The launch of Black Forest 2: Lost in the Woods should be a joyful time for Jenna Marshall and her time of video game designers. After an enormous amount of hard work coming up with a code that will change the face of the industry, allowing more people to occupy a single space than ever before, the team has pretty much written their ticket for the rest of their careers. Once Jenna and boyfriend of three months Brody slip off to celebrate on their own, though, he ends up cut in half with an ominous messages scrawled on the walls in his blood: Play My Game.
The 26-year-old software engineer had no enemies and was still on good terms with Jenna, so there looks to be no immediate threat roaming the halls of the company he worked for. Another member of the team then received a call from the man who killed Brody, a call that came from the inside of the building. Nick and Hank race up to its location and find Brody’s ID card cut in half, as well as pages from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, and Rage by Richard Bachmann. Each novel has a word written on it in red ink: What’s. My. Name?. Additionally, whoever was responsible for Brody’s death made it in and out of the building unrecorded by security cameras and didn’t bring a weapon to do what he did.
Later that evening, Brody’s boss Dominik Spinner calls Nick and gives him the name of Jenna’s ex-boyfriend Ridley as someone to look into. When he goes to the game tester’s house, though, he finds someone who’s not much of a threat to anyone in real life; although he’s bitter about losing Jenna to Brody, he would never hurt anyone outside of a video game. He does tell Nick that the previous night, Brody’s avatar in Black Forest 2 was killed; it turns out about three hours before he died, Brody’s character in the game suffered the same fate that he did, ending up chopped in half. The culprit? A user named Nameless, one of the most prolific and enigmatic gamers out there. He’s impossible to find, but if Nick has any hopes in solving the case, he’s going to have to track him down.
Especially it looks like Nameless is the one behind the murders, as the connection between the three literary works is that they were all written by authors using nome de plumes. To catch Nameless, Nick heads to Spinner and sets up a virtual stake out meant to track who his next victim was. It turns out that another member of the team was killed by Nameless in the game, only to suffer the same fate as Brody and end up cut in half on the floor. At the second victim’s house, Nick and Hank find a sudoku puzzle that has a diagonal line of boxes highlighted in yellow. Wu finishes the puzzle and the numbers highlighted aren’t a phone number, social security number, or address. Rather, they’re correspond to a date (March 12th) and a time (7:15); after pondering the significance of the date/time, Jenna, who they brought into the precinct for protection, has an epiphany about who could be behind the killing.
She called one of their I.T. guys to help fix her computer during a late night working session with the rest of her team, all of whom had been up for at least 48 hours straight. He agreed to help her only if she’d go on a date with him, but she ultimately declined and passed out on her couch while he was fixing her computer. While on there, he altered the code for the game and made all the success possible for her, only she never shared an ounce of the credit with him. She didn’t even look his way more than once during their time together and can only remember that his name started with the letter T and was something unusual.
The I.T. guy was an independent contractor who made a deliberate point in going all digital and obscuring any type of trail that could lead law enforcement to him. At the trailer, Nick discovers that he’s a Fuchsteufelwild and notices a pattern of all Fuchsteufelwild names (2 L’s, 2 T’s, etc.), which he takes to Spinner in hopes of cross-referencing with the Black Forest 2 server. A name is hit upon – Trinket Lipslums, who Jenna kills in the game. He won’t go down that easily, though, and comes after her anyway, only to be surprised by Nick and Wu. Wu ends up dangling over the street on the loosened fire escape, while Nick and Hank head to the roof to confront him. Not being able to handle the thought of losing, Trinket jumps to his death and Wu gets pulled inside to safety.
I Remember When
Juliette’s memories are starting to take shape and she can definitely tell that the apparition she keeps seeing around the house is Nick. She goes to the spice shop to ask Rosalee and Monroe to come to her house so that when she does see something, she can describe it in thorough detail. They decide to come over, but while the three of them are having dinner, Juliette sees another form. This time, it’s Nick seated in the trailer reading through Marie’s book, which neither Monroe nor Rosalee sees before it disappears. Juliette wants to go to the trailer in hopes of rejuvenating her memory and making sense out of everything she’s been seeing; Monroe, however, tells her that he has to talk to Nick about this, even despite Rosalee’s plea for them to take her and help her.
When Nick returns home from closing the case, Monroe’s waiting up for him and informs him of Juliette’s latest request. Though he initially rejects the idea, Nick ultimately agrees once he hears his former lover’s full terms. If she doesn’t get a chance to go to the trailer, she’s going to leave Portland forever and make it a point to forget Nick’s entire existence and their relationship as a whole.
The Stranger with the Briefcase
Renard and a man from Vienna agree to have a meeting at the Lotus Cafe one evening. They discuss the declining state of the union between the royal families, particularly with regards to the sudden push for a return to imperialism over the democracy that they’ve been practicing for quite a while. No one knows who’s really in charge and no one trusts the increasingly selfish Meisner, so the man gives Renard an encrypted flash drive with the names of those involved in the coup. What they didn’t count on was someone following them into the cafe and planting a bomb by the door. Renard takes notice and flings the briefcase that contained the explosive outside before running after the man he saw. He shoots the armed man (named Henry Leuser) in the chest multiple times, killing him.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-For a minute, I assumed that Spinner would be revealed to have played some role in the killings, but then I realized that Continuum did something like that this season. So many supernatural/sci-fi shows with procedural elements, you guys.
-I kind of liked that we never got a clear look at the Wesen in action. It made the images they did show us (the dropping acid, the long fingernails) that much more striking.
-Speaking of striking images, I loved when Vicky went to close the windows, paused, and caught the reflection of Trinket behind her. Very creepy and a good “jump scare”.
-I’m very eager for Juliette to figure things out and the show to move on from this plotline, so please, show her the trailer and let’s keep this going. Then we can work on cluing Wu into what’s been going on. He has to have a cool story to tell his cat, after all.
-The final scene with Renard opening the flash drive and having the list of names before him made me think that somebody we know would be on there. It lingered for too long for it to just be a directorial choice.
-Next week on Grimm: Rosalee tasks Nick, Hank, and Monroe with stopping a Wesen defense attorney using his power to overturn what should be an open-and-shut murder case, while Renard brings Nick and Hank into his latest dealings with the Verrat and Juliette’s visit to the trailer brings back a flurry of memories about Nick.