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‘Hemlock Grove’ Season 2 Episode 8 Recap: “Unicorn”

Roman tells Norman the truth about their family. Olivia’s rehabilitation takes an unexpected turn. Destiny discovers what the murderers are plotting.

“Unicorn” opens with a flashback to Olivia’s unmarried days, hunted across the country before getting caught and brought before the then-leader of the Order of the Dragon. He offers her a truce: so long as she targets the people he deems unworthy – as he describes them, “the shiftless, the imbeciles, the degenerates,” which is 159 kinds of fucked up – and the upir will be free to move as they please. Under strict observation, of course.

Olivia signs the treaty, but not before reasserting her strength and power over the humans in the room.

Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 10.18.50 PM

Photos: Netflix

While Miranda was off babynapping Nadia, Peter and Roman have been burying the mutilated bodies of the white masked cult members. Or, well, Peter’s been trying to bury them, Roman’s just sitting off to the side being of no help whatsoever (and at one point, stares hungrily at the blood on the corpses). Roman tells Peter about his gene therapy helping him to become human again. Elsewhere, one of Roman’s erstwhile victims – the pimp at that seedy motel and his wife – has gone to Sheriff Chasseur to report Roman’s attack.

Turns out one of the cult members Peter ravaged is still alive. Peter and Roman argue over what to do: Peter wants to turn her in to Chasseur, while Roman is worried that that’s going to lead to people sniffing around asking questions. They settle on interrogating her first before making any big decisions.

The terrified woman tells them her name is Sarah Chase – “I think”? – and that the man Roman and Peter killed was called John Bone. Apparently the guy had been kidnapping children and raising them to be serial killers in his little cult. “He thought killing families would bring the Apocalypse… and that God would come down from heaven.” Wait, I’m confused. Am I watching The Following, Sleepy Hollow, or Hemlock Grove?

Roman confirms Sarah’s story by doing a quick Google search on his phone. There goes my short-lived theory that she was lying through her teeth. Peter is less trusting, but agrees to go get the car Sarah said was parked nearby – leaving a soon-to-be-eaten Sarah with Roman. C’mon, man. Just ten minutes ago the dude was about to lick dried blood off a dead body, and now you’re leaving him with a mortally wounded, potentially innocent person? Mmkay.

Johann Pryce is traipsing around the White Tower prepping for Shelley’s procedure. As I’m watching him dance around his lab peering at screens and saying long words and being self-congratulatory, I have a thought: you know what would be an amazing crossover spinoff? Hannibal‘s Dr. Chilton and Hemlock Grove‘s Pryce palling around at some sort of medical convention. They could be so sarcastic and narcissistic and impeccably dressed and morally questionable in their fields of study, together. INSTANT BEST FRIENDS. Someone get on that, stat.

Pryce tells Shelley everything is going swimmingly so far, and he’ll begin phase two and three immediately. Transferring to the host body is the best thing for her, Pryce assures Shelley, since the police will come sniffing around again sooner or later. There is way too much emotion happening on my screen right now. I foresee something going horribly, horribly wrong with this plan.

Sure enough, Prycilla enters Shelley’s room while she’s resting and tries to convince her to stay in the White Tower with her, instead of completing the procedure. Shelley says no, but Prycilla stays to keep her company anyway.

Norman and his P.I. – oh my god it’s only been a few days and already I’ve forgotten her name, again -continue their sleuthing around Olivia’s cottage while she’s presumably elsewhere. Using U.V. lights, they find blood residue. A lot of it. “She fucking killed my wife,” Norman (FINALLY) realizes. For once, his delivery is extremely on point. I vote this for best quote of the season.

Norman’s all for turning Olivia in to the cops now, but Competent P.I. Lady says no can do – there’s no real evidence, because the blood’s all been bleached away, and by professionals, no less. She tells Norman that going to the cops with this won’t do a thing to stop Olivia; it’ll just let her know Norman is on to her.

Left with no other choice, Norman announces that he’ll “handle” this himself. “She’s not even human, her DNA tests prove it.” Competent P.I. Lady again warns him to just let it go and start a new life, but the look on Norman’s face tells us he has no intention of doing that. Which is fine, whatever, just so long as he doesn’t get Competent P.I. Lady involved and have her get mercilessly slaughtered.

Back with the Hardy Boys in the woods, Roman has actually managed to not eat Sarah and is helping her to the car. When Sarah asks for a “pop” because she’s thirsty, Peter realizes she’s not who she says she is (only people from the midwest call soda that) and threatens her with a knife. As Roman tries to talk Peter down, “Sarah” goes for a grenade hidden in the car and tries to blow them all up. AHA. THEORY VINDICATED.

Luckily Peter stabbed her and got the grenade away in time. The woman’s last words are “The Caul. You can’t stop us.” Wait, like the caul Roman was born with? That caul?

As Roman and Peter load the dead bodies into the car, Sheriff Chasseur rolls up. I’m cackling so hard at this point. Michael makes them unload the bodies at gunpoint, then handcuffs them both. When he inspects the bodies, he seems to recognize a symbol on one of the cult members’ watches… and goes to uncuff Peter and Roman, telling them not to breathe a word about this. Wait, whaa-

Peter and Roman return to Roman’s house, where the nanny tearfully tells them Miranda took the baby. The pair of them have another one of their joint visions as the scene cuts to Miranda trying futilely to comfort a crying Nadia in a diner. She’s approached by that Dr. Spivak she went to earlier this season – nigh unrecognizable in a knitted sweater – and when she hands him the baby, he seems not to want to give her back. Hella suspicious. Miranda senses something’s up, politely snatches Nadia back, and runs off as Spivak stares after them.

