Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Devil's Only Friend Grimm S2E18 Volcanalis

We still want to kiss whoever talked them out of the previouslies, on account of needing the spare seconds to cover the infinite plots! This week we open with Mount Hood and a quote from The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs, which I will readily admit I side-eyed as being similar to a Jack and the Beanstalk quote. At any rate, there's a lot of underworld and help from unexpected sources there. Including the Devil's grandmother. We're not looking at the Gypsy Queen much no really. Anyway, we open with a badass vulcanologist and obfuscating torrents of technobabble. It at least starts out as plausible and comprehensible and then rapidly degrades into shit we'd have to double-check on Wiki, but the point is: fumaroles are openings in the crust, usually found around volcanoes but this one's quite a ways down the mountain from where you'd usually expect them, yes. Cue ominous noises in the underbrush and though she clearly is ready to go and assumes it's an animal, she's equally clearly got plenty of street smarts and instincts. I love you, random vulcanologist. Why are you going to die soon. The guy who comes after her bag full of rocks is totally a Wesen, but he seems awfully unhinged to be a crazed killer - and indeed, he is ONLY going after the rocks. Hmm. Well, there's an easy solution for this, and it's called pepper spray! It's also called calling your boss as you get the fuck out of there and letting him know where you were, where you're headed to, and what happened. It would be really nice if doing everything right translated to getting to survive in this instance, but we know it's not going to because something has to bring the Portland PD in on this case.

Meanwhile, the very strange and one-and-a-half-horned Wesen behind her shouts about showing proper respect and how it's not hers. Uh-HUH. I'm creeped out. Are you creeped out? Because yeah. Ew. And that horn that's been broken off was clearly broken by trauma of some kind, which we'd better find out about in some degree this ep, because we know the CGI department doesn't have budget to waste on this kind of detail otherwise.

At the precinct, where there isn't a case of the week yet that we know about, hi Hank! We love you Hank. Nick and Wu seem to either love you or think you're in trouble, or, you know, both. Hank, are you trying to finish up all the paperwork before going on vacation? You don't have Renard's paperwork superpower, you know that's not going to work. (K: I think he has brownies. Paperwork brownies.) And then everyone pretty much shoves him out the door as the music shifts from lighthearted Grimm music to this-is-my-island in the sun, so, yes, this is a planned vacation and Hank is a workaholic. In the category of things we already knew. Even Renard gets in on the action, though he's not using any of his ability to be imposing and authoritative to get Hank to go; in fact, he seems to be going out of his way to be benign. There's a look there that's even almost a smile, as Nick wheels his partner out the door and mutters about needing a vacation from his partner and we love everyone in this precinct. So much. Hank is even doing the pearls-wave type wave. As much as we're going to miss having Hank on the show, this, guys? This is how you deal with SAG requirements and get someone out of the way for an episode, instead of the 10-20 second clips scattered throughout when they didn't know what to do with Renard last season. It's character-building and it's adorable and it tells us that for all that these are cops who deal with horror on a regular basis, they do care about each other and are capable of being lighthearted. It also serves to highlight how much of a fixture in the department Hank is, and how much everyone seems to like him, that he's being carted off and teased by a variety of the extras. And then we fall over laughing at Renard's casual "and back to work," which is delivered again with a sort of lighthearted, non-authoritative tone. Because he doesn't have any cause to break out the I Are Serious Captain This Are Serious Precinct right now, and because he's earned the ability to be flippant with the masses every once in awhile as long as he's sobersrs Captain when it counts. Indeed, everyone does disperse pretty much immediately. Someone give Roiz more comedic lines in this show, please, because his timing is excellent.

Over to the first metaplot of the week, hello Juliette! Note how the place where the pictures of her and Nick have become just pictures of her? Uh-huh. Poor honey. She's entering the house like you do when you keep being bombarded by visions of your ex-boyfriend everywhere and wondering where the next one(s) will come from, and gets as far as the kitchen before having another batch of them. We do not love all the Nicks in this house. Which makes sense, given that we've seen the kitchen as the heart of their home in a lot of ways last season, that it's here and in the bedroom that she's having the worst visions. One of those looks vaguely familiar from when the fridge broke last season, but I don't think it's actually from that; all of these are the sort of random domestic snippets that they gave us as precursors to Nick getting a call-out back when things were still... well, relatively good. And have we mentioned how much we love that they're letting this happen and play out? Because we do. It's far from the conventional path to take, but frankly the most conventional path to take would have been to kill her off in the pilot, considering they set her up as wearing red with a serial killer who was drawn to women wearing red as the first Wesen of the week. And they didn't. And they're still not writing her as the kind of person who actively runs away from her problems, just runs away from the overwhelming nature of them and tries to find somewhere with some peace and quiet from her hallucinations. I would, too, if my home were being invaded by overlapping memories of a lover I had magically forgotten. Except now the Nicks are spreading to outside, with a nicely snarky Doylist moment of "go on, get out of here" that's directed at the raccoons rather than Juliette. And we know, though she doesn't, that the car's not going to be safe either at this point and we're all cringing waiting for the worst to happen. The Pine Meadows Drive and Owl's Nest is a nice callback to Thing With Feathers (1x16) and also cause for quite a wince. Juliette, honey, you probably should have tried to touch them when you were NOT in the car, though it doesn't look like that's doing any good this time. Hard to say, what with the car crash. It is, fortunately, not hard enough to make us think she's dead, but that's going to be one hell of a headache when we come back to her.

First, roll credits! Second, go to Vienna, land of castles. Or that's possibly a church, but it sure looks like a castle. And as anyone who has watched a certain comedian knows, Europe is lousy with castles. They just long for a bungalow or something. Anyway, the picturesque flyover shot complete with random castle-turned-hotel? Anything? is accompanied by the unmistakable sound of someone fake-retching. Or possibly at this point just heaving and gagging because there's nothing left to come up. Now, not like we didn't see the positive pregnancy test, but at this point we know Adalind is really truly pregnant because she's having morning sickness! Only, hey, it's morning sickness that isn't in the morning! That's at least a step in the right direction, when one is pregnant (or so I'm told) the nausea and vomiting comes whenever it damn well pleases, and usually whenever is least convenient for you, never mind that it's called morning sickness. That's a terrible, terrible lie. So, Adalind is knelt before the porcelain god in that lovely bathroom in which we saw her beaming so happily over the positive pregnancy test. Welcome to pregnancy, hon. Adalind doesn't deal well with physical discomfort at all, possibly because she never learned how. Physical discomfort at best saps your attention and energy and often robs you of at least small shreds of dignity, and as we saw with Catherine, the Schades do not sacrifice their dignity willingly or without cost. Anyone who has been in severe discomfort or pain knows, though, that clinging to dignity rather than ability and mental coherence generally results in you looking even more like a dying fish, and Adalind likely never learned any decent coping mechanisms for even the discomfort of nausea, never mind anything else. To add insult to illness, there's a knock on the door. Yes, Adalind, really. And ew, you're not going to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out or anything? Though I suppose it's always possible that she did, thought it was over, and had to go heave some more. That does happen more often than you'd think.

