Monday, September 17, 2012

50 Schades of Grimm S1E17 Love Sick

My dear co-blogger would like it known that she disavows this title. At least I think that's what she said, I couldn't hear her over the maniacal cackling.

"Forgive me for the evil I have done you; my mother drove me to it; it was done against my will." The line is from Donkey Cabbages, which is Tale 122 in Grimm's and also appears in the Yellow Fairy Book, which is where I know it from. Entertaining tidbits from Donkey Cabbages include "There comes one out of the wood who has a wonderful treasure in his body which we must manage to possess ourselves of," and the quote from Island of Dreams "Soon he was so in love with the witch's daughter that he could think of nothing else. He lived by the light of her eyes and gladly did whatever she asked." It also involves magic things which are eaten, so there you go. But then again, so do many fairy tales.

Anyway. We open on the quote in the woods, and Nick rummaging around in the trailer. And even though this is a mostly Renard-centric blog we'll start with Nick rummaging around in the trailer because he's about to discover the metap-- er, the map. Entertainingly, some of the drawers he pulls out of that apothecary shelf are around the same area as the ones Kelly pulls out to open up the secret door. I'm pretty sure that's not on purpose though. We'll let him look.

With Renard we start out with him going out to his car in the garage, a couple normal shots to start with and then a truly bizarre one from the ground up his very long body. That lasts for about a second or two and then we get the true purpose of the shot, which is transitioning us to ground level and the second pair of shoes that's walking up behind him to signify that he wasn't aware this person was here. Which may or may not be true, given the amount of zanshin he later displays, but the Vegas money says he didn't know this man was walking up on him. Barrel of a suppressor pressed to the back of his neck, and Wolsey's finger actually on the trigger. Point of interest, most (or, well, I would say all) responsible gun safety teachers will teach you that you do not put your finger on the trigger of a gun until and unless you are ready to fire in that next instant. Whoever this person is, he does not mind shooting a police captain in the middle of the garage of the police precinct.

"My apologies, sir. I was told to use force if necessary, and knowing you as I do, I found it necessary." Oh, this says all kinds of things about Renard's relationship with this man, and a few things about Renard in general. Firstly, the man apologizes and calls him sir, marking him as a subordinate. Probably a servant, but at the very least a subordinate. He was told, so whoever is doing the telling, this man is a servant now, and the giver of the orders doesn't consider Renard to be above him in the power structure either or he wouldn't just be sending one man with a sound-suppressed pistol. The comment of knowing Renard as the man does indicates that they have a prior relationship, which Renard confirms with his 'Good to see you too, Wolsey', and also indicates that their relationship is one which would give Wolsey an idea of how well-trained and/or violent Renard can be. This is interesting, because up to this point we've only seen Renard do violence once, and that was from a distance. And yet this man considers it necessary both to get the drop on him and disarm him and still feels wary enough to keep his finger on the trigger of his pistol, where one sharp move in the wrong direction could trigger a squeeze reflex. Finally, Renard calls him by last name, a conceit usually found either with masters to servants or within the military.

"Your cousin would like to see you." Renard doesn't seem at all perturbed that Wolsey's holding a gun on him, either. It's also either telling how many cousins Renard doesn't have or indicative that Cousin Anton is a very distinctive jackass, because Renard doesn't ask which cousin. Just lifts his eyebrows a bit in a very oh really expression. (A adds: Two other possibilities are that Wolsey is specifically assigned to Anton, and Renard knows this, or that all the cousins are jackasses so it doesn't much matter which they sent. The gender choice is fairly obvious, based on what we know to date of the lack of women within the Families' power structure.) He doesn't sound too surprised that Anton is in Portland, or maybe shocked would be the better word. Surprised and resigned, but not shocked. "It must be important then" is said with no other purpose than to fish for information; the surprised look is still there but very much guarded, facial tension up. "I'm afraid so, sir, and I'm afraid you'll have to drive," because, obviously, Wolsey doesn't intend to take his hand off the gun. So he's going to keep that pointed at Renard the whole way there, which underscores the importance and deadliness of this little meeting. Renard tests him further by the "Better than having to die, I suppose," comment, to which Wolsey kindly agrees that that's a possibility. Renard almost smiles with that comment, too, until Wolsey says not to rule that out, at which point he gives Wolsey an up-and-down look, assessing the threat. It's at this point that he decides he very well may have to kill Wolsey, if this goes only somewhat his way. (Presumably the ideal would be Cousin Anton apologizes for crawling up his ass about things and slinks back to Zurich, but you, I, and Renard know how unlikely that is.)

In the meantime Nick flops down and flails about a bit, upending a pot of ink and subsequently discovering that those curly raised designs on the key are actually some kind of important design thing. See, I would have done a rubbing, but an ink impression works as well. Of course then he's interrupted by a discussion with Juliette about his butt and its lateness, so we don't get a conclusion on that till the end.

We get Renard's battlewagon driving up to the requisite Abandoned Industrial Building, and we get a man talking in German on the phone to someone. "Ist Vater auf ihn jetzt?" Assuming I'm right about him saying that, that would translate to "Is Father on it now?" What it? The plane? The train? The case? What?? Then he says "Hier kommt den," or 'dem', but what it amounts to is 'here they come now.' They, of course, meaning Renard and Wolsey. And I had to slow it down to see it, but yes, Cousin Anton has a ring. Because he's a Royal pain in the ass, so he gets a ring to signify it. One of these days we're actually going to figure out what those rings look like and what the design on them signifies and only dolphins will know because only dolphins, dogs, and Shadow ships will be able to understand what we're saying. Ahem. Cousin Anton then switches to French for all of five words. Four if you count the phrase as one word. "Salut, mon cousin. Ca va?" Hello, cousin. How are you doing? Yes, it's longer in English.

Renard is in no mood to give a single solitary fuck for what his cousin wants, so he answers in English. Apparently French is only for people who are helpful or polite to him. We also get another indication of him and Wolsey, with the exchange of "... till I had a gun pressed to my neck by a man I've known for nearly twenty years." Of note: it's been almost twenty years since Nick's parents died, or, well, parent and family friend. As we now know. I'm just saying, that's an interesting coincidence I don't believe in for one New York minute there. At any rate, assuming Renard and Roiz's ages coincide, that puts Renard knowing Wolsey since he was 18-22 ish. Also of note: Wolsey's finger is not on the trigger here, but along the trigger guard. While he was willing to shoot Renard in the police precinct parking garage, he somehow is less willing here. Either because they talked some on the drive over or because his proximity to Cousin Mouton is reminding him what a smug jackass the man is. Yes, I'm going to keep calling Anton names. Blogger's privilege.

The cousin tells him "Sorry for the blunt force, Sean," and I'm going to come to a screeching halt here because this actor's pronunciation of Sean with the hard dzh- sound gave me and Adsartha the impression that he said 'Jean' for months. Even going back and listening to it the initial consonant sound of Sean was harder than it was on the subsequent initial sound of 'should', which was a perfectly respectable sh- sound. And while yes, following vowels can and do change the sounds of the preceding consonants I know of no vocal pattern in either English or French that would differentiate 'sh' into 'dzh' like that when one is addressing someone by name. Essentially, Cousin Menton should be able to say 'Sean' like Renard's canary did in Quill, and he doesn't. And it annoys me because this came a few days after I actually wondered out loud how his name would sound spoken, because Sean Renard didn't seem to fit together, and then when Cousin Twit said it, then we spent several months wondering if Renard's original name was Jean and he changed it for some reason and what that reason could be and that's kind of a bad alias and that was perfectly good analysis time that could have better been spent elseways, okay?

