mama Renard gambling on Sean turning out to be pure Royal? Because we just got that Wesen biology lecture, and depending on a couple of known unknowns that was certainly a possibility. (Those known unknowns being: we don't know how Hexen biology differs from other Wesen biology but it sure seems to, and we don't yet have 100% confirmation that Royals are human.) I'm sure she had plans on top of plans, but I also bet that if that 50-50 chance existed that she was hoping he wouldn't come out half-zauber, because that made everything harder. Anyway. There are a lot of interesting implications in this, one that Renard's blood gives them Royal access they don't already have despite Eric's death, which strongly suggests that the ring merits a certain degree of respect even for a bastard halfbreed. Two, that many though not all of the people in that room are not Wesen, which is a little surprising. The little we do know about the Lauffeuer, assuming it and the Resistance are one and the same (and we have no indication as yet that they're not), we had one Fuchsbau member and stories from Rosalee, so who the fuck are these guys? The fuck are you, Resistance leaders. Aside from largely incompetent. And the fact that Renard says he has a Grimm indicates a) what awe they're still held in and b) the extent to which he thinks Nick will be useful to his plans. Note his, not the Resistance's, because I'm quite confident he has every intention of ditching them as soon as they become counterproductive. He stands after offering his qualifications, and the rest of what follows is an excellent delivery of Shit You Should Already Know You Morons. With less authority and more resignation than we've heard from Renard in similar situations before; he's clearly softpedaling in an attempt to maintain goodwill. So much for that, though, as Meisner chips in with an air of insouciance that by the way the police are on their way and they found the "accident" and three Verrat enforcer bodies. Three, we say? I thought Tavitian shot four. (He did.) So either one was only wounded and got away (to which I can only assume kevlar, because he did pretty good at plugging center of mass), one wasn't a Verrat enforcer, or writers can't count. I have no idea which. Isn't it exciting. I'm also wondering if this really is Frenay's villa any longer or if he was just the one to bust in and set up shop for a little while, considering the rapidity with which they're making their exit and the lack of concern about leaving what might be a home for him. On the gripping hand, he might be wealthy enough to give no fucks for losing one ostentatious villa in the Alps. Anyway. Tavitian has a last little speech to give that's as much by way of threat/warning about Renard's intentions as it is in response to what Renard believes the Royals will do. (Do again, it must be noted, so clearly it's possible if not plausible, depending on resources and organization levels.) Renard has pretty much an identical look back. Nobody here wants to kneel to anyone. Everyone here knows the chances of someone turning on the other in the eventual future, but for now we get an ultimatum given to the other heads of the Resistance, the one woman stepping pointedly to Tavitian's side (and the fuck is that all about, that looked incredibly personal, is she his family? lover? would-be lover? DATA, DAMMIT), and a marginally less wary but no less ominous gentlemen's handshake that they're in this together. For now. Ulp.
Back to things less murky! Like a procedural. Wu's giving Nick and Hank the rundown on the scene under the bridge, they've got one vic. Really? Do they now. Unless those claws were poisoned, I don't think so. Banter banter snark about Christmas bringing out the worst in people, Wu has all the weary resignation of having done beat cop work more recently and extensively than our detectives. Nick found the coal, Wu found more snark, we're all cracking up at least a little at the morbid cop humor, yes? Good. Oh, hey, we've got a new officer too! With speaking lines and all. And a woman. I'm actually noticing something of a trend in Grimm trying for a greater-than-normal gender balance in the background extras, particularly the ones with speaking lines, between this and the Resistance scenes. I can only approve. Alright. So we have vic in the car, we have a lump of coal, we have a leather jacket with initials inside, we have a bloodied birch stick. Wu volunteers to go in not just because he gets all the shit jobs but also I expect because he's smallest and this is kind of an awkward angle. And even though we're all waiting for the jump-scare, the kid they got for the role's good at screaming, because it was still abrupt enough to be a little freaky. Or at least it was on six hours of sleep, what do you want from me, miracles? Fortunately the kid's traumatized in the direction of screaming and minor flailing of the "get it away!" variety, rather than any concerted violence, because dealing with that in an enclosed space, while something cops are trained for, is never pretty and always unpredictable. Alright, fine, let's get an ambulance in here!
Next stop is not the hospital but an explanation of what the fuck Monroe is up to! Ah, yes, the infinity of Christmas decorations. Which comes with some really adorable friendship moments for Monroe and Juliette (although again I question, guys, um, is she still a veterinarian? does she WORK, ever? come the fuck on, as much as I love Juliette being in the know I miss her having an identity separate from the scooby gang, and all it takes is a line reference every so often), Monroe wants to surprise Rosalee with the full demonstration of his Christmas cheer. Which is… okay, I can see his point? Because this is a lot of work to put up and take down, and if you see the final result first then you have a chance to understand why it's worth that. There's also an adorable confidence there that there will be plenty of other Christmases to put up decorations together, which speaks to how much they've settled from initial moving-in-together jitters. Still, Monroe, dude, surely you have pictures? That would be more logical, surely? Show Rosalee the pictures of the final product and introduce her to your traditions slowly? No? No. Men. I'm running away to Belize with my girls and the only male logic allowed will be the kind that brings me drinks with colored umbrellas in. I swear. Juliette is more focused on the 42 boxes than the really bad logic right now, since it's the 42 boxes she's been brought over to help with. I can't entirely blame her. Besides, it's not her job to tell them how to run their relationship, and she doesn't know Rosalee as well as she does Monroe right now, so she probably doesn't have the confidence to speak to what Rosalee might want.
