Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jesus Christ It's Renard Get In The Car Grimm S2E02 The Kiss

Okay. I will warn you in advance this contains massive impressive spoilers and will be huge. (ETA: Oh holy crow, this was 7500 words long??) This was a hell of an episode for Renard. It’s been a couple days and we’re still processing, although thankfully we got to chew over it a fair bit between then and now. Judging by some other recaps I’ve seen, it was a lot to chew on, too. This is also the first one where Kitty did not do all the actual text writing, although we always toss analysis and theories back and forth. So! Bonus cookies to anyone who spots the author change point.

So, a while back I was rewatching Legend and remembering how Tim Curry scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. A friend of mine made this icon for me. Then Renard turned all Diablo/Darkness/Lobster red and this was the first thing that came to mind. But I get ahead of myself.

We start out, at least from the following-Renard point of view, with the murder scene at the mill. He’s giving us and his detectives the sit-rep, suit and coat and bandages and all. I think the main thing I notice in the first minute and a half or so is the fact that he starts out with his arms folded, which for him is rarely a simple contemplative posture, usually it’s defensive as well as thoughtful. He unfolds his arms, the movement drawing a bit of attention, but then he sticks his hands in his pockets. And he even goes so far as to gesture with his hands still in his pockets as he shrugs and says he wanted to see what we (his cops and him, for this we) were dealing with first. Still the concealment tell, but in this case it’s both concealing that he knows roughly who did this and who sent the attacker, and concealing a bit of information from the feds. Not actively, but he’s openly admitted to his detectives that he hasn’t immediately called them in.

He keeps the pseudo-open posture as he picks his way to the other body, and it’s definitely picking his way. He’s very delicate about his steps. Which might only be noticeable because he’s a big guy, being a cop there’s a very good reason for him to step delicately around a crime scene. The feds are there, and he does the tie-smoothing gesture, I think in this case for self-soothing. We’ve seen him do little grooming gestures before, at least once each for self-assurance and for just plain fidgeting, I suspect, given his earlier body language, this one’s for self-assurance. Otherwise, we get no sign that he’s at all upset or worried about this turn of events. His voice is steady, his expression calm, his choice of words benign and bland. If we weren’t analyzing every little bit of him, we probably wouldn’t even guess.

By the time we get to prints and photos he’s pulled his hands out of his pockets and, presumably, pulled himself more together. Note, however, that when he starts talking to the FBI directly in person his hands go right back into his pockets again. Complete with gesturing with his hands still in his pockets, and he doesn’t take them out for the rest of the scene. And by now, with this group of feds, people are responding subconsciously to these body language cues. The relationship between the cops and the feds gets more contentious.

Well, as it turns out, one of the three corpses is the murderer of the other two agents and the people in the shipping container, whaddaya know. Nick and Hank bring this to the captain, and I take a moment here to appreciate the makeup artists’ consistency with his wounds. Including that little one on his lip that keeps drawing our attention in embarrassingly salacious ways.

Tired Captain is Tired, that’s the first time I’ve seen him be quite so careless with his paperwork, although the motions with which he drops the paperclipped stack of papers onto his desk are delicate as well as exhausted. It’s still a very ‘oh the hell with this’ type of motion. I deeply appreciate the callback to Renard trying to cover up his shooting of Cousin Menton (the cousin with the chin) here. Before, Renard was asking if they had any evidence of this third man (him), and this time it’s Nick trying to cover up his unsanctioned shooting and Renard saying how he has an instinct that there was another man there. The only problem is that Renard’s a better liar, thanks to years at court, one assumes. Nick’s lies are snappish and forceful, and the look Renard gives him suggests the captain would call bullshit if it were expedient for him to do so. I can point out at least one hole in Nick’s logic, which is that if the killer wanted to get away in the agent’s clothes and and stopped to dress, both agents would have to already be dead or dying at this point, so by necessity someone else would be there to kill him.

Anyway. Tired everyone is tired. They’re not just tired, they’re exhausted. It’s a credit to how Renard’s been running his detectives even before Nick… oh, we’ll call it Awakened, that they’re not all more snappish with each other. This is an extremely well trained group of cops with a history of trusting each other with their backs. They don’t snap at the Captain (much), they don’t snap at each other, they trust each other and they know the Captain wouldn’t keep them there if it wasn’t important. You don’t get that a lot in procedurals, they tend to make you work for that over the course of a few seasons, and the contrast to the mainstream is… Adsartha: well, it’s fun, but it’s also worrisome, in a “how are they going to make this fall apart” sort of way.

Nick gets away with his lies because everyone’s so tired. And Renard lets him because he knows that if they or the feds push too hard on the trace, it’ll lead back to his brother, and he does not want that at all. He handles the files quickly and more aggressively than usual, and we’ve seen him handle paperwork before. Usually his motions are graceful, contemplative, paying attention to the detail even if his stride is often quick. His suit’s more rumpled, too. He passes the files over to Hank, tells them to file them away and get some sleep. He’s not actively obstructing the FBI (yet) but he’s not helping them, either. As opposed to the last episode where he said “collect everything and turn it over,” this time it’s “file that away” with the subtext of “until the FBI comes knocking.”

