Saturday, March 22, 2014

Celebrate Relentlessness Grimm S3E16 The Show Must Go On

Previously on Grimm: a lot of baby conspiracy stuff! And this, kids, is why we've been calling Sebastien the canary ever since he first showed up on our screens: when he's captured and tortured, you know shit's gotten real. Frankly, I'm surprised he made it as long as he did. (I'm also still waiting on payoff for that list of names he gave Renard back in 2x17, but alas, it seems unlikely at this point.) (K: And on the comment he made about Meisner. And the inexplicable buttling.) Oh, and Monroe was the dorkiest clockmaker Blutbad ever; I guess now we're focusing on the existence of their relationship more than the family issues surrounding it? I'm a little torn on how those have been shoved to the back-burner for the last several eps, though I will definitely say that Silas and Bree have been playing up a heightened sense of how much danger they could be in. Not quite to hypervigilance levels yet, but likely to get there as they continue to be under pressure from a variety of directions? Oh yes.

A Google Books search yields the source of this week's quote, which while it could be from a fairytale in meaning, doesn't quite have the right voice for it. Teddy Roosevelt! Writing for Scribner's Magazine, an article titled "A Hunter-Naturalist In The Brazilian Wilderness" and subtitled "Down An Unknown River Into The Equatorial Forest." I suspect, as with many of the more obscure quote sources they've used, they didn't think too hard about the larger context of the piece they were lifting it from. 'cause I just skimmed it and it looked to be in a similar vein to Heart of Darkness, if marginally less racist. (I say this, but I also only skimmed the surrounding pages because there's only so much of this kind of writing I want to read for the sake of the blog.) And while the Wesen brand of racism (speciesism?) has been a long-running theme this season, there's little of it here except in Nick's quiet freakout. For which we are truly thankful, because the setup for this episode had a lot of potential to be nasty in all the wrong ways, and it wasn't.

We open on the carnival! With a longass monologue as we see lots of carnies doing carnival things, very atmospheric, lots of Dutch angles in case we didn't already know it was going to be a crime scene or the start of one, anyway. Yaaay. Okay, now a gunshot and genuinely terrified people, or at least there's some real terror under the anticipated "I'm here for the show" type fear, that's a bit unusual for a carnival. Only a bit, though. Everyone who's done any stage work in either audience will of course assume those are blanks oh hello Carlo Rota you're here to be evil, yes? Of course yes. And that's some definite woge we catch the ear of as the camera points our focus at the audience, more to the point, at the two young women being what we may politely call overenthusiastic. Well, I guess they're getting dead soon. Safe to say the woge we caught the edge of was a Blutbad. And indeed, we cut backstage with a fucklot more Dutch angle (dear god will anything on this ep not be slanted?) to where our friendly carnival wolf is changing into street clothes and drinking something that looks an awful lot like Jack. A mostly empty bottle that he's swigging straight from, which might under other circumstances be a class marker but in this case is primarily a marker of how bad off Max the Blutbad is, for whatever reason. His girlfriend will confirm it by coming in and fussing at him, trying to take the bottle away, and saying they should leave the circus. Yes. Yes please do that. Not that it's not already too late, but let's have him ignore her and stagger out. I'm guessing that bottle was at least half full before he finished off the last couple fingers by the way he's staggering, though the illness isn't helping anything. Sam Witwer will now proceed to brood-stumble his way down a back lane, undergo a partial involuntary woge, regain some semblance of control, and almost get hit by, yes, those two women.

I don't know if this was deliberate or not, but this scene is definitely making some interesting (and pointed) commentary on let performers have lives offstage. Whatever that stage may be. Excessive flirting, not taking no for an answer, all but outright propositioning - why yes! It sounds like the reasons I avoid fandoms. Well, some of them. I'm not entirely comfortable with the fact that women are the aggressors so often in this show, and that their apparent punishment is to die. It's not that these things don't happen, it's that these things actually happen less often than men being aggressors who won't take no for an answer, and this scene is shot to cast Max in the role of victim as much as aggressor. Although Rota the ringmaster staring off after them and not doing anything about it does give us a good idea of who the real villain of the piece is, in case we didn't know that from the first time he shows up onscreen. I dunno, the whole thing is just a clusterfuck of mixed messages. I will say this: for fuck's sake, don't be like that. We are going to Portland to eat, drink, go to a couple things we have invites/tickets for, bask in the ambiance in order to tell you about it, and if we run across Grimm actors main cast, recurring, guest, whatever, our job is not to bother them. (Unless we get an interview. Which we will set up through appropriate channels.) The idea that a person owes another person something for being attractive, for doing their job well, or any of these categories isn't one we would tolerate when applied to ourselves, and it isn't one we should espouse when dealing with actors or anyone we admire. Especially in the present day when people across the globe are accessible primarily via Twitter but also via fan forums and other social media, it is more important than ever that we be polite, mind our manners, and treat each other with the respect and dignity we would like to be treated.  