From Christmas decor in massive quantities to a snow globe at the hospital. I am not whispering Rosebud okay yes I am. Shush. The doctor is singularly unhelpful, giving us only that the kid's been scared shitless and traumatized and that he thinks the scratches came from climbing around the car. Sure. We'll go with that. Rather than interviewing the vic, they get headed off at the pass by the father, appropriately for a minor, whose form of concern is a little odd for a parent. Well, as it turns out, that's because he thinks they should arrest his son because Derek is 17 and no stranger to trouble and he's crossed a line his father can't countenance. We're not given enough to interpret if this is a kid with issues caused by shitty parenting or in spite of good parenting, just that the dad feels in over his head and derogatory toward his son. Which does not incline me positively. We get a possible name off the jacket, Quinn Baxter, and the father continues on down the hall rather than doing anything like what a normal parent would and hovering over the cops as they question a child. Seriously, dude, I'm sure your son's no angel but you're managing to demonstrate why in less than a minute of screentime. (Which is good acting, I will admit.) Poor kid is still incredibly traumatized and scared of cops, which is not a good combination when you want details out of him. No, he and Quinn didn't have a fight. No, he doesn't want to explain what did happen. Yes, he's going through at least some degree of the Delirium only he doesn't have a handy Grimm to explain what he saw. Fortunately for them and unfortunately for Derek, it's Christmas, so there's lots of people in Santa suits wandering the halls! One conveniently placed for a trauma trigger. It's actually good procedure for them to have to assume it's that Santa and not any Santa, but it's also unlikely so I don't know why they're pushing so hard on the poor guy with this little data to work from. Maybe basic overprotectiveness in the face of a father figure who's sucking? We'll go with that. No, that's Al the plumber, you guys. The plumber did not do it. The plumber will go away grousing about spreading Christmas cheer now. Back at the precinct and doing the legwork, by which I mean phonework, to figure out that Derek's got a rap sheet, Quinn Baxter has the same juvie officer and a similar rap sheet, and also initials! Aw, boys. You're very cute when you're working well together.
Another Christmas tableau! A Santa asking a child what they want for Christmas, a tree, general festivity in the public square, all those nice things. And a skateboarding thief. Because that's exactly what Christmas needs. The woman who had the gifts balanced on her stroller screams for someone to stop him, someone gives chase, and just in case we didn't remember the giant honking demon-looking dude (Moloch, what are you doing here, why are you not in Sleepy Hollow) in the Santa suit, a more human-looking Santa comes out to loom at us from a high Dutch angle. Because reasons and imagery. That's not a complaint, by the way, just an amused observation at the obedience to tradition. And all of this shouting and chasing turns out to be in vain anyway; by the ease/smoothness with which the thief rolls away he's done this before, though possibly not with such a large haul as a bag of Christmas presents. Potentially large haul. He has to stop and take stock of it, of course! Which in this case means skating down into a largely deserted parking garage and hanging out under the lights to open the wrapping and see what's inside. He gets exactly one box open (that says Reflex, I have no idea what's in there, kids these days) before Evil Moloch Santa is appears. Krampus scolds the ne'er-do-well for being naughty and proceeds to beat him and stuff him into a sack. In front of a witness. Who, while he has plenty of context for recognizing someone being kidnapped by sack, has absolutely no context into which he can put a big pale demon looking guy with goat horns in a fucking Santa suit. He does have the presence of mind to call the police and shout at Krampus to stop, which is actually more than a lot of the humans we've seen have managed to do when hit by first-woge Delirium. Score one for the human who made his Willpower save!