Which is about to happen! Nick and Hank leave his office, the captain buttons up his coat, possibly because he’s intending to put on his jacket and head home, but it works well for the concealment body language as the FBI come up and start asking questions. These agents are more aggressive and treat Nick immediately from walking into the precinct as though he’s responsible for their colleagues’ deaths, which puts everyone’s hackles up immediately. They get off one smart remark, a question from Hank, a statement from the Feds and then Renard’s there,  chin lifted, shoulders rolled. Cop proud rather than Prince proud, you can tell because his back and shoulders are slightly curled and there’s less rigidity in his posture. Prince proud is classic carriage, good posture, he doesn’t need to loom because He Is Royalty. Cop proud he gets his loom on. And, oh, look, his hands are going in his pockets again.

We get through the 27 seconds dialogue which gives us all the Watergate flashbacks ever, and then they bully Nick about where the agents were going, obviously leading to did Nick know they were going to be at that warehouse. And then Renard waves a distraction with one of his best “you idiot” faces. He knows that telling the agents they took prints will get them all territorial and pissy, and he knows that implying that his detectives made connections and found leads the agents didn’t will make them even more so. They oblige by getting territorial and pissy, and Renard just has to add the “whether you like it or not” to his non-offer of help. His expression is deeply unimpressed.

The FBI keeps pushing. Nick does not offer nearly as good an excuse for his not having a gun to do a ballistics match that would presumably clear him as we think he should, and then the agents pull out the usual ‘this is your last chance to help yourself’ line. At which point Renard steps in before Nick can dig himself any deeper. Trying to take the brunt of the FBI’s ire, which doesn’t really work but it’s his job to try. Stand between outside threats and his men, like a good captain. He’s aggressive with his gestures, finger pointing and an arm between Nick and the agents which is less about gesturing to indicate and more about gesturing to barricade or protect. The closest analogy I can make to that arm-bar is the one parents do to their children (mine did, anyway) in the car when they stop suddenly at a light. His face is angry, too, visibly angry. Not wrathful with the icy tones of the prince, but hot anger. For those of you who saw Caprica, this is Sasha Roiz’s Angry Sam face.

(Contrast hot anger with cold wrath.)

Talking with Eric! I’m not sure when this conversation is supposed to take place. By the light outside Renard’s window it’s either dusk or dawn, and by the lack of light outside Eric’s it’s night time, which means since France (or Switzerland, given Geneva) is ahead of Portland by 8 hours or so it must be dusk in Portland. Renard’s complete costume change means it must be dusk the next day, which is… a bit odd, given the timing of everything else.There’s a couple possibilities here. One is that Eric’s only-a-model castle isn’t in Europe at all. The other is, of course, continuity error. I’d tend to favor the latter explanation over the former, simply because it makes more sense with the other information we have about the Royals and where their primary power base is.   Still, for purposes of just this scene, it is dusk-ish in Portland and therefore about two in the morning for Eric.

He looks at the photos, doesn’t seem too concerned or outwardly perturbed as he picks up the phone and calls Eric. Whose number he has readily accessible on his phone, so the brothers can’t be that alienated. Eric’s posture is languid and lazy and on his back, and he could be either resting or sleeping, though given how he sits up I would be more inclined to think, drifting. Just to be sure we know he’s a depraved libertine, he has a naked blonde in bed with him. But not too depraved, there’s only one. He gives the phone a guarded look when he finally picks himself up to answer it and, of note, answers with “Oui” instead of “Ouay” the way Renard does. We’ll put that down to Renard being too close to Canada for many years.

Renard starts in French but switches to English after a second and I thank Roiz and  Frain for not trying to convince me that Eric speaks French with a British accent when Renard speaks French with, at best, a mild Canadian accent. That would probably be stretching it. At least with Frain’s deep Received Pronunciation purr I can believe that he studied Queen’s English and Renard just Americanized from living there for so long. And, as we’ve seen from his dealings with Anton, speaking to the family in English is his way of saying that he’s fed up with Royal politics and is done playing nice. I notice how Renard says civility and not courtesy; apparently the brothers are estranged enough that they’re down to civility now. Eric… doesn’t so much whine as drawl, egotistic and purposefully so, to needle his brother. He’s being as aggressive as he can over the phone, without tipping it into blatant posturing.

“I’m dealing with the killing of a young man,” and by this we know, without being explicitly told, that Eric knows at least some of what Renard does and what his position is. Not many professions involve dealing with killings. (And of course we can presume that Eric knew based on the fact that the families know where Renard is and where he works, based on the episode with Anton and Woolsey, but it’s good to have that confirmation.) “Young men die every day, why wake me for this one.” And Eric comes around the bed and we get our first good look at him in this setting.