At any rate, she drags herself to her feet and heads on over to open the door, and I have to wonder if she was planning to have company given what she's wearing or if that's the kind of sleeping attire she prefers even when alone. Or if that's all she brought, not expecting this to last this long or what have you. Though given her mother's teaching I would guess that she wears pajamas like that on a just-in-case basis, always. The knock on the door is quiet and urgent without being very forceful, so it's not much of a surprise when Frau Pech's voice comes from the other side. Unlike last time, this is shot very plainly and Adalind is not at all pleased to see her. It's late, she's tired, she feels like crap, she doesn't want to do anything that involves putting on a public face and having to use her wits. Frau Pech doesn't give two shits for this, she set up this meeting and it was quite difficult and you do not refuse the what the hell did you just say, woman? And I thought Chirpy swallowed his words. For all that the character is sold in promotional copy as the Queen of the Gypsies that is NOT what she says. As near as we can tell, it's something that seems to be geburgeleute von fuhren, which means or is intended to mean Leader of the Townsfolk? Which seems misleading since one of the defining stereotypes of the Romany people is that they don't have a town as defined by outsiders. Keeping in mind that this is dependent firstly on that they translated it correctly into German, which given their track record is less than likely, and secondly that we both heard correctly and translated back to English. Yeah, I'm with Adalind on the who the hell is that, with a side order of what the fuck. (Although I kind of want it to be correct because then I can alternatively [poorly] translate it as "Leader of the Village People.") The only thing Frau Pech translates or renames that to is the Queen of the Schwarzwald Romansch, which, hey, the Queen of the Black Forest Romany. We've also seen one source refer to her as the "Zigeunersprache", which is moderately less sketchy in terms of unfavorable representation of Romany; the translation of that one is zingaro speaker, speaker for the zingaro and while I'm not sure if that's better or worse than "gypsy" (it's certainly less commonly found in fiction these days but it looks more offensive), speaker at least seems less exoticized than Queen. Ahem. Anyway. Big high muckety muck, in other words, of a people who live in the Black Forest or are from the Black Forest and other than that we know absolutely nothing. Except that Frau Pech has reason to think she'd be interested in a royal bastard. Not the cute one. Adalind doesn't care, she's not going, and either she doesn't think much of Frau Pech or she really is too uncomfortable to care who she might offend by her being mulish. Frau Pech does soften somewhat when Adalind protests that she feels like crap, down to and including kneeling in front of the silly former hexen, which is both symbolic (most likely in a Doylist fashion) of the child of royal blood Adalind now carries and a peculiar way of dominating from position of implied lower status, given that the next thing she does is reach out and touch Adalind's stomach. Adalind cringes, because she doesn't like being touched and in this situation, for so many ways. Firstly because pregnancy somehow conveys the impression to so many intrusive little shits that the woman's body is public property to touch and grope as they choose in the interests of I don't even know what. Second, third, and fourthly because Adalind for all her pleasure at having an alliance with Frau Pech doesn't, if she's at all smart, actually trust her, she doesn't like having the woman (or anyone) dictate terms to her especially not when she's feeling like crap, and she has no good relationships with other women, thereby making her uncomfortable and distrustful around them. And unlike men, she can't seduce women, reducing her power over them at least via the tactics she prefers to bring to bear. Still, Adalind looks intrigued and pleased by the prospect of finding out what the child of royal blood would be worth to someone in power, and the look she gives Frau Pech as the older woman stands again resembles nothing so much as the looks she gave Renard when he praised her for something nefarious and well done. Which implies all sorts of things about the subconscious power dynamic there. Also about Adalind's ability to hold her own in this kind of power game. Frau Pech cautions her to wear something warm (the fuck is that supposed to mean, though I think the content's not meant to be as ominous as it sounds, only "this meeting will take place out of doors"; the tone is creepily maternal) and we go to...

... the hospital. Because Nick of course has heard about Juliette's accident by now, and he's concerned enough to break his self imposed exile and go see her. Which immediately causes her to whimper and cringe away thinking he's another hallucination, possibly from before she woke up in the hospital and her un-tampered memories start there, oh honey. Nick doesn't quite get that she's not talking to him, she's talking to her perceived hallucinations, which is actually fair as she's not being the most coherent right now. Except the things he says are things which react to her current situation, not things that seem out of place or in the past, and some of that seems to register with her. She touches him, he doesn't disappear nor does her hand go through him, and Nick gives her the admittedly most adorable puppy look of wanting her to be okay, awww. Nick, this would be a great time to ace your perception roll, I'm just saying. No? No. Throughout this entire conversation he doesn't pick up that she's been hallucinating and going slowly insane because of the spells and counterspells. When she calls him by name in that "are you really there?" voice he assumes it's because of the concussion. Which isn't the least reasonable but Nick, you could at least put some things together from her next statements. Instead of offering platitudes that don't apply to anything she's saying, you could ask her what she means, ask her to describe it. No? No. Sigh. He does, at least, get the part where she wants him to leave her alone and she's upset and in pain from what everyone's been doing to her. Which is, I suppose, the very least we could be hoping for right now. Poor honeys. They're both visibly hurt by this, but there's really no way around any of it.

And now for our last glimpse at the poor scientist victim of the week. Alas, lady vulcanologist, we liked you too well! She comes home, she comes in, the house shakes, she looks up and around and assumes earthquake, complete with awesome scientist automatic assessment of the size of the quake. As you do, really, when things shake and you're on the Pac Rim and you don't know about the existence of lava wesen or whatever the fuck that thing was. The rocks are bagged and on her table now, and she goes to hang up her coat in what looks like a mud alcove when there's a hissing-crackling sound. The plastic bags are now diamonds melted! And it's getting hotter and there go the lights and things crisping and burning and then the screaming and the lava wesen and dammit, I really liked that one. About the only noteworthy thing here is that the dutch angle in the initial shot with the earth shaking came from above rather than below, which is an odd choice for a threat that comes from below.

From the screaming in terror to the screaming in sports! Monroe has Bud over and they're watching... football. Non-American football. Which is an interesting and somewhat non-traditional choice for the sports which Americans like to watch, though to be fair, many do. And it also touches lightly on Monroe's connection to his father and grandfathers, most likely, since it is a popular sport in Western Europe. There is the requisite argument about what the player should have done and then an attempt to pull Nick into it, which fails pretty horribly. Nick gives no fucks for football. Okay, fine, soccer. By the way he's sprawled on that chair, Nick gives no fucks for anything that does not involve brooding over Juliette. We can't blame him too much, really. Interestingly, Bud is the more perceptive when it comes to how Nick's feeling and the situation in general, which might go along with him being the long-married one. This balances out with him also not being the one with any sort of external filter on his mouth, oh Bud. Monroe has a burst of audibly taking Nick's side there, with his choice of words on blaming Juliette's treatment of him, but as far as we can tell that's the first time Monroe's taken anyone's side in this, so we'll put it down to a couple of beers and not liking to see his friend hurt. Bud also has an interesting burst of seeing Nick as a Grimm first and a person second; we haven't seen that out of him in several episodes. Possibly not since the Troll Bridge. But that's a moot point for now, Nick's got a callout, and both he and Monroe sound way too cheerful about a homicide. Then again, it is something to take his mind off his Juliette problems! Bud will chime in with something supremely awkward, and we cut via doorways to...

... the bruja's! Have I mentioned yet how amazing it is to have someone who isn't Rosalee doing the magic potion solution thing? And that Juliette has someone to go to outside of the Scooby gang? Because it is. Both of these things. For the initial couple of subtitles once again things are reasonably accurate and oh, hey, we get to see her home! It is, notably, not a stereotypical latino home, at least not within this first short glance. And all of these subtitles are reasonably accurate both for literal and semantic translation. In contrast to Adalind cringing from physical contact Juliette doesn't seem specifically afraid of the bruja's arm around her shoulders so much as she is generally unhappy and upset about everything. Poor girl. As she says, she's scared to even go home, which makes it doubly interesting that she comes to the bruja's. Does she have nowhere else to go, or is she considering that the bruja might not only offer her comfort, but also answers? Because I'm betting on that second one.

We cut from there straight over to the crime scene, where Wu introduces us to Jill Pembry, geologist for a corporation of some kind (which is a nice nod to the fact that no, actually, you don't get most geologists working in academia, not these days and not for awhile now) who missed a dinner date with a coworker. Whether or not that was a date-date or a working dinner is left to the cops to figure out. So that's the normal part! Wu would like it known that he does not approve of these shenanigans, and while he's not looking to Nick for answers as yet I have to think it might come to that over the course of the next season or so. Assuming we get a next season. Nick's sigh-and-eyeroll indicates that he already expects this to be Wesen. By the way they're building this up, I have to say they'd better give us some Watsonian payoff for those Doylist lampshades about nothing but Wesen in this town pretty soon. Or at least some indication that that's going anywhere other than lampshades. Because it's getting a bit egregious in the dialogue and directing at this point. They take us through the crime scene, scorch marks on the walls and handprints burned into the vic's arms and neck, and Wu says there's similar marks on the back door while Nick examines the melted plastic from the rocks. There's a lot of fairly standard police work here that's not telling them anything, because this is so far outside the range of normal homicide investigation that nobody, even Wu, expects much data out of the scene. Still, Nick's going through the motions and we can almost see him hoping that there's not a Wesen in full woge on that camera. Lord knows that was a nightmare to deal with with the Wildermann. Fortunately, no, but it does tell them where she last was and what she was last doing and gives them a direction to look in! And interestingly, Wu for all his nerdiness doesn't know what a fumarole is. We do also question somewhat the decision not to give Nick another homicide/robbery detective as a temporary partner while Hank's on vacation - Renard has plenty of reasons for not doing it and Nick has plenty of reasons for not wanting it, but it is SOP. And that lack just reminds us that whatever it is that Kouf and Greenwalt really want to be writing, it's not actually a procedural; the procedural is just the vehicle by which we get to know more about Wesen, Grimm, and the extremely tangly politics contained therein.