Happier things! A double date night in at Monroe's house. Awwww. And now we see at least part of why the proposal was in the previouslies, because they're talking logistics. In that calm-but-bouncy manner, like you do. I have to appreciate that both the actors who have to talk about weddings have done the wedding thing and thus can imbue their performances with that particular form of verisimilitude that's tricky to get. Yay, married! Boo, logistics! Yay, friends who can help! I have to say, an outdoor wedding is inviting it to rain. Or be too windy for formal clothes. Or snow. Or something. But you have to obey tradition, and okay, sure, Rosalee's got married in the Cascades and Monroe's were married next to a waterfall which I am just going to headcanon into being Reichenbach Falls, it's not that far from the Black Forest. Inasmuch as nothing in Europe is all that far from anything. Mostly it amuses me. Moving on, Monroe has a little speech to give! It is Nick's fault that he and Rosalee found each other, and it sounds like this is meant as an indirect apology for the things he said out of hurt and fear when his parents were in town. Oh boys. Rosalee looks like she's going to burst into giggles any second. Everyone except Nick bursts into laughter over the pay for the wedding joke, I think Nick's getting less and less used to people making gentle jokes at his expense. And really, that IS a gentle joke, and implies a parental/paternal role that's both "aww" and "huh," aww for obvious reasons and huh because it puts the less parental person in the role of parent. Which I think is probably the real reason Nick's a little uncomfortable with it, because even joking it serves as a reminder that neither Monroe nor Rosalee is on particularly good terms with their bio-families right now and thus Nick and Juliette are about as close to family as they're getting. Nick's never really been comfortable with family and chosen family discussions anyway, what with his own massive unresolved and disregarded issues. Hey Nick. Get some therapy. I bet Renard knows someone he'd clear for this knowledge - oh, wait, yeah, I don't think you want any therapist Renard would recommend. The real question, of course, is will Nick be the best man. Nick? I know you're Bad At Feelings, but now would be a good time to raise concerns with having a Grimm as best man at a mixed-Wesen wedding. No? No. Juliette can be the maid of honor and Rosalee's sister will be the matron of honor! (Which tells us one interesting thing, in that Rosalee's sister has apparently been married. I don't remember if we got that in among all the hostility and drama of that ep.) Awww guys that's adorable! And a little sad that Rosalee doesn't have many (any?) other friends that close, though it'd have to be a really special schlichkennen or Wesen to accept her relationship and friendships. Or is it just me who's so utterly pragmatic about weddings that I wouldn't care if my partner was deemed Closer To The Couple by title? It might be just me. At any rate, awwing all around, and toasting, and from red wine we cut to…

...someone who definitely does not drink wine. I can't imagine that shots are good for Max's control, but he doesn't appear to have much of it left regardless of form. Seduction! Music! Dancing! Insistence from the brunette that he show them how he does the face! Yeah, this is one reason a Wesen carnival is a stupidass idea, guys, there will eventually be the sort of person who's read all the right books and can guess that there's no stage makeup involved. And can guess that loud noises, slaps, violence and attempted rape are a good way to force a Wesen into woging. GOOD JOB, you asshole ringmaster. Also don't drink and drive the genre savvy train, kids, it ends poorly. Really poorly. Roll credits.

I am duly concerned by these credits, which have all kinds of callbacks to earlier seasons, including reminding us that Adalind has her powers back, Renard was coin-touched, and Wu was made very sick by his first dip into the Wesen world and he might not be all better from his most recent one. Yay. We are all, however, all glad he's back on the job. First we have to have a hilarious wedding cake with, okay, flowers and such and Pachelbel's playing in the background, geez, Nick, your subconscious is being the least subtle right now. At least it's not the Austrian zitherist! Which just means Monroe and Rosalee need to inflict more of their LPs on him. The Blutbad cake topper looks disturbingly like Grant Ward from SHIELD, which is an image I am never getting out of my head. Oh, and the blood spatter. Wesen wedding or not, I don't think screams and blood are traditional, though for those of you who read the comics they're distressingly common in this particular world and action/genre fiction in general. I continue to appreciate that very few nightmares on this show involve someone actually screaming or sitting bolt upright in bed, because sleep paralysis, guys, it's a thing. If I could make all other shows with trauma portrayals take one lesson from Grimm, that would be it. Which does not mean Juliette can't tell when her boyfriend's having a nightmare! It's exactly the sort of nightmare you'd expect, though Bitsie and Giuntoli sell it pretty well: a little girl woged, saw Nick, freaked, her parents freaked and attacked him like has actually happened so it's not out of the realm of possibility, death maim Grimm decapitare death. As you do. Oh Nick honey. Were you so freaked by the chosen-family implications that you relegated this fear to your subconscious? Stupid move, but very human. For once I facepalm at Juliette saying that Nick should outright decline to be best man on the grounds of the risk. Having Nick at the wedding at all is a risk, you guys. You're going to have to find a way to mitigate that somehow. And in some ways, putting him up as the best man is a way of saying clear as day This Is A Person I Trust, not to mention the traditional role of the best man was a role of combat (taking challenges to the husband) whereas sticking Nick in the general masses of the invitees means they might assume he's snuck in to kill all the Wesen. Guys? Logic? Please? This is middle of the night the wolves are chewing at our heels logic, though, and it will not be resolved this episode.

Speaking of at our heels, hello henchjagers. Hello Viktor Van Dyke, no we are not getting over that goatee anytime soon. Woods! Mountains! Salem I mean Alps! (They're doing a pretty good job, having been in the Italian/Swiss Alps, with mocking up being in essentially the foothills of the Alps, but it's a much greener and less stark area than what I spent time in.) That tree is not big enough to hide anyone except maybe the baby behind it, but they're not looking to hide behind it so much as blend. This would be easier if they had coats better suited to the occasion; Meisner's closest but a deep green or brown would go even better. Also interestingly, they have him in dark and Adalind in light, which suggests a positively fascinating potential allegiance switch. Maybe even a genuine one. Certainly she's allied with the Resistance for the moment, but what Adalind's end goals might be beyond survival I do not know. Right now she's coughing up data about hey, that's Viktor! Well, Meisner, I don't know how much you know about Royals but from that snark it sounds like he was most acquainted with Eric Renard, who was keen on supervising but not exactly fond of doing the work himself. There's also the possibility that Viktor was far enough down the line of succession that he had to do some of the dirty work himself, lacking in assigned flunkies. That is a very quietly hungry baby; have you ever been around a real one? Without telekinesis possession powers? Yeah. I am ignoring and handwaving so many physical indignities Adalind should be suffering right now because a) who knows how many she can use her newly-regained powers to fix and b) this is TV baby and postpartum.