Illicit activity on acid, poor witness, to illicit activity with what we hope aren't witnesses. Maybe Viktor's not at the cameras. Maybe Renard manages to avoid the cameras? (Unlikely. Tall bastard.) Maybe Viktor doesn't check the day's footage. (Extremely unlikely. He seems like a competent villain, sadly.) (K: If we're very lucky Renard goes from the hotel room straight to calling Sebastien and telling him to corrupt the damn footage.) We don't get to see anything other than Renard and Meisner at the door to Adalind's room, Meisner with your standard keycard bypasser, I want one of those for Christmas I promise to use it only for good no? Oh fine. I won't even object to the two-man team, because Renard does need someone there to watch the exits and his back, and out of all of the Resistance members we've seen so far I'd rather have Meisner on that detail than anyone except maybe Tavitian. Frenay I don't trust not to betray Renard for 30 pieces of silver, Tavitian I trust to know where his best interests of the moment lie and for him to look at least middling-term if not long-term. (The others we've met, the less said, the better. We said more up above, anyway.) Unfortunately, as the leader of the Resistance, he's got better things to be doing, so Meisner it is! Who will stay out in the hall being a guard dog (seriously, I wonder if he's Hundjager, he sort of fits the physical type they've been casting for those and it would explain a lot of his packlike mannerisms) while Renard performs an extremely cursory search of Adalind's rooms. He probably doesn't have time for more, and maybe knows where she commonly hides things she doesn't want found? It'd be a possibility, anyway. Nothing noteworthy in the desk drawer, though I will never not laugh at that little reflexive gesture of keeping the tie out of the drawer. Mainly because I'm imagining a very young Renard who forgot that and got stuck. No, I'm not a good person, why do you ask. Oh, hey, now we come to the Frau Fish jelly! Yeah, I'd be giving that a very "the fuck is you?" look if it were the first time I'd seen it, too. Actually, strike that, we're still giving it those looks and we saw the process of making it. I think those looks are worse for the greater knowledge we have. The smell of it causes the first involuntary non-whammied woge we've ever seen out of Renard, which is further indication of how fucked up the Hexenjelly is, not to mention potent. He seems like he either knows or has a sinking suspicion what that is and what it's for, which of course we won't be finding out on account of how he's not the sort of man to talk to himself. Under normal circumstances, anyway. Doubly not when he catches a glimpse of the buttoncam mounted on the sprinkler! That is good tactics, by the way, nobody gives the sprinklers in a hotel room a second glance as a general rule. I'm not sure whether to take it as luck or as skill or both, we'll go with both, that Renard finds this one now. I will, however, give him massive skill points for glancing immediately back into the mirror, frowning in thought as he puts the jar down, and leaving a note and a rose as if he were any other (spurned?) lover. Since it's unlikely Viktor knows the details of their relationship and quarrels, it'll raise some suspicion but hopefully it'll take awhile for a man to get over to check out the note. Or Sebastien will have scrubbed the feeds, though if they didn't avoid a tail/human surveillance staked out at the Hotel Sacher, that's a moot point. All we can do for the moment is hope and wait! Grumble.
Back over to simpler, less paranoia-inducing problems! Nick and Hank are trotting up the steps of what we can assume is Quinn's family's house, all decorated for Christmas. Aww. They walk up, presumably knock, and the door opens to reveal... Bud? Eh? Everyone's surprised here, and Bud doesn't explicitly wonder why they're there although the grimace and the comment about waiting 24 hours indicates that if he's not actively thinking the worst, he's certainly expecting this to be not as good as they'd hoped. It turns out that the father, Jerry, is a good friend of Bud's and told him earlier in the day that his son was missing. They called the police, who have apparently told him that there's a 24 hour waiting period before a person can be declared missing. I don't see such a stipulation on the Portland PD web page, and this is actually rarely the case in the real world, however it is a common plot device in fiction, so we'll give them that. (Mostly we're putting this out here for audience information and so no one lets this stop them from reporting a missing person to the police.) Bud is not aware that he's living in fictionland! Bud is therefore greatly relieved that his friends who are police officers are here and calls over his friend, who seems to be on the phone probably checking with everyone he can think of to make sure Quinn isn't with them. Nick asks if Quinn is there, which isn't quite as perplexing (or dumb) a question as Bud makes it sound; he wouldn't be the first missing kid to have either escaped or decided he'd made some bad choices and come back home on his own. Sadly, that didn't happen. The attempted missing person's report isn't why they're there, either. Jerry gets off the phone and comes over for questions, but he hasn't seen his son since the previous day. He apparently said he was going to do some Christmas shopping and hasn't been seen since. Wait... doesn't that make it 24 hours? Though we also have only Bud's word for it that the police haven't been dispatched nor a report started. Rather than getting into why they're there, Nick will first confirm that the father knows their hospitalized victim, Derek Brice. Yes, the father knows him, doesn't like him very much but won't give details as to why, more in the nature of not speaking ill of other people's children than because he's hiding anything. And why do the police want to know about Derek? Well, because he was found with a bunch of stolen goods and is now in the hospital because he was attacked, and they found Quinn's jacket at the scene. The father positively identifies the jacket as Quinn's and gives them a photo for identification purposes, but of course then they get another call-out and have to leave. Jerry, still and probably even more now worrying about his son, isn't finished with them yet! Which is not as hostile as that sounds but definitely clingy. Hank pacifies him with a reply that this could be related, but we don't find out how until they're walking down the outside steps again. It's a report of Santa stuffing a kid into a bag. Like you do when you're Krampus.