Speaking of things we want to know, we would love to know just what Pilar is. Human? Wesen? One of the possible results of Wesen crossbreeding, either with humans or with each other? Considering we ran into her first in the La Llorona episode which had a creature neither discernibly Wesen and definitely not human, is she something else entirely? INQUIRING MINDS. For now we'll just settle for calling her the bruja, which she is, and move on to analyzing the Spanish for you. Like we do. Juliette's dropping words, which is both something you do when the dropped word is implied by the rest of the sentence (such as pronouns, in so many languages that aren't English) and something you do when you're upset. Not to worry; the subtitles fill in the missing word for those of us who couldn't get it or don't speak the language. And her "I can't take it anymore" is accurate, too. She is either towards the end of the middle or at the end of telling Pilar her story, and yet once again the bruja doesn't seem to need to hear the details. Or at least so we can assume because she has that pot of tea already laid out and everything, possibly even before Juliette arrived. Either that or whatever she's doing to Juliette and/or the tea doesn't require much in the way of overt magical gestures, because given what Juliette's been through the odds of her sitting calmly on some woman's couch while the woman's just done arcane things to a pot of tea she's telling Juliette to drink are slim and none, and Slim was murdered by Wesen. Juliette drinks, makes a face and apologetically tells her it doesn't taste very good, and the bruja replies with a smile that it isn't for the taste (well, tongue, which is again the more accurate translation than what I just gave) but for her mind, for her focus. If I were Juliette I'd be starting to freak out right about now about getting dosed without prior warning, but she did come to Pilar for help? And maybe, then, there's a conversation we haven't seen here, about whether or not the bruja can help and what's in the tea? Particularly if she said something ambiguous about it helping, and Juliette took it to mean something along the lines of calming properties of chamomile. Uh-huh. Basically there's all kinds of subtext going on here that not only are we not getting all of, Juliette doesn't seem to be either. ANSWERS, PILAR. GIVE THEM TO US. And oh, hey, we have our first divergence between subtitles and spoken words! What she says is Tener tantas memorias a la vez, es demasiado para cualquiera, which translates to "to have so many memories at one time is too much for anyone" and I have no idea why they translated it as "as the memories become clearer, it's too much for anyone to handle." I mean, I understand why they tacked on that last part, but even in English it looks like someone took the beginning of one sentence and the end of another and stapled them together. Aren't you lucky you have fluent Spanish speaking recappers? The next translation isn't so much a mistranslation as it is a different choice of idiom; the subtitles say something about cutting through a web, whereas what she says is debes abrir camino, you have to open a path through the web. The web metaphor remains intact, but the choice of verb differs. Less combative would be my first choice for description of the difference, but it may or may not be of significance.

The bruja then goes on to describe a process that sounds like nothing so much as guided meditation, almost. To separate her memories she has to focus her mind on one, pull that one out, examine it, and (it's implied) put it away or put it back on the shelf where it was in her memory palace. Which brings to mind the metaphor that Juliette's mind is a house that's been picked up off its foundations and shaken up, all the things inside jumbled about. Whatever the bruja gave her will help her to focus and put all her memories back in order, but now she has to do that work to regain her equilibrium. As Pilar describes, it isn't enough to remember, she has to re-experience it in at least an internal way to get it back the way it was and should be. Juliette, as one might expect, is tired of this and doesn't want to, probably doesn't feel like she has the strength. But the alternative is to go steadily insane, which the bruja describes in somewhat less brutal but no less decisive terms as 'not having a future.' Here and again, the subtitles are largely accurate. And the language and mannerisms used, too, are interesting. Pilar's mannerisms, the mirroring, and the cadence and tone of her voice are both that of a teacher and that of a grandmother, in a way, which goes nicely with Juliette's childhood experience speaking Spanish being that of living with her grandmother in Spain. For all we've seen of Juliette, she apparently has no family at all, or at least no family she's close to, in contrast with Nick's mother and aunt who we've seen and heard mentioned, Rosalee and Monroe's family stories, and even some of Renard's family who we've heard spoken of. But Juliette we've heard only two things about her family, watching fireworks with her father and that she lived with her grandmother in Spain when she was a girl. Nothing current and nothing as often as any of the others. We can presume they're most to all deceased, which explains why no one came to visit her in the hospital when she was in a coma that whole time, but it's still curious. It also explains why she feels inclined to trust Pilar, whose behavior is so maternal or grand-maternal and whose home does echo certain Spanish aspects. (Albeit not exclusively Spanish, I should say. Insufficient data to say whether more Spanish or more Latin American.)  

We go from one woman in trouble asking a maternal figure for help, to another woman who's somewhat in trouble and has two very not at all maternal women to handle. Look, if shattering mirrors weren't such bad luck... anyway. Sigh, you guys. And more sigh for all the Rom stereotypes they're playing up here: trailers/caravan setting, big barking dogs, loud music which combines modern technology with a sort of folkish dance feel to it, extremely unfriendly and distrustful people, at least one with a gun over his shoulder. Neither of us know enough about Romani culture to say how accurate this is as compared to the stereotypes, but we'll note for now that at best they're putting on a very definite front for Adalind to buy into. Right down to the clothing their leader is wearing, and whatever title they're slapping on it she is their leader, by attitude of all involved. And now we start swearing in all our languages because fucking fuck they finally went for a language that we don't speak. Romanian rather than Romani, at a guess, because we would be incredibly surprised if they'd found a translator for any of the Romani variants. (Goddamit, Romanian isn't even ON my list, not for a good 5-10 YEARS. You fuckers.) So we'll have to go by body language and a decent ear. Sigh mutter fume curse. At a guess, assuming there's a formal you in Romanian, they're both using it. Stefania and Frau Pech clearly don't care much for each other, but they respect each other... heh. In much the way Eric and Sean do, or at least as Sean respects his brother as a worthy adversary. And Adalind has an idea that she's just jumped into another pool infested with sharks, but she clearly doesn't speak the language either, by that look of uncomprehending calculation. Stefania demands a name, very specifically, not who are you or what are you called, which is the more common non-English form of address. "What is your name?" Do I need to hammer more on names having power? And how the woman here re-pronounces it, giving it the full Germanic set of syllables and vowels, and that's calling on knowledge of the Schades, knowledge of where Adalind comes from and who she is and what she used to be, all of which give Stefania one hell of an advantage in this negotiation. It's interesting that for whatever reason Adalind doesn't seem to know anything about these people; either Catherine never told her or she never wanted to know or both. Given the Anglicized pronunciation I would bet on some combination of both, that whenever Catherine or her parents came over to the States they opted to forget all about their roots and heritage except insofar as it was useful to them gaining power. Assimilation, though, would have been viewed as the key. Stefania does, however, give back several names, which tends to indicate that she's not even a little concerned about Adalind using any of the power that comes with a name against her. Stefania Vodova (Budova?) Popescu, if the last seems familiar it's a soccer player but it translates to priest's son/daughter, fuck's sake you guys really? Even more interesting that she talks about roots, though; traditionally, the Rom are a nomadic group, though also traditionally not always by choice. And that seems like a Russian naming convention if anything, which is just. Odd, somewhere this near to Vienna and with leaning on this much Romanian base. Though we have had Russian turn up once before, with Oleg Stark leading to random Russian speaking from Renard in the deleted scenes. And the Romanian convention at least used to be given name, father's name, grandfather's name, so... in conclusion, what the fuck.

