Beginning with the very first shot of Three Coins in a Fuchsbau, as a matter of fact! We know in retrospect that this is Renard's apartment - more than that, it's his bedside table. And the quote. "For me there are neither locks nor bolts, whatsoever I desire is mine." Originally this seemed ominous but not necessarily more portentous than the ep it's contained within. Now, with all of S1 behind us, I would say that this also foreshadows the fact that nowhere is safe. They hammered this in a psychological sense with Renard possessed by the coins this ep, but then they go on to show it in a more visceral physical sense when Kimura breaks into his apartment in Woman in Black.
Not only is nowhere safe, the coins themselves turn places of sanctuary into hunting grounds. In many respects they're the protagonist of this ep, more than Nick, more than Renard is the deuteragonist. They drive the actions of every single person, and they continue to do so in the background, jumping out into the open every so often. Obnoxious things.
The Coins are working their magic even in the first scene, which ends with guns drawn on all sides. Clearly these are not thieves who would be working together if they felt there was a choice in the matter. And Bertram, the jeweler, wears no wedding ring and by all appearances is a lonely old man. Whether that's part of his nature or an indication of the coins' influence is left to the viewer to parse.
Hank, as is often the case, knows something about the victim of the week. And I'm deeply amused by the use of the term "numismatic," which belies Hank's sometimes very blue-collar attitude. Man's not stupid.
After the initial look at the crime scene, we flip back to our robbers' den, in which nobody trusts anybody. They're all coin-touched, arguing over the lack of the coins in their haul (as we see, Bertram sure had plenty of other coins that were valuable in less magical ways), accusing each other of holding out/teaming up with one of the other robbers. And then Kolt comes in and kills the two hench-robbers. There's a lot of bodies on the ground this episode, and we can safely attribute all of them to the damned coins.
We have mirrors and reflections as a theme in this episode, too, which neatly pulls things together with Catherine and Adalind later on. Soledad morphs with his back to the street, and Nick sees it - which is one of the first times Nick doesn't instantly reveal himself as a Grimm. Probably partly because Soledad's so coin-touched that he doesn't care about his surrounding except inasmuch as they relate to the coins, but also partly because Nick's looking at a reflection of a Wesen's true face instead of the reality of it.
I'm still not sure what the point of the idiot robbers having New York plates is, at least in a Watsonian sense. Surely they've been wandering around other parts of the world looking for the coins in the last 18 years? Like, I dunno, Lisbon, as Soledad says in this next scene. Or Morocco. I would dearly, dearly love to know what traces of the coins were left in those two cities, and who the Stanislavs were (it's not the hench-robbers, their names are Flynn and Roth), but unfortunately we don't get much information. This entire ep is a treasure trove of name and city dropping that I assume will eventually come around to some kind of reveal, but because this is the mid-season finale I expect all of that will take time. (And was written originally on the assumption that it was the S1 finale. I'm desperately curious to know if they would've dragged this plot out over all of S1 had they known they'd get the back 13.)
I adore the ME. Adore. She is the awesomest. Even coin-touched. She objects briefly to Hank taking the coins, but she doesn't seem to be overly pushy, and her argument is eminently logical. One of those standard places you get a tug-of-war between cops and techs. I do wonder what they would've done to her had she kept them, but her association with them isn't long enough for them to take solid hold, it seems. By contrast, Hank is immediately coin-touched, before he ever lays a hand on them. Just looking at the things is enough to make him want them. And also of note, the gloves she's wearing, the gloves Hank's wearing, and the plastic evidence bag Renard touches the coins through? Zey do NUFFINK. I appreciate the consistency even as I facepalm at Renard for thinking a single layer of plastic would help. Assuming he was thinking, and not already coin-touched, the same way Hank only needed to see them to be influenced by them.
I'm perpetually amused by how Marquesa flees the scene while Kolt stands there with his hands up in classic I'm-not-armed position. One of these people is smart despite being coin-touched! The other, not so much. We don't get much out of Marquesa and Kolt's brief interaction, just the end of the interrogation. To Kolt's credit, he seems to be aware that torture doesn't work, and simply holds a gun on Marquesa. A form of psychological torture, certainly; nobody likes having a gun pointed at them for that long. But not physical. The most interesting thing we get out of their interactions, apart from namedropping people and places we still can't tie into other parts of the metaplot, is their body language. Marquesa might or might not be physically stronger than Kolt. He never has a chance to establish that for us. Kolt's authoritative demeanor and cleverness win out.
(It probably makes me a bad person that I wish Kolt and Renard had had a scene together, just so I could watch Kolt crumple under the weight of real authority. Ahem.)
At any rate, Kolt sticks his hands up, but despite presenting as no threat Hank grabs the guy, punches him twice, and throws him to the floor rather than giving Kolt time to react. Very sensibly, Kolt allows himself to be roughed up. Now, I can understand Hank being edgy on account of two dead bodies and no, normally people in a room with two bodies do not just stand there in the I'm-harmless posture and let the cops do their thing. There are many ways in which Kolt is behaving unusually. But Hank's definitely overreacting, too - when you're presented with that kind of situation, you treat it as a trap and are cautious about what's in store. Because frankly, that creepy little half-smile Kolt's got on reminds me of all the serial killers on Criminal Minds who go after first responders and/or set traps for Our Heroes.