Ahem. Like I really needed another reason to want Cousin Mouton shot in the face.

Moving on, he mentions that his time here is very limited, which might have more to do with Vater, though we never get the chance to find out. And because of this he couldn't take the chance that Renard would refuse the invitation. The smug smirk on his face would incline me to believe he was lying if I knew nothing else about him, but it's also an insult. Renard is by this point established as a person of some honor and at least a practical awareness of his reputation and the need to uphold it; if the family told him to be at a certain time and place and that it was necessary, he'd most likely be there. The other option, which the cousin clearly preferred not to take although he equally clearly had no problem sending in an armed henchman to a police parking lot, would be to meet Renard at his place of work and have a conversation in subtext about whatever it is they're about to talk about. This is a power play, pure and simple. The cousin is strong-arming him, he's not in the least bit sorry about using a henchman to get Renard there at gunpoint, and more than that, using a henchman Renard knows and perhaps likes so that Renard is forced to hesitate rather than hurt or kill him. Everyone is very knowledgeable about this.

(A adds: Throughout this little speech, right up until Renard's "you've come a long way for nothing," Wolsey has small but visible signs of nervousness. Glancing back at Cousin Idiot, gun dipping a fraction, stance wavering side to side. He's still squared and solid, but he's unhappy with the situation, and this helps Renard get the drop on him in the end. I would wager that it's Renard speaking, and the audible reminder that this is not the young man Wolsey knew all those years ago, that causes him to refocus his attention and treat Renard as a serious threat. For all the good it does.)

Renard closes his right hand, his dominant hand, into something like a fist and taps it a couple of times against his side, impatient and also a gesture of high tension. I'll go into their stances now while I'm at it, although we've gotten reasonable full body shots in the moments leading up to this. Of note: Wolsey and Renard are in a similar stance, feet spread about shoulder width apart, very stable if not visibly braced against something. Renard's shoulders are down and back, both for the pride of stance and because he's expecting to have to do violence quickly. More than that, it's hard to tell from him, with the bulk of the suit jacket and the coat. Wolsey also has his stance squared and solid, doesn't take his eyes from Renard, but again, his finger is off of the trigger and on the trigger guard. And I believe this is because he doesn't actually want to have to shoot Renard, this is a man he's known from at least his youth, if not as a boy, a man probably not too much younger than himself either, come to think of it. Quite possibly a man he trained, in some respects. So he's not ready to pull the trigger, and it costs him. By contrast, Anton has his heels together and his body squared in a not-very-balanced position, but very much on parade. His hands are either steepled or clasped boardroom fashion, his coat appears to be thick wool, cashmere, something full and rich and expensive. The shirt underneath is blue and black stripes, most likely chosen for a sartorial flair but also to note, he isn't wearing a tie and the first button under the collar is left undone, giving him a slightly more rakish appearance. Very slightly. It's actually, in point of fact, the same way of dressing that Eric Renard has, a nod to the constraints of their somewhat more elevated polite society, but also a defiance of formality. (A adds: It also bears a certain resemblance to, say, the clothing signals we get from characters like Tony Stark, come to think of it. These are people who are so powerful and so wealthy that they don't need to conform to strict formality; they can telegraph their status through the quality rather than the particulars of their clothing.) We get a couple shots around the three of them, action movie fashion, a Mexican standoff. Renard asks him what he wants.

"It's not just me, cousin. It's the family." Anton has this way about him, I'm pretty sure it's a deliberate choice on the way the actor holds his face because I've seen him in at least one other thing and he looked a fair bit different. But he has this way about him that makes his face look extra pointy and extra chin. He smirks at Renard, he's making no attempt to hide the fact that he considers himself to be the one in power here. He's also, remember how we kept going on about liminal lighting and half-light half-shadow? Cousin Menton has a nice dividing line right down his face between light and shadow. "We're very concerned, things are not moving the way that they should be." And again, I complain about his inconsistency with initial 'sh' sounds. Renard just nods, he doesn't seem concerned. "Well, you've come a long way for nothing." "I never go anywhere for nothing," and, okay, I will give the actor this, the accent isn't too over the top and isn't so subtle we have no idea what it's supposed to be. "So the choices are, give us the key or we'll take the Grimm and find it ourselves, we're tired of waiting." I'm really curious to know if this is actually what the cousin was sent to tell Renard, or if the cousin is taking it upon himself to be a bully. His use of the phrase 'the choices' indicates that he's been briefed on the situation and the options he's permitted to give Renard; if it were a more immediate decision or speech on his part he'd probably use 'your' choices. But this is distant, it's outside imposed, and so it's 'the choices.' And as we've seen in the first episode of the new season, the Families' ideas of using the Grimm to find the key probably involve physical torture, and lots of it, definitely a hallmark of someone who isn't inclined to wait. The camera keeps moving, slow pans around them, slow zoom in or pull back even when it appears to be staying still, underscoring the jittering and the imminent violence.

"What do you think I've been doing all this time, playing croquet?" Anton looks down on that comment, gives a soft snort of a laugh, possibly because he finds it funny or possibly just because he finds Renard funny. I find it interesting that Renard's first choice of idle pasttime for idiots who should be doing other, more productive things is playing croquet. It's not the most common of American sports or hobbies, but as I understand it it's also a hobby mostly confined to Anglophone countries. Possibly not. It might be meant only to evoke the image of largely inactive people playing a game on their extensive and richly-tended lawns meant to mimic the games of other, more physically active folk. A dig at Anton's most likely soft and inactive body. "Some of us actually put some thought into what we do before we do it." I don't need to explain this insult to you, do I? I didn't think so. Wolsey's hand twitches on his gun, he knows what Renard insulting Anton like this means, but he still doesn't put his finger on the trigger. Oh Wolsey, that'll cost you.

Anton snarks off, which will cost him as well, and takes his eyes off Renard as he says "No one is interested in excuses anymore." In the animal kingdom as well as its human subset, it is a common survival trait not to take your eyes off of the threat if you can help it. The fact that Cousin Anton does so is a good indication of how seriously he isn't taking Renard, underscored by the coy look he gives on "we want action." The idea of 'action', whatever that might be, amuses him. He doesn't take much of this seriously, or at least, he doesn't take Renard seriously. And, props to Renard and Roiz for this, his expression doesn't change at all before he gives Anton exactly what he wants. If not quite in the way he wants it.

