Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hail Hydra Grimm S4E01 Thanks For The Memories

We're going to try something slightly new with this season of Grimm, partly because frankly the writing last season made us incredibly sad, where the acting and directing and everything else did not. And partly because, and this is just the nature of the beast, Grimm is a network procedural. We started out this blog because we enjoyed chewing over the metaplot, the Royals, the world-building implications into a pulp and getting to analyze the shit out of all of them. And it's not that we don't dearly, dearly love having a scooby gang and friendships that are meaningful and the thing that gets you through the day as much if not more than the romantic relationships. Those are great things to have onscreen! They just… aren't what we started up analyzing. So we're going to aim for shorter is better, save in places where the metaplot kicks out anything like useful information. Ha ha. Ha. Ha. And we were so hoping because it was a season premiere. Maybe next ep when they're not still rushing the cleanup from last season's finale?

They start us out with a brief recap of the salient points of the finale, to whit: Adalind polyjuiced herself into Juliette and slept with Nick, Renard found out about it and tried to save the day, got shot by Hundjager feeb, Trubel ran to Monrosalee's wedding with the antidote to de-Grimming, it smashed because shockingly, a pile of Wesen can in fact hold back a single Grimm, everyone now realizes that Nick's lost his Grimm powers. How this ties in with whatever the Baron Samedi Wesen did to him, we don't know! Still! Isn't it great. Title card is Knowledge is Power, which mostly irritates me in that the original's in Latin, goddammit. We open with Renard going into surgery, the requisite expo-dump by way of updating everyone else in the car, and a great expression from Juliette about wanting to see the Hundjager's face. In point of fact Juliette is entirely the best part of this scene. Back to being audience identification character? Oh yes. Bad things about this scene: nobody knows how to lie. Guys, two of you are cops THANK YOU HANK. You should know what lies will get caught by forensics and what lies are worth telling because nobody will believe you. You know, assuming nobody on the case is Wesen. But when are they ever that lucky.

The WotW arc is as cringeworthy as ever. Blah blah information broker looking Wesen, blah blah tentacles, blah blah memory-sucking. Did some several someones in the writers' room go see Cap2 too much in theatres over the writing hiatus? Because that's kind of what it feels like. Also this guy is very obviously not the main baddie, considering he's breaking a flop sweat. And that CGI is remarkably terrible. I'm not NOT making any lobstrosity jokes. I'm also wishing and hoping that in the second half of this episode this turns out to connect to the metaplot somehow, because lord knows there's a fucklot of ways you could make information brokerage connect up to the Royals et al. Especially with a bunch of deliberately-vague science and math formulae to imply that it's Srs National Security Information, or something of the sort anyway.

Credits have changed quite substantially! Wu gets a shot of the Aswang crouched over him near the end of them. They've kept the All Shall Love Me And Despair shot for Renard, they took out the one of Juliette shooting on the range which I suppose means we're never going to get an answer on that, and replaced it with Juliette bashing people in the head when they invade her home. There's a nice juxtaposition of Adalind and Rosalee in the spice shop, the evil witch and the good witch, essentially. Monroe is the one staring into the weapons cabinet this time, not Nick, probably in response to the fact that he's become more of an equal partner and that Nick's no longer a Grimm. And since Trubel's apparently still just recurring, they're using Monroe and Hank to demonstrate that in the credits sequence. Still wish they'd get better music. Oh, and there's a red wash and a… spider something in a book? At the beginning of the credits. That's fascinating.