I kind of think Kolt lets his game face slip on purpose, here. Either he suspects there's a Grimm in town based on his interrogation of Marquesa, or he knows, or he just wants to see if he can freak Nick out. Regardless of his reasons, Nick definitely reacts, and for the first time we have a Wesen acting as an equal predator to a Grimm. Kolt isn't intimidated, isn't afraid, and seems to only put his human face back on when he feels he's made his point, whatever that is
It's notable that despite Hank's aggressiveness, he still responds to Nick. Because Nick is his partner, and he trusts him even under the coins' influence, probably. And also because they're setting Nick up as a natural leader sort. Hank's not happy about what Nick says, looks like he's going to challenge the orders Nick's giving, but he's still got enough cop instincts left that he knows they make sense. I would guess, actually, that most of the reason Hank's so upset with Nick giving orders is not because the orders don't make sense, nor because the junior partner is taking over, but because he can feel himself changing and he neither understands nor likes it. Normal!Hank would never snap at a beat cop the way he snaps at the guy who tells them they lost Marquesa. He might think it, but he wouldn't say it; the coins clearly encourage people to say things they wouldn't normally in an effort to establish dominance.
And we have a brief interlude where we see how Marquesa gets his cop outfit for later!
First Renard scene, here; Hank is losing more of his self-control to the coins and becoming less concerned about how aggressive he's coming off. Renard comes over, one hand in his pocket, to ask for a briefing in his office on the current case. I'm not sure what the concealment tell is concealing, here - maybe he knew who Bertram was within the Wesen community and has reason to suspect the man was holding some of the coins. Maybe the ME got a chance to take photos of the coins before Hank claimed them for evidence and those were in that file folder he's holding. Regardless, I think we can assume that Renard's heard about the coins and is curious to know if they're what he thinks they are, based on the way he interrupts Hank's retelling of the robbers' den where they found Kolt. Hank is trying to impress Renard - he's not a natural leader, he's a natural second in command, I'd say. Good at making all the day-to-day shit run and leaving the big picture to someone else. So he tries to impress the person he knows is still his superior officer, though if he'd had the coins longer I don't know how long his awareness of the hierarchy would have held.
But it hasn't been that long, and Renard (with both hands in his pockets, now - perhaps also because he knows subconsciously that touching the coins is a bad idea?) raises his voice and comes to loom at Hank. This is more than is required in other episodes when he wants his detectives to do (or stop doing) something, another sign of how powerfully the coins have taken over in no more than a few hours. Hank is reluctant to hand them over, and there's a very slight flinch when Renard takes them. I almost wonder, based on that, if he knows what they'll do to him but believes that he'll be better suited to... not to fight, but to redirect their effects than his men. Of course there's the underlying greed that the coins inspire on top of that, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a large element of Renard protecting Hank from himself in this.
I'll pause to note that this is one of the few times we see Renard's office door closed. I would bet on this being for a couple of reasons: one, Hank's obviously under the coins' influence and Renard's already heard about it. Two, since it's clear that the coins don't require touch to start latching onto people, he probably wants to keep Joe Random cop from walking into the middle of the briefing and staring at the coins. And three, it's preemptive damage control in case the coins inspire him to slip anything he wouldn't normally say. Such as, oh, a conversation in French with an ally.
Renard takes the coins and gives us a brief history lesson on the swastika, for those in the audience who aren't aware that it dates back much further than WWII. He walks back around the desk, to put it between Hank and himself, and Hank and the coins. Not necessarily in that order. Cue more arguing, more posturing, while Nick sits back and is confused about why he's not being affected by these things and really really wants to go spend a few hours researching in Aunt Marie's trailer. I will give him this: for all that he's lousy at asking the right questions of his sentient sources, he's pretty damn good at hitting the books and figuring out what he needs to know. That trailer doesn't look exactly cross-referenced and indexed in any logical fashion - I'd say for all that Aunt Marie's cover was that of a librarian, but I bet it's because of rather than despite.
Although Renard is presumably instantly coin-touched, we don't see it as obviously as we do with everyone else. The coins make people into leaders, something he already is, and he's having to stomp pretty hard on Hank's macho bullshit. In many respects his reaction to Hank's aggressive behavior isn't that much different from normal!Renard. Which should scare you as much as it does me. So. Renard assigns the juicy interview to Nick and sends Hank home to sleep off the effects of the coins. (Does he know that's how it works? Because that's how it seems to, though dawn would be a traditional time for spells/glamours like that to break, so maybe he's just acting off generic knowledge of how this magic shit works. And again I wonder just what his mother taught him, and how Roiz would have played this ep in particular differently had he known about Renard's half-hexen heritage at the time.) Hank, predictably, blusters and is angry about the whole thing, but he's got just enough awareness that Something Is Wrong Here left to accede to Nick's gentle encouragement to go home. It probably helps a whole lot that Nick isn't and can't be touched by the coins (well, can't at least immediately - witness his mother's Gollum look in Bad Teeth and I'm not so sure about that Grimm immunity in the long term). It means that he's not competition, in Hank's eyes, so once Nick gets his attention back from where Renard is staring through his office window, both coin-touched and wondering how badly the coins got to one of his men, it's a pretty easy trick to convince him that this is the smart way to go.
