Sunday, March 24, 2013

Grimm Season 2, Episode 15: Mr Sandman

“’Now we’ve got eyes – eyes – a beautiful pair of children’s eyes,’ he whispered.”

 It’s time for a retro-50s look, a man taking his meds rather desperately and a support group in a church. Sounds rather like the beginning of an inappropriate joke. The man is Andre and the support group is for the bereaved, and he’s missing his wife, Suzy. But he does meet his fellow bereaved, Molly and they hit it off.

When he takes her to her home, he’s happy to let her cry – in fact he wants her to and blows some red powder into her eyes that burns and hurts her. She can’t see, has tears streaming down her face, and he woges into a fly Wesen and goes for her eyes with his proboscis. Ew ew ew ew extra ew.  He leaves, leaving her staggering and blind – she pulls herself up on a block of shelves and pulls them down on top of herself.

Moving on from these odd people to Juliette, the oddest person of them all, preparing salad. Oh dear, with all the hallucinations Juliette, I think you treat yourself to bacon, or cake. Or bacon cake. She’s hearing things again and, when she goes to investigate, finds a ghostly presence that vanishes. You know, you’d think she’d be calling Rosalie by now and reporting the severe side effects.

At Monroe’s there’s a Grimmy dinner time – Hank, Nick, Monroe and Juliette, discussing that Renard is a Hexenbiest (or, apparently, a Zauberbiest being male), but it still doesn’t make sense since they’re not royal. This leads to Monroe questioning who Renard’s parents are and he and Rosalie realising that, being part Zauberbiest, he wouldn’t be accepted by the royals. And Nick on side would give him leverage with his family.

Time to be called in on the case; while they think it’s possible Molly could have had an accident, the bruises on her wrist from when Andre held her as well as her very red, sore eyes and obvious evidence she wasn’t alone (2 coffee cups) they’re suspicious that it’s more than just a, as Wu puts it, bookicide. Checking her phone calendar they find her grief support meeting. There they don’t learn much except that Andre (they don’t take last names) is either Australian or South African.

Meanwhile, in Vienna, Adalind is meeting with another Hexenbiest, Frau Pesch, who knew her mother and can sense that Adalind lost her beastliness – and is pregnant. Adalind adds that the father of the child is one of 2 half-brothers. Frau Pesch is impressed – a child with royal blood will be worth a lot apparently and she’s happy to help Adalind with that.

Back in Portland, Andre is having another blinding headache and taking pills desperately while heading into another grief support group. Hank and Nick go to see the medical examiner (it’s her! Where has she been for the last few months!) who tells them she can’t say if Molly was in a fight, she died from suffocation – but her eyes are the weird part. She’s blind, her eyes having no pupil or iris and lined with sand which, when examined under a microscope, turns out to be tiny parasites.

Oh, this episode is really aiming for new cringe-worthy levels of ick.

The medical examiner has seen something similar in Kenya, river blindness, parasites spread by being bitten by a fly, but this suggests direct contact and the parasites were awakened by her tears. These parasites are dying because the host died, so they died before becoming mature (something the medical examiner means to be ominous which is a bit silly considering she’s not in the loop – BEWARE ADULT PARASITES seems an unlikely response).

Andre has picked up and infected his next victim, Kelly, but he’s interrupted by her sister coming home – he escapes but not before she sees his car.

Nick and Hank confirm that river blindness isn’t in the US and that Molly hasn’t been to Africa, having passed off the mundane explanations it’s Wesen time. And they get a call for the new case and getting all the information – blindness, grief support and a big shiny red Cadillac.

Juleitte has finally gone to see Rosalie about her side-effects – this time seeing a ghost. Rosalie goes home with her to check it out. At her house she describes the things she’s been seeing (including the floor disappearing) to Rosalie. She hopes Rosalie with her spice shop, can cure what’s wrong with her – just as the ghost appears again. Juliette chases it, but Rosalie doesn’t see anything. Meanwhile, Renard’s having his own hallucinations – of a Hexenbiest Juliette in bed with him.

