The employees of a gaming company are celebrating their latest game with a launch party. Two of the team members sneak off together to celebrate alone, but Jenna, the team lead, thinks she hears something and stops Brody because she doesn’t want to be watched. She leaves the room and Brody immediately moves to confront the other person – who neatly slices his body in half at the waist. Jenna hears the thump and opens the door to see Brody barely alive, calling her name. She runs down the hallway and screams loud enough to be heard over the music.
Renard gets a call from his operative in Vienna, saying he needs to meet in person and is heading to Portland. Renard agrees and tells him to get in touch once he’s arrived. Unfortunately, the man doesn’t realize he’s being watched.
Hank and Nick join Sgt. Wu at the crime scene, noting that the body looks as though it was cauterized where it was cut in half, most likely by acid or other chemicals. The killer also wrote on the wall in Brody’s blood, “Play my game,” but it doesn’t make any sense – yet. Nick and Hank go to talk to Dominick, the head of the company, and they learn from him that Jenna and Brody were dating and that the new game, Black Forest 2, has a groundbreaking algorithm in the code that on its own is worth millions. Nick talks to Jenna while Hank speaks to someone else on the team, Vicky, when her phone rings. It’s the killer, from Brody’s office. They rush down there to find him gone – and Brody’s ID cut in half, along with three title pages from different books of fiction.
Back at the station, Hank, Nick and Sgt. Wu brief Captain Renard on the case. The killer managed to shut down the building’s sophisticated security system and cameras, so he’s clearly tech-savvy. Sgt. Wu wonders if the three books have to do with Black Forest 2 since they’re all works of fantasy, then heads out to find out more about the game. Hank then wonders if the killer could be Wesen, but Nick and Captain Renard are hoping for “a normal, human psychopath.” Nick heads back to Monroe’s for the night and asks if he’s ever heard of a Wesen that kills by cutting people in half, but Monroe hasn’t. Then Nick gets a phone call from Dominick, telling him that he might want to check out Jenna’s ex-boyfriend, Ridley.
Nick and Hank head over to Ridley’s apartment in the morning. They speak to Ridley and his sister Deb, who both earn their livings testing games. They were both online playing Black Forest 2 last night, and remembered seeing Brody’s character get killed in the game – by being cut in half by a troll-like character named Nameless just a few hours before his actual death. They tell the detectives he’s impossible to find.
They talk to Sgt. Wu at the station and he tells them that all three authors from the title pages left by the killers aren’t using their real names, but pen names. They decide that they need to arrange a virtual stakeout and watch Nameless in the game – they might be able to predict who he’s going to kill next.
Juliette has had another vision of Nick – this time he’s soaked, possibly standing in the rain, trying to talk to her. Frustrated, she heads to the spice shop, walking in just as Monroe has given Rosalee a clock that is a family heirloom. Juliette describes what Nick looked like and Monroe remembers that both Juliette and Nick were soaked the night that she fell into the coma. Rosalee and Juliette get excited because it seems Juliette is getting her memory back! She doesn’t want to tell Nick yet, because he keeps hiding things from her – and so is Monroe. Rosalee asks what they can do, and Juliette asks them to come over that night so that they can help her decipher the visions she sees.
Nick and Hank are back at the gaming company, having Dominick find out what he can about Nameless. He gets an IP address, but then they see him kill a character in the game by cutting her in half. It’s the character played by Vicky Edwards, one of the other programmers. Nick calls Vicky and tells her to lock the doors and windows, and Hank sends police to her house, but it’s too late. The killer is already there – he morphs into a Fuchsteufelwild and cuts her in half with his acid-spewing claws. He then uses Vicky’s phone to call Jenna and taunt her, telling her that Vicky has a new clue for her. Jenna calls Nick in hysterics just as they arrive at Vicky’s house, so they break down the door and find her dead. They call in the medical examiner and crime scene techs, as well as asking that both Jenna and the other member of their team, Rasheed, be brought to the station. Once again there’s a message written in the victim’s blood: “Guess my name.” The killer also left a Sudoku puzzle with highlighted numbers, which Sgt. Wu says he can handle.
Monroe, Rosalee and Juliette are having dinner at Juliette’s house when she has another vision. She describes Nick as sitting and reading an old book, and Monroe says that Nick must be in the trailer without thinking about it. Juliette makes the connection to Aunt Marie’s trailer – which Rosalee knows nothing about. Juliette wants to go over there, but Monroe says he has to ask Nick first. Juliette tells him that he needs to help her remember Nick or she’ll forget him – for good.
Sgt. Wu has solved the puzzle and they now have the numbers, which sounds like a date and time. Hank, Nick and Captain Renard ask Jenna if she has any connection to that date, but she doesn’t remember right away. Then when Sgt. Wu comes in and mentions Nom de Plume, she recalls the IT guy who’d fixed her computer asking her out to a restaurant by that name – but she can’t remember his name, other than it was strange and started with a T. She then breaks down and tells them that the guy had said he could also fix the problem with their code, and when she woke up, the IT guy was gone and the code was amazing. But she’d stood the IT guy up for the date.