Adalind has no idea what the fuck either, she is completely out of her depth and after however long a drive is probably still struggling with nausea to say nothing of fatigue. But she gives pleasantries, looks to Frau Pech for her cues, and manages at least a passable mask of politeness. Which doesn't fool Stefania for a second, who will now come assert her dominance more viscerally by petting Adalind's hair. Yeah, I'd be annoyed and freaked out too. Especially because there's two people who will be pissed if she tries to start a dominance battle right now, and she used to rely mostly on her hexen powers which she no longer has. They're trying to make Adalind a lot more sympathetic lately, mostly by whomping her, and it's fairly squicky, honestly. The more so as we go through the rest of this scene. So, Frau Pech encourages her on in with at least a light touch on the back, that's relatively tame compared to the rest, and we get a very odd several seconds of hospitality. There are I think some kind of traditions here that aren't being carried out properly, with the welcome to my home that sounds like nothing so much as lair, and introduction of her sons with what I can only take as proprietary pride. It sure as fuck isn't maternal pride in her big dumb muscle. (We'd object to the big dumb muscle stereotype, but EVERYONE gets big dumb muscle in this show, except Renard, who gets Nick. Nick is little dumb muscle. Ahem.) I think Stefania and not just the actress is deliberately exaggerating her accent for extra bonus "please, underestimate me, do" points. Which is just eyerolly, come on, the only reason that fools Adalind even a little is due to exhaustion. Worth is determined via paternity, yadda yadda, only way to determine paternity is via a truly horrific test. Um, guys? Guys? They have these really marvelous things called DNA tests now, and I bet Adalind could get the Pustule's DNA and test it against oh why am I bothering. It's more effective torture and whomping to use the thing that looks like a cross between a medieval pear torture device and the biggest fuckoff intrauterine needle ever. Adalind has zero self-defense training but a really good scream, and Stefania has a lot of menacing and I do not fucking buy the having to be awake except in that it's useful to torture someone into compliance. Yay.

There's a lot of stuff going on with this scene in specific and with this plotline in general, and it ties back in no small measure to the things we've seen Adalind do throughout the series so far. We have, let's be blunt, a lot of rape. Hank's rape by Adalind, Renard and Juliette were mind-raped and damn near actually raped by proxy with the spell, I can't define that supposed sex scene with Adalind to "take the edge off" as anything other than rape of the coercive variety, and those are just the literal ones. Then we've got Nick's metaphorical rape (did you look at how that scene was shot? ew) that took her powers, and then we've got this scene right here. And with the exception of Nick, every single one of these scenes involves a woman as the perpetrator, and most of them involve men as the victims. There have been Wesen of the week (the Coyotls ep comes to mind most vividly) with a more stereotypical male-on-female sexual violence theme, but the ongoing metaplot, this is what's going on. One can make the argument that Hank was at Renard's instigation, but one can also make the argument that he didn't know the extent of what Adalind was going to do, since he seems to have wanted Hank controlled, not dead or completely mindless. Asking fewer awkward questions, more likely. And it's saying some really, really unpleasant things to us about the power dynamics in Grimm, both where women are expected to get their power from and where the men are expected to fall, either in line or removing themselves from situations where they can be harmed. This is by now endemic to the series, and yet we would expect the writers, for a variety of reasons, to be extremely aware that the statistics in the normal world (and especially in the world of highly-privileged male royal power they seem to be writing) are exactly the reverse of what they keep showing us. They've also not used love as a weapon in the more traditional femme fatale way, it's all sex and rape and coercion spells. Which is another odd set of choices. So either they're not aware of this pattern, which gives us the screaming heebie-jeebies, or they're planning on some kind of payoff where we come to understand why all the women associated with the Royals turn to rape as a weapon. Which, given our introduction to Eric Renard as blandly torturing a prisoner and the implicit extent of abuse of power that's going on here, is likely to be even more horrific if it's going to explain or in any way balance out the women-on-men rape we've seen so far. And that gives us the screaming heebie-jeebies in a whole different direction. In conclusion: what the fuck, you guys. Seriously. This had better be some stellar fucking writing coming up to explain this pattern.

Ranty analysis aside, we have to continue on with the case of the week, which takes us to Eon Industries and Jill's boss. Who expresses his sorrow and dismay and tells them about the guy she pepper sprayed up on the mountain! Good boss, sensible boss, they called the right people and it's just down to jurisdictional lines (not even friction or fuckery, for once!) that they hadn't heard about this. It's also a safe assumption on either her part or her boss' part that the guy was some kind of "eco-freak," and in this case I tend to agree; without commentary about it being a sacred site objections to taking rocks would code very strangely to humans not in the know about Wesen. It's even what seems to be a good company, since they're looking a geothermal possibilities, which is some of the cleanest and cheapest energy out there! Aw, Portland, never change. Anyway, finding a fumarole lower than expected would mean less money to get the geothermal wossits working and, in conclusion, yay! Wu's in there asking good questions and generally being good backup for Nick and I kind of question why the hell he hasn't made detective yet unless he honestly doesn't want to. (Or unless he really is some kind of wesen spy for Renard. Or someone else to spy on Renard. Or...) Which is a whole other set of characterization problems for another day.

Up the mountain we go to see where Jill was when she grabbed a piece of a Volcanalis and maced a guy! On the drive, for which Nick and Wu did not take either Nick's truck or a cruiser (which I question as bad protocol but OKAY FINE sigh), they've evidently been getting more of the standard questions about the vic out of the way, her last relationship ended a year ago, here's his name, she was pretty much married to her work, which gets us a "huh" from Wu. I kind of wonder if this isn't a subtle reference to at least one if not two asexual characters, or at least a commentary on it being okay to put your career before your relationships. Either way, there's no moral judgment being passed, which is nice. Standard questions about ecological protesters, etc., they run a clean company and it's clearly for form's sake as much as anything. If that were the direction the case was headed, they'd have bothered to show us Nick tracking down the company's records last night or first thing this morning before heading over to question the guy, which I sure as hell would've done in his shoes, suspected Wesen or no. Blah blah volcano could become more active here's a lampshade for you Mr. Geologist, where would you like it? Meantime Nick's Grimmstincts are in overdrive, which Wu notices. We sigh about put the rocks down oh you poor bastard you're getting it next, and they head back to the truck. Guys, I know you were a quarter mile away but that is a LOT of rocks and a LOT of shattered glass and you should have fucking well heard something. Notably, Wu takes his gun out while Nick just leaves his holster unsnapped and is ready to draw, probably because Nick's starting to rely more and more on his Grimm abilities rather than on his weapon. Nobody's there, the boss geologist delivers some more lines about how nothing like this has ever happened until yesterday, Wu being SENSIBLE AND SMART calls it in while Nick, being less sensible and smart, goes off to track the guy. Goddammit, Nick, one of these days you're going to get in over your head. Again. And for the love of god do not fucking call Wu in for backup when you KNOW that's a Wesen and he might woge out fully in front of a human. Unless you plan on doing a better job of ushering Wu through the Delirium than you did Hank. Rassum frassum learn from your goddamn MISTAKES. In this case, though, protagonist narrative reigns and Wu gets to deliver the flying tackle (Wu? Have you been taking lessons from Derek Morgan? He's bigger than you, you know) from out of nowhere. Yay! We cut to commercial on our friendly neighborhood officers cuffing the lunatic Wesen of the week who sounds an awful lot like a Cassandra figure to us already, yelling about not showing respect and taking what's not yours and all gonna die. Oh goodie. Just the kind of cryptic everyone loves deciphering! Well, except the all gonna die, that's pretty straightforward.

Back over to the lair of the alleged gypsies, where more cryptic shenanigans are going on, this time involving some sort of blood alchemy. First Stefania drips what must be the vial of Adalind's blood (because okay, guys? unless there's accelerated baby weirdness going on here she's not far along enough to have a fetus with blood of its own yet) into the pot and then one of her henchboys sprinkles what looks like graveyard dust or something equally dusty and creepy into it. They're not very particular about measurements. We then get a look at the pot, and whatever was boiling in the pot before seems to have already been red, whereas whatever liquid was recently added (Adalind's baby-contaminated blood, or a few zygote cells or I have no idea what) is blue. Do we even need to explain the reference here? I will, at least, go on to state that the last time I saw blue blood interpreted quite so literally was the film version of Neil Gaiman's Stardust, so take from that what you will. Possibly just that the producers are Neil Gaiman fans. At any rate, Stefania seems both pleased and to have expected even odds that Adalind was lying. I'd protest, but it's a fair assessment. I am also unsurprised that the contingency option if she was lying was "kill her," because, okay. Is anyone surprised by that by now? I didn't think so. Adalind is lying stretched out on a bed most likely trying not to move in case she throws up on something dry clean only, and is cranky about having to be put through a painful procedure in order to verify something she seems to feel they should have taken her word for. Two notable facts about Stefania's derision for Adalind's word, the first being that she's derogatory of the honor and truthfulness of all hexenbiests and includes Adalind among them, the second being that Frau Pech, who we already know is a hexenbiest, doesn't react in the slightest. And we can presume that's because she is intimidated by whatever magical, social, or political power Stefania holds, but there's no way to know for certain which it is. Whichever it is, she's used to this from Stefania at least in general and possibly everyone else as well. We'd argue for it being an accurate assessment of hexenbiest except that there's been a subtle undercurrent of racial profiling and racial relations within the Wesen world in the whole show, and how the species prejudices and vendettas only get you into trouble to varying degrees. Also, we've only seen three examples of hexenbiests with any degree of screen time at the moment, and two of them were related both biologically and by upbringing. It is, however, interesting that one of said hexenbiests, along with two others we never got to know, were employed and by all accounts making a damn good career as lawyers. And contract lawyers, most likely, to boot. So there's that as far as hexen honor and hexen promises go.