In the Grimm trailer, research pans out and Monroe has found the Wesen – a  Jinnamuru Xuntee. A Kenyan Wesen that feeds of tears – but the one mentioned was a priest for some time before changing. Monroe decides that this is how they feed on tears – the high emotion of the confessional. He gets squeamish and has to pass it on to Nick who finds that the Grimm examined the Jinnamuru Xuntee’s brain and found it crawling with worms. The report also says they visit the families of their victims, since they’re presumably grieving. Which is when they get a call from the ME confirming the same parasite – and that these worms in a living host are growing at an incredible rate.

They go to the hospital to speak to the victim, but while they’re there she screams in pain, bleeds profusely from her eyes – and worms are visibly moving in the sockets.

Aaaie, I didn’t need to see that.

Wu finds the car and they go to another grief support meeting and find the man, In the chase, Wu, Hank and Nick are separated on different floors of the building, but Nick catches him in a room, trying to break a window to escape. He breathes his dust into Nick’s eyes and while Nick staggers back he escapes. Nick tries to follow, but he can’t see. The wesen escapes by stealing someone’s van. Hank wants to take Nick to a hospital but Nick insists on Monroe, a hospital won’t help

To the spice shop where Rosalie tells Monroe about Juliette and further adds that the worms have barbs that hook into the eyeballs so they can’t be washed out. Monroe actually tells this to Nick before Rosalie tells him to stop. One way to slow the worms down is light in Nick’s eyes even though he can’t see. Even though he’s blind, he can still hear who everyone is by their footstep (either because of super Grimm senses he doesn’t normally use or possibly over-done “look blind people have super senses” trope. I hope not because he gains massive radar, supernatural hearing). Rosalie finds a cure – they need to take out the eye of the Jinnamuru Xuntee while it’s still alive and in full woge. With a spoon.

The Jinnamuru Xuntee returns to Kelly’s sister who comes home, starts clearing up and then cries over a picture.

Nick’s super senses get ever more super until Hank gets a phone call from Wu about where Andre has abandoned his car. From the other room, Nick overhears Wu and tells them he knows he’s going after Kelly’s sister, Casey – and that he has to go because he can hear the noise he makes. Rosalie agrees that they all need to go – because they only have a few moments after the eye extraction to apply the medicine to Nick’s eyes.

Casey fights Andre – covering her eyes and pushing him back, while the gang arrive. Hank tells Nick to stay in the car with Rosalie. He asks Monroe if he can cover the back – and his eyes glow red. Yes he can. Hank bursts in and saves Casey from Andre – but out in the car, Nick hears her calls for help and goes in, guided by Rosalie.

While Hank and Monroe search the back, Nick’s hearing guides him upstairs in the house and then up into the attic. Where he finds Andre – and fights him using his hearing and Andre’s constant fly buzzing as a guide (despite the completely unfamiliar surroundings). They also rather upped Nick’s fighting skills to a whole other level.  He pins Andre, getting him in a headlock and twisting his arm – just in time for Rosalie to fetch Hank and Monroe for some eye gouging.

While they make the paste and apply it to Nick’s eye, Andre escapes stumbling down stairs missing an eye – and runs into Casey, with a kitchen knife, which she promptly stabs him with.

Update on Juliette – seeing ghosts which now resolves into… Nick.

And out to the woods with Nick wearing a blindfold and smashing fruit Monroe throws at him with a mace.  His super-hearing is still going.

Ok… super hearing from blindness is a trope – a pervasive trope and one that is excessively played upon as a general theme of disability super-power that goes above and beyond any potential advanced practice a blind person can get from simply having to rely on their hearing. While it seems empowering, it also feeds into the whole “rise above it” and “be inspirational” memes that can afflict the disabled with high expectations as well as a lessened demand for actual accomodations. It also adds that a disabled person must have some kind of trade off to “make up” for their disability.

I don’t mind Nick’s super-hearing being added to a Grimm bag o’ tricks – after all, Grimms wouldn’t be the feared beings they are (or even able to take down the Wesen they do) if their abilities amounted to “I can see the scary faces” – but it needs to be clear that it IS due to him being a Grimm, and not due to a couple of hours blindness.

I’m glad Rosalie is still being shown as competent, if not a fighter, she’s still the one who makes potions and has answers – I’m also happy that, in an episode with female victims we had one fight back, hold off Andre and stab him.