Saturday, November 1, 2014

Octopus's Garden Grimm S4E02 Octopus Head

Previously, on Grimm! Everyone was stupid. And then everyone was stupider. Except for Renard, who can't qualify as stupid, he was dead at the time. Seriously, that's basically what this boils down to: stupid, or insufficient data to be smart. Also these are incredibly long previouslies, who the fuck edited them and why are you doing such an awful job. Mind you it's only this awful because there was so little data in the premiere, thereby making this basically a one and a bit minute's worth of recap of the only salient points therein.

Oh look it's a quote about memory to start us off. I will continue to give that such looks, both for the more literary reference (Alexander Smith, poet of the Spenserian school) and for the general attitude of LOOK CAP2 DID IT SO WILL WE. Guys, I really am judging you if this is where you're getting your ideas from. Badly. Apparently Renard's mother is capable of freezing time with her eyes and not actually woging while she does it. I'll grant that saves on FX. I'll also note that that makes her fucking terrifyingly powerful. Oh, the reason we're saving on FX is for the really atrociously bad CGI snake. One head black going into Renard's heart, one head red attached to hers (K: Positive to positive, negative to ground!), okay, I will grant that this is a pretty substantial indication that Renard has someone solidly in his corner. I'm sure she has her own motivations here, but this is the first person who's sacrificed of themselves to keep Renard alive let alone well-off in any kind of emotional or physical sense, beyond the confines of being cops in the line of duty together. So… yay for that? I already assume she's going to end up dead, evil, or both. But alright, the snake turns into dust/ash, she goes pale and collapses like you do when you used a… snake life-force transfuser to resuscitate your son. I wonder if that works on anyone you're not blood-related to. I'm betting the answer is no. The doctors tend to the abruptly-appearing still living person on their floor, Renard woges when he comes back to life, we'll leave them flailing around and visit the evil castle of evil.

Where the preeminent henchthing (is he getting a name ever guys? he hasn't died yet! I'm impressed! wait, Sebastien died after he got a name, we should name this one immediately) is filling Viktor in on the money trail: courier in Lisbon, cash payments, no trace to them. I wouldn't take his word for it either. In fact you're all incompetent please just stay in your model for the next ever and stop bothering people. Oh but wait a phone call! Adalind's not waiting to be summoned back to Vienna, she's at the gate demanding her baby. Really, Viktor, if you were half as competent at evilling as your goatee would suggest you could have foreseen this. Cue wailing and nearly crying and making us feel sympathy for Adalind who swears she only did what she had to do. In those words. A lot of repetitions of it. Yeah, I don't imagine having sex with a Grimm was all that fun for her, but let's not forget that she's had a lot of sex with people at her own instigation in … oh why am I fucking bothering. It's not like the show's going to point out that Adalind's a serial rapist, they're just going to let her keep blaming the men who control her. Which is the apparent purpose of this scene. I mean, I have some sympathy for her, but I don't for a second forget that she has raped three men on this show and that's just the ones we know about. In conclusion it's more nuanced than they're bothering to portray. Aaand I'm done ranting, because if you haven't been reading our blog for the last ever the archive is right fucking there, and the writing hasn't improved any. Nor have the brains. Seriously, that's not telegraphing, that's outright saying hi I'm going to throw you in a dungeon now.

Octoman will be better, right? Well, we can watch Trubel fail to shadow him steathily, which is fair, all her experience is with being the hunted rather than the hunter. I'm still gonna facepalm. I'm also going to give Russell Hornsby ridiculous props for that little headtilt as Hank suggests Nick try to stop blaming himself, because that is continuity and shared kinship of having… well, they'd probably call it having sex with Adalind, because Men Can't Be Raped, but we all know what they mean. And Hank's had a couple years to recover from that. Trubel continues to be a good detective/Grimm-in-training and update them, and we know how long that's gonna last: not.

Adalind left her brain on the plane to Vienna? Or possibly in that bundle of blankets. They're continuing to push us toward blaming Viktor for everything rather than acknowledge that Adalind had choices anywhere in here. I'm continuing to froth at the mouth about fucking agency fucking give your female characters some and let them be fuckups you assholes. No, I give up. There are no brains here, there is only dungeon and the need for steel wool while Viktor tries to ask her how the sex was. EW. EW EW EW. And then he'll drop the by the way Sean Renard might be dead any minute on her head just to keep her off-balance while he shoves her in the dungeon. Okay, seriously, I do see what the writers are going for? But all it does is create UTTER STUPIDITY on the part of everyone in this scene. And cackling, moustache-twirling villainy. And I'm bored now. I mean, everyone's doing what they can with what they're given, but the huff and puff line is on par with the fucking awful Little Miss Muffet line from The Covenant. Seriously. That is how far your dialogue is sinking, people. Do better. At least Claire Coffee still screams and froths convincingly. I am intrigued by the comment that the cell was built for Hexenbiests, which says some potentially interesting things about Sean's mother. And father. And maybe Eric Renard's mother. Who the fuck knows, but the older generation definitely had a hand in it.

