Saturday, August 18, 2012

Family Matters Grimm S2E01 Bad Teeth

So. THAT happened. Also, I would like to register a complaint about the opening credits. I severely dislike them. Also also I would like to register a complaint about how much research frenzy the second season premiere induced in me and my partner in profiling. We spent far too many hours digging through our information base on the Crusades, the dynasties, the Holy Roman Empire…
We like chewing on the show, okay?? XD Don’t look at us like that.

I said don’t look at us like that!

So, the first thing we get is the Captain bursting in on Nick’s aftermath with Kimura with the rest of the crew. Yay! Complete with a perfectly legitimate reason to be there, because as Captain and having experienced firsthand the psychosis of someone bent on stalking and torturing his people including him, he gets to go along. There’s the usual sit-rep and just in case we didn’t get it from his expression, there’s a good series of close-up shots first on his face, then on Kimura’s (backwards) back tattoos, then on his face again. Whether or not Renard can read Japanese, and I wouldn’t put it past him, he recognizes those symbols. Also of note: there are ten coins visible on his back. And also ten coins of Zakynthos, if I remember right.

They roll Kimura, the Captain holsters his gun, more discussion of what happened. Just in case we didn’t get that he was a benevolent and protective Captain at all last season they give him the line “I don’t want him hurting anybody else,” which is adorable. He snaps up like a good cop and folds his coat back, habitual, and he asks after Juliette, as a good police captain who knows his men would do. He expects Juliette to be home, as she would ordinarily be. I know he’s taking a special interest in Nick because Nick is HIS Grimm, but I suspect he also would do that for any other officer with family because that’s how he rolls. Feudal lords and their responsibilities, the good ones, that is. He’s their Captain, he’s responsible for them, that includes checking on the well being of their support network when a crisis is going on. There’s even some quiet concern that sounds real in that “what?” when Nick says she’s in the hospital. Adsartha: The fact that Nick didn’t immediately say “my girlfriend needs medical attention” is plausibly a good sign, but Renard knows not to take anything for granted.

It’s opportunistic, but I believe that him suggesting Nick go to the hospital to be with Juliette is also a way of getting him off Kimura so the Captain have some alone time with his prisoner. And by alone time we mean vicious and vengeful interrogation. That said, the responsibility of the Captain and the Prince is no doubt also driving him.

Something about the way he looks at that dart makes me think he either knows  Kelly Burkhardt or knows the reputation of the Burkhardt-Kessler family, and is now wondering what tore up that house and why Nick had help. Consider what he knows: He knows that Nick’s a Grimm. He knows Nick’s pretty much had to learn by doing since he isn’t aware that Nick has Monroe and Rosalee to help him. Probably. He might well be by now, but that’d be new information. He knows that Nick has access to at least some of Marie Kessler’s resources, and he knows who she is. Now, what he probably knows, he probably knows that Nick’s parents were Grimms and he probably knows that Kelly Burkhardt was kind of a badass, that sounds like a reputation that would have gotten around. There’s a premise that he was aware of what happened to Nick’s parents at the time of their deaths (well, supposed deaths) so assuming that is the case, it’s also possible that he knows or now knows that Kelly Burkhardt is alive, and knows about her Grimming style.

And with all of that chewed over, we don’t have too much more information except the look he gives that dart is very much a sigh here we go type of look. Or possibly a well, Nick’s been raiding his aunt’s equipment look. Which he knew from the bat device fuckup.

He doesn’t ask Nick, though. Nor does anyone ask Nick why Kimura was half-undressed, which I find a little odd. Though maybe they had the conversation off screen, Nick could easily have claimed he saw the edges of tattoos and wanted a better look at the identifying marks considering he already is known to have done some research with Hank on the organizations to which Kimura belongs. Renard makes protective noises, leaving officers and anything he can do to help Juliette, and then leaves. He has Kimura and Nick seems okay, there’s no reason for him to keep nosing around.