We’ll start with the obvious, contrasting Eric’s night clothes: sweatpants and a t-shirt, with Renard’s silk pajamas. And we’ll ignore the question of why, if Eric has (as is now implied) been having sex with a hot blonde, why is he clothed. Sweatpants and a t-shirt vs silk pajamas. It’s possible that Renard just likes the feeling of silk on his skin. It’s also possible that Renard needs the subconscious comfort of status symbols around him (like expensive pajamas), and likes the feeling of silk on his skin. A third option for Renard is that he needs to look dignified even if he’s woken up in the middle of the night, more as Prince than as police captain. His detectives and officers probably wouldn’t blink at their captain in a t-shirt and boxers or sweats if they had to wake him up at 2 in the morning in his place. A prince is expected to be more poised any time he is needed.

Eric, on the other hand, clearly is wedded to the idea that he needs to be seen as not giving a damn what anyone thinks about him. A t-shirt and sweats is good enough for anyone who wants to roust him out of his bed and sexy blonde. He’s willing to toe the family line with sending his pet Mauvais Dentes and torturing for information the families want, but he also gives no fucks for what the families consider good protocol. He sleeps around, remains unmarried or gives no thought to the appearance of marital fidelity, and snarks off to, at least as far as we know, everyone. There’s also the aspect here that Eric is in such control and has such power over himself, his surroundings, and others in his presence that he doesn’t need the trappings of power, like fancy pajamas. He is dignified and commands respect even in raggedy bedclothes. His feet are bare, giving him a symbol of wildness and/or connection with the ground beneath him. Also giving him ice cold feet when he gets back in that bed, the Alps are fucking cold at night and castles are goddamn hard to heat. Ahem.

And while we’re on the subject of heat, that fire in the background as Eric’s sauntering out is JUST coals and heat. Glowing embers. Remind us of anything, now that we’ve all seen the episode? All that glowing red under Renard’s lichface hexenbiesty skin, for example. Tasty foreshadowing. The other juxtaposition here, which is just as obvious, is that of Eric at his leisure during the night versus Renard working at either dawn or dusk.  The virtue of the dawning light and the hard workers who rise with the sun versus the decadence of late night and candlelight, back-stabbing back-room deals with power plays and shady politics.

The brothers get snotty with each other. Renard snarks about Eric’s fronts and cover identities, the boat from Rotterdam (which gives us an idea of how good his poker face is and when he knew) and the company GQR which I am now even more convinced stands for GQ Renard. Okay, not convinced, but it still would amuse me. Because Eric’s just that kind of snot. Anyway, snark, and the clever use of mirroring here. We get them mirrored (as maciek-nia so kindly illustrated for us) with their hands on the phone, Renard’s left hand while Eric on the right, putting Renard in the sinister. Both of them framed in the windows, Renard in his office and Eric in what may or may not be his room. Both of them with one arm cross-body, Renard puts the photo down and crosses his arm in front of him just before Eric tucks his hand under his other arm. There’s more threatening, bluster, and smirking. A few interesting things about Eric’s voice and expressions, here, since Renard’s are fairly well known by now. We’ve already heard Eric’s sneering tone, but it’s curiously absent when he refers to patience being a strategy of Renard’s. Not that he sounds admiring, but it’s not the dig it could have been. And when he says further interference will not be tolerated, that’s not as hostile as it could be either. It’s almost more gently chiding. And Renard, himself, is pushing a bit here with his reply; his tone is somewhat that of a younger brother trying to impress or bully an older. Eric’s smirk at the end of the call indicates, as we see later in the ep, that he set this up so that regardless of the survival of his pet catman, Renard’s Grimm is in for at least a modicum of difficulty.

We digress here to mention that for a couple of reasons, we think Eric is actually the middle child. Renard is using a variety of tactics to intimidate his brother; if he could have said “mon petit frere” and meant it in anything but a physical sense, we suspect he would have. In addition, there’s this interview (link goes to Hulu, non USians may not be able to see) wherein Roiz slips and mentions brothers, plural, pressuring our dear Prince about the key and the Grimm. On its own, that might only be a slip of the tongue. In conjunction with the reveal that Renard is a bastard son and the lack of a wedding ring on Eric’s left hand, that implies that there’s an heir (as yet unrevealed), a spare (Eric), and a bastard (Renard). Of course, we could be wrong and they could both be children of the spare from the previous generation, and thus further out of the line of succession (assuming that the families stick to standard European primogeniture rules). But it’s a theory! That’s not a demon. That comes later.

(You may all be impressed by our extreme restraint in not drawing the Lion in Winter parallels yet, because we don’t yet have proof of three brothers. But oh, how we want to.)

