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1) What does Nick's key unlock?

-There are seven keys, the Royals have four.

-They have a map on their side that points to the location of a mysterious and powerful object found by Grimm crusaders and hidden from the Royal families.

They've been teasing us with this key since the pilot, I think it is about time we find out what exactly is inside that vault.

2) What is the history between Renard and Nick's family?

-In the Pilot Renard sends multiple assassins to kill Marie because "We need him on our side." What dirt did Marie have on Renard that would compel him to silence her?
Does it have anything to do with how Renard ended up Nick's police captain? Better question: Why hasn't Nick asked Renard about any of this?

-Why did Kelly fail to mention that Catherine Shade told her that the Prince Nick was looking for was also a "bastard"? In this world bastard Princes are rare, so it seems like it would be an important piece of information. Was her not sharing an oversight, or was she protecting Sean's identity?

3) Why are the Royals so special?

-If the Royals have been ruling over powerful supernatural creatures for this long, it stands to reason they must be powerful beings in their own right.

-The Romany woman tested Adalind's baby for Royal blood, so their blood must be different from Wesen or human blood.

-Renard's woge appears to be half-human, half-Hexenbiest. If Royals had Wesen faces, I would expect the Royal half to make an appearance.

-Neither the Reaper, nor the Asian assassin in Season 1 were able to sense that Renard was Royal.

-Royals doesn't appear to have any special abilities at all, so why is everyone going to want Adalind's child?

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Wow. I'm still just trying to figure out when normal humans can recognize Wesen vs. when only Grimms spot them transforming vs. how that factors in to when Wesen recognize they've been spotted by a Grimm.

This show has one of the most consistently baffling mythos in recent memory; we need an outsider-character to come in and provide an excuse for some much-needed summarizing exposition :P
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Yes, all of these. What is kind of disturbing is that they keep asking big questions and providing very little answers. Heck, I personally have been so distracted by the zombie thing that I totally forgot about the keys (heck, how about the coins that Nick's mother is having trouble getting rid of) but yet the zombie issue is all related to your three major questions. Why did Eric want Nick specifically and what made him think that the Grimm who has been working with his half brother would either do his bidding or whatever? Does this mean the Royals have some power over Grimms?
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I think Eric thought the Baron would be able to control Zombie Nick. Clearly the Baron wasn't the sharpest tool in the tool box, because it didn't occur to him that Nick's being a Grimm would effect the way his spit would work on Nick.

As to why go after Nick specifically, I can think of a couple of reasons. 1) Nick is strong, even for a Grimm, at least that was the impression I got from Eric's and Nick's dinner conversation. Another factor might be convenience. Grimms are scarce and mostly nomadic, if Marie was any indication. Finding one might be trickier than it sounds. There is also the fact that Nick "belongs" to Sean, so stealing Nick has the added bonus of sticking it to his younger brother.

Sean's response to Eric's theft was interesting to me. All the years his family have made attempts on his life and the life of his mother, and he hasn't gone after Sean , but the second Eric tries to take Nick, BOOM. Nick must be pretty darn important to Renard's plans...Or of course my craziest out in left field theory is right and Nick and Sean are actually half-brother through their father, making Nick an ultra powerful Grimm-Prince...
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Wow, that would be interesting (the half brother thing) it would even explain the sort of childish way Renard said the thing about Nick's guilt over killing that guy thing. A valid point, but the way he said it was sort of like how my sister would respond to me when we were younger. It also kind of makes sense why Renard went to actually killing Eric in response and then doing it in a way that made it look like the Resistance do it.

I randomly sort of wonder if Renard has figured out an additional thing about the map - that maybe it had been drawn in such a way that only a Grimm could read it. Like, the core of being a Grimm is being able to see a Wesen's true face, so what if the Knights Templar figured out a way to twist that and hide the map in such a way that only the Grimm senses could detect it.

I think Eric's focus on Nick probably had more to do with sticking it to Renard and the fact that he had defeated a few assassination attempts that Eric had sent after him. But yeah, it probably wouldn't have worked judging by how Nick reacted and that the Baron had no control over him.
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I don't know if its ever been answered, but I always wonder what Wesen see when they transform and instantly recognize Nick is a Grimm. Even most of the toughest Wesen instantly panic once they realize what he is, so I'm thinking it can't just be as simple as their senses kicking in.
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I am glad they finally answered that during tonights episode, I too thought it was a action-reaction response.
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When a Wesen is woged, they are able to recognize a Grimm by looking into their eyes. According to Monroe, Wesen can see an "infinite darkness" in a Grimm's eyes that allows a Wesen to see their reflection, where they can see their true Wesen nature.
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Well, not exactly what I was hoping for, but still, at least its something to go on. Up until now its just been poor speculation on all of our parts.
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It's funny. It's actually pretty similar to what I always had thought it was.
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I think they just see his reaction when they volga (I think that's how it's spelt). I'm not positive, but every time they volga, they show Nicks face and he always has the same expression.
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Personally, I'm kinda hoping he does something crazy like turning into a skeletal-face, burning-eyed, demon in front of them whenever they change, but that's just my personal take.
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What does Nick's key unlock?
I have two theories. I think it either unlocks something that allows a person to control any Wesen. Like, actually control them. Like Professor Xavier can control people. Something huge, that truly can gain the holder control of the world, if they use it creatively.

