The first scene shows one of young heir Roman Godfrey’s sexual conquests. The daylight scene is shot with a yellow filter and has a soft focus which gave me the impression that Hemlock Grove is 80s-style schlock. It gets better later, but only slightly.
Bill Skarsgard probably understands just how maladjusted Roman is, emotionally and sexually. Roman is set up to be a hero/anti-hero/legend/whatever, but his only change is that his jerky behavior is softened. Landon Liboiron’s Peter is very laid back and is definitely is very comfortable with Roman. Famke Janssn gets to vamp it up in white clothes as Olivia. Dougray Scott and Aaron Douglas try to imbue dignity in their roles as concerned fathers, but I don’t sympathize with their characters for different reasons.
Netflix’s latest original series, Hemlock Grove, shifts between murder mystery and teen drama until the mystery comes into focus around the ninth episode. A typical episode features dialogue that is blatantly vague and alludes to bigger mysteries to come. However, the biggest mystery must be how can so much strangeness occur in one town. I’ll assert that Mrs. Godfrey has put in place some odd city-wide toxic air that allows people to embrace either despair or their freaky side.
If your criteria for episodic entertainment is based on high quantities of gore, topless scenes, and loads of plot threads, Hemlock Grove will surely please. Grove’s proud of having no heart and containing many howlers. I had to really bring myself to watch the final 20+ minutes of season one. Hemlock Grove is sometimes entertaining, but mostly perplexing. The roller-coaster ride that is season one is enough for me.
Major Spoiler Discussion Follows
While Hemlock Grove isn’t “F-worthy” as Zach Handlen of AV Club grades it, there are still some problematic stuff that I found. Some may find them part of Grove’s charm, though:
- They sure are unsparing about killing off female characters, aren’t they?
- After knowingly raping a girl, I can’t cheer for Roman to become… whatever alleged greatness he aspires to become.
- So, I’m supposed to believe that the sheriff shot a weird girl clutching a werewolf and that makes said weird girl the “killer of record?” I don’t buy it, even if Roman and Olivia go door-to-door brainwashing the citizens.
- The sudden, unexplained change in appearance in the killer is a giveaway. What’s worse is how several characters are overlooking that change in appearance.
- How is Peter exactly off the hook in the aftermath? He was the town’s public enemy #1.
- Character who had most humanizing and most sympathetic is now unsympathetic. Character isn’t human, after all, so that “doesn’t count.”
- Dr. Chasseur could’ve been cut out of the plot. She doesn’t affect anyone in any significant way.