Sunday, October 21, 2012

Grimm, Season 2, Episode 8: The Other Side

“I thought of making myself a beautiful marionette. It must be wonderful, one that can dance, fence and turn somersaults.”

A reference to Pinocchio? We shall see.

We open with the main subjects of this week’s story – a group of teenagers (Brandon, Pierce, Jenny and Kevin) practicing for a major quiz competition. After a few moments it’s quick to see that the questions are pretty hard and far beyond the scope of most people’s general knowledge and that these kids are very bright and very knowledgeable. Afterwards, the group wants to go to Zells, a café, to relax though they have to talk Pierce’s mother, Dr. Higgins, into it since she seems very protective and rather pushy. At the café they’re clearly good friends and there’s a lot of friendly teasing and competition going on, with Pierce jokingly referred to as cheating because he gets his brain from his super-intelligent, prize winning geneticist mother.

As they go home, most of them choose to walk, which leaves Brandon walking home on his own. During which a Wesen – a Lowen (a lion-wesen we’ve seen before) attacks him. We have the week’s murder.

In the world of Nick he and Juliette are still superbly acting the awkwardness of living an intimate life when only one of you remembers the intimacy, the eagerness of wanting to get back what they had without pushing and all the frustration and difficulty that comes with it. I still think the amnesia storyline has gone on too long, but it is well done. They’re going to a major function at Nick’s job, where Captain Renard has won a special award. At the mention of Captain Renard, Juliette becomes lost in thought for a moment.

At the function, Renard makes a long speech and he and Juliette have an eyes-meet-across-the-room moment that briefly distracts him. He recovers quickly and after his speech he joins them at their table with Hank and Sargent Wu, who is there to provide ongoing excellent snark. Look. I love Wu’s snark – his snark is awesome and amazing, but it’d be nice for him to do more than just snark, y’know? At least it’s quality snark.

But their night ends abruptly when Hank and Nick get a call to a crime scene – Brandon’s body – and they’re forced to call it early. Since Hank walked, Nick needs his car so Juliette receives an offer of a life from Renard, which she accepts.

Hank and Nick go and find Brandon’s body with his throat sliced – through he still has his wallet, money and ID. They even find his phone - which is ringing with a call from Jenny.

They go to interview the quiz kids and find Pierce and Jenny (Kevin is too upset and we never see him again… I’m bemused why the writers included him) as well as Dr. Higgins. They tell Hank and Nick about the quiz group – that it’s not a team, they’re actually competing against each other and whoever wins the national award is guaranteed a place in a college of their choice. After discussion which points to them all being friends they leave and Hank asks if any of them were Wesen – Nick says none of them showed it – but it doesn’t mean anything (if they don’t Woge, Nick wouldn’t notice) and that he doesn’t know whether they’d be able to tell if he’s a Grimm or not.

While outside they do get buttonholed by Don Anchor, the coach from the high school (and coach of the quiz team). He instantly berates them to do their very best and warns them that if he catches the person who did it first he will kill them himself. Hank tries to warn him off such talk and calms him down, while Coach Anchor Woges – into a Lowen. The coach calms and apologises and goes inside to check the kids. Hank asks what he was – recognising Nick’s “I see Animal People!” face. Nick tells him he’s a Lowen – aggressive, competitive and prone to violence.

Naturally, this puts him at the top of the suspect list and they check his background. They find 1 speeding ticket and 1 restraining order from his ex-wife and nothing else to indicate a murderer of quiz-whiz teens. They take this to Renard for a search warrant and he, rightfully, tells them they have nothing to go on, especially since he’s a teacher and the accusation could easily ruin his career. They concede but Hank and Nick both notice something… off about Renard.

Jenny, meanwhile, is extremely upset over Brandon’s death and calls Pierce to try and talk, but finds him doing homework – his mother pushing him to work to “take his mind off things”. Jenny, grieving, wants to get out of the house and stop thinking so asks to meet him at the bleachers to take their minds off things. He agrees, she goes to the stadium – and is attacked by something that roars.

Another crime scene, another dead teen and Wu leading Hank and Nick to Jenny’s dead body – complete with slashed throat. In her hand, however, they find a watch, covered in blood and inscribed with a message “To Pierce, my champion, love mom.” Hank and Nick are confused as to whether Pierce is even physically capable of this – and decide he could if he were a Lowen. And to find that out they have to push him to Woge.

Off to the Higgins home to find Pierce and his mother – and confront hm over the watch. Both of them woge – but not into Lowen, into Tortoise-Wesen. In doing so they notice Nick noticing them and realise he’s a Grimm – Dr. Higgins pushes Pierce behind her and yells at Nick not to hurt him, that he couldn’t hurt anyone, that someone must have given her his watch. Nick calms her down and they both go inside. Alone, Nick tells Hank that they’re not Lowen, but doesn’t know what they are.

At home, Pierce spills hot chocolate on his pillow case and goes to put it in the wash and finds the washer on and the water tinged red. His mother quickly pushes it aside and tells him she’ll handle it. Then Coach Anchor calls and tells Dr. Higgins that he’s going to withdraw the school from the competition, with 2 dead he can’t do otherwise. She panics and says he can’t – he says he’s made up his mind and asks to talk to Pierce - she hangs up on him. She tells Pierce and he gets agitated, causing her to panic

In the Grimm Trailer Nick and Hank are hitting the book and they find the Tortoise Wesen - Genio Innocuo. Very rare, from Galapogos islands and described as helpless, non-violent, intelligent and compassionate – which Nick’s ancestor thought was ideal because it made them very easy to kill.  Hank disapproves since they were innocent and harmless – and Nick points out it was a different time (which seems abrupt and dismissive, how does he know how other Grimm act) but can’t see how a helpless Wesen could kill. A Lowen could help him thin the competition – but Hank points out that Pierce is the one to beat, he doesn’t need to think the competition

With no other leads, they go to talk to Coach Anchore – and see blood through the window. Quickly entering and securing the house, they find his body, killed the like the kids. As a forensics team arrives, Nick gets a call from Pierce telling him he knows who killed the others – he’s home and he needs to talk. Before he can say more his mother hurries to him and demands he hang up.

