Saturday, October 6, 2012

Trust Issues Grimm S2E06 Over My Dead Body

Before we begin this incredibly dangerous and painful beguine, I should note that we're pulling from a multitude of source material for this one. The ep, of course, and all previous eps. The deleted scene from this ep, which if you were following any actor or writer Twitter feeds you should know about but hey, not everyone's on Twitter. This TVGuide interview in which Roiz talks at some length about how he sees Renard and the current/immediately upcoming issues our good Prince is facing, and the original Grimm fairytale for this one. Because we are nothing if not compulsively completist.

(I should also note that I intend to do part of this analysis using a speech recognition program to save my wrists, so any patchwork you see here is the difference between my spoken voice and my writing voice. HAVE FUN.)

Because this quote and its placement are so incredibly ominous, I'm going to spend some time talking just about that and about the Grimm fairytale from whence it came. First off with the placement we see that Mia the mystery woman can be considered a snake, which is on par with a description of anything that's ever come out of the Families. At least in the old Christian fairytale sense, though as we'll see, this is not the only sense you can take this fairytale in. Snakes are also purveyors of wisdom and knowledge, and whether that's good or bad comes down to how you use it. (Aren't you proud I avoided the Hamlet quote? I'm proud of me.) So just on the surface of it we have the double-edged sword of wisdom, and since potions and poisons have played a significant role so far in Grimm it's safe to assume this ep will also see an emphasis on such things. Venomous snakes, potions and poisons that make one thing seem like another.

Now, in the fairytale itself, the snake is almost a footnote. It's the MacGuffin, the driving force behind events, but it's only there to get things moving. As the hired assassin snakes are only here to get things moving for the queen snake (in metaphor only, as far as we know), as Mia is only here to provide a nudge down the garden path for Renard's plans and also for the effects of that potion he took. The part that scares me shitless for just about everyone is the one where it talks about in resurrection, some portion of a person's soul is lost. Now, what the fairytale does is a fairly literal form of soul-removal, in which the people resurrected become sociopaths, at least going by modern definitions. The potion Juliette was dosed with caused all her memories of Nick to be removed (and was called "spirit elsewhere"); the one Renard took has affected his ability to control his emotions; and the one Monroe takes in this ep mimics death, the very thing this fairytale tells us the dangers of fighting.

So we have ALL OF THIS informing this episode, and with that in mind, let's begin the episode itself. We open on a private plane in a private hangar, possibly not even at PDX but at a smaller/private airport, though I don't know the area well enough to be sure. The only two people we see around Mia as she walks out in her designer cream-colored suit (dollars to donuts that's a fuck you I'm a Royal fashion rules don't apply to me, at least in the Hollywood sense of fashion rules, since it's a bit late to be wearing something that close to pure white) are both servants. One airport attendant and one man who's might also be the pilot but judging by his stance and the way he clears the tarmac with a glance, tucking his suit coat around a holster before Mia gets off, probably also a bodyguard. Funny, though, she doesn't seem to keep him around much while she's actually conducting business. I suspect that's on the surface of it a statement of trust in Renard's abilities to keep her from harm while she's in his canton, but also a couple different jabs at him. One that he doesn't have anyone capable of hurting her physically, and he won't do so himself, and two that despite the upheaval and what might be considered proper protocol, this isn't a city worth the time and trouble of having a bodyguard follow her around. More pragmatically, she probably doesn't want to deal with loyalty issues while she's here.

When first we see her, Mia's wearing impractically short heels, a short tan skirt, black shirt, and white poncho-style jacket that's open at the front, with black trim around cuffs and throat. I don't think that's anything like real fur, but the implication is there. Simple gold necklace, expensive black leather purse, she looks in most respects like she's set to go stroll around the Mediterranean rather than spend time in Portland, city of walking, biking, and taking public transit. It's a blatant display of wealth, though she has slightly better taste than Cousin Menton. Her hair is "allowed" to look a little windswept, her makeup emphasizes lips rather than eyes. In all respects, this is an outfit for seduction, not for ease of movement. Seduction and a statement that this is a powerful woman who doesn't need to worry about protecting herself physically (contrast this with Angelina later in the opening) because nobody would dream of trying anything with Mia. Given the way we've seen royals treating women, though, I would say it's safe to say that Mia considers her body a commodity to be traded on, and sex part of the price she pays for power and influence. Which is just as gross as you're thinking it is.

(I am NINETEEN seconds in. You guys? I am so sorry for the length of this post. In advance.)

Closeup on Renard's phone. Poor guy gets more calls from unknown numbers, I swear, especially in the last few months. I think this is also the closest shot of his desk we've seen, showing even a few scuff marks. Wear and tear, to mimic the wear and tear on Renard lately, and okay, I might be reading too much into that as a deliberate choice but still, the interpretation is right there. And lo, it's a hand! With one of those damn rings on it, so between the setting and the size and, yep, if there was any doubt we know that's Renard. Going back a couple seconds, Mia does not have a ring. Not a Royals ring, not a wedding ring, nada. So either Royal rings are for men only (no surprise if so) or Mia's not actually of the blood (and therefore safe money is on someone's pet hexenbiest). Either way, I dislike what it says about the world of the Families in general. It's also very telling that in the interview, Roiz lists "brothers, half-brothers, cousins, and nephews" as power players, and the only one of those that's not gender marked is "cousins," which is simply a fault of the English language. I'm sure it'd be gender marked male in any language that still carries those. Like French. We still can't get a good look at whatever the design on Renard's ring is, either, because there's reflective glare on it. This is really starting to irritate me because you know they're doing that on purpose. Two rings, Renard answers quietly and with his shoulders a little hunched, because all of the unknown number calls we've seen recently have come from his canary in Europe and he needs to be careful to keep whatever this is private. Which is true for Mia as well. I'm not sure what he's reading on that laptop but it appears to be of great interest and I wish we'd gotten a shot of it.