Anyway. Now that everyone's bona fides have been established, and by everyone's we mean only the person with the least power here because the people with the most power have forced her, we can begin negotiating. With a ceremonial swig of hooch! At least I hope that's hooch. We can assume that if it were something more tricksy than hooch they would let or make Adalind drink it too. She does reach out for it, which isn't the smartest thing she's ever done but there's some argument to be made for the notion that if the person who brought it out is willing to drink from it, it can't be that harmful. (Either that or she's built up an immunity to iocane powder. Adalind's not being that smart, here.) But Stefania pulls the bottle back and actually chides her for being a bad mother. At least insofar as the health of the baby is concerned, which is really all she cares about isn't it. Still, I'm amused by the chiding. Fine, if Adalind can't drink, let's get down to it. Apparently Stefania is willing to pay half a million euros (about 650,000 American dollars) for a boy and 750 thousand (almost a mil) for a girl, delivered healthy and promptly to her. And at this point even as exhausted as we were there was a considerable amount of excuse me?? going on here. For one thing, it certainly seemed like we'd established with the rings and everything else that the men held the power within the Royal families, so the fact that she's paying half again as much for a girl is interesting and speaks to more long-term ideas and goals. Along the Bene Gesserit lines. And that in and of itself also implies that Royals aren't human either, nor yet Wesen, possibly, but something else. Since Adalind's child wouldn't be pure of blood, and if by Renard not even half pure, whatever is special about the Royal bloodline must be something that doesn't dilute significantly or even at all. The odds of Adalind's child coming to inherit would be pretty slim as is, and require a whole lot of murder (which, admittedly, few on this side of the Atlantic have any qualms about), and if it's a girl, even less so. If it's a boy, presumably at that kind of price they would be using him as a means to get a girl? There are a number of possibilities here, most of them involving breeding programs or the like, and none of which sound appetizing. And, of course, it's all largely speculation because we have shit for data to go on. These are inferior bricks we're making here, you guys. This is insufficient clay. There is mention of an open market in Budapest, which is intriguing but neither informative nor surprising, make your own Hawkeye and Black Widow jokes here. Even less surprising is Stefania's threats, so, okay, we know she wants this kid bad. This is also information that is neither new nor helpful. Adalind will break in to give us even more of that; she's not interested in money, she wants her goddamn powers back. What is new and intriguing information is that Stefania has to make an actual effort to say "what you want may not be possible" with a straight and blank face, though what emotions she's concealing behind that are hard to guess at. Surprise, maybe, though why anyone would be surprised at Adalind wanting her powers back I have no idea. Hysterical amusement and laughing at Adalind, maybe? There's something there, though, and it's being most emphatically sat upon. We will also underline the may not be possible, here. It's totally possible. At least in some form or fashion. Stefania just isn't sure it's worth the trade of a royal baby. Well, then, Adalind has no reason to keep the baby, does she? Which answers that question, at least mostly, about whether or not Adalind has any form of maternal instinct for her own self. She could be lying, but the odds are against it. Frau Pech is noticeably distraught by this, and would rather have money than an empowered Adalind; the way Adalind is making this bargain it sounds like there won't be anything left over for her. Which answers another question, what the connection between Adalind and Frau Pech is. Most likely one of reputation and stories from her mother, and there is no real tie between these women except the implied promise of wealth, which seems to be Frau Pech's sole motivation for coming along on this ride. Or if there's another one we haven't even seen hints of it yet. Okay then. Adalind crosses her arms for self-protection and stubbornness, declares for her terms, and Stefania gets a little smile of surprised... not quite respect, but about as close to it as she's going to get tonight. The young former hexen's surprised her, pleasantly, at least as far as maneuvering goes. Despite being stuck, lamed, in the shark pool, Adalind's doing a decent job of treading water! (When asked how Adalind would fare in the shark pool Claire Coffee opined as her favorite soup was shark's fin. And this is why we love her.)

We'll leave them maneuvering and smarming around at each other and move over to, ooh, the dulcet tones of Renard being brought up to speed on the case and bringing recently arrived viewers along for the ride. At this point he's reading off Marcus Hemmings' rap sheet, which includes a lot of arrests near a lot of places named Mount Thing. Assault and property damage type charges, nothing that's either escalated from what we saw or doesn't fit with what we saw on the mountain both with the poor vulcanologist and with Wu, Nick, and the other guy. We briefly digress to another overhead long shot and this gives us a nice view of Renard's conspicuously clean and free of paperwork office. Seriously, how the fuck does he do that? Complete lack of social life? We do see that over on the side file cabinet between the two lamps where I think there used to be a file tray and a couple knick-knacks there's now the award presented to him at the dinner several episodes back, so yay for props and continuity! The upshot of the whole thing is that Nick thinks the guy assaulted and killed Vulcanologist Jill because his wife, fifteen years ago, also turned up dead the same way. It's a thin thread to hang someone on, but it might be enough at least to hold him for questioning since they already have him on one assault charge. Renard also questions why this is enough to bring it to him, which says some interesting things about the dynamics going on here and what standard procedure is. Nothing we didn't already know, but it underscores the autonomy expected of Renard's officers. Nick regales us with more background on Hemmings, passing Renard a file and settling into a chair, for an awkward value of settled. He's awfully fidgety with his hands now that he isn't holding something, indicating a small but visibly present level of tension and nervousness that most likely is at least in part due to now knowing what Renard is. Still, the structure of the briefing and of internal police business, since this is at least only a police matter even if the suspect is a bit outside the norm, gives Nick something to cling to. Renard is his calm, normal police captain self, taking a report, nothing about this has given him a reason to assume his princely role and therefore, well, he isn't. Which gives a little more inclination to the notion that the police captain is the role he chose and prefers, the one where he feels most himself, but we're not actually here to address that. Back to the case. Ahem.

Renard asks if anyone's done a psych evaluation on the suspect, Nick explains that he's been treated for depression and he's more lucid now that he's back on his meds, which is all kinds of bewildering and problematic. Firstly, depression and lack of lucidity don't necessarily or even often go together. Second, depression meds don't usually act that quickly unless third, Nick isn't referring to corresponding condition and medications. Fourth, it's possible that Nick's referring to something prior to the arrest involving Hemmings going back on his meds, as use of the past perfect tense implies more distant than immediate past already for the being treated for depression. The phrasing of Hemmings being back on his meds indicates that it's more likely more immediate, something that happened after his arrest for assaulting the scientist or Wu and Nick or both, and the short of it is, this whole aspect of the exposition is really fucking confusing and useless for how little it factors into the overall rest of the plot. I'm just saying. Anyway. Renard isn't even surprised at Hemmings being Wesen, nor does he roll his eyes although his tone conveys the impression that he wants to, and his comment indicates that one of those lampshades in his office is for the ridiculous percentage of Wesen crimes and Wesen people he/they have been dealing with lately. We noticed, but we're glad you noticed too. There is a slight pause when Nick says he's never seen anything like Hemmings, a fraction of a second's worth of pause with Renard staring at Nick that looks like either calculation, doubt, or something. Evaluation? And a little disappointment, maybe, almost as though there's a sigh of 'young pup' in there. (Speaking of young versus old, it looks like they dropped the badly applied gray-hair makeup for Renard this season, we should have mentioned earlier.) It's definitely something, a pause and look that holds some significance if only in momentary emotion. Followed by, which lends weight to that theory, Renard requesting (but not commanding, take note) to come along with Nick on this case. Nick clearly doesn't look happy about it, but he just as clearly can't find reason to refuse, which says more about Nick than it does about Renard; we've seen Renard be far more pushy and commanding than that. Nick isn't happy, but he doesn't feel like he has sufficient reason for himself to consider refusing, most likely because he has so internalized Renard's air of command that he doesn't even question Renard's authority over him. Up to and now extending to Wesen matters, despite the fact that Renard gave him the out. So, all right. Renard doesn't ask him if he's sure or anything, just immediately assumes command and let's get the suspect into interrogation. All right, then. I'll just, um, I have to... kitchen.