Turning and stepping behind the leg of an attacker coming up behind you, especially with a grab on the wrist, is fairly standard martial arts practice. It's good prep work for getting your opponent off balance, it puts you in a stable position out of the line of attack with the person coming up behind you, and it enables you to use your attacker's momentum against them. In this case, though, Renard isn't looking to put Wolsey down as a priority, he's after something a bit different. First the step and then he pulls Wolsey's gun hand down, across his own body, giving him an area of control of Wolsey's arm. He elbows Wolsey in the face for a distraction and to get rid of Wolsey's vision for a moment as he swings his other (right) leg back. Then the grab on the gun hand, again, pulling on the gun with his left and bringing his knee up to complete the take-away as he transfers the gun to his dominant right hand. We don't see his legs or feet moving as he closes his stance, but we do see him drop, even at the angle of the camera being from almost ground level. He completes the transfer of gun hands and shoots, doesn't even hesitate. Anton meanwhile is standing there like a stunned mullet with his hands by his sides, notably the only time he's dropped them from his evil banker position in front of him. A pretty little red dot appears in his forehead, and Anton drops as the camera switches and we see Renard has dropped to a kneeling stance, a fairly stable one, heels close but not touching. The barrel of Renard's stolen pistol follows Anton to the floor before Renard rises. I'm curious to know, and I don't have enough information on shooting stances both historical and current to explain it, but I'm curious to know what the function of that kneeling stance is, specifically the dropping to kneeling as you shoot. I've only seen that on television once before, in a film called Plunkett and Macleane, and that involved muzzle-loaded pistols, black powder weapons. It's not a stance that I would imagine comes with intuitive accuracy, but it does have some advantage in that it puts you out of the way of incoming fire, and in the case of Plunkett and Macleane it has the advantage of quickly dropping you to the target's level (they were in a field of pheasant). If anyone reading has more input on that, I'd love to hear it. Aside from that, Renard's movements are swift and economical, with no hesitation and the kind of coordinated strength of a man who's used to his body, who's been trained in at least one overall form of coordinated movement (martial arts, sports, dance) and who is comfortable with that. The whole process takes about two seconds, and I say that as one who slowed it down to ¼ of a second and watched the time tick.

Renard gives his cousin a very disdainful look as he lowers his gun while the other man falls, then turns and rifles through Wolsey's pocket and I had to watch this about five times to be certain of what I was seeing. He pulls something blocky and black out of Wolsey's pocket and as he turns and rises we see it's another pistol, this one without a suppressor. Then the camera angle shifts and and when he gestures with that hand again, there's no gun there. So, that happens. Anyway. There's less sarcasm in his voice than might be when he says "My answer is no, by the way," and offers that Wolsey should relay that to the family, most likely facetiously, but still with less sarcasm than he might otherwise put in given his treatment at his cousin's hands. He goes over to Anton's body and takes his gun, and I won't go into any of the things I'm thinking right now about the idiocy of Anton with a gun. It's also the same gun we saw him take from Wolsey's pocket, a mis-set and a brief lapse on the part of the editor.

"I think the message is clear, sir," which is more of that dry wit. If Wolsey goes back and gives them that message along with Anton's corpse, yes, Wolsey, I'm sorry, I liked you, but they probably will kill you. But it's a telling bit of character exposition for the Families for those in the audience who don't read all the right (or wrong) kind of dramas and are less familiar with the cutthroat ruthless aristocrat trope. With your shield or on it, in a very snide, backstabbing, political way. Renard acknowledges the point and calls back to Wolsey's words of a moment ago with his "Sorry, nothing personal." It's almost poignant that we see, again, the bit of a bond between the two men as Wolsey turns Renard's words back on him with the "I know, sir, but I'm taking it that way," and Renard completing the call-back. "Your privilege." It's gracious, Wolsey in his deference and Renard in his distant and regal, but graceful in allowing Wolsey his dignity. To the extent that he can.

In the meantime, Nick is discovering that this woman Hank is so enamored of is none other than the lovely would-be murderess Adalind! Hi Adalind! Nick is incredibly and inexplicably bad at subtext, despite his demonstrated proficiency back in Beeware. Possibly this is due to the tension between him and Juliette, or at least, I'll put it down to that to save my blood pressure and him a throttling. Adalind is much better at her poker face, as we've already seen. There's not much in the way of subtext here, Nick is jabbing pointy things at Adalind, who is refusing to rise to the bait.

Renard's battlewagon pulls up to a Victorian? style townhouse, three stories and likely a basement behind the shrubbery. Two of the stories are lit with the curtains drawn, so someone's home but not inclined to visitors, so either he's expected or he's gate-crashing. Now, later in the beginning of season two we learn she paid cash for this place, so she, too, has some wealth available to her; I'd put this townhouse at up nearing half a mil easy. Two moss-covered trees frame the front of the house in this shot, giving it an in-the-woods appearance. Like the witches in the old stories. And like the witches in the old stories, we cut to an interior shot where a woman whose name we don't yet know is grinding some dried herbs and other things into a mortar, with a kettle on one side and a small cauldron on the other. She has a couple of spices and an herb jar in front of her, but given what we saw earlier in organ grinder I'm hesitant to say that's cumin and parsley or anything of the sort. She looks up and smiles at something we don't hear (A: probably the car door closing), either because of the background music or because her senses are greater than normal.

Renard walks up, slightly hurried but also slightly tired, more awkward than his usual gait and with his shoulders slumped. She opens the door before he has a chance to knock, which is the only time she does that in all the times he comes to see her, and in fact he's still walking up the steps when she opens the door. By contrast with later times, this seems even more a sign of eagerness to have him in her home and under her power. Already we can tell this isn't a healthy alliance, relationship, whatever you want to call it. She greets him with "I was afraid you weren't coming," which is half-rebuke on its own, the undertone being how could he be so ungallant as to stand her up. She doesn't actually come out and accuse him of being late, though, which is interesting. Whatever pretext with which she got him there, it can't have been that important on the face of it.

"I was held up," with a glance back, more likely out of habit and nerves than because he actually thinks someone's following him because he doesn't look back for long enough. She asks if everything's okay and his head is still tilted back in that guarded position when he replied, why. He doesn't want to tell her flat out either way, yes, everything's fine, no, I just shot my cousin, or whatever he would say. The 'why' has a reflexive tone, he's used to being guarded about every aspect of his life, and even if she feels comfortable around him enough to chide him for lateness, he doesn't feel equally comfortable around her.

Her comment of "you have the smell of violence" seems like it's meant to be both prissy and vampy all at once. As though she's both too dignified and highbrow for violence, but she can't disguise the appeal it holds. He still isn't dropping his guard. "And you have a problem with that." No, he doesn't believe her fastidious act, which she subsequently drops when she smiles a bit toothily at him. Or thinly. Her smiles are definitely thin, she's most likely made up and lit to be all angles and planes, what's often described as a lean and hungry look. She, of course, has never had a problem with violence. She steps aside to let him enter, but he gives her a side-eye glance as he does. Just to make sure we know he doesn't trust her. As well he shouldn't.

When next we see them they're sitting at opposite ends of the couch, her sinister, him dexter. First they're facing each other and we see his face only at the corner of the screen, looking down, looking briefly up at her as she passes him a glass. Given her herbs and the fact that she just mentioned Adalind by name it's safe to say he probably shouldn't drink that, and he doesn't. He barely holds onto it, even, setting it down on the coffee table in front of him. Smart, very smart.