WU. Wu is back! We missed you too, Wu! Hank and Nick openly say so in the verbally-chest-thumping way of police officers, without calling attention to why he was out or checking on if he's sure he's feeling better. Homicide to start the day, though, that gives both Wu and Hank and Nick some more concrete problems to solve and clues to follow, rather than the murky ones lurking in two out of three psyches. Whether or not Hank starts having a pain in the psyche once he finds out Adalind's back with trouble and a baby is a question for another day. Wu gives them the rundown with less snark than usual but his face more than makes up for it: this is the girls' residence for the past two years according to the neighbor who found them, then was promptly sick in the corner as Wu points out. Which is at least for the police if not for the TV viewing audience a necessary detail, being as they need to eliminate it from the pool of, uh, evidence. The car hasn't been opened yet and is registered to one of the girls, Nick gives the nod to do so and our boys begin examining the scene! Ah-hah! A clue! No, really, it's about that obvious. Ticket stub to the circus and if you look very carefully the subtext under the circus name says "Let's move this plot right along." On the other hand every beat is well written and well struck, so I can't complain too hard.

On to the circus! There's a ticket taker who by his patter doubles as a talker, one of the people who stands in front of the stages and draws people in. He tries to object to Nick and Hank pushing past, but their tickets are shiny and gold-colored and shield-shaped, and he can't really object to that. And, to his credit, doesn't, and it's played as though he's not sure whether they're here on business or dirty cops looking for a fun day out. Nor does he care! Which is in keeping with carny folk; keep your heads down, don't argue with the local authorities, and that's one of the few pieces of carny culture we get even halfway explicitly stated this ep. We're expected to do a lot of filling in the gaps, which is probably just as well. He also doesn't remember seeing the girls yesterday, which isn't too surprising, they probably didn't put up a fuss or do anything memorable. He does point them to the guy in charge, though, Mr. Hedig also known as Carlo Rota's Villain of the Week. Mr. Hedig is the ringmaster of a carnival of fear or something, we're about to find out because he's doing the same show he did the other night. Truth stranger than fiction indeed, because the truth is these guys are Wesen. Last of the dragons clearly means Damonfeuer. Though this one seems more stable than the last one. I'm going to guess Ivan's a Siegbarst, and Genevieve looks to be another Fuchsbau. Okay then! For a hilarious role reversal here it's Nick who can't quite believe this is happening and has to ask Hank if he's seeing this, thereby confirming that these guys are wogeing full on and for the benefit of the carnival goers. As though everyone's gasps and exclamations couldn't tell us that, but it's entirely possible Nick's having trouble believing that the Masquerade is being shredded before his eyes, given that the last people he saw wogeing in front of kehrseite were gunned down in a police precinct. Neither of them have quite worked past the shock to realize that no one expects things in a carnival to be real, they're looking for the mask or the makeup or the special effects. As Nick does point out, once they take a second to whisper about it. Oh, hey, the final act is Max the Blutbad! As it turns out. Because the rule of three demands it, the ringmaster has to crack the whip three times to get Max to woge. Which he then does, and promptly breaks out of the cage. Between the setup of Max as out of control and the fact that he has already murdered two people, there's enough ambiguity here to imply that the situation truly has gotten out of the ringlea-- er, ringmaster's control, but let's all remember that we heard a gunshot last night, too. So, okay, yes, Max gets out of control, heads toward the crowd, ringmaster stops him with a gunshot to the chest, which has to hurt anyway because that is not all that great a range. Then a speech about how the world is much stranger and more terrifying than you can imagine, don't forget to super-size your popcorn on the way out.

And back in the plotline of Dammit Sebastien, Meisner and Adalind have reached the road! He's got a point that doubling back to the general point of origin wouldn't be something that comes first to mind, plus now they can steal a car! Preferably the one that has our poor wounded Sebastien in it, yes? YES! Meisner unburdens himself and pulls his gun, at which point Adalind actually stops him in shock and bemusement. Adalind, honey, what do you think he's going to do? There are cars there, and they're probably not unguarded, even without knowing Sebastien's in one of them. It's not as though "double back to your point of origin" is an uncommon tactic. There's one big van/truck/hummer thing, okay, and one smaller BMW sedan that looks more Royal and maneu-- holy shit is that Sebastien? For all that we've never gotten the impression that there's any great bond of brotherhood between these two, he looks awfully concerned. Not in the manner of being concerned what Sebastien gave up about him, Adalind, and their whereabouts, concerned that is Sebastien all right or did they prop up a dead body in the backseat. I take some issue with the alleged pulse finding, but it's not really necessary when Sebastien groans and sits up about as well as he can. Meisner's first thought, apparently, is to get him to a doctor. Presumably not a hospital, Meisner seems like the sort of guy who knows where the black clinics are. Still, that is not necessarily in line with getting Adalind to safety, though I have in my mind a hilarious little fan-fic about Sebastien getting patched up by the same underground doc who does Adalind's baby's well-baby checkup. Ahem. That black eye is not getting any better and it looks like there's blood pooling out of his ears; I appreciate whoever's doing makeup on this, but, um. That's not good. Sebastien has decided that he is playing the part of the martyr in tonight's little nativity thing, and tells Meisner to get out while he can. Well, no one's getting out right now, there's a guard! Oh noes! No, wait, the other MEISNER WHY ARE YOU PUTTING DOWN YOUR GUN JUST SHOOT THE FUCKHEAD. From everything we've seen the Resistance is used to being more bloody-minded and shooting below the belt when others supposedly have the drop on them. Meisner will now voluntarily disarm himself while we scream at the TV, and it's up to Adalind to save the day with her freaky teke powers. We are meant to think it's the baby initially, though, and indeed we did. Adalind looks mildly freaked by what she's discovered she can do, but not at all repentant. Not that I'd be either, he was damn well going to kill them all so, the hell with him. the look she does give Meisner is priceless, though. Very "ooops?" I'm liking this new Adalind more and more, and Claire Coffee deserves all the kudos and hugs for both the hilarity and the nuances of this performance.

