Hemlock Grove S:2 E:1 Blood Pressure

So here we are again in lost in the Hemlock Grove. I wasn't sure I was going to dive into season two of the Eli Roth produced Netflix original series. It's not a secret that I wasn't a big fan of the first season. There was too much lowest common denominator bullshit, some lazy film making and a whole bunch of shit just thrown against a wall in the hopes that something would stick. But I guess I'm a glutton for punishment, because here I am knocking at the door of the Grove again. There is no schedule as to when I may make it through all the episodes. I will take them as I see fit or as I have time. So here we go...open minds...episode one.

Last Season On Hemlock Grove: A lot of shit happened. Very little of it made actual logical sense, but Bill Skarsgard was excellent. The rest f the cast was middling to bad. Famke Jannsens accent came and went like a cool autumn breeze. Read all about it here.

On This Episode Of Hemlock Grove: We start oddly enough, with an outtake from The Purge. A masked man wearing a Purge mask breaks into a house, turns the gas stove on and leaves a lit candle in the kitchen. The house explodes. 2 minutes in and we've already hit one of my film making pet peeves. I hate when any film does this, so I'm not picking on Hemlock Grove. I hated when Kiss the Girls did it and I love that movie. It's just an unrealistic chemical reaction. The ratio of gas to oxygen needed to blow up a house is virtually unattainable. Go ahead try it. I'll wait. I'm kidding don't try to blow your house up. But you really can't do it that way, even if you tried. Sorry about the rant. The arsonist removes his mask and starts flogging himself. God I hope this isn't a metaphor for what I'm about to sit through. The flogging does take us to the opening credits for Showtimes Masters of Horror (not really...but it's certainly litigious in it's closeness).

Post credit sequence we arrive at a hoe down. (Insert Kardashian joke here). Actually it's a funeral.
Destiny shows up, changes in front of everyone (did I say hoe down?) sneaks up on Peter and
surprises him. Peter has now grown all his hair back, so it must be a while after the last season ended. They catch up, she pees, we watch it. Lili Taylor is there. She's not given much to do until the cops show up and arrest her. Peter goes nuts. Destiny could have helped but she was too busy in the kitchen fucking some guy who used to sell her ice cream when she was a child (hoe down?). Lawyer lady has a 20,000 dollar retainer to help spring Lili Taylor from jail. Pete needs cash. Destiny suggests Roman. Peter is not pleased.

Roman meanwhile, is being all types of Roman awesome during a Godfrey Company board meeting. He interrupts with some vacation pics from Maui, including some explicit pics of the girl he fucked there. He says that rather than worrying about 3D organ printing, the company should focus on the youth market and providing them with ways to maintain or recapture their glory days. He also calls out Dr. Price for his ridiculous discretionary spending. Price is pretty pissed. Roman invites him into the bathroom to continue the discussion. More peeing.

Dr. Price has been using that cash to nurse Olivia back to health (amongst other things). He has given her a new tongue, one that has thankfully gotten rid of that ridiculous accent from the first season. Kudos for that. She trusts Dr. Price completely. Probably not the best idea. Olivia asks about Roman and how he's been able to stay satiated. Good thing she asked because...Romans been paying an old dude to foster leaches on his body until he can come buy to harvest them. He demands the guy double the amount he's been feeding.

Peter drops by Romans place to ask for the cash. He gets pretty racist in his reasons why his mom won't survive prison. Jesus Pete, dial it back a bit. Roman gets all weepy and kicks Peter out. So Pete contacts some old drug dealing friends. For $20,000 he will sell them some old gypsy secret drugs. Guaranteed to fuck you up. However it's bullshit. He drops some eye drops into the drug dealers eyes, then makes himself start to turn. Freaked out the drug dealers think they've got the real deal. They take the drugs and leave the cash. Slutty Destiny is not too happy with Pete because he turned on the "wrong moon" and she didn't get to fuck the drug dealers. Okay not the last part. But deep down somewhere you know she was disappointed.

Needing a job Peter gets one as a tow truck driver from an anti-Semite. How nice. Speaking of nice, there was a nice little shout out to Ellenville, NY in the news footage Peter sees. Good for them. Ellenville needs it. That place is a shit hole.

Romans looking to blow off some steam so he goes out to party. And here's pet peeve #2. Roman walks into this club that's filled with absolute over the top decadence - in the middle of Pennsylvania. This pet peeve is a corollary to party pet peeve, that says that every party in a film is they type of party that nerdy writers dream up because they were never invited to to parties in high school. Similarly, these types of clubs don;t really exist outside of Las Vegas, maybe. Certainly not in central Pennsylvania. Roman walks in, zeros in on one check and picks her in front of her boyfriend because he's a boss. On the drive she does copious amounts of cocaine and lets him know that she's "good to go" as the kids say. He stares at the veins in her neck before kicking her out of the car in the pouring rain. Back at his house he sends away the creepy lady guarding the door. Inside is the child with ridiculous blue eyes from the end of the Guns and Roses 'Estranged' video. End Episode.

Elsewhere: Dr. Price has a Russian assistant (of course he does). They are growing a girl in a giant Empire sized test tube...Norman and his wife spread Letha and her babies ashes into the Allegheny river (ugh). He texts Shelly. He's also still sweet on Olivia, bringer her flowers and offering to take her on an afternoon drive. How sweet. Those two kids just might make it.

Reaction: It's episode one so I'm not going to go nuts about continuity...yet. The question about the time between season one and two is still up in the air. It's certainly long enough for Peters full head of hair to grow back and for Dr. Price to replace Olivias tongue. But it hasn't been so long after Lethas death that her family hasn't dealt with her remains. Unless these events aren't supposed to be happening concurrently or funeral parlors in Hemlock Grove are excruciatingly slow.

The show still needs to shake that shock value/lowest common denominator crutch that it tends to lean on. There is no reason to see two characters pissing. Neither one was essential to the plot (although Romans set up a great line) and just comes across as gratuitous. The same can be said for almost all of Destinys actions during the first 10 minutes of the episode. Changing in public. We already know she doesn't give a shit. Not that I am complaining, I love a good bra and panties scene, but let's try to keep in context of the narrative. Similarly, unless it ends up leading to something, the sex scene was the very definition of gratuitous. We know Destiny is, um, free with her body. Fucking the first person she lays eyes on does nothing to change the way we look at her.

There is another (almost) wolf change in the episode that Landon Liboiron handles much better than he did during any of the changes last season. He still looks like an ostrich having a seizure. But not as pathetic an ostrich this time if that makes any sense.

Overall it was what we've come to expect from Hemlock Grove. Some fishing with lowest common denominator stuff. Some head scratching choices with the narrative and some great scenes carries by Bill Skarsgard. Hemlock Grove in a nutshell.

As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich"

Keep Reading! Episode 2 HERE!

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