As Hank leaves, we have the Captain with his back to the door, having taken one of the coins out and holding it up for examination. Oh Renard. You're so doomed. But now we have the bit with the Parisian, which is perhaps the most notable thing in this episode. Knowing that he's coin-touched, knowing that it will only get worse, he calls this man. We have no idea who he is, only that Renard trusts him and that they're both using the vous-form with each other. So they're not intimates, but they do have mutual respect. The Parisian has his blatant establishing shot of the Eiffel Tower and it looks to be about mid-morning there, maybe somewhere between 8 and 10. Which serves two purposes: it establishes that the Parisian is a man of some leisure and wealth (as you would expect out of one of Renard's allies/equals) and it establishes just how late it is in Portland - somewhere between 11 and 1 at night. Adjust to be slightly earlier (but only slightly since it's full dark in Portland and has been for awhile) if this is taking place in summer, and slightly later if it's taking place in winter. Regardless of the exact time, it's a very late night at the precinct.
Of major note here? This guy has no ring. HE HAS NO RING. All the Royals have rings. ALL OF THEM. Even the stooge in Quill. I know this is the first European contact of Renard's we see, but I do not for a minute believe they forgot to give him a ring. WHO THE FUCK IS THIS GUY IF HE'S NOT A ROYAL AND WHY DOES HE RATE RENARD'S RESPECT. Five minutes with Kitty and the show runners. This is all I ask. Seriously.
The Parisian's phone is smaller, too. A flip-phone, possibly of the razor-thin vintage, but it's not cutting edge. His pajamas are... I think the robe is a terrycloth corduroy, and it's not easy to see for sure but I think the pajamas are simply high-quality cotton. This is not, in short, a man who feels the need to impress anyone with his wealth when he's alone. Or he has limited means, which as one of Renard's allies is always possible, but since he has numerous other wealth markers I'm going with old, legitimate money, as opposed to Renard's potentially well-laundered hush money from the Families.
(Fuck, you guys, this is the first ep we get a look at Renard's condo. Do you KNOW how long this post is going to be? I just realized.)
At any rate, they have a brief conversation. Renard may not talk to this guy often, but he doesn't need to identify himself by name; presumably as with Catherine later on, Renard's not listed in the Parisian's contacts (or vice verse, we never see if Renard dials a full number or not). It keeps them safer, providing at least a thin layer of plausible deniability. Unlike several other conversations, Renard does not drop out of French at any point. It's possible this is because the Parisian isn't fluent enough in English or, more likely, it's because he respects the Parisian enough to use French throughout. The subtitles are pretty accurate here, so I'm not going to go over this again except to note changes in vocal inflections. The Parisian's voice sharpens, gets concerned and wary and any number of other such things when Renard mentions the coins of Zakynthos by name. He clearly feels obligated to give Renard the warning and just as clearly is resigned to losing Renard to the coins' influence, there's a tiny shift in his shoulders that's almost but not quite a shrug or a sigh on those lines. (And there's a followup phone call I would kill to be a fly on the wall for.) Renard's "Je serai tout bien" is... a little bit resigned, a little bit anticipatory, and by now the anticipation is starting to outweigh the resignation. Bad news for our Captain. He ends the call, hard to be sure if that's because he's cutting off the lecture or because there's really nothing more to say. I would bet more on the former than the latter, though we don't see the Parisian try to call back to restart the lecture, so either he did and the writers didn't consider it important enough to put in or he didn't because he knows Renard well enough to know it would be futile. Again, Vegas money's on the latter.
On to Nick's interrogation of Kolt! "Imagine my surprise. I thought you were just a cop." That dry delivery, that look down? I can't quite bring myself to believe that this guy didn't at least suspect something was out of the ordinary; after all, we never see for ourselves what Marquesa told Kolt in that, what, half hour? Hour? Before the cops showed up at the house. Kolt gives Nick information right away, playing the cooperative witness who's not guilty of anything no really officer. (I just want to say, if I'd had as many opportunities as Nick to shred him? OH BOY WOULD I HAVE. I'm not as good a person as Nick. At all.) We get Ian Flynn, Irish by way of Berlin (hi Germany, you keep cropping up) and Hans Roth the Austrian, and Soledad Marquesa the Spaniard. Thank you, Kolt, for catching Nick up to the audience in 25 words or less. And Kolt is just... god he's creepy. Leaning forward, trying to pull Nick into his confidence, legs spread, sitting sideways at his ease. "It would be good if we could talk off the record." He's familiar with police SOP, and not at all worried about it. In point of fact, he's using what he knows about Nick to pull him in, and in. To Nick's credit, he recognizes what's going on at first, and pulls back from it. No, he doesn't want to know what other Grimm led you here, Kolt, he knows the only other Grimm who's been in town recently. Talk about the current case.
A lot of Kolt's mannerisms are very birdlike, especially but not limited to bird of prey. It's a nice bit of acting and directing that combines Welliver's nose, the way he moves his head, and the camera set about at table level. Nick just rolls his eyes; he's used to long stories by now, and Kolt becomes Mr. Exposition. I'm still not sure how much of that is accurate, how much is accurate so far as Kolt knows, and how much is made up to get Nick's attention, but I think most of it falls in the first two categories. Getting Nick's attention is more a case of dangling his family history in front of him. We've got Greek coins, with a Nemean lion and a swastika. It's worth noting here that slaying the Nemean lion was the first of Heracles' labors; we'll have to keep an eye out for the others turning up in some fashion throughout the show. I'm not sure what to make of Kolt going on about the fur and claws of the lion, since the coins don't appear to yield any physical protection, unless you count the charismatic aura they're supposed to lend.