After the break Meisner is shooting the engine block? Or something in that car six times. Because he's pissed at Viktor for beating up his boyfriend. No, really, I do not know why he chooses something as flashy and overdone as shooting the car when he could just go around quietly knifing tires. People carry one spare tire, not four. And a knife is so much quieter. You can't tell me he doesn't have at least one tactical knife on him, and even if he didn't, the goon might well have. No, he has to shoot the car because then Sebastien has an excuse to stay behind with the gun and rush them on out of there, because someone would have heard the gunshots. Inside the car Adalind seems less shocked that Viktor would torture someone and more that Sebastien would put himself in a position to be tortured for her sake. It'll be interesting to see how this affects her once she has more time to process, because it already looks as though wheels are turning. The second sentence, too, when she confirms that he was tortured for helping her, sounds almost as though she expects him to be angry with her for it, to blame her, etc. Which doesn't really tell us anything new, we already knew she'd been raised in that kind of environment, but is interesting in terms of her relationship with our poor canary. Sebastien isn't up for talking about it, though. He's dragging himself out of the damn car, oh Sebastien, and arguing with Meisner. Who looks about ready to throw Sebastien back into the car and get them both the hell out of there, but no. Something in his eyes (well, eye, the other one's all but swollen shut) gets Meisner of all people to back down, can we take a second here to appreciate that our timid diffident Sebastien got Meisner the alleged wild card to back down? With one look? And give him the gun, and drive off with Adalind and the baby. No, Adalind, Meisner's not happy about it either, but he appreciates both the drive for redemption and the need for quick decision-making and no looking back. Even though he's probably going to hate himself and want to hurt something when he finds out what he left Sebastien to. (Even though we would like to point out for the umpteenth time that nobody should have expected Sebastien to stand up under torture; that takes a very particular skillset either innate or trained that he clearly doesn't have.) Adalind is shocked and upset by this, genuinely so, so let's all take a second to appreciate this growth here that she's come to care for not only someone outside her immediate circle, but someone in the Royal families outside her immediate circle. And let's all take a second to appreciate and curse Puckler, Coffee, and especially Lagadec for the incredible job they did in this scene. Damn you, all three of you, and your skills. I lie, never stop being awesome.

From this incredibly somber scene we go... back to the circus! There's no thematic line here that I can find, it's just time within the framework of the episode to go back to the A plot. Max is arguing with Mr. Hedig about the structure of the scene they played, and Mr. Hedig shuts down all opposition. He's clearly used to being the alpha bully here, or maybe he's just the loudest bully. He certainly does the bully's thing of challenging even the people who weren't standing up to him just to make sure everyone knows, repeatedly, loudly, and often, who is boss. Yes, yes, you're very alpha, shut the fuck up. This also comes across, by the way, as do most of the carnival scenes, as more of a Wesen thing than a carny thing. Most of the portrayal of the carnival is built predominantly on Wesen characteristics and secondly on show-business characteristics in general, leaving very little room for them to detail carnival culture and get it right or wrong. Which, on the whole, is not a bad thing, considering how very wrong it could have gotten. But it's worth noting. The police will now step in to inadvertently interrupt this insidious intimidation act. Sorry. Neither Hedig nor anyone else claims to remember the girls, though Max's loss of control around the eyes pretty much screams "I remember them and I butchered them like sheep." At least to Nick, who can see it. His body language might indicate so to Hank, but there's no real telling, and Hank's busy poking the ringmaster about, yeah, I totally know these are Wesen actors, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more. Nick is less wink wink nudge nudge and more teeth. Seriously, that's a lot of teeth, Giuntoli, I'm almost impressed. (I've seen Michael Fassbender.) Once the police have left the tent Genevieve approaches Max about the girls since she saw that flicker of control, too. Max is not having with this whole talking it out thing. Over to the ringmaster, then, who is happy to talk. He ran away from home when he was thirteen and, yes, joined the circus, then taking it over for the last guy. William John Beeman or Bieman or a spelling like that. And yes, he does have problems with his employees but hastens to add that that doesn't necessarily mean they're in this kind of trouble. It's slimy, but it's the kind of defensive type of slime one might expect of him, protecting his people, so at least there's that? Nick will hammer on the alleged masks some more, which only gets him a made in China and ancient secrets of the Orient speech. I'm honestly not sure which part of this is more offensive, the reference to the Made in China cheap labor type of construction or the exoticisation type of construction. It's also mildly offensive, in show, that he expects Nick and Hank to buy it. But that's the nature of the character, to be offensive to almost everyone's sensibilities. Nick and Hank will take their sensibilities, their list, and their lack of usable evidence and leave to discuss their options.

No, now Genevieve's going to approach Max more directly in their private tent, and in case we hadn't had it implied a couple times already by body language, hers is very clearly that of a lover. Gee. I wonder where the parallels here are. I think I missed them - oh, no, that's my feet I can't see because of the anvil. Max swears he just remembers drinking with them, that's it, but he's got a photo of them and that's going to do him exactly no good if anyone ends up searching his tent. Photobooths are deadly places, kids. He's not even denying the likelihood that he did butcher the girls, just that he doesn't remember it, which gives us some nice clues before we get the technical name for the Wesen sickness he's dealing with. Also, Hedig, you're a fucker. You were a fucker before and now you're the sort of fucker I would cheerfully let Max loose on, if it wouldn't be too damaging to the poor Blutbad afterward. Genny is freaked the fuck out and declares that they are leaving and not doing this and fuck this carnival and its ringmaster with that liquor bottle there, Max is far more despairing and broody and hopeless. Well, they did hire Sam Witwer for a reason. Ahem. And then, because she's stressed and scared, she does a really really dumb thing and smashes the liquor which is apparently Jake Denzels, not Jack Daniels. Pardon me while I facedesk into my drink. Max is conditioned to woge upon loud noises and violent behavior, which is exactly what you want out of a Blutbad oh WAIT. Yeah. Genevieve tries to I think get him to scent her by stepping into his face, which doesn't work, and this has all the outward trappings of an abusive relationship between them except that she's scared for him, not of him, which is a distinct and important nuance. On the other hand, everyone's fucking scared of Hedig, Max even in full woge to such a degree that he pulls out of it and proceeds to attack Hedig in human seeming. Oh everyone. Whatever punishment Hedig was going to mete out to his very, very sick Blutbad is forestalled by the announcement that Genevieve's hurt and can't go on with that gash in her leg. Yeah, that's gonna need stitches, like as not. If it was more superficial they could incorporate it into the act, but it's not. Oh, get him someone who can? I wonder who that could POSSIBLY be. No I don't.

