Previously on Grimm! I have to admit, we've developed a Pavlovian kneejerk of "oh this can't be good" every time Sasha's doing the previouslies. Because usually it means there's a great deal of Royal fuckery going around, possibly in the literal sense. Often, these days. Anyway! Previously, Chirpy and Frau Pech met at a giant Ferris wheel on a park bench for maximum clandestine references (there's even a trenchcoat. but no ducks to feed, alas) where she tells him about how there's someone outside the family carrying Royal blood. Remember that? Because that's gonna come back to haunt us, especially since Chirpy doesn't seem to have made any progress on it recently, what with all of Eric Renard's shenanigans. Nick killed a guy and insisted that he should turn himself in, which while noble and all is rather a far cry from the Grimm who sends heads back to Munich. Oh, and he's got some weird corpse issues from being slimed by the Baron. Yay!
We open with some gratuitous fanservice, for a change not of our dear Mr. Roiz but of our dear Mr. Giuntoli. I'm sure that makes everyone very happy AUGH FUCK YOU FUCKERS. She says, finally identifying the fucking quote from fucking English lit classes. Aren't you glad we have an English major on staff here. The full quote, which they've bastardized slightly for context, is "Death is the king of this world; 'tis his park where he breeds life to feed him. Cries of pain are music for his banquet; and the masque -- the last grand masque for his diversion, is the Holy Inquisition." From a dramatic poem by George Eliot titled The Spanish Gypsy, which appears to actually share little with the Jacobean tragicomedy of the same name, on a quick perusal. Have I mentioned how much I twitch when they use literary quotes instead of Grimm quotes? Mainly because there's a much larger body of text for people going back and forth in dialogue within the upper-class intelligentsia, as happens when you're part of a much smaller literate class as compared to modern day literacy. At any rate, despite the whole food/banquet thing we've got going on this episode, I would contend that this quote is far more directed at Nick & co., indicative when you look at the full line of what Grimms have been and what Nick is struggling not to become. If you have lots of time on your hands, The Spanish Gypsy is available on googlebooks though not, evidently, on Gutenberg, more's the pity. (It's kind of a bad scan, which is why I'm not wasting eyeballs on it.) So. Now that the swearing is done, on to the fanservice!
That is a lot of fanservice. Giuntoli's been working out, goddamn. Though it's not to the unrealistically sculpted point, which I also appreciate. (Look, we fully admit we're weird, we prefer not to have kneejerk MUST FEED reactions based on low body fat. We'd rather have them because it's a way of expressing affection. Much more healthier.) Yep, that looks like a standard stress test! Only with the problem where Nick, um, has next to no heart rate. Seriously, that's fucking disturbing. Resting heart rate tends to hang out in the 70-80 range for average adults with moderate fitness, I've heard of as low as 40 for highly trained marathoners/triathletes/similar skillsets. That's resting. Nick? Not resting. Nick should be over 100 bpm, not hanging out at 30. You'll pardon me while I go twitch in a corner, yeah? Oh, and his blood pressure's 100/60. While doing a stress test. Now, low blood pressure runs in my family, and I tend to have something in that range (lately it's gone up a little, I blame Grimm and Haven) when I go in for my yearly. Again: not while running at 17+ mph on a fucking Dreadmill. (Also, poor Giuntoli. This scene must have been interesting to film.) The poor doctor and his assistant are duly freaked out, and when in doubt about the crazy man whose vitals don't change no matter what you do to him, blame the technology! I honestly can't say that's a bad theory, they ought to be covering their bases, and Nick is busy doing his oh no nothing's wrong I feel fine everyone stop freaking out please schtick. No, I don't blame him, though I am gonna facepalm at him a little. And then giggle over the green slime diet, sure, that's a change to diet and lifestyle! What would be really nice would be if they had his pre-enGrimmening baseline and had taken measurements over the course of his training as a Grimm, so we had some idea of how radical a change this is. I mean, come on, this is the guy who abruptly took the blind fighting feat last season, we don't actually know how much of this is Grimm biology and how much of it is blowfish poison affecting Grimm biology. Though I maintain a lot of it was deliberate on Eric's part, you sneaky fucking dead Pustule, affecting everything from beyond the grave. If this turns out to be some ancient Royal recipe for getting a Grimm more dead(ly), I will not be surprised. Nick, honey, if work's been stressful you should have higher vitals, not lower. That's the normal human response, anyway.
From the frying pan to the fire? Or vice versa, that's the only thing I can think of for that cut. That and Nick's doing what Juliette asks even though she's off-screen for that first scene, and we cut over to our other adorable couple! Aww you guys. Silas Weir Mitchell I am pretty sure you actually speak French, and we know Monroe's tossed out some French recently, so the only reason he has for saying Coat Door is the humor value. The snarky, snarky humor value. Monroe, you're a bad man. Rosalee thinks so too. Monroe fumbles his way through the groundwork for asking her to move in while she gets first a "where is this going" and then an "ohhhh that's where this is going" expression on. And then they're interrupted by a beef-and-truffle tartlet, compliments of the chef, gee, I wonder if that's going to be significant later. God they're adorable, from the quiet nod to Rosalee's addiction via Monroe's momentary longing for the good old days to the reversal of her saving him. So. Cute. Anyway, he stumbles into clothes, closet space, really Monroe? This is what you're leading with? Rosalee doesn't strike me as that much of a clotheshorse. More like she'd like to wear whatever's easiest to wash after being in the lab, though obviously, witness this scene, she does have some nice clothes. At which point she teases him more, enough that the realization that yes, she knows where this is going and she is absolutely going to make him use his words sinks in. The words "move in together" aren't quite the three words we've all been waiting to hear, but they're a good start, and the I-love-you follows it up so fast we're all left gaping at the screen with squee. Couples! Using their words! And being adorable! I love communication. Let us never go back to the bad old days, everyone, please? Rosalee definitely has a look that suggests that if they weren't in public she would be dragging him across the table right now and would he quit being adorable. Also the one where she's got to be the one to say the I-love-you-too, and sometimes it's tricky to say that and make sure the other person doesn't think you're just doing it for form's sake. Which she's not, and Monroe has the cutest sag of relief, and they do not get to bask in the moment because here's one of Monroe's friends! Sam and his wife? girlfriend? Kimber, and this is dragged out long enough to make it obviously significant while being nicely logical. And giving them both a chance to breathe and bask a little bit. Rosalee is totally basking in the whole I have a smart boyfriend who loves me and is totally passionate about his chosen field and I love watching them enjoy each other's competence. (I wish we got more of Monroe's field of expertise at play in the procedurals, but it'd be hard to do that on a regular basis in such a way that it wasn't forced, and these little nods do keep us grounded in the reminder that he's not just a big lovable doof with lots of Wesen connections.) Back to holding hands and glowing at each other! Silas and Bree really do have ridiculous chemistry, pun halfway intended. Unfortunately, Sam is not going to call Monroe later.