We open again with Renard in surgery, at this point I kind of have to assume they're doing this for the sense of urgency and because contracts say you can't just keep someone offscreen for an entire episode. Certain amount of screen time is required, therefore: surgery! Medicobabble about pericardial sac and losing blood like a sieve which is neeeever good, thanks guys. We follow that up with more of the Burkhardt-Silverton home-turned-crime-scene, Juliette being mothering, and oh look, Wu found the journals. Guys, this is why you keep this shit at the trailer, remember? Because the house has been broken into and shot up more than once? No? No. Sigh. Round-robin of exchanging information continues to build a sense of urgency and a (probably false) implication that Renard's gonna die oh noes. Well, die permanently. What follows is a spate of embarrassment squick while everyone tries to protect Trubel, Trubel looks very much like she wants to run and knows how stupid an idea that is in the middle of a bunch of cops, and we get our first look at the crime scene when it's not busy being a fight scene. Props must have had SO much fun with this. The actors pretty obviously did, too. There's nothing particularly interesting here in the writing beyond Wu wanting to know what the fuck with the weird journals, the less-than-competent detectives who don't like Nick for reasons we STILL have yet to have explained, and oh yes, Hundjager feeb was incompetent enough to be carrying around his fake ID when he got killed. So the jurisdiction friction will exist, in all likelihood, but be slightly tamer as a result of, well, gross incompetence and the fact that we know (and the FBI knows, but H&R boys don't yet) that Stuart went AWOL from work weeks ago. All else being equal, they should hang him out to dry. Nick claims the journals for his own, that's also useful since it means Wu should be nagging him about them. Trubel quite understandably wants to run from the FBI on top of the locals; whatever record she has must be easily accessible by these guys and she knows it.

Wesen of the week continues to be uninteresting despite being decently acted. It tells us that the Hydra!Wesen has to get past the layer of immediate memories but can apparently shuffle through and access whatever he wants, because magic. Oh, and it gives us the face of the guy's girlfriend who comes home unexpectedly a day early. Honey, don't run for the phone, run OUT THE DOOR and to the car and call the cops once you've got distance between yourself and the intruder. That house must have at least a back door, if not a side door on top of it. No? No, she gets to be conveniently dead now. Sigh.

I do appreciate that they put the SAC in the hands of a Latina woman. (Who is also a Wesen, as it turns out.) But she's clearly the senior agent. I approve. Everyone does have very believable responses to the trauma, here, from territorial!Juliette to protective!Nick to Hank trying to be the voice of reason and caretaking. Even down to Trubel's just-the-facts-ma'am recitation of events, flat affect to keep from showing how much it did affect her. Because that's what teen runaways do, even when they're not Grimms. She does a really good job of walking them through it, too! Wu is eavesdropping, not that it gives him anything else.

Oh look, actual data. Maybe data! Viktor is busy fixing an election against some woman or another, complete with the ubiquitous Royal paperwork. Who knows if that's a country election, a local election, the Royals Bimonthly How To Cackle Evilly Club, nobody fucking knows. I'm personally favoring country election of some sort, because Viktor's never seemed intelligent enough to realize that at the local level are small but vital decisions made. I also appreciate that the henchjager doesn't bother with a yes or no answer, just delivers the most salient data in five words. Sadly there is exactly no fucking new data about what they intend to make of these developments. Viktor continues to look like he's scrambling to backfill his mistakes, and I continue to wonder how the fuck he ever survived this long. The one interesting point is that Viktor believes Papa Renard loves Sean enough that he'll be furious if a second son dies. And it still, STILL doesn't tell us if being a bastard and a halfbreed, he can inherit or not. Which is deeply fucking annoying. Plus I wouldn't buy Viktor's interpretation of love or any positive emotion if it leapt up and bit him on the ass unless I had outside corroboration. I will buy that Papa Renard feels some sense of obligation, duty, possibly vague affection or pride in a son of his surviving against all odds for this long. Given that the entirely of his relationship both to Maman Renard and Sean himself is at best hearsay and at worst hearsay from people with a vested interest in gaslighting Sean Renard… I'm just not going to assume anything until we see him on screen, or get a good look at any actual actions. I'm not entirely sure how Viktor thinks he's going to tie Nick to the incompetent murderous Feeb, but that does show an egregious lack of either information or good goddamn sense.