I believe Renard knows from her first three words who's on the other end of the line, but he's buying himself some time by asking who it is. That becomes more apparent as a ploy for time to adjust to playing this game with the almost flirtatious tilt of his head and quirk of his lips when he says it; not a look we've seen on Renard before. He's amused, in the manner of someone who suddenly got an interesting challenge dropped in his lap. And wary, as well he should be. I don't know how Mia got his number, but I think we can be sure Eric has it by now if he didn't before (unknown number or not when Renard called at o'dark hundred, I assume Eric had it traced). Along with, oh, Adalind and probably a couple other people Renard would prefer not to think about Mia getting his number from. Mia's flirting quite deliberately, but a bit coldly. Too calculating for real affection, but the kind of calculation that admires her opponent, which is something Renard can safely respond to. His "I could never forget anything about you" is quite chill, though, less in his voice and more in his facial expressions. He's not pleased that she's here, but he'll make the best of it. This entire conversation is laden with subtext and nuance that we as an audience can only guess at, but it's safe to say they've been playing these games for years now. There's a tie-smoothing gesture when he says "now how could anyone be upset about Vienna," indicating to us, at least, that he damn well is still upset but he'll be damned before he lets her see weakness. The reply is rote, and he's pretty obviously calling up the more pleasant memories of Vienna in order to infuse his voice with the proper amused flirtation. In fact, all his replies are almost verbal pauses. Giving nothing away, and giving her the appropriate conversational replies so she can get to the point. Not letting himself be sucked into making any promises, saying anything he'll regret, and in all respects far, far warier of Mia as an opponent than I think we've seen him with just about anyone except possibly Catherine. She's staying at the same hotel Farley Kolt stayed and, and Vienna is where Hans Roth, one of the less-competent, sooner-dead coin thieves came from. Just, you know, in case you needed the anvilicious reminders of those symbols of power and corruption. And diving up from the subtext, I will note that the very surface of this phone call is a courtesy call to let Renard know that someone with power is in his city for an unspecified length of time. But that's far from the only thing going on, and now the game is on. Lastly, Tokyo, huh. Yet more ties to Japan! One of these days we're going to see someone on this show actually speak Japanese and then I will fall over of shock. Kitty might fall over of bad translation, depending. Renard gives the phone a long look like it might bite him. Which it kind of just did.

Because this ep is about nothing if not drawing parallels, and by drawing I mean ow that big cartoon anvil that landed on my toes, I wasn't going anywhere until I finished the ep analysis, honest! We cut over to Nick and Juliette's house, though not just any establishing shot. Oh no, this is a shot of one of their cute couple-y photos sitting on a table. We've gotten a couple odd establishing shots already this ep, and we'll get a couple more that we've not seen before or are rarely used. Meanwhile, Juliette attempts to slay me with adorable. Nick, you are a lucky, LUCKY man, and I hope you get a chance to sit down and tell her everything really, really soon. And hopefully he doesn't botch it so badly this time, though I suppose "you know how you can remember everything BUT me? you don't think that's a little unusual?" He's all awkward and we can see that Juliette's probably been the cook in their relationship. (Given that she started out as a baker in the pilot I'm not surprised they kept that part.) In many respects Nick is back to living as a bachelor with a roommate he loves very dearly and who doesn't remember his presence over the last four years at all, and it's just painful to watch him struggle to handle that. But Juliette's trying! She takes the information she does have from her past, combines it with the memories and knowledge of how he's been treating her since she woke up from the coma, and comes to the conclusion that there was a reason they were together and she'd like to see if this can work again. Nick, for his part, takes a second to look like the happiest stunned mullet before offering to help with dinner. It's possibly the most adorable second first date ever, and kudos to both Giuntoli and Tulloch for the acting job in this scene. And it, along with the next scene, sets up powerful contrasts between the sort of relationships Nick and his friends are building and the sort of relationships Renard permits himself to have. Painful ones, too, about the difference between trust and knowledge. Renard and Mia know each other very well and trust each other not at all. Nick and Juliette, well. Nick knows Juliette, but she no longer knows him, and yet she trusts him more than he trusts her. Monroe and Rosalee are just beginning to get to know each other in all the little details of a burgeoning relationship that make a solid long-term basis, but they've been through so much of the big stuff already that they trust each other and know each other's responses in a crisis. It's a very, very interesting set of theses the writers are building here, whereby knowledge and trust don't always go hand in hand and may, in fact, be detrimental to trust. As we saw when Nick tried (poorly) to take Juliette into his trust as far as the Grimm side of his world goes last season. Punishment for too much knowledge is an old, old fairytale motif, and I'll be curious to see how the writers keep playing with it.

Monroe is cooking, which is entirely adorable. And speaking French again. One of these days we're going to get some kind of explanation on that. We know he's waiting for Rosalee, of course, because who ELSE would he be waiting for, but now we get the cut to Angelina for a hefty dose of oh-shit. Monroe's ex is apparently in a mood to party but not looking to get laid. Unlike creepy, creepy snake dude. The bar is called End Up, which has no clear Wesen ties in the name but given the givens I'm assuming it's a Wesen-only place. Which makes snake dude a fucking idiot for trying to rape some random Wesen who he hasn't seen woge out. To the writers' credit, while this could easily be played as Angelina is a big slut and it's all her fault for leading the guy on and she deserves whatever she gets, it's not. The guy is a scumbag and Angelina, though not the best person in the world, is defending herself. And let's be honest, I would cheerfully bite a would-be rapist's throat out with my teeth if I had Blutbad teeth and reasonable immunity to blood-borne pathogens to match. (Which I kind of assume Blutbaden MUST have or they wouldn't survive very well.) The gig, however, is a nice ominous note overriding the attempted rape. And Angelina does try to get out without causing trouble, heading out to her bike and hoping the jackass's phone call takes long enough for her to get clear. When it doesn't, though, rather than assume she can run and get the bike started - probably not a safe assumption coming out of a Wesen bar anyway - she turns to deal with it. Firmly. In a way that to me strongly suggests she's had several of these incidents and has an SOP in place for it, actually: let the guy have a kiss, let him get close, get his guard down thinking he might not have to use force, just threats. And then clock him a good one with the nearest blunt object (always know where the nearest blunt object is) and bite his throat out while he's down. This says nothing good about all kinds of things, from the general Wesen attitude toward women to Angelina's past probably both before and after Monroe to the ways in which Wesen society and human society aren't all that different. Except that if you're a moron who goes around trying to rape Blutbad women in Wesen society, you're far more likely to end up dead. Of course, since Wesen have to deal with human society, if they're caught enacting their rather visceral form of self-defense, pun intended, they run the risk of being arrested.