Cut to a guy in a suit running/stumbling through the woods! That's never good. It's not Sam, we can tell because the suit pants are darker and we get confirmation as we pan up to his face and what the fuck is with his belly. Must be something he ate. Or Adalind's baby is body-hopping now. Bad Hexenbaby. Though we don't see him woge just yet, we can immediately assume he's Wesen, on account of this is Grimm and I cannot think of anything non-supernatural that does shit like THAT to your innards. Wow. Still no idea what the climbing the tree thing is about, that's not typical wolf/canine behavior.
Put a, um. Pin in that pinata. And move over to Nick telling Juliette about the doctor's appointment! She brought wine for this conversation, which is definitely a good call, and she's trying to be the calm one on the couch asking the logical questions and making the logical statements. No, she doesn't think it was the machines. Yes, she thinks that whatever that slime was, it's still affecting Nick, and as with all unknown and untestable hypotheses they just have to monitor him and see what happens. I love you Juliette and all your pragmatic science background. And your glaring Nick into sitting down before he gets himself any more worked up, wine is good, wine is a depressant. I kind of wonder if he wasn't on the edge of freaking himself out into one of those attacks right there and through intuiting the pattern she realized that. Possibly she's not fully aware what she's tracking, either, it's been a lot to take in. So, does he feel different? Well, yes, but that could just be because of what happened lately. In clinical terms, it could be an acute stress or post-traumatic reaction; given that everyone's bumps and bruises so far seem to have faded I'm going with mild PTSD because Grimm and Wesen or no, those cuts don't heal that quick, and there's not a trace of the cut on Monroe's forehead, for one thing. (It's also in keeping with oh god don't make makeup deal with THIS many pieces of continuity at once. Be nice to your makeup department.) So assuming this is actually indicative of passage of time, it's been a couple weeks since last ep. At least. Anyway, Juliette's still worried and that worries Nick, though he still doesn't quite want to admit how much the idea of this being a thing freaks him out. Oh honey. Go make out with your girlfriend, you have time for that now.
The Blutbad in the tree does not feel better already. The Blutbad will now woge the fuck out in pain and explode. Roll credits, which are back to the more usual shortened form, what the fuck. When we come back, Hank's taking the call for the exploded Blutbad! Yay. Nick, you've seen more weird shit in the past year, year and a half, than you can shake an elephant gun at. A body in a tree fazes you? Though I'll allow as how this one might. Now that things are more on an even keel, Nick's detecting skills are right back with us, and we're getting more of him and Hank working as a team. YAY I MISSED THIS. No, if that was a mountain lion or whatever then it would've had to climb the tree and disembowel him from there, and while possible that would be highly unusual. Also, not that they can see it yet but we can, that's clearly exploded from the inside out, not ripped apart from the outside in. So. Entrails on the ground, blood dry so it's been awhile, wallet in the pocket, now that they've seen it for themselves and presumably CSU took photos before they got there, time to get the body down!
Speaking of bodies dropping, it's our dear Captain walking into his office to the sound of a phone ringing. The muffled sound. Which implies that Renard's keeping his Royal burner phone in the desk rather than on him at all times, despite recent events, which says some interesting things about his desire to keep both halves of his work at work. Also he has coffee. Good. He's gonna need it. Quick check to be sure nobody needs him right then, with that furtive air that makes me mutter about how he knows how to run a conspiracy better than this, and hi, phone. Which he's looking at like it might bite him, and considering the last person we saw call him on it was his Maman I do not blame him in the slightest. (Probably accounts for the added twitchy.) He relaxes only fractionally when he sees the number on the phone, the way you do when you're talking to someone who you last spoke with when ordering your brother's assassination. The dialogue is, yes, more or less as the subtitles imply. There is notably a LOT of conditional tense being used, which wouldn't be as notable if it weren't for the fact that the conditional tense isn't making it into the subtitles and implies a lot of tentative if-this-then-that phrasing. Which is suitable for dealing with a power vacuum. Chirpy uses "se sont informe" for the line that's translated as "as far as they know," which has slightly more nuance in the French of "yes and we're/the family is keeping things from the authorities." Think, as far as they have been informed, implying not that the police know things so much as what they know is being controlled by what the Family is telling them. Heh. The infighting comment sounds closest to affrontement, which is a more formal/archaic term than I might have pulled out, suitable for challenging people to duels. Which is probably happening right now! So it's entirely apropos. Renard has that intake of breath like he doesn't want to ask this next bit but has to, yeah, nobody's sure what happened and here's another minor difference, Chirpy says some people are saying it's the Resistance and others think it's another Family, which does serve to indicate that he's managing to get information out of the gossip mill in the castle. Yay! Sort of. And then I'm pretty sure that's an imperfect past construction, nobody has been talking about Meisner (hey, failtern, spell Meisner right in the damn subtitles). That does tell us that Meisner's not associated directly with the Resistance or with a Family in people's minds, which makes him something of an independent operative, which, okay, what's the one group that's neither Royal nor Wesen that we know about? The fucking Grimms. Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen, because I'm going with either rogue Grimm or pet Grimm to some other group. And they said we'd be meeting other Grimms this season. And we know Grimms run on bloodlines, which makes it fit with the family comment last ep. This doesn't mean that we're discounting the possibility that he's one of Stefania's people, just that we now have a new competing theory which holds a lot of weight. Based on what little data we have. Excuse me, I'm going to go start drinking now. Eric est parti is a nice euphemistic way of phrasing it which comes across fine in the subtitles, the rest of that line translates about accurately. And the last couple lines are slightly different, I would translate "elle ne m'a pas contacté" as "she hasn't called me" rather than "I haven't heard from her," which is a difference in agency/passive construction. And then it's not actually that I would translate Renard's last line differently as that there's some nuances in the French that it's hard to squeeze out of the English. He's framing this order (because it is an order) as a suggestion, and he's telling Chirpy to take some goddamn initiative. Not quite that strongly, but that's the tone of it. Indicating once again that Renard is the chessmaster and Chirpy, whatever his abilities and position, isn't as good at the big picture. Well, the distance from Vienna would help with that.
