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Monday, April 29, 2013

Hemlock Grove: And So It Ends

Wait.  Roman's a vampire?  Seriously?  I know that he demonstrates a sick fascination with blood, his own and other's, and possesses eerie psychic powers, but I thought he was just a confused, brooding teenager, albeit one with eerie psychic powers.  So, his reflection shows up in mirrors, he walks around in the sunlight third-degree-burn free and he appears to subside on nicotine and scotch rather than sweet, sweet blood, but he's a vampire?  Fine, I guess.  Whatever.

Look, I didn't know Roman Godfrey, played with a forever-faltering American accent by the jaw-droppingly handsome Bill Skarsgard, was supposed to be a vampire until I read a couple different reviews for Hemlock Grove that labeled him as such.  That kind of seems like a problem, doesn't it?  Maybe I wasn't watching close enough.  I mean, there were all of those clues, like, the handsomeness and the bad accent.  After all, that's how you can tell the vampires from the humans on True Blood.

The fact that Roman is a newfangled vampire creature for the 21st century--one born out of the sexual union of a young girl with a rat tail poking out from the base of her spine and a teenaged gypsy, who can only fully realize his full vampire potential following a failed suicide attempt (Yup.  For real.)--doesn't bother me too terribly much, as his friendship with Peter, and their subsequent Hardy Boys-style team-up to solve The Mystery of the Half-Eaten Teenage Girls, is, in the end, the only thing this series truly has going for it.  If this was a show about a gypsy werewolf and a rich dick vampire driving around in a vintage car solving mysteries, I'd be all for it.  But it's not that.  Not really.
What are you dudes staring at?  Oh, wait.  I remember.  The rest of you should stop reading if you don't want spoilers galore.  Just saying

I don't really know how to proceed.  Hemlock Grove tosses so many plot threads and wacky characters into the mix, that it's hard to get a good reading on what any of it means.  By the final episode, most of the plot threads have been left to dangle until and the bulk of the ancillary characters have either been murdered or rendered batshit insane.  Nothing is wrapped up satisfactorily.

I don't like to be jerked around by television shows.  More specifically, television show creators.  I have never seen a show that seems more slapped together without a second thought than Hemlock Grove.  It feels as if the writers sat in a room one afternoon brainstorming, and instead of crafting a coherent story around some interesting characters with dark histories that live in a quirky town in the shadow of a creepy science lab full of secrets, they just shat every nutball idea onto the page with reckless abandon:

"Put a werewolf in there.  Oh, how 'bout a weird Frankenstein's monster girl who communicates through a cellphone and glows when she's excited.  Explain it?  We don't have to explain it.  Just put her in there.  Oh, and there's another werewolf only this one's crazy and it mauls sexy teenage girls.  Oh, and there's a mad scientist dude, but you don't know what he's up to and you never find out.  Oh, that's good.  And vampires!  Shit, I almost forgot.  Put some vampires in there.  And gypsies.  And mental patients.  And an ancient order of werewolf hunters.  And telekinesis.  And boobs.  Don't forget boobs.  And everyone should be smoking constantly.  Everyone!"
Let's find out if any of the questions I posed in my previous Hemlock Grove post were answered.

1. What is the Ouroboros Project and what's inside that box? Why is it glowing? Is whatever is glowing in the box the same thing that makes Shelly glow?

I have no idea what the Ouroboros Project is, but I know what's in that glowing box.  It's the fetus from the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Glad to see he's still getting work.

I don't know why everybody's glowing and sparkling and shit.  At least Roman isn't sparkling.  Ugh, I couldn't handle more sparkly vampires.

2. What is Olivia anyway?

A vampire, I guess?  Forget it.

3. Did Roman impregnate his own cousin and then use his mind powers to convince her it was an angel that knocked her up? I think I'm right on this one. He is waaay too into his cousin.

