Friday, November 2, 2012

When You're At Home: Hank Griffin

Next up in our rounds of studying people's houses to learn about them, one Detective Hank Griffin. This was so much less time-consuming before Over My Dead Body, when we had fewer shots and fewer well-lit shots of the interior. I'd complain, but then I'd get reminded that I love having more data and to quit my bitching. That said, we're going to take this in the order we were introduced to Hank's living quarters.

Our first glimpse of Hank's house is actually when Adalind comes up to give him the blood cookies. Catching him just outside his sanctuary so she can insert herself into his life and dreams, oh, I could go on and on about the symbolism THERE. Long shot up the driveway with what looks like an oak tree off to the right, though well-trimmed back so it's not overhanging the car. There's a fair bit of shrubbery (but no Knights of Ni) and we can even get a house number, 1403, which probably isn't significant but I mention here for completeness. (I can make it significant, but you can make ANY number significant, so we're going to ignore it until some symbolism leaps up and beats us over the head instead.) Rather than a more traditional front door, Hank has a side entrance off the driveway. Nice solid-looking wood door, mail slot, doorbell. Couple steps up, it's not particularly disability-friendly but it's not horribly unfriendly either, should Hank be laid up on the job, say. Eminently doable on crutches, at least, and there may be a back entrance that's more friendly. From the exterior, the place looks ranch-styled. Overall, though it doesn't scream "a cop lives here," it's certainly fairly security-conscious without being obvious about it.

The second glimpse we see is of his bedroom, so, from exterior straight to inner sanctum by way of blood magic, because that's still not symbolic or anything. I was using those toes. Dual-layered curtains, white gauzy ones for a bare minimum of privacy on warm nights (and I do mean bare minimum), heavier ones for real privacy and/or warmth. Shot with the standard trope of heavy curtains back for maximum creepy when Adalind's phantom hand pets Hank's hair, with either moonlight or streetlight shining in. The heavy curtains are a warm brown and gold pattern; the bedding is an even warmer red. Red to match the napkin in the basket of cookies, yes, but also red because Hank's the kind of person to be surrounded by warm colors. Cozy colors. On the small table to the left of the bed (as Hank lies in it, anyway) is a stack of magazines/newspapers, and that's all we see for now before the closeup on poor fevered bespelled Hank.

And then we wait. And wait. And wait. And finally we get our next shot of Hank's bedroom in the opening scene of Woman in Black, because much to nobody's surprise he's going through the Delerium after seeing a Wilderman shift from woge to human in front of him, and being knocked over by Monroe in full woge. Poor guy. At first we don't see much but dark brown comforter and bigass gun pointing straight at the fourth wall, which at this point Hank's keeping under his pillow. Which is a terribly unsafe place for a gun, Hank, you could at least hang the holster behind your headboard, that'd be just as close and far less likely to cause an accidental misfire. Same red sheets as in the last scene, only this time he's not feverish from Adalind's blood cookies so he has a nice red-and-brown comforter over top. Along with similarly colored additional pillows. I was about to say that this bed looks almost like a double instead of a queen, and then I realized no, it's just that Russell Hornsby is a big man. (Plus I'm used to seeing Renard in the bigass king sized bed, as far as men in beds on this show go. Ahem.) That's a nice bed, too, solid wood construction, yes I am going to drool over Hank's house, what. Off-white walls up to the molding and then green, which between that and the browns give us an overwhelmingly foresty feeling. Two landscape paintings above the bed, both of the ocean, both involving waves crashing against cliffs; one painting or photo on the wall adjacent that I can't make out from here, between camera glare and smaller size of the picture. Matted in a muted blue that actually worked against the green of the wall, which is a neat trick. Partially helped by the brown frame, but still. Again with the very nature-oriented impression. And not just nature, but very masculine/warrior themed nature. This is Hank's fortress, we can practically make a palisade out of the curtains alone.

Two bedside tables with mismatched lamps and at this point I'm beginning to wonder what, exactly, the Grimm props department has against matching lamps. The table we have a clear view of, to Hank's right, has only a phone on it. And, somewhat notably in this day of cell phone primary households, it's a landline. The table itself looks to be stone of some kind, or a very very dark wood. There's even a freaking bedskirt on the bed, which is not something I would expect most men to do of their own accord. Then again, Hank's been married several times and it's possible that's left over from an ex-wife. Past that table is a desk (which is on coasters, huh, I wonder if that's to make life easier on the props department or if Hank actually moves it around) with a small plant (I think that's an aloe, running off my misspent months trying to keep the cat from eating the one I gave up on), a couple books, a small notepad with some writing on it, and some other boxy thing in varying shades of brown. Also at least two drawers which are fully closed and I want to rummage around in them. Hank, we will note, sleeps in socks and pajama pants, and I will giggle here about Hank needing socks to keep his feet warm at night, because that's cute, okay? And lastly, a bigass area rug again in warm muted colors, and what looks like the edge of a chair past the foot of the bed.

