Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hemlock Grove, Season 2, Episode 8: Unicorn

Paris, 1884

Olivia is a prisoner, she’s dressed in Hessian, chained an her head is  sealed in a metal mask. She is being held by the Chancellor of the Order which has fought the Upir for 5 centuries. Most Upir are savages but he thinks Olivia will listen to a truce – targeting people the Chancellor considers expendable (the “degenerate” “imbeciles”, the “shiftless”); she will be monitored. She’s also to organise the upir so they’re self-policing. Before she agrees she proves that she could kill the Chancellor to make it clear she’s agreeing to his treaty, not obeying him

To the present!

Roman and Peter are digging graves for the Masked men they killed  - and Roman tells Peter about the human treatments he’s taking. They eventually decide not to bury them because it’s nearly impossible in the frozen soil. They drag the bodies to the car – and realise Roman can’t be left alone with them because his blood hunger is giving him issues.

At the police station, Nadine reports Roman’s attack on her husband/pimp to Michael; Michael is very very very interested in information about Roman’s violence.

Back to the murder cover up, one of the bodies starts moving – she’s alive. Peter thinks they need to speak to the authorities (when did he get so much faith in the system?) while Roman votes no, the publicity and prominence of the trial would be very very bad for them. Peter is a little surprised and reluctant when the idea of killing is raised. They resolve to take her home and question her (personally I think that’s a terrible idea given trace evidence – someone needs to go to the Orphan Black Allison school of body disposal -   but also it may just be delaying the inevitable until internal injuries finish her off).

Apparently they have some sense and the question the woman, Sarah. Who hasn’t said her own name for 10 years and even seems to have trouble remembering it. She was kidnapped by the other man, a “John Bone” and taken to a cult camp in the Utah desert – he had this strange idea that killing families would bring about the apocalypse. And the equally strange idea that bringing about the apocalypse would be a good thing. The kidnapped cultists were kept in line with death threats – and actual killing

She asks them to tell her mother she was sorry if she died – and Roman finds the missing person case of Sarah when she was a child. Peter is still wary of being conned (he’s hyper aware of scams) but Roman doubts very much a wounded and possibly dying woman is trying to scam them and had all the internet details at hand ready to pull it off just in case. Peter also doesn’t have much sympathy – Sarah chose to murder; Roman calls bullshit – raised in a cult under those conditions she had no choice.

They get her into the car with Roman rather comically trying to cheer her up about how wonderful a reunion with her family will be. But Peter holds her at knife point for an extremely over-reaction reason – looks like changing on the wrong moon is having repercussions. Maybe… but he sees her reaching for something and stabs her – Roman is horrified until they see she reached for a grenade pin. Yup, still a cult member. 10 points to Peter.

Except this is when Michael arrive sin a police car to find them handling 2 dead bodies. Michael cuffs them both then examines the bodies – he finds one watch with an odd rune on it that makes him thoughtful and he uncuffs both of them. And tells them both to keep quiet and not mention it – or they’ll die.

Ok this may be the first time Hemlock Grove has pulled off the acting because a human just threatened a werewolf and a vampire and made it believable.

At the Godfrey institute, Johann continues his plan to upload Shelly’s brain into Prycilla. I’m not sure if I followed it (because Hemlock Grove) but the process seems more like creating a Shelly copy in Prycilla then killing Shelly. This does not sound ideal and I think Shelly has doubts – though Johann thinks it’s perfect, especially since Shelly is wanted for murder.

Olivia also drops in for a meal that doesn’t go well – human weakness? Her being possibly injured makes Johann insist on an MRI which finds a mass in her brain – Johann refers her to an oncologist. Olivia goes into full denial mode, but takes his recommendation. And the guy she is recommended to tells her she has brain cancer – and only a 20% chance of survival.

At the recuperation home where Olivia is staying, Norman and private detective Letitia use UV to check for hidden blood. There’s a lot of it – Norman finally realises that Olivia is responsible for Marie’s death. Norman is no longer Team!Olivia but Letitia points out actually all this glowy stuff is bleach which also lights up in Luminol (so does horseradish – random fact) so it’s proof of a whole lot of cleaning – but not murder. But it is proof of careful cleaning because Letitia didn’t spray luminol – a professional cleaning team must have done it to ensure they got every drop of blood.

Still, Norman is on the warpath and is determined to make Olivia pay – adding that the DNA test proves she isn’t human. Letitia is wiser, she talks about growing up around Santeria and learning that the Brujos will always get you.