We pause here to note that the ME and Hank really weren't that charismatic. That comes later.
The coins go from the Greek empire to the Romans, with Kolt listing specifically Claudia, Caligula, and Nero. Which is not, actually, in the order they ruled (that would be Caligula, Claudius, Nero), and come to that Claudius is far more of a mixed bag of traits than Caligula and Nero's outright, well-documented insanity. He probably wasn't fit to rule, but Claudius was simply unlucky enough to be sandwiched between two of the most well-known Roman tyrants. I'll grant that Claudius had some kind of clear disability according to multiple biographers, but he wasn't known for possessing the sheer magnetic crazy that the other emperors were. Over to the Han dynasty, with no further details, until Kolt explains that oh yes, by the way, Hitler had these. Whether or not Kolt knows more, this is the part that hooks Nick - it'd hook most people, to be fair, WWII has a mythic quality about it as the last war the US fought it that was clearly good against evil, or so it's presented these days. (The reality is different, of course; all countries commit atrocities in war, and WWII was no exception. Ever heard of the firebombings? But that's neither here nor there right now.) And as Kolt talks, we get a sense of Nick's ancestors as being in a faraway time - rather odd, when he's just finished explaining where the coins went less than a century ago.
At any rate, surprise, Nick! Being a Grimm has some upsides. Of course, the downside is that as keeper of the coins people are going to try to kill you. More than they already are. Have fun with that. Kolt begins to lay out the story for Nick, which we now know is largely fabricated. I still can't tell, and this really bugs me, if Kolt knows that Kelly Burkhardt is still alive and he's looking away in genuine grief, or if that's apparent grief used to shield his tells. (Kitty adds: You know, that WOULD suck, if he knew Kelly was still alive and that Marie was choosing to run off and do things that didn't involve him.) Or if he's hiding something else, like already suspecting who Nick is. Nick knows the second he hears the words "eighteen years," of course, and doesn't want to admit it to himself. Not that I can entirely blame him. And that last look Kolt gives him - if he didn't know or suspect before, he certainly does now. Mostly because Nick is really bad at hiding strong emotion, especially when it comes to family.
So Nick gets up, starts pacing, and he's not quite come around to what we all know already, I think, as far as Kolt being coin-touched. Because he's upset, it's late, he's not thinking clearly, and here comes Wu with a convenient distraction. One of the officers hasn't reported back from the crime scene at the house, and they can guess that Marquesa's happened to him, though perhaps not why just yet. And Nick has a moment of "aw fuck" when he realizes the Captain's trying to take the coins to evidence (or saying he will) and not going to do it. Unfortunately there's not much he can do right now without seriously breaking chain of command and raising eyebrows.
Nick looks at the news story on his parent's death (that single possessive is on purpose ahem), the ME experiences the horror story of all women walking out to their cars alone late at night, and we have Serious Trailer Research. Of note, High German is... well, there is no singular High German, but I can appreciate them not playing around with that for simplicity's sake. In general, however, High German dialects are spoken in central and southern Germany (the Black Forest, anyone?), Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the portions of the Netherlands and Belgium which border central-southern Germany, the Alsace-Lorraine area of France, and a few other places. The old historical forms are Old High and Middle High German, and I would bet you good money that this is written in Old High if it's one of the medieval dialects. Unfortunately Monroe's accent is terrible and my German isn't good enough (nor is my memory of my Swiss friend from high school fresh enough) to tell you if that really is an older written dialect. It is, however, definitely German!
I love that Monroe gives Nick so much shit about his ancestors. Yes, Nick, these accounts are heavily biased. You expected usefulness? No no, you have to be a good researcher and try to parse the truth out of the bias. Good luck with that. Also I'm deeply amused and I think it's safe to assume that there's some crass joke in there about Steinadlers having dick-measuring contests. And who thinks that Monroe's tendency to talk constantly about his family is going to eventually come around to bite someone in the ass pretty soon? I mean, I get the impression most of them aren't wider blutbaden, and several are dead, but I don't expect all of them are by a long shot.
Nick talks to Juliette about his concerns, albeit in the broadest of senses, which is one of the smartest things he's done with her all season. Yes. Talk to your girlfriend, Nick, bring her in on at least some of what's going on, and stop shutting her out of your life. See how happy she is that you're telling her things? Grumblemutter I want the damn Scooby gang already.
And finally, what you've all been waiting for: naked Renard! For awhile we wondered if this isn't just shirtless Renard, but you can see blurry hip and thigh as the camera pans up from the coins in his hand, so: naked it is! It took us some poking to figure out where the hell he is in this clip, because there are so few visual cues, but we finally determined it's the living room. When we get into frame-by-frame analysis of Renard's condo in a bit I'll point out exactly where he must be standing. For now, I'll just note that we've got the balcony doors off to his right and behind him, the top of a fireplace, a probably-Renaissance era painting of a noble in red (sadly, the gender cues are lacking from the part we can see). Another painting, this one more abstract, several lamps/wall sconces which all match. (I swear that looks like Pier One. Renard, do you shop at Pier One? Really? Isn't that a little gauche?) Some kind of table or mantel, and the bigass mirror our Captain is staring at his naked self in. For all that this is the scene for fangirl drooling, there's not actually a lot of content. It's the requisite This Person Is Crazy And Possessed By The Coins Now, See? scene. I do find it curious that he seems to only be holding two of the coins when they have three, but it's possible that it's just hiding somewhere in Roiz's ginormous hand.