Nice pan from the phone of murder device (through which Viktor has ordered many a killing) to the bloodied sculpture. Which is not, as we previously thought, a cephalopod. That's… something? Davy Jones Our Wesen of the Week pitches the murder weapon into the river, like you do, and calls his boss, like good henchthings do, to let him know he's fucked up/there's been a complication. Henchthing wants to abort! Bossman says under no circumstances do we abort, we keep going, and lacking any onscreen reason why this should be the case I'm just going to go with his boss is as much of a moron as he is. And kind of an asshole for hanging his henchsquid out to dry. Oh, well, if there are bodies on the ground, sure, he'll come up and deal with it, but he's still going to make threats and bluster a lot. I believe this falls under the category of competent operatives do not behave this way.

Over at the cyclical crime scene that is Nick's house (really, have no cops started wondering why they keep getting called to assaults and violent incidents there? Oleg Stark, Akira Kimura, the incident with Juliette and the Captain, and now this? In the space of a year plus? I'd wonder.) the agent in charge turns out to be a Steinadler, as revealed by the fact that she's clearly upset at a book that shows Wesen beheadings. At least I think she's a Steinadler. Honestly, all the raptor bird Wesen are starting to look the same to me. Her subordinate comes in being moderately impressed with Trubel's chops, pun entirely intended, but otherwise believing her story. It helps that it's mostly the truth. And what's that book the AIC Steinadler is holding? Oh, nothing. It's a slightly believable oh nothing.

After the break Juliette gets to stand outside and almost blend into the side of her house as people in cop jackets go around cleaning up the crime scene tape. They do that? Maybe for a cop's house, okay, but they still haven't cleaned up the blood off the floor, or done anything about the bullet holes, which is definitely what she's looking at. See also: how much violence has invaded her life and her home in the last year plus. Poor kiddo. Her expression is very much trying to make this be oh sigh not again, even if she's not quite up to it. We save the bed for last, in its full dishevelment, and the tell-tale nightie. And then a knock on the door before she can break down any further, followed by a flinging into the trash can. Yep, that's about right. Who's at the door? It's Monrosalee! Did anyone really think they were going to go on their honeymoon? Yeah, I didn't think so. Friends to the rescue, though. It helps.

Back to the precinct and the interrogation of Trubel, which goes about as well as you'd expect considering, again, she's telling the truth if not the whole truth. She is calmer than one would expect people to be after the head choppery, but that's about it. They've got nothing beyond the self-defense case, which again, is the truth. Outside Nick is waiting impatiently, nervously, and overcaffeinatedly, which Hank points out with his usual dry humor. What Hank is failing to take into account, though, is that the rest of the precinct will probably rationalize this as the Captain was shot in Nick's home and the shooter was beheaded by his guest, which, really, would make anyone who didn't deal with that shit on a regular basis nervous. The only reason it looks weird on Nick is because Nick does regularly shoot and behead people. Which only Hank knows. But still, ease up on the coffee, Nick. Hank's also found out that Adalind's flown back to the Royals under the impression that they have baby Diana. Ooops. The FBI come out before they can contemplate their oops any further and say that they believe Trubel's story and they're not going to charge her, um, guys? Isn't that up to the DA? No, never mind, Agent Steinadler brought the lampshades for how well Trubel's handling it, while Nick makes her sound like a misbehaving puppy. Speaking of misbehaving, how about that FBI agent who went off the reservation? Yeah, nobody knows anything. Nobody who's not a Grimm or his friend knows anything. I do wonder if she was woging at him and we weren't supposed to see it that time, but the writers can't seem to decide if we're in close third POV or omniscient with any given scene, so. That wrapped up, Hank's going to go check on the Captain and the other two will head home.