The last thing to note about this scene is the vast contrast between Renard and Eric’s bedrooms. Even in his new place, as we see later, Renard has books everywhere. Maybe not as many as he had at his condo from s1 before Kimura turned it into a crime scene, but still quite a few. Eric has… candles. And booze. And a blonde. And some truly over the top bedclothes. (Which, by the way, sets up an interesting contrast with his I-give-no-fucks choice of pajamas.) There’s many ways to profile this - the studious versus the decadent, the responsible versus the libertine, and I’m sure the writers want us to draw those parallels to start with, as anvilicious as they are. The other thing to consider, however, is how much closer the scrutiny from the families is on Eric’s behavior, since he’s presumably in much closer contact with them. With that scrutiny comes certain expectations. Renard’s home is very much his private sanctuary; Eric probably doesn’t have that luxury. It’s possible that this room isn’t even Eric’s bedroom - it’s almost certain that this bedroom isn’t Eric’s sanctuary.

Next scene! Renard, in his office, with the laptop. I swear one of these days we’re going to go back through all the eps and do a laptop/desktop post. And possibly a post on his ties. Contrary to the last time we had an establishing shot of Renard in his office talking to Catherine, he’s facing his desk, back to the external window rather than the precinct windows. Looking up the accident from 1994 (who knew that news archives didn’t just curl up their toes and die that far back? That’s not even using the Wayback Machine) about Nick’s parents, something that we can guess in passing and when we freeze-frame it for proof yes, it’s about Kelly and Reed Burkhardt. Obviously with Kimura’s little breadcrumb about two Grimms last episode, Renard is beginning to form some interesting theories. He’s not happy about it, either; we can see that he has his worried face on - in this case I’d argue both the Captain and the Prince. The Captain is worried about what a parent back from the dead is going to do to one of his men; the Prince is worried about what this does to his plans, both for Nick in specific and for retaining control in his canton in general.

Despite his preoccupation, he answers the phone with alacrity once he sees who it is. (And may I just say that I love the writers for trusting that we’ll remember that number from last ep, and get that tingle of anticipation even before we see Catherine?) On the phone, his tone is all business; we don’t get a shot of his facial expression but it’s safe to say that he’s holding himself under control. Catherine serves as a means to an end for him, and he’s justifiably impatient and upset with her; since we can safely assume she recommended her daughter to Renard, he holds her responsible for Adalind’s fuckup. He’s also fairly desperate to fix this, as we’ll see shortly.

But his leaving for Catherine’s place is interrupted by Nick’s arrest - another indication of how close Renard’s worlds are getting, not just Nick’s. It seems highly likely it will soon become nigh-impossible for either of them to retain the separation between cop work and Prince or Grimm work. His coat is unbuttoned in this scene, and his hands are out of his pockets. He tries to step between Nick and the feds, but without getting actively physical there’s not much he can do to stop them from arresting Nick. Still, the message is clear: this is one of the Captain’s men, and Renard’s going to do what he can to protect him. While he might otherwise be inclined to go himself and loom at the FBI agents, he has a potion to go take and a Hulkfit to have, so he sends Hank along with. This has the added bonus of placing Hank as someone Renard trusts - he should and does trust the partners to look out for each other, of course, but there’s something to be said for a respected Captain making that trust clear. And, too, the way Hank responds reminds us that he’s been under Renard’s direct command for longer than Nick, and they have a history together. It’s a nice subtle bit of character fill. It’s also an indication of how tired and stressed Hank is (and knows he is, and knows it’s clouding his judgment) that he waits for Renard’s okay rather than tearing off after Nick as he did in Game Ogre. Granted, the circumstances were more personal for Hank there, but it would still be in character for a rested Hank to simply go. Finally, of course, we have the last ominous shot of Distressed Captain. Distressed and, by now, exhausted.

This time Renard’s stride up to Catherine’s door isn’t quite as quick as last ep. Possibly another sign of fatigue, possibly simply that it’s daylight and he’s being more cautious about who might see him. Possibly, too, that he knows the solution to the problem may be as bad or worse than the problem, and he’s less furious and more reluctant to find out what his remaining pet hexenbiest’s cooked up for him this time. Three knocks, and hardly a wait for her to open the door - in fact, I think he’s hardly waited for Catherine any of the times he’s come to her house. She knows not to keep her Prince waiting. (As a side note, Renard either hesitates or barges into Catherine’s house. For someone who was presumably raised with traditional notions of courtesy, he displays none when it comes to Catherine and Adalind.) She can’t, however, quite resist the urge to needle at him about his appearance. A bad several days, by now. Renard ignores the jab, gives her his unimpressed face and brushes past her with what is, to him, the only important question about this potion. Catherine doesn’t waste any more time on repartee, and the camera follows the movement of the potion more than their movements in the house. For bonus points, we have Renard standing in one of those double-wide doorframes between living and dining rooms (which, by the way, the layout of this house dates it back to early 20th century, one of those out-of-the-box designs that was popular in the 1910s and 20s). Doors, of course, being a frequent visual cue for the liminal. And Renard, caught betwixt and between his mixed bastard heritage, to say nothing of Wesen and human worlds, certainly embodies the balance point between two worlds. In addition, this foreshadows the rather liminal state Renard’s about to enter, both when he shows us his game face and when he goes through the purification process. And just in case we didn’t get the point with the doorway, they shoot him from below, putting half of him in light and half in shadow. We weren’t using those toes you just dropped the anvil on, directors. Editors. Whoever’s responsible.