Roll credits, while we sigh and set the snark engines even higher, because it's going to be the only way to get through the shoddy writing. A reminder: this says nothing about the acting and directing, which is anywhere from competent to excellent, by and large. It's just… they don't have a fucking thing to work with, and in at least some cases I think they're being directed into an oversell, and it gives us hives. Trubel's failure to stalk people also gives me hives, but at least that's predictable embarrassment squick by now and given time, I have some confidence in her learning curve. The Mr. Anderson is just giving me Matrix flashbacks now. There's not a cat on this hotel floor, is there? Trubel, you don't count. We're back to hotel room numbers make great ep number drops, gratuitous non-bleeding shirtlessness, and oh yeah, he's going to change his appearance. At least someone's not fucking stupid. Shame it's the one-off. There's still a puddle of blood on the floor where some dude is calling to find Henry, yadda yadda, what a tragedy, seriously, is this going to have payoff? Or do we just get a spy ring running around the West Coast poking at defense contractors with only one of them in jail? I'm assuming the latter, because what the fuck is continuity. This is why we call out bad writing, guys, this would make a wonderful addition to the influence of the Royals, out of which we've only seen one political machination in Japan (Mia), a shipping company (GQR, from Eric), and one allegedly influenced election from Viktor. And yet, we have no faith that this is going to happen. Trubel updates the people who actually give a shit about the law, yes, really, no evidence means no evidence and stop lopping off people's heads, it sets a bad precedent, kid. The lunch money exchange is, at least, moderately humorous. I will sign up for all the Nick and Hank and Juliette make awkward parents jokes.

Monrosalee have finally changed out of their wedding finery and are looking through the infinity of books. Yay! None of that looks like anything that's a gun on the mantel for later. Boo. Especially considering the work props had to put in. I like that we slowly get their hands revealed as they start working together on brainstorming how to figure this shit out, showing the wedding rings about the same time as we see them clicking past the frustration and worry and fear. I will be over here wincing at how they're better at detective work than Nick at this point, though granted there's also some emotional distance from it. Yes! Let's find out where the potion was made, if nothing else that might give Rosalee the ability to play sympathetic magic potion games with it, yes? Mind you finding out where Renard reverse-engineered the potion and/or made the antidote isn't going to be the helpfulest because, again: Zauberbiest. Enjoy that clusterfuck, you guys.

Trubel is eating a sandwich outside the door of Octoface's hotel room. Trubel, honey, that is not how you eat while on stakeout. That is also not how you shadow someone, although admittedly it's not like she can hear what's going on in the room otherwise. Still. She's so going to get made, this is so going to bite her, we can see it happening. Another phone call to another person in this defense company who we are also probably never going to see again, and it's the head injury story again. Imminent crisis is usually a good way to get under people's guard, and in this case it's a good way to get into the guy's house. Although if the address was in his head already, why did he write it down at all? So Our Heroes would have something to look at of course. Trubel, sensing imminent door to the face if she remains there, books it down the hall. Leaving her sandwich behind. Oh boy. Deprived of his car, Squidman has to hoof it to the address. Trubel you are the least inconspicuous shadow ever. Can't you at least pretend to be talking on your phone or something?

We interrupt this critique of her espionage skills for the Captain to wake up and gasp out "Mother?" at the woman who revived him and is now petting his face. Well that's not creepy at all.

Back at the precinct "Lawrence Anderson"'s cover is slowly falling apart due to a lack of sufficient background paperwork. No DMV record, an address and employment record that connects him to the Satellite Defense technologies thing, therefore to the victim Slocum, etc. Trubel continues to be obvious. Nick puts the SatDef employee on speaker so that Hank and we can hear what's going on, turns out Lawrence Anderson also suffered a head injury a couple weeks ago. And yet he's up and walking around now, gee, I wonder how that happened. Oh dear, Mr. Anderson had MilInt clearance. Wespionage! Yes, I went there. This tracking of the Red Octopus will have to wait till after the Steinadler Chavez pulls Nick out of there. Hank will liaise with Trubel in the meantime, attempting to put the brakes on her sticking her neck further and further out there. If nothing else, she can at least check in at regular intervals. Fifteen minutes is a good amount of time to set up a quick alarm if she goes dark.

