Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hemlock Grove, Season 2, Episode 5: Hemlock Diego's Policy Player's Dream Book

Roman is still scarfing down raw meat. Miranda chooses not to join him because she’s vegan (also,  ewww). Miranda asks about the baby – and Roman bites her – his jaws stretching impossibly wide to do so. Blood everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. This show is far too enamoured of its gore.

Actually it was all a daydream on Roman’s part, he just spaced out while Miranda was asking it about shut-in baby. He takes a moment to leave a “we have to talk” message for Johann, he returns to Miranda’s questions – she now thinks she’s the kid’s “major source of nourishment these days.”

These days? Hasn’t she fed the child once and only been in the house 3 days or so? Have we scooted to the future?

Roman tells her the baby’s mother is dead but dodges the rest of her questions. She has a freak out about lactating despite never having had kids (or liking kids for that matter), in the midst of freaking out she brings up aunt Margot and a death gene and Roman finally ends it by promising to get her to a doctor. Which seemed to be the sensible suggestion anyway. He tries to be reassuring but comes off as dismissive, curt and impatient.

In the cells, Peter tries to explain his psychic dreams to Michael. Michael has to let him go anyway because there are no charges against him but he warns Peter that he’s basically looking for an excuse to lock him up.

Peter leaves Roman a message about his dream and needing his help before he and Destiny go to see Lynda’s lawyer. Where they find yet more charges have been filed against Lynda. Peter has a tantrum in her office because she can’t magically wave a wand and make all of the charges go away. He calls it a hustle (adding that as a “gypsy” he can see one) and then he literally starts pulling apart her office.

Destiny and Peter go to the prison to visit Lynda and Destiny blames Peter’s off-moon shapeshifting as the reason why he lost it in the lawyer’s office. They see Lynda and she has a black eye, she’s been in a fight in prison. They try to be positive for her and she does the same – saying it’s a good thing that she’s being transferred.

Johann and Olivia have a brief meeting, Johann’s super happy that Roman has broken and called him. Olivia’s less happy that Roman went to Johann and not her.

Roman is invited to Johann’s secret lab, gets to see Priscilla, the woman Johann is growing in his glass box, and his secret yucky box full of Upir food. He can manufacture (with icky looking body parts) something Upir can drink to sate their hunger. Unfortunately, said drink also gives a high and Roman is desperate for more. Johann tries to warn him and restrain him but roman throws him aside and gorges on the disgusting goop. After nearly throwing it up again he runs from the room while Johann gives him a very disappointed look.

He reports to Olivia who considers it unfortunate that Roman has no restraint, but she’s still willing to make excuses for him while Johann is very worried about his work being disrupted. Olivia has other problems – not only is she feeling more empathy (human emotion) but when she nicked herself with a razor she didn’t instantly heal as an Upir would and Johann has now done tests showing that Olivia is aging – rapidly. All because of Upir neurotoxin (when Roman bit her); she’s horrified at the idea of only having a few centuries left to live and completely stunned when Johann tells her that she may only have a human lifespan. Olivia compassionately focuses on her son which annoys Johann, he much preferred her as a cruel, venomous sociopath.

Shelly meets with the neighbour kid again, and he gives her a phone which she uses to send an email back to Norman (he continues to send his sad emails to her). She tells him she’s alive but can’t accept his help. He calls in his private detective he has looking for Shelly. The detective dumps us Michael’s military and police record (including a dubious shooting) before throwing out that everything is dodgy in Hemlock Grove, there’s no way Marie isn’t in trouble in this town and how she’s super suspicious of Olivia. Norman, of course, won’t hear it and focuses on Johann.

Later, when she’s nearly found, she sends him an email asking for help.

Destiny decides to take matters into her own spell casty hands – well hallucinogen brewing hands – and coats the van that Lynda is being transported in with her own little brew. When the guards freak out and run, Destiny, Andreus and Peter arrive to spring her with bolt cutters and a happy passport and travel documents for Romania.

Olivia mopes a little about aging before deciding to work through it and go out to a club with some top shelf tequila and awful karaoke. And she decides to step up to the karaoke since it’s something she hasn’t done yet (the three tequila shots may also be why) and yes, she’s pretty good.