And then we discover that whatever Catherine told him about this potion last ep, he didn’t ask enough of the right questions to learn even the basics of how it works. Perhaps she said that she needed a royal to wake Juliette and he had to go chase down something in the precinct before he could follow up; who knows. Whatever he learned before this meeting, he seems to have assumed that it mattered which person gave it to her. Not an unreasonable assumption, given that hexenbiest potions can be tailored to the recipient there’s some reason to believe they could be tailored to the giver as well. But one that could have stood confirmation before you gave Catherine the go-ahead, Renard.  Now he’s asking at least a few questions, though not nearly enough about the potion’s side effects. Catherine, I think, knows or suspects that this will in some way cut the last ties holding Renard to her; her expression throughout this scene ranges from determined to resigned to that smug little smile as she jabs him about not being pure of heart and then again about his heritage. And Renard still doesn’t ask what “quite a ride” means, precisely, he just takes the potion and leaves. He makes more of a face over the lumps in the zaubertrunk than at the fact that he has to chug it to fix Juliette. He’s tired, he’s cranky, and he wants this fixed badly enough not to ask questions. Not a good combination for him.

We have the shot of Renard leaving in his battlewagon, mostly to throw doubt on whether or not Kelly Burkhardt sees Renard or just his car leaving Catherine’s house. Based on the way Kelly comes around from the car she was lurking behind, I’m guessing the latter, but I’m also guessing we’ll find out for sure pretty soon. Plus, Kelly’s very focused on Catherine, since she’s the source of her son’s troubles right now. (We’ll leave aside the profile of Kelly, except to note that it seems like she’s convinced herself that she’s doing everything for Nick when she’s really doing it for the coins, the key, and revenge. Probably in that order, based on the Gollum look from when she first saw the coins.)

This next scene doesn’t have Renard in, but it’s still important data on our captain for a couple of reasons: one, it confirms that Renard is a Prince of the families, and two, it tells us that he’s a bastard, confirming one of our two theories about his position within his immediate relatives. (That is, younger son and a bastard. The younger son is highly probable but not yet conclusive.) I find it interesting, though, that despite everything that would indicate that Catherine thinks she’s in control of their relationship - or at least that they trade control based on who has the upper hand - she’s still willing to fight Kelly on telling her just who it is. That implies a degree of loyalty that I’m not sure Catherine’s even aware of. Of course, if Kelly knows anything about the families’ genealogy, she could - if she were clever - begin to narrow down a list of suspects, based on the information Catherine does give away.

Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. We open focused on the potion, of course, because while we may not be sure how yet, it’s clear that this potion is going to change everything. Making Renard “pure of heart” will have some effect on the person who’s been pulling strings behind the scenes for the last eight months, and there will have to be some repercussions outward from that for all our other characters. Now that he’s alone, now that he’s not putting on the facade that Catherine expects out of him, he’s increasingly dubious about this potion. But there’s no backing out now - not just because this is the only way to wake Juliette, but because Renard is the sort of man who, once he’s made a decision, rarely backs down from it. It’s not entirely clear to start with, but he brings out his game face with Catherine’s words rattling around in his head on purpose. He’s examining this side of himself that he never lets out, confronting it in the mirror. This is what he needs to purify - whatever that means in the long term. Our initial thoughts on seeing this transformation were on the one hand lich and on the other demon, but as this interview makes clear, no. Renard is half hexenbiest. (I still want to know if Catherine considers a halfblood “barely human,” giving more weight to his hexen side, if hexen are part human themselves and Renard has still other Wesen blood in him, or if he’s half-hexen quarter-something else. ALL THE MURDERBOARDS.) At any rate, Renard takes a moment to examine his hexen half before becoming irritated with himself and tucking his game face away.

And though he sounds disgusted with himself, he also looks invigorated after that. It almost looks like he’s healed some of the damage Kimura did to that pretty, pretty face. Or as if it hurts less. Roiz is definitely playing this with self-hatred for his Wesen side - which, since it’s probably the side that makes him a bastard, isn’t any big surprise. And yet there’s a part of Renard that likes it. That’s a second of glee on his face, right before he tucks the hexenbiest back in. We get a good look at his bathroom counter here: a container of q-tips, a toothbrush holder with THREE toothbrushes, for which I have no explanation unless his wife and daughter are somehow still in his life. (That, or he’s Patrick Jane style crazy and keeps the signs of multiple prior inhabitants in his more private living quarters. Or I suppose it could be a mis-set from the crew? But given the care they’ve taken with all other aspects of decoration, I’m not betting that way. Or it could be Adelind, only, again, three? Or he travels, but they don’t look like travel toothbrushes. This is especially confusing because there aren’t any other toiletries out, though it appears that the mirror doubles as a medicine cabinet and there’s under-counter storage. That is an EVIL detail to give us, writers.) A man’s razor, which is no surprise given how clean-shaven our dear Prince always is, a hand towel, what looks to be a bottle of aspirin, and what I’m guessing is a bottle of shaving cream. Another hand towel, matching, a box of kleenex, a bar of soap in a soap dish, and a hand soap dispenser visible on his left side. Clean, sparse, utilitarian, but also with an overall eye to aesthetics in the base decor of the bathroom - exactly what we’ve come to expect from Renard.