All right, from the hysterically funny to the much more sober. Here comes Juliette back into her house, starting with peeking around the corner as though she's not sure what she'll find. Yeah, I wouldn't be too eager to go in the House of A Thousand Ghosts either, if I were here. No sooner does she declare her willingness to approach this hallucination memory issue than she's assaulted by a thousand different memories and it's too loud, too much, back outside. Outside at least gives her only one or two memories to contend with; we'll start with one. There's a moment of talking to herself, narrating essentially what the bruja said only in English this time, which is also telling of what language Juliette thinks most often in. If she was bilingual to the extent that she used it in her everyday life, chances would be very good that she'd just be repeating it to herself in Spanish as it was originally told to her. However, if she retained the information but defaulted to English because that's what her default language of thinking is, it would come out in English. I would add, though, that this may not be probative of that considering this is a primarily English speaking audience and there's not much of an argument for having her say it in Spanish; it serves no narrative purpose. Anyway. What? You knew we were language dorks. Her first memory, apparently, is moving in! And Nick doing the multi-box struggle, oh Nick. You're not nearly tall enough for those boxes to be stacked like that. Juliette tries to remember, to put herself into the moment and the scene grays out except for her blouse, interestingly. I don't think they've used that particular trick before. Nick staggers in with the boxes marked books oh you guys. You never, ever put books in boxes that big, come on. Where's your moving sense? Not that both of us have moved house within the last year, stop looking at us like that. Anyway, it looks like they're almost moved in! A couple of loads could mean car loads or it could mean Nick staggering up the step loads, but either way, they're almost moved in! And Nick's going to get the rest of the stuff, Juliette will start unpacking, but first they will have a Moment. And as they have a Moment the color starts to come back into the scene, albeit more faded than her blouse still, gently signifying that her memory is returning.

We'll leave her to work on that while Renard and Nick take on Hemmings in interrogation. By which we mostly mean Renard, who is blatantly taking point on this subject. Not just taking point, but being rather aggressive about it, for all that he's seated and Nick's pacing and looming behind Hemmings for the first bit. Well, he is rather a lot bigger, he doesn't need to loom for someone who looks as broken-down as this guy does. Instead he'll just lean over half the interrogation table, getting into Hemmings' space and not coincidentally being better-lit than Nick is right now. Nick doesn't look so much broody and teenaged as broody and potentially wary of having Renard along on this, which given the likelihood that it's been awhile since Renard did a formal police interrogation I can kind of understand. They're both lit and shot in this scene to be mirrors of each other, again, which is a huge, HUGE theme in this ep between Adalind and Juliette, Nick and Renard, Pilar and Frau Pech/Stefania. Not to mention the opening quote being from a fairy tale about going to Hell, which often in analysis turns up some form of self-mirror of the protagonist, and the underground nature of the Wesen of the week and okay, okay, I'll stop now. I'm just saying, these thematic anvils, they're making great footstools. Hemmings spends the initial part of the interrogation head bowed and defeated and resigned, right up until Nick asks who the hell this "him" is that he's so scared of. We're also bringing in some more lampshades, this time for Hemmings the Cassandra figure, and while sometimes I would object to a traditionally female role being given to a guy, this is one that's not as restrictive of gender. (Though I bet they'd have taken longer to believe his wife if she'd been the survivor.) Still, he's being incredibly vague and cryptic like all good prophets, so Renard plays stupid a little while longer. And it's clearly playing stupid to us, leaning back and tossing out eco-warrior like he hasn't a clue in the world that there are Wesen complications. I love you Renard. Never change. Between that and Nick's pointed comment about knowing what Marcus is, Hemmings finally starts spewing his guts about how this isn't anything like Nick, or like Hemmings, leaving Renard out of it because he hasn't a clue what our Captain is, I expect. Hard to get news of the Royal half-zauber in Portland when you're living up on the mountain trying to protect other people from the volcano genius locus. (Well, not exactly, but pretty damn close.) And now we get a name in among all the torrential babble about Volcanalis wanting his revenge and not stopping. Revenge for what? Who the fuck knows. Makeup gets points for giving Hemmings the kind of red-faced skin irritation that lingers after getting pepper sprayed, and while I notice that Nick and Renard give each other oh-shit looks. Well, Nick has an oh-shit look. Renard has meaningful "welp, guess we're saving Portland from itself again" looks. And now Nick will proceed to break the witness by asking about his wife, whom he couldn't save either! Oh honey.

Time for a quick conference about what the fuck that was, and hey, Renard knows things about Volcanalis! Which might just be the product of a classical education or might be quite a bit more; hard to say without more data. Specifically, they were priests of the god Vulcan, who started out being a primordial-ish god of volcanoes and fires and then got tied in with Hephaestus. (Though I still would have appreciated a nod to the Making Shit aspect, being that it's been HOW many millennia and the definitions have shifted? Excuse me while I grumble at the idiot elemental.) Anyway. Time to add some pede to this conference, since they're out of Grimm-specific terminology to fling around, though they could easily write that whole thing off (which should have been TAPED, you guys, that's standard practice, sigh) as Hemming being batshit insane. We get the ME's report without the ME, which makes us only a little sad 'cause we like the ME but there's a LOT to these eps. Apparently Jill Pembry was cooked from the inside out, and her organs were well done. Thanks, Nick, for that bit of utterly morbid cop humor. So much. So they've got nothing on Hemming to indicate his presence at her place, nothing to indicate prior association, and a pile o' blather to sort through for any kind of useful data. They get back around to Wesen terms as they enter Renard's office to figure out how to handle this case, complete with quips about Roman gods. I wouldn't want to try that case either. We take a minute for Caprica to stop colliding with Grimm in our heads, you're welcome, share the misery, and Nick's the one who brings up doing this "off the books." Like you do when you've got a Wesen in your interrogation room babbling about an ancient Roman god and need to go see if he might actually be right. And it's Renard who checks that Nick's okay with that and Renard you are the adorablest when you're trying to be benign and nice and play well with others. The. Adorablest. I have to go to the kitchen again. That exchange about learning to be flexible combined with the positions of their bodies and Renard's slight lean (okay, we know they have to fit the two of them and their height disparity into the frame somehow but still) totally had to be put in there on purpose for the slash-shippers, which is a pairing we do not get even a little but the nod is at least hilarious. Hey, more earthquake! That's no good for anyone, but especially not good for the geology head honcho. Not that we're there yet. First Wu has to come bring us a witty quip and all the data on attacks around volcanoes which are linked to people taking rocks, and now we'll get the mention of how they're sacred to some, once it's been established that their holiness in this ep is Roman-specific and not Native American-specific. The short version is, that's most of the major volcanoes along the Pac Rim, ranging from Japan all the way down to Chile. Ring of Fire, yadda yadda, hey, Wu will note Pele, the goddess of various elemental forces but most will be familiar with volcanoes, yes. Don't take obsidian, children, it's bad for you. One deadpan delivery and what-the-fuck look from his audience later and it's oh-fuck we'd better get over to Tom's place! Alright then!

We get there first, in time to watch Tom the geologist boss stack the damning rocks next to his dinner plate and that rumble, honey, is not your wife coming home or whoever Angie is. I'm assuming wife because of the wedding ring. Also I swear who are all these people who don't go grab for a weapon when they hear suspicious noises? I knew we were skewed, but I didn't think we were that skewed. Tom comes back to no rocks and a coffeepot starting to boil without being turned on, the lights go, and we get a prolonged version of the same attack that big 'n glowy committed on Jill before cutting to commercial. When we get back, it's because for a change the cops are almost in time! I severely question why the fuck their guns aren't superheating and how they can be holding them still, but, um, okay. We'll go with Hollywood physics, since mean and overheated is absorbing the bullets anyway. It goes straight for Nick, not, I think, because Nick is the greater threat but because Nick get the fuck out of the doorway. And Renard will do the semi-sensible thing and fling a chair through a window in order to get them some more air. If this were a real fire, that wouldn't necessarily have been the best course of action as anyone who has seen Backdraft will tell you, because more oxygen means more fuel means more Mount Doom, but when Volcanalis leaves so does most of the fire. Nick, being the well-intentioned moron that he is, will chase after lava-man! Nick! You brought a gun to a lava fight already! And that was a bad idea! Also can I just say that running almost in the footsteps of burnination might not be the best of plans? Because it's not. Sigh, Nick. Sigh. Turns out Volcanalis has been using the sewer systems/grates/etc. to get access without being seen by all and sundry, which is approximately the only reason the Masquerade is still in effect and yet again, I wonder how strong that instinct is. Because this is a fucking elemental we're talking about, and what the fuck. Most elementals give no fucks for your Masquerade, though Doylistically it makes the writers' lives a lot easier. Still, I have to wonder if we're headed for at least one town in which the Masquerade is at best a polite fiction.