The camera switches to a further out view, putting them in the center of the shot so we see her at sinister and him at dexter, and yes, I'm using those terms to highlight the fact that she's about as sinister as they come on this show, which is very. We also have a few interesting contrasts in the setting of this house, since each of them occupies half the shot. For the house overall, it's very tasteful, magazine photo layout with a touch of old-world pretension, or she wants it to look that way at least. Wood furniture, ornate lamps, everything very detailed and fitting well together, none of the modern aesthetic of minimalism for her. It also serves to fill the shot with contrasts. On her side, a small black-shaded lamp with a bulb that looks golded through the fabric of the shade; on his side a more modern looking white shaded lamp that's bright and lights most of that corner of the room. On her side and in front of her, a sleek narrow-armed black chair, on his side a large, more ornate cream-colored upholstered wingback style chair. She has a red blanket draped close by over the arm of the couch on her side, his coat is draped over the chair more at a distance. Their body language in this shot is also fairly interesting; he's sitting slightly awkwardly and facing out, she sits sideways with her body at three quarters and her face turned the rest of the way towards him, giving him a great deal of her attention.

"If Adalind does this, my debt is paid," she confirms. Which irritates me to no end because now she's dead and we more than likely won't find out what the damned debt was. But he agrees without giving us any more detail than that because he's an infuriating bastard, probably infuriating her as well when he sets the glass down. "And if she doesn't?" He gives her a look, and she smiles and says "Just kidding" in the same way internet trolls say "social experiment!" And then, "But I'm disappointed," to which he replies "About what?"

And throughout this whole scene Renard displays some truly un-Renard-like body language. His shoulders and head are bowed enough to actually put him an inch or two lower than her, which for him is saying something. He looks at her only long enough to make a point, and then looks away again, most often down at his feet and the carpet. His body is pointed away from her, his hands drooped between his knees, he shows none of either the classic carriage of the Prince nor the careful posture of the Captain. This is, in fact, the least formal body language we've seen out of him in the show ever, with the possible exception of when he'd just woken up from the dream in Three Coins. This is Renard at his least authoritative. He gives her the edge by putting her head above his, by avoiding her gaze, by leaning away from her. Which, for a man like Renard... And then she makes the mistake of running her hand up his leg and he grabs and brings her hand up, doesn't fling her hand off of him but grabs and holds her hand up long enough and tight enough to make the point (and leave pressure spots of white on her hand) that her touching is not welcome. "You used to be a lot more fun,' she says. His voice is not as steady nor as crisp as it usually is when he tells her he could still be fun if he wanted to, again, with the same kind of subtext as people in a flame war on the internet. I could do it, if I wanted to, but I don't, so nyah. His voice also warbles so badly that 'fun' comes out as 'fine.' Or at least I assume 'fun' was the original intended adjective there.

There's no delicate way to say this: His body language, his verbal response, and their word choice reads post-traumatic to me. To me, the way Roiz in particular and both of them in general played this scene reads as though she abused or molested him at some point in the past, when he was less powerful and less able to resist and she somehow decided to have him. Besides the body language, the adolescent phrasing of "could still be fun if I want to" brings up the idea of some form of emotional flashback or a touch of arrested development. Something about her makes him powerless, robs him of his usual authority and reduces him to a teenager again, at best a young adult in his early twenties. We never, ever see him behave like this again. At least, not as of this writing.

After a pause he covers the vulnerability and his word choices, at least, are more authoritative, even if it takes a sentence or two for him to resume the posture and the clarity of voice. The posture comes back within the next sentence and a half, the voice doesn't come back until he stands again. He tells her there's too much riding on this, and I'm still not entirely clear what he intends her to take away from "this happens the way it has to," but she doesn't put the teeth away until she tells him he's lucky he came to a pro. I am also being good, see me being good, and not pointing out all the other, seedier interpretations of that? Look how good I'm being.

This is all more than Renard is inclined to put up with right now; he stands and whisks his coat off of the chair, and for all that he was behaving unusually submissively and passively for what we're used to his movements are still crisp and in control, no hesitation. No mistakes, he reminds her, and calls her by name and snarks off about her "gazing at that mirror, mirror on the wall." This gives both a name and a line reference to identify her for the sake of the audience, as well as being a very pointed dig at her vanity. And she is, indeed, primping in front of a mirror. There's a lot of mirrors here, as well as a lot of pictures, but most of them are solo pictures, and staged. Not the sort of pictures of a person who surrounds their home in events they want to remember, happy things they want to show, but a person who wants to show off her achievements and her looks. By contrast, Renard's many plaques around his office show off his achievements as well, but in a simpler form and a more expected setting. The next time we see Catherine's place we can also note the prevalence of peacocks, for great and anvilicious symbolism.

"Well, dagger, dagger in my heart," she snarks back, which is at least a reference to something else as well as echoing (possibly not on purpose, possibly a simple duplication of imagery and word scheme) a rather creepy song about obsessive love. And the Schades certainly are obsessed with wanting Renard. She keeps her back to him as he watches her, waits, for something. Possibly for his armor to settle back on more comfortably, he still doesn't look quite right. She turns after a second and asks what happens when he gets the key (note that she asks this, people) and he says, with all appropriate ominousness: "Those who help will be remembered and rewarded, and those who don't will be forgotten." It's an interesting form of threat, though by his dark and now fully Princely expression it's for certain a threat. Catherine craves acknowledgement and admiration so much that being forgotten is a greater thing to threaten her with than punishment, torture, murder, whatever else he could pull out. Which is probably a great deal, being a Prince. But he knows her, and he knows that being shut out of court, even his distant exiled court, and forgotten would be the greatest torture. So that's what he threatens her with, highlighting both his knowledge of her and her character.

And upon that threat, he leaves.

Back to the scene of the crime, which we don't spend too much time on because we witnessed the crime, and all we really need to know is how much Nick and Hank get from the scene immediately. Which is then elaborated on at the precinct! Along with Wu and his creepy creepy magically induced pica. Nick, you really should have gotten Wu to the damn doctor when you saw him eat the chapstick. Just saying.

It's a smooth pan from Wu to the doorway where we see Nick and Hank at their desks, the captain coming up and asking them if they've made any progress. Cut forward and the camera is moving slowly from right to left across them, giving a slightly disorienting sense of movement without drawing attention too much away from the main attraction. Basically just enough to keep us alert. Hank exposits two foreigners, one Swiss, one British, and Renard sidles closer to look over Hank's shoulder. He was doing this in Game Ogre too, so we know it's not entirely unusual for him to want to look at the reports for himself. Which is probably a good thing because he now has a vested interest in this case not being solved. The camera pans right to left again as Nick tells us all that the car was registered to cousin Anton Krug but Wolsey had the keys, which gives us a high probability that Renard put them there. Unless Wolsey dropped Cousin Anton and the car off and somehow teleported to the precinct to put a gun to Renard's back, because I didn't see too many signs of public transportation near that old industrial building. Renard, as many things on this crime scene as you've been handling, it's a damn good thing you were wearing driving gloves. Which, I should note, we don't see him wear ever again. At least I'm pretty sure we don't, feel free to send me a cap to note otherwise.

The camera jerks up to Renard as he posits that they knew each other quickly, then moves on to one was trying to steal the car from the other. Not in too much of a hurry, few enough tells there except the pulled-inward body and his hand in his pocket while the other one gestures with the file folder. If he could he'd probably have both hands in his pockets by now. Hank exposits some more about the two men, they flew in together, no sign of another car. Renard says that this makes sense, which in a way it does, except for the fact that it only makes logistical sense. It gives us no context and is entirely unhelpful towards solving the case. He's saying that to push them onwards, to give the impression that they've learned all they have to learn from the crime scene, and therefore not dig too hard into why two foreign nationals turned up dead in Portland. That's the second time he's said something not in keeping with his usual precise and careful detective mannerisms.