He starts to panic and his head starts to ache. She starts babbling, telling him he’s sorry, that she should have told him sooner – that they need to talk. He runs to the washer and pulls out the clothes that were bloodied, accusing her of killing the kids – but then he looks at the clothes and realises they’re his, not her’s. She keeps tring to explain, said she had to change him – she knew he would be smart but it wouldn’t be enough. She wanted to make him better, safer… he woges, not into a Genio Innocuo – but into a Lowen and attacks.

Hank and Nick arrive in time to hear the screaming. They rush in and Nick battles Pierce, destroying lots of furniture as Nick rather easily takes down the inexperienced Lowen. He punches Pierce and continues to punch him until he falls down near unconscious. Hank rushes in, only seeing Pierce’s human face and asks what he’s doing, protests that Nick said he was harmless – he grabs Nick and pulls him off Pierce. Nick says he was a Lowen – which is when the wounded Dr. Higgins speaks. Pierce is part Lowen, she altered his genes when he was still an embryo to try and give him more advantages. Pierce doesn’t know and forgets what he does when he’s a Lowen. They look to Pierce – but he’s disappeared. Nick gives chase

They catch up to Pierce on a water tower, threatening to jump. He woges between Genio Innocuo and Lowen, each seeming to have their own separate personality – the Lowen fixated on removing all threats and eliminating all competition. Unable to face his guilt or understand what he did, Pierce jumps – Nick lunges and manages to catch him, handcuffing their wrists together so Nick and Hank can pull him up.

In the aftermath, Renard says they’ll charge him with murder, but the psychiatrists are going to be the ones to unravel this. He worries that he’ll have a hard time in prison. In prison we see other inmates begin to hassle Pierce – until he turns Lowen and brings them down.

Running back to that life Renard gave Juliette from the party. He takes her home, though the tension is thick. He parks outside and watches her go in the house, using the key hidden under a plant pot (this police man keeps his house secure). She goes in and undresses and Renard follows her, using the hidden key. Juliette gets in the shower and Renard creeps up, through her bedroom to watch her through the frosted glass. He sees a picture of her and Nick – and we hear glass breaking. Juliette leaves the shower, calling for Nick, asking if he’s home and finds the picture with the glass broken.

Renard drives away hurriedly – but he’s distracted, struggling and driving erratically, fighting not to woge, his face almost bubbling. He nearly hits someone, gets out to check on them and staggers as if drunk. The man he nearly hit demands his keys, thinking he’s too drunk to drive – and Renard half-woge’s and hits him. He drives off

He later goes to Rosalie’s shop and meets Monroe – where’s he’s busy boring his clients with unnecessary information. Yes, this is the first time Renard and Monroe have met. Monroe rambles away as Renard explains his problem – he need a cure for obsessive behaviour – he’s obsessed with a woman after just one kiss – he suspects a curse or potion is involved. He refuses to leave his name and Monroe does some research.

The research isn’t great, however. He has something that will reduce the physical symptoms but not the emotional ones. To stop them he needs to bring the target in for a dual cure – which Renard says is impossible. Monroe warns him that it will only get worse and things will be bad for them – and anyone who gets between them.

The last story of the episode takes place in Vienna, Austria. Where Eric, Renard’s royal half-brother, is attending the opera with his bodyguards. And while there he runs into Adalind – yes, Adalind the Hexenbiest, who is there to flirt and subtly let him know she knows who he is and that she knows he’s ambitious and ruthless and determined to restore his family’s power. She goes so as far to say he will murder, torture or worse to secure that power. In between flirting, Eric asks what could bw rose than torture and murder – she replies betrayal and that she knows Sean (Renard), Eric’s brother. Eric, rather bitterly, says she will know betrayal then. Adalind wittily responds that their association was “grimm”, a reference which goes over Eric’s head.

After the opera, Eric fills us in on Sean Renard’s past  and why he is in Portland (which the Wesen consider the back of beyond). One of their father’s mistresses was a Hezenbiest and when the family found out they were Most Displeased. To avoid confronting them, she took her son, Sean, out of his exclusive private school, stole one of their father’s jets and fled as far as she could. More flirting, but Eric wants to know why she is here – she says it’s because of the Grimm – and that she has him.

One last reference, Wu introduces a new intern who was working in records. He’s called Ryan and is a big fan poodle of Hank and Nick. I assume he will be relevant later.

The fairy tale reference seemed to have… very little to do with this actual episode.

It was nice to see a more overt insight into Grimm history. It has always been implied that past Grimms haven’t been very choosey in the Wesen they decide to destroy

I love that Hank is now a staple of the Grimm trailer, the Grimm secrets and the Grimm history and it’s incorporated into how he looks at the world, not something he has to run from and avoid

And above all, META! Adalind is plotting with Eric! Renard met Monroe!!!! The whole big secret may be close to collapsing!

The flip side is – Juliette being a stalking victim of Renard or them being forced into a relationship against their will? No, I’m not loving this, especially since Juliette’s entire role so far has been that of victim and, with Rosalie packed away and Kelly (mummy Grimm) in parts unknown we have no strong female characters. Even among the antagonists, Catherine is dead and Adalind is the dangerous seductress and manipulator. We need more than victims and monsters here. That being said, the acting is superb – especially the way Renard and Juliette convey their connection that is both clear and subtle.