Most of what I'm curious about with this scene has to do with how Roiz would have played it differently had he known about Renard's hexen side at the time. SO CURIOUS. As it is, the mirror's a hint toward that, taking Catherine's house into account from later in the season. Remember how I said mirrors and reflections were important in this episode? Well, there you go.
Interlude with Marquesa and the ME, while he acquires the necessary information and, lucky for her, opts not to shoot her when he realizes people are still around. People are always around, dude, it's a morgue. Not like that, either, morgue docs keep weird hours, it's not like death gets a holiday.
So. Renard's condo, the bedroom. The sheets are high quality... either cotton or silk, I'm guessing cotton. Again, it looks like that kind of expensive, all matching pillows-shams-comforter-sheets set. He sleeps sprawled in the center of the bed, telling us for certain that the wedding ring is for a wife he doesn't see regularly (assuming she's still alive) - anyone who sleeps next to another person on a regular basis will migrate to their preferred side of the bed. Despite that, he has two bedside tables and lamps, again with the matchy-matching. Silk pajamas, at a guess, or so we're supposed to believe. Books on both the bedside tables, one of them open, all of them the kind of old books that are designed to show off the owner's wealth and erudition. Now, I absolutely believe that Renard reads these books as well as showing them off, because there's no reason for one of them to be open in his bedroom if he's showing off. In the living room, yes, that would make sense. Still, there aren't any dog-eared paperbacks or anything else less high-brow, which goes to show how attached he is to things of the past and things which demonstrate his wealth and power. On anyone with less gravitas, it would be an atrocious display of nouveau riche behavior. Kitty suggests that those are books from his childhood, and I can't disagree.
We move from there to a shot of the main living area. He's got a layout I would kill for, but a kitchen that's more showroom than workplace. Which isn't to say it couldn't be used, but I'd have to break it in. Look, it offends me, okay? He has humongous ceilings, appropriate to the penthouse condo, which also serve to make him look almost normal-person sized. The sectional couch is just as huge, and frankly looks like it would be uncomfortable for sitting or sleeping on. Bigass leather armchair. None of this furniture looks broken in much, though admittedly Renard is only one person and I would be surprised if he entertained guests of his own volition on a regular basis. More abstract art, a sideboard table with a lamp and a variety of vases and knick-nacks which I think is the most personal touches we've seen so far in his place. The kitchen light above the island is on, and it is again in Cat and Mouse before he's ever in the condo, so I would guess Renard leaves that on to see where he's going. The entry hallway is, as we later see, long and dimly lit, so that would make sense both from a Watsonian level and the Doylist needs of the film crew. The coffee table is glass, fairly modern design, with more books on it, and as we pan around we can see that one of the photos of his daughter and/or wife is lurking on that sideboard.
Panning around further, we see that there are actually two leather armchairs flanking a lamp - an interesting choice for a solitary man. More art, the one off in that corner looks like maybe a landscape of some kind but it's too dark to be sure. We're coming at this whole shot from roughly the same area Renard was standing in earlier, which... actually gives us a mirror's eye view of him, now that I think about it. Oh you clever bastards. Bigass area rug covering the hardwood floors (drool) from I would guess about couch to shortly in front of the mirror, and that's a more subtle sign of wealth, because even if it isn't a super-expensive one (it probably is), those things ain't cheap. Another table, another lamp, and the place STILL doesn't look crowded with all this stuff, do you notice? (Though I would also note in comparison to my own place that there aren't bookshelves lining the walls quite so thoroughly, which would make the rooms feel smaller.)
Out to the balcony, where it becomes blatantly obvious (if it wasn't before) that this is a dream. Renard is barefoot, lit in a faintly orange light. We don't see or hear much of what the crowd is chanting - we're not supposed to. The Nemean Lion is present on the flags, l'or sur azur, for those of you keeping track of your heraldry. He lifts his arms and smirks and that is not a smirk I would want directed at me, ever. There's a reason Kitty and I call this the "all shall love me and despair" shot. I also feel like the crowd is in some kind of a pattern, but I can't make it out, so I'll note it for others as obsessive as I to stare at and try to parse. Contrary to other shots where Renard is half in light and half in shadows but it's split down his face, this shot of him has his eyes on up in shadow, perhaps a deliberate message of what would happen were his vision to come true.
Unlike in many movies when coming awake suddenly after a dream or a nightmare, Renard merely tenses and opens his eyes. Thank you for that, writers. In all seriousness. He sits up, clearly discomfited by something about the dream but I'm not sure what. There's so much in there to be concerned about. In retrospect, knowing about the deleted scenes in Game Ogre, I wonder if a little voice in the back of his head was telling him that in previous fantasies about this, it was the Florence flag people were waving. I don't know. But he's upset, he looks around, we see that there are more windows off to his left so presumably his bedroom is on the same side of the condo as the kitchen/living room. Or, y'know, penthouse, there are windows like that on all exterior rooms. And then he looks, checks, for the coins, and in this shot (remember it from the opening?) we see clearly that there are three coins. So I don't know why I could only see two in the naked mirror scene before. We also see, and this is incredibly interesting, that he takes his rings off to sleep. BOTH his rings, the royal and the wedding. Now, I will grant that sometimes I go to bed not wearing my rings, but I also know that I am in an extreme minority because I use my hands all the damn time when I'm in the apartment, so I leave them on my desk rather than deal with wear and tear. So this is quite unusual. The badge on his bedside table, nah, that's normal. And I assume he puts his gun in a gun safe when he's at home and has reason to believe he's safe there. So that's THAT scene. Moving on, finally!
