Monday, February 29, 2016

Hemlock Grove, Season 3, Episode 9: Damascus

And Olivia kills everyone, snarking gloriously all the way and continues to give not one single fuck about everything.

Ok, not really – but damn wouldn’t that be a better show?

Well, we don’t get Olivia rampaging around, exactly, though she’s still a terrible person. We do get a whole lot of death this episode – yes we’re racing towards a tragic ending

Firstly, let’s cover the anti-climactic, clumsy summation of the meta that defined the last season and has been largely forgotten and ignored this season: Spivak, the Jormungandr, ancient enemy of the Upir. Roman found out where he was lairing last episode and, with a last minute revelation, they find the weakness of the near immortal creature. Turns out the reason why the species are at war in the first place is that Jormungandr are super-duper vulnerable to upir venom (the war, by the way, is over who gets to eat humanity unchecked so we’re all kind of team nobody here, but the Upir, even with the jaw thing, are kind of classier and don’t wear ugly jumpers so we’ll go with them. I mean, if humanity has to be killed by an immortal predatory monster, it could at least have the common decency to be well dressed while doing so, right?)

You’d think all the bed time stories of how super dangerous the Jormungandr would include a note that “hey just bite ‘em”. So in between dripping Roman’s venom in the spawning pools of baby manta-ray monsters Roman and Peter find the big bad Spivak. After ineffectually shooting him a few times, Roman nibbles on him and lo the season’s uber big bad is killed in the time normally reserved for advert breaks

I’m quite sure this show is written by people of integrity and in no way did someone wake up and realise they had a storyline left and just decided “fuck it, bite him. Death. Back to the angst”. Of course not. Baby Nadia is rescued (she was being used for creating new Jormungandr and I’m not even going to try and decide how or why because I can live my whole happy life not knowing that, and this show likes incest too much for me to examine any of their breeding plans in detail).

Anyway, back to the angst. Olivia is trying really hard to be the worst person on the planet despite her son challenging her for the title. She and her caricature hallucination, need a new body before she eats herself. Annie and Roman are both AWOL so she turns to very distant and unwanted third option – Shelley, describing her with all the disgust and contempt we’ve come to expect from Olivia

Shelley is currently in the care of Johann because she is depressed, taking all her pills and generally not in a good place – which Olivia exploits brutally in making Shelley agree to giving up her body (temporarily) until Olivia can prey on one of her “A-list” children. Johann is duly outraged and finally snaps, done with Olivia – he plays the recording her has of her killing Shelley’s beloved uncle and Shelley let’s Olivia have it, strangling hr, kicking her out and telling her what a terrible person she is. It’s about time Shelley! Also, while everyone flocks around protecting Shelley because she is such a gentle, sweet person, we’re reminded that she’s also WAAAY stronger even than an Upir.

Shelley’s sweetness makes her one of the two people Johann actually cares about – the other being his very rarely seen boyfriend who Johann, after a lifetime of suppressing his sexuality and linking it to an abusive father, has finally decided to open himself to. Awww, maybe this homophobic portrayal will end with a…


Yes, that random guy Johann uploaded his brain into comes back and stabs Johann to death, leaving Shelly to tell his hardly-ever seen boyfriend. Of course

Johann’s death isn’t the only major killing this episode – we saw Annie buy herself a gun last episode. She’s now doctored the bullets to be anti-upir killers

She then gives that gun and a knife to Peter along with the news that Roman was the one who killed Destiny. This does not go down well…

At the same time we see that Roman is increasingly going over the edge – he’s no longer eating the bagged formula that Johann has made for him – he’s hunting live prey. Humans

Which is when Peter attacks – and it quickly goes against him. Even with a gun and a knife, the upir is more powerful and it’s Peter who ends up stabbed. And eaten. Is this the end of the werewolf?

If so, I’m laying odds that Roman dies next episode so we can have one big Greek tragedy.