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'Hemlock Grove' recap: Bad moon rising

Season 2 | Episode 3 | “Luna Rea” | Released July 11, 2014

When it comes to fulfilling audience expectation, modern horror is at a distinct disadvantage. Not only are the genre’s tropes so widely known that they become fodder for parody films, but clearing the hurdle as to what must be shown in order to tap into the grotesque is higher. Two ways around these obstacles are infusing the narrative with both humor and mythology—two approaches Hemlock Grove utilizes well in the episode “Luna Rea.”

We are only three episodes into the new season, and already the body count is mounting. Yet this episode kicks off not with a murder but with a resurrection. Audiences will remember that in the show’s first-season finale, Christina Wendall’s (Freya Tingley) screams could be heard coming from beneath her gravestone. It’s a plot thread that had gone ignored up until now.

Ambiance takes center stage as the episode opens at night at the grave of Christina. A single hand, with particularly gnarly, wolf-like nails, emerges from the dirt. Horror fans will recognize this scene as a nod to Carrie, a tale about a lonely, repressed girl whose supernatural abilities lead to her downfall. Come to think of it, that sounds an awful lot like Christina’s arc.

A white wolf gives chase to a hooded figure through the woods, and while the assumption is that this is Christina in her Vargulf (an insane werewolf) form, I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Our first big surprise of the episode occurs when the hooded figure is revealed to be none other than the presumed-dead Shelley Godfrey (Madeline Martin).

At the Wagoner Oasis, Peter is skulking around motor homes in the dead of night when a woman greets him with a gun and tells him that whatever he heard about the place is no longer true. Peter apologizes and, seeing a child emerge from behind her mother, warns the woman to lock her doors. As he rounds the corner, Peter bumps into none other than Roman, who is also being plagued by dreams he can’t ignore. The two have a tense encounter in which Peter reminds Roman that he isn’t the only one who lost Letha.

Back in the forest, the wolf is gaining on Shelley. Out of desperation, she flees into a tunnel and, as the wolf gingerly approaches the opening, attacks the animal by bludgeoning it to death with a rock. Between the blood splatters and decapitation, the scene is especially gory and is but a harbinger of the death to come.

Still at the campground, Peter is assaulted with images of a silver-white mask and of a child on a tricycle. As dawn breaks, he sees the bodies of the woman and child from the night before being removed from their home by police. A neighbor tells Peter that it was a murder-suicide no one saw coming. Returning home, Peter is confronted by Destiny, who warns that Peter’s bruised and sunken chest is a result of his turning on a bad moon. Because he used his wolf metamorphosis against nature to con the drug dealers, Peter confused his body and it is now turning against itself.

From her greenhouse, Olivia spies Norman talking with Marie. Her jealousy is aroused when she sees the two share an embrace. For his part, Norman is concerned that Dr. Pryce is treating Olivia as an invalid to make her dependent upon his medical expertise. Norman then visits his erstwhile nephew and tries, in vain, to get Roman to forgive Olivia.

Alas, Roman has more pressing problems, like attempting to stave off his blood lust by watching detailed medical videos while sucking the marrow from steak bones. Roman also takes a jaunt through the White Tower, where he can find nothing too out of the ordinary, save for an array of electrical lines. His attempts to follow Dr. Pryce and his assistant fail when the two seemingly disappear into thin air. Meanwhile, Pryce is steeling himself for a lawsuit by demanding that his assistant create an enzyme prohibitor that will work like an atom bomb going off in the bloodstream.

Back at Roman’s house, Miranda watches with interest as the butler enters a locked room (the one leading to the baby). She convinces Peter to let her come along to get the parts for her car, and the two spend the ride getting to know one another. They wind up back at Peter’s apartment for a tarot reading, but discover that Destiny is nowhere to be found. Taking the initiative, Miranda kisses Peter, and the two have sex. In the aftermath, Miranda asks Peter about his ex, and he reveals that she is dead. The moment is about as awkward as you’d expect.

And because not enough people have returned in this episode, we get our first glimpse of the hunter priest. Last season, he told Michael Chausser (Demore Barnes) that Roman had murdered his twin sister, Dr. Clementine Chausser. In reality, her chest was ripped open by none other than Olivia. All we know about the priest is that he is part of the Order of the Dragon, a werewolf-hunting religious clergy.

It seems the priest is angry that Michael hasn’t yet killed Roman. Demonstrating logic beyond any other inhabitant of Hemlock Grove, Michael terminates the relationship, saying that he needs proof before exacting any revenge. Furious, the priest calls Dr. Pryce and reminds him that some dogs need to be put down.

Elsewhere, a mother is returning home on a darkened street and is getting her child out of the car when a man approaches. He identifies himself as a police officer and warns that she should lock her doors because an intruder has been seen in the neighborhood. The police officer returns to his truck, where a man awaits. On the seat alongside him is a silver-white mask. Also popping up is Michael Chasseur, the town’s new sheriff.

Tired and hungry from running, Shelley spies a vacant house and takes up shelter. A young boy stumbles upon her and asks if she is OK. Rather than mock her appearance, he offers Shelley his apple. The boy returns later with a drink and fresh bandages for Shelley’s hands. When she resists his help, the boy takes off his shoe and reveals a hideously misshaped toe. Bonding over their shared deformities, the two share a heartfelt moment. But the good vibes don’t last.

Olivia receives an unexpected visitor in the form of Marie, who tells Olivia she forgives her for being the other woman in her marriage to Norman. Never one to be gracious, Olivia responds that she doesn’t need her forgiveness. She then cuts Marie to the quick, telling her to just get over her daughter’s death. This confrontation was a long time coming, and both actors do a fine job of showing the emotional subtext that exists between each pointed barb. Marie succeeds in shading Olivia effortlessly when she says that not only will Norman grow tired of her, but that her own son has grown to hate her as well. It is by far the ballsiest that we’ve ever seen Marie. Unfortunately, judging from the look on Olivia’s face, it is likely the last time we will see Marie.

A montage of self-flagellation, a white-silver mask, a gun, a car following a child, and child riding a tricycle awakens Roman from a deep sleep. It is the same montage from Peter’s visions. Roman goes upstairs and finds his baby still crying uncontrollably. The two share a bizarre face-off before the child suddenly stops crying and points to the door. Roman heads downstairs to find Peter knocking. For the first time, Peter genuinely apologizes to Roman for deserting him in the wake of Letha’s death. He notes that Destiny told him to pay attention to his visions and he didn’t. Now Peter questions whether his failures caused Letha’s death. The confession works to somewhat soften Roman’s heart, and he tells Peter that the kid in the vision was looking at a plane with a green banner.

Sporting an impressive set of crocodile tears, Olivia seduces Norman. In a state of connubial bliss, Norman is blathering on about taking a vacation when Olivia excuses herself to use the bathroom. A slow, mirrored pan reveals Marie dead in the bathtub, her throat torn out.

Comments, Gripes and Observations

  • Did anyone else think that Shelley looked considerably shorter? Like, noticeably so?
  • Two standout characters in this episode had to be the low-level drug dealers Peter hustled. Granted, their boss is a pig-killing mercenary, but these two are more Laurel and Hardy than threatening, and provide some much-needed comic relief.
  • Marie’s death caught me off guard. It’s a shame Olivia won’t have another female with which to verbally tangle.
  • What are everyone’s thoughts on Miranda? For me, the jury is still out.

Hemlock Grove can be viewed on Netflix.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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