Still panning; Nick posits that there was a second car and somebody drove away. Renard's face is tight when we close in on him as he asks, with disbelief in his phrasing if not in his voice, if Nick means to say there was a third man there. Lines of tension around the nose and mouth, faint, but there. He asks for their evidence, Nick doesn't have it yet. And it only takes him that momentary pause to come up with something better than his first two statements, which at least is a good sign that he's recovering his equilibrium. We know our Renard is a better liar than that, after all. He suggests it was a business dispute that got out of hand, which isn't actually a lie at all, and asks if they can connect them to anybody here. Both the usual sort of question the police captain could ask and fishing for information, not that it's difficult at this point to dovetail the two motivations. Hank, of course, holds up the cell phone, and we get a good close up of Renard's face not visibly reacting to that development. He doesn't even blink. The only sign that he's at all perturbed by this is the very slight closing of his mouth and the 'uh' in "Have you accessed that yet?" His customary manner of speech is much clearer and largely free of stammering, verbal pauses, or repetition. Part of that is the fact that people talk much more clearly on television than they do in real life, but part of that is also that Renard is trained both by formal instruction (at a guess) and by years if not decades of habit to watch what he says, to be certain of his words.

Nick explains that they haven't been able to turn it on, that it's probably broken, and the lab will get the information on the phone. And there isn't much Renard can do to stop that, so he makes as graceful an exit as he can. We don't, sadly, see much of his face as he does, he's moving too fast for that, long legs taking long strides around the desk and out of the scene towards the camera rather than away. Brisk, efficient, not troubled because the captain has no reason to be. Wu gives us some dry humor as usual, and some information that both guns were declared and therefore legal (which should also pique police interest, because why would two people who knew the other was legally armed abruptly pull guns and shoot each other in an abandoned industrial building in Portland, thousands of miles away from their home territory?), and that both men flew in from Zurich. Hi, Swiss Banks! It's nice to see you. Some more snark, Hank leaves still grumbling about Adalind, and Nick mentions taking the phone down to evidence because his partner is clearly too bespelled to think about police work right now. Wu is still hanging around looking at Nick a bit like he's trying to pick him up for a no-tell motel tryst. Hey, I don't judge. A bit of casual friends dialogue, particularly since Nick just saw him eat his chapstick tube whole earlier, and then Wu comes around the desk and passes out. Because when you eat couch cushions, coins, chapstick, and other inedible things beginning with 'c', that's what you do.  And as Nick goes over to check on him and call for a medic a tall, dark body passes in front of the desk. Hi, Renard! Interesting, here, the camera goes from a distance shot of Wu dropping, to Nick, back to where the cops are crowding around Wu, then follows Renard for a couple feet as he crosses in front of the desks. Then switch cameras as Renard pockets the phone, and the second camera pans up to his face. There's a whole pile of determination there, but whether it's determination to cover his tracks or take care of his officer or both, hard to say. I like to think both, Renard's certainly capable of multitasking.

Meanwhile over at Adalind's place, Adalind comes in and turns on the light, takes off her coat and it takes her a full ten seconds from coming in to realize that someone is in her house. Which is, admittedly, probably several tens of seconds if not a full minute or two less time than it would take a normal person to realize this, which might lend further credence to the hexensense her mother seems to have. She has her keys in her hand when she turns on the lights, so chances are the door was locked, she wouldn't notice from there. She takes off her coat without anywhere visible to really put it, which confuses me a little, but that's likely personal preference. And then, of course, she detects someone in her place and out comes the hexenface, and out comes Mom with her face on. It's the sort of thing that's clearly meant to make black humor of our expectations of mother-daughter relationships, along with the "lucky I didn't rip your throat out" "as if you could have" exchange. That exchange also foreshadows the part where her mother slaps her and rejects her, for which I certainly wanted to rip her throat out a bit. Adalind, though, can't, possibly because she's no match for her mother, certainly because she's still locked into that sick system of highly conditional love and obedience, and don't forget it or you'll regret it because mother knows best. Yes, I went there.

They hug, and it's in some ways maternal, but it's also the kind of hug that keeps some distance between bodies. Not quite strangers but not close enough that there's any warmth or cling between them, despite the fact that they show some kinds of affection to each other. For mother and daughter who are supposedly close it's very austere, and when they pull back Catherine runs her hand down from shoulder to wrist on Adalind, keeping control and dominance over her daughter and the situation. "I hear you got yourself a new beau," she says, still keeping ahold of her daughter, and I wonder if that's meant to be a subtle dig about calling her mother more often or if it's simply what it sounds like, fishing for information. But it's not like that, so Catherine doesn't push that angle.

Adalind says she's working, and Catherine answers with "The Captain?" which is all kinds of interesting right there. Did they have the first two parts of season two in mind when they wrote this? Because assuming they did, assuming they knew even a fraction of what went on in there, Catherine damn well knows Renard's a Prince as well as a police captain. But she's prioritizing the police captain status ahead of the Families, despite the fact that this assignment has nothing to do with Renard being a police captain and everything to do with the Families breathing down his neck. It does imply, as well, that Adalind doesn't know Renard is a Prince of the blood, which goes along with the idea of her poisoning Juliette as revenge against Nick. Presumably she wouldn't have done it if she'd known there was a tall, dark and handsome cure walking around. Depending on the side effects, of course, it could also be revenge against both Nick and Renard for what they do to her. And all of that aside, Catherine's still referring to Renard as a Captain first and a Prince second, and not letting Adalind know that she knows what's going on. We know Catherine knows what's going on, because Renard spoke with her about it earlier. Even if Catherine doesn't know the specifics she knows the broad strokes, and more than enough to put it all together.

Regardless of all that, Catherine's got a very good point when she tells Adalind that she'd better make sure it all goes the way Renard wants. And Adalind says that she is, Mom, in the tone of a teenager being told not to stay out after curfew. Catherine doesn't rebuke her for it openly, but she does bring up one of Adalind's few vulnerable points in the very next sentence, which is her love for Renard. Actual love, as it turns out. Adalind pouts at the coffee table, not looking her mother in the eye when she dismisses the idea that her loving him will affect what she's doing in the slightest. (It will, of course, it already has, but Adalind seems to believe in her own ability to control her emotions.) Adalind adds that she's dating the partner of the Grimm, to which Catherine notes, correctly, that this must be about more than just Nick. And Adalind tells her this is about getting the key, which, again, Catherine already knew. And hasn't told her daughter that she knows. This puzzled me for the longest time until I changed contexts and looked at it from the perspective that they both want Renard for themselves. Not for the good of their family, but for themselves. In that context, Catherine is of course keeping what information she knows from Adalind because while she may want her daughter to succeed at keeping Renard happy, she doesn't want her to keep Renard's focus. Catherine wants that all for herself. And with Adalind's already-admitted love, if Adalind knew Catherine was talking to and dealing with Renard again she might get the right impression that Catherine was trying to weasel her way back into his affections or at least his bed.