Peter and Roman go back to Roman’s house and discover Nadia has been taken by Miranda. Talking about getting her back is interrupted by another murder dream/vision/thing. This time including the White Tower

They try to talk about that and then Norman visits, eh wants to talk to Roman about odd DNA and European folklore. Roman seems to be a little tired of the secrets because he’s quite happy to say “yup, we’re upir”. This goes for more complexity and angst with Roman saying he’s done with his mother and Norman finally confessing that he’s Roman’s actual father. Roman  isn’t really impressed by the guy admitting it after nearly 20 years especially since he already had a father who he hero worships

Miranda arrives at a diner with a crying Nadia and struggles inside – and the doctor she visits bustles up to be helpful and awesome and offer great advice and generally be the best doctor ever. She leaves very quickly. And she goes to Destiny’s who then calls Peter and Roman.

Miranda, your planning is lacking.

Michael goes to see his priesty contact man and punches him. That’s one way to say hello. He hands over the symbol he found on the dead man’s watch – it’s the same symbol that his sister Clementine wore and the same symbol the priest has in his house. The priest tries to talk about people impersonating them so Michael hits him again. He finally claims that they have dissidents and promises to deal with them. The priest, Francis, calls the chancellor and tells her they have a rogue element; the chancellor doesn’t care about some serial killers, and dismisses it. Francis threatens her with the police so she agrees to send an envoy.

That envoy arrives – with a group of other masked men with guns.
Back to the White Tower and Prishelly meets Shelly for the first time – it’s a great scene with some good acting. Prishelly wants Shelly to stay in the White Tower; she desperately tells Shelly that she’s beautiful, that she can live and deserves to. They lie together but Shelly is determined to go through with dying

To Destiny’s and Miranda has to absorb the big reveal of Upir and werewolves and Peter even speaks in defence of Roman. Destiny still threatens Roman with a knife for going near Nadia what with the whole double murder and dream following (Peter’s not impressed because he knows she’s not about to get all stabby). Miranda backs them up with the murder dream prediction thing. Destiny reluctantly agrees to help.

Which means another prediction in the bathroom, this time involving drowning Destiny in ice water. All three of them holding her under, though Miranda is obviously a little perturbed by this. She gets a full vision of the masked people’s lair, them hunting down kids born with cauls. She also sees the face of the man who went to Francis – he senses her and when he stands up she is pushed from the vision.

She tells them they’re looking for a specific child and are willing to kill all of these kids with cauls to get the right one. Which includes Nadia – she was born with a  caul.

Back to the Godfrey institute and Dr. Zheleznova-Burdukovskaya gives a lot of info to Olivia. Firstly, the blood sludge Johann makes isn’t for upir, it’s just the biproduct of his failed experiments – in other words, it’s previous Prycilla’s he’s tried to create all ground up in a vat. And if Olivia wants to beat her cancer the best way is to eat his successful experiment – Prycilla (or Prshelly).

Michael drops in on Francis and finds him filled with arrows but alive. Michael’s not too upset by this nor even focused on hunting down the cult – so Francis drops the bomb that Olivia killed Clementine. He didn’t go after Olivia because of the pact – especially since the White Tower (which he is part of through Johann) will use technology to destroy all Upirs. Michael doesn’t really care and grants Francis “mercy” via quicker death.

Time for some riding out – in addition to Michael, Norman also heads out with a gun, going for Olivia. After a good scene with a sleepy Roman, Peter goes out to scout the warehouse where they think the cult is. Olivia goes hunting Prishelly

Peter gets inside and finds all the pictures and costumes form Destiny’s vision – then shifts – or starts to: people point guns at him with laser sights before he can start – and shoot him.

Olivia leans over to bite Prishelly – and she wakes up and calls Olivia mother.

I think these masked serial killers have had their storyline rushed a little – as has Michael and Francis. I think, for 10 episodes, Hemlock Grove has just overflowed the plot lines- there’s too much. Norman and Letitia, the original, quickly removed storyline of Lynda being arrested – these were easily dropped. Even without them, fitting in Roman and Olivia both apparently transforming, Peter the vargulf, Miranda and the baby, Shelly, and the masked serial killers would be a big ask to fit them all in the show – but

But things are coming together, storylines are converging and we even had some pretty good scenes in this episode, real emotion and connection and Miranda brought into the loop.