'Hemlock Grove' reaction: 'Jellyfish in the Sky,' 'The Angel'


What will you be doing this Memorial Day weekend? Well, while a marathon of new Arrested Developments seems like (and is) a good idea when the entire season of new eps hits on Sunday, some of you horror-minded folks should finally get around to checking out Eli Roth's bizarro werewolf show Hemlock Grove.

To be fair, I have to admit that I started watching Hemlock Grove when it came out last month and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I had to go back and rewatch it to write this double recap to see if I like this or not. I don’t know if it was a combination of being tired or not being completely captivated at the time, but I figured the best way for me to give HG a fair chance was to go back and rewatch it.

So this is what we're going to do: I'm going to do a Hemlock Grove recap dump so you can watch the show over the course of one weekend, and then check out my take on all the episodes at once. Let's get started with the first two episodes...

Let’s talk about one thing before I go any further: the theme music. Is it just me or does it not sound nearly identical to the “Blood Theme” from Dexter? Did the same person do the music, or is it an uncanny coincidence?

Otherwise the music sounds like something you’d hear on True Blood and, of course, Dexter. It’s the type of music that you would expect on this show. It is perfectly timed and at times poignant if not seemingly ripped from your favorite serial killer show from a major cable network.

Now let’s move onto the acting. I can see why they made the choice for Bill SkarsgĂ„rd as Roman Godfrey the creepy rich boy. It was clearly a choice mirrored by his brother’s role in True Blood. He has that slimy rich kid vibe that we’ve grown to know from characters like Elton (played by Jeremy Sisto) in Clueless. Famke Janssen as Olivia Godfrey is perfect, and I feel as though she is the only one playing up the camp aspect of this show. It’s almost like everyone else is taking the show a little too seriously.

There are quite a few characters introduced like Shelley, Roman’s giant and deformed sister. Through the flashback in the first episode, it is implied that she is an abortion gone wrong, and reanimated a la Frankenstein, hence the name Shelley. (I’m not making this up.) The portrayal of Shelley is at times almost comical as she is a big looming girl wearing a wig and sporting one giant eye and one normal eye. Think Leela from Futurama, but slightly off center.

I know you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned Peter Rumancek as played by Landon Liboiron. There is a reason of course for that. I am not entranced by his acting skills at all. His short quips in the dialogue with Christina Wendall (played by Freya Tingley) seem like sometime you would expect from a horrible porno story line ... if you can call it a storyline. He has his moments, though, but overall, I would hope for more from him since he is so pretty to look at.

There are so many support characters in just the first two episodes that it’s hard to keep track of, but the police characters are quite possibly the worst actors of them all. At times the support acting is so poor that I feel like turning it off, but then something will happen to lure me back in.

Now let’s move onto the storyline. I will be the first to admit that I have ADD legitimately, but as mentioned above, this storyline sometimes failed to hold my attention. The first go-through I believe I made it through episode 4, but to give it a fair chance, I am starting completely over. I have glazed over in the same parts both times. Granted, I didn’t read the book that it is based on, but this show definitely has a Twin Peaks meets True Blood vibe about it, but it doesn’t seem to be quite hitting the mark for which it is intended. I’ve got to say, so far it’s a little bad, and I’ve watched some pretty janky stuff.

Now, let me mention the truly ridiculous parts of the show that actually made me cringe:
  1. The victim’s injury being in her vagina. Yack. Am I the only one that noticed that? Talk about being “eaten out.”
  2. Christina coming out and accusing Peter of being a werewolf. Now, I don’t care what Twin Peaks reality you live in, but accusing someone of being a werewolf is laughable, even on this show where he’s actually a vampire. And let me mention that her opening line that she’s a novelist also makes me embarrassed.
  3. Roman servicing the girl on her period. She must have had a majorly heavy flow since he left a clearly defined handprint after his toilet cunnilingus.
  4. The whole angel got me pregnant bit and the awful angel CGI, and the fact that the girl’s parents don’t seem remotely worried that their daughter got pregnant.
  5. Linda Rumancek (Lili Taylor)’s languid smile, and Roman’s dumb look on his face as Peter transforms into a werewolf. Despite the fact that the werewolf transformation is the best scene thus far into the series, the reactions of Roman and Linda are probably the single WORST parts of the show I’ve seen thus far. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Yeah, me too.
  6. The super creepy crush that Roman has on his cousin. Now, I’m from the South and heard about kissing cousins, but this might take the case.
  7. Olivia’s accent. Sometimes it sounds like Count Chocula. Sometimes it sounds Easter European. Sometimes it sounds like the Wicked Witch. I don’t know. Don’t ask, but it changes at least 5 times in two episodes.
  8. Letha: “How do you explain dancing to someone that doesn’t have legs?” Roman: “I have legs that won’t quit.” (As they stand in the middle of the road and discuss #4)
  9. Shelley’s name, wrapped up hands, and giant aforementioned eyeball. It’s so silly that I almost laugh every time she lumbers into a scene.
  10. The seeming lack of desire to actually catch the killer in the first two episodes.
I’ve got to ask myself, am I really willing to commit to watching nearly 13 hours of this show when I’ve now already lost about six including the first go around?