From the known complicated house with its halls decked to the house that Monroe hopes will be simple in its holiday grandeur and really, really isn't going to be. He seems to know that by how nervously he's looking out the window, though, and we can tell the second Rosalee walks in that she's slamming up all kinds of self-defense mechanisms. Largely because the stunned silence, staring and gaping at everything, that'd be normal, but those smiles are really forced. Monroe? You done fucked up. Not that he realizes this, he's trying to get her enthused about the whole thing via history and music geeking, which have, yes, been two of their more prominently featured shared interests. So that much is adorable and done right both in writing and acting, that Monroe's trying to fall back on things he knows will make Rosalee excited about this. And for a little while it seems to even work! Until she goes back to looking around and being overwhelmed. Honestly, even without holiday-related issues I'd be overwhelmed. Maybe not surprised, considering she's seen Monroe do Halloween, but that's still a lot to take in within a few weeks of moving in with a guy. He tries for an appeal to normalcy with the mistletoe, aww, but dear god Monroe you are not the best at reading people. Fortunately Rosalee's aware of this and entirely capable of using her words. I do love this portrayal of a relationship in which people communicate, regret not having communicated enough earlier, and go through the work to fix it for each other. The way it's done in this episode is a little too pat in its conclusion for my liking, but the lead-up's excellent. Rosalee goes defensive and quiet and really, really doesn't like that she's supposed to do the communication thing so she tries to leave it at not being a holidays person. Uh, no. Most people, there's some kind of a trigger for that. Monroe's not that stupid and clueless, and a Rosalee with her shawl around her and arms crossed and jaw set is not a happy Rosalee. So we get down to it after Monroe, to his credit, doesn't try to touch her or stop her from pacing, lets her talk it out with some dawning horrified realization. Christmas used to be a big deal and she had a favorite aunt and uncle (doesn't everyone? I mean, really, especially as a kid, there's always the pair that most understands kids regardless of if they have their own) and when she was seven they died on Christmas Eve in a car crash. Oh. Yeah. That'd do it. I mean, I'm pretty sure there's got to be a lot more there, like one or both of her parents immediately stopped celebrating Christmas or at the other extreme tried to pretend like nothing had ever happened, some extended form of trauma associated with it. But that's enough for a start, and Rosalee's already vulnerable enough and not going to share more, nor will Monroe push it. Oh honeys. Oh both of you. We can see how much she hates doing this to him even though Rosalee, honey, your issues are not "ruining" this for him, they're real problems. Which is pretty much what Monroe's expression seems to say as they pan out and leave us there for the moment. I do, by the way, appreciate even a cursory nod to the fact that people do have genuine and deep-rooted reasons that the holidays are hard. I do not appreciate the way they glanced over the "solution" to it, but that's apparently what all Christmas episodes everywhere are for.
To the crime scene we go! With a lump of coal. Nick stop picking it up with your bare hands. NICHOLAS BURKHARDT. Dammit, Nick. Wu's deadpan delivery makes this entire rundown of witness report and evidence gathered epic instead of boring. Also the fact that the very nicely dressed businessman sounds like he knows from drug-induced acid flashback nightmares. I mean, that could be hyperbole, but this is Portland. That established, they move along to the square where people are shopping and there are lots of Santas. Aww, Wu saved them for the detectives! He's so giving. The guy selling brats is definitely an ex-con, we know this by the way he offers them free brats when he sees their badges. Or at least a current criminal who would prefer not to get taken in for illicit activities, but probably an ex-con used to bribing people in authority. Ask me about my opinion of our prison system sometime when you have a few hours to spare. Also the facial tattoos are a good clue, which you can just baaarely see above the beard. Yeah, dude, you've been made as an ex-con, and you're getting hassled because you're being belligerent to cops on an active investigation before you ever know what that investigation entails. Actually given the way gossip runs I question why the fuck he doesn't know what's up and start talking to convince them of his innocence, particularly since kids as victims (even, yes, teenagers) is a thing that puts you on the bottom of the totem pole. Then he woges for bonus This Is Going To End Poorly points, which does indicate maybe he's their guy! If I saw a Schakal in full woge I might assign it acid flashback points too. Er, not that I'm saying I've done acid. Peyote, now. (I kid.) (Or do I.) Schakal Santa (say that five times fast) runs off because augh! Grimm! and the comment on Nick's part is largely for Hank's benefit, I think. Unlike the more aggressive identification attempts he's made in recent eps, like, oh, the Gelumcaedus. For example. Upside for them, the only thing the average person is seeing is a Santa take off after talking to the cops, not even any threatening motions made. Downside for them, that's not the part people are capturing on their cell phones. They've got Nick on camera punching Santa. This won't be a problem at ALL. I have to say, the kid who asks why they're hurting Santa looks rather too old to be delivering it in tones that suggest she still believes in Santa, but sure, we'll go with it. For the facepalm.
Chez Monroe! Rosalee is asleep and cuddly. Monroe is lying flat on his back and wide awake staring at the ceiling and, because it's the Hour of the Wolf (pun halfway intended), thinking about how badly he's fucked up and how horrible a person he is. Because that's what you do at three in the morning when you've made a mistake with someone you care about, no matter how much you've discussed it and agreed how to fix it. That's what three in the morning is for. Finally he comes to some sort of a decision, comes downstairs in his robe, looks around at all the Christmas cheer and sighs sadly. It's not even terribly aggressive Christmas cheer, I have to say, for all that it is a LOT of it. It's all very well coordinated, nothing more attention getting than a lot of lights (and let's note that there aren't any lights in the actual bedroom, meaning he is at least mindful of people getting sleep without being interrupted by carols and flicker bulbs), and generally still room for people to move around. Nothing much moving except the train, nothing shouting HO HO HO at anyone. And while we're noting things, that is definitely a sad sigh. Not a put-upon one or any sign that he's taking this as an imposition on him, he's sad that Rosalee was hurt and doesn't share in his joy, and he's sad that he inadvertently hurt her in what was supposed to be a moment of love and sharing. Oh honey. Oh everyone, but this is also why we love this show, because the couples are regularly and consistently depicted as kind-hearted, communicative, attentive, and loving, in their natural states.