It's the next day! Hank and Nick meet at the precinct, talk over the case. Hank greets Nick with coffee, a peace offering. And he does know that he has the capability to push the limits of acceptable force as a cop. "I know I go to the edge sometimes, but I almost never go over." Because, as I mentioned in the post on him, he's set himself up to be in a place where people will call him out before he does, and he's got people he trusts to do exactly that around him. Nick's just relieved that a night's sleep seems to have broken the coins' influence on his partner, not least since if he's thinking about this at all, he should know that they'll have to deal with their captain pretty soon. They get the hotel room, head out to go look at Marquesa's new hangout.
Enter the Captain! I want to say he's being the Prince here because of body language, except that his body language is far more military than we ever see it when Renard is being the Prince. Extremely crisp, precise, and we're forcefully reminded with this imagery of him walking in in full dress uniform that all the people Kolt listed to Nick earlier? They were conquerors. Military ones. He comes into the precinct, heads straight for his office, and this much, at least, hasn't changed: Renard's motions and words are carefully chosen, but chosen decisively. He runs his hand over his hair after taking his hat off, both in case of hat-hair and that is, again, one of those little self-soothing grooming gestures. Normally it would be his tie, but I can see how that would shift in full dress.
Nick and Hank in the hotel room, after Marquesa's headed out to the precinct and, though he doesn't yet know it, the mandatory press conference. They get two letters, one in German that we will test our translation abilities on later, and one in English. For those of you who don't know the German in the English letter offhand, the Kehlsteinhaus is the Eagle's Nest, which I'm sure rings many more bells as Hitler's chalet in the southeastern corner of Germany, taken by... well, several divisions argue for the honor, the Grimm writers have assigned it to the 101st Airborne. And yes, the approximate date of Allied forces taking the Kehlsteinhaus is also correct. Props to the props department. Three of ten supposed coins, which Allied Headquarters and what vault where are left for us to guess. Gold, arsenic, and mercury, and I pause here to note that sudden changes in behavior are features of both arsenic and mercury poisoning. I somehow doubt it's just that at work with these coins, though. Just a hunch.
For the benefit of those of us who don't watch and rewatch these eps obsessively, Hank goes ahead and reads it aloud. Poor Hank, his well-shit expression is kind of priceless here. And Nick is more than willing to let him assume that it was the poisons in the coins responsible for his behavior; perhaps partly because he doesn't have any data to suggest otherwise for sure. "Pumped, possessed, like a man on fire." This is not good news, you guys, and finally the coin penny drops for Nick: the Captain was supposed to take them to evidence, but did he? And Hank immediately feels kinship, sympathy, if Renard's been sucked into the coins' influence. Because he knows how fucked up he felt last night, and he doesn't want to think about prolonged exposure.
Good Nick. Have a cookie for digging through those annoying badly organized evidence boxes to see if your Captain did what he was supposed to do, by some miracle. And hey presto, look, it's another of those goddamn Nemean lions on the inside of the lead-lined box! The evidence cop's attitude is also very telling - granted, the kind of person who ends up on permanent evidence duty is the kind of person likely to take any excuse for something new and interesting when it comes up. But still, he's jumping before asking Renard how high, because that's the kind of boss Renard is. He doesn't command often, so when he does, nobody questions what's going on.
The truly terrifying part about this ep is the speech. Renard is an excellent orator, as you would expect, and he's probably only saying what he already believes. If we didn't already have a ton of markers for Renard coming from old money and aristocracy, this speech alone would tell us. Let's go through a few choice tricks, just because watching Renard in full dress uniform is such a hardship. "The war against crime and criminal behavior cannot be waged without hating the elements of our society which allow that enemy to exist." Oh he's clever. And the coins are, too, because I'm fairly certain Renard would not naturally say that he viewed something as a war. But it's a classic politician/leader trick, us-against-them. He starts easily enough, crime and criminal behavior, which is a neat trick separating out the acts from the person. Hate the sin, love the sinner, and I bet there's some of that religious upbringing coming out to play with his rhetoric here, purely on instinct.