Next, Renard’s day job as a police captain gives him the perfect excuse to just walk into hospital rooms, apparently. It’s only stretching plausibility a little, too. We get a shot of him reflected in the glass, nicely ominous, but also a protective or watchful implication. He goes in and pulls the privacy shield, and his moves are smooth and with purpose. It’s a subtle emphasis of his authority and his knowledge about these kinds of things, nothing about this startles or surprises him. There is no hesitation as he checks Juliette’s eyes, just a dismayed sigh. He recognizes at least the symptoms of a Hexenbiest spell. Though as we saw from the last one, there are probably dozens of spells with the same symptoms, so finding a cure will be tricky.

He walks up to Adelind’s mother’s house with long, quick strides. It’s one of the few times we see him walking by himself, i.e. not adjusting his pace to match someone shorter (which is everyone else in the damn cast) and the way he covers ground is impressive. He pounds on the door, she opens it, and unlike last time he doesn’t wait for her to invite him in, just walks in and starts looking around and demanding to know where Adelind is. His body language is tense, angry, visible in the way he holds his head and his trying not to clench his fists.

I find it interesting both that he assumes Catherine keeps tabs on her daughter and/or is close to her, and Catherine assumes that she doesn’t need to or shouldn’t have to. My guess is it’s either him projecting the responsibilities of head of household onto Catherine or, more poignantly, he has an idea of what family and parents should be. And I would lean more heavily towards the latter, given the glimpses of pictures we saw in his house. She comments on his line of questioning and calls it old-school, highlighting that Renard’s attitude on parents and children is unusual. Which also implies interesting and sad things about Catherine’s ideas of Renard’s (or Royalty in general?) childhood. Catherine’s behavior shrieks Inherited Mommy/Female Issues, so no surprises there, though it’s nice to have the confirmation.

I love the blocking in this next scene. First we have Renard in the position of head of household while he’s detailing Adelind’s crimes, rooted stance and standing in front of the mantel facing Catherine, who is in the foreground representing the audience with her back to the camera. Catherine asks if he can really blame Adelind after what Nick did to her and Renard snaps, yes. While turning away and fidgeting with his hands and face, shoulders drawing up a bit, which to me indicates residual guilt. As cold as he was when he turned Adelind away, he doesn’t  have the same confidence in that decision now as he did (or projected) at the time. He stuffs his hands in his pockets, too, when he says that Adelind should stay out of things she does not understand. Deception and fraud, in this case, the deception is his confidence.

“Well, maybe you played with her heart a little too freely and that confused her.” I cannot begin to describe the ways it is obvious that she’s not just talking about Adelind. We’ll go with a quick list: stubborn and proud angle of the head, sharp enunciation, word emphasis. Interestingly, the camera focuses in on Renard not as he looks at her, but as he looks in the mirror. Which could be any of several reasons, most of which I suspect will become more obvious after the next episode. He could be using it to avoid looking directly at her, which would tie in with the victim posture from the last Catherine episode when she groped him on the couch. He could be using it to avoid looking at her because of his own feelings on the Nick and Adelind and him affair, the production crew could be using it to put Renard in the mirror as a way of highlighting duplicity and conspiracy. Or, given that Catherine is clearly supposed to be the Mirror Queen, it could signify Renard is about to be trapped by her spells. I do favor that last one, given other factors, but we’ll see.

When he answers why he cares about Juliette’s fate the camera follows his turn, first Mirror Renard, then side views/back views of his head and face, then full on by the time he’s saying “… to Portland, to me.” It obscures the tells he’d normally give off whether or not that’s truly the main or only reason he wants Juliette cured. That might be on purpose or, again, it might be highlighting everyone’s duplicitousness considering for a moment there we get multiple Renards/multiple faces of Renard. Renard explains the basics of good ally-building to Catherine while she watches him and decides whether or not she believes him and what to do about it. And then there’s the expected threat, which is very much an expected threat because there is little in his voice or expression to suggest he believes it. And he leaves, and she doesn’t look as perturbed as he’d probably like her to. More contemplative. Note that she never takes her eyes off him in this scene, which, in contrast to the last episode when he was in her home, is more about self-preservation than lust. She knows damn well he could snap her in half if he wanted.