(Updated 11/5 to add: I forgot entirely about the whammied!Hank scenes in Island of Dreams, but aside from getting that there's a nice armchair beyond the desk and that his shower has glass doors and is in the same warm tones as the rest of his bedroom, there's not much extra from those scenes. A couple more landscape paintings above said armchair! Pretty much expanding on the same theme we already had.)

The remainder of our impressions of Hank's house from first season will necessarily be a bit scattershot and incomplete, since the only data we have is what it looked like after Kimura (and possibly Kelly) ransacked the place. Still, the overall impression is that it must have been just as warm and cozy and well-situated in the living areas as in the bedroom: brick facades and more warm reds and a variety of comfortable chairs and couches to sit in. Though Hank's currently a bachelor, he's been living here for long enough to make the place a home, and he values it for being a sanctuary; this makes it all the more upsetting to him that even the place he thought was safe is no longer. Let's continue to what we can get of the basic floorplan in among the chaos of Kimura's shoddy searching job, and then move on to details. An exterior door (I believe this is the back door, based on the shots of his living room in Over My Dead Body) opens into a living area, which is fairly large and open; it looks like a dining/den area but it's hard to say for sure with all the overturned furniture. There's a cupboard with a wide variety of shot/brandy/wine glasses on the wall that divides living area from kitchen, though no clear indication of a dry bar a la Renard's condo back there. We don't get a good look at the kitchen or even the doorway through to it until next season when Hank and Monroe sit down to talk about the craziness that's being partnered up with Nick. Instead, there's a hallway leading back off the living room to the publicly accessible bathroom, and then another hallway that goes back to Hank's bedroom, making it really well isolated from the front of the house. It is, as the exterior suggests, a ranch style; there's the walk-in closet that Hank tries to kill (Hank, honey, it's not a gazebo but I might well do that too in your situation) and I believe there's a master bath directly off the bedroom, next to the bed. I have to assume there's some other room or rooms off that back hallway, otherwise there's no goddamn point to the thing, but we never actually get a shot of what's back there. I'd assume a guest room and possibly a linen closet or something along those lines.

In a lot of respects the thing I notice first, even with everything out of place, is how many pictures Hank has. Not that we can see any of them in detail yet, but working backwards: in the closing shot of Hank in season 1 we can see a picture above his head hanging askew, and two others off to his right. In the shots of him talking to Nick on the phone while Nick pokes around Adalind's place, there's at least four something-or-anothers hanging on the walls, and we barely get a shot of anything except the hallway: one behind Franco's head, two above the doorway to the hall, and one behind Hank on his left as he finishes his call. And in the scene we will return to fully in a moment, Hank hasn't moved much from the doorway, we've had a number of different-angled shots, and I lost count at ten. Now, I'm sure for some people that's normal, but I don't actually have every wall covered over in pictures of places or people or even things I've made. And yet it doesn't feel cluttered, or wouldn't if it hadn't been ransacked, I don't think. Hank just Likes Paintings, or Likes Photos, or both, and that's reflected (aheh, oh Grimm and your mirror magic and THERE'S a whole 'nother essay I'm not getting into yet) in his choice of decoration. Again with the fact that he's been here long enough to put some serious effort into decorating, and also that he chooses to make his house a home. It's not a bachelor pad. It's very masculine, but it's almost military in its everyday tidiness, making the burglary even more horrifying.

(I do keep trying not to bias anyone in the direction of calling Hank Gawain, in keeping with our Arthurian parallels. But this setting is just making it so obvious in all kinds of little ways that I find myself looking for a little griffin statue or something, because REALLY.)

Another thing I notice, and I notice this because it seems like bloody well everyone has this, are the books. Books everywhere, again. In Hank's case this appears to take the form of paperbacks, specifically of the mindless thriller/mystery type. I think, anyway, judging by color/font. Also a deck of playing cards, which makes me have all the mental images of Hank and some buddies over drinking scotch and playing poker or something. The billiards balls in the basket on the table don't help that impression, either, though I don't think we see a pool table anywhere in Hank's house at this point. (Nor do I remember one from the season 2 scenes, but I'm willing to be proved wrong!) Two out of three of these, it should be noted, are social activities rather than solitary ones, making me wonder just where Hank falls on the introvert/extrovert scale. No, self, that is not a statue of a griffin, though it might be a... dolphin? It looks fairly abstract. And a picture of a dog, and that's all on that table. The third thing that strikes me is that there's a LOT of seating. Whatever Hank does in his off-hours, I'd bet that there's a fair amount of entertaining that goes on over there. Cards, billiards, WAY more booze glasses than any single man needs, and way more seating (and all of it looks like it was relatively comfy before it got its stuffing slashed out) ditto. What looks like the dining room table type of thing is much smaller and more indicative that Hank takes his meals alone when he's not having company. Also I wonder if he cooks. Oh, hey, there's a door adjacent to the public-use bathroom, which is not the door to the hallway with Hank's bedroom, but again with the no idea what's back there. Maybe THAT'S the linen closet? Inquiring analysts, dammit!