Heels on stone, gee, I wonder who that is. HI ADALIND. YOU GAVE US A NAME FOR CHIRPY. He's a Sebastien? Oh fuck everything, didn't we have enough Sebastiens in Haven last week? Though I will totally give Chirpy the B5 zotty stick. He could use that. They make sad faces at each other, and much to Sebastien's credit he's not making with any tells other than that he's uncomfortable around Hexenbiests (so are most people) (though interestingly he wasn't twitchy over Renard, and I think that's probably an open secret at this point, so it's just the women? huh) and that he's not at all sorry Eric's dead. No, nobody is. Adalind is way overselling this, shoulders all hunched and look aren't I small and scared? Adalind, the person who believes you is a fool. Though Sebastien doesn't know what she's hiding, and for all he knows she was the latest of Eric's mistresses and justifiably concerned for her safety. Still, he'd be an idiot to offer her his protection sight unseen, and a greater fool to let himself be seen taking a stance of too much sympathy for her. As the last mistress of the now-dead Crown Prince, she'll either be a trophy or an obstacle for other Royals to acquire/overcome. Right up until they find out that she's carrying the heir, that is, at which point it's even odds if they try to kill her and the baby or start treating her as a potential equal. Fuck knows the Royals are patriarchal idiots at the best of times. As witnessed by Sebastien's somewhat condescending no-shit delivery on "the last royal standing," though he's not wrong and she should know that. Lingering conspiracy looks! Stone walls that have ears!
Oh, and a disemboweled body on the ground! Much like other disemboweled bodies we've seen recently running around Austria. Well, not running, exactly. Ned Klosterman, Portland resident and organ donor, I love you Wu. Never stop with the black humor, someone's gotta do it. (Seriously, there's always one.) He'll go run the name, Nick and Hank will make vague hypotheses about how badly the guy was ripped open. No Texas Chainsaw Massacre for you, Nick. They'll let the techs deal with the physical evidence and we'll move along to interviews, poor, poor woman. No, there was nothing wrong, no enemies, no problems in their marriage. I love that Hank's the one to ask it/think of it, and yet he's still very gentle. Also they're positioned themselves so that Hank's lower and less intimidating and Nick's casually slouching on top of the desk, which has the effect of making him seem a little bigger but still not looming the way he could if he were sitting upright. (Poor Giuntoli can only loom over average-height women on this show. There's a lot of tall men. And then there's Wu, whose snark adds a few inches. Ahem.) We do get a timeline, though, Ned left work early and she called the police when she hadn't heard from him by 8, making them a nice stable normal couple with really, really predictable routines. And the willingness to call the cops if something seems wrong, which does tend to indicate a lack of negative experiences with the police. Oh, and they had dinner two nights ago for their fifth wedding anniversary, and nothing happened then, either! That they know of, we'll add, and go over to the park for the discovery of the second victim. Aww, it's a cute couple! It's a cute interracial couple! Whoa. That never happens! Especially in bit parts. We approve. And though we're getting some of the whole sex and death going together literally thing, they're not ending up dead, which I deeply appreciate, they're just, um. Getting Blutbad gore on them, well, she is. Yeah, I'd freak too. That blood's not dry! We got a fresh one, folks.
Meanwhile at the station, Nick broods! Brood, Nick. Brood. Oh god, he's got the vital stats and a picture of the guy he manslaughtered on his screen. Nick, why are you doing this to yourself. No, better yet, why are you doing this to yourself when you have a mysterious maybe-homicide to solve? Nick. Focus. For the love of cute furry things which sometimes do include Blutbaden, if they're Monroe. Flashbacks indicate to us that he's remembering things more clearly, which can't be helping things; the more clearly he remembers the more likely he is to feel a misplaced sense of clarity. It's like hindsight only more insidious, because he perceives it clearly now, on a more emotional level he believes he perceived the situation clearly at the time, and thus he could or should have done something different, etc. In that respect I actually do feel sorry for Nick. Not so much for other reasons, which the Captain will elaborate on shortly. Nick gets up and goes to the Captain's office, for what purpose I'm not sure. Turn in his badge and gun? There's no indication that he's going there deliberately to seek counsel, though if he did I would have all the intrigued for that kind of relationship developing, especially initiated by Nick. Sadly, not so much yet. The Captain is putting things into a briefcase whose contents were concealed by the angle at which he opened it to the camera, and I am deeply disappointed that it's not full of weapons. Because that would have been so cool. No, it's full of bureaucracy instead. Renard, for once, is behaving like a normal police captain up to his ears in paperwork, so all he's giving Nick initially are a few short words and not a glance upwards. He does, however, correct Nick saying "the man I killed" to "accidentally killed" because such distinctions are important. We will tattoo them on your forehead if we have to, Nick. He doesn't see it that way, of course, he outright says that isn't the point, he's bothered by the fact that he killed a man. He's starting to remember the details. And then Renard stands, because when he schools Nick he's going to be standing and he's going to make use of that greater height. (Although interestingly the camerawork doesn't, lessening the smackdown a little. A very little.) Renard will now point out what at least a good portion of the audience has been wondering, which is bothering Nick more, the fact that he killed someone or the fact that he killed someone who was human? Because he's killed a hell of a lot of Wesen. This, right here, apart from being a damn good question in and of itself, this goes to the heart of a very large spec-fic moral morass. Any time you have speculative fiction that involves either non-human characters or a division between humans-who-can and humans-who-can't, there will be parallels drawn between the story characters and real world cultural/racial groups, it's just going to happen. We draw on our experiences both as individuals and as human beings to write from. And generally what tends to happen in spec-fic you either have A Very Special Lesson or Set of Lessons about tolerance and diversity, some of which might not even do more than pay lip service to tolerance so don't look too closely, or you have flat-out blatant If It's Not Human It Doesn't Matter. Lately, as the initial backlash against rigid and localized world views gets muddied by a more globalized sense of things and we start to lose the binary perspective, more variations on the conflict between what is like us and what is not like us are occurring. There's more actual tolerance in the Tolerance is Good, or at least the narratives stand up to closer scrutiny. But even with all that development, very rarely do you have people calling each other out and especially not the hero, on drawing a dividing line between what is Like Us and what is Not Like Us. In this case Nick's argument is even more flawed because he's a Grimm, he's not human, but he clearly views humans as the him-group as well as being somehow more worthy to live than Wesen. Renard is not putting up with that shit. Renard looks pissed. Not in the active sense that he's going to do anything about it immediately, but there's a lot of rage there that's been long simmering, that comes from being treated as other and lesser for a long time, that might not even have anything to do with the human-Wesen social dynamics but more to do with him being half-Zauber. And right now that rage is directed into glaring at Nick.