This part is at least sort of a nice nod to the assorted times Nick's hauled a Wesen into interrogation for the express purpose of getting them to woge! Except now Chavez would like to know what it is Nick knows, both about the shooting and his house turning into a crime scene (again) (I would so have moved by now) and, under that, about Wesen in general. Well, he might work with her as a Grimm as well as as a cop, except… he's not a Grimm right now. Line busy. Try back later. Complete with woging out and giving herself plenty of time to prepare for what she might see when she looks at him! Nick suggests conspiracy, cough Royals cough, you fail your subtlety check, Nick. Fine, what about Trubel? ...what about her? Yeah, this is just going for a lot of stonewalling and nowhere useful, and while I assume eventually this will have some payoff, it would be awfully helpful if Nick had Grimm powers right now. Alas. His innocence, on the other hand, is inarguable as a result! The woge camerawork is very nice, I will admit.

While all this is going on Wu is putting together the pieces about the "criminology student" and the suspect from the footage from the stolen truck of the dead guys, remember that? Yeah, they might want to tell Wu, sooner rather than later. Not that they will.

Back at the castle of excessively hammy villainy we are apparently going on old stand-bys and feeding Adalind slops. She is the kind of scornful and defiant you get when you've only been a prisoner for a couple of hours. Viktor snarks and leers and snarks some more, and apparently is keeping her for her information on the Resistance? That actually shows kind of a want of imagination. I'd argue for that being just what he tells his henchman, except Viktor's never shown any kind of awareness of his henchman as a person. Then again, apart from Sean, none of the Renards really have.

Hank is still trying to track down the international and defense related espionage angle, but isn't getting anywhere. Wu would like to interrupt Hank for answers, starting with Teresa Rubel and her alleged criminology degree. That's not going to happen, Hank will now interrupt him to plead investigation and run away. Very blatantly, as soon as he sees Nick come in the room. At least he knows he's been obvious. So first they get to quietly freak out about Wu is going to figure it out, never mind that the worst risk isn't that he figures it out but that he figures out something else and runs with that, and they can't provide evidence to the contrary. And then Nick gets to freak out about Trubel is running around amateur detecting in the middle of an international espionage case. Oh you guys. Best worried foster parents.

Chavez is going to make sure that she knows who the Grimm is. We're going to have a moment over no, seriously, who the fuck is she working for? All of the major players so far know Nick's a Grimm. Or was a Grimm. And have worked with him extensively in the past! Or against, but the point is, the Royals (Eric Renard and Viktor at least), the Wesen Council (the hitpanther, deGroot) (... having seen Guardians of the Galaxy that's suddenly a lot funnier), a vast majority of Wesen in Portland (duh, and also Bud and the Beavers), the Lauffeuer (Ian Rosalee's friend), the Verrat (Edgar Waltz if he reported back, the voice on the phone for the ear conversation), even Wesen police in other states (the Balam), take your fucking pick they all KNOW. So what the fuck. Either this is the left hand and right hand of some agency aren't talking to each other (plausible), the writing is fucking sloppy again (also plausible) or we have yet another fucking player in the game, in which case I'm glad that Kitty stopped updating the murder dot-plots a long time ago because no, we fucking need a fucking Jarvis. Or a 3D rendering, and neither of us are architecture majors.

Juliette is going to the spice shop! Oh my god that is an adorable sign, even if they aren't on their honeymoon. Monroe continues to be the most adorable of awkwards, and Rosalee admits no, they haven't found anything, but they're still looking. What follows is the most awkward, uncomfortable, depressing, emotionally stressful conversation about how maybe they shouldn't cure Nick of not being a Grimm, mostly because she is tired of this shit interfering in their lives and she isn't yet ready to deal with Grimming being a part of her normal life. I do appreciate, however this looked on paper, that no one involved is trying to make it be okay, because it really sounds like Juliette is trying to dictate Nick's ... innate self? Body? Whichever. But no one is entirely okay with that, but no one is prepared to say, in the absence of input from Nick, that he didn't tell her he's thinking about quitting, and everyone is sympathetic towards Juliette and what she's been through. And Juliette is trying not to be That Person, and quick to reassure both of them that this won't have anything to do with their friendship. It's performances like this that keep us coming back, you guys. Poor everyone. Monroe opts to keep looking anyway, which is probably good. They, of all people, are some of the best at sitting on information when it involves quality of life or life choices rather than immediate life or death issues.

