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'Hemlock Grove' recap: Love in the afternoon

Season 2 | Episode 6 | “Such Dire Stuff” | Released July 11, 2014

As a show that is well aware of its horror roots, Hemlock Grove is not a program that relies upon a continuous series of “shock and awe” to captivate its audience. Rather, the creative team behind this horror/supernatural hybrid takes a page from classic film and trusts the audience to derive its chills and thrills not only from its graphic shocks, but also from a horror that is more cerebral. In a time when almost every drama feels the need to end each episode on a cliffhanger, the approach is a narrative gamble. And it’s one that finds its payoff in the sixth episode of the new season, entitled “Such Dire Stuff.”

We open with Pryce making good on his pledge to rehabilitate Roman from a bloodsucking upir to an entitled human. Pryce—who it is now impossible not to imagine in full, bedazzled sleep mode—is almost gleeful in his approach to the treatment. Set to the rhythm of an upbeat, classical composition, the sequence begins with Pryce strapping Roman to a table and unleashing a torturous full-body tissue and organ transfusion. That Roman must remain awake for this procedure is just a side perk for Pryce. In a classic moment of “less is more,” the scene is deliberately sterile and devoid of any of the sensational explosions of gore we’ve come to expect from Hemlock Grove. As a result, it is one of the creepier moments in the series’ history.

Over at Peter’s pad, Andreas is happily eating breakfast while watching an episode of When Animals Attack. Seriously, how is it more people don’t get that Hemlock Grove has humor? But things quickly get serious when Lynda’s jailbreak prompts a visit from Sheriff Chasseur, who tells Peter in no uncertain terms that he knows Peter was involved in getting Lynda out of the country. Surprisingly, though, the Sheriff has little interest in going after Peter provided he help locate Chasseur’s sister.

We also finally learn the name of Pryce’s much-put-upon, alleged-war-criminal assistant: Dr. Zheleznova-Burdukovskaya. Although the Russian scientist possesses an accent that gives off straight “Natasha from Rocky & Bullwinkle” vibes, Dr. Z proves she is a potential power player when she visits Olivia on the sly. Promising the fading Olivia a longevity Pryce can’t supply, Dr. Z says she will help the woman in exchange for a favor down the line.

Learning of Roman’s treatments, an unhappy Olivia pays a visit to Pryce. He advises her to turn her attention toward her granddaughter, which, given Olivia’s lack of maternal instinct, is only likely to be magnified. We get an inkling of this when Olivia attempts to visit the baby in a move that feels an awful lot like a possible abduction. And while Roman interrupts her efforts, Olivia is successful in finding out about Miranda from the baby’s nurse.

Our weekly dose of blood in this episode comes from the most unexpected of places. Up until this point, we’ve been led to believe that the people behind the masks are this season’s Big Bad. But in a telling scene, one masked man watches a child he obviously intends to kill; however, rather than killing the boy, he tearfully takes his own life instead (in blood-spurting fashion) by slicing into the arteries in both legs. His mask-wearing posse finds his body and, after deeming the man too weak, blow up his car.

The unscrupulous Dr. Z proves not as stealthy as one would expect a Russian criminal mastermind to be when Dr. Pryce, who knows all about her visit with Olivia, accosts her. The face-off ends with Pryce seemingly having the upper hand. But when did you ever know a war criminal to give up that easily?

The friendship between Shelley and her young ally, whose name is revealed to be Jason, meets a disturbing end when Shelley is stabbed with a meat cleaver as she tries to save Jason from his abusive father. Injured, Shelley leaves Jason playing video games, sitting amid the carnage of his dead family members. Norman picks up Shelley and they head to Pryce’s office, where Norman begs the doctor to help save Shelley. While noticing Shelley’s distinct lack of a glow factor, as well as how she can now speak, Pryce informs her that he will do everything in his power to keep her safe.

Proving to be the most stable couple of the show, Destiny and Andreas decide to host a party that puts Peter and Miranda back in each other’s orbits. The two swap war stories of growing up and decide to spend one last night together before Miranda hits the open road. The next morning, HBIC Destiny lays into Miranda and accuses Peter’s new love interest of running a con. Here’s hoping that Destiny is correct and that Miranda will finally become interesting.

Although she’s been promising to leave for what feels like forever, Miranda is still at Roman’s house and has taken to sneaking the baby out to the park. Naturally, Olivia follows and stalks menacingly.

In the interim, Peter has shown up at Roman’s looking for Miranda, and the two get into a an extremely physical punching match. They are interrupted when Miranda and the baby return. Roman finally comes clean that the baby is Letha’s, and we are treated to an awesomely sappy—yet effective—scene of Peter telling the baby how much he loved her mother. And with that, Peter and Roman finally forgive one another.

Miranda weighs in that she is naming the baby Nadia. Then she gives an epic monologue in which she espouses all the great qualities of Peter and Roman. Naturally, this being Hemlock Grove, the moment ends with her leading Peter and Roman into the bedroom for a ménage à trois.

Comments, Gripes & Observations

  • You have to question Shelley’s decision to leave Jason sitting in a pool of his family’s blood. Isn’t that how Dexter got his start?
  • The scene between Olivia and Dr. Z may not pass the Bechdel test, but it sure would be awesome to see these two powerful ladies joining forces.
  • Did anyone else think that Peter took the news about Nadia a little too calmly?
  • I love that the only person Pryce ever shows any real affection for is Shelley. There may be more depth to the man than he wants to admit.
  • Miranda may be fun at a party, but man, is she boring!
  • “Death’s Bitch” may be the most fantastic war-criminal name on record.

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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