Which is why Angelina tosses the body, and it's this pause that costs her. I'd bet, in retrospect, on this being a setup, because this is exactly the kind of vicious, smug thing Mia would do. Get rid of a truly incompetent hired thug in order to see which way her target's ex jumps when offered the chance to kill him. And I would not at all be surprised if Mia's real motives had to do with seeing just how things work in this city, with a shadow Prince and a public Grimm working as a detective. More hired guns, this time literal, informing Angelina that she's not even with them yet. Clear sign of a henchman, too, since we only see a single person before the credit sequence and yet he says "us."

Credits got shorter! Huh. Emphasis on the duality, woge-face and human face, emphasis on the things we don't yet have answers for like Juliette's ability with a pistol (remember that? I STILL WANT ANSWERS, WRITERS), emphasis on the violence. I do like them, but I wish they'd stop playing with the credits and settle down. Frankly, last season's single title card was just fine, though I expect that the change was at the behest of the execs rather than the showrunners' call. HEY EXECS. MORE EP MEANS MORE DATA MEANS GOOD THINGS. Ahem.

We finally get some relationship building between Rosalee and Monroe, which I was just complaining about the lack of Friday afternoon. Thank you, writers! Even if this is designed as a massive bit of paralleling everyone else's relationships, it's still very nice and I think, judging by the way they're acting, that this is their first date night in. In a lot of respects this is first date ever, take two, in which they hope not to be interrupted by random infected Wesen. No, no, instead they can be interrupted by Monroe's ex, though at least they get through dinner first. I find it interesting that Rosalee calls Monroe beautiful in turn, that's not an adjective usually used for men. She also is the one to start the conversation moving, asking Monroe about his clocks and thereby giving us a moment of Monroe in his chosen element rather than Being A Blutbad or a Grimmopedia for Nick. A clock from the Black Forest again and one of these days we're going to get a history of Wesen in the Black Forest and I will fall over of shock. Rosalee's laughter seems... not so much forced as a little over the top, but I think that's partly because she's biting her tongue not to say fond teasing things, because that's not (yet) the kind of relationship they have. Something about men and their toys, something to the effect of how adorably dorky Monroe is over his clocks and his family history. I rather suspect that she wants to say you are amazing, not that, but overall she's got the look of humoring someone who she cares about a great deal but she doesn't understand this particular facet of him. But she'd like to learn, or she wouldn't be there.

Cut to Renard and Mia, and it's quite obvious that Mia's set this whole thing up to look as romantic and seductive as possible. There's an interesting contrast between red wine at Monroe and Rosalee's dinner with white wine here; as a color choice it's colder and as a flavor choice white prizes delicacy over robustness, generally speaking. She's changed into a little black dress with a thick diamond necklace on, the lipstick is toned back almost to a natural skin tone and the rest of her makeup is warmer than when she got off the plane. And yet she's still not pretty, not in the way Adalind is and not even quite in the way Catherine was gorgeously regal. Not quite feminine, almost mannish in the way wardrobe and makeup have emphasized the squareness of her face and the breadth of her shoulders. A clear indication, to me at least, that Renard doesn't value physical attractiveness over power and intelligence. Quite the other way around, if anything. He asks after her business in Tokyo, not expecting a straight answer but that's half the fun of this game between them. Digging for information and learning as much off reactions or lack thereof as off whatever the other person says, and certainly off what they choose for a lie. This is probably the first conversation where we've seen Renard not have full control over the direction it takes, and yet he's relaxed because he knows how to play this game. It's familiar in a way other power plays haven't been. Not necessarily comforting, because it requires a great deal of energy to play this particular game (especially when the players know each other this well, contrary to what one might think), but a better option than many others that have been bothering Renard recently. He's fidgeting with his wine glass, something of a sign of discomfort but I would guess also of eagerness to get down to finding out why Mia's here. (Note that we still haven't had an onscreen name for her given, irritatingly enough.) Renard snarks about Family business being none of his, which is a combination of many, MANY things. In no particular order, wishful thinking, long-held resentment, and annoyance at how they've been intruding on his carefully set up life here in Portland. The tightening of Mia's jaw when she answers "family business," though, indicates to me that it didn't go quite the way she hoped. And possibly that she does, on some level, dislike having to give a vague answer to Renard, that she misses the days when perhaps they shared some of the same goals. Note all the qualifiers in that sentence, though. Then she makes the kind of terribly snide joke about having no secrets that is exactly the kind of humor Renard responds well to. I don't think that's just calculated, though it is that as well, I think that's also Mia's natural sense of biting humor coming out to play. She's here because she knows she's best suited for the role of keeping Renard occupied (ahem) while dealing with some additional business. He's leaning forward and making himself receptive; she's leaning back and while not closing herself off, letting him do the chasing. Ironic, since she's the one who came to him. Renard manages to convey the impression of rolling his eyes and smirking before Mia adds "well, maybe a few" while only doing the latter, and they share the sort of smile two predators might exchange before they've established dominance. Somehow I think that role flipflops between these two on a regular basis. Mia gives him a little bit of information about what she was doing there, which isn't really anything he couldn't have figured out on his own. Some foreign minister needed convincing (read: threatening) back into line as far as the Families go, or more accurately as far as Mia's family goes, which is the first real hint of infighting between the seven houses we've had so far. This tells us the audience, though, that the Families as a whole and perhaps Mia's Family in specific has Japan well under their control, between the government and the Yakuza connection.