This probably explains why they're not shooting Renard as more looming than they did. Despite the fury on his face and the lighting giving him some sinister shadows, there's nothing about this scene that suggests Renard is in the wrong or being unreasonable to be pissed at Nick. The musical sting is more like a cue of revelation, of something being uncovered, and there's no threat here that we're supposed to find. Renard is shaking Nick out of his prejudices, however latent they may be, because someone damn well has to and Monroe and Rosalee clearly aren't going to do it because they're "Acceptable" Wesen. Akin to being "[race] but not too [race]," they're closer to the familiar by being wolf-based or fox-based, whereas Renard is half-Zauber. His woge form looks far more instinctively abhorrent to humans. And in some ways, and also because Renard has been established to be the bearer of the blunt stick of truth and information in general, this makes him ideal to take Nick by the scruff and shake him until he realizes that valuing the life of a human over the life of a Wesen is bigoted and wrong when both are equally sentient, emotionally capable, and likely to have families and loved ones who would miss them. All life should be equally valued. Renard isn't upset that Nick killed the man not because he was human and Wesen feel the same way about humans (or this half-Wesen half-Royal in particular doesn't, based on what we've seen out of several Wesen and one half-brother whose prejudices are probably weighing heavy on Sean's mind right now) but because Nick was under the influence of a powerful drug and was being attacked by that same human. In Renard's mind, that attack justifies self-defense and the drug explains and even in this case excuses the misjudgement of force. What he's not going to excuse is Nick's behavior after the fact, now that Nick's at least more in his right mind and capable of reasoning things out. He is Prince of the City, all of its people are his subjects, that includes Wesen, and Nick would and has killed a dozen Wesen without losing sleep over any of them. Which pisses him off. Not that he expects Nick to fall on his sword like this every time, and indeed the Wesen deaths that come most immediately to mind were arguably self-defense, but again, othering, etc. We also get to watch Nick go through the cascading series of facial expressions of someone who has just been called out on his prejudices, first indignation and a flush on the face and returning a bit of the anger, and we see him mouthing "what?" as Renard's words don't make sense to him at first. Then, when Renard puts him in the "other" place by the simple expedient of "you Grimms" comprehension seems to hit, and we get a momentary downward glance of considering what's going on, what Renard's bringing up. As Renard gets his coat and heads out to a meeting with the mayor (will that come back to haunt us?), we see Nick still nodding his head slightly as he turns this over in his mind, trying to work it through to a conclusion. Renard stops in the doorway and, with a somewhat lighter expression, tells Nick to let him know when he has an answer to the question. It's hard to say how much less pissed off he is, but the fact that Nick didn't immediately come back with a response and seems to be thinking it over, does seem to be lessening Renard's anger. Another mark to add to the tally of reasons why Renard is a good leader; he'd rather Nick think about that and come to some conclusions on his own than beat "Thou Shalt Not Be A Bigoted Asshole" into his forehead and have Nick behave better because he's told to, or behave as he is right now because he hasn't thought about it. That attitude right there with Nick still visibly considering the racial/species issue, that puts the cap on an all around amazing scene. Seriously, this sixty seconds made the episode a memorable and wonderful one for me, sixty seconds of tight writing, beautiful directing, and really stellar acting that shows Roiz's abilities and how Giuntoli's really, really stepped up his game since the first season. Both men play off each other beautifully, Roiz pulls up the quality of pretty much everyone he's in a scene with and Giuntoli just brings it to match, and well done everyone.
I'll drool over Giuntoli's progress and skills once more; as Nick heads back to his desk we see him coming out of the Captain's office looking like he's been slapped with a dead fish, then in the walk back to his desk we see the progression of him shaking off at least the emotional response, filing that away to think on later, and getting back to the task at hand. Come here Giuntoli let me love you for all of your skills. Alas, there's no time for that right now, Hank comes up just as he's sitting down leading to some light comedy as he gets right back up again. Apparently they've got another tree-hugger. That's what you're calling these guys? Oh boy.
So this time it's a woman, she abandoned her car down the road, her purse was in it so they have license and identification. Nobody saw anything and, as Wu quips, even if they did it's not unusual in Portland? I love you Portland. You remind me of home, where we put chairs in trees for ease of sitting. I'm not even kidding about that. Anyway, apart from the tree there is nothing the two victims have in common at first glance. Over to the car for more data, hopefully, the purse is on the seat and Wu hasn't touched it except to get the ID out, so, let's go through it now! She keeps her receipts because as a sales rep she's expected to turn them in or turn in copies for reimbursal for schmoozing expenses. Apple store, Target, the spa might not be work related and might be force of habit or, hell, it might be work related, a receipt for a meal at Raven and Rose which probably is work related. Wu has heard of Raven and Rose! (Which, by the way, turns out to be a real Portland restaurant. Oh my god. I want to know how many permissions they had to sign to use this. It also looks pretty fucking delicious and not nearly as pretentious as the show mocks it for; we should add that to our list of places to go when we take our vacation this spring.) Wu will now gush over Raven and Rose, giving us one other person who's eaten there and hasn't come out with the most explosive case of indigestion since the diner in Spaceballs. Hank remembers that the first victim was having an anniversary dinner with his wife, maybe it was the same restaurant? Same meal is ruled out by the first victim having been dead by the time the other woman ate at the restaurant, but at least it's a potential link. This whole scene is also a beautiful piece of Nick taking the role of the one who forces Hank to defend his theories, placing them on more equal footing as detectives than we saw back in s1, and re-emphasizing their excellent working partnership. You know, when they're sharing information? Yes. More of this. Hank takes calling the wife to get the restaurant duties, doesn't keep her on the phone longer than he has to, is very gentle and polite about the whole thing because he is, of course, the Best. With a pleased look from his partner who didn't expect that lead to pan out and is glad it did! Aww you two. And then it's back to the precinct to look up the restaurant and its chef! That's not the actual Raven & Rose website, either, which hurts my brain marginally less. Apparently the chef is a shining star in the critic's expanding food universe. I agree with Grimm writer Michael Golamco on this one, anyone who feels the need to describe themselves as part of a food universe is clearly evil. Or at least annoyingly pretentious. And no, they don't have enough to arrest anyone, even a rising, gassy star, but they do have enough to take a closer look since it's the only common point in both deaths. To the restaurant!
