Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bounded in a Nutshell Grimm S2E03 Bad Moon Rising

This started as a Renard-centric analysis, but in some eps there's so little of him that it just doesn't make sense to give it a whole post. Still, we'll start with the Renard and metaplot bits for those of you who came for that, and move along to whatever else we take it into our heads to analyze this time around.

Our first and only scene with Renard is of Nick reporting to him in his office about Catherine Schade's murder. For such a brief scene, it's heavy-impact, as most of Renard's scenes are. We've seen our dear Captain in many stages of wariness as he balances his Princely work with his police work, but I don't think we've ever seen his hands tense like this before.

Now, I know they said family was going to be a major theme this season, but let's back up a few seconds right before we jump to Renard's office. "Your daddy brought shame down on us when he took your mom and you away." "What are you going to do to me?" "We're gonna take you back into the pack." I do not think that it's an accident - or if it is, it's the kind of happy accident directors and producers adore and make use of - that this comes right before Renard receiving an update on Catherine's murder. By, let's not forget, Nick's mother. There's an overarching theme here of mothers, families, and most of them dysfunctional families. Catherine and Adelind, Nick and Kelly and his mother figure, Marie. We still don't know what happened to Renard's wife and daughter but the mother and daughter pair here, both of whom were and are an significant part of his life, are very much present by their absence. In all of these cases we see the indoctrination into the idea that the sick system is normal: the more common emotional abuse of Catherine and Adelind, the perpetuation of an unhealthy and constantly-under-combat-stress lifestyle of Kelly Burkhardt. And in the case of Renard's family, tying everyone together and isolating royal bloodlines as different from the rest, even bastardized bloodlines (if acknowledged) is something that, historically, involved royal families who jockey for political power do.

We definitely do know is that Catherine and Adalind exemplify an emotionally abusive mother-daughter pair, one that is highly insular and stretches back at least one generation to Catherine's mother. Because the things Catherine did and said, that was absolutely the kind of long-ingrained behavior that someone taught her as a child. And in perpetuating these behaviors, Catherine got killed and Adalind got de-powered. Based on Renard's victim look in Love Sick, we can guess that she tried to (was moderately successful at) drawing him into her sick system as well.

Even in his ostensibly healthy (until recently) relationship with Juliette, Nick perpetuates the immediate needs over long term stability and health mentality. At the end of the ep, instead of telling her the truth (and he wouldn't have even had to tell her all of the truth, just that a suspect came after him), he begins their second life together with a lie. Juliette's presence, while previously a source of solace and help to him, has become something he is not willing to even risk by telling her a possibly upsetting truth. While she's a very stable, strong woman in her own right, Nick's been doing a damn good job at creating a sick system of his own around their relationship since last season. Some of Kelly's parting words to her son were not to let go of the people he loves, and we can easily guess that this factors heavily into Nick's decision to try and rebuild a relationship with Juliette.

And this, combined with Nick having been removed from the system of Grimm inheritance and given a relatively normal childhood by Marie, against the backdrop of an incredibly distorted and abusive pack structure - this is where we begin and end with Renard this ep. That's not a mistake or an accident. That's damn well deliberate.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, the scene itself. Renard's hands, as mentioned, are tense as he holds the crime scene photos of Catherine. He didn't like her, he probably didn't trust her (though I still hold that he trusted her too much, at the end), but she was one of his people as a Prince, and he holds himself responsible for her death. In a way, I can see his logic; above and beyond the usual royal burden, Renard had every reason to expect that Nick would try and find his own cure for Juliette, and the Wesen community isn't so large that it would be unusual for Catherine to cross paths with one of Nick's Wesen informants. (I'm hypothesizing from Renard's point of view, here. He probably doesn't know in any detail about Monroe and Rosalee, but with Nick's attitude he ought to be guessing that Nick has at least a few Wesen on his side.)

Hands tense, shoulders up all but around his ears, brow furrowed. Renard looks like nothing so much as a cornered animal; he fully expects Catherine's trail to lead back to him, and to have to take steps. And where Cousin Menton and Woolsey were outsiders, Catherine was a Portland resident. Eventually someone might remember seeing the Captain at her door. It's a risk, and not one he's sure how to deal with. Nick goes down the usual list, job (or lack thereof), finances, environment in the form of her home, relatives, and we learn that all our basic assumptions about Catherine were correct. Wealthy, powerful, that house probably wasn't cheap. A great deal of emphasis on the external things and a lack thereof on anything else.

Note the jawclench on "mirrors," too. Remembering, among other things, the jab he took at her about "you might want to be a little less time gazing at that mirror mirror on the wall." And her response was "oh dagger dagger in my heart." And now she's dead. No matter that he disliked her, he's grieving. Not just for an asset lost, but for someone he probably did like and trust, once.

His voice is soft throughout, the kind of softness that indicates how carefully he's keeping control of himself. And oh Renard, you've been waiting to bring out that line about the case with Adalind, just so you can keep from letting anything else slip. But then he does let something else slip - that "very pretty" is completely unnecessary for a police captain who's ostensibly married to say. Nick doesn't seem to think anything of it, but Nick doesn't seem to think much about his captain's behavior oh, ever. (Right now, of course, he's far more focused on Juliette, so I'll give him at least part of this. And if he's noticing anything, I suppose he could be explaining it away as lingering tension from Renard having his home invaded. The Captain doesn't lean on his men for this kind of thing, so Nick would, if he saw it, decide that the kindest thing to do would be to ignore it. He'd be wrong about those conclusions, but I can see where he would be drawing them.) Anyway. Renard lets that slip, and he immediately looks down and away. Possibly realizing his error and redirecting, possibly remembering the last time he saw Adalind, possibly both. And now he's digging, because everyone wants to know where the hell Adalind's gotten to, and he has official reasons to do so. (Kitty notes: He probably feels like he has to notify her himself. Princes and commanding officers.)

Nick doesn't think Adalind's done it, by his commentary, but he definitely wants to find her for his own Grimmly reasons. This is one of those hilarious-to-the-audience moments where the Grimm and the Prince are united in a matter that has very little to do with their police work, when all's said and done.

Despite it being daytime, Renard's office is rather dimly lit throughout this scene. Another indication of grief, of not feeling well, though this one is mostly a choice on the part of the director rather than a Watsonian reason, I would guess.

And that's all the Renard we have for you today. Next up, when Kitty gets back from Dragon*Con, a post on Hank and his utter badassness. (Kitty: I promise, we're not completely fixated on Prince Tree.) I may do a few odds and ends of housekeeping - get the murderboard and the murdermap up, put up a couple backdated posts from the summer, tag things so at least we can find them again, I dunno about all of you who may or may not be reading. But I also have vacation to attend to this weekend, so if not we'll see you next week for ZOMBIE WESEN.

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