Friday, October 12, 2012

Captain's Log, Supplemental (part 2 of 2)

Our second part of the supplemental log picks up right after the mid-season finale. Bearing in mind, therefore, that our Captain is coming off the effects of being coin-touched and likely to be crankier, warier, and overall less happy than usual, let's dive right in. This is a strange enough case that Nick and Hank bring it straight to the Captain, because, as he says, human lipids? Are you sure? Again with the BLATANTLY OBVIOUS Wesen cases. I still want to know how Renard's shuffling those off to Nick, since for a Watsonian explanation that's the only thing I can come up with. He's covering throughout this scene, though his stance isn't as uncomfortable as it sometimes is when he's dealing with Wesen cases. Whoever this is, Renard has no contact with them and no more vested interest than normal in ensuring the safety of both human and Wesen citizens in his city. In fact, it seems likely that he wants Nick to fulfill the stereotypical enforcer role of a Grimm in this instance, since there's no indication that this was anything other than a flat-out murder. I wonder how well Wesen/Royal society in general tolerates Damonfeuers, since at least this pair are really ill-suited for human society. I also caught a tiny, tiny continuity error (though I suppose it's possible Roiz shifted hands during the split-second camera pan), in that Renard's left hand goes into his pocket on the "human lipids, are you sure?" question, only to be seen holding the paperwork as he stands behind his desk. And then his right hand's in his pocket as he holds the arson investigator's report, which, points for consistent characterization! And now you all know the depths of our obsession and may sigh at us or nod knowingly.

Renard goes very still when Hank says they're investigating it as a homicide; I would guess because he's wondering how Nick brought his partner around to that point of view without letting him in on the whole Wesen thing. Or if Hank is in on it already, which could spoil certain upcoming plans Renard has in mind. The muttered "makes a lot of sense" at the end is a joke in dry Renard fashion on two levels: the usual cop snark, and the Prince knowing what this is and being annoyed at a Damonfeuer in his city.

Because the majority of this ep is taken up by Nick and Juliette's relationship and her subsequent kidnapping, we only get one more Renard scene. Again he's the Captain, again his hand(s) stay in his pocket(s) for virtually the entire scene. I'm sure that, if he grew up at court, he heard all the stories about Damonfeuers and what they were capable of. Contrary to other episodes where we come to understand that the Wesen as depicted in the Grimm journals aren't the same as the ones Nick encounters, Ariel is as bad, if somewhat diminished. Her morals are not even close to human morals, certainly not enough to make her safe in mixed human-Wesen society. Judging by the tension Renard's carrying this ep, probably not all leftover from the coins, I would say this is a species trait rather than a family one. Pun intended. In the second Renard scene, he's mostly there to facilitate communication between arson and homicide/robbery, ensuring that everyone's on the same page. I would guess that with younger, less experienced cops, he does a fair amount of translating one department's jargon into another's. With this group, he's mostly nudging here and there, looking for how well Fred knows the terrain, seeing what the VA knows about the suspect. I wonder if some of the questioning, some of the tension, is because Renard has military experience; Kitty and I have hypothesized that he may have been trained within the Verrat but that seems an even less healthy system than the US military. And last but not least, Renard wants to know what Hank saw as far as Wesen behavior, to see if he has to plant the seeds of doubt in Hank's mind. Having Hank go crazy in that way is exactly not what he needs right now, but as it turns out that's not necessary. Renard knows what's going on, and he waits to ask the question until Nick's distracted on the phone. Because he's a good Captain and interested in random little details of these cases, I'd assume Hank never says anything to Nick about "oh, the Captain was asking about..." thereby rendering it harder for Nick to draw any conclusions about Renard's shady behavior.

And then he disappears off the screen and we're kept busy for a few episodes analyzing his family, his motivations, and the truly ridiculous number of plots he's juggling, until we get to Leave it to Beavers. Also known as the return of Earless! YAY EARLESS. I'm still disappointed that that right ear in the box wasn't Earless' other ear, maybe that was meant to be his left ear and it was a mis-set. I look so you don't have to. I'm giving that way. We have one short scene with Renard this ep, which is one of those that only gives way to questions about where he was the rest of the time and what he's been up to. It's safe to say that he's been dealing with fallout from Love Sick and Cat and Mouse, but since we don't catch any glimpses of that we can only speculate on what form that took. And we never do learn if he knew about the Reaper pair in town, and if not why not. If he did know I think our safest bet is that he was letting it be and seeing if Nick could handle them on his own, both as a test and as a method of preserving his secrecy. If he didn't... well, it's possible that the Reapers figured out what or who tipped him off last time and took measures to get around that, it's just that I really want to know all about Renard's network of contacts and/or subjects within Portland. Sadly, that's something the writers are (quite rightly) leaving to our imaginations to fill in for the moment.