Except not, we're going to take a quick trip to Austria, first. Rosaliengebirge is, as we've said before, a real town in the mountains of Lower Austria, and I'm not sure that counts as a witch's cottage? It's two stories, for one thing, and it looks almost as big as if not bigger than my house, which is definitely not a cottage. Still, serves the same purpose, we've seen the set before, we know this place. Chirpy-who-is-now-Sebastien wastes no time in smashing the glass to break in, because that door is shaded from the outside and it's easy to get the impression she doesn't have many visitors. Chir-- Sebastien's wearing gloves! Oh good spy. He turns on one light, too, which is at least less suspicious from the outside than waving a flashlight around; one light could be someone reading quietly in the evening, a solo bobbing flashlight looks pretty much like a bobbing flashlight. It seems to be a kitchen and dining area, copper pots again, one wonders if that's for the properties of copper or just because it looks rustic. Ch-- Sebastien's found a notebook! Hard to make out precisely what's in it but it looks like some recipe involving dill, pepper, and sulfur. And, ooh, a phone number. Well, a name or a word, 215, and a phone number. Although why that phone number would have the country code for Austria when they're in Austria is puzzling. Possibly because the European countries are all close enough together that you can daytrip into another one, and thus have to use the country code? But wouldn't Frau Pech have the Austria country code memorized? Pfui. We'll chalk that up to Doylist over-cleverness without Watsonian considerations and move on. Sebastien will now call and report what he's found! Which is not Frau Pech. Interesting that they're sticking to English, we might have to go back and track the few occasions they do lapse into English as opposed to French, see if there's a pattern. He hasn't been able to find her anywhere in Vienna or in her home, where he is now, though Renard has a good point that it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that she'd left Austria to try and find a buyer for the child. It is kind of a global market. In addition to that Sebastien has discovered a name, which he presumes is the name of a hotel (reasonable assumption given the context) and a number, as well as a phone number. Buyer? Broker? Renard directs him to find out who's in that room, somewhat unnecessarily but it is a question of continue to search for Frau Pech or follow the lead they got. Let us also note, while we're here, that Sebastien is in not-a-suit for once, and looks much more suited to clandestine work than he has in, oh, ever. It's mildly interesting, only mildly so because there is the possibility that he's in rougher clothing because he's out in the damn country in the middle of the night in winter. Or the start of winter at least. Brr.
At Raven and Rose Hank and Nick are knocking on the door, and let in once it sinks in that those are police badges around their necks. Well, around Hank's neck. They'd like to talk to the chef! The maitre d' doesn't think that'd be a good idea, the chef gets pretty stressed right before he serves dinner, as demonstrated by the sounds of a Gordon-Ramsey-esque fit coming from the kitchen! That's okay, these are cops, they've dealt with far, far worse than this. The chef is having a fit about his sauce and who knows what all why, and this is cuisine not carpentry! I know some carpenters who would take issue with that, pal. I don't think this is meant to be another subtle line on the theme of us versus them, in-group versus out-group prejudices running rampant throughout the entire show, but we can certainly take it that way! Especially when the chef slams the cleaver into the chopping block, shot so it's between us and Nick and Hank, and proceeds to woge out, frightening all his sous and line cooks into wogeing out as well! I'm not sure how best to describe the look on Nick's face right now, it's less that he's not in control of his face and more that he doesn't feel the need to bother since they're still unnoticed by the kitchen staff, but it's also definitely a face that says "Really? Seriously?" Oh Nick. Oh Giuntoli, good sir, congratulations on your face. Hank catches it, though it'd be really hard not to, and we have a well-timed short exchanged to catch Hank up that all the kitchen staff are Bauerschwein. Oh you guys.
The head chef (Ostler, really? I have the extended, satirized Tolkien version of Hey Diddle Diddle, the cat and the fiddle, about the ostler's tipsy cat stuck in my head now) has a whole lot of extravagant noises about how it couldn't happen here he doesn't know them this isn't his fault yadda yadda. We'll call him on the overselling now, although given his fit just a moment ago it's not beyond the bounds of belief that he's just like that, and he's relying on that fact to cover up all his tells. Plus, frankly, given the setup he's got going on here he probably genuinely doesn't remember anyone, this is a setup to the tune of whoever gets killed by his food obviously deserved it and he can carry on knowing he's doing the Right Thing by all Bauerschwein, anyway. Heh. It does raise the question of, how many of his employees are in on it with him, which we'll see answered later on. Moderately suspicious oversell or not, the guys don't have anything to haul him down to the station on, they can only get employee records and a note on what the vics ordered. Which, as we learn at the precinct, was completely different right down to the wine. And none of the employees have records, including the chef, and the wife doesn't recognize any of the names, and Wu brought the tox screens back! Wu, do you have anything? Besides snark, we know you live and breathe snark. Actually, he's got less snark this time, he doesn't actually like having to be the constant bearer of bad news. (Feel free to filk that to Man of Constant Sorrow, it popped into my head, I have no time but I am giving and sharing like this.) They've got nothing on the tox reports. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Oh, and let's revisit the widow, who if she were Wesen would totally have woged out in the middle of her interview and didn't, so of course they don't think to ask her if her husband was Wesen. Me, I'm wondering if we have our first human/Wesen romantic relationship (in the unwhammied sense, anyway), but oh well. Nick grumbles about how there's an entire kitchen of Bauerschwein and Hank appears to be borrowing Renard's stick of they may be Other but that doesn't make them automatically evil. We're not actively visiting why Hank would be sensitive to pegging a group of people as likely suspects based on their species, but. Thank you, Hank. We love you THIS much. Nick's expression suggests that he didn't sign up to be smacked by that stick twice in one day, then stop saying dumb shit like that without any proof, Detective Burkhardt.