Over to an evening of nothing nearly so loving. Despite the rose. Which is an interesting color choice of rose, not red as is traditional for lovers, not white which would be traditional for friends (or funerals), not even pink or yellow which would be more neutral. White with deep pink edges. I'm not sure what Renard's trying to say with that one, if he's trying to say anything at all. Though a quick google search tells me that Portland nurseries are home to Brothers Grimm roses, and now you know those exist. At any rate, Adalind sees the rose and note almost as soon as she comes in, looking tired, though it's hard to say whether that's the pregnancy or Viktor or both. The rose doesn't make her smile nearly as much as it typically does on account of, who the hell would be leaving her roses, but nor does it seem to incite any particular fear or paranoia. At least she's not looking around or increasing in tension at all. She sniffs the rose and opens the note which is thoughtfully narrated for us by Renard. He tells her there are cameras in her room, and to meet him at a cafe presumably nearby enough for her to know it by name if not have visited it before. And he tells her to wait five minutes after reading, change her clothes, and pretend he wrote something charming. In other words, don't indicate that this is anything other than a meeting between clandestine lovers. How advisable it is that they pretend to be lovers while the Family or Viktor is watching, I don't entirely know, but it's at least a way to cover up a meeting while they figure out what to do about having been caught on camera. With luck, those cameras haven't been there too long. Perhaps Viktor had them installed? Though I wouldn't put it past Eric to have done so either. Smarmy fucker. Adalind goes into the bathroom to change, but she's having a visibly hard time not being upset by the fact that there are cameras all over her hotel room and have been for she doesn't know how long. Once again, I have to highlight just how good of a job Claire Coffee does here at balancing between pretend-anticipation and real-skin-crawling. I even kind of feel sorry for Adalind right now.
The next morning, Rosalee wakes up alone in bed and oh, hey, this is one of the clearest depictions of Monroe's bedroom we've had in awhile. Actually, I don't think that is the same as his original bedroom, it's definitely not his original bed, it kind of looks like they did a reset on Nick and Juliette's bedroom interior, come to that. It doesn't entirely surprise me, either in a Doylist or a Watsonian sense. We've never had a clear idea of how many bedrooms are on the second floor at Monroe's place but we know there's the attic room where Nick was staying and it's entirely possible there were more rooms full of clock shit that Monroe cleared out to make room for Rosalee. Most notably, unlike the oversized masculine wooden headboard bed we saw Monroe in that was lined with clocks earlier, this is a simple brass bed and there's only a couple clocks in evidence throughout the scene. Less clutter, lots of Rosalee's gold and green and lighter brown earth tones to match Monroe's darker earth tones. Lots more light than it was implied Monroe's first bedroom got, both from windows and from an abundance of table lamps. Nothing much else to report about it except that in addition to the bedroom we can see sort of a suite/antechamber type thing with a desk and some chairs and maybe a fireplace. Aww. I will spend awhile longer tearing my hair out over trying to make this match to what we know of Monroe's house later, because right now Rosalee's climbing out of bed and throwing on a robe to go find out where the fuck her boyfriend's wandered off to. Robe, oversized sweater, whatever. Turns out Monroe spent all night taking down the Christmas decorations and now he looks like a very tired puppy sacked out on the couch. Oh honey.
We cut from there to Juliette and Nick's morning, which entails some incredibly bad press for the PD. Eeesh. Did nobody really even try to get at the story behind the story oh why do I bother asking anymore, the answer is no. This is why I didn't go into journalism, people, because I was encouraged to do more and better journalism in my high school newspaper (because that was safer, we were just kids, after all) than the local paper ever did. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Nick has approximately the same reaction, did they mention the missing kids? No, no of course not. If Renard were here he'd be running damage control, no doubt, but he's busy navigating Resistance-infested waters. Which is like sharks only dumber. Any further commiseration and/or explanation has to wait because Bud also saw the reports! And is checking in, by which we mean bugging with an utter lack of fear of the Grimm (nice bit of growth there), on the case. Nick cites the coal as the weirdest aspect and blows past him out the door to go track down leads, and since the description so far doesn't match any Wesen Nick knows about he's not treating Bud as a viable resource. Bud has a moment of doubletaking followed by a "nah couldn't be" and dashes out the door his own self. Bud, share the goddamn data with Juliette, come on. No? No. Wu will instead not give them shit by which he means totally give them shit about arresting Santa. Just a little bit, though, the sort of camaraderie that says I've got your backs. You know what says that louder? Lab results! Those lumps of coal come from the mines of the Svalbard Islands, which are, yes, pretty much as northerly as you can get without being on the polar ice cap proper. Such as it is these days. Also more obscure as a reference than Greenland, which does extend somewhat further north. Wu has on his "I can't believe I'm relaying this data" face. I still can't wait to see what his reaction to being brought in on the Masq is. Hank would like to know what the fuck next. To Monroe's place! Because he really believes in Santa. Oh yeah! So he does. I do have to give kudos for the bits of characterization consistency in here.