He drinks, without further hesitation or lichface. Kind of grimacing at the taste, I’ll grant, but he chugs about half the jar straight down. Hard to see clearly if that’s him drinking everything that’ll come out - it’s a pretty thick concoction - or if he just figures half is good enough. We get a shot of his bedroom and that’s about the point at which we realized that this can’t possibly be the same condo we saw last season. The ceilings are much lower than the original and the architecture, the layout of rooms and halls, is far different. Timeline-wise, that’s probably still an active crime scene, or only just been released, best case scenario. Even if Renard’s been able to get it cleaned up, I wouldn’t blame him for wanting a new condo, given that every obnoxious Wesen associated with various deadly societies seems to know how to find him now. Still, some of those paintings look familiar, so I’m betting he managed to liberate some of his paintings, books, etc. from his old place. The bedroom looks similar in layout to his bedroom from Three Coins, but warmer. I think there are more paintings over all, and the walls are that warm terracotta color. The bookshelf is small and ill-suited to holding books instead of nick-knacks, but he’s making it work and stacking it full of old-looking tomes. This place almost feels like a hotel suite, in some respects - I think the way Renard moves around it is less confident, less habitual, simply because he’s been here less than two days, a large portion of which he’s spent at work.

We interrupt this purification spell to note that Renard is somehow incredibly rich, or arm-twisted the families into paying/helping to pay for his original condo. The architecture of the windows and doors suggests that his new place is in the same building; Roiz has stated on Twitter that Renard has a penthouse in the Pearl, which goes for somewhere in the 2-2.5 mil range. A second, smaller condo would still run him a good 2-4K a month. As an estranged bastard son, his access to that kind of wealth is highly intriguing, and indicates a number of possibilities for how he acquired it. Unfortunately, anything we can speculate would only be speculation, since we don’t know when exactly Renard showed up in Portland. Still, it’s worth mentioning here, so we can see what future data might tell us.

So, zaubertrank down the hatch, and there aren’t any results in the first couple seconds. Renard gives it a bit, then kind of shrugs. You can almost see him dismissing her warning, though I’d guess that he’s aiming to go sit down somewhere with fewer sharp counters when the effects hit him. And even now he doesn’t actually go lichface again, which is verrrrry interesting. Given that we’ve seen him under severe stress twice before, with the coins and with Kimura, this makes three times where any other Wesen would have showed game face. But Renard’s not any other Wesen - he’s a halfbreed. To me, this heavily implies that crossbred Wesen can choose whether or not they show game face, making the Verrat prohibition against interbreeding suddenly much more logical, if the Grimms and the Verrat worked for the Royal Families at anything like the same time. Wesen or partial-Wesen who never show game face unintentional are Wesen that become that much more difficult for Grimms to police.

And now comes all the staggering around, flinging things off conveniently located surfaces, ripping his shirt open, etc.! RENARD SMASH. There’s not a great deal to say about this, other than goddamn, that looks painful and goddamn, that is a lot of body control on Roiz’s part. I’m fairly certain the start of the red and the veiny bits are due to the makeup department having a field day with this one. Kelly and Nick have another one of their creepy bonding moments, and we’re back to shirtless!Renard flinging things off more surfaces. Then he starts breathing out black smoke and turns BRIGHT FUCKING RED, which lent some credence to the demon theory. For that matter, I still wonder if there’s some connection to demonic appearance during this purification spell and either hexenbiests in particular or Wesen in general. Far, far too little data to do anything other than speculate wildly. We come back after another of Nick and Kelly’s moments - more on that in a second - and he’s blue, rapidly fading to a sort of corpse-white and then back to Renard’s normal skin tone. Both his pose on the floor and the color changes are indicative of nothing so much as an alchemical rebirth. For those of you unfamiliar, the short version: the magnum opus, or creation of the Philosopher’s Stone, is an alchemical process of purification with four stages: nigredo, albedo, citrinitas, and rubedo (black, white, yellow, red). In a fair amount of literature and folklore, as well as some branches of alchemy, this is taken as a process whereby a person’s soul may be purified and transcend their inner turmoil to become fully self-actualized. However, the process Catherine puts Renard through reverses these colors: Renard turns red, then white. I’m not sure this is even accurate, but if it is and the Grimm writers are taking Renard through his own personal reversed magnum opus, I would expect him to be in for a world of hurt.