Instead he'll go home and talk it over with Juliette! GOOD Nick. You may regain many points for talking it out with your girlfriend, who has both a science background and a veterinary background and this is something she's totally equipped to think about. Extra bonus points to the writers/director for giving us this scene while telegraphing their newly rediscovered domestic bliss, since Nick is doing the dishes while Juliette finishes clearing the table. Anyway, back to the disgusting digestive problems. Humans have never gotten quite this kind of illness, but yes, dogs and cattle both get forms of bloat or colic, so do horses (worse for horses, they can't vomit), it's incredibly uncomfortable and dangerous and affects the digestive tract. Pretty much exactly as she says, with memory refreshed by a cursory search, that's not one of the things that A picked up in her vet-shadowing days and we won't discuss the stories I heard from my horse-riding mother, but the upshot is that in dogs at least it's breed-specific. Which leads Nick down the garden path of, wait, he can't actually ask the dead bodies if they were Wesen, but if they were they'd totally be Blutbaden. Right? He summarizes the rivalry in very short form for Juliette, more I think because he doesn't know the details and hasn't poked at Monroe's old wounds than because he doesn't want to tell her in greater detail. Plus it's not yet fully relevant to the case. Well, he can think about that on the way to Monroe's! Juliette says, with the attitude of "you know you HAVE a friend who's a Blutbad" and also changing the subject the way you do when you're trying to conceal a surprise party from someone. Because he's moving out tonight and bringing all his crap back to their house, and she's mostly teasing but could also use some reassurance that in the wake of all this fuckery he hasn't changed his mind. No, of course not, he'll be right home. Almost with those words, too. Nick, please tell Juliette about all your mysterious Wesen-related cases and get her and Rosalee to open up the damn Wesen clinic already, would you? No, I know, these things have to build over time but we want our Science Girls to kick ass forever and ever.
On over to where Monroe is engaging in his usual happy torrents of babble, he's glad Nick's moving out, a little sad to see his friend leave the house, but he's getting a Rosalee in Nick's place! Not that he says that exactly, but he means it and Monroe, I think you're getting the best end of this deal. Well, everyone's getting a good deal out of this, come to that. They're all cute and thanking each other and Monroe totally means to rehash, or rather, the writers mean him to rehash and catch up any new viewers who missed last season. Monroe, Imma get you an Exposition Elf hat at this rate, although it makes perfect sense that the one with the least brain-to-mouth filter is the one expositing most of the time. Cue awkward realization that probably no other Blutbad can say they lived to tell about a Grimm staying under their roof, and Nick's really getting cluebatted around this episode. I think he gets it, guys. I hope so, anyway. Nick's awkward laugh and smile suggests that he does! At any rate, furtive look over Monroe's shoulder where people are Totally Not Hiding, one toothbrush to get, and one question for Monroe about the Raven & Rose! Yeah, he thinks it's a great restaurant, he doesn't care about it being run by Bauerschwein, well, he won't right up until he finds out his buddies are dying. He wouldn't eat somewhere run by a… Schneitmache? Schneidemache? Neither of those sound quite right or translate quite right, I'm guessing something to do with snake venom, though. Yeah, I wouldn't either. But Monroe's not feeling like he's going to explode, so that's good! Cue the adorablest cat-helping scene, Monroe, you're supposed to be canid-based, stop that. In aid of preventing Nick from seeing everyone until he's been led around into the living room where people jump out and yell surprise! at him. I do mildly question the wisdom of startling a Grimm whose reflexes are ever-increasing, but it looks to me like Nick's come out the other side of heightened startle reflex and into the land of had an inkling they were there the whole time. That's a bit of a scary place to think about, speaking as it does to prolonged exposure to war-style trauma; it's a quieter throughline than many of the under-siege references they make but it's still present.
No, they're here to celebrate his leaving, Rosalee in particular is excited about all that closet space (I had to) and Bud's wife baked a cake! One of these days we'll get to meet Mrs. Eisbieber instead of just bearing witness to her amazing feats of culinary and crafting extravagance. That is a gorgeous cake, and a hilarious reference to Eisbiebers being rodent-based, I bet they totally do have to chew on things regularly to keep from doing a Hermione with her teeth hexed. Monroe has a toast! Rosalee will get that ominously interrupting phone for him, and now we have adorable ribbing and joking and I love everyone in this scooby gang. Oh you guys. Sadly, they cannot get to the drinking, because the cops are about to have to be on duty. As expected, that's, well, not Sam in distress, but his wife Kimber who's looking for him. Rosalee provides the data to explain that they ran into them at the restaurant, Monroe finishes his phone call, I love everything about this scene of reveals and how Monroe knows all the local Blutbaden but doesn't know the traveling saleswoman, and Rosalee immediately comforting him, and everyone getting a circling the wagons sort of expression. Hank takes the cop logistics, Nick takes the Grimm logistics, Monroe deals with his friend's wife, Rosalee tries to get the full picture so she can contribute something, Bud points out for the benefit of those who didn't watch early s1 that wolves are more predators than pigs, normally. Not in Nick's experience, oddly. I want a full history of this blood feud so bad you have no idea. Everyone has their strengths! Even Bud, whose priority is the cake. Good man. Juliette steps up to try and figure it out via what they all ate, and explains the symptoms to Rosalee, who has to go look something up. In short: love everyone in this scooby gang for sharing information and understanding how much stronger they are when they're working together. Answer: really, really strong. I wouldn't want to cross this group.
Everyone heads down to the shop with Rosalee to get all the data, since nothing's going to come of that APB immediately, while we get to see poor Sam staggering out into the woods where, yes, this is happening all over again. Poor wolfie. Rosalee tells us that this is known as the Folica Verzweifeln, folica doesn't translate to mushroom but I will accept the latter as "despair." Should have a schwarz or a dunkel in there if we're going for black despair, but not every day can be dunkelkatzenpissen at the spice shop. The Latin name she gives for a similar mushroom really does exist and works approximately the way she describes! Hilariously enough, and that explains, sort of, the thing about climbing trees. There sure ain't any other explanation for it. Okay, so the Folica Verzweifeln are poisonous to Blutbaden when cooked, and only Blutbaden! Makes sense. Sure. We'll go with it, anyway, and now Monroe will freak out and try to remember what he ate, except all the vics ate different things, thank you Nick for remembering that now that they brought it up again. This really is a slick setup, serving an off-menu item to everyone knowing that it'll only kill the Blutbaden. I also appreciate the nod to a human, a kehrseite schlichkennen is what he says for those of you who missed it last season, who knows what they are and is sufficiently not freaked out by this to be married to one. Aww. Nice little theme of quiet harmony and everyone getting together in counterpoint to the anvils of Let's Not Have Us Versus Them all episode. Oh, and they have a location on Sam's car but not on Sam, this isn't going to end well at ALL. Monroe, you don't want to see that. Especially because by Rosalee's utter lack of offering an antidote, there isn't one, or at least not one that can be prepared in time to save Sam. I appreciate that they have landed on something she can't solve, she can provide them the information to identify the murderer and maybe to make the case, if they're very lucky (which they aren't) but she can't save everyone. Even if we know she'll always be able to fix the main issue plaguing any of the main characters.