Other things I'm not wondering: if Sebastien's about to die. The only question is how many he'll take with him before he goes. It's night when they come back from searching the woods, which is either an indication that it was nearly nightfall when Meisner and Adalind and baby came out and took the car, that they were a good long ways away when they heard the gunshots, or it's a continuity error. It does have the effect of dark times for dark deeds, and doubles up on the canary in the coal mine analogy we've been playing on for most of a season now. There's no initial sign of Sebastien, Viktor knows not these rules of genre of which you speak unless it's the part where he's supposed to be kinda dumb. Which he is. If that moustache were a bit longer he'd have twirled it half a dozen times already. No, Sebastien is not so much either off into the sunset with his pals or dead/passed out in the backseat, though he'd doing an excellent imitation of the latter which buys him a few more seconds. One henchjager, two henchjager, and yes, he'll hat trick it. I'm a little curious when he got to be that good a shot, the first two are in front of him and easy enough to stabilize elbow for center of mass. The third one is at an angle, in the dark, while wounded. Either Sebastien was hiding some marksmanship skills from us (possible, he did work for royals who presumably enjoyed hunting and thus might have had cause to learn to shoot, but that should've been longarms not handguns, which are very different beasts), or someone underestimated the difficulty of that last shot. At any rate, here comes Viktor to cackle and gloat some more. It appears that if Sebastien had an extra clip, he was too weak to get it swapped out in time, which is all too believable, but honestly? I'd have loved to see him wing Viktor and make this really personal. Nobody but Sean, out of the Royals we've seen, has lost any of his own personal blood to their respective causes. It's about time someone did. But that's partly editorial comment and partly sad fangirl talking, and I'm not up for separating out which is which. Though I would also note that we don't see the killshot land, or a completely dead body, leaving room for who the fuck knows what. I seriously doubt we'll see him again, it's been about time for someone to die to prove that Shit's Getting Real ever since the baby was born. And, again, he's been Renard's canary ever since he showed up.

The sad fangirl would also like to believe that the transition from that to Rosalee's 'exotic cures' sign is an indication that Sebastien will be cured of death or near death by a handy miracle man, but it's probably just the most convenient transition. Nick and Hank are briefing Monroe and Rosalee on the carnival they ran into and learning what they know about Wesen carnivals. It turns out there's a long, long history of this kind of thing going on, down from Roman times (why is it always Roman times? why am I suddenly thinking of the Coins of Zakynthos?) on to the present day, PT Barnum is referenced, as always. Though it's hard to say if Monroe is pulling that out because PT Barnum is the most commonly known circus manager or because they're trying to imply that Barnum actually had Wesen working for him. And again, the Council is fine with it because it's all presented as a trick, so the Masq isn't technically being broken. Rosalee namedrops the Code of Swabia! There is continuity! I am amaze! More that there's continuity of small side references and that they come up again ever, to be fair. Anyway. To continue, Rosalee at least is less worried about the exploitation of Wesen, and to be fair again, there is a long history of people using their own differences to make money by joining the circus, see also Jim Rose's Circus Sideshow for a modern version, with such people as the Enigma, the Lizardman, and Jim Rose himself. And in that case, and with Wesen volunteers looking to make money (as seems to sort of be the case with Max and Genevieve), it's less a problem of exploitation. No, what Rosalee's worried about is the umkippen, which roughly translates to collapse or upset. Apparently if Wesen force themselves to woge repeatedly and too often, they lose higher reasoning functions and drop down to instincts. I'm not sure I'd agree with Monroe on calling it an animal side as opposed to all of us are technically animals, we just have different instincts, but that's what it amounts to. Monroe also says that once someone has succumbed to the umkippen it's pretty obvious, which tells both us and Nick and Hank that Max isn't completely gone yet. And Hank confirms with Rosalee that before the point of no return there is a pattern of violent behavior, which means it's time to check that personnel list for priors and play spot the degenerating Wesen. Once they're gone, though, Rosalee has another concern. Well, more like another plan. Instead of waiting on the police to do their policing thing, she and Monroe can go to the circus and just ask around, maybe find the suffering Wesen themselves! Monroe thinks this is a bad idea. Frankly, I'm with Monroe on the bad idea bandwagon. Though not for that reason. The second reason, though, yeah, confronting an unstable murderer about his crimes does not sound like the best plan ever. Though Rosalee doesn't necessarily have confrontation in mind, just, well, detection. Of the Scooby Doo meddling kids kind. No, they'll just go, ask around a bit, and tell Nick if they find anything. And they can't bring Nick with them because he's a Grimm. Okay, that part makes sense. The rest of it sounds more like Monroe giving in because he's worried about this unnamed Wesen too, and because Rosalee's got her hackles up about this. One wonders if any part of her hackles are related to her responsibility as community leader and Council liaison.

We will solve this problem with a pedeconference! Sort of solve it, by which I mean get more data, which is like solving it. Look, we like data. And for a change the guys will bring Renard in on a Wesen case, to which can I get an amen? Seriously, who the fuck's been handling all the coverups lately, because Nick is bad at them. At any rate, they've got four murders in the last three years matching the carnival's tour dates, anything further than this they'll need a subpoena for, and every single member of the carnival's been arrested for a wide range of crimes, misdemeanors up to what might or might not be felony. (You can have misdemeanor assault, it's just rare on TV.) Plus they stay there a wide range of durations, weeks to years, and I'm gonna take a wildassed guess and say that Hedig finds Wesen either in dire financial straits, semi-dire legal states, or both, and then makes them a showbiz offer they can't refuse. Asshole. It'd go a long way toward explaining why they feel bound to him even though none of them like him. Max has been there for all of the murders, which does not mean he was necessarily the one who committed them all. Judging by how shocked he is, I'd go with either this is the first time his control's slipped this far or the first time he's had someone who cared enough to defy Hedig and confront him about it. Hard to say which it is without more data, but it's clear that there's a pattern of Wesen, maybe singular, maybe plural, succumbing to the umkippen. Nick dislikes their time crunch. Renard dislikes not having enough evidence to hold someone for any length of time. Boys, you're both very pretty. Well, one of you's more ruggedly handsome, but you get the idea.