And that hallway, by the way, has I think four pictures. It's not a very long hallway. Once we hit his bedroom we also find out that Hank likes jazz music. Not by anyone who exists in our world except probably as a Grimm crew member, as with the various posters in Wu's apartment. Hi, Leroy Metcalf, whoever you are! I see other people have searched for this poster on Google and come up empty. That makes me feel better. And yes, that is a chair past the foot of his bed. We know this because that appears to be where Hank sits with shotgun and service piece at the end of this season, not planning to sleep anytime soon. There's also a corkboard with a bunch of notes pinned to it that we saw earlier; no close-up of it that would indicate what the notes are. It's worth mentioning that Wu had something similar in his apartment, so maybe that's intended to be a cop thing? I don't remember anything quite this cluttered at Nick's place, but then again I haven't been doing a close watch on it recently, and unlike the other two Nick lives with another person. So it could easily be a series of shorthand notes to self about case statuses - hearings to give testimony at, files to return/update/what have you, memos and reports to write. Things that are about the job but are safe to take home, or even a good idea to take home, since for showing up in court most cops are going to dress in business formal. Little reminders like that, would be my best guess, lacking any evidence to go on.

We then see nothing new of Hank's place until after he's been brought in on the secret of Nick's Grimming. We go from a bunch of dimly-lit, jerky sequences with lots of Dutch shots to... a nice overhead establishing shot of the house at night. About as well-lit as you can get for it being nighttime, and in this case I think the lighting choice is more about Monroe and Angelina than about Hank's status within the world. Just to emphasize that, we later get a scene at his place in Over My Dead Body that's broad daylight and shot with lots of open angles. A bit of a Mexican standoff feel to it, because not everyone in those scenes is friendly with each other, but generally speaking the camera isn't shouting This Is A Conspiracy, it's shouting This Is A Tense Meeting.

So let's take that establishing shot, since it's actually the best one we've had so far. Smallish ranch house, with what looks like an attic but no actual living space upstairs, judging by the slope of that roof. Or, not for someone Hank's size, anyway. Maybe sized to me or Kitty. Privacy hedge around the front yard and another hedge off to the left that I would assume belongs to the neighbors, not to Hank. Some kind of vine climbing up the front of the house after the hedge leaves off, and it's unclear from this shot but that looks like a bigass yard. Big old tree, I can't tell from this shot if I'm right that it's meant to be an oak because all the leaves are off it. (But not off the hedge, which doesn't appear to be evergreens, so I'm going with either that's a misset or they are evergreens and the angle/lighting makes it impossible to tell for sure.) Still, the climbing vine probably shouldn't... unless it's meant to be mistletoe, in which case I reserve all of the facepalm for me and Kitty, dammit, you guys. Three steps up to the door, what looks like a fence just past that or maybe a small shed for storing lawn care/garden equipment and trash bins, etc. Though it's a much different establishing shot from the one they used when Adalind brought Hank cookies, it's still clear to us that this is the same house; Hank hasn't moved out as a result of last season's events. That's the badass we know and love.

Inside! Our first impressions of Hank's house when it's not trashed are of warm reds and woodwork. I am yet again jealous of Kitty and her new house with all the glorious wood-paneled walls and hardwood floors. Lamps for lighting, a small picture over Monroe's shoulder that I can't make out but I think was there previously, and Hank's already restored the glassware to his dry bar. Behind Hank is the kitchen, a bit blurry and Hank makes a lousy window, but pretty green overhead lights, curtains on the window (same gauze/solid mix we've seen in the bedroom already), basket of fruit on the counter. A couple counters, actually, it looks like a large galley-style kitchen which isn't the worst design ever. As long as it's bigger than my last apartment kitchen, which it definitely appears to be. Aww, Hank, your solution to all this awkwardness is to break out the booze. Given the social activities we saw in the scene back in Woman in Black, along with his instincts with Monroe, it's a safe bet that booze is reflexive social lubrication. So we will assume they're not foreshadowing Hank being driven to alcoholism by the events of the show without a lot more proof. And also because I'd rather not go there. There's not a lot else I can get from this scene because it's all close shots looking up at Nick, Monroe, and Hank, so let's move on to the adorable of Hank and Monroe having bonding time.