Adalind tells her mother that she expects this to get ugly, and Catherine tells her she does ugly so well. As she draws her hand down her hair in another petting motion, which between that and her words is a bit of a stealth insult, if you look at it as having more than just the immediate contextual meaning. Adalind either doesn't see that or chooses to ignore it, and she offers up a tentative smile. She's still very much mother's girl, and with Catherine around she feels she has a lot less of the power in a lot less of a way that she can fight.

Hank's phone call interrupts this lovely little mother daughter passive-aggressive fest. Adalind goes over, sees that it's Hank on the phone, and Catherine comes over with an almost derisive and certainly stern comment of "Well, what did you expect?" She puts her hands on Adalind's shoulders for a bit as she walks around her, and while some people do it with a delicacy that indicates more of a, here I am don't back into me, Catherine's hands are possessive. Even Adalind doesn't look entirely at ease with her mother there, giving her sidelong looks and glancing down with more uncertainty than we've seen her show perhaps ever. Catherine tells her to put on a smile with the tones of a draconian dance coach and Adalind does, that very exaggerated smile we see so much of in this episode. And from here on out it's largely Adalind yanking Hank's strings, though apparently he's more comfortable with the idea of her mother being over than Peter from the other episode. The fact that he's lurking outside her window to make sure she really does have her mother though... well, and we've already seen that Hank under the influence of Wooj can be a very scary thing.

There's one further thing I'd like to note about this scene, and it's something we're going to get into later. We already learned earlier in this episode and again in the season finale about Adalind and cats, but in her apartment amidst all the fashion plate modern furnishings two things stand out. Firstly, that she doesn't have a lot of range of color in her apartment. Everything that holds a major visual part of the room is either black, white, red, or some shade of gray. Secondly, her other animal than cats seems to be bugs you can pin to things and hang on the wall. There's two pictures on the wall of what appear to be insects and an arrangement of butterflies over to the right of the fireplace, either paintings or actual butterflies mounted under glass. Animals become a background theme of the characters, with some examination, not all the characters but a fair number of them. Renard has his eagles at his workplace, Catherine has her peacocks in her home, and Adalind has cats, which may well be how she likes to think of herself, and bugs pinned to a surface, which is how she's treated in this episode. So, there's that.

Enjoy this look in Renard's desk drawer, kiddies, because it's the last we'll see of it for a while. Not that we can see much of anything. We hear something rattling around and there's something that might be a book or a stack of papers or a manila envelope; Renard is after the bright blue gloves. I'd ask why he keeps latex crime scene/surgical gloves in his drawer, but I have bright cobalt surgical gloves all around the house from living with a CNA, and after you've pulled surgical gloves out of the clean laundry and your guitar case, a cop having them stashed in his desk drawer seems normal. Anyway. Renard gloves up, because he's a smart man, and then he pulls a SIM card out from the same drawer. I will pause here to note that he doesn't actually open the drawer again, and he definitely closed it the first time, but this I will let them get away with because we're cutting from his hands to his face to the top of the desk so quickly that it could be judicious editing that conceals the second opening of the drawer. Maybe. He pops open the back, pulls out the battery and the SIM card and looks at it, possibly to be sure it's not damaged and he really does need to replace it. Which he then does, all with efficient motions and more judicious cuts between camera angles on his hands and close-ups on his face. Compared to most of the time when we see him in his office, this whole scene is nothing but his hands, his face, and that one section of his desk where the action is taking place. It gives the whole scene a furtive, clandestine feel, particularly with the light close up on his hands and face and enhancing the shadows outside of the field of the shot. Very simple and very effective. New SIM card goes in the phone, battery, back on, phone goes back into the evidence bag, and a sigh. Notably, when the camera closes up on his face as he sighs over the whole thing, we get a shot of the golden light of his office lamp but this time his face is in a mild shadow. It's also the only profile shot of the scene, so it's a good sinister look for him without dimming any of the sympathy we might feel for the captain in this difficult position.

One entire scene of Snape Rosalee the Potions Master later, we get one long, smooth, continuous shot of the captain walking through the precinct and around the desk, leaning over Hank's desk as though looking at the information left up on the screen, setting the evidence back with the phone in it down, tapping his fingers thoughtfully as the camera closes in on his face, then he straightens and walks off with the camera still focused on the phone. Nice drop, and the tension in his body highlights how on edge he must feel.

For our next Catherine and Adalind scene we get a cozy mother-daughter primping session, with the mother combing the daughter's hair and telling her how she keeps "them" on for half an hour every night. In normal routines this would be some kind of facial mask, curlers, with Adalind's comment of "it hurts" it brings to mind things like corsets or foot-binding shoes. Beauty is never without pain, indeed, that's a long-standing tradition that has nothing to do with hexenbiests, or even any one particular culture. But there's a few things wrong with this scene. This is, for example, the only time we see Catherine's arms up to the shoulders. Between her blouse and her posture as she combs Adalind's hair it evokes almost a haute couture Ripley effect, which makes a nice maternal contrast with Adalind's haute couture ninja outfit later on. But it also clashes with the idea that this is supposed to be a soft, stereotypically feminine scene, not strongly enough to jar us out of it but enough to create unease. Adalind's phone rings, and she picks it up without us getting a look at her face; the over-the-shoulder and around-the-hair thing is something we see often in horror movies when the camera comes from the point of view of the monster. Again, this is not your typical mother-daughter bonding session. Adalind's contact info for Renard on the phone lists him as 'Captain Renard.' Even on her phone she doesn't call him by his name, she doesn't dare.

We get a couple of clips of him in the precinct. "Time to set things in motion" comes complete with a shot of him from behind the opened blinds, which is once again cinematic shorthand for Clandestine Dealings Are Afoot. Then cut to a shot of him walking down the hall, wide shot, to remind us that he's in the police precinct. "Now?" "Yes. Now." and he hangs up. The whole sequence takes a couple of seconds and the camera doesn't stop moving, giving us the hurried impression of Renard being uneasy and rushed. It stands out even more compared with the languid mood of Catherine and Adalind. She relays Renard's message to her mother, who mentions something about Adalind being the most beautiful girl etc., just in case we hadn't gotten enough Snow White references. And the camera pans down to reveal the horror for the final sting, paralleled by the gently rising ominous music, and in this case the horror is Adalind with leeches all over her face. We could, in fact, write a whole other essay on the symbolism of leeches here, and blood in the beauty routine. We will instead only note that this show is big on blood magic, and save that for another essay.

So, now Adalind calls up Hank. She isn't bothering to hide it anymore or even pretend to be her usual self, she simpers and pouts. True to her mother's advice, she makes exaggerated facial expressions as she's on the phone so that it comes through to Hank's ear like an anvil to the head. Hank might notice something if he weren't stoned out of his gourd on love potion. She invites him over, and up to this point all we see is her making faces and sidling around by the blinds, but when she steps away and says Hank only has to bring 'himself' (or what she's left of him) we see Renard standing there, again in that combat-ready stance. He's got one hand in his pocket and the other one is not playing an Alanis Morissette song, but doing that little fidgeting finger-rubbing he did before in the confrontation with his cousin. On edge, potentially expecting violence, or at the very least expecting unpleasant surprises. The music kindly gives us an ominous chord as he comes into view, too, just in case we hadn't figured out this was a sinister plot. Really, there is nothing about either of their posing that is subtle.