It would be nice, speaking of the Masquerade, if Juliette were brought in on it. We haven't said that yet this ep. I think it's required by now. What we get is a continuation of her memory of moving in and unpacking with Nick, and by the feel of it staging she's been living through this memory for most of the day. Possibly in real time. That's one hell of a guided meditation type of thing to have to go through to get your brain sorted out; then again it was one hell of a mindfuck she got thrown into too. That is a truly ugly Elvis lamp, I'm with Juliette. The pouting is mostly token on Nick's part, because the lamp's true value is clearly with the memories. (Stop! Anvil time!) And not necessarily the best memories, either; I can't imagine that he remembers much about the process of obtaining that lamp other than the beginning following by the fuckoff massive hangover he'd have had the next morning. Without context it's hard to say, but Juliette has some idea about all of this, I'd guess, because the exaggerated ultimatum and puppy eyes are pretty clearly for show. This points up that in a lot of respects Juliette's in charge of the way their living space is decorated, but also that even now after a hard day's moving they're comfortable enough with each other to have only mild annoyance levels, mostly shown when she first says "in the trash." Speaking as one who has certainly not moved recently, it's a bloody fucking miracle if you're not snapping at each other by evening on the day of a major move, and not doing it much is a good sign of a strong relationship. Which just reminds us of how cute and relatively healthy they were last season, up until Nick got really dumb about not telling her things, and how much they've lost this season. Oh honeys. So, not only will she tease him about it, she'll go get him a beer - both magnanimous in victory and indicating that she knows it's been a long, hard day for both of them. And as she walks away the color saturation slowly comes back a little more, Nick's voice fades, and we can tell that she's walking out of the past and into the present because there is quite a bit more than just beer in this fridge that she's looking at right now. Still, the rules usually say that she has to do this twice more before she's fully cured, so that turn and stare and very brief, small hopeful smile are all a little premature. As she can guess, it's not likely to be entirely that simple, and even if it is she's going to be second-guessing for a good while yet.

Over in the trailer of information! And ennui, going by Monroe's posture. Or maybe that's exhaustion, with his comment about wanting a double Americano right now. Isn't that just an extra big regular coffee? I don't know, for all the languages that we speak, Starbucks is not among them. I don't know what the comment about the decent sound system is supposed to come from, since we haven't really seen Monroe be appreciative of the sort of music that specifically requires a decent sound system, but we'll pretend it's to compensate for the no doubt shitty acoustics of the trailer. The espresso machine makes sense. We do have a few books, and a picture of the Cassandra prophet guardian guy which is apparently called a Taurus Armenta, and now I have to go make bad jokes about Roiz's stint on Caprica. I'm sorry, but really? All of the bull-derived words and things and you picked that one? We're just going to take it as given that this is a sideways giggle at Sam Adama and move on. There's a brief description that is appropriate for Tauro-- er, I mean Taureans, but nothing terribly informative about the other guy until we get to a picture of, hey, look! Giant lava guy. That looks like it could be a fire elemental, right? Of course right. Unfortunately it's in Latin. And we get a nice, tasty callback to that hilarious and hot scene in Last Grimm Standing (1x12) where they need someone who speaks Latin and, one jump cut later, Renard is reading Latin!

This time we do not get Renard reading long sentences in Latin, which makes me sad in my pants. We do, however, get a long string of Renard reading from the book and directly translating, which is very nearly as good and still hot. Nick does not find it hot. Nick, for all that he seemed calm and easy about this before, appears to be pouting at Renard's ease of reading. Nick, I can't even with you, really? You've got a resource and a damn good one at that, use it and stop glaring at him. (It is, I will grant, possible that Giuntoli was more going for sobersrs grave danger look, but it's coming across with that lighting and that expression as sullen.) Renard is a consummate professional and ignores the sullen staring for reading the full text on Volcanalis, pronounced in the Romance fashion. I'll be in my bunk. There are the occasional glances sideways and upways at Monroe, rather like the appropriate verbal pauses or stops to confirm that the other people in the conversation are listening. One of these gives us the opportunity to see Monroe make hilarious faces and body language whereby he seems to be both trying to be the dominant Wesen in the room and trying not to dominate the nice police captain even if he is half-Zauber. Oh Monroe honey. You are so not even close to a threat to Renard's dominance. We read on and learn that Volcanalis was responsible for the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, oh yay (and why does everyone forget about Herculaneum?) but also predictable; it's one of the major and most destructive eruptions of a volcano that a viewer is likely to recognize. Not entirely sure why a serpent named Satana (Satanna? Really?) is in there, though. That tidbit seems like the kind of thing that would come back to haunt us later, and yet, nothing. It's also not, as far as we can tell, based in any actual mythology as a figure in and of itself or related to anything that would involve priests of Vulcan. Ah well. If they pulled Marvel jokes in here we'll find the writers and sell THEM on the open market at Budapest. Ahem. Renard will make sober thinking noises and oh so casually ask Nick if he's got more of these books, Renard. You shithead. You've been in the trailer, you've ransacked the trailer, you probably know exactly how many books Nick has. Significant look between Monroe and Nick nonwithstanding. Guys. You guys. That was the opposite of subterfuge, and you are so lucky Renard is disinclined to press the point right now. Anyway, Monroe will now draw for us the line between Vesuvius and Mount St Helens, thank you Monroe, you can borrow Renard's Captain hat and we'll tack a little "obvious" sign to it. Nick has no ideas, or he's subconsciously suppressing the part of his brain that would normally generate Wesen-wrangling tactics as part of his being a good subordinate. It's only a little odd, enough so that we remark on it instead of letting it slide, as the immediacy of him turning to Renard for his thoughts on the matter. Renard has no thoughts he's willing to share at this point, at least, so it's back to you, Nick. Who then comes up with talking to the one person who knows Volcanalis better than anyone: Marcus! Good boy, Nick. Seriously, Renard's expression practically screams (albeit dryly) good cop, have a cookie. And then over to Monroe to check his involvement; of course Monroe's in. He's also still got that half-wide-eyed look of not knowing whether he should be making dominance displays or bellying in front of Renard. I have no idea what director cues or script cues were given here to make Silas look like that, but it's kind of funny.

Showing the book to Marcus! Jeez, Nick, you're just flinging your books around willy nilly, aren't you? We'd normally be screaming about white cotton gloves at this point, but even on TV it's not likely that a book would survive all the years between Vesuvius and now intact; more likely this is a transcription. Especially if it's still in Latin (which kind of makes us wonder how Renard knew that form of Latin, but we'll let that slide since it's not really something that one takes into account for these shows). Marcus would like to know where the hell Nick got the book and a description of Volcanalis. Nick deflects forcefully as Renard almost steps in to do it for him, then backs off. This time it's Nick in the chair and Renard standing, which makes for some interesting camera angles as they yoga their cameras into position to get them both in the frame. Marcus doesn't think he can be stopped; after fifteen years of (self-inflicted?) imprisonment and servitude there's probably more than a little psychology at play when he says that. Renard is playing the tough cop here, or again, and takes the position of we're going to try/stop him and we're going back up that mountain but, interesting and again, he doesn't even try to pull the prince act. Even as a subtle way of underscoring authority since the mountain goat doesn't know the prince from a hole in the ground. No, they're not going to find him, but they're not going to look for him, they're going to bring Volcanalis to them. Okay, if someone told me I was getting dragged into a game of Cast Summon Uncontrollable Fire Elemental I'd get a bit upset too. Here follows a game of question and answer whereby the cops attempt to get answers to their questions and come up with bupkis, right up until Hemming says something about hell freezing over. And you can just about see the light-bulbs going off over Nick and Renard's heads. It's really adorable. But while Nick takes the time to ponder that, Renard will reel Marcus in a little further both by using his first name for morebetter familiarity and by playing on the revenge for the death of a loved one thing. And, okay, it might be our imaginations, but we saw something a little dark and pissed off behind the righteous police captain exterior as he brings up the murder of Hemming's wife. Certainly he's pulling out greater intensity for that. Marcus does want vengeance, he would like to impress this upon them by repeating that he's not afraid to die in a couple of different ways, yeah, okay, sure. You're very impressive. Nick would rather know what it would take to make hell, er, Volcanalis freeze over. Ooh, ooh, is it liquid nitrogen? We've seen the Terminator movies!

