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Hemlock Grove 1×04 “In Poor Taste”

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“Congratulations! It’s a boy.”

The fourth episode of Hemlock Grove starts off with Letha Godfrey (Penelope Mitchell) having a flowery sex dream about Peter Rumancek (Landon Liboiron) while on the bus on the way to school. Practically everyone in this family wants to bang Peter, it’s seriously the funniest thing about this show.

Random side note: why is a Godfrey even on a bus in the first place? Her father’s the top psychology doctor man in town so he’s at least a little bit loaded, and her excessively loving cousin Roman (Bill Skarsgard) is heir to an empire that’s worth more money than everyone else in Hemlock Grove put together. How does she not have a limo and chauffeur? Or at least a Ferrari?

Anywho. Christina Wallace (Freya Tingley) is still having nightmares after her run-in with Lisa Willoughby’s corpse in the last episode. She’s at a sleepover with her best friends, Alyssa and Alexa Sworn, because her parents are being overbearing or something. The fraternal twins wake up when Christina starts mumbling and crying out in her sleep.

The girls debate on whether or not to wake her up, but the decision is made for them when Christina bolts upright in bed and starts screaming.

Later, at Hemlock Acres, Norman Godrey (Dougray Scott) and Clementine Chasseur (Kandyse McClure) are seen questioning Francis Pullman. Pulman maintains that he saw the creature that killed the girls – describing it as a “demon dog” with black fur, yellow eyes, and impossibly huge – but Norman and Chasseur look less than convinced.

Chasseur reveals that she used to be a soldier in an attempt to get Pullman to open up to her more, which actually works pretty well: he tells her that he saw the monster “go for her lady part first.”

After Pullman leaves, Chasseur and Norman admit that Pullman knowing that key detail about the case, when it hadn’t been revealed to the public, makes his story a lot more credible than it sounds. Perhaps he actually did witness the killing and just got the rest of  his observations mixed up?

Chasseur asks Norman’s advice on what to do next, and he suggests she go to the White Tower and ask for Dr. Johann Pryce (Joel de la Fuente), asking only that she not mention Norman was the one who sent her there.

At the Godfrey estate, Shelley (Nicole Boivin) and Roman are having breakfast when Olivia (Famke Janssen) swoops in, impeccably dressed as always, and orders Roman to drive Shelley to school because she’s got some business to attend to. She then interrogates Roman about last night’s visitor, Peter, sneering that she doesn’t want him coming to the house anymore.

Once her kids leave for school, we find out that her “business” that needs attending to basically consists of her lounging around putting drugs into her eyes to keep the creepily whispering voices in her head at bay. Uh, hearing voices is a bad sign, Olivia. You might wanna stop self-medicating and go see if that multi-million dollar medical research center you own can help you out.

Olivia then starts following Lynda Rumancek (Lilli Taylor) around town, trying to work up the nerve to ask the woman if she can buy her stash of eye-drop drugs. Lynda totally knows what Olivia wants, but she’s certainly not going to make it any easier on her. After a few minutes of standing around looking desperate, Olivia storms away.

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Later, Olivia brings Shelley to the White Tower for her checkup and has several cryptic conversations with Dr. Pryce – one being the topic of Letha’s pregnancy. She wants Letha to have the baby at the Tower, and has commissioned a contractor to build an obstetrics wing for that exact purpose.

It looks like the drugs wear off right about then, because Olivia starts hearing the voices again. Distressed, she runs out for some fresh air.

Shelley is visibly distressed by her mother’s erratic moods, and later that day she types out an email to her uncle Norman reporting on Olivia’s declining control over herself.

She also tells him a story about picking up some coffee with Roman just before school and running into Jenny, the kind-hearted restaurant waitress from the pilot episode. Olivia apparently got Jenny fired from that restaurant after she vocally supported Shelley’s bid for independence, and because of that Jenny is not very pleased to see the Godfreys at her new workplace.

Roman calls Olivia a “farm-fresh cunt” for getting Jenny fired, and with a laugh, Jenny is back to her cheerful ways and starts to show a pleased Shelley around the jewelry store.

After classes end, Roman offers to give Letha a ride home, so she doesn’t have to ride the bus again (see, even Roman knows that “Godfreys don’t ride buses”). Letha and Peter officially meet for the first time. Letha looks a little nervous, probably because she’s having flashbacks to her sex dream. During the car ride, Roman asks Letha to see if she can get details from her father about Pullman. She is rightfully suspicious of Peter and Roman’s motives for asking that of her.