Renard continues to recover in his hospital room, with that annoyed face over what, no, why the fuck should a few bullets and being declared legally dead slow him down. I sympathize. He's also having a hard time believing she's here. Fuck, I'm having a hard time believing it, because what the everloving fuck she looks like his slightly older sister. Or his wife. Not his mother. Please, please let the later snark about this have dividends, because otherwise the only thing I can think of is both atrocious casting and directing. Apparently all Hexenbiests are blonde, ambitious, and incapable of playing on anything but their sex drives until they reach the age of full Cronehood or unless they're being cast in a remarkably racist role. I… yeah, I got nothin. Seriously that is creepy stoppit you guys. I'm at least impressed by how young Renard manages to look next to her, which is at least half the acting job. Snark about childbirth ensues, that's at least a little bit cute. The dialogue throughout is pretty fucking awful, Maman Renard would like to know who did this so she can go murder them, Sean would like her to get off the subject of the Family. Not that I entirely blame him. Also, what the fuck, lady, as far as anyone knows you've been in hiding for the last 30? ish? years so that the Royals don't kill you, you know the fucking answer is no. Bad dialogue is bad and should be taken out back and shot. Oh, and Renard needs to go do that thing. You know, the thing where he saves Nick's Grimm ass for the umpteenth fucking time. No, I'm with your mother, Renard, lie back and get better, you had bullets through your vitals. Well, now it's the hour of playing catchup in short order from last season again, at least that one's going to mostly take place off-camera and be presumably horribly emotional. Because ow. And it's a faster catchup than last episode, which I'm still grumpy about.

Back in the suburban neighborhood of bland in which Trubel sticks out like many hands worth of sore thumbs, Nick is trying to convince her that now is not the time for amateur hour. He does at least manage to get a location out of her (which is accurate to the neighborhood as seen on streetview!), and then she goes off to pick up the trail again, Trubel, honey, you are not a spy, you are not even a hunter, leave this to the experts. Such as they are. No, she's going to go follow him up to the house where the Squidee is playing Anderson some more and giving the head injury story again. And then sending the new victim out for a glass of water so he can track down, sneak behind Trubel, and hit her over the head with a log. Or that's the rough sequence of what happens, with a short break to incapacitate his next victim. After the break Hank and Nick drive up, see no sign of Trubel, and inexplicably upon not getting her on the phone decide to leave the area. Both of them. No, apparently taking five minutes to scan the area and/or leaving one of them behind to assist while the other one went back to check the hotel, or even sending a uniform to check the hotel, was too much of a stretch. Ugh. Just... ugh.

Back in the dungeon which is not at all like the hotels to which Adalind would like to become accustomed, she has rats. Big ones. Not quite rodents of unusual size, but they're working on it. I think Viktor specially imported those.  This, understandably, sends her into an "I just want my baby" mantra and a few camera angles of descending into madness. But wait! What's that scratching sound over there? No, not more rats, that's a peephole swinging open. Scraping open. Something. There's a cackling person on the other side of it. Robert Carlyle, is that you giggling from the Once Upon a Time set? Given that "my name is for me to know and you to find out" is a very Rumplestiltskinish thing to say. Grimm already did that story, though. Maybe it's Mark Hamill again. Adalind is the least impressed.

Sure, let's have some incredibly creepy spy!squid!Wesen moments. He's got a good point here about how what the fuck is a girl like her doing following a guy like him. That might be the only good point made in this entire subplot. Especially since for the love of god, Montressor, no, USE your creepy Grimm deathstare! In a mob it just makes the mob worse, with one guy he might haul back enough to get kicked in the face. No? No. She's established as too terrified to be a threat so he'll go poke the other guy's brains out with his face tentacles while the hotel manager flails about at the cops and the cops flail about at a cursory search. For this, you left Trubel on her own with a known to be dangerous spy? Seriously you guys are not being helpful at ALL right now, nor are you being very good cops. It's apparently time for the bad techno music of Trubel's asskicking, which she will deliver because squidman was dumb enough not to duct tape her legs. No. I have no explanation for this. I just need a new desk again. The one sort of benefit here is that she's still their best stunt fighter and it makes a cool scene, but fighting without your arms, even as a baby Grimm, does tend to make you lose. In this case lose consciousness again, that's three concussions in a few days, I don't know about you but I'm wincing for her brain cells. At least it provides an excuse for her not to be conscious at the time of brain-sucking, and now we have a montage that serves as a reminder of Trubel's rather traumatic life just going off what we've seen of her onscreen thus far, that's without going into less recent memories. He will now proceed to relive these while the cops finally get there and secure the fucking scene, and confirm at some greater length than they really need to that yes, in fact, both of tentacle man's latest victims still know who they are. They get to deal with horrible head injuries! But, y'know, aside from that they're still themselves. We'll call that a win, though a win by sheer fucking luck. I have no idea how they're explaining this shit in court. At least we get the detectives being adorable foster parents some more.