No, sorry, I have to watch this without sound or I get distracted by the adorable. Much to my annoyance, most of the beginning of this scene is too close on Hank and/or Monroe to get much out of it. There's a table in what looks to me more like the living room than the dining room area that they're sitting at and drinking scotch. And it amuses me both because scotch is my drink of choice and because that goes neatly against racial stereotypes; scotch to me has always been the symbol of Upper-Class White Brit, though that may be me projecting years of watching PBS onto Hollywood. Ahem. Those are nice, solid tumblers. You could brain a man with them! (I have standards.) They're also not super-fancy, which is pretty in keeping with Hank's decor: solid, masculine, neat. It all screams that Hank enjoys taking care of his living space but there's nothing feminine in the way he does so, unless you consider cooking and cleaning inherently feminine. In which case you are really on the wrong blog. I will now pause on Hank leaping backwards from Monroe's wogeing out to examine the kitchen! I think those are granite countertops, or fake stone of some kind; whatever they are I want them. It is a galley kitchen, and it's fairly small since only one person habitually cooks here, but since it's open to the rest of the living area it doesn't feel as hemmed in as it otherwise might. The green lights are above something I can't quite make out but a juicer or a coffee press, something like that; that counter is an island with a walkway between that and the wall with the microwave, which also has the dishwasher under it. Clever! The fridge nook is to the right, and I have to assume the stove is on that wall as well since I can see what looks like faucet behind Hank but no range hood or oven. Then again, Hank could be blocking the view to that. All of it looks neat and well-kept, as with the rest of his apartment. The only other detail I can pick out from this scene is that there's a blue-green couch that we keep getting the top edge of, so moving along to Nick bringing Angelina in on the case!

This time they do come in the front door, based on where Nick leans out the door to signal Angelina to come on in. (Side note: this means we never saw Hank clear this room in Woman in Black, which is just weird. Maybe that was Franco's job, hence him coming in and scaring the shit out of Hank at that point?) Unlike the rest of the house, this room is painted white with just a few accents in reds and browns and golds. It's very clearly the receiving room in which Hank decides if he's going to let someone into the more personal parts of his home, which is in keeping with his fairly private attitude toward his place. The decor is far more formal, very cold in comparison to the rest of the house. Though I'd still like to curl up in read in the sun on that L-shaped couch/window seat type thing. Same curtain combo as everywhere else, off to our right we can see what must be the den/dining/social area with the back door that Hank and Monroe were having drinks in the night previous. A tiny little coat closet nook that's not even wide enough to merit a door, which makes sense, this isn't a big family home. Best case it's a two person home. Fewer pictures and any overhead lighting at all in this room, which is another way it's set apart from the rest of the house, though it being daylight the overhead light isn't on at all. Even the browns in the couch are cooler, leaning more toward yellow than red overall. I would love to be able to make out all the random things on the shelves above Hank's coats (and those aren't just coats, those are some light flannel type things too, because this is Portland), but I cannot. Alas. I suspect at least a couple of those are board games or puzzle boxes (one of them has 1000 on it, which is probably number of pieces) just by shape and size, not sure about the rest. We also have far less separate seating in this living room, whereas people have more seating options in the den. There's the long L-couch, a yellow armchair Monroe's perching on the arm of for part of this scene, and a dark brown p/leather armchair right next to the window seat. It's not a room conducive to social activity at all as compared to the den. Though there does seem to be a TV in this room, lurking behind the Blutbaden if they'd ever MOVE and let me look at the scenery... no, that's some kind of shelving. With globes on top, what is it with this set designer and globes? And then that couch we saw the top edge of last night, that Angelina's standing in front of, which tells me where they shot the Hank and Monroe drinking scene from! Yeah, there's maybe... three or four pieces hanging on the wall in this room, none of them telling much about Hank's personality. Coffee table, check. This whole room is like a list of what someone thinks formal company should be exposed to and the rest of the house has Hank's personality stamped ALL over it. There are so, so many potential reasons for that, ranging from ex-wife to parents to just being that kind of a semi-private person, that I'm not even going to try and analyze the whys until we know more about Hank's past. Just noting it here for reference. What does annoy me is that we never see the back of that room, so I can't tell if it opens onto another room or if, as I suspect, there's a guest bedroom on the other side of a wall not too far from where Monroe and Angelina are standing.

This is, unfortunately, a whole lot of data with very little in the way of coherent closeups (thanks for nothing, Woman in Black) to give us a good chance to analyze every miniscule detail. But I have hope that some of the symbolism and some of the activities shown within Hank's house will come up again in future episodes. Because Hank is the best

(Take a drink!)

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