Or, it unlocks something that would have allowed anybody to take over the world in medieval times, but nowadays is kind of redundant. Like the secrets to gunpowder. Or, you know, maybe a nuclear weapon. But even nuclear weapons... having one would definitely have gained the holder control of the world in medieval times, but not now. It's very possible that this is the point... all of this Royal scheming is just so... outdated.

What is the history between Renard and Nick's family?
I don't think there is one.

I think that Renard wanted Marie killed so she wouldn't get in the way of Renard's work on gaining Nick's sole loyalty. At the time, he had a plan to mold Nick into the kind of Grimm he wanted. So she didn't need to have any special dirt on Renard in order to be in his way; she was already in Renard's way just by being: 1) an unknown Grimm, who 2) would probably give Nick a perspective on everything in the Grimm universe (Wesen, royals, etc.) that Renard doesn't want Nick to have - i.e. the "Grimm" perspective, which would automatically turn Nick against Renard if he ever happened to see Renard woge, 3) somebody that Nick loves and is worried about, and 4) not from Portland, and therefore is possibly somebody who can take him away from Portland.

She was, in short, somebody who had the ability to mold Nick into her kind of Grimm. Not even deliberately, but just by doing her family duty and teaching Nick, now that his abilities had manifested. And Renard needed the sole ability to mold Nick into the kind of Grimm he wanted.

As for why Kelly didn't tell Nick about Renard being a bastard: I didn't really see that as important to her point (how to save Juliette), and I don't think she did either. Grimms are nothing if not narrowly-focused, after all. :)

Why are the Royals so special?
So far, we've seen evidence that they are special in exactly one way: a kiss from a Royal was required, in order to wake Juliette up.

And... that's it.

Historically speaking, IRL, royalty is not particularly special, except in their ability to get armies to follow them through divine right or loyalty or what-have-you. Personally, I think this is one of the main points of the show.

It's kind of like the Goa'uld in Stargate SG-1, or, to use a more current reference, President Snow in the Hunger Games trilogy... parasites who successfully control entire armies of people, simply by hiding the fact that their entire power structure depends on those same armies of people - the same people who are being subjugated. Without the people who they subjugate, they have no power.
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I think your first theory on what the key unlocks is more likely than your second theory. While it would be super-funny if after everything the thing the Grimm are protecting is the original design of a machine gun or something outdated like that, I believe it will be more of a game changer.

You may be right about Renard's motives for trying to kill Marie. Marie Kessler was a famous Grimm in the Wesen world (Monroe had heard of her) so it is possible Renard had been tracking her for a while and saw the potential to cultivate an untrained future Grimm in Nick. Still having her killed it seems like a big risk to take, considering Nick is a detective and might one day trace it back to him. Marie clearly wasn't as Wesen-hating as most Grimm, considering she was engaged to a Wesen at one point. I hope there is some kind of history there, just because I think it would be interesting to watch.

I also think there must be something special about Royal blood, because the gypsy woman was able to test Adalind's baby for it. I don't see her running seven DNA tests (from each of the royal families) in her tent. Also why would a bastard royal child be so valuable if the families wouldn't allow the throne to be passed to an illegitamite offspring?
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I think the problem with Marie is that not even Nick's mom knew that Nick's aunt was involved with a wesen. If her sister wouldn't have faked her death then maybe Marie would've married her fiance and Nick be raised with a wesen figure (and, hopefully, a cousin for Marie was young enough to have children back then).

All Sean Renard knew about grimms back then was that the last one was dying and the next in line wasn't loyal to his family, so he had this small window of opportunity to win his subordinate to the cause and secure a safe heaven for half-wesen like him or resistance fighters like Rosalee's family.

I don't think Renard "cultivated" the grimm in Nick: he was a natural born leader trying to survive the Royal Family and protect his parishioners in the process. Law enforcemen and, eventually, a Police Captain seemed like a natural role for him.
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Sorry this is so belated...

Offhand, I remember at least two times in the series, when Sean heavily implied that all of his plans were centered around keeping Nick on his side. In the beginning, as mentioned earlier, he indicated that he couldn't let Marie destroy all of the "work I've put into Burkhardt" (paraphrased). And when Juliette was poisoned, when Adalind's mom asked Sean why he cared so much, Sean said that it was "because she ties him here, to me. Without her, he could go somewhere else." Since Nick didn't know that Renard even knew about the Wesen world at the time, if he decided to leave Portland, Renard wouldn't have any excuse to follow, and that would destroy all of Renard's plans.

Since then, as well, he's talked about "having a Grimm," as though that is the gamechanger.