The scene itself shows us a Renard that's even more tense than he was in the wake of Three Coins, if that's possible. He's harried, dealing with offscreen issues, and he's pissed about this murder that any cop can tell is the guy's friends covering for him but it's not enough to issue any kind of a warrant. He's also, tellingly, nearly as pissed at the witness as at the case itself. "When push comes to shove, he won't come forward. What kind of person is this?" Renard values people who stand up for what they believe in, even - especially - when it's uncomfortable and dangerous. In the wake of Cat and Mouse I would venture a guess that the reminder of the difference between what the Verrat claims to believe and what they actually do is weighing on him, making him less inclined to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. We can also see how tired he is and how much he's hiding in the way his hands stay in his pockets and the way he doesn't give any specific directions to try looking. Put some more people on this, indeed. Normally he'd have a suggestion, something that maybe Hank and Nick haven't seen yet. Often but not always knowledge coming from his extensive knowledge of the Wesen world, both in general and in Portland. But here, he's flinging a file down in disgust - the messiest we've seen him be with paperwork - and giving his men vague instructions.

And I still do NOT know what levers Nick pulled to find an address for those heads. Nick, did you misuse police resources?

Look, it's the ep that feels like it was dropped on our heads from some other show! Seriously, Happily Ever Aftermath is one of the strangest eps in this season, but it has my very favorite Renard expression, so we're doing it. You all know the one I mean. I'd cover the odds and ends of data that Nick pulls up on Marquesa and Kimura, except that plotline is now as resolved as we're going to get it for the time being.

We start with a shot of Renard being watchful and lurky in the observation room while Nick and Hank interrogate the family friend. Excuse me, interview. He's shot once again to emphasize his height and size, hands in his pockets. And though the coins and the people who killed Reid Burkhardt run through this ep, Renard's never directly mentioned or seen associated with them this time. He's just... there. Being mysterious and large and lurky, like he does. Most of his motivation as far as the MOW goes is directly related to trying to keep the Masq in place, poor guy. Not that Nick helps. He checks on that first during the walk-and-talk before he ever asks about suspects, which should tip Nick off only Nick's far too concerned about the information he's getting from his contact in Rhinebeck. And then mentioning the political connections, which we barely get follow-through on, which makes it seem like an excuse to warn Nick subtly that he needs to watch his Grimmness on this. Again. Not that it helps.

Our second scene with Renard is the tail end of a walk-and-talk that ends with our cops in his office, him behind his desk. In some ways it's a visual continuation of the first scene; in others it's clearly establishing a different day, increasing tension in the situation. Renard is highly concerned as the Prince, not that Nick or Hank really recognizes the difference, with the fact that there is no good way to cover up the Murcielago kills as anything other than inexplicable, verging on supernatural. And though the show never comes right out and says it, it implies the fuck out of the fact that cops talk. Not only do cops talk, cops often see things, or think they see things, that are a result of high stress environments that they have a hard time writing off as humanly possible. It's not quite as bad as ghost stories around the campfire in the military, but it's probably the next best place to breed talk that could end up breaking the Masquerade. Which, since Renard has worked damn hard to keep in place, will be weighing on him. His hands are in his pockets again the second he gets behind his desk; he knows damn well what's connecting people to the crime but he can't actually say it because, again, Masq. And unlike other cases where he maybe would've taken a second look at someone confessing this readily, Renard wants this done and over with and something he can sweep under the rug. He's the one who has to give the soundbites until the case goes to the DA's office, he's the one who has to explain the case to the DA and, presumably, to the chief of police. None of this is going to be easy with this one.

Ending, of course, with Nick's cat-helping. Hands on his hips and the most dubious look ever, Renard doesn't buy the explanation. Even a normal police captain wouldn't buy this explanation, and Renard damn well knows better. Badge and Royal ring clearly visible, indicating unity between the Captain and the Prince's "no, seriously, what the hell" attitude. Though I would bet there's an element of disbelief that Nick is giving up such a valuable weapon that his ancestors undoubtedly worked and fought and bled to get their hands on. And it's going into evidence lockup. I know, Renard, it gives me all of the historian cranky ever too. Nick's got that I'm-innocent-no-really face on that's not hiding anything to anyone who knows how to look, and Hank's got this I-can't-believe-I'm-saying-this look on. That jab at the end there is just classic Renard humor, too, snarking off about how it works. Yes, Nick. Do show him all your Grimm trade secrets. Meanwhile he'll be hiding that smirk some more, as well as the urge to facepalm. I'm so sad that's neither a deleted scene nor anywhere on the gag reel. Can you imagine a sequence of Renard facepalms on the gag reel? DO WANT. Maybe if we make puppy eyes on the blog enough someone will stumble across it and pass the message along; I live in hope. Or fear. Maybe both.