After the break we're back up the mountain reveling in the amount of Renard in this episode the scenery and watching the boys go rock collecting. While Renard proceeds to do more of his no-really-I'm-benign impression by asking how many rocks, which is a nice and safe sort of question that gives Nick a feeling of empowerment to answer. Aww. And then trotting back down the mountain which, for at least two of them, is about equivalent to the other two running. Now complete with snark about a priest or a rabbi, which I suppose technically they already HAVE on account of the Tauron. Taureus. Poor broken prophet dude. On over to some abandoned warehouse hey, that looks vaguely familiar. Kind of like where the trolls were hanging out in Leave it to Beavers (1x19), actually! Or the same general part of the city, which leads us to believe they maybe filmed on location there. With some mysteriously covered rather tall things in the back of the wagon attached to the truck. Did they really do liquid nitrogen? THEY TOTALLY DID. I love everyone in this warehouse Inquiring minds would like to know whose strings were pulled by whom and when and in front of whom to get all that. It's possible Rosalee had the connections for it. It's also possible that Renard went all Princely and found a flunky who works at a lab somewhere, or even just bought them himself with his presumed fat sacks of cash. But it would be a fascinating bit of power balance detail to know, and it's one that's sadly not necessary to the ep. (Maybe deleted scenes? We can hope, right?) One prolonged scene of setting up in which everyone is actually fairly professional and competent, not just Renard, and Monroe is just now realizing that Marcus Hemmings is playing bait. Monroe, honey, for a Wesen who should nominally be an apex predator you seem to have forgotten/repressed a LOT. Possibly more than is useful or necessary. I'm just saying. Science nerd fact for those of us who know the Fahrenheit freezing point of nitrogen and guys, you should maybe have gloves? No? Those nozzles aren't THAT well insulated oh fine, Hollywood wins again.

Monroe's also looking pretty scared as these things go, which makes us think that a fair bit of dialogue about El Diablo and who he is to the rest of Wesen culture (or at least Blutbad culture) got cut from the ep and we're left to infer it from his reactions. And in the end we have two Wesen and a Grimm working this case, with another Wesen as bait. I have no idea if that was on purpose or not, but I'll allow as how it's kind of funny how these things line up and move along to the action portion of our evening. Well, the waiting portion. Then the action portion. Monroe, as ever, gets to play Captain Obvious, Captain Blabbering, and also Captain Narrative Causality. That's a lot of hats, Monroe. You're stealing from Renard and Nick again. Time for Rocky Lava to show up in a gout of smoke and exploding flame right under a manhole cover that says Portland Oregon, with a rose in the middle, yes THANK YOU we get the point you're doing this to save the city. Did you have to drop that on the anvil I was using as a footstool? Marcus does indeed barely even flinch, aside from the whole MASSIVE HEAT IN YOUR FACE thing he's got going on. Monroe is easily the most terrified and again I can only assume there was some stuff left out, possibly including some of his backstory? As he woges out involuntarily which he hasn't done in a long time, and certainly not out of fear instead of rage. Renard, by contrast, is as cool as one can be under these circumstances, and Nick's more concerned about his friend than about holding it together for the sake of look how badass I am. (Particularly since it's pretty much impossible to out-badass Renard.) Interestingly, they let Marcus be the one to call the shots on when they pump liquid nitrogen out, which I suppose is only fair since he's the one risking his life here. And now it is time for the money quote of the evening: fire bad, tree pretty. Tree very pretty with all those long limbs extended for greater reach on lavabeast. And hey, it works! Really well! Without even leading to a climatic Grimm-on-Wesen battle because they ran out of liquid nitrogen, because whoever planned this (I'm still looking at our dear Captain) knows that peace comes through superior firepower. In conclusion, please to be running all your dumbass plans by your Captain from now on, Nick, and maybe you won't have the kinds of clusterfucks you did with the toads, yes? Please? This is the kind of competence porn we signed on for. Also the kind of snark about reading rights and rites. Aww, Nick will even let Marcus do the honors of killing the lavabeast on account of how it killed his wife and revenge is sweet. At which point we see the eyes are still glowy and moving and AUGH GOD that's no good. Yes. Smash it into smithereens. Then box them up, put them on multiple ships headed to multiple coastlines, and disperse them. Widely. Nowhere near any of the sea volcanoes in the Pacific. Some up in the Arctic would be good. No, Nick, obsidian does not JUST come from the Volcanalis, oh my god how stupid are you. I give up. It's only like obsidian and okay, if that guy can survive even briefly after being sledgehammered and cryogenically frozen? Maybe OUTER FUCKING SPACE. Headed to the outer reaches of the solar system. I just. AUGH. (K: He can take the coins with him!) Weird is not the word for it, Monroe. Fucking creepy is more like it.

So that's all settled, then, and now it's on Renard to handle the cover story and paperwork. Have... fun with that. We'll go over to Juliette's place, where she's left all the pictures of her and Nick in... her scarf drawer, which turns out to be the top drawer of that dresser next to the bathroom. Huh. Interesting, that she kept them that close - along with the engagement ring, apparently. Now that she's remembering the good times along with the bad, she'll take a picture out and place it on the dresser, which is another interesting choice. A private place, not public; she's not ready to admit that maybe she wants to go back to a relationship with Nick in public but in private she'll take it out and consider... at least some notion of it. Though there'll have to be one helluva lot of explaining before they can get to anything like the strong, healthy relationship they had before Nick's Grimmstincts woke up. The ring seems to be triggering another memory, though this time it's all contained within her head and under her control, so we don't see what exactly prompts Juliette to go downstairs with the box and sit on the couch. We do get the sense that she's doing exactly what the bruja said to do, which is riding out each individual memory as they come, and picking the ones with arguably the strongest emotional resonance - moving in, the proposal. So we go desaturated and revisit that scene from last season, and come back in on Juliette in the present before she gives her answer - not, I think, to indicate that she's rewriting her memories but because the "no" she gives would require a good deal of contextualization for new viewers that's simply not available in a tag like this.

Next episodes on Grimm! Because this looks like a promo for the rest of the season. Aliens! Wait, aliens? The fuck. Monroe has an idea about the map YES EXCELLENT TELL US ALL ABOUT IT. More Adalind and Eric smarming at each other, more pregnancy issues, hello Baron Samedi, hello Nick kissing someone who's not Juliette oh LORD are we doing a revisit of something like the Damonfeuer? Because that was a very silly episode. Also something that looks an awful lot like a Steinadler, and Juliette demanding to know what a Grimm is. WELL THIS WILL BE FUN. And by fun I mean fuck ow my wrists.


  1. Ренард убрал из кабинета фото ребенка.

  2. Lol... thank God for Google translate otherwise Kimera's little detail would have been lost on me :D
    Another little detail: the actor playing Hank injured his leg that's why he never got up from that chair and that's why they had to send him on vacation. I wonder how much screen time Renard originally had in the script. I bet not much. They've been underusing him lately. But, benign Renard was so weird to watch (it took me some time to realize why he felt so off)

    Also, Romanian is one of the languages I speak but it took me two watchings and the hint of the fairly common Romanian names (Popescu is the no.1 most common family name in that country, they Googled it) to recognize one word. Then I watched again, while mentally translating back from English to Romania to finally kind of understand what they were saying so... yeah, they took butchering a language to a whole new lvl. The woman's name was Sefania Vaduva Popescu (Vaduva is also pretty common family name and it means widow, not sure if it had a reason to be picked or it's just dumb luck). I agree that finding someone that knows Romanian was easier than someone that knows Romani but taking into account that they were from the Black Forest they should have just talked German.

    1. Thank you! For some reason we weren't up on that bit of on-set trivia, and yeah, this and the ep after this one I bet Wu and Renard got most of Hank's intended screen time. Which on the one hand is a bit sad and on the other hand MORE WU AND RENARD.

      This is why we love our readership; y'all are often as multilingual as we are. (Or at least appreciate the language dorking.) That is... sad but unsurprising, and I dearly wish, yes, they'd stuck with German. Then again given the way everyone butchered German in the most recent ep I could stand it if they kept to only the languages they have native speakers for from here on out. That covers a fair chunk, Spanish and Russian and French for sure. Sigh.