Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hemlock Grove, Season 2, Episode 2: Gone Sis

Roman goes to a seedy motel (so labelled by it apparently being commonly used by prostitutes) with a woman called Nadine he’s known before; it appears she’s married to someone called Davey who leaved her bruised. Because this is Hemlock Grove and this is Roman, he loves her bruises. She takes off her top and he starts licking her neck – before pushing her to the floor. Again, he’s resisting feeding. He insults her as “damaged goods”. She’s furious, especially when he doesn’t pay and goes to call her very  well spoken pimp (apparently the man who hurts her as well).

Davey is a creepy salesman, offers him different women – including an underaged girl – Roman talks blood type and then just bites Davey. Montage of Davey’s very messy blood being drained vs the very very old fashioned porn film playing. Surprisingly Davey isn’t dead (yet) but there’s a lot of mess

We cut to a woman called Miranda, out driving at night and avoiding a guy she apparently left outside her house. Her night gets a lot worse when a truck behind her tries to ram her off the road and, despite some quick thinking and good driving to avoid it, the truck rams her broadside.

She survives the crash and makes her way to Roman’s house (where he’s just finished cleaning himself up), with a cut in her scalp. She begs him to call for a tow (not the police, she doesn’t have insurance). He invites her in (though it takes him a while and is worried about blood on his carpet).

While they wait for the tow, Miranda admires Roman’s very wealthy surroundings while his silence creeps her out, he offers to let her stay though

To Olivia. A bird flies into her greenhouse. Olivia is sad.

That’s it – I think someone’s trying to put their art degree into use. There are a lot of scenes like this in this episode.

Olivia is sad because some of the drugs Johann is giving her stimulate empathy (he calls it a refreshing break from her sociopathy) which is why she’s all worried about Roman (while the rest of us would be quite happy if he were brutally axe murdered). With the added problem of why they need to talk to Roman, he doesn’t much like either of them.

Andreus is also in town to spend time with Destiny – she seems quite happy to see the guy she’s known for exactly 10 minutes on her doorstep expecting to crash at her place so I assume he is really really good in bed.

Peter tries to visit his mother (lots of scenes of him scanning the surroundings) but she isn’t allowed visitors because she assaulted a guard – which Peter finds highly unlikely and expects someone’s messing with her.

At work he gets to tell Miranda how much it’s going to cost to fix her car (a lot) and she doesn’t have insurance. All sympathetic, he decides to look for used parts to reduce the bill for her (and, on the way, disabuses her of some of the Roma stereotypes while still conforming to them).

Roman buys a horse. His dad had horses. It’s all meaningful. Olivia looks sad in a room. That art degree has raised its pointless head again.

Olivia goes to see her son, threatening his assistant with cremation if he gets in her way. Roman isn’t thrilled to see her (he also wanted raw liver for dinner apparently)  and makes it really clear; he also isn’t impressed by “Johann’s work’s important for reasons I can’t tell you”.  She talks about the hunger and how, no matter what he thinks, he can’t hide the bodies forever – she couldn’t until she married the White Tower (Roman only takes an opportunity to slut shame from this, of course). Roman brings up Shelley (Olivia claims she grieves for her) and his own daughter (in her little soundproofed cell) – who Olivia expected him to kill. She handwaves it as part of his progression he wouldn’t really do it and adds that they’re Upir. And that she’s his mother. He doesn’t want either to be true – vampire or her son. Which should be really wounding but just feels kind of melodramatic.

She leaves, but warns him his hunger will grow and he should come to her before destroying everything. She goes to the labs instead where creepy Russian scientist is playing with creepy blobs of flesh. She lies to Johann – or is possibly high on some delusional drug he’s feeding her.

Over to Norman the superfluous meeting with Marie who I don’t remember but is connected to Letha in some way. She’s going to sue the Godfrey Institute to see what they’re hiding about Letha’s pregnancy and death – Norman advises against this though he’d quite like answers himself

Moving on to Peter again who drops off Miranda at Roman’s (which he doesn’t think is a good idea) before going home, going to bed and having cryptic dreams. Destiny performs some woo-woo (see what I mean about conforming to stereotypes) this doesn’t go well and ends up with her vomiting black goo and needing miracle television CPR. When she comes to all she can tell Peter is to avoid the dreams because something Really Bad is coming. With no information about how he’s supposed to do that – and he’s not letting it go, obviously. Especially since Andreus recognises a sign from his dreams as a caravan park sign.

Roman checks on his baby and the Nanny (who seemed to have raised Roman as well) thinks the family is cursed because the babies cry. As you do. This entire scene appears to exist so the nanny can comment on the family being unhappy.

Roman awkwardly and weirdly invites Miranda to stay at his place since she has nowhere to go and can’t afford a hotel. Over dinner she explains her road trip and compare dad father stories (Roman is terrible with his) before looking at horses and calling Roman a Byronic hero (that’s the writers wanting to put their English degree to good use)

She gets in the shower and we focus on her tattoos (and breasts). And yes, Roman spies on her. Before going to his stables and feeding on his horse.

Norman drops in on Johann and after some sparring he warns Johann about the legal trouble about to fall on him – and that he’s willing to throw his considerable wealth behind it.

More scenes of Olivia angst.

In the woods, a drunk man runs across 2 men wearing silver masks – just like the pilot (remember them), chanting in Latin and flicking water about (which, coupled with the self-flagellation, sounds like old-school Catholic). They garrot him, because strangling just isn’t gory enough for Hemlock Grove.

There seems to be a lot of attempt to establish atmosphere in this show that isn’t really working too well for me – because it feels so forced. There are a lot of scenes without a lot happening but with creepy music. Or random things like birds dying running into a greenhouse. They’re establishing an atmosphere but it’s clear that they’re REALLY REALLY trying to do so. It’s like having the director behind me yelling “METAPHOR!” “SYMBOLISM!” “LOOK FUCKING THEMES! DID YOU SEE THE FUCKING THEMES?!” while the composer whispers on the other side “oh creepy, yeah it’s creepy, so very creepy, isn’t this really creepy?”

This makes the whole episode seem rather slow, we don’t have a lot of progression in between the long scenes that seem to be there just for various characters to stare while music plays, or scenes that are dragged out longer because of dramatic pauses and camera angles.

With these semi-frequent challenging of Roma stereotypes (while embodying them), it’d be pretty nice if just once Peter would actually tell people not to call him “gypsy.” And, really, what is the point of laughing at the idea that all Roma are psychic and have woo-woo when the Roma on the show all have woo-woo or are criminals or both? You can’t say “hah hah these stereotypes are silly” and then embody them!