Speaking of Monroe's deep and abiding relationship with Christmas, Rosalee feels horrible about ruining their first official Christmas as a couple. Oh honey. She's having this discussion with Juliette where she berates herself for not being able to like Christmas and for ruining Monroe's Christmas when he loves the holiday so much, and Juliette tells her she's not a horrible person. The better part comes when Rosalee waxes affectionate about Monroe's enthusiasm, which she can and does love unreservedly. Juliette clearly thinks Rosalee's just as adorable, but she's being the good listening friend and biting her lips and not saying anything. It's a near-perfect scene of women bonding over problems and finding solutions, and the reason I say it's near-perfect is because Rosalee doesn't have any other girlfriends to whom she can take this problem? Seriously? On the one hand, this irks me in the general sense of, women have social lives too, you know. And I know you know because there is a vast quantity of fiction out there based around the social lives of women. On the other hand, Rosalee was established early on as a self-secluding, quiet type of person who might not actually socialize a lot, and she's only been a year or so in a new city, plus having to deal with her brother's death and run a business at the same time. (K: I've seen what goes into running a small shop. It is a job of fucking work.) It's not unreasonable that she might not have a close girlfriend in town, and Juliette comes with the advantage of knowing Monroe. I wouldn't mind seeing this conversation take place over the phone, either, with Rosalee talking to a friend from Seattle or a family member, but our science girls do have to bond, as well. Plus I think they're in danger of depleting Portland's ready supply of actors in this ep alone. (I kid. I'm sure there's at least three more they could use.) So, there's that. Hopefully in the future we'll get a friend or two of Rosalee's that is not Juliette. For now, Rosalee didn't know who else she could drag into this, and Juliette admits that she was already dragged, Monroe made her help set it up. Have I mentioned I also appreciate that the girls are, yes, talking about a man, but also talking about grief and sadness and traditions, and setting up shitpiles of Christmas decorations? The central focus of the conversation is more about Rosalee's personal journey, the choices she's making about her history with Christmas and her relationship with Monroe. Juliette's suggestion is that they find a tradition that means something to both of them; in a way, to build a new relationship with Christmas that involves her present relationship with Monroe. Her example is that Nick didn't have much of a Christmas tradition because of moving from place to place (and that's a tidbit of Nick's childhood that we have now that we didn't have confirmation on before!), so they took her Christmas traditions and made it their own. Rosalee is dubious, more because it's been so so very long since she's celebrated any Christmas traditions that she barely remembers any of them. She remembers beer and cigars! Which sounds like a fantastic Christmas tradition. Apparently her aunt used to leave Santa beer and cigars instead of milk and cookies, which Juliette and I find very funny and rather cute. Rosalee doesn't think it's much of a tradition. Juliette's speculative look says she's not so sure.
Somewhat less adorable is the parallel scene with Monroe, Nick, and Hank, mainly because it touches off my embarrassment squick. I do like that Nick knows what was going on, has talked to Juliette about it, and comments. I do not love that Monroe has no idea where the boundaries on what he can/should tell them is - I think if Hank weren't there he'd actually be much more certain, they haven't had as long to bond - and then spills his guts. Yeah, Monroe, you totally do want to talk about it, you just aren't sure you should anymore. Hank tries to allow for his having established boundaries and also to move along to the important fact of missing kids only to be railroaded. Pun totally intentional. So Monroe vents it out and as we expected, he's a little hurt but mostly upset that he hurt Rosalee, and the guys are duly uncomfortable. Mainly because none of them are really touchy-feely with their guy friends, even if Nick and Monroe at least aren't so stupid as to be unwilling to discuss feelings within their respective romantic relationships. Anyway! Topic change! What do they need! Another half-second of awkward and Nick comes out with it. Gefrierengeber (which translates roughly, by the way, to freezing gifts) and he exists, sure he does! But he doesn't steal kids and stuff them in sacks, so they're up shit creek. But wait! Was there coal? Were they being naughty? Were there lash marks? Monroe is not pleased by this. Hank is not pleased by the fact that Monroe seems to know what this is. Oh, and no, he's not sure if it's Wesen or not. What follows is an accurate, semi-Wesened-up version of the Krampus myth, the only point Monroe's neglecting is that it usually starts around St. Nicholas Day (make your jokes at Nick now) and continues for the three weeks or so leading up to Solstice. Or Christmas. Depending on your version of the story and how much it's lost the pagan roots. No, Nick, not hanging like from the neck until dead, hanging for better eating! Like having a larder in a tree. Of course it's fucking Solstice today, why would we ever wait until anything other than the last minute to solve the mystery. Procedural tradition says so. Oh, but it gets worse! Krampus vanishes at midnight on the solstice (what, not at sunrise? that'd be a more interesting version, sunrise being when the Longest Night is over, obviously), and nobody sees him again until next year. Curiouser and curiouser. And explains why nobody's sure if he's a Wesen or not. So, the tallest tree in the tallest spot is what we're looking for! That won't be difficult or anything.
