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October 2017

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TV

Hemlock Grove (TV series)

I watched the whole first season of Hemlock Grove.

It was very good. I was sucked right in by the characters and I liked the season long plot arc. When I got to the end I wanted to go back and watch it again to see what I missed the first time. Caviat: there is a lot of swearing, drinking, smoking, sex, and nudity, as well as the blood and gore.

It's the story of a teenaged Gypsy werewolf, Peter Rumancek, and an upir (a kind of Russian vampire), Roman Godfrey. Soon after Peter and his mother arrive in Hemlock Grove, PA, young girls begin to be killed by some kind of animal. A girl at school starts a rumor that Peter is a werewolf and the murderer. While Peter is a werewolf, he isn't the murderer, and to clear his name he needs to find the real killer. He finds an unlikely ally in Roman Godfrey, the son of the richest family in the town. Peter recognizes Roman as an upir. But Roman seems unaware of his true nature. Roman's mother however is clearly evil. Roman also has a younger sister, Shelly, who seems to be some kind of Frankenstein monster. Shelly is very tall, and very strong, and has a deformed face. She also glows when touched and when she is afraid. She can not speak but she is a very intelligent young woman and has a very sweet nature.

I love the names: Peter the wolf, Roman the emperor, Shelly the Frankenstein monster (Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelley), Sheriff Sworn.

Roman's mother tells him a story about Emperor Butterflies, about how you can't help them out of their cocoons or their wings won't form properly. They need to struggle to grow properly. That turns out to be true in some very literal ways for Roman.

I love how minor characters or conversations come back later to cause problems. It gives the story depth. And I love the ending. They wrapped up the murder mystery so I felt a sense of closure, but after that was fixed they go back and show you all the things that still need to be resolved. I'm looking forward to the next season, which has been ordered.

The first season was based on a book. There is only one book, so no one knows where the next season will go. I hope they keep the season long plot arc format, and continue to give us some closure on some issues.

Some people suggested that Roman was sexually attracted to Peter. I looked for any evidence of that in the show and couldn't find it. They are just friends. I like hot man-on-man action as much as anyone but men can be just friends. Two of Peter's relatives mention that Peter has never had a real friend before and that is probably true of Roman as well, although his family is so messed up no one has noticed or cares enough to say anything.

The werewolf transformation scene was original. Instead of transforming from a human into a wolf, the wolf seems to form inside Peter's body and shake the human body off. And the wolf is played by a real wolf, not CGI. I prefer to watch the human body reshape itself into the wolf. But this different form of transformation raises the possibility that the wolf is really not the same person as the man. For good or ill they don't go that way. Peter has a lot more influence on his wolf form then other werewolf narratives.

I highly recommend this series.

Comments

I liked it as well. I found famke's accent annoying, but other than that i really liked it.

And the final part of the transformation is devouring what is left of the human, which i loved.
Eating the "afterbirth" seems to be something the wolf is naturally inclined to do, rather than a necessary part of the transformation. In a later transformation scene Roman knows that Peter has transformed because he finds the pile of shed skin. In that case the wolf had a mission and was in too much of a hurry to stop for a snack. But under normal circumstances there is no reason a wolf wouldn't want to eat a pile of bloody skin.
Sounds interesting!
Let me know if you enjoy it.
I have only watched the first episode so far, and I must say it didn't really impress me. However, your endorsement means a great deal to me, so I am going to give the other episodes a try!
I just re-watched the first episode so I could check my response.

The first time I watched it I didn't catch the little notice saying we were going back in time so I didn't understand how people could think Peter was the killer if he hadn't arrived yet.

It has a weird pacing, sort of slow and fast at the same time. Still, so much happens in that first episode I just wanted to find out what was going to happen next.

It starts off fast with sex, blood, and murder. That scene with Roman in the ice cream shop is just weird. Roman is very messed up. I can see how people would feel he is not a very sympathetic character. But his mother is so messed up I can't blame him for being messed up too. The actor who plays Roman (Bill Skarsgård) reminds me of Steve Buscemi.