Renard wakes up, and he looks like he’s still in some amount of pain, though perhaps no more than you would expect after an assassin tried to torture information out of him and then he worked a more-than-full two shifts and then he took a weirdass potion which caused him to stumble around his apartment, bashing into and falling onto hard surfaces. The look on his face as he sits up is one of single-minded determination, but it’s anyone’s guess if that’s just because that comes naturally to Renard, or if it’s because the potion’s given him a single purpose to complete. I would guess a combination of the two. From the second Nick pulls up to the hospital in the next scene, we know this is going to be tight timing, but Renard moves with his usual unhurried air of authority. We don’t see how he gets into Juliette’s room without the nurses giving him grief, but he’s a cop, he’s been in hospitals, it’s safe to say he’s using that knowledge of how to get around without being hassled here. (Will they look at security feeds and see Renard in the future, giving us a callback to 1x02? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be at ALL surprised.) The kiss he gives Juliette is simple, chaste. Almost polite, in a way; he’s not taking any liberties (thank god, given the original Sleeping Beauty story) other than the minimum necessary to wake her. He pauses for a moment, probably wanting proof that it’s worked, but Renard’s not stupid. If Juliette wakes up and remembers him, he’ll have a lot of explaining to do. So he leaves, and Juliette wakes up a second later. He’s still moving like himself, and it looks like he’s heading for the stairs as Nick comes up the elevator. And this is another callback to s1, in BeeWare when Renard snuck into the interrogation room to talk to Adalind, passing Nick like ships in the night. So they do again, only this time it’s Renard trying to save Nick’s girlfriend instead of Nick being forced to protect Renard’s pet sexenbiest.

There are approximately an infinite number of theories that we can draw from all of this. Some of them we’ve already discussed above. At least one of the following three will be getting its own post in the not-too-distant future, but we mention it here in order to begin to make all of your brains explode the same way ours did. We’re very giving that way. I’m sure you appreciate it.

First up, Catherine and her relationship with Renard. We have some fairly clear evidence of a former intimate, presumably sexual, relationship that begins in Love Sick. There’s forthcoming full analysis on this ep (house buying takes time that could be used to write Grimm analysis, apparently! Who knew?), but Roiz plays his first scene with Catherine very much as though he were an abuse victim. The tension, the twitchiness when she tries to instigate something by sliding her hand up his thigh, all indicate that this was not the healthiest of relationships. And yet, once we learned that Renard is half-hexenbiest, we began to wonder how that had happened. Obviously it wasn’t merely a case of Catherine whammying him with some Love Potion #9, there was more to it than that. Our best guess? Hexenbiests aren’t royalty, they serve royalty. And we’ve never seen a male hexenbiest, even in the books in Aunt Marie’s trailer. Renard’s mother, therefore, was the hexenbiest, but he was raised to some extent with his royal family with little knowledge of his hexen half. It would fit with the pureblood prejudices involved with the Old World, and be a tantalizing bit of information for Renard. Too, depending on his age when he met Catherine, she could have added a dose of “come find out why your father cheated on your mother with a hexenbiest” to the dose of “come, let me teach you about the other side of your heritage.”

Next, that goddamn wedding ring. There’s a whole ton of wild speculation we can get into and won’t bother with until we have enough data to point us in one direction or another. The biggest thing that we can say is probably true, though, is that Renard didn’t have to marry - perhaps was even discouraged from it because of his mixed blood. Certainly would have been discouraged from having kids. And he had a daughter who was at least a quarter hexenbiest. And the chances that he got to marry for love rather than political alliance just went way, way up. I’m guessing we’ll get more data come the episode with this mysterious Mia figure.

Last, but by no means least, we have the beginnings of what appears to be a full-fledged Grail Quest. Note that I don’t say Arthurian legend, because that has certain connotations that we have yet to see borne out in canon (though I would be both unsurprised and annoyed if they pulled an Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot love triangle out of Nick-Juliette-Renard). But Grail Quest, with all the implications thereof. The worthiest knights in the world? The map to the Grail held by seven virtuous guardians? The subtle but pervasive Christian, specifically Catholic influence (though the majority of the historical eras they’re referencing there were Eastern and Western Orthodox churches but no Protestant church; the Fourth Crusade cemented the East-West schism and that’s about as early as they’ve gone so far), the apparent importance of ritual to the families… say, who wants to bet that Renard gets one more warning shot from the Families before they come to assassinate him, as per the Rule of ThreeOr maybe just completely cut him off from their support. (Cf. the scene with the priest-assassin in Last Grimm Standing.) I wouldn’t have made all that much of the seven keys to seven maps to lead to the ultimate treasure, except that they then put Renard in Galahad’s position. He needed to be pure of heart, a traditional Christian phrasing and one often attributed to Galahad. Add on top of that the various and sundry love spells, with the implication of the quote at the beginning of this ep (“If a man of pure heart were to fall in love with her, that would bring her back to life.”), and you have a veritable cauldron, pun intended, of Matter of Britain-style love spells. Which were, if you’ll remember your Malory, largely intended to entrap men, not women.