First of all, we get a good long shot of Renard walking up to his office, albeit broken some by the office windows and their blinds. I remain convinced that the camera loves these angles because Sasha Roiz has a confident, sexy stride. Him and his longass legs. There’s some discussion about the ship with the bloodbath, and possibly GQR Industries will be important later. Although right now I like to think it stands for GQ Renard. Hank’s pronunciation is painfully American as he says the container and therefore the Mauvais Dentes came out of Le Havre. For those of you playing at home, Le Havre was under German occupation during WWII, which somewhat ties in with the Axis and Allies parallel that may or may not be purposefully drawn so far, with the Royal Families on the Axis side. (More on that later.) So, the ship “traveled” sort of down the north and west European coast, from Rotterdam to Le Havre over to Portland. Which is sort of a long-ass journey considering it’s now in Portland.

Renard has his laptop this time instead of his monitor and reminds us all that the Feds have jurisdiction over this case, on account of international. Nick raises the customary objections both for him wanting control over all wesen-related cases and as a nod to the usual jurisdiction issues that come up as a way of securing dramatic tension. Before we can get any more exposition or back and forth the FBI shows up, and Renard introduces himself and the detectives by shaking hands and standing very very straight and tall. He doesn’t quite loom over the FBI, the blocking and direction doesn’t allow for it, but we do get a wide shot that shows how much bigger than everyone else he is. No question who’s the authority in the room.

Can I just say how sexy it is that our dear Captain can command obedience and loyalty with a quiet word? All he says is “Hey, Nick.” and Nick shuts up and backs down. No one questions him. Even the FBI doesn’t pull rank which, if you’ve seen any cop shows involving interdepartmental cooperation, you know the usual trope is for there to be departmental friction and a lot of “we’re taking over” style belligerence. Not here. The FBI is deferential and Renard is gracious. And it’s hot. The FBI nods, takes the file, and leaves.

Cut to the jail, the holding cell with Kimura, looking somewhat the worse for his encounter with two Grimms. Oops. Renard stalks up and buttons his coat, which he’s now done twice that I’ve taken note of upon confronting/dealing with an enemy supposedly on his own and separated from his backers, when he’s acting as the Prince. And he sticks his hands in his pockets for concealment of intentions. The blocking of the scene doesn’t allow for us to see both of their faces at once, so the camera switches back and forth between them. We start out with a sort of a three-quarters shot of Renard talking through the bars on his left, and then it’s back and forth with their faces between the bars. His speech here is less formal than we’ve heard him in the past, I’m thinking specifically of the Freienreden with the siegebarste and how he treated Edgar Waltz. Using phrases such as “If I’d’a gotten to you first” and “woulda been better for you.” And then in the middle of that sentence he pulls up and becomes more enunciated and precise in his speech. I’m honestly not sure if that’s a Sasha Roiz thing or a Renard thing. Particularly since it happens right around “had you known what I am,” when he implies Kimura should be aware of his Royal background.

And now Renard knows who has the coins. Or thinks he does, anyway, and we know he’s right. Difficult to tell if Kimura even knows or guessed at any point during this conversation that Renard is Royalty, they’re playing him incredibly inscrutable. Kimura blusters dispassionately that he would have gotten the coins, that he was blindsided by two Grimms, and we see Renard pause before leaving. That pause is the only sign he gives Kimura that he didn’t know about the second Grimm and, as we will soon see, it doesn’t much matter. But I still want to know if that was a pause of confirmed suspicions or assimilating new information. I want to know if Renard suspected there was a second Grimm and, if so, if he suspected who it was at any point.