And last but not least, Renard handling the press some more. Big Feet, in which they have video that really really needs not to be leaked, because that's as much proof of Wesen as anything else they've pulled so far. Renard's come out to the bullpen for this, I would guess it was actually his first stop on his way in, since this starts late enough at night that even his workaholic self should've been at home to start. So, out watching the tape, arms folded, frowning. Again with the not liking this and the knowing the coverup's going to be brutal. We get through some cop-shop humor about cryptozoologists (suddenly I want a Grimm/Incryptid crossover, I have no shame) and Renard leans forward to pause the video. Which is a little bit interesting, in that he's pretty careful in earlier eps not to do that to Nick's desk, but then Hank and Renard have a longer working relationship, I think. And Hank tends to sprawl back in his chair and leave room, instead of hunching up around the data like it might run away, the way Nick tends to when focusing on a case. Renard's hand appears to go into his pocket as he comments about Bigfoot wearing clothes; again with the knowing what he's looking at even if he has no idea why a Wildermann would be doing this. Again with the shooting to emphasize his height, particularly as relative to Nick's, since we can just barely see Renard's eyes on down as he's looking at Nick talking about the witness. Hank, of all people, is the one who brings up the video hitting the internet, which I think says something about his being Nick's senior in cop experience if not in Grimming experience. We can almost see the flinch as Renard gets that mental image, and the orders to keep it in-house are clearly given as much to protect his men as to protect his territory or his own ability to deal with other things. After all, dealing with the press is part of Renard's job.

As we see, in fact, in the next scene! It's a brief one, and thank you writers for the line reference to how the press did get wind of it. Because Renard's cops do know better than to leak this kind of thing, especially so early in the investigation, which leaves the witness. Poor woman. It looks, although we don't get a really good view of it, as if Renard comes out of his office to the horde of microphones and cameras rather than letting them in. It's also unclear whether or not he made them wait at all, though if he did I bet it wasn't for long. At any rate, he's holding the press conference just outside of his office, because that gives him greatest range of motion. He can retreat into his office for a less noisy conference if they look like they're buying his brush-off, or he can do exactly what he does: head out of the bullpen to go somewhere else in the building. Since that's the angle and direction we often see people take to head down to the parking garage, I would bet quite a bit on his goal being to get them out of the precinct altogether. He can't give them any information on the case, so he doesn't; it's very standard soundbite in that way but again, it's more of a lawyer or a Criminal Minds style soundbite than your usual cop press conference. Slightly more on the side of standard cop this time, but it's such a smooth maneuver to get the press out of his detectives' hair that I have to look at the writers and wonder how much they're taking CM as a set of guidelines for their procedural style. Overall, this is Renard being a good Captain and acting as the barrier - I'd say liaison but that would be wholly inaccurate here - between his men and the media.

Unfortunately, the next press conference is a bit premature. Ominous cut is ominous right afterwards! That tan trench doesn't fit right, not really, it's a bit too tight. I mean, I'm all for Captain Tightshirts, but I'd like him to be able to move in the event he needs to. His hands in his pockets during this press conference are also pulling it out of shape, granted. And I can't tell for sure, because he's got his public face on so thoroughly, all of what he's concealing here. I would guess definitely hiding discomfort with the three-ring media circus; though he's used to it and it's his job, there's a certain distaste here for the sensationalist bent to the case. Perhaps a memory of stories about mobs with pitchforks and torches, as Monroe mentions earlier in the ep. Possibly he's also concealing his suspicion that this isn't over yet; assuming he's figured out what Wesen it is, he should know that Wildermann don't act this way normally, and he should damn well be suspicious if he's heard about the drug pump. (All together now: EW.) Unfortunately, the fastest way to stomp on the media before they speculate any more wildly (pun intended) is to act confident and assured. Also the fastest way to try and keep the media from igniting mass panic, because really. So I would almost say that Renard guesses that this isn't over, and sets himself up to be the fall guy for the media on purpose so that his detectives can go right along doing their jobs. Not that he enjoys it (though I think he enjoys manipulating the press), but that it's a necessary evil. Renard is very much about doing his duty, even/especially when that's a necessary evil.

The boys are sitting in Renard's office to give him this news, which means it's serious. Both for non-looming reasons and because this indicates to him how serious this might be, Renard also sits, with a hand smoothing down his tie which is, and I'm sure you can all chorus it along with me by this point, a self-soothing gesture. A bit of an odd shot this time, through the front windows with the blinds up. And then we get the case breaking open with Wu's information, as it so often does. Sit down to give the Captain a status report, get Wu wandering in with a witness or suspect or evidence or any combination thereof! Clearly they should just hang out in Renard's office to speed up the case-solving process. There is nothing wrong with this plan, because it means more Renard on my screen, right? Ahem. He looks worried but not, I would say, overly so this ep. Beginning to wrap up the fallout from the Families and/or the Verrat, maybe, beginning to get his balance back. Just in time for Kelly and Kimura to show up and knock everything askew again. Sorry, Renard, nobody gets breaks in this show. Except maybe Hank, since I think I count finding out that he's not going insane but there really are creatures out there with a non-human face as a net positive. He sure seems to.

I kind of wish we'd gotten to see the last press conference Renard must have given, but regardless of its content he seems to have effectively managed things, as we see at the very end. Juliette has understandable questions, but the media and public at large don't have access to Wildermann hair, and she's smart enough not to go public with such a discovery. Not that she gets a chance to before being poisoned into a coma of forgetfulness.

Next up on Grimm analysis: hopefully a turning point in that potion subplot! But we'll have to wait to  find out and tell you our conclusions until this weekend.

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