Roman is the father of Letha's baby, but I think he had been enchanted by his mother to knock her up or something. I don't know why this coupling was so important to Olivia however.  In the end, Letha, Olivia and the baby are all dead, so, your guess is as good as mine.  (Note: Please do not waste any of your precious time attempting to make a guess.)

4. Also, why was Roman all Freddy Krueger-faced when he was born?

I don't know why, but Olivia ate all that weird shit off of his face after his birth.  Ew.

Oh, I almost forgot.  The evil werewolf killing everybody was Christina, a character I described in the last post as the "least interesting/necessary character."  I don't think it's ever a good idea when your mysterious killer is revealed to be the least compelling character on your show.  But who cares?  Hemlock Grove doesn't give a shit, so why should you?

I liked parts of Hemlock Grove, but the terrible acting, cheesy dialogue, meandering plot threads and deeply unsatisfying conclusion make it really difficult to recommend.  So, I won't.  

Final Grade: C-


ijusthateeverything said...

Destiny makes a few mentions of Roman being a "wampyr" in earlier episodes, but it isn't confirmed until the finale.

And I agree with Christina being uncompelling for most of the season. Though she's pretty much one of the first characters to appear in the show, so I had a feeling she would end up being important.

But yeah, it's kinda just a bunch of random crap thrown at the wall (and it ALL stuck).

At least it was a nice change of pace from the soap opera vampires of The Vampire Diaries.

Anonymous said...

dude I'm pretty sure Letha's baby is still alive. what was Olivia trying to get Roman to do before he killed her. I'm pretty sure it was eat the face off of that other baby. which sounds crazy and stupid now that I am spelling it out. well anyway I would at least rate this show a B compared to all the other bad stuff I see on TV

Matt said...

ijusthateeverything: I guess you're right. The word "wampyr" is thrown around in the early episodes. I think I didn't understand what Destiny was saying, which is why I missed it.

Anonymous: The sheer crazy weirdness of the show makes me want to give it a higher (arbitrary) grade, but in the end I felt too betrayed to go any higher than "C-". Will I watch a second season? Probably.

Fine. I will absolutely watch a second season. I'm a completist at heart. That's the only reason I watched the third Matrix movie.

Anonymous said...

The stuff on Roman's face when he was born was the amniotic sack. That's why Olivia said he was, "born in the caul". She killed each of her babies until one was born with the amniotic sack intact...which ended up being him.

Anonymous said...

Roman is an umpir. Its an eastern European thing. They're day monsters, like vampires that consume families, children first.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that really stuck with me about the show (except for all the wacked out random stuff) was Letha dying. She was hot, bangable, and her and Peter were all happy. Why do shows always have to kill the happy coupling?

Anonymous said...

Actually I was watching Hemlock Grove with subtitles it wasn't 'wampyr' that she was saying it was 'Upir'. Which is apparently a russian folklore vampire that can walk around in the daylight. o.o

Still hated that it turns out he was a vampire, I was hoping for something a little more interesting.

Trish said...

I couldn't understand why it was so important for Olivia to have Roman and Letha to have a child together, especially if she was then trying to make him kill it. What was even worse was that they were actually brother and sister. A little too weird for me.

Anonymous said...

they said that roman was an upir in the first episode. the first one. people don't watch or listen closely at all I've found! most of the people complaining online about plot points not being answered are referencing a lot of things that were fully explained in the show! i really don't understand that...

The Clueless said...

What was all the 'turned out' to be a vampire? He's pasty as milk, has odd euro inflection creeping in his voice, can enthrall people and is obsessed with blood? Revelation? Come on! The Hardy Boys thing was sort of cheesy but this show is far too dark to end up being Scooby Doo meets Twilight. Its more Underworld meets Se7en. Its worh more than a C when you compare it to all the teenie angst vampire soap offerings choking our TV arteries. B+

Anonymous said...

Roman isn't born from the union between Olivia and the gypsy. One of the Godfrey brothers is his father. The gypsy's child is someone else.