Just to emphasize that, we cut over to said tallest tree with at least four human-sized wicker baskets and brr. It's a wonder the kids aren't dead of exposure, honestly. Cut to commercial, come back to the guys at Monroe's place arguing over what the highest place in the fucking Cascades nearby is. Good fucking luck with that, though topography maps and maybe even Wiki would help? No Wiki? Aww, you guys. Hank's right, though, minus anyone who knows off the top of their head they're going to have to pick one and hope for the best. Hey! That knock on the door might presage someone who knows off the top of their head! Hello, Bud. He's here on behalf of his friend again, mostly to smooth things over because worried parents are not actually productive for cops to deal with and Bud, remarkably, seems aware of that. Also because I'm sure he has more status in the Eisbieber community as the one who made first contact with the Grimm and didn't get eaten alive. Hilariously, when Bud comes out with lumps of coal and everyone else choruses Krampus, he has the reaction of someone who thinks saying the name of someone believed to be fictional (really? you're a BEAVER-MORPHING HUMANOID, Bud, I'm just saying) will cause that being to leap out of the shadows or something. Oh Bud. You're my favorite neurotic Wesen. Yes, Bud, they believe he's real, yes, there's more than one kid, and Bud does have an automatic response to the tallest tree in the tallest spot! Which is better than they had to go on before, and they're willing to take it on faith. Bud is not willing to take it on faith. Bud is willing to take very little on faith, and he doesn't want to go tracking a mythical bogeyman in the dark on solstice night. Please? No, you brought them the confirmation, you get to come along to the party! Yeah, I fail to see how it's a party too, Bud, but you're kinda stuck now.
I'm resisting the urge to rewrite Good King Wenceslas or some other traveling Christmas carol to suit the situation, you guys. Just so you can be grateful for what you're not reading. Through the woods they go, flashlights in hand, although in more of a straight-line pattern than the traditional horizontal-line search pattern people usually make when they're covering an area of terrain looking for people what? Stop looking at me like that, we know things. It does work in their favor that they have people with better-than-human senses in their midst, Nick with his Grimm hearing and Monroe with his scent abilities which, hey, they remembered this time! Sadly all Monroe is picking up is the smell of fear off of Bud. Poor Bud. He's trying, bless his little beaver heart. Bless the writers' hearts for letting Hank pick up the first clue by good old-fashioned police work: he found footprints! Big ones, and deep, going both up and down the mountain. Remember what we were saying last time about either a large person or a medium person with a heavy weight? ... Well, okay, in this case it's a large person with a heavy weight, but that's still a significant difference between regular footprints i.e. their footprints, and Krampus's footprints. Excellent! Up on the housetop reindeer pause to the mountaintop they go! With Bud tagging along behind because he stopped to look at the footprints and think about exactly what they're doing. Never do that, Bud. It invariably results in freaking the fuck out. He does have a good argument for spreading out closer together, again, the general format of a rural type area search is a large number of people in sight of each other so no searchers get lost, at least one searcher in sight of two others at any given time. Preferably in a long, raggedly horizontal line. But what we get is the comedic value of Bud standing in the middle of a clearing while Monroe, Hank, and Nick go all in opposite directions. Oh you guys. Fortunately none of them have a chance to wander off very far before Nick hears something. Struggling and cries for help! Yeah, that sounds like the right place.
And it's actually kind of terrifying, those baskets are strung up pretty damn high in the air on ropes on pulleys, and while the ropes and pulleys look sturdy enough I'm not sure I'd trust to the structural integrity of those baskets. They do not look like they were made to hold struggling humans. Bud, Hank, and Monroe all start forward to correct this whole dangling in the air thing before gravity and weakening wicker does the work for them, but Nick's Grimmstincts are picking up something else this time. Sounds like roaring. Or digesting, it's hard to say. Either way, it means Krampus. Nick, thanks be to someone, does not go haring off alone to deal with it. He waits until he's got Hank's attention then quietly and with the demonstrated ability of good working partners to communicate in a glance, lets him know that he's going to go off to cover their asses and deal with Krampus. The kids are freaking out and, honestly, Monroe and Bud are doing their share of freaking out, everyone's loud enough it seems to disguise Nick's approach on Krampus. Who is carrying another naughty kid in a sack. Krampus is not having with this. Krampus is dropping the sack and proceeding to give Nick quite an ass-kicking. We haven't seen him in a fight that lasted this long in, well, at least since the Cracher-Mortel, and that was more because the Baron kept running away so he could taunt Nick a second time. This is a full-on beat-down. The roaring signals Hank and Monroe to go help, which they do try, leaving Bud with the kids. Pretty reasonable division of labor, I feel! Krampus gets Nick by the throat as Hank and Monroe rush to help, and now here's something interesting to file under What The Fuck Did That Cracher-Mortel Poison Do To Nick. Not only is he having one of his Walking Dead moments, but he's able to land a single punch that flattens Krampus right the fuck out. Does that mean Zombie Mode Nick is even stronger than standard Grimm strength? The fuck is this, Nick? The fuck is you? While Krampus is down, though, Hank and Monroe raise the perfectly good point that this is going to be a hell of a hard arrest to make