It's no coincidence that our first shot of the big bed in the hotel suite comes as Renard smirks about politics. Politics in the bedchamber, yes, thank you, we get it. Mia leans forward now, working on giving him the impression that she's telling him a confidence. Con's the right word for it. She's telling the truth, I'm sure, about not agreeing with how his family treated him. Mia's got enough sense to see what an incredibly useful tool Renard could be and zero compunctions about using him as such. And it's her turn to try and pry information out of our closemouthed Prince, hinting about his own visions of the future and what her place in it might be, and Renard goes from the most relaxed we've seen him to hostile and wary in a couple seconds flat. "So do I." So say we all. Now at least some of the banter and casual flirting is tossed aside in favor of hard stares and wary looks. Mia asks if he's ever coming back, which to me implies that Renard at least had some choice in how he left, or she thinks he did. He plays a distraction. No, Renard, you know she doesn't mean Vienna. I would dearly love to know what the rightful place of a half-Hexen bastard prince is. DEARLY LOVE. Clearly she thinks there's something back in Europe for him with his Family, though what that might be is left as an exercise for the student. Renard, much to nobody's surprise, certainly not ours, will only show up on HIS terms, thankyouverymuch. I'm guessing said terms have to do with not being a good meek little bastard prince and following along in his brother's or his father's or anyone else's lead. As indicated by the ice cold delivery on "we always find a way to work things out" when Mia asks after Eric's terms. I'm sure you do, Renard. I'm equally sure those ways involve some pawn ending up dead. Suddenly I want to see their mental chessboard, because you can bet they both have one even if they don't keep a physical copy out, too dangerous. Whatever it is between them, it's not solely hostile, just largely, and I desperately want more back story on it. Mostly hostile, highly passionate, highly charged, INSUFFICIENT DATA. Rarr. Mia brings up Cousin Menton, and that's a nice signal that Anton was disposable and also probably that casual assassination isn't frowned on within royal circles. Do unto others before they have a chance to do unto you, as it were. Renard keeps his face very, very still through this and her next not-a-question about hoping nothing like that ever happens to her. Which should be a massive neon blinkenlights clue about her ulterior motives for being in town, Renard, she's going to go fuck with your Grimm. No verbal response to either that we're allowed to see, and though the stillness of his face is a tell, the point of keeping his expression blank is to hopefully keep anyone from figuring out in what direction. I'd say he's considered having Mia killed before, though, and is again. Or at least, is thinking about what circumstances he would feel it necessary to have her killed/kill her himself, and additionally running the probabilities of his putting a neat hole in his cousin's forehead (it balances out that chin, I promise) coming back to bite him in the ass now that it's an open secret among the Families.

I would kill for more of this scene, and I think somewhere in these first 10, 15 minutes is where the naked in bed scene comes in, but for right now we'll switch back to Angelina getting shoved in the car and threatened extensively before being thrown an assassination job. Which, I just have to say, $25K? They are so not professionals. I mean, there are many other ways in which they're not pros, but oy, really? Poor Angelina, nothing in this ep goes her way. At all. She holds herself ready to move, even with one unknown threat and one gun on her. And then helLO cobra hood, which we shortly find out is a Konigschlange, or king snake in Grimm mishmashed German. Cute, guys. Very cute. Technically a king snake is the variety that only looks poisonous and is a fairly common pet snake, but I'm fairly certain that they're shortening up "king cobra" to king, it's just amusing that the literal translation leads to a docile pet rather than a terrifying venomous snake. I find it interesting and somewhat telling that the Konigschlange pulls the threat display as a way of determining Angelina's emotional state; I suspect that's intended to imply both that he prefers blatant threats to more subtle ones and highlight him as just another layer of hired muscle (which, of course, he is) as well as indicating that he's not smart enough to pick up on her body language without using his woge-face.

And back around to Nick and Juliette having their second first date! Still adorable, and they've apparently been trading memories, such as hers are, back and forth for a little bit. Or maybe just setting up that that's something she'd like to do, to try and regain some details that might jog her memories of Nick. At any rate, this is both an excellent way to give us more details of their prior relationship without making it awkward writing, and also an excellent way to highlight what the potion's done to Juliette's memory. She can remember Nick being there at the hit-and-run, but not really what he looked like or that it was Nick. She even has some of the emotional attachments to the beat cop that was Nick rather than just to the horror of the accident, possibly this is an indication that the potion left fragments of her memories of him even if she can't identify the person in front of her as the one they're about. Nick, despite some justifiable concern that someone else has been implanted in Juliette's memory as the cop in her memory, looks relieved that she does remember anything; it's a place to build from. But she doesn't remember what happened next, or else she'd remember the real beginning of their relationship. Nick's explanation of what happened is a painful one for being not as precise as it should be, because he did stop talking to her about the big important stuff last season, and that's what got them into this mess in the first place.

Over to Monroe and Rosalee, where instead of Rosalee tolerating Monroe's clockmaking with a fond but confused smile, they find common ground. Perhaps the beginning of the time they start talking and never really stop. Even though I have no idea what they're going on about in this scene (I mean, I know what a zither is, but it's not my musical speciality by any stretch), their shared passion for this music is obvious and immediate. And they're just about to have a proper first kiss (at least onscreen) with no interruptions but, no, Angelina and her hit have to ruin it. Monroe moves so fast we barely see him go from less than an inch from Rosalee to standing next to her, all looming and protective. A nice reminder that no matter how many clocks he makes or zitherists he listens to, he's still a damn dangerous person and should be treated as such. (And yes, I keep using the word "person" in reference to Wesen advisedly, since a large portion of how Nick and his Scooby gang work is because he treats everyone as a person first, even if they're not human. Unlike his ancestors, who saw the animal rather than the person.) Standard awkward moment where Rosalee realizes this must be an ex, followed by some really interesting race bias on Angelina's part. Then again, given that our initial introduction to Fuchsbau was that you should count your fingers after shaking their hands, perhaps an understandable one. Rosalee is really not like that stereotype, though she is the potions mistress and therefore accomplished in certain subtleties (I promise not to do the WHOLE Snape speech) that Monroe isn't. Monroe decides that he can trust Rosalee to make her own decisions and that he'd better NOT trust Angelina in his house with all the breakable things. Also, for all that she reminds him of a time he'd rather forget and grates on his nerves, he does know she wouldn't show up knowing he's friends with a Grimm who's a cop without damn good reason.