Rosalee continues to take the lead on this, partly because it was her idea and partly, I think, for the thematic resonance of addiction and sickness. Because this is sort of along similar lines, where the sickness is caused due to abuse and bears a lot of hallmarks of addiction, and indeed Max has been turning to addiction - alcohol - to control it. She's also right about how everyone else will know if someone's got a problem, but building trust is not just about being Wesen, Rosalee. These people are outsiders twice over, and this is one of the few places we see a hint of the no-outsiders carny attitude. Ivan the Siegbarst is, interestingly, also Russian, like the only other Siegbarst we've seen seemed to be. (Ah, deleteds, we love you well.) Though that's the fakest Russian accent I've heard in awhile, I'm not sure how much that's actor fail and how much that's intended to be the good old "I strongman talk like idiot you underestimate me." Eh. Rosalee woges in an attempt to prove they're "simpatico," really, that's the line you're going with? You both need a crash course in conning people, though they're very good at being very earnest. Oh both of you. Wogeing in front of the carnies means the gatekeeper guy comes over and hustles Rosalee off to the auditions tent! I want to see what that ad looked like. I want to know so bad what "looking for Wesen" sounds like and where such an ad gets placed, and I'm disappointed that we didn't get to see it because it would've been another insight into Wesen culture. Oh well. Rosalee will now proceed to shoot Monroe a whole bunch of "shut the hell up and go tell Nick or someone but don't ruin this it's a great chance for me" looks. I do not think it's an accident that the lighting of this audition tent makes it just as apt for interrogation scenes as for showbiz scenes. Carlo Rota, you're so villainous even when we can't see you it's damn impressive. Rosalee will now be a little slow on the uptake, semi-justified because she's got at least a couple other things occupying her mind right now and it also demonstrates that she's not used to the stage. There's a reason she's our science girl research nerd type! One full circle later, and I think the only reason he keeps telling her to keep going is because he's a controlling asshole, not because she doesn't know what he wants, and lo! She's hired! We also catch a glimpse of the overbearing but seemingly good-hearted avuncular ringmaster, which is undoubtedly one of the ways he lures Wesen in when he's not blackmailing them or whatever else he does. Look, it's Carlo Rota, he's for being evil. And right now he's for getting loomed at with red eyes by Sam Witwer. Well, that's going nowhere good fast.

Headlights traveling down a dark road! It's Meisner and Adalind on the suckiest road trip ever! Meisner chooses now to bring up what Adalind did back there with making the Verrat footsoldier turn the gun on himself, though I will go out on a limb here and suggest that that's because he's trying not to think about what he left Sebastien to. It takes Adalind a second to figure out what Meisner's talking about, or at least that's what her expression seems to say. Given that she slaps on her self-assured confident scheming/lawyer face in the next second, though, that might be less trying to figure out what he's referring to and more trying to figure out how to respond. She demurs and says she's a little rusty and she was trying to make him drop it and no one believes you, Adalind. Or at least, no one believes your nonchalance. She's either hiding that she totally meant to kill the guy to play harmless, or she's hiding that she has zero clues how her new and improved powers work. Meisner seems to decide that whichever it is, it doesn't matter anyway, and almost actually smiles as he thanks her for saving his life. And thus the ship continues on this maiden voyage. We now pause for Renard to call up with some very rapid-fire questions and plans. Seriously rapid-fire, he's ... upset isn't the word, that implies a lack of control, but he is very tense. It turns out that Tavitian set up transport for Adalind and the baby, Renard doesn't know who, which is a good thing because as anyone who's seen the previews for upcoming episodes it's Nick's MOTHER. Tavitian how the FUCK do you know Nick's mother? Do you know she's a Grimm? How do you know she's a Grimm? What the FUCK is going on here? Cue Boondock-Saints-style swearing, because that's damn well what we did. Renard apparently has enough familiarity with Tavitian to trust his judgement, though this entire conversation fragment about how if Tavitian set it up, he believes he can handle it, that's just weird. Meisner knows Tavitian, and given their conversation (Meisner and Renard's) when Meisner picked him up at the airport, he seemed at the time to know Tavitian better than Renard. Which, on the other hand, might be exactly why Renard trusts Tavitian's judgement and Meisner doesn't. Renard also doesn't know where Tavitian's contact is taking Adalind and the baby, which. That shows either a lot of trust or, more likely, a lot of desperation. Oh Renard, if only you knew. He'll send Meisner coordinates to the airstrip north of Zurich and. There's a pause and a noise before he voices his thought, which is to tell Adalind to be careful. And given that pause, there's actually less sentiment in his voice than one might expect, but the fact that he says it at all indicates he's feeling at the very least a sense of responsibility and connection to Adalind, through the child if nothing else. Meisner hangs up, tells Adalind that Sean (first name basis in one direction, at least, really?) found someone to take her and the baby out. Did you have to say it like that, you daft man? Adalind's focus isn't on the dual-meaning in that phrase, though, but rather the fact that he didn't include himself in the exit strategy. His 'no' is rather hoarse, but his replying that his fight is here [in Europe] has more certainty to it. Basically that whole conversation fragment has the air of he's not actually over what happened to this unnamed lady of his and there will be bloody vengeance for that and a host of other slights. One of those slights wearing an oversized coat and a nice shiner the last time we saw him. Ahem. Sad Adalind is sad. Methinks the SS Adalind/Meisner just hit an iceberg.