Adalind can't resist getting a couple digs in at Nick, too. She asks Hank if he's with his partner, which of course he is. "Tell him I say hi." There's a double meaning in that. Hank relays the greeting, Nick smiles one of those entirely surface smiles and reaches for the phone. "Let me say hi," and, because Hank sees nothing wrong with any of this both due to potion and due to the fact that Nick and Adalind so far have been fairly circumspect around him, he passes it over. "Adalind. Sorry about the other night, how are you?" He can pretend to be normal! I'm not sure if it's makeup or something Giuntoli's doing with his facial expressions but he looks much darker, the shadows and highlights of his face are sharpened here, giving him an almost dark clown appearance. She turns around to Renard as she replies. "I'm fine, Nick, how are you?" and we see Renard lift his head just slightly before the camera focuses back on him. She's talking to Nick, so she's got his attention. He's not, apparently, all that interested in the details of how she's seducing Hank.

Doubletalk ensues! "So, what are you cooking tonight?" Deadly love potions, evil sex spells. Adalind doesn't need to engage in doubletalk as Renard steps in closer to her, but she still wants to keep Nick on the hook, so she just says that it's a surprise.  "And what have you done to my partner? You've really got him under a spell." And we've just crossed out of the realm of doubletalk and into Hank should really be giving you funny looks right about now, Nick. It probably would ring some bells with Hank if he weren't, that kind of phrasing is unusual for Nick. But Hank is, and it doesn't. And Adalind smugs "That's your surprise" at Nick, and Hank cuts off any further snippy remarks from either of them by demanding his phone back. Thank you, Hank.

After Adalind hangs up we are treated to Renard smirking down at her, all proud of his little henchwitch. Or at least, that's what it seems to be, from his smile and his words. He even puts in a little lean forward, a little almost-touch. Adalind looks up at him with the same sort of open-mouthed expression as the last episode in the bathroom, when she and everyone else expected him to kiss her, but this time it's accompanied by what I can only describe as wide-eyed hunger. It's the sort of thing that's a prelude to at the very least some passionate implications and a fade to black, but given that Renard has thus far been resistant to trusting others even as far as letting them in on anything other than police business, let alone taking a lover, it seems incongruous to the point of ludicrousness. He's playing a caricature of himself to her expectations, and she's falling all over herself to please him, never managing to think about who he actually is and what he might be intending to do. Again, doing the same thing to her as she's doing to Hank, only all he needs is her blatant attraction to him and his own acute skills at manipulation.

Speaking of manipulation, it's back to police business! Renard must have left Adalind's apartment not long after that conversation ended, because here he is now behind his desk, reading an article that begins "Two men dead in NW Portland: Police investigation still on-going in shooting deaths." The screen is lit and blurry enough that it's hard to make out the rest of the article, but behind the browser we can see the same icons that were visible in Quill. And then we can praise the props department (or whoever's in charge of Renard's computer-screens, post?) for their attention to consistent detail. Nick pops open the door and asks if the Captain's got a minute, which of course he does (he even says "yeah, of course."). (A: Though this is one of those rare occurrences where he has the door closed to begin with, highlighting the tension Renard's under, and the number of secrets he's keeping.) Open door Captain, always has a minute for one of his detectives. Even when said detective is investigating himself.

This whole conversation amuses me on a couple of levels, to appreciate the nuances of the acting and to appreciate the dark hilarity of how close Nick is to the truth, without actually knowing how close he is to, well. The truth. Renard has one of the best poker faces I've ever seen, but he still isn't showing his hands, literally. In a normal conversation, and we've seen several of these back and forths by now, he would be sitting up and leaning across the desk, forearms against the edge of on the surface, possibly fingers laced together or maybe he would move his hands to demonstrate a point. But in this case he doesn't dare let his body language or any part of himself slip enough to give Nick a clue, so his hands stay below desk level and the only body language we get is the tilt of his head, eyebrows and shoulders. It's not immediately apparent because we don't get much of his body from the shoulders down, but his upper body isn't moving nearly as much as it would be if he pulled his hands out from under the desk and moved his arms around, more animated.

The best lies are always touched with the truth; I wouldn't be surprised if the Families were already en route to claim the bodies. We know very little -- almost nothing -- about them at this point, only that they exist; this is even before we know there are seven of them. But given how Renard is, we can at least extrapolate from that a whole family of tight-lipped, sharp-minded manipulative bastards who don't give out information any more than they absolutely have to for the success of their plans, and even then that's only as they consider they have to. Leaving two dead bodies in a foreign city controlled by someone who has already demonstrated a tendency to buck at the reins is probably not within the scope of their idea of control. No, they don't have any intention of letting others get involved in their affairs. Even if one of the others is one of their bastard sons.

Which brings up all kinds of implications, assuming Renard is telling anything like an objective truth by including himself in that 'others.' Is he that far out of favor? Eric's treatment of him would suggest not quite, but dancing on the edge of it. And likely he isn't so much in favor that he would survive unscathed, were the Families to discover that he was the one who shot Cousin Menton and Wolsey. There's so much politics in that one little tidbit that he tells Nick, and a lot of it is even more twisted in hindsight of what we know now. Renard isn't kidding when he talks about the bigger picture being complicated by things beyond his or Nick's control. I even think he sympathizes with Nick a little bit, if only because they're in similar positions of being fucked over by the Families.

Of course, Nick doesn't have time to get into this with the Captain right now, he's got a cure to see to. Back over to Rosalee's and brewing the cure in the shop, and testing it on poor, poor Wu. Everything's moving too fast for anyone to think, let alone to offer plausible explanations why three people, only one of whom Wu knows, are in Wu's apartment while he's stretched out on the couch in his underwear. The best thing they could do is leave without confusing him further, they decide, and they do. Poor Wu.

And then it's on to Hank's place! And from here for the next five minutes or so, things get frantic. There's almost too much exposition and not enough demonstration, Rosalee gives us an explanation of what Adalind's done, but it's in fits and starts, little bursts with the words overlapping both in meaning and in term; there's a lot of talk about death without it being clear what they mean. I realize this is probably the writers trying to be coy and not show what's going to happen two minutes later so that we get a good cinematic surprise, but it comes off as incredibly confusing and sideways. One of the few times, I should note, that this happens. Grimm writers are usually very good at catching us up with what's going on in two minutes or less of dialogue.

Adalind smugs at Nick over the phone and in person, when they show up at the Bremen ruins. (Aheh. Bremen? Cute, guys.) There's a nice arc to Adalind's character in this, where she goes from being genuinely afraid for her life and wary of Nick's ability to protect her in BeeWare, to fully willing to taunt him and certain of her own superiority in Love Sick. In some cases an oversold performance is the fault of the actor, but in this case Claire Coffee makes it evident that the oversell here is all on the part of Adalind, which is a very neat trick. Adalind's got Nick where she wants him, and she knows how this is going to play out, she doesn't need to bother with subtlety. Or with not gloating. She contrasts even more powerfully with Renard, who is never unsubtle, at least as far as his own purposes go, though he might pretend to be obvious to encourage someone to go where he wants them to go. By the time Nick meets her at the place of confrontation, subtle is across town from Adalind.

