Hemlock Grove dives deeper into darkness with sinister mysteries and gothic epic themes.
The second season of Hemlock Grove revolves around a new mystery that introduces a secret cult that kidnaps children, while the storylines of each character explore their darkness. With a more accessible plot, characters that are already introduced and now have a chance to evolve, this second season will be more easy to watch, while it stays true to its original weird and elusive style and gothic atmosphere.
This second season is much more carnal, brutal and earthly. The gothic aspect of the series is moved more to the background while new developments and new characters are introduced that are also cause for a far more sinister mystery.
This second season consists of 10 episodes with each a duration of 45-53 minutes. It has a continuous storyline that unravels different mysteries and develops the characters even more and finally ends in a bizarre climax that is a setup for the third and final season.
After Roman and Peter found out who the Vargulf was and killed her, Shelley gets blamed for all the deaths and has to go into hiding. Lynda is arrested by the police, which means that Peter has to go back to Hemlock Grove and has to ask Roman for money to bail her out.
But Roman has other things on his mind, his newborn baby who is the child of Letha and himself, which was setup by Olivia. After this discovery and who he really was, Roman killed Olivia and took the baby. But that was all going according to Olivia’s plans. And she didn’t die but is patched up by Johann.
Meanwhile Miranda, a woman who has been hit by a car, shows up at Roman’s doorstep and he lets her stay. But after she found out that he is secretively hiding his baby and she lactates, she decides to stay and help.
While Peter and Roman’s relationship is slowly restored, they discover they have the same dreams or visions about men in black with white masks who kidnap children. Now they have a new mission, but they don’t know yet how the Order of the Dragon and a far more secretive and sinister plan are intertwined with their lives and their destinies.
Why you should watch it
After the previous events, the second season has to deal with all the consequences. The drama, relationships and the arrival of Miranda and Andreas make the overall storylines more human, earthly and understandable. It still has its elusive style, and weird humor and gothic vibe, a lot of gore, blood and sex and nudity, but it’s all toned down a bit to tell a solid story. With the strong music and surrealist feel of the visions, the authentic voice of Hemlock Grove is maintained.
Again the story is full of mysteries. Who are the masked men who kidnap children? What is Johann working on, what is Ouroboros and what does it have to do with Shelley? Was it just a strange coincidence that Miranda showed up and what kind of new creature is baby Nadia?
There’s a lot going on this season, mainly because everyone is split up and has their own problems. Peter has to deal with Lynda and Destiny’s new criminal boyfriend Andreas, and gets involved with the wrong people, putting himself in serious danger. Roman has to take care of Nadia while he is also the new board member and CEO of the White Tower taking Olivia’s place after she died. And now that he has become a full Upir he has to give in to his cravings for blood, but wants to be human.
Johann is occupied with his project Ouroboros which isn’t merely a scientific feat but also a grand gesture towards Shelley. But there’s something off with him too, making him a superhuman.
Shelly herself goes into hiding and makes a new friend, a boy Jason who brings her food. She becomes an even more tragic figure, really cut off from the world and an outcast. When he gets her a phone she calls Norman the only one whom she trusts and he saves her and brings her to Johann who wants to sincerely help her.
Olivia is only interested in herself and now that Norman divorced his wife she has him all to herself, but he doesn’t know about any of her secrets. After she was nearly killed she has become more human and weak and she gets cancer, which brings out her more human side and sincere emotions. We also find out more about her mysterious and tragic past.
Meanwhile Clementine Chasseur has become the new sheriff in town and she isn’t exactly what she seems to be. She is part of the Order of the Dragon who hunts down Upirs.
All these new developments turn the series in a drama with supernatural and gothic elements. There’s more focus on their actions, their decisions, their relationships which are intertwined with the mysteries that soon prove to be a great danger. With a clear structure, the plot is well-balanced out and has a great buildup that ends in a spectacular fight at the end, with some devastating conclusions and a big cliffhanger.
My favorite part
Shelley is still my favorite character and how she stays true to herself, without ever becoming bitter or hating the human race is really admirable. Although she looks like a monster, she’s the real and sincere goodness of the series. She holds on to love and honesty and hope and while some people are really trying to help her, others take advantage of her goodness and prove that evil without scruples always wins, for now. Slowly Shelley is growing into a centerpiece of the story and its message.
Also the bond between Peter and Roman, about whom the story revolves, is very special and that shows when Peter turns into a Vargulf to fight and safe everyone, Roman is the only one who can bring him back. That results in some awesome body horror that is brilliantly shot and shown. This and the depiction of Shelley make this a daring series with a unique and clear voice.
Gore factor: ★★★★☆
Surreal factor: ★★★☆☆
Gruesome factor: ★★★★☆
Originality factor: ★★★★☆
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
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Cast and crew
Hemlock Grove is based on the novel of the same name written by Brian McGreevy. The series is also created by Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman. It stars Famke Janssen (Olivia Godfrey), Bill Skarsgård (Roman Godfrey) Landon Liboiron (Peter Rumancek), Madeleine Martin (Shelly Godfrey), Madeline Brewer (Miranda Cates), Lili Taylor (Lynda Rumancek), Luke Camilleri (Andreas Vasilescu), Dougray Scott (Norman Godfrey), Kaniehtiio Horn (Destiny Rumancek), Joel de la Fuente (Johann Pryce) and Kandyse McClure (Clementine Chasseur).
Music: Nathan Barr. Cinematography: Fernando Argüelles. Production company: Gaumont International Television, Mad Hatter Entertainment, ShineBox SMC. Original network: Netflix.