Monday, May 7, 2012

Grimm 1.18: "Cat and Mouse"

I realize there are probably people out there who may stumble across this blog and see a Grimm post, beginning with something along the lines of "this was the BEST EPISODE YET," and wonder how I can mean it. If that's you, rest assured I DO mean it, but I am at a loss to completely describe or fully articulate the how's and why's behind my reasoning. I just live in the happy land of enjoying Grimm as a television miracle. *wink* This episode, "Cat and Mouse," dives deeply into the overall mythology of the show that has been hinted at at various points throughout this season -- the idea of an "eternal conflict" between Wesen creatures and the royal "others," of which Renard (Sasha Roiz) is my favorite member (still, STILL so maddeningly enigmatic!).

This episode opens up actually outside of Portland, which might not seem like much but in fact it finally (FINALLY!) gives viewers a sense that this Wesen/Grimm world exists outside the Portland city limits. A man -- who turns out to be Ian (Neil Hopkins), a leader in the Wesen resistance -- is being hunted by members of the Verrat, the super secret and lethally dangerous Wesen society on the side of the aforementioned royal houses, whose goal is to control goings-on in the Wesen community on their terms. They are apparently identified by a series of interlocking diamond-shaped tattoos on their palms. Anyways...Ian somehow manages to elude his pursuers and makes his way to Portland (OF COURSE, because PORTLAND is the CENTER OF ALL GRIMM-LIKE UPHEAVAL IN THE FREAKING WORLD...Nick is more powerful than he knows, ha!), in the process causing a shoot-out at a bus stop when the never-say-die Edgar Waltz (Sebastian Roche), a member of the Verrat), shoots him in the shoulder, but Ian manages to escape because (wait for it) he is a wily FOX (sorry, I couldn't help myself).

Now, at this point I will just go ahead and say that this whole secret society/resistance/political angle to the over-arching Grimm storyline makes me DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY. Remember when Nick discovered that Hitler was a Wesen? Apparently that was just the first drop in this show's bucket of historical-related deliciousness. The whole Wesen resistance/Verrat overlord/enforcer thing just BEGS for comparisons to resistance against the Nazis. People I eat this stuff up. Love love LOVE IT when a show I love (lots of love's in this sentence BUT I CAN'T HELP IT) pull the World War II-era-ish history card. Wins all around!

So, back to Waltz for a second...when he is foiled in his first attempt to kill Ian, he goes to visit Renard IN HIS HOME, and can I just say he's lucky Renard didn't rip his head off or something. That just seems like #1 on the list of things not to do if you don't want to unleash the beast that is Renard, if you know what I mean. Apparently the "high command" is not very happy with how Renard is overseeing his little corner of the world, Portland has become some sort of hive of scum and villainy (it's May the fourth, sorry I couldn't resist a Star Wars reference) in the lower Wesen-sense. Renard is all WHATEVS (which is reason 9,762 of WHY I LOVE HIM), and Waltz leaves throwing out threats in Latin, which is totally awesome of course: "If you seek peace, prepare for war." OOOOOHHHHH. 

Nick (David Giuntoli) and Hank (Russell Hornsby), a.k.a. THE ONLY COPS IN PORTLAND, are of course called to investigate the bus stop shooting. Thanks to some security camera footage and a talk with the bus driver, they are able to identify Ian as the missing shooting victim. Obviously, since he hasn't checked himself into a hospital, he has something to hide (LITTLE DOES NICK REALIZE HOW MUCH). Ian, it turns out, is an acquaintance of Rosalee's (Bree Turner), and he shows up at the spice shop with the hope of getting some medical care and a fake passport from Rosalee's brother (I think I forgot to mention when Rosalee and Monroe discovered her brother's stash of fake passports -- was that two weeks ago?). So the plot thickens -- Rosalee's brother was in the business of helping resistance members, and Rosalee was very much involved in the cause as well since Ian is her ex-boyfriend (!!!).

This is as good a point as any to go ahead and address the (very loose) fairy tale inspiration for this episode. According to the official website, this ep takes its cues from the Grimm story "Iron Hans," which is the story of a king who sends a number of huntsmen into a dangerous forest, and one after another they never return (WHY DIDN'T WE STOP AFTER, SAY, 2?!). After some time another explorer, accompanied by his dog, dares to take on the woods and in the process loses his dog. You can read a recap of the full story here. Basically the writers took the idea of a dangerous hunt from the story and that's about it, placing the idea of bounty hunters and their prey in the greater context of the Wesen worldwide conflict.

Meanwhile Waltz is continuing to skulk around Portland looking for clues to Ian's whereabouts. He heads to a bar run by a Wesen known for resistance sympathies, and manipulates the bartender into recommending a local camera shop as the place to go for those seeking forged passports. He then murders the bartender, leaving Ian's passport at the scene and then coming forward as a witness to his own crime (ballsy, hmm?) -- since Renard won't cooperate he'll shadow a police investigation -- conveniently led by Nick and Hank -- in order to track down his prey. Waltz then makes his way to the camera shop, where he blackmails the Wesen owner by threatening to kill his entire family if he doesn't turn over information about Ian when he gets it -- and as the go-to guy for fake documents, Waltz knows Ian or his allies will have to come to this shop for papers. This scene is followed by a very interesting exchange with Renard, where Waltz questions the captain about concealing the fact that he has a Grimm workng for him on the police force -- someone the Verrat would consider a very valuable ally. I thought it was interesting that Waltz is surprised the captain has been concealing his true identity from Nick, especially since there is apparently some historical precedence for Grimms working for the seven royal houses. Renard clearly has a master plan, but with his end game still unrevealed the mystery deepens! (Could he GET more appealing?)