More analysis on this will take up an entire other post, but let me just close on this: unlikeliest. Galahad. ever.


  1. Very late comment but what the hell... I love your murderboard! And the episode by episode analysis on Renard makes for good reading. Lol, I will have absolutely no complaints if the only thing you post on is Renard. He's certainly the most intriguing part of the show for me. Though, I'm glad you're also giving thought on the overarching mythology.

    I've been mulling on something and I wonder if I'm making too much out of it: when Renard's face transforms (partially) it seems to me that only the injured parts of his face show the transformation. Am I imagining that or what? It seems too much of a coincidence. Something tells me that means something but I don't know what. Oh, the back of his hand transforms too but I can't recall if he was injured there. Other than the tie marks on his wrists, I mean. :P

    Oh, and a small bit of trivia I found while reading an article written by one of the regular Grimm background extras (she's one of the detectives usually in the precinct set): apparently, they call Renard's office the Cage. And now I have an impression of a lion watching the bull pen whenever there are scenes in the precinct and they pan past Renard's office. XD

    1. Nah, late comments are fine! I'm pretty sure we're STILL having minor revelations about this damn episode.

      The overarching mythology on this is fascinating, since it appears to involve the surface fairy tale level, the metaplot Grail Quest level, and at least a couple historical references (see, for example, that Axis and Allies chart) on top of that. It makes my brain hurt keeping all the things in the air; I can only imagine what their show bible looks like.

      You're definitely not imagining it. But I'm not certain if there's a good Watsonian reason for it, or if they did it that way to make it easier on the makeup department - put the base makeup on with the injury makeup, add the CGI over it. (At least, I assume that's what they're doing this season for Wesen faces.) IIRC, and I'm on my laptop out of town so I have no files to pull up, his hands were uninjured (apart, as you say, from the tie marks) and I think both hands transformed? It's definitely something to keep in mind, though, because I want to know just how much control he has over his transformation. If he transforms again (when he does?), there will be infinite side-by-side comparisons to see if it's (intended to be) identical or drastically different.

      ...aheheheheheh. Yeah, that sounds about right. Panther. Some large and deceptively pretty cat.

    2. Oh, to have a look at that bible! I read somewhere that one of the creators has a whole binder specifically for the creatures in the show. I love that they seem to really be making this whole mythology as rich as they can. And yes, the overarching mythology and the historical connections inherent are quite entertaining to mull over.

      It does beg the question, though, especially with all these fascinating revelations about Renard and his family, what was the original plan for his character? I mean, they went for Sasha Roiz but he said in an interview that they were really looking for either females or older african american males (late 40s to 50s range, if I recall correctly). I wonder how different the whole mythology would have played out if they'd gone for their original plans. The status quo at the precinct wouldn't be too different, I think, but the Schades and the thing with the Royal Families probably would have gone down a different path.(Also, probably less shirtless scenes. Boo. XD) It's fascinating to consider the might-have-beens.

      I recommend reading the article I mentioned, btw. It's a little old (from the early days of Grimm shooting) but provides a very interesting perspective on what the regular extras actually do on set. It's a charming piece. Here's the link if you want to take a look:

      Lol, yes, definitely a cat. I look forward to your next murderboard posts. You guys are doing a great job!

      Oh, last thing... I really like your theory about Eric being the middle child. Something about how he is and how our lovely Captain is makes me think that somewhere out there they have an elder brother just giving the both of them looks of disdain. As soon as there's confirmation of a third brother, I expect you guys to have a treatise on Lion in the Winter parallels. :D

    3. We asked one of the writers once about the Thomas Wolsey name in Love Sick, if that was a historical reference. She said she didn't know but one of the showrunners had picked that one and she wouldn't be surprised if it was. Which, as you can imagine, just makes us even more gleeful.

      I keep wondering about that, intermittently, we both do. What would you do with a female Captain (among other things, if they did keep the royal plotlines, you'd have a whole different sent of inheritance problems) and what you would do with an African American captain (and there goes your old Europe royal lineage type thing out the window) and whether they would have taken it in this direction.

      We'll have to take a look at that article! Possibly in a day or so after we've both recovered from our vacations. XD We're all about the data, and will freely devour anything anyone has to give us.

      As soon as there is confirmation of a third brother there will be a big long ramble about Lion in Winter parallels, with quotes and pictures. That, I can promise. Lion in Winter is one of our favorite productions and the both of us can quote it by heart. And were doing so even before we knew about *Eric*, let alone any other siblings! But we'll just have to see what the writers let us see. And chew on the edges of our desks while we wait. ;)