I’m just going to address a few things here about the man torturing the Resistance person and controlling the Mauvais Dentes even though he hasn’t been given a name yet. Yes, he is Eric Renard, our Captain’s (older?) brother. We get a subtle cue for this, his clothing is reminiscent of our Captain Prince’s clothing, the dark jacket, the purple shirt. But where the Captain is always almost immaculately tidy and pressed, his brother is lightly rumpled, no tie, and khaki pants with his dark jacket. And, of course, as we see when he picks up the phone, he also has a ring. He does, however, move with the same casual grace and confidence that Renard has. Due to their different body types, Eric’s is more delicate and insidious, less emphatic and occupying less space. Eric speaks with Frain’s usual? (I’ve never heard the actor in interviews so I don’t actually know) smooth British purr, subdued received pronunciation, his manner very casual aristocracy. Talking of dinner plans and fine wines over a tortured person and more concerned with his phone call than the torture. He shows no sign of being discomfited by what he’s ordering, but he’s clearly not getting his hands dirty. It’s a significant and powerful introduction for a character we may or may not be seeing a lot of later.

And I have to say, it bugs me that his pronunciation of the French is very British-person-speaking-French where his brother’s is very much more, French. (Possibly French Canadian, it’s been a while since I’ve had opportunity to pay attention to French accents.) (Adsartha: It is French-Canadian.) There’s some conversation, some reference to the families, about what you’d expect from where the plot is going right now. And more on Eric and his pet cat later as well.

Phone call from Catherine! Renard has more crap on his desk, I note. I’m pretty sure that particular bird wasn’t there before, and it’s more peacock than his usual eagles. As we saw earlier, the peacock is Catherine’s bird, which might be foreshadowing. Or it might just be that props and set decoration decided the Captain needed more crap on his desk. There’s also a box that I don’t remember seeing before, but which might certainly have been there. The round crystal was there, I don’t remember if it was in that housing. The laptop is still there. Unusually we get a side angle on him this time, with his back to the blinds and the rest of the office, on his more usual right hand side when he’s sitting at his desk. Not sure if this is significant or just a lighting decision.

Caller ID means no one has to wait for people on the other end of phones to announce themselves anymore! He picks up with a simple “what did you find out.” Because he has no interest in talking to her if she’s not going to be useful. Catherine explains that she can’t find Adelind but she thinks she can reverse what happened to Juliette, and she’s very cagey about how she plans to do this. Of course given the very direct and blunt Sleeping Beauty reference and the fact that Renard is a prince, we can have some idea of how this is meant to go down. Given the hulkfit Renard seems to be having in previews for the next episode, I’m really intrigued by all this and questioning whether what Catherine intends to do is meant to involve Juliette at all.

And finally we have Renard speaking French, much to the delight and pants-wetting of fangirls everywhere. Yes, including me. In fact I was so distracted by his lovely French that I completely failed to notice the first couple of times that the conversation indicates he didn’t know for certain there were two Grimms. I still wonder whether or not he suspected, but evidently he didn’t know for sure. The subtitles in this instance are pretty accurate for those of you who were wondering (I know we have French speakers following Grimm, yay!) and I note that he uses the slightly less formal and more visceral veux instead of voudrais. He also pronounces the ‘oui’ as more ‘ouay’, which, again, could be French Canadian or could be informal slurring as opposed to formal crispness.

Whoever he’s talking to on the phone definitely didn’t suspect there were two Grimms. He says “they cannot be allowed to get to Kimura” but what he actually says is “I don’t want them to to find Kimura”, which is a subtle but potentially significant distinction. Again, he doesn’t want the families to know, which means he’s either talking to a local henchperson (which is somewhat counter-indicated by the fact that he says he’ll take care of it rather than take care of this for me) or the Parisian he called about the coins in Three Coins in a Fuchsbau. Two scenes later, Kimura is dead. So I’m assuming that’s what Renard meant by ‘take care of it.’ I really hope he was careful enough not to let that come back on him.

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