We knew Sam best (read: at all), so we get a somewhat prolonged view of his agony to build our sympathy up. Also he's the third vic (drink!) and thus we'd get one anyway. After commercial break we come back to a bunch of unis and lights flashing and yes, do stay back, guys, Sam doesn't know you and they haven't seen the progression of this, so they don't actually know if he's capable of being violent or just flailing about in agony. As we know, it's the latter, and he's already up his tree, and about all they can do for him, whatever Monroe has to say about it, is stand witness to his death. Oh honeys. As befits his status as the friend, Monroe is the most visibly disturbed, and as befits his being a Blutbad who used to hunt and be pretty violent himself it's not that it's a violent death but that it's his friend and could have been him were it not for (let us remember) Rosalee saving him, that's affecting him more. To emphasize how shaken he is, we get several seconds of near-complete silence, no musical cues until they've cleared the scene and Nick and Monroe are talking. Monroe, please don't go vigilante, that's a terrible idea, and now we bring it around to ram it in Nick's face more, whatcha gonna do when it's your friend landing in the us-versus-them mindset. See how it looks from the outside, Nick? Not good or pretty at all, and he does seem to have internalized that at least a bit, comprehending that he needs to approach this as a cop first and a Grimm second, and as such he needs something that'll stand up in court. Not just some dead Bauerschwein, because if he does that he'll keep this whole feud going forever and ever and to make it worse, he'll look like he's siding with the Blutbaden. So let's not, mmkay? He did a really good job in the first season with taking the attitude that he's a cop first and treats all Wesen as citizens until they behave otherwise, let's not break that streak. Monroe isn't listening to this, storms off in a huff, and Hank comes over from his I Totally Wasn't Listening To That Whole Thing (Yes I Was) position at the back of the wagon to make his inquiries, including, well, what are you going to do?
Show, don't tell, is what the writers are doing this episode. A lot of it. Nick's going to pay Chef Ostler another visit, this time more as a Grimm and less as a cop, not showing his hand that his partner's aware of Wesen too, I think that's actually pretty smart. It also gives Hank the ability to say that no, of course he didn't go to the second interview and what is this guy going on about when he has to take the witness stand, whatever defense they try to mount for Ostler. Nick doesn't bother beating around the bush very much, despite the chef's attempts to play the jovial restaurateur. Just leads into it with, there's been another death, no, it wasn't a menu item, say, about those rare truffle ingredients. Ostler's face slowly falls into fear and then into rage as he woges out, you moron, the game is so completely up and you know it. All he really needs is for Nick to identify himself outright as a Grimm and now he'll freak out about how he has witnesses. Accomplices, you mean? The looks on those sous/line chefs' faces tell us everything we needed to know about whether or not they're in on it, and no, Nick's not going to kill them all but neither is he above letting them think he might. Briefly. Very briefly, we go through the rigamarole again of how this won't stand up in court you can't prove anything and Nick comes out with an offer: confess, because it's the right thing to do. Not with any expectation that it'll happen, but he has to find out how far they'll go with this thing and if they can be induced to see reason. No, Nick. They can't. They've all lost family to Blutbaden, and I really, really want to see some of these deaths, you know? So far we've just had Bauerschwein taking their revenge instead of the instigating attacks, which makes me wonder just how long it's been since there were multiple Blutbaden attacks on Bauerschwein (we already know about the Angelina ones, but haven't heard of other specific aggressors yet) and, for that matter, in what country. Sigh. But alas, we won't get that from Ostler, who has what sounds like a frighteningly cultish attitude toward this, he can't be blamed for Blutbaden weakness, he's just cooking dinner, and oh by the way he wants to create a new world order. Nobody who says that shit is ever entirely sane. Fucking zealots. So, no help there though a lot of social commentary on how we go from trying to defend ourselves to being the aggressors and murderers instead, and where the line is on that. These Bauerschwein clearly have crossed that line. Nick, if he kills them instead of letting the law sort it out, will have as well. But Nick's also been hit with a lot of cluebats, starting with Renard and continuing with Hank and going on down the line this ep, so we know he'll make the right choice. And we'll hope it sticks.
He has to talk it out with Juliette first, though, and get some more cluebats to the face. Nick, killing them here won't stop it here, either, it'll just make the Bauerschwein convinced you can't be trusted. I somewhat question the writers' choices of reference points for this, Ireland is probably the closest to accurate, but the parallels are accurate in the loosest sense, everyone's decided there's a good reason to kill Those Other People Over There, and in most cases it goes back so many generations it's hard to say what was the specific inciting event for which surge of violence. Parents teach their children to be afraid, to mistrust Those Other People, that they're not you or less than, and on and on it goes. What this boils down to is, Nick can't allow Monroe to murder them and go to jail for it, and he doesn't see any easy way out. Because there isn't one. There never is. There's a right way out, but it's not an easy way, and there's no way to work this so that suddenly the feuding stops. Nick's a cop, not a community organizer, and worse, he's already working two jobs. Sometimes, Juliette's trying to tell him, there are limits to what one person can do. And sometimes you have to wait for people to want to change before you can do anything other than mitigate the damage to bystanders and contain the violence to within the communities affected. As much as that sucks to face. Not only that, but lasting change tends to come from people within the community, maybe not in a Romeo and Juliet sense (please no, and I'm glad they didn't go there though they might build up to this eventually) but in the sense of people being more willing to listen to one of their own when they say "I've had enough of this shit, let's learn to coexist peacefully." It sucks enough, in fact, that Nick's got himself worked up such that he goes into his corpse state again! Well, there's a distraction for you. Juliette's touch seems to be something that helps bring him out of it, and this one lasts less time than the others, and he's even less inclined than usual to let her fuss over him. Given the gravity of the situation he's got to deal with, I suppose that's only fair.
