Hemlock Grove: Review: Season 1 Ep 2

HemlockGroveS01E02Netflix, available now

Norman’s daughter Letha announces she’s pregnant, and an angel is the father, while Peter undergoes a violent transformation…

There’s not a huge amount of plot in the second instalment of Hemlock Grove, but what there is has a significant impact, while the measured pace (what some reviewers see as ‘slow’) is a positive bonus. Unlike most ‘teen’ series, Hemlock Grove is not edited to pieces: scenes are longer than in most TV shows, giving the characters and the actors room to breath. The show is more like a movie in pacing. It’s a breath of fresh air in TV drama.

The stiltedness of some of the dialogue and performances has been another point of criticism aimed at this show, but it does add an element of quirk to the series, With the Godfrey house closely resembling that in the late-1960s supernatural soap Dark Shadows, it is tempting to view the entire series as a modern updating of that concept. In which case, the ‘bad’ acting (giving Dougray Scott and Famke Janssen such weird accents also contributes) helps sell the show’s oddness.

Besides the ‘touched by an angel’ plot, the big event in this episode is the climatic transformation. So, Peter is a werewolf after all and we get a full-on An American Werewolf in London scene to prove it (in front of an astonished Roman and Peter’s proud mother). It is a shame that after 30 years the same old transformation effects (no matter how well done) are still being used, and there are shot-for-shot duplicates of the scene in American Werewolf here. At least Peter transforms into a real wolf, rather than a Lon Chaney Jr.-style wolfman (although that might have been fun, in a Dark Shadows way)—and the wolf then proceeds to eat its own cast-off human skin… eugh.

Verdict: It’s a slow burner, but it is still worth sticking with Hemlock Grove to see where it is going…

Episode 2 ‘The Angel’: 7/10

Brian J. Robb


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