Miranda goes to see the doctor who’s a pretty awesome doctor and very reassuring. But she still goers back to Roman’s and is clearly troubled and frustrated. She seems to be getting all bondy with Creepy Baby. When Roman comes home he’s angry and has one of his strops over Miranda telling the doctor that there’s a baby in the house – something he insists on keeping a secret without telling her why. She points out a doctor can’t tell anyone anyway and how paranoid Roman sounds. Roman finally shares the family has a history of abuse and he’s protecting her – specifically the grandmother (I don’t think being locked up in a safe room is especially healthy). He also opens up a lot more – the threatening grandmother is his mother, the baby is his daughter and he doesn’t understand why the baby cries every time she sees Roman – he has a lot of worry about being a bad father. And he thanks Miranda for helping so much.

She offers hope and reassurance, they kiss and go to bed together. At least this sex scene doesn’t try to remove the male from the shot entirely and is pretty good at showing an equal lack of nudity from both.

After sex he has another recurrence of the hunger and a big burst of manpain angst

Peter, Andreus, Destiny and Lynda go to the airport. She has misgivings since she doesn’t know Romania or speak Romanian – and she hates to leave Peter behind. But she tells Peter not to follow because Hemlock Grove needs him – it’s important she knows, she has a special psychic feeling.

The woman Peter warned went to Seattle with her son. She thinks she’s safe but her son is in the bath – and water flows down the stairs. Looks like another murder made to look like an accident. She runs up to find him drown in the bath – and the masked man comes up behind her.

Michael picks up Peter to talk to him about their death – apparently a murder suicide; it looks like he’s willing to believe Peter’s psychic dreams.

Johann and his assistant have an argument – she hasn’t got his haemophilia bomb he asked for and she doesn’t get why it’s so urgent when it has no practical use beyond killing. Again, he pushes the “you do not question me!” thing. He threatens her – she does as she’s told or he’ll hand her over to be tried for war crimes – with added cutting swearing

Johann sleeps in the Godfrey Institute and is woken in the middle of the night by Roman – sweating, shaking and manic. He’s desperate, in incredible pain and offers Johann anything, anything to control the hunger. He tearfully begs at Johann’s feet. Johann has a possible experiment though he warns Roman it’s new – but Roman is past any kind of logical consideration and begs. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, doesn’t want to be like Olivia.

I think Roman’s characterisation would be better if more people emphasised that he is supposed to be 18 (or if they hadn’t cast one of the very tall Skarsgard clan to play him – or even someone who wasn’t a 23 year old). Because when you factor in that yes he’s an 18 year old spoiled rich kid way out of his depth and dealing with things well beyond him his character becomes – well, not sympathetic because that’s far too strong a word – but more understandable. Especially with him now opening up about his worries and doubts

It doesn’t help that it follows an annoying trope. A man is undergoing pain/issues and he expresses that through rage and generally being an arsehole to everyone around him. This is a specifically male trope – in fact, it’s a specific straight white male trope (mainly because viewing audiences are highly unlikely to be sympathetic towards a woman or minority behaving in this way – they’re likely to be demonised and rejected in a way that the straight white man doing it won’t be). He has manpain, he’s hurting and suffering and he lashes out in rage – which is proof of how much it hurts him. It’s a recurring trope in paranormal romance as well

To make this even less palatable, we see Peter stepping on the same road – either stress over his mother or, more likely, vargulf side effects are leading him to lash out with epicly childish, violent tantrums.

I’ve said before that there wasn’t enough progress in the storylines and there still aren’t, but as we’re moving forwards we can see the side effect of that. Peter started this season with an overriding focus on is mother, they seemed to forget that for 4 episodes of Peter chasing his dreams – and now Lynda is put on a bus – sorry, plane – and shuffled out of the plot. As an added bonus she even tells him to focus on his dreams. That whole storyline was half-assed at best and then thrown away when it was getting in the way. They had too much going on and can’t handle it all in a 10 episode season that also needs lots of moody staring into space while creepy music plays.

Hemlock Grove also needs to get past its love of disgusting goop and gore.