Meanwhile Monroe is ranting and pacing at the shop and Rosalee doesn't really have any clue how to talk him down from this. It's kind of out of her range of experience with him, and frankly after so long dealing with mostly cute, cuddly clock expert and zither enthusiast Monroe it's a bit of a shock to our systems to be confronted with enraged Blutbad Monroe. I can't begin to express how much weirder that is for someone who knows probably fairly well what Blutbad as a rule are like and has found in Monroe someone who tends to be an exception to all the negative stereotypes. Which doesn't mean he doesn't have his breaking point, and the resurgence of this feud? Just found it. Monroe, you really are talking nonsense at this point, trying to scare her by suggesting they'll go after Fuchsbau next. I suppose it's possible they'd go after Rosalee as his SO, hence his concern, but that's not how he's phrasing it, he's phrasing it as an everyone-vs-Bauerschwein setup. No, Monroe. You do know better. Sadly, Nick coming in and telling them that he's up shit creek without a paddle is completely not helpful for the purposes of talking him down, and Mitchell does a pretty decent job of selling guy who's been repressing anger and his instincts for far too long as he grabs up his coat and storms out. There is a lot of rehashing how they can't do anything legally, just to bring us around later to the point where they do find something they can do. We call it entrapment, actually, but it's also about the only way even vaguely within the law to stop more murders from being committed while not committing any themselves.
First we have to visit the Hotel Sacher, however! Where Adalind is ensconced in room 215, if we'd forgotten, and also crying tears of blood while watching the same news report Renard saw last episode about Eric's death. Um. What the fuck? Is that the evil Hexenbaby influencing her hormones? Because the only reason I believe she might be crying is because now she's potentially incredibly screwed for allies and needs a minute while she's alone to express weakness. Crying blood, though? I blame on all the rituals she's been doing. I somehow doubt Hexenbiests normally do that. You're giving away precious magical ingredients, for one thing, that's a terrible evolutionary development if it's normal for all of them. (Not that tears can't be used in the same way, or really anything from someone's body, see also hair in hairbrushes, but blood is universally regarded as the most potent for obvious reasons.) Hey, she has room service! I take a moment to wonder if the papers scattered around that laptop are a sign she's been doing some lawyering from afar while in Vienna, and Adalind didn't order any room service! Oh good Sebastien. Clever, smart Sebastien, you really are getting better at this. Going by how prepared and steady he is with this I almost wonder if it's not that he's brushing off long-rusty skills more than that he never had any covert ops training. That, or he's been learning real fast how to handle these things. Either way, I approve. I would approve more if we got some data to confirm either theory, mainly because if the former that tells us some interesting things about him, but not right now. Right now all we're getting is an hoshit look on his face as he realizes that Frau Pech is probably very dead and Adalind is staying in the hotel room he found in the cottage diary. Hard to say if he's connected the dots up at this point with Adalind, Frau Pech, baby, slept with Eric, but I wouldn't bet against it. We can bet that Renard will connect the dots instantly when he hears, and if the Grimm gods are very kind to us they won't make us wait more than a week for it.
On over to the chef making evil smirking faces at the evil deadly mushrooms, a new shipment looks like it just came in, and ew. Those look like some kind of nightmarish penises, complete with weird veining and odd protuberances. Ew ew ew. Did they have to? You can't tell me that wasn't on purpose. At any rate, he's locking up for the night, which is his cue to get stalked! This is one I very much wish they'd had time to stick in a scene of Nick and Monroe plotting, not because we needed the furthered cue that they were going to go this route but because the character development of the two of them forming this plan would have gone a long way to resolving some of Nick's moral quandary this episode. On the other hand, maybe we weren't supposed to get a resolution? Is my most charitable thought toward that. Running, cornering, they got a lot of Blutbaden in on this plot, how the hell did Nick and/or Monroe talk them into this and trust that nobody would get overenthusiastic about it? This plan has so many loopholes you guys I am not at all sanguine about it. And Monroe is overselling from the get go. At least he doesn't have a giant opera cape to peek over, that would be epically bad for his sense of the dramatic. The staged fight he and Nick have once the cavalry rides in is better, probably due to the fact that they did spar on and off last season and thus have a better idea of how that should go. By contrast, Hank pulling his gun out looks a lot more realistic and frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if he weren't wary for all the reasons I just listed. Monroe, stop overselling. Monroe's FRIEND, stop overselling. The main thing they have going for them is that Ostler has genuine deep-seated fear of Blutbaden and no reason to believe this is anything other than what it looks like, and in some respects it's kind of cruel. Kinder than death? Possibly. More just than death, definitely. And when Nick shoots Monroe we all know that there are blanks and squibs in that gun and under that flannel respectively, because there's no way they'd pull this. Maybe for a midseason or season finale, for real, but they'd do a lot more buildup to it. So! Hank does his bit by checking Monroe for death, that at least wasn't an oversell, but now everyone's overselling how this feud needs to end and there's a lot of them maybe they should be looking after themselves and MONROE YOU ARE DEAD STAY DEAD. This isn't Shakespeare in the Park, says Nick's eyebrow, and we tend to agree with him. Really this is a masterful job of actors who are typically very good at using subtlety in their performances dropping just enough of that to make it really clear to us how much of a setup this is, but it leaves us facepalming so much at the characters. As it should. I suppose they might have told the Blutbaden that if Ostler didn't confess they could have him, and trusted to self-preservation instincts? That's about the only thing I can think of, as Monroe opens his eyes and smirks. After the car peels out, good Blutbad.
Ostler brought lampshades as he signs his confession about how this won't stop the feud. No, it won't, but it's what they could do right now, and it should, we hope, serve to remind all the Wesen that this is a new kind of Grimm in town. Including said Grimm! Monroe and Nick trade snark over connecting on some of their punches, Nick looking less amused. And Renard has the funniest line of the episode as a stinger, and Roiz continues to have ridiculous delivery. Seriously, I want outtakes of the room dissolving into laughter over that one, not just Nick's amused little huff of "really? seriously?" Though that's good too.
Next week on Grimm: Mermaids! The kind that aren't pretty or nice, nor do they want human legs to spend time with their princes on land. No, this is definitely the oldschool mermaid and I swear to fucking god if the promo photos are right in indicating that the mermaid is named Anna there will be violence. (A: I am so tired of people with my name ending up evil or dead or both, y'all, I cannot even.)