Off in a coffee shop, the mind flayer is downloading data of an unidentified but corporate nature using the login and password he stole. You know, wouldn't it just be easier to bug the guy's house rather than leave corpses on the ground? I guess not. He still looks like he's coming unglued, maybe memory overload? And I'd almost swear he's working on a ruggedized laptop, so it's not as though they don't have the money for bugs. Normal bugs, not Wesen bugs. The corporation suspects something! Wait... wait, no, the corporation suspects nothing. Zoidberg The operative Wesen is pleased. This is so inefficient. I just want to register that complaint some more.

At the hospital we learn that the Captain has been in surgery for over three hours, and Wu looks like he's had better days. All of them, almost. I do appreciate that Hank is trying to protect Nick's privacy and Wu's mind at the same time, but Hank, you are a shitty liar when you don't want to be lying. I'd go so far as to say the only reason Wu's buying it is because he's stressed and exhausted. Hank, possibly aware of what a crappy job he's doing as a liar and a friend, starts to tell him the truth but then they are interrupted by the doctor with news of blood loss, potential impending renal failure, and contact the next of kin. Does he even have a next of kin listed on his paperwork? If so, it probably is his mother. Insert standard expression of annoyance at use of overly typical trope to prevent people from knowing shit here, and lack of data provided to mitigate that. GRUMP. We conclude with a panover of the Captain's unconscious face and I am not telling you if or how much I may have squeed over the serenity of his dying of blood loss and bullets to the vital organs. That would be wrong.

More rehashing of what everyone knows in order to catch up Monrosalee on what Trubel told them, more expressions of if I just could get my hands on Adalind. Monroe you're adorable when you're attempting to be verbally violently protective. Nick and Trubel make it home and we all go over it again, now with an extra dose of second-guessing and self-recrimination from Trubel. And then some hilarious yelping from Rosalee over the Nick slept with Adalind revelation, which I'm pretty sure Juliette is spitting out not only because it's relevant information to whatever she did but also because she's pissed and would like sympathy. As well she might! .... No, everyone's reactions are still hilarious. Particularly Bree Turner getting her mouth around whatever bastardised German that was, dear lord. Yes, Entwining Twin curse sounds bad. Mostly anything that has to do with identity swapping, twinning, or doppelgangers sounds bad. To the spice shop! To the trailer? Juliette pushes for to bed, which is not the worst idea in the world, rested heads think clearer. And when everyone's headed off to theirs, they'll have the quiet discussion of whether Nick is going to bed or to couch. Juliette is opting for bed, it seems like, in a bid to reclaim her damn life, although she is very disappoint in Nick for not being able to tell it wasn't her. I kind of am too, but given that we saw the context, it was a pretty good fake job for the five minutes of talking. Leaving out the entire discussion of whether or not it's possible to tell people apart from their bedroom skills.

Back to the feebs! They have found Stuart's car, suitcase/go-bag, and his connection to GQR industries aka the Royal Families, which I am continuing to read as GQ Renard. Shush. That's it, that's all they've got. Back over to Trubel and her guilt and research. Back over to Nick! and his inability to sleep with his guilt and let's rehash some more with flashbacks. Just in case no one got it from the first, second, and third times we were told Nick slept with Adalind disguised as Juliette. Thankfully we're spared more flashback scenes by him taking his guilty ass downstairs and cleaning up the bloodstains. You know, I understand that blood stains into wood pretty a lot, but why are you letting it coagulate in the first place? Ew. Juliette joins him after a bit, because she's still the stubbornest and probably couldn't sleep either, and now Nick will speculate that maybe this is better, they can have a normal life. I actually would have appreciated more of this and less of the flashbacks to both imply guilt and not rehash the end of last season for the umpteenth time. Discussing consequences and where we go from here works just as well and gives a better impression that this show is going anywhere.

Right now this show is going back to the feebs again, and going through the contents of Stuart's go bag. Requisite money and passports are damning but not surprising. Slowly, they connect the dots. Yes, in fact, he was working for someone with a lot of money. You know the good part about that? Bank records! It's really hard to keep all of that a secret when you probably have access to all his assorted identities.