The next we see Dr. Chasseur, she is sitting in a coffee shop doing research on the Godfrey Institute and listening to a police scanner when she hears a call being made to Sheriff Sworn (Aaron Douglas) about some wolf droppings in the woods. She shows up uninvited and starts poking around before finding a long strand of hair in the pile of literal shit.

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She tries to do a preliminary analysis on the strand, but eventually decides it needs to be sent in to a lab for a more official report. While she’s doing her random science-y jazz, the Sheriff hovers awkwardly around her until she invites him out for a drink.

After a few shots (on Chasseur’s part, not his) the Sheriff loses his temper and questions her sanity and ability to do her job, recalling that one time when she very seriously asked Peter if he was a werewolf. Chasseur gets down to business then and outlines to him what it is they’re going to do: she needs a hair sample from Lisa Willoughby, and is prepared to do anything to get it. Here, “anything” is synonymous with “illegally dig up her body and rip a few strands out of the poor dead girl’s head.”

But wait, why wouldn’t they just go the simpler, non-illegal route and ask Lisa’s parents if they can grab a sample from one of Lisa’s hairbrushes? Because that would be way too easy, that’s why.

Post-screaming nightmare, Christina gets sent to Hemlock Acres where they get her hopped up on shitloads of medications. She eventually goes back to Alyssa and Alexa’s house, who do their best to cheer her up… until Christina tells them about her make-out session with Lisa’s corpse. Then they just sit there in silence.

Later that night, to further their brotherly bonds of bro-hood, Peter and Roman go late-night grave robbing! This activity also comes highly recommended as a fun, unique, and memorable first date. (I’m kidding, please don’t do that.)

Roman actually goes to the trouble of dressing the part of a grave robber – all black, knit cap, the whole shebang – a detail that Peter relentlessly teases him for.

They trade stories about funerals they’ve been to – because what else are you gonna talk about while you’re digging up a body? We’re given a flashback of a young Peter at his grandfather Nikolai’s  funeral, chopping off Nikolai’s head because “bad things happen if you don’t cut off the head.”

Roman tells Peter that he’s only been to two funerals: the first was after his father’s suicide, and the second was his sister’s. Wait, whaaaaat?

Their desire for conversation quickly leaves them when they actually get started in on what they came here to do: gut Lisa Willoughby with a carving knife, rip out a piece of her intestines, and shove the mess into a mason jar. Yep.

They’ve barely finished with all that grossness when a distinctive truck drives up to the cemetery, and out steps Chasseur and the Sherriff. Roman and Peter don’t have the time to cover their tracks so they just run, leaving behind Lisa’s freshly gutted body and scores of evidence that could be tracked back to them.

When Chasseur and the Sheriff approach the grave, they instantly see it’s been disturbed.

And then the Sheriff trip and falls right onto the fleshy intestine-y bits of Lisa Willoughby. This is around the time I start laughing hysterically, because that would happen to him.

I also have no idea how he doesn’t immediately puke up everything he’s ever eaten in his life, but he doesn’t. Chasseur smoothly steps up to say a little prayer before tugging on Lisa’s hair and taking a good third of her scalp as evidence. The next morning, she calls the Sheriff and tells him that the hair came from a human male, not from Lisa – and since Peter must be the only male in town with hair six inches long, he just became her main suspect. Seriously, show?

Meanwhile, Norman and Shelley are chatting with one another via instant messaging, when Shelley types something that makes Norman’s blood run cold (I’m guessing, based on the look on his face): “Today I have seen the Dragon.” AKA, the exact words from the little mantra that his patient, Francis Pullman, is always muttering.

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Aha! The plot thickens.

Thoughts + Verdict

The first half of the hour was a bit of a slog as usual, but the final scenes – Peter and Roman digging up and then disemboweling Lisa, Peter’s flashback of his grandfather’s funeral, and the Sheriff hilariously falling nearly face-first into a dead girl’s bloody guts – made this episode that much better.

Honestly, I would like this so much more if stuff actually happened in it.

Rating: C+

Memorable Quotes

Alexa: Don’t! If you wake up someone who’s dreaming that they’re dying, they actually die.
Alyssa: What? No they don’t!
Alexa: Alyssa, they do, I saw it on the Internet.

Chasseur: You were in the 24th infantry? I was in the 16th. Ramadi. You didn’t ask to see what you’ve seen. But people who’ve been to the places we’ve been to, we see things differently.

Olivia: Make no mistake. What you track into this house, you will scrub from the floor.
Roman: Have you ever made a threat so cryptic you yourself don’t understand it?

Chasseur: Are you familiar with funerary practices?
Sheriff: Ashes to ashes, like that?
Chasseur: Mm. Another hobby of mine.
Sheriff: You ever consider stamps?

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