You would expect him to perhaps go on to list some of those elements. Poverty, discrimination, social injustice of all kinds. Something like that would, at least, be where I would go if I were making a speech like this. But then I'm not a good speechwriter or orator. Instead, Renard lists "an epidemic of moral degradation," "all those influences which are trying to weaken the very fabric of our society," "that line has been crossed." Note how very, very careful he is not to actually say anything about what morals he favors, what those influences are, or what line exactly has been crossed. Making statements without actually saying anything, and doing it in a sufficiently authoritative manner that nobody stops to ask him just what he means by all this. It's a classic piece of blustering propaganda, all style and no substance. Not, actually, at all what we've come to expect of our Captain. But he pulls it off with such panache... here, let me give you the last bit. "Every last citizen who has ever had the misfortune of being terrorized in their streets and in their businesses and in their homes. It ends here, and it ends now. Thank you." Note the use of rule of three, followed by the emphatic repetition of "it ends." That second one is again not a trick a monolingual American English speaker would use naturally, but it comes easily to Renard. So do the hand gestures, pointing. Again, firm and authoritarian. He is in control, and you should trust him. We get one truly creepy shot of the upwards angle meant to invoke power, what might be a slight fishbowl lens, it's the kind of shot that goes either with being lifted into heaven or people jackbooting down halls. The light surrounding him, edged and enhanced by the window frame, does not help. That first "thank you" comes almost before the applause, as he reads the mood of the crowd and wraps up. And just to hammer the rule of three in some more, there are three thank yous.
While this is a classic politician's speech, and not something Renard would do outside the influence of the coins? (He does, of course, give press conferences for the sake of keeping himself between the media and his men on high-profile cases, and I daresay that quite frequently he ends up saying a whole lot of nothing. But that's to a different purpose than this self-aggrandizing press conference.) He's doing this on pure reflex. I'm quite sure he had no notes on that podium, it's just a thing for him to stand behind because it's Traditional. We know from last night's naked mirror staring contest and subsequent dream that the coins are already addling his wits, so Renard is just running on instinct and years of training. Which is goddamn impressive, as attested by the fresh young faces of all the uniformed officers glowing with inspiration and admiration for their captain.
Of course, quite sensibly the media's first question as we go from public press conference to followup in Renard's office is "Is this speech intended to launch a political career?" Well, yes. If the coins have anything to say about it yes, yes it is. Poor Renard. And just to underscore how much the coins have changed him, when Nick and Hank come up to him looking worried and underslept, he passes them off with an "alright, I'm busy" and shuts the door in their faces. This is not the Renard who takes care of his men and listens to them when they have issues and trusts that if they're interrupting a press conference it's damn important. This Renard would rather worry about his potential political career than listen to his cops - not the mark of a good cop. Not the mark of someone who understands that power is built slowly, with favors traded and markers owed, and best wielded decisively but carefully.
Hank and Nick know what's up, and I really have to wonder what Hank makes of all this. Though I suppose he's writing it off as the arsenic and mercury causing personality changes, but frankly they don't usually work that fast and mercury's the one with any notable personality changes. Then again, Hank might not know that, and might be willing to handwave it after having been under the coins' influence himself. I expect that this is one more crack in the wall of Hank's disbelief that comes crashing down at the end of S1/beginning of S2, though.
We pause to note Juliette's research into Kolt's paid off. Also, she says five years in Rhinebeck, "the same exact time you were there," implying that Nick and his parents moved there when he was, what, about 7? From somewhere else. I wonder just how often he did move, in his childhood, both before and after the car crash. At any rate, that's a sidenote, mostly for our own benefit so that whenever we manage to work up a damn timeline for this show we have that to come back to.
In the wake of the press conference the precinct feels abuzz with new fervor. Inspired, no doubt, by that speech. Nick goes to deal with his Wesen contact of the week, leaving Hank to let him know if the Captain moves at all so they can go... well, they probably have no real idea what, other than try to chase him down and get the coins away from him somehow. They're pretty obviously playing this by ear, but it's one of the moments where they're in good sync with each other after Hank starts to suspect there's more to this weird shit than he can explain away with science and logic.
Nick talking to Kolt! And showing his hand more than I'd consider advisable, oh Nick. I have to assume they kept Kolt in jail overnight until ballistics came back to clear him of involvement with the shooting of the hench-robbers. This is one of the... gentler scenes with Kolt, it doesn't have much to do with the coins at first, and he's obviously playing would-have-been-uncle to Nick. That it works doesn't surprise me; Nick's lacked a male role model in his life since he was twelve and we can see hints of the lost twelve-year-old that just lost both his parents throughout these scenes. The impressive part to me is that despite all these disparate elements, the whole ep hangs together. Nick spends some time trying to figure out if he can trust Kolt, I spend some time twitching at Titus Welliver's birdlike gestures with his head, and then Kolt drops the bombshell that Marquesa was in some way involved with the murders in Rhinebeck. I would note here that unless there's something weird about the way Wesen age (other than the Spinnetods), that would put Marquesa as at most mid to late 20s at the time of his involvement with trying to get the coins for the first time. He was... infected, sure, we'll go with that. And then Nick gets the phone call that Marquesa's masquerading as a cop and we get a classic oh-shit moment. At this point I can sort of see Nick's reasoning in letting Kolt out - he knows about the coins, he hasn't shown as many signs of being coin-touched as other people, and unlike Marquesa he hasn't killed any cops recently. And allies who know about the Wesen world and the coins and are capable of working within/understanding a cop hierarchy are kind of thin on the ground.
(Plus it lets Nick give Kolt plenty of rope to hang himself with later.)
Marquesa knocks out the power, leaving us with backup generators and your standard creepy horror movie affect. Yay!