He's not pleased that Rosalee leaves, but that's for dealing with later, and frankly in his shoes I'd just be glad that one more complicating factor was out of the picture for the moment. We get a few moments of seeing how upset Angelina is about the entire situation, back to Monroe, of course. Because Angelina is a Tough Girl, and Tough Girls don't show softer emotions or let on that being hired to kill your ex-boyfriend is in any way potentially damaging. Other than physically. Which of course doesn't matter, because, again, Tough Girl. Oh Angelina.

We pause here to drop in the deleted scene, because I'm fairly certain this is where it goes, between Angelina's proclamation of being here to kill Monroe and handing over the file. It fits with the mood whiplash of the initial third or so of the episode, which is a massive round of setup, honestly. And it fits with the macabre sense of humor on display. So. We begin with what appears to be post-coital cuddling; this is as physically relaxed and close to anyone as we have ever seen Renard allow himself to be. Mia claims that she intends to tell him why she's "really here," not, I think, that Renard believes her any more than we do. She implies, or attempts to imply, that she is on his side in whatever contest he and his brother are fighting at the moment, but we have absolutely no indication that she's actually on anyone's side but her own. She's certainly never outright stated that she's not working with Eric. And, in point of fact, we never do see Mia explain what her reasons for being in Portland are. "Your brother is making moves to consolidate his power" is not an explanation for her immediate presence, nor should we or Renard buy the implication that she's trying to protect their relationship, whatever it is. I also don't buy Renard's statement that there's not much he can do about it, he's pretending to less power and access to information than he really has in an attempt to get Mia to go away and stop snooping. Not that I blame him. And then we have the massive reveal of what the potion's doing to him and oh Renard. (I am ignoring the hell out of that awful, awful joke re: lying down. AWFUL JOKE. Though it accomplishes his goal of distracting Mia for a time.) Before we start in on the implications of the potion, I should note that holy god Roiz is huge; this doesn't always show so directly because he often perches on the edge of a desk or sits behind his own, or he's standing next to other men. Here, shot lying down next to a woman, he's much more obviously ginormous. And yet not being shot as though he's a threat to her in any way.

Cap by kimvamp

And now, the potion. Renard does know what's happening to him, or at least has half an idea, which is far, far worse for a man with his self-control and self-awareness than the other way 'round. Because of his willingness to sleep with Mia, who I'm reasonably sure is not his wife, safe money is on his wife being dead, or him believing her so. (Point of internet, since Kelly came back and they're drawing parallels to Renard as Nick's dark mirror, does that mean Herself might turn up? Inquiring minds.) Or, secondary possibility and less likely due to the pictures Renard keeps, his marriage to her is as loveless as this liaison with Mia. Though the pictures focus more on the daughter than the wife, so I suppose it's possible he loves his daughter and never loved his wife. He covers the vision issues neatly by calling back to Vienna again (I badly want to know what HAPPENED there, dammit) and we may note here that for the moment the potion is only affecting his vision, not his sense of hearing. Juliette most certainly does not "wot" in a British accent. I think he also suspects that there's something about being in bed with a woman who's not Juliette that's triggering this, since he closes his eyes rather pointedly when they start up on round two or whatever it is. But that's not necessarily true, as it could be as much about strong emotion as about the physical act of sex, even if those emotions aren't loving.

Back to your regularly scheduled episode, Monroe and Angelina have a massive argument, much like their relationship must have been, about whether or not he's going to run and how much information she has. I suspect at first it's the shock of finding out that she's still alive that keeps Monroe from leaping to the correct conclusion that this is in some way related to the Reapers from last season's beating. Mind you, we never find out what Mia's connections to the Reapers might be, but it seems safe to assume that in this instance, the Royals and the Reapers are of one mind. Wesen getting along with, to say nothing of working with, a Grimm is bad for business. This scene is overall very hectic and disjointed, appropriate to the emotions involved and information Monroe has just received. The one thing that I would note is the way Angelina dodges discussing her attempted rape and the steps she took to defend against her attacker. I'm not sure if this is because she doesn't want to display weakness in front of Monroe, because she doesn't want to see his disapproval of her tactics, or a little of both. She's furious at him for wanting to call Nick and put her in further danger, since she's already sticking her neck out just coming to him and telling him about the hit out on him, but when Monroe jabs at her over "well fine, just do the hit then," her red-eye and "maybe I will" is more in the nature of being hurt that he'd think that of her and less in the cold hard really meaning it way that I'm sure she wants us to believe. Monroe probably knows he crossed the line on that one, but it doesn't change how unhappy and scared he is right now.

Jumping back yet again we have more Nick and Juliette. Watching this straight through without pausing the intercutting is really masterful; watching it for analysis it's kind of annoying because I want all the bits to line up and to be able to finish discussing each relationship before I move onto the next one, because I'm a completist that way. Though the point that relationships don't have a neat and tidy endpoint is well-taken. They've moved on from happy memories to more serious things, but at least Nick's being honest about the fact that she turned him down when he asked her to marry him. And about the reason why, as far as it goes, and that's the direct and to the point Juliette we know and love. "Were you?" Well... yes. He was. He even looks like he might be about to try and figure out how to redo his explanation of the entirety of Grimmworld in such a way that she can accept it, little bits and pieces of something she can accept and at this point he could go either with the scientific vet-world stuff or he could go with the more emotional/visceral wackiness of the memory loss and her being drugged to get to him. But then the phone rings, and it being Monroe is a nice callback (heh. heh.) to the last time he tried to do this, when he finally threw up his hands and demanded that Monroe woge out in front of her. Oh everyone. I think Juliette's not ready yet to find out what her once-boyfriend-almost-fiance was keeping from her, the extent to which she nudges him into answering the phone. The amount of faith and trust she's placing in him is really incredible and I reiterate: Nick, you are a lucky sonofabitch. That he'll come home and that they will get to keep having these discussions and figure out a new relationship, that they're both going to want to once the air is cleared. And the understanding that there are some things more important that date night. Granted, her fear of the truth is helping all of that understanding along some, but she's not letting it rule her life or her reactions to Nick. As he gets up from the table, too, we have that twitch of almost leaning forward to kiss her out of habit, because this was the sort of dinner conversation at least in emotional content if not in literal content that they're used to having, that Nick's been missing. It's a well-suppressed twitch, though, and he doesn't force the issue at all.