The IT company doesn’t have the guy’s name, either – somehow it’s not in their system, but they can still pay him electronically. Nick and Hank decide to go to Aunt Marie’s trailer, where they find the entry on the Fuchsteufelwild in the book. It’s clear that this is the Wesen they’re after, and then they find a list of names that all use the same group of letters. They copy them down and give them to Sgt. Wu, telling him to run anagrams on the letters but only return results that start with T. Once they have the list of 221 names, they go back to Dominick, who compares them to all the names in the Black Forest 2 database and finds Trinket Lipslums.
They set Jenna up at her apartment and have her play the game. Nameless aka Trinket Lipslums finds her and talks to her via headset. She asks why he’s doing this and he tells her that they had a deal and she broke it and asks her if she knows his name. She says that she does know who he is, but he doesn’t believe her because she hasn’t said it. She says, “You mean Trinket Lipslums?” and proceeds to kill Nameless in the game by cutting him in half vertically. Trinket screams and trashes his place, morphing for a moment, then goes into the backend of the game to get Jenna’s location.
Renard meets his operative at a Portland restaurant without either realizing that he’s been followed. They discuss the various cabals that are happening and that it appears the Royal families, including Renard’s brother Eric, are moving to force the dissolution of the European Union. He gives Renard a USB drive with encrypted names of those involved. Renard insists that they keep their relationship with Meisner and the resistance a good one, despite his operative’s misgivings. He then notices the man who’d followed his operative get up and leave a briefcase behind. He grabs the USB drive and then snatches up the suitcase and runs for the door, throwing it out just as it explodes. He’s shaken but not seriously injured, and rushes out again to find the man who’d left the bomb. He sees him pull a gun and shoots him first, then pulls his badge as he walks to the body. He pulls out the man’s passport – it’s Martin Pourtales from the E.U. Renard later opens up the USB drive and unencrypts the list of names.
Back at Jenna’s building, Trinket goes up the fire escape and cuts a hole in her window so he can get in. He goes in and opens the bedroom door only to find the woman in the pink bathroom isn’t Jenna but a police officer. Both she and Nick have guns on him, but he quickly goes back out the window and starts climbing up the fire escape to the roof. Nick and Hank head up via the stairs while Sgt. Wu follows him outside. When Trinket reaches the top, he uses his acid to cut the fire escape away from the building – Sgt. Wu nearly falls but manages to hang on. Hank and Nick confront him on the roof, and he wants to know how they’d guessed his name – they tell him it wasn’t a guess. He morphs, but Nick tells him that won’t work and calls him Fuchsteufelwild, and he looks shocked. He yells, “I can’t lose!” and throws himself off the building to his death.
Nick returns to Monroe’s house for the night to find Monroe waiting for him on the stairs. He explains what’s happening with Juliette, and Nick tells him that he should tell Juliette that she can’t see the trailer. Then Monroe reveals Juliette’s threat – if Monroe won’t help her remember Nick, she’ll forget him for good by leaving Portland.
This was an incredibly intricate and clever episode – I loved the updated take on Rumpelstiltskin and his riddles! Hats off to Grimm writer Akela Cooper on an excellent episode. I appreciated the approach taken on the gaming industry as well as showing what a variety of geeks and gamers exist, seeing that I’ve worked in the gaming industry and am a geek and gamer!
I also loved seeing Reggie Lee get to be more involved than usual – Sgt. Wu was on fire! …and hanging from a fire escape at one point! Sgt. Wu and his dry wit are some of my favorite Grimm things, and it was wonderful to get more Wu than usual. Kudos, Sir!
Now for the “AWWWW” moment of the episode – wasn’t Monroe giving Rosalee that priceless clock the sweetest thing ever?? You could tell that she knew just how important the clock is to him and for that reason alone she already loved it. Plus, you have to admit that Monroe’s right – it looks perfect in the shop.
Then we’ve got Renard and the continuing Royal saga. Seeing Sasha get to play Renard as a hero was a fun twist. How much of his realizing about the bomb and being able to take out the bomb and the bomber was due to his police skills, and how much was due to his Hexenbiest abilities? An interesting question to ponder. Also fun to ponder – will there be any interesting names on that list he received? It’s also a cute little nudge back to the name obsession in the main plot of the episode – names are powerful things, and not only in fairy tales.
It was obvious that Monroe was really uncomfortable with trying to help Juliette. He wants to help her, but his loyalty is to Nick, so he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. Rosalee is too, but not to the same extent – she knows that they’re trying to keep the knowledge of the Wesen world from Juliette, but it seems as though she thinks it’s more important for Juliette to learn what she needs to so she can stay sane. From next week’s preview, we know that she does get to visit Aunt Marie’s trailer – and it doesn’t seem to go any better than the first time. I’m still holding out hope, though…