On the subject of sad women stripped of choices in their lives, however temporarily, let's have the meeting of the Fuchsbau! The greeter brings Rosalee in to meet Genevieve and tells her to get Rosalee ready for the show with, well, no real preamble and while Genevieve herself is getting ready for the show. So tactful. Genevieve isn't happy about this but confines herself to snide remarks and passive aggression, doing little in the way of helping except pointing out the costume. She does, however, hunch more than her tired but still proud lean she was doing when Rosalee entered. It's likely that she imagines she's being replaced too, given how quickly we see that Hedig runs through them. There's some pseudo-friendly banter, all in a quiet tone, but it's not as friendly as the words make it sound, and it's clear that Genevieve feels threatened by Rosalee. The one bit of genuinely well-meant advice comes after Rosalee gets a good look at and expresses her shock over the costume, at which point Genevieve plays the part of the older and wiser working girl and tells her that this is not a place she wants to be. I'm not even joking about this, that's almost the conversation they have, right up until instead of making Rosalee shrink like a shy maiden she comes in closer and starts talking about the umkippen. In the manner of, well, an apothecary who sees a problem she can at least alleviate the symptoms of! Because oh Rosalee. I bet there is some sort of calming tea or whatever that works particularly well on Wesen in her shop. (If not there's always valerian and chamomile.) Genevieve is shocked that she even knows about this, and even more adamant that Rosalee should walk away while she can, but Rosalee makes the argument that "they" need to look out for each other. Which is interesting phrasing; given the blocking this could either refer to women, Wesen, or both. I have to believe that's on purpose. Along with the fact that Genevieve's back is to the camera as Rosalee pushes for more detail on who, and how, the umkippen is affecting the carnival. If this were a different episode Genevieve would turn around all woge'd out and leap on Rosalee right now, having completely lost it to her instinctive side, but this isn't, and she doesn't. She does, however, confess that her boyfriend is not so quietly losing it to the umkippen, on account of he's Hedig's main moneymaker and as such Hedig pushes him too hard, both with forcing him to woge and with the stress of being the star of the show for an abusive show manager. All those of you who have ever worked in a stressful show with an abusive or even an only combative stage manager now are nodding your heads. Genevieve is scared for both of them, enough that when Rosalee pushes one more time she shuts down and tells Rosalee to go get dressed and leave her alone. So, that's that avenue closed then! Fortunately another one opens, and by another one I mean the rear tent flap. Rosalee conveys what she's just learned to Monroe, who provides us with yet another opportunity for Silas's comedic delivery of "Why is it always the Blutbad?" And then they are interrupted by the greeter and apparent... what, head roustabout? second in command? Who tells her to get dressed she's on in ten. No pressure!

Meanwhile back at the precinct, Hank has a problem. There are three more homicides going back ten years they can associate with the carnival, which is longer than Max has been around. Gee. I wonder why that is. Oh yeah, it's because Hedig wears out his Blutbaden and proceeds to hire new ones when he has to kill them. Or send them off to live in the forest and run around like that poor girl from s1. Or he killed kehrseite that his employees woged in front of off-hours to protect the Masquerade and keep the Council/human police from coming down on their heads, hard to say for sure. The ep remains awfully vague on how many of these deaths Hedig is directly as opposed to indirectly responsible for. The point remains that Hedig's the only one who's been with the carnival as long as the homicides have been going on, so whether that's a case of ultimate responsibility or direct involvement (as in this case) is kind of a moot point.

Rosalee's about ready to go on for the night! Max is not ready to go on for the night. He wants his girlfriend back. I will give Hedig the tiniest sliver of credit for brains in picking the most neutral way of reminding Max that he hurt Genevieve possible. That's about it, though. He goes on to emphasize his authority with a woge, and of course the ringmaster is a Lowen. Of-fucking-course he is. This does continue a theme of all male Lowen being, in general, combative assholes, more so than the other felines they've had. (Though all the felines have been varying degrees of combative. We can't argue against that, really.) Hedig will now alpha-bully his way around some more, including an oh-so-charming line about how he owns them. Dude. You really have no idea how fucking stupid of an idea it is to say that in front of a group of Wesen all but one of whom has some degree of umkippen going on. Pardon me while I facepalm. AND THEN, just as the cherry on top, he'll confess to the murders in front of a roomful of witnesses. Oh my fucking god you really are that dumb. Now that he's really pissed off the Blutbad, it's time for curtains! Hang on, I have to go find the nearest hard surface to dent with my head. Rosalee would like the greeter to know that Max is sick. The greeter would like her to know that they all are, with the kind of offhanded lack of concern you give to outsiders. Yeah, if they had more time for her to be undercover this might be a good way to gain trust; instead it's a good way to incite Max past the point of reason during a show! Awesome. Not.

We come back from the break to Monroe calling Nick to update him in the sort of frantic tones we haven't heard in quite a while, actually. Then again, they haven't gotten in quite this far over their heads in quite a while, either. So now Nick has all the data and also knows that one of his friends is at risk and oh goodie. In short. Monroe, sweetie, I know you want to protect your fiancee but since sense of smell seems to be better for smell-oriented Wesen when in woge, and since Max is really close to losing it entirely, could you maybe not hang out in an enclosed space and fill up the air with the scent of another Blutbad? No? At least he's hanging out near the back. This third repetition (drink!) of the monologue and assorted woges is largely so we get the benefit of Monroe's reactions; note that we've gone from human kehrseite to Grimm and kehrseite schlichkennen to Wesen as we progress through the scenes? It's a neat touch, and one that's been lacking in a number of recent eps. It also serves as backdrop for Nick and Hank pulling up with lights but no sirens running; that's smart but not unexpected. Alerts people in the immediate area that something's wrong but doesn't put anyone any further on alert (Max I'm looking at you) or cause a panic in the crowds. Monroe, for all his concern, does seem to be trying to swallow his tongue at the sight of Rosalee in that costume. Can't really blame him, because damn. Rosalee notices too! And is saved from having to woge by Max losing it and tearing off the curtain. Hedig, your ability to improvise and try to control the situation is admirable, but you yourself seem to have lost it as far as telling the difference between reality and fiction. Jackass. Max will now proceed to leap out like normal, fail to "die" at the gunshot and instead takes that as his cue to attack everyone onstage. Oh goodie. On the semi-upside, he's just throwing them out of his way like dominoes. On the downside, that's because his ultimate goal is Rosalee, who he sees as usurping his girlfriend and fuck that noise. At least that seems to be what the vague rationale seems to be, here. As the crowd screams and runs, that would be Monroe's cue to woge and leap to Rosalee's defense, no telling if that's Wesen/Grimm only woge or full woge, and, well, at least Hank and Nick know where they're going. Yes, thank you for stating the obvious, Hedig, now shout and run away. Seriously, does everyone get coached to gasp/shout/scream "A Grimm!" in identical tones? Because really. Rosalee has to pull Monroe off poor Max, I'm guessing this is somehow related to Blutbaden instincts and Monroe having a hard time seeing straight when a loved one is in danger and another Blutbad isn't de-wogeing in response to clearly losing the dominance battle. And now she takes on healer tones, soothing and calming and here to help. They are not, fortunately, from the FBI, so they're here to really help. (What? Whaaat.) Oh everyone. Hedig will now run into the funhouse because that'll protect him from the Grimm that, by the way, isn't actually on his tail. Not that he's registering this. Conveniently, this puts him in the distorted mirrors section for his final confrontation with the last three members of our little show. Who proceed to tell him they will not put up with his shit and by the way, they don't give a warm shit what he thinks he's done for them in the past, what he's doing now is harmful, malicious, and a betrayal of their very selves. Hello, crispy Hedig! That's one way to solve the problem and utterly confuse anyone about cause of death who hasn't already encountered a Damonfeuer.