without blowing the lid straight off the Masquerade. Nick is raising the equally good point that killing someone while they're lying unconscious on the ground is not what the good guys do, dammit. That is not what cops do. I know we didn't get previouslies on this one but I have to assume that the previouslies for the last episode were designed for this particular double-header, because if there was ever a conversation designed for the dilemma of the value of Wesen lives vs human lives, it's this one, not the last episode where they shot a couple of Gelumcaedus who were actively trying to kill them. This is a guy who, yes, kidnapped six kids, but he is now on the ground and unconscious, and under any other circumstances they would be cuffing him and calling for backup. The debate is made more urgent by Krampus making noises like he's waking up; Monroe appeals to Nick's bloodthirsty ancestors, not the best argument I've ever heard, but Hank, oddly enough, is the one drawing the difference line between innocent man, here used to most likely mean human, and Wesen. Not innocent vs kidnapper and intended murderer, man vs Wesen. This is a line we haven't heard Hank use before, not in this way, not with this kind of, what, instinctive viciousness? Or horror? Given Hank's reaction to the Grimm entry about the Genii Innocuo, I find it hard to believe that Hank would focus on the Wesen aspect of the person he's about to murder in cold blood (because, yes, he does say that if Nick won't do it he will, and even pulls his gun) more than the aspect that this is a guy who was about to kill and eat several young men and women. Fortunately no one has to shoot a guy in cold blood. Monroe's watch chimes the midnight hour, and it is a chime, it's in fact a rather musical and adorable chime for which he apologizes in a complete change of mood. The complete change of mood suits the complete change of Krampus, though. Midnight being a traditionally liminal time, sure, why not midnight on the longest night for the ending of a transformation. (The other acceptable one would be dawn.) The horns recede, the guy shrinks, and becomes an ordinary somewhat balding human who is disoriented and has no idea what he's done, except that "it's happened again." Um, dude. How many times has this happened before?
With that rather unnerving pronouncement, we cut over to interrogation, where the now-human Krampus is protesting that he blacks out, can't remember anything, it happens every December, he doesn't have a firm start date but he always wakes up on the 22nd. (Actually, every three years it shifts forward a day so he'd be waking up on the 23rd, but this is not one of those years.) Sometimes there's blood! He's always in a Santa suit and in the woods! Sounds like someone woges out for weeks without knowing it, which I will add begs the question how has he never been caught or seen before now? Apparently this guy is from Salt Lake City (is that a RSL reference? did they do that on purpose? I'll be over here giggling) and has no idea where he even IS. I kinda feel for the poor fucker. I'm also trying not to crack Krampus is a Mormon jokes. It's not working. He's a freelance photographer! He has no idea what he did! That really does sound like the pleading of a clueless and desperate man, highlighted further when Nick asks what kind of Wesen he is and gets the blankest of blank looks back. Not the I'm-totally-hiding-something look we get from Renard, the genuine "the fuck are you smoking here in Portland" look. The good stuff, Mr. Not-Krampus. The really good stuff. We have no idea if they book him or not, though I'd go with booking him because they did find him with all the kids and physical evidence, even if the kids won't be able to ID him on the witness stand. The whole thing is a massive clusterfuck.
Nick transitions us via voiceover as he adds to the Grimm journals yet again, which is becoming a major theme this season and one I wholeheartedly approve of. The guys are standing around the trailer which at least feels less cluttered and more open, a significant difference in how they're shooting it. More a place of reason and sharing information, less a place of secrecy and subterfuge. Monroe raises an interesting point, maybe Krampus goes into some kind of altered state by which he doesn't remember anything and he's not woged any other part of the year. Worst case of SAD I've ever heard of, Monroe, but sure, as pseudoscientific mumblety explanations go it'll do. At least without Juliette or Rosalee to come up with better ones. Nick has a suggestion, actually! They could turn the whole mess over to the Wesen Council, that's what they're there for, right? Not only that but it'll build some goodwill with them, maybe? It's actually one of the more astute solutions he's come up with, and I'm looking forward to watching him and Renard negotiate politics once Sean's back from Europe. Sure! That makes sense to Hank and Monroe, and Monroe will go talk to Rosalee. Just as soon as she wakes up from her long winter's nap, because the downstairs is now covered yet again in all the Christmas decorations. I wonder if she got Juliette to help her or if she did it all herself? The sacked out on the couch parallel would indicate the latter. This is the part I take issue with, mainly because it's never that easy or simple, even with the prominent inclusion of cigar and beer (though Monroe's expression indicates he understands the reason behind those). I can accept that it's a starting point, though! I guess. Mostly I don't think it's as peaceful or easy as this closing tableau would imply, cute though it may be.
Next year on Grimm! This looks like several forthcoming eps, not just the next one or two. Renard and Nick talk politics, there's a couple new Wesen, Juliette's taking on something in her kitchen again, Rosalee's mother is here (Rosie? I have to go to the kitchen now), and Adalind's having that baby. Also some electrical discharge problems. Oops. Well, this should be fun and not at all full of swearing! Right now, after this weekend's marathon, we're just grateful to have two weeks off.