Back at police headquarters they finally get an actual name to the Octospy, which gives us nothing except that he was a well established and bad spy, seriously, how bad do you have to be as a spy to have an international record that size? With your picture and details attached. Natasha Romanoff is ashamed to share a profession with you, dude. A brief and purposeless reprise of the assault by Grimmemories later, we're over in the hotel room with Nick and Hank visiting the Captain! Which suddenly gives me all the mental images of a steady stream of police visitors stopping in to say hi and glad you're alive. I hope that happened. Pleasantries are exchanged, everyone is happy to see he's alive, he's behaving himself and staying in the fucking bed for once. Though not with the relaxing, he asks if Nick got the potion and, no. Not so much. Renard is not the happiest about this, but also blaming himself, oh, sweetie, no. We're laying this on the shoulders of no one in this room. Everyone can agree that they're glad the Captain is alive, at least, including the mysterious blonde! For a second there Renard has the most hilarious oh god I can't believe I have to do this why did you stick around face. Yes, in fact, he will because he is the ONLY one in this show who freely shares information, despite having the MOST reasons to be paranoid about it, but he will introduce her as his mother. Whose name is apparently Elizabeth Lascelles. Scelles, for the record, can be roughly translated as sealed. Elizabeth for, what, the English queen(s)? I'd've gone with Eleanor or Catherine, or maybe Mary, but I have a thing. And introducing this woman who looks to be about his age as his mother gets exactly the looks you'd expect. Apparently we're going to explain this with "she's had a little work done", with exactly the yes-I-know-this-is-absurd face you'd expect, and right in front of her, which is rude, but really what else is he supposed to do. You know what my biggest question in this scene is, actually? What the hell is that necklace?

Next morning we have some brief domestic tranquility of the checking on Trubel with her other foster parent, shut up, we're going to get all the mileage out of this we can because humor value. She will now steal all the bacon and take off on Juliette's bike so they can have some alone time to discuss Trubel's rash behavior and whether or not it matches Nick's. (Hint: he went into being a cop before he ever knew he was a Grimm. The answer is yes.) The dialogue here is written so clumsily I can't tell what it's meant to convey; the acting is aimed toward trying to be comforting toward and accepting of each other. Oh honeys. But that's not the intended focus of this scene; we have Wu watching the house so he can go talk about Trubel behind Nick's back. This is going exactly nowhere good. Yes, do tell Wu. Please. For the love of god. No, no, there will be no telling this time because of this… immense pain in his head? I'll even admit that my first thought was some kind of weird sympathetic Grimm-shared pain from octoman, but no, this is Adalind's spell fucking with them both. And this, children, is why you don't fuck around with mysterious zaubertranks when you don't know the side effects! I can't actually tell if this is shared vision or switched bodies. Or to lead to switched bodies eventually. Well, this should be hilarious and end extremely well for everyone involved! Juliette meanwhile has a the fuck have you been not telling me expression for the surveillance photo of Trubel. Who will now be Grimmnapped into the back of a van shotgunned by Chavez. No seriously who the fuck is she working for. Inquiring minds.

Next week… that does not look like answers. That looks like maybe Adalind has Grimm powers now, by the voiceover, certainly there's ongoing repercussions to the zaubertrank of doom. Time will tell if those bring any of the zombie!Nick repercussions into play, the guy's had so much done to and with his powers and we've barely scraped the surface of what could be long term results. Also Nick wants normal back, whatever that qualifies as. Well, that should be an interesting conversation or three.

1 comment:

  1. I called some time ago that when Renard's mother finally put in an appearance, it would be high-heels-first. I don't know whether to feel smug or depressed.

    While it does make sense that a Hexenbiest would seek to keep her looks, what with how the real world works I'd prefer there to be some actual reason why they didn't cast an older actress. Not terribly hopeful. Also, given that the lady is apparently (a) contactable and (b) on good terms with her son - why didn't he ask her for help during Season Two? I'd be more hopeful of getting an explanation for that if it weren't for the Silverton/Burkhart home's spare room.

    Really, sometimes I think the Grimm writers are relying on the audience to be as blankly incurious as the characters. So often the MOTW plots do little more than introduce us to yet another species of Wesen - I'd rather see more of episodes like 'Best Served Cold', building on what we've already got.