We get to see what's left of Hedig via photograph, in Renard's office. It's hard to tell from the way Hank delicately (almost with the kind of delicacy of being unwilling to touch it) takes the file from him, but it looks like all three of them are united in the stance of well, the bad guy got his and there's nothing that we can prove to a kehrseite court of law so, fuckit, case closed. Renard seems to be the most okay with this solution, but then let's also not forget that when the Lowen combat ring he so grudgingly sanctioned went very far south he also activated a priest-assassin to kill the offending Lowen, and did so calmly and without mercy. So, um. Nice callback? And a nice reminder that whatever else Renard might be, he's not exactly a tame police captain. Or a tame Prince, for that matter.

Back to the circus to conclude the story of Max and Genevieve, who has apparently booked Max in a psychiatric hospital for Wesen-related afflictions on Rosalee's recommendation? Genevieve is much more at ease now that the stress of both performing and taking care of her boyfriend is mostly off of her, and now that there's solutions and professionals being presented. She even echoes Rosalee's sentiment that if they don't take care of each other, etc... by way of expressing gratitude and appreciation. And it turns out the Damonfeuer and the Siegbarst are in the cab of the truck with her as they drive off! With Max in a cage. That's not going to draw eyetracks or anything, at least it's likely a marked carnival truck. He also looks quite a bit calmer than he has in the rest of the episode, striking a broody mcbrooderson type pose that Sam Witwer has no doubt perfected on his other shows. One last thing to note here of interest, we've now had a representative example of a benign (if belligerent) Siegbarst, and a more stable Damonfeuer, but after three and a half examples of male Lowen we still have yet to find one who isn't a dick. Just to underscore and repeat what we said up above about cat Wesen in general and male Lowen in particular.

For our closing scene we have some light-hearted sitcom-style romance of Rosalee putting on her circus performance costume and getting all woge'd out and purry for Monroe. Who seems to like it. Awww. Rrrawr?

In two weeks! Kelly brings Adalind and the baby to Nick and Juliette for help and shelter! Because that's not going to go horribly, comically wrong. We can all be amused and delighted that it's Juliette rather than Nick who has to be held back from knocking Adalind's block off. Vienna appears to still be a wretched hive of scum and mustache-twirling villain, and two foot soldiers are dragging off some gray-haired person. I can only hope it's Danilov. Meisner is kicking ass in the woods, which I will watch with great pleasure, and someone else is getting shot in the back of a car. Is this a trend now? If that's Tavitian I'm going to be very upset. At least my upset doesn't translate to telekinesis. Hello, baby.

1 comment:

  1. I'm... quite upset. If they were going to kill Sebastien – and I said last week what a waste of a good relationship I thought that would be – I wish the job could at least have gone to a different writer. Reading the graphic novel spin-off 'The Coins of Zakynthos' I formed certain impressions about Marc Gaffen and Kyle McVey. One was that their plotting style is, “This, this and this needs to happen, and to hell with whether the characters' actions are consistent with their established personalities or make any damned sense.” Another was that they aren't all that interested in making proper use of the regular characters, Renard especially. A third, possibly related to that disinterest, was that sometimes they just don't think things through. This episode only cements those impressions.

    (And don't get me started on their attitude to female characters, that's a whole nother rant. Let's just say it came as no surprise that this ep involved Rosalee getting dressed up in a skimpy outfit.)

    I could write waaay too much about this, but let's just examine a single very important question that seems to cross absolutely nobody's mind – namely, just how much did Viktor drag out of Sebastien before heading out on his hunting trip? You'd think Meisner and Renard would need to know that, but Sebastien doesn't say anything about it, nor does Meisner ask. And unless Viktor thought he'd got absolutely everything, killing our canary makes no sense at all. Are there other double agents within the court? Is there anything more about the Resistance he can tell them? Who's he really working for, and does he know anything about a certain exploding car? All important questions which I doubt he's had the leisure to explore properly before now. But no, apparently because Sebastien doesn't have the single piece of information uppermost in Viktor's mind, his usefulness is at an end. I doubt anybody so short-sighted could have made it to such an exalted position.

    On the subject of the end to Sebastien's usefulness, why Renard's apparent disinterest? If they're looking to portray him as willing to coldly cast the man aside now that his cover's blown, fine, but even on a purely selfish level the Captain has a pressing need to find out what's going on. He doesn't even ask Meisner whether Viktor has turned up in the area, which would at least have confirmed whether Sebastien had indeed been caught. Unless we're supposed to assume a previous, unseen, phone call between them, that's something of a lapse.

    I wish we could have had Sebastien take the dead Verrat's phone – which would have been unlocked, as Grimmverse phones are whenever it's plot-convenient – and call Renard himself to tell him how much Viktor knew and to say goodbye. That would have been a conversation worth watching, and a final insight into what their relationship actually was. (We never found out about Jacques, either.)

    In all, I found it a hackneyed, frustrating and wholly unworthy end to a good character.