Nick is a good cop and asks all the standard questions, though less of a good cop in that he's showing his worry for his friend. Good friend, though. And then cop instincts take over despite all of Monroe's attempts to prepare Nick for who's lurking in the back of his house, because the last time he saw Angelina she was fleeing the city after committing homicide. Mind you, revenge killing, which is probably half of what lets Monroe talk him down from arresting (or shooting) her then and there, but murder is murder in Nick's mind, and he's been more in cop mode than Grimm mode what with the whole death threat thing, there. I LOVE that Monroe gets to talk them down. And that Nick listens. It highlights the development of trust both ways in their relationship and hoo BOY is this ep about trust issues. Cue standard posturing and Angelina rubbing things in Nick's face that she wasn't willing to say in front of Monroe. Meanwhile, Monroe and Rosalee have a wholly adorable phone call and I love that his instinct is the basic courtesies for a friend even though he just found out there's a hit out on him. Well, and that his other instinct is to be terrified that she's decided she can't handle the craziness that is his life as the resident Grimmopedia, but she puts an end to that before he can get a good head of steam on the self-flagellation. And this is a neat way to give Bree Turner time off to actually HAVE her baby, which is good since that pregnancy is now impossible to disguise in her movements. I mean, they've been doing a good job, but I think they pushed that a good couple eps past reasonable suspension of disbelief, as much as I've been wanting the exact scene they got in the beginning of this ep. Monroe's mouth writes checks he may not be able to cash, and the thought of him running the store is kind of hilarious. I anticipate extra comic relief in upcoming eps, which is good since I expect we'll need them. Monroe, when are you going to remember the Reapers who beat you up last season? Come on. Though nice job distracting Nick from the part where Angelina's killed someone else with the burner phone, thank you.

Angelina's not stupid; she knows that if she gets out of this alive it's going to be a whole 'nother trick to escape without Nick arresting her for the murders she's wanted for. But they are going to put aside their differences for the next 24, particularly once Nick browbeats her with the reminder that he actually does give a damn about his friend and he's not just a stereotypical Grimm.

We now pause to keyboard smash about the Hank-and-Monroe buddy show. Bonding time over booze because booze fixes everything and I love this scene in ALL THE WAYS. They're so awkward, not really familiar with each other but doing what they can to get along. For Nick's sake, but also because they've now worked together enough to have a certain degree of mutual respect even though they're not friends. And if this episode doesn't lead to Monroe and Hank snarking at Nick in stereo I will be very disappoint, writers, do you hear me? I've been waiting for them to have an excuse to do that ever since Hank got brought in on it.

Brief interlude for Nick and Angelina to have their own vague bonding time over Monroe. I wonder if Angelina really understands what Nick means when he says "take care of it now." I also want to note, again, that $25K isn't that much money to kill someone and the best you're going to get with that offering is talented amateurs. One of whom might be lucky enough to make the hit, but more likely they'll end up dead before they can deliver the body because hello, Grimm and Blutbad tag team, do not get on their bad side. Not to mention the additional cop who's not going to give a damn if you woge at him. I do not think this is accidental on Mia's part, and I wouldn't be surprised if there was yet a third thing she was doing in Portland (possibly Adalind related, possibly not) that involved her keeping both Nick and Renard busy so they couldn't see what she was up to.

More keyboardsmashing! Hank trying to pronounce German and not doing a half-bad job! Monroe teaching him little odds and ends of how things work! Apparently woging out does hurt. The explanation of when and how Hank could see his Blutbad face is a repeat from last season, but it's a nice character moment and a quick way to bring new viewers up to speed. Plus I appreciate the world-building not changing season to season. Monroe demonstrates the two kinds of wogeface and it is brilliant and I love that Hank drains his scotch to brace for it, having half an idea what's coming. Even though he's startled and probably a good bit afraid of Monroe when he can see the woge, Hank shifts immediately to how amazing it is to finally get to see the proof of reality warping in front of his eyes. Now that he's not going crazy with it, anyway. I'm pretty sure the "can you do it again?" is half a tease, and that "really? seriously?" look from Monroe cracked me the hell up. I want all the Hank and Monroe buddy bonding time ever. All of it. I would watch an entire ep with nothing but that and I say this as an avowed and unashamed Renard fangirl.

I should not be laughing so hard at Angelina explaining what happened to the cop and playing Nick's partner. And yet I am. Because it is exactly that funny. I was sad about her inevitable death earlier and now I'm just crushed, because this? Is a woman who can think on her feet, and she brings a much needed sharp-edged side to the female roles on Grimm. Still, I'm going to enjoy this scene for the comedy gold that it is. To Nick's credit, even though he doesn't want to admit out loud how clever this is, nor is he happy about any of it, he keeps his mouth shut and trusts that there's a point to this little show. At this point I was betting that the cell was a burner phone, and when it turned out it wasn't there may or may not have been capslocking about bringing back the professional assassin, weird hoof prostheses or no. Grumble grumble, though again, now that we know Mia was behind the whole thing I suspect half the point was taking their measure and seeing how they handled a small group of talented amateurs. Making the small group of amateurs the metaphorical burner phone.

As proven by the next scene, where we learn that the snakes were hired by someone even further up the food chain. Angelina, can I have your charms? I'd put them to good use. Promise. Once Nick gets confirmation of what we already expected, that this is repeat business from the Reapers, the Royals, or both, we get to go back to Hank's house! Yay! (Damn, now I have yet more data to assimilate for my post on his home later on this month.) Nick has the good sense to leave Angelina in the car while he explains what's going on to Hank and she, for a miracle, has the good sense to stay there rather than get another cop pointing a gun at her. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall for the conversation with her either the night before or on their way back from the bar, whenever it happened, about how Hank found out about Grimmworld. Because the look on Angelina's face would have been priceless. At any rate, the conversation here is very telling, both knowledge and trust combined in this relationship and though Hank really does NOT like the situation at all he trusts that Nick knows what he's doing. And he'll follow his partner's lead. Monroe shoots Hank a grateful look for that, too, which should go some way toward smoothing future relations there. So Angelina gets brought in, and to her credit the only way in which she pushes her luck is with her usual saunter into the middle of the room; for Angelina the comment about knowing how the world really works is downright mild and welcoming. Hank takes up an almost at-ease position, I would guess to keep himself from trying to reach for a gun or a pair of cuffs while still being reasonably braced in case she tries anything.