Next morning Nick's trying to get back to something like normal, and so is Juliette, and this is what we're here for! Discussion of how Nick is a cop still now that he's lost the thing that makes him special. Well, he has years and years of having done it before and being really good at it, which, yes. He made detective really young. Trubel's guilt keeps her upstairs until Nick leaves for his case, because she still wants to go visit the trailer. On a bike? Isn't it all the way out in the woods? Oh never mind, youthful enthusiasm and guilt will keep her going. Plus Juliette will lampshade for her that she has responsibilities now, like it or not, she's the only Grimm in town and she's connected to all of these people. It's the second one that Trubel should really be chafing at, but at any rate: she does need to be careful, for their sake if not hers.

Crime scene gives us only new information in that oh look, I was right, defense contractor. Wu is suspicious of Slocum as the perp, which is, yeah, the usual case here. Except those weird wounds on the back of his head, which reaaaally aren't going to look like defensive wounds once they get around to them. Neighbor will even provide incorrect witness testimony thinking that Slocum's the one who took off with the Porsche! I will now be resigned to this only happening because it's an ep about memory and knowledge. Over at the hospital we have some mock-neuroscience about memory, there's a wide variety of types of memory, from body memory to emotional memory to narrative memory, the order things go in. Sigh, everyone. So much sigh. What Zoidberg and his boss were after was factual/narrative memory, though arguably with the passphrases and whatnot that qualifies as body memory as well. Everyone who's ever memorized a password or a phone number knows how this goes. Why yes, those are some impressively disgusting wounds.

Off to the trailer, yadda yadda procedural bog standard by now. I appreciate that they let Nick rattle off the litany of actual decent precautions he took when he relocated the trailer to this anonymous-as-it-gets patch of woods. GOOD. Is it in Juliette's name, Nick? Because that's the second place anyone with any sense would check. Oh never mind, the bad guys never have any sense. Trubel, honey, leaping out at cops with a sword is a really bad idea, there are curtains on the fucking trailer. God this is lazy writing. She's decided to learn everything. All of the data. Two hour bike ride suggests it's a good… oh, anywhere from 10 to 30+ miles outside town, depending on hills and conditioning. Embarrassment squick as Trubel trips over Nick not being a Grimm anymore, activate until Nick defuses that toward can you help us? See, that's how you're a decent cop, Nick, you used to be a good profiler and know how to push people's buttons, and Trubel's just getting used to the idea that people relying on her is something she'd like to have. Even without Grimmstincts, Nick can look through books for a Wesen that matches the description of wounds and injuries! And then they can use Trubel to confirm it.

Henchsquid has not left the cafe he was internetting at last night. Henchsquid. You suck and should learn to change your location. His boss will now issue threats, which are lousy threats if henchsquid, oh, yes! Actually grows a brain in amongst all those floating memories that aren't his and points out that you can't kill him when all the knowledge is locked up. I still don't see the fucking point to this entire arc aside from "it's a procedural we must proceed." Please prove me wrong and tie it into the main arc next ep, you guys. Blah blah have some proof for the client, oh yay, another player in this whole thing, not that I'm surprised but this is really unnecessary levels of complication unless the client turns out to be Viktor. (I guess it might? Vickers? Is that Viktor's idea of an alias? If it is I will laugh and laugh my ass off.) Seriously, henchsquid, the fuck have you not dumped the car already? It's a fucking Porsche. The first thing you should've done was to dump the car. As the unis walking up to him will now prove! I will grant him being a decent liar on the spur of the moment, and at least they'd have to get a warrant for the computer, but seriously, dude. The requisite look we found it scene in the trailer: Gedachtnis Esser, which translates word-for-word to memory eater, standard memory dump, there's no discussion of whether this Wesen has to do this in order to survive or if they're just evil fuckers or what. Who knows! Not us, and not the Grimm who wrote that entry, which isn't much of a surprise. Our particular henchsquid looks like he's in a bad spot, but he doesn't look like he dislikes his work, either. Well, now they have a suspect, so it's time for Trubel to provide Wesen identification. I am yearning for the Wesen-or-not lineup for her, you guys, can we get that scene for shits and giggles?