Renard is still not saying anything about what the changes will be or what effect they might have. Such a good politician. Also, heh, I really wonder how he handled that meeting with the mayor. Initial cancellation due to being attacked by some random felon, sure, but the mayor could reasonably expect this to make Renard more determined to have this conversation. So that's another of those post-ep conversations I want to be a fly on the wall for. You can see the uniformed officers hanging around, kind of keeping an eye on their captain and definitely eavesdropping, and in contrast to the previous wide-eyed inspired looks, these guys are in the gossiping stage. What's going to happen, what brought this on, he's behaving really oddly. I would guess, anyway.
Hank takes advantage of Renard leaving and the distraction afforded by the events of the afternoon and slips in to check the desk for the coins. Though I think he already suspects he's not going to find them, he has to make sure. Blinds go closed, and this should really tip the rest of the precinct off if they weren't too busy gossiping and/or doing their jobs. We get a clear shot of the bars across that one window, which we just got an exterior shot of in Quill, and then a better look than we've gotten before of that back table. This is the ep where Kitty and I were finally sure (it's at 37:51 for those of you who want to play along at home, but it's awfully blurry) that that was a black-and-white baby picture back there, just to the left of the eagle. Hank does a quick but thorough, precise search of Renard's desk, and as he expects doesn't find anything. He's got a lousy damn poker face at being caught out when Nick opens the door, which I think in this instance is more testament to how uncomfortable Hank is with the whole situation. The whole thing takes about 40 seconds, yes, I timed it because I'm that much of a geek. And while a lot can happen in 40 seconds, it's also more than possible to cut down that lead if you're in a hurry - as these three are. Whereas Renard is moving with that same deliberate, almost military step.
Renard does, to his credit, take the giant fucking clue of THE LIGHTS BEING OUT to recognize that something's wrong. He's not as far gone as all that, doesn't think he's untouchable by virtue of his position or power or something like that. But he doesn't draw his gun, and he probably should, even though he's in what should be a safe place. It takes Kolt, Nick, and Hank about 20 seconds to get downstairs, which is about right for being in a hurry but not wanting to draw attention. And then Kolt's eyes do that creepy yellow thing and you know, I'm not certain he doesn't mean he as in Renard as in the person with the coins. Regardless, following Renard will lead them to Marquesa and the coins both, so it's mainly an academic question of just what is Kolt tracking. I think I've given away my bias by saying what rather than whom, though.
Nick probably knows that Kolt isn't going to stay put, but he's damn well going to buy himself time because Kolt's playing the part of a supposedly cooperative civilian so far, and he's smart enough not to totally blow cover until the fighting starts. Renard is sufficiently out of it, despite what remains of his cop instincts, that he doesn't see the dark figure sneaking up to smack him with a tire iron until after Nick shouts the warning. He turns, and the camera turns with him to watch Marquesa catch him a somewhat less solid blow than he might otherwise have. Marquesa begins to roll Renard while he's still disoriented, looking for the coins, while Nick and Hank advance in good cop formation, flanking each other. Marquesa turns and fires and despite being coin-touched and down from a blow to the head, Renard manages to grab his gun arm and shove his aim off. And that, by now, is nothing but habit and reflex. Marquesa has to take a second to hit Renard again and make sure he stays down for longer, but that gives Hank and Nick time to break to either side and take cover. Good, good instincts and training all around.
And then we have Kolt running into the middle of the firefight, and maybe if you're an optimist you think he's coming to drag Renard out of the line of fire but no. No way, he's definitely doing that, but only so he himself has the space to rifle through Renard's coat and take the coins for himself. Meanwhile, Hank finally gets in a lucky shot (at these angles, in this lighting? I'm calling it luck) and takes Marquesa down, so we can have the dramatic demanding a deathbed confessional that never happens bit. Poor Nick. Someday someone will give him straight answers about what happened in Rhinebeck and why. Lord knows his mother sure hasn't yet. And we see how powerful the coins' hold on people is, because all Marquesa wants is to hold them before he dies. I wonder how long he had them. And then finally we see Renard as... un-Captainly and un-Princely as we ever do, but it's hard to say if any of that bears any resemblance to Renard the man, since he's still so coin-touched. Someone, somewhere said that he looks like nothing so much as a junkie looking for his fix that's been stolen, and they're not wrong.
Last couple scenes! This is definitely some of Nick at his best, lurking in the hotel room for Kolt, anticipating that he'll have to do some form of violence but choosing to hit him rather than shoot him. Doing his job, both as a cop and a Grimm, because in this case the coins aren't safe to be on the streets in either instance. It's just that the Grimm understands why. And last, we have a moment of Nick staring at a coin and we have to wonder if he's being influenced (especially given Kelly's appearance later). We get the impression maybe it's... I dunno, whispering to him? It's a very Frodo-with-the-One-Ring shot. But he shakes it off, puts the coins away, and Ominous Hitler-Schakale Is Ominous.
Most of what I'm left wondering about this ep is: how long is enough exposure to the coins of Zakynthos for them to be the driving goal in your life? And do we need to worry about our dear Captain, as the person with the longest direct exposure, or Nick, with a good four months of on-and-off exposure while he did research in the trailer? Lastly, just what was Kolt lying about, and how much? He was lying his birdbrained ass off to Nick this entire episode, but he was lying about so much (and coin-touched on top of it) that it's difficult to tell which bits might have been true. I do, for example, think he knew Marie Kessler at some point and in some way, but I seriously doubt it was as he described it. And Nick didn't ask his mother (on-screen, at least) when he saw her at the beginning of the current season, so any further knowledge on that is still dangling out of our grasp.