FINALLY Monroe makes the connection between the Reapers last season and the hit this season, though Nick's right that it's not the same group. The MO is all wrong though the motives are right, which means, yeah, Royal's not a bad assumption though... okay, backing up a sec. Nick was told the only way to wake Juliette was for a Royal to play prince charming. He hasn't, to the best of our knowledge, found any evidence to contradict that, and I would assume he would have looked, asked Rosalee, etc. Which means, Nick, that the Royal woke Juliette, which means that somehow the Royal knows who you are. One of these days he's going to stop and put those pieces together, I swear. Really. Hank makes a confused face, so he's not completely up on how the world works, I'd bet Nick hasn't filled him in on all the major power plays/political movements within the Wesen/Royal community. That ought to be a fun conversation. Monroe doesn't know there's a Royal in Portland either! Hoo boy. Hank needs a second to confirm what he must have suspected, that Angelina's a Wesen. And Monroe has an idea that nobody likes and Rosalee's really not going to like.

It's worth pausing to note here that though Nick places a trace on the ex-thug's cell using his police contacts, with the exception of the two scenes at Renard's desk in the precinct we have no scenes there this episode. It's only the second ep in which the case of the week isn't handled as a cop case (the other being Thing With Feathers), and the first in which Nick makes no pretense at trying to bring the local cops in to start. The last case like this also presaged an unwanted love potion, and the deleted scene from this ep would indicate that Renard's potion is beginning to have similar effects. That's a nice bit of parallelism. The Scooby gang is now operating entirely outside of normal human law, and those shots of Renard's office only highlight the contrast, especially since Renard typically takes Princely phone calls in his office as well as Captain ones. That said, let's move along to our next Renard scene! What is that on his laptop? Why, it's recent headlines for the Japanese royal family, with Mia conspicuously hanging out in the back row. I have a surprised face for things like this, I keep it in a jar on my desk. The caption, which I reproduce here so you don't have to manage the exact screenshot, reads "European investor Mia Gaudot poses with the Japanese Royal Family at a banquet yesterday, celebrating a new financial endeavor in Kyoto." Which. HAH. Assuming Mia's implication that she's part of the Families by blood is correct, then that's another name to keep in mind, and a potential House name. Also, if that's a really bad Samuel Beckett pun I will fly out to LA just to smack someone with a trout. Waiting for Gaudot my ass. It doesn't really tell us much of anything, though I presume Renard will be keeping an eye on news out of Kyoto, particularly in whatever sectors of industry Mia's most involved with. We may also take note of the following Yakuza family, being that we have established Yakuza links to the Families already. Particularly as Renard mutters about her meeting with the Dragon's Tongue, which, okay, so the Dragon's Tongue and/or the Families must control all of Japan, at that rate. I'd love to know which, since we're not clear on the nature of the association between the Families and the Dragon's Tongue other than that there is one.

More phone calls! For Princely business in his office and one of these days that's going to bite him in the ass. Here, again, you remember how I mentioned odd establishing shots? We've seen Renard through this window once before, when his canary called to tell him about the Nuckelavee, but he was standing then. As before, this is a shot of a man under siege in his own city, in his own place of power. Mia, too, stands at her window, a callback to Eric standing at the window of his castle and that does not fill me with great confidence that she's not working with Eric. She clearly knows he's been checking up on her movements, but it's no more than she would expect from Renard, so they keep up the flirtation and propositioning rather than putting their teeth on display. Which is in some ways more unnerving than the threatening and sniping between Eric and his little brother.

We have a heartwrenching conversation with Monroe and Rosalee, and a heartwrenching set of nonverbal cues from Angelina as she begins to realize that Rosalee really cares for Monroe and doesn't want to see him risk his life. And that he, in turn, doesn't want to set her up as in danger just because they know Nick. If she was harboring any notion of getting Monroe back, which I don't think she was after last season, now is when the last of those hopes dies. This is one of those things that, narratively, never goes according to plan, and I'm a little surprised that the usually genre-savvy Monroe doesn't make more allowances for that and try to figure out contingency plans for it going bad. But he's panicked and more worried about other people than he is about himself, which is pretty thoroughly in-character for him, so I'll let it go. It's kind of a moronic thing the guy does as he interrupts the argument to give Angelina directions, making her repeat it back, because it gives Nick more of an opportunity to write it down and be sure it's right. Of course, we've established that these are not the best hired muscle ever.

Cut back to Renard looking at the tapes of Mia, presumably from when she arrived in Portland yesterday but possibly they're real-time from this evening. I would dearly love to know who the hell he's got tailing her, since I doubt it's a cop. And it's a nice, clear indication to us of how little he actually trusts her and how much he can predict her movements that he's not surprised or dismayed by any of this. Again, the balance of trust versus knowledge in all the relationships in this episode running through as a nice anvilicious theme.

Monroe's German isn't the best but the translation is fairly accurate. And I think he's getting more fluent as he helps Nick with the Grimm diaries more and more, so there's that, too. (Also presumably as Silas Weir Mitchell gets more language coaching.) We get the litany of symptoms to look out for, for the benefit of both characters and audience, and then we get yet more of SWM's acting chops as Monroe talks around the lump in his throat at the thought that he might not see any of these people again, that he might have last seen Rosalee when his ex barged in on them, oh, I can think of all kinds of regrets he'd be having right about now. And where in other shows the struggling to hold back tears would read as manpain and make me want to throw things, here I just want to pet Monroe and tell him it'll be okay.