No. What we can get is a mysterious blonde, an expensive handbag and boots, knee-length skirt, and leather jacket walking into Renard's hospital room in the ICU. Well, towards. And then he starts coding out while she watches. That does look something like dismay or concern, though whether she wants him to live or die is an open question at this point. Also, if that's Maman Renard they cast her way too young. So either this is a fucked up casting job (unusual for this show), there's youthening magic afoot, or that's not his mother. Sister? Wife? Is this the explanation for the fucking wedding ring that they've been swearing off of for three seasons now because they had to retcon something? I am deeply suspicious, this makes, what, three blondes wandering into Renard's life, two of whom have fucked it up beyond all recognition? Yeaaaah.

Henchsquid proceeds to lie his ass off in interrogation, and he's not doing a bad job except he's way too flat affected. Insufficient shock and horror, but he's obviously using all the memories to exonerate himself by his statement, and without any forensic evidence tying him to the case, yeah, that's going to be a hard one to shake. He is doing a better job as he goes through the motions of oh look I'm innocent look how helpful I'm being I realize I must be a suspect can I talk to my friend blah-de-blah. Not that Hank and Nick are buying it entirely. Yeah, they really wanted to write in the "let's give him some Trubel" line, didn't they. Fortunately Russell Hornsby can sell that kind of cheese. They let henchsquid go, keep the Porsche, and otherwise visibly do everything by the book. We will now pause for a brief, renewed moment of DUDE WE WERE THERE, which is still not going away, apparently. Oops. And then Trubel with her mirrored shades on (or maybe those are Nick's) and oversized hat and coat will proceed to "try and rob" him. Why yes. Yes it is him. I do wonder if she's going to end up lying, if she gets brought in on these a lot, just because she wants to be of use. That'd be an interesting point of conflict. For now, though, not so much, she's just going to go tail henchsquid. As far as technical civilians go for options, that's a pretty good one; she's good at being unobserved and changing her appearance, as she'd have to be with her past.

And in the hospital room, they call Renard's death at 1:34 pm. Our mysterious blonde of the moment looks… not, actually, as disappointed, horrified, what-have-you as we might expect from that. Instead I get more of a sense of, well, that happened. Guess I better get my shitkickers on now. Is there going to be necromancy involved? Because that never ends well for anyone. And despite all the trolling on Twitter last night, I'm not going to believe they're done kicking Renard around for whumpage until they confirm it next episode. If we're right about that (and honestly in some ways it would be a relief to be wrong; while he's our favorite character and we've never made any bones about that, they've been criminally mis/underusing him for awhile and killing him off is not unreasonable at this point), this will actually only irritate me. Deeply. Because then they're obviously trying to fuck with the trope that if someone calls a time of death on a show, that person's really truly dead, only they managed to do it in such a way that it wasn't believable.

Promos! For the season, not next ep. Adalind gets tossed into a dungeon. Nick's in a field in his squad car with Hank. Trubel looks troubled. Mysterious blonde is a hexenbiest and doing some polyjuicing of her own, but indicates that she's against Adalind. Whether that means she's on their side is an open question. Juliette's not sure, there's no context, but I'm guessing the not sure is on re-Grimming Nick, that's what they're pointing toward. Whatever happens to Nick next involves not knowing where he is, oh goodie, is he going to forget everything and everyone he ever knew now? Because seriously you guys find a different way to play that out, it's old. And annoying. Renard is Sir Not Appearing In These Promos. I still can't decide if they really killed him off or if they're deliberately fucking with us. I guess if they really killed him off, we'll have some blogging decisions to make over the next few eps!

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