It probably is true that Renard's decision to go into detective work preceded Nick's entering the police academy... just for practical reasons - it takes time to become a police captain, after all. Unless he managed to forge his Academy documentation, or something.

But I definitely don't think that it's a coincidence that Renard ended up captain of the precinct that Nick was in. That was very, very deliberate, and having Nick on his side, was always a key gamble in Renard's long-term agenda.
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I agree. What's so special about the Royals and what their relationship with Wesen? Also we've only heard about European Royals, Are there Royals from the the other four continents? Asian, African, etc.? Finally, what happened to the Grimms? Where are they now? I assume that Nick and his mom are not the last, or are they?
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I think there are seven royal families, but I don't think we have gotten more information than that. The only other info we have is that they are recognized as Royalty to the outside world. The news report on Eric called him "Prince Eric", although they didn't specify what country he is a Prince of. Possibly Austria? IDK. Nick should really take advantage of Sean's insight into the Royal families, considering they are targeting him.

Hopefully when Nick meets up with his Mom again he'll ask more questions about other Grimms. I got the impression Grimms were rare, but Nick and Kelly couldn't be the last. Reapers become reapers once they have killed a Grimm, so there must have been at least three other Grimms in Nick's lifetime.
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I agree, I think there are seven. We know of two: the Kronenberg's (with Sean and Eric and Alexis Denisof), and the Dragon clan (or at least, I think it's called the Dragon clan). It would be interesting to see more come into the fray, but maybe they're usually insular, except when one tries to gain more power for themselves (as the Dragon clan did with the coins).
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Seven families. Seven Continents. Perhaps there's something to that. Probably not though...
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1) What does Nick's key unlock? = His Heart

2) What is the history between Renard and Nick's family? = They used to smuggle alcohol together during Prohibition

3) Why are the Royals so special? = Because they Castles!!!
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Actually my biggest question is what exactly is going on with Nick's newfound powers?
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I want to know that too! I know this must be the first time a Grimm gets zombified but its weird that some of it sticks and I want to know why.
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I almost wonder if the syrum didn't so much cure him as gave his own innate abilities a chance to adapt to the zombification sort of like how his hearing adapted to him being blind. Moreover, I'm really curious to see how much more he can adapt to given the need. Let's put him under water for 15 minutes at a time for a week and see what happens! Lets block 95% his nasal passages for a week and see if he doesn't turn into a bloodhound! (Yes, I fully support human experimentation in the hopes of acquiring superhuman powers, don't judge me!)
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I agree for some reason nicks Grimm blood helps him adapt to the given situation we don't know yet if this is a normal Grimm thing to do or maybe Nick is a special kind of Grimm I hope he is special other wise why is everyone in power making a big fuss over killing or controlling him?????
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Nobody has given us any answers to this question at all I would love to know why he keep this zombie powers and how come nobody seems to care that he even has them, I love his new powers but I would be asking a bucket load of questions if I was turning blue
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Also, because I am nothing if not a hardcore Monrosalee shipper: What EXACTLY would happen if a Blutbad knocked up a Fuchsbau?
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This came up in, "Stories We Tell Our Young," and there was a long discussion on it in the review replies. :)

I think the eventual general agreement was, based on the German terms that Monroe and Rosalee threw at Nick and Hank (*grin*), that when a Blutbad and a Fuchsbau have a child, then the child will be whichever type of Wesen has dominant genes. Hence, "as long as it's healthy, we don't care."
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they mentioned in the past that when a wessen and human have a child, it usually does not come out as a half breed, usually taking on one or the other traits, human or wessen not a combo of both. Renald is probably an exception. i think if monroe and rosalee have a child it may prove to be one or the other.
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Not sure about wesen hybrids, but irl foxes and wolf have to far a relation to breed. But since they are both canids I would think it would just be a smaller different clolored smart wolf :)
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The Verrat happen.

Its a real miracle Captain Renrad survived to reach adulthood, Verrat kill anything half-breed in the wesen community (including a potential Blutbad-Fushsbau baby).
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I think they answered that it would be a mix of the two, although it is weird that Nick hasn't yet run across a hybrid Wesen. In Europe, where the Royal families and the Verat have a stranglehold, I would get it, but in Portland has been outside their reach for generations and it is home to a huge Wesen population. I'm really excited about the "Meet the Parents" Rosalee/Monroe episodes (beyond the obvious reasons of them being so cute) because it will hopefully explore what culture prejudices and taboos exist within modern Wesen communities.
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There are no hybrid wesen for a reason: the Verrat kill any child if they haven't killed the potential parents already.
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I thought that the Verrat mainly operated in Europe, Unless they are tracking Resistance fighters or on a special mission for one of the royal families. America was supposed to be the place to flee from their oppression.
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The one that came to Rosalee's store after her brother died seemed to believe he had authority over Renard too.

The only reason he didn't kill the Captain was because he was set on another mark at the time, only the Royal family respect America as "the bastard's turf": the Verrat do not.
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