There's something painful and poignant about Hank wearing his badge around his neck, as usual, as he says he knows that whatever goes down tonight is off the books. Oh Hank. This is not what he wanted for his life at all, but now that it's here he's giving it no less than his best. Though I will note, for the record, that they should look into nonlethal rounds. Stunners, probably, as the most likely to slow down a woged-out Wesen, but that'd be a helluva lot more helpful than, well, a) killing your only source of information and b) being put in the position of killing someone without the benefit of your law enforcement creds to back you up. Tonight, that's neither here nor there, they're working on a tight timetable with the resources available to them. Which are substantial but not endless. Creepy Konigschlange guy checks Monroe for signs of life and, finding none, does not subsequently check Angelina for signs of lying. Though I will grant that since as far as they know this is her first cold-blooded kill, any signs of lying could be equally taken as signs of nerves. Also, right here, if she hadn't already made the leap, she really should be assuming that whoever the head honcho is, they're going to want to clean up all traces of evidence. Meanwhile Angelina keeps an eye on signs that Monroe needs to wake up now, and there's a nice bit of cinematography here with the night-vision binoculars. It's not Blair Witch wobbly, but it's the kind of natural wobble you'd get using them in the field rather than a crystal-clear image the way they might normally shoot it.

Mia's bodyguard and driver is back! Yay! No, wait, the other thing. And that "pay her" is in the same tones I was expecting her to deliver a "kill her," because really. Then again, she probably anticipated being able to use this even if she didn't get a dead Monroe out of the bargain, because she's like that. Angelina leaps to save Monroe, because some part of her still cares more than she will ever, ever admit. At all, now. And things go very south very fast, Mia backing out and saving herself which is about the only thing she can save from this situation with her bodyguard already dead, and assorted fights and I'm not sure but I think that one snake guy's head went flying. Ouch. What did I say earlier about not getting in Monroe's way because he's still very dangerous? He's also been training a Grimm on how to handle Grimm-style weapons the last few months, which gives him an edge right alongside Nick. I kind of want to yell at him to put pressure on the wound except with that location and at this probable distance from a hospital I'm not sure it would have done any good. The fight sequence with Nick and the Konigschlange is very good, very choppy but that's a filming choice indicated by the terrain rather than by Nick's movements. Notably, Hank doesn't even hesitate when he sees the gun in the guy's hand, just shoots. Center of mass. Good cop.

Angelina's last words are to be careful, that the woman who was behind all of it got away, and Monroe nods through his tears. And how very Angelina, that the last word is "damn," presumably an annoyed commentary on finding a situation she wasn't able to extricate herself from. Oh everyone. Monroe wants to deal with her body their way, which is not at all surprising, considering. I'd love to know how they dealt with the other bodies, but we don't get to see that. Instead we cut to...

...our last Renard scene, wherein he apparently has figured out just what she was doing in Portland. Sitting in her plane, waiting for her with all the arrogance of his station, and as she pulls up in a screech of tires and gets out, he shifts to stand and greet her. Contrasting her hurriedness with his calm poise, though he does a minor version of the tie-smoothing and then buttons his suit coat as he stands, an armoring tactic. Because, as Kitty rants at me in chat while she watches me type this last bit in gdocs (and sticks caps on her Haven post, yes, we know we're insane, thank you), every goddamn time he meets with someone he doesn't trust he buttons his coat. He's got his angry Prince face on now, no playful flirtation, no shades of we're-a-very-knowledgeable-family here. Somber browns rather than powerful blues, which make him look more ominous. Mia, in turn, looks rather like a child caught out at something she knows damn well she shouldn't have been doing. Which she shouldn't. She came into his city spouting platitudes about respect and rightful places and turned around and pulled as bad if not worse than what the rest of the Families have done to him, I don't know what the hell she did expect. Well, no, she probably expected to be able to dance off (like she did in Vienna? We'd love a timeline on that) and get away with it. Sorry, Mia, Renard's learned better since then. Pity the ep's almost over and we don't get to know what the everything she's going to tell him is. If I were her I would be damn nervous and careful about what I said, though, since it's quite clear that he's willing to kill her if her answers aren't satisfactory.

Nick continues to be a good friend and lets Rosalee know that Monroe survived his idiocy as he gets in for the night, and at this point he and Monroe at the very least have all been up since, what, the previous morning? That's an obnoxiously long period of sleep deprivation, no wonder they weren't all thinking straight by the end there. And Juliette's left him a nice note! Aww. Cut to Monroe burying Angelina in the woods, having worked I would assume through the night, building a cairn is hard fucking work. I'm not sure if crushing the watch is a Blutbad thing or a Monroe thing or a Monroe's family thing, but it, too, is painful to watch. And oh puppy.

Next time on Grimm: Renard and Juliette meet in the precinct! Mysterious potion happenings are still happening! And I hope there's some continuation of consequences for the fact that Nick and Hank have three dead bodies from off-hours activities. I will be deeply amused if they're forced to investigate themselves.


  1. Honestly, it never occurred to me that Angelina was slutty, but the impression I got was that she was running a con. Pick up an obvious idiot, lure him outside, smash him for his wallet, stash body and run. That was what I thought her various interlocutors' disapproval was about, and I think it's in character for her. Does it make the dude any less of an aahole? Of course not. But I do think she was playing him.

    Sigh, I was sad to see her go.

  2. A lot of shows (and, sadly, a lot of fans) would portray a character in her situation as a slut, or at least play up her sexuality in a derisive way. Grimm didn't, which is infinitely to their credit, writers and everyone. The soon to be dead Lausenschlange was definitely played as the bad guy. To us, it seemed like she was only playing him for a couple of beers, and the rest was taking advantage of him not knowing when to back off.

  3. I agree she wasn't played as a south, and that that's a good thing! Partly I don't think they could have gotten away with it; she's been established as more badass than anything else and only interested in interesting people, if Monroe is anything to go by. It would have been wildly OOC. Maybe that background is why I jumped to a con scenario: it seemed to me like something she'd do. Or maybe I've been watching too much Revenge and am just inclined to assume that EVERYONE IS CONNING EVERYONE.

    1. Wow, ok, I'm going to assume that "slut" came out as "south" because my kindle's autocorrect is bizarrely prim. Sorry about that!

    2. Oh autocorrect. XD

      Yeah, I tend to get that way when I've watched too much Leverage. Sadly, it isn't always a long con! It depends on the character and the show. Grimm tends more towards schemes or plots rather than cons, I think.