There a sort of bookend symmetry to this episode not quite starting out with a combat and not quite ending with a combat, particularly since the first combat involves Renard and goes spectacularly in his favor, and the second one involves Adalind and goes spectacularly awry for her. Yet another way in which his skill trumps her enthusiasm. Although I'd bet a not inconsiderable though non monetary and ridiculous wager that Claire Coffee is trained in at least one physical discipline, probably dance, there's very little training in the way Adalind fights. Not that she engages in weak slap-fighting, she gives good solid punches and kicks, but she's not braced the way she should be. She leaps around too much, and there's very little efficiency in her fighting style. Hell, there's very little style in her fighting style. Nick, too, is untrained. Which makes sense, because he is, save the basic training you get as a cop. Both of them show a lack of control, made up for by their willingness to do damage to each other. Only in this case, it's Adalind's lack of control that gets her carried away, gets her forgetting the rules, and enables Nick to trick her into biting him and ingesting his blood. Thus, we get a de-powered Adalind.

And if anyone figures out before the show reveals to us what the hell de-powering a hexenbiest does other than take away their lichface, I would dearly love to know. Speculation abounds. Along with, does this work for all Wesen or just hexenbiests? It's implied in a lot of ways that hexenbiests are different from other Wesen, if nothing else than by their connection to Royalty and Renard's own status within the Families, contrasted with the status of the rest of the Wesen as second class. Unless of course the rest of the Families don't know about his other side, which is counterindicated by the fact that Catherine knew about it and you see what I mean about speculation? (A: The more I watch this, the more it seems like hexenbiests are made rather than born, which really begs the question of how the hell Renard can be half.)

Anyway. With luck, we'll find out more on hexenbiests later. Monroe and Rosalee are again confronted with a need for an awkward explanation and Adalind comes tottering home. Whereby home we mean not her apartment, but her mother's place. Remember what we were talking about a handful of posts back about sick systems? In this case, despite it being at least somewhat obvious what Catherine's reaction to Adalind's failure is likely to be, Adalind still goes back to her mother in tears, because that is where she believes her sanctuary to be. Mother has guided her, taught her, and protected her or given her the rules and means by which to protect herself all these years, and now that the unthinkable has happened, of course Mother will fix it. But the second Mother realizes what's happened and what Adalind lost, Mother slaps her across the face. The line where "you know what getting that key would have meant for us," might as well have ended with "for me" because Catherine isn't thinking about her daughter's loss, she isn't thinking about the pain or the fear or uncertainty her daughter is feeling. She's thinking about her own status with Renard. She doesn't even have the excuse of being afraid for her life, because Renard didn't threaten her life, remember? Only her standing.

Adalind finally coughs up what might be the first honest admission she's made, and it's a heartbreaking one. She knows, halfway through the sentence as she hears and then sees Renard walk up, that admitting her feelings is a bad idea. Likely because of that slap, because now she's being confronted with her mother's true nature or at least her mother's refusal to help in a real crisis, Adalind knows that the people she thought were safe, aren't. There's a plain look of chagrin on her face as Renard takes his parade-rest-style stance in front of her and looks her over. She knows how she looks.

Now, when he says "You lost more than just the key" I have to wonder, is that Renard being perceptive and used to Wesen, or was that the showrunners with their overall knowledge of what's going on dipping their hand in and giving us a brief foreshadow of his hexen side? Inquiring minds, goddammit!

Adalind is still coming to grips with what happened to her, and gives Renard the perfect opening to be cruel. For all the things he had done to Hank, what he had done to Adalind, I think, rates on roughly the same level, particularly for his more direct cruelty. He spent the past couple of episodes building up her affections and desires for him, only to brush her aside and dismiss her once she can no longer give him what he wants. He makes it blatantly clear that's what he's doing, too. And to add to the harshness, referring to her as "just another pretty girl" and giving her exactly what she wanted when she invited him to call her that, but nothing else. If Adalind doesn't realize that in quite those terms, she does realize that she has nothing from him now, not loyalty, not affection, he's given her nothing. Sasha Roiz does a very good job in this scene of smirking without smirking, giving us the impression of cold hostility and tearing her throat out with his teeth without overt physical indicators. The corners of the mouth slightly upturned but the eyes still with the appropriate creases and narrowness for glaring, the overall facial tension less apparent. Again, contrast cold hostility with heated rage. And Claire Coffee matches him well for it, when we can see her eyes flicking over both him and her mother and their responses to her failure and her loss, realizing that there is no help here, and cringing out with her metaphorical tail between her legs, with very little of her earlier melodramatic expressions.

And after all of this, because we didn't have enough to chew on, they give us a good, clear picture of the map on the Kessler key. It's just big enough that we know it's a map, and just small enough that we can't pinpoint any salient details or even whether or not it's a map of a current location. Bastards.


  1. Excellent episode chewing. I've wondered about that whole half-Hexenbiest thing myself. I just hope the showrunners explain it. This episode in particular gets me thinking about what exactly Renard is trying to do. I just want to know already!

    1. There's so little bloody information in there (pun not intended, now that I think about it) and so much room for speculation based on what they've given us about the world. A and I have a few pet theories, but so far they're only theories. We're hopeful that with family being a big theme for this season, we might get more info!

  2. This is still one of my favorite eps ever, probably because this is as close to the Nick/Adalind hatefucking that I SO WANT as we'll ever get. (I do think Claire Coffee/Adalind brings out some much-needed badassery in David Giuntoli's performance, my own perverse desires aside.)

    I had forgotten how much metaplot hinting went on here, and how much is said without actually conveying any information. DAMN THEM.

    1. Giuntoli and Coffee do have really good chemistry, and since little birds have told us that Adalind's coming back at least once more, hopefully we'll get to see some more of that on screen! (And I can't say I disagree about the badassery. Ahem.)

      This is a HUGE metaplot episode, even though it doesn't entirely seem like it on the surface as much as, say, Cat and Mouse. But it is. And as much as we love chewing the data, it does make us glad we don't have to do this every week. ;)

    2. Yup, can't wait for Adalind's Epic Return! Her character has grown on me immensely, so I'm very interested to see what her next move is. (I'm also speculating wildly about what her Arthurian counterpart might be in the event she sticks around a bit, which is, at this stage, entirely pointless, but I'm having all these Lady Of The Lake feelings, don't mind me)

    3. My problem with Adalind as Lady of the Lake is similar to your problem with Catherine as Morgan: both are characters with a good deal of agency, which is something neither of the Schades has in abundance. Partly that's due to their personal choices, but partly it seems like that's how royals and hexens are supposed to interact in Wesen society. Which, eugh.

      I would actually peg Adalind for Morgause, running on the limited data. At least, potentially. Or, going off Renard-as-Merlin, maybe Nimue. Especially in the versions where she's working at someone else's behest. NEED MORE DATA.

    4. Oh, I'm not suggesting she is the LotL, just, my brain isbtrying to do a thing. It would be interesting if Renard's treatment of her caused her to change allegiances, but that's not going to happen. I would love to talk myself into this thing about how Nick sort of created this version of her and she's a sketchy wildcard BAM MORDRED but obviously no, that character shouldn't show up for ages. My head is just trying to make unnatural things happen.