Back at the spice shop, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) answers Rosalee's call for help, and it is fascinating to watch his reaction to 1) the news that she was even peripherally involved in the resistance and 2) that Ian was her ex-boyfriend. (Side note: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE actually ask her out before the season's end! PUH-LEEZE!!!) Regarding the resistance, Monroe's reticence to get involved isn't hard to understand -- he is someone who has worked very, very hard to suppress and control his Wesen side. I don't think it's a question of him being afraid for himself, more a question of him being afraid of unleashing himself, make sense? Also, how freaking adorable is it watching Monroe get all protective of Rosalee -- he really wants to BE HER GUY but since he isn't (YET), there's some dancing around the issue which I LOVE TO WATCH. Anyways, more on that in a bit -- after patching up Ian, Rosalee and Monroe convince him (against everything he knows to be true) that Nick, a Grimm, is his best shot at leaving Portland alive. 

So Nick (of course) answers his BFF Monroe's call to come to the spice shop, where he immediately pulls his gun on murder suspect Ian, at this point still every bit the by-the-book cop. Once Rosalee and Monroe explain that Ian couldn't have murdered the bartender since he's been with them all day, they give Nick a quick education on the Verrat and their role in world affairs. Now I LOVE this since it gives the show's mythology a greater geo-political framework and historical context -- but Nick, even though he isn't a typical Grimm, despite his desire to deal fairly with the Wesen community, is reluctant to cast his lot with the resistance. He STILL thinks he can be a cop first and a Grimm second, but that is increasingly becoming a pipe dream of epic proportions.

Waltz contacts Nick asking to arrange a meet at a neutral location, and can I just say I loved the whole set-up/vibe of this face-off. Waltz is clearly several cuts above the normal baddie Nick encounters, and to his credit he recognizes that. :) When you're dealing with someone (thing?) who refuses to play by normal rules, that leaves one little choice but to think like a Grimm, hmm? :) Meanwhile, unaware that the camera shop location has been compromised, Rosalee requests a new passport for Ian. The shop owner reluctantly agrees, little realizing that acquiescing to Waltz's demands will cost him his life ANYWAY. But at least he included a note with the forged passport, apologizing for setting the Verrat on Rosalee's trail -- a note she sees mere seconds before Waltz takes her hostage, demanding she call Ian for an exchange. Couple of things here -- 1) how awesome is Rosalee in the face of danger? SHE ROCKS. 2) how awesome is it thta she calls MONROE. Let me say this again -- She. Calls. MONROE. (Excuse me while I swoon.) 3) how adorable is Monroe getting all worried and trying not to completely FREAK OUT over the fact that his wannabe girlfriend is being held hostage by a sociopathic member of the Verrat whose Wesen identity is Hundjager? We all know there's a completely amazing wolf/killer dog confrontatin coming, right?!?

With the life of his ONE TRUE LOVE hanging by a thread, Monroe calls Nick and the two devise a plan to enter the spice shop, pretending not to know each other, and hopefully catch Waltz off-guard. Waltz assumes (clearly he never learned about the dangers of assuming things) that Monroe is another Fuchsbau, and the look on Monroe's face as he transforms into a wolf, someone clearly capable of holding his own in a dogfight, so to speak - oh my WORD that was a terrific moment. I was doing some serious cheering at the television. :) All seems well until Ian shoots and kills the disarmed Waltz -- and Nick being a cop's cop, so to speak, seems to have no choice but to arrest him, a certain death sentence for the resistance leader. I love how Monroe and Rosalee basically freak out, begging Nick to let Ian go -- and Nick keeps up the pretense until he reaches his car with Ian, and in an aside tells Monroe to get ride of Waltz's body. When the lightbulb moment clicks for Monroe, and he's all OHMYGOSH YOU'RE REALLY DOING THIS? YOU ROCK!, another round of wild cheering may or may not have broken out in my apartment. *wink*

This episode marks a major turning point for Nick, where he weighs his duty as a police officer with the reality of his newfound duty as a Grimm and chooses the Grimm side. I loved how this episode brought the greater worldwide (and apparently age old) conflict within the Wesen world home to Portland, forcing Nick to realize that this is something he's going to have to grapple with sooner rather than later -- and that the side he chooses now will have critical and far-reaching consquences for his future. Methinks it is going to be harder and harder for him to maintain even the most superficial appearance of a "normal" life. (Also, how adorably unsure is Monroe after Nick carts off Ian? You can just see it written all over his face -- is she REALLY over him? do I have a chance at this? I love Monroe, I really, really do.) :)


Heidenkind said...

This was a really good episode. I love the WWII overtones in this show and the fact that there's a resistance. What are they resisting?!? I don't know!

Unknown said...

@Tasha - Oh me too (obviously). :) That's the beauty of a resistance! What are they resisting? Who knows? The point is they are taking ACTION! LOL! ;)

Unknown said...

I agree, this is the BEST episode ever!! And I adored the Star Wars reference <3
More please.

Unknown said...

@Chris - Ha!! Thanks for noticing the Star Wars reference. :) And thanks for stopping by & commenting, I don't recall seeing your name here before?

Unknown said...

@Ruth, it's my first time posting here but won't be my last.
You've written THE best Grimm blog on the interweb.

Looking forward to your next post :)

Unknown said...

@Chris - Well welcome and thank you, that is high praise indeed! :) Bear with me, I have every intention of catching up on Grimm posts -- I have a couple of reviewing and writing deadlines this week (along with work...pesky thing...ha!), but should have more time freed up soon!