Alas, the car will not start, and Miranda is stuck.

Peter and Roman discuss the vision and plan to go to the White Tower. Before they can do so, Norman shows up, worried about Roman. Roman tells Norman that yes, he’s an upir, and yes, Olivia is capable of murdering Marie Godfrey. Norman tries to have a father/son bonding moment, but Roman isn’t having aaany of that bullshit.

Peter gets a call from Destiny telling them to come to her place… where a desperate Miranda has ended up taking the baby. At least she didn’t try trudging it out in the snow, man. The Big Talk goes down as well as you’d expect; Miranda is still freaking the fuck out, Destiny is rightfully protective of her and Nadia since Roman and Peter just killed two people, etc. Destiny, seeing that Peter isn’t going to give this up, offers to help them stop the rest of the cult by interpreting the dreams. By drowning.

Olivia makes an appearance in what I’ve affectionately nicknamed the Blood-And-Guts Room. She takes a hard fall off a stool, and Pryce ushers her into the lab to run some medical tests. Turns out Olivia has a mass, and Pryce is worried it might be cancer. He refers her to an oncologist.

The oncologist tells Olivia that the mass is acute lymphoma, and she has a 20% chance of survival. Galina the Russian Scientist with a Dodgy Past tells Olivia she might have an alternative form of treatment – and it involves eating Prycilla. WAIT NO. That’s supposed to be Shelley’s way out!

Michael goes to Suspicious Priestly Dude – his Order connection – and punches him out before showing him the watch with the symbol on it. His sister Clementine used to wear the same symbol, leading Michael to believe that the Order is operating some sort of killer cult death squad on the side. Seeing as how “Sarah” had mentioned bringing god down from heaven, it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that someone in the Order does have something to do with it.

As soon as Michael leaves, Suspicious Priestly Dude makes a call to a French chancellor, who tells him that extremists are entitled to their beliefs, before agreeing to send an envoy down to investigate.

The envoy she sends ends up being a member of the cult – so the higher ups in the Order of the Dragon are behind the killings. They shoot arrows into the priest, pinning him to the wall. Michael stumbles across him dying in the house, and in a desperate bid for survival, the priest finally tells Michael the truth: Olivia was the one who killed Clementine. The priest had been protecting Olivia, knowing Pryce and the White Tower were almost done with the technology that would wipe out upirs once and for all, but Michael doesn’t care – he just wants Olivia.

“Take mercy on me,” the priest begs. Michael takes an arrow and shoves it in deeper before leaving. Ice cold. I approve whole-heartedly.

Destiny, Roman, Peter and Miranda prepare the bath for Destiny’s drowning. While she’s under, she sees the cult’s lair and a meticulously plotted out plan to kill babies born with the caul in various towns. At the end of it, the cult members she’s spying on somehow sense she’s there, and stare menacingly at her as Roman, Peter, and Miranda pull her out of the water. Coupled with poppy music, this is a pretty cool sequence – probably my favorite that I can remember in this show.

Destiny tells them the cult is performing a “slaughter of the innocents” to find a particular baby that was born with the caul. “It’s the story of Herod. He heard a child was born, it was a threat to his power, he murdered a whole generation trying to find the one.” Roman realizes that the baby the cult is after is Nadia, because she, too, was born with a caul.

A terrified Roman rushes off to hold his baby – probably for the first time ever – and falls asleep as he’s making plans with Peter to find the warehouse in Destiny’s dream. Peter foolishly goes off on his own. He finds the right place, but it’s abandoned. Peter strips down, intending to turn into a wolf to better track the cult down, but before he can do anything, he’s shot by cult members appearing out of nowhere.

Meanwhile, Olivia finds Prycilla lying in bed and goes for the jugular… but not before Prycilla wakes up and whispers, “Mother?”

Memorable Quotes

Roman: We’re killing now?
Peter: Should’ve made them dig their own graves first.

Johann: No, what’s “you” is the mind I love so dearly. This broken body is just the chrysalis. You will soon be the butterfly.

Norman: What do you suggest I do? Turn the other ass cheek and spend my golden years with that monster?

Roman: Jesus! Maybe her best friend from the cult was from Omaha! Relax!

Johann: And that’s why we don’t touch things we’re not supposed to.

Norman: You’re not. Alone, I mean.
Roman: …I really don’t have the bandwidth for this.

Norman: I always knew. Denial, cognitive dissonance… adaptive traits in our family. We’d all go fucking crazy otherwise.
Roman: Oh, and none of us are crazy now?

Destiny: You stupid fucks better get the fuck over here right fucking now.

Miranda: So you eat blood?
Roman: It – it’s not eating, per se, it’s more like a.. a feeding –
Destiny: Oh, god, listen to yourself.

Galina: Radioactive for bombs, not people.
Olivia: If you’re here to preach kale juice or wheatgrass enemas, I’m not in the mood.

Galina: Plama broth you’ve been drinking. You think Dr. Pryce developed it for upir happy hour?

Michael: I don’t give a fuck about the pact, or other upirs. Just the bitch who killed my sister.

Rating: B