In one way, it’s impressive that Hemlock Grove had the restraint to hold off until episode three to pick back up with Shelley as Hemlock Grove’s “Dark Knight” storyline*. Episodes one and two were arguably the strongest of Hemlock Grove’s run thus far thanks to a narrowed focus onto just Roman and Peter.
*”She’s the hero Hemlock Grove deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll chase her because she’s seven-feet tall, has a strange eye and can take it.”
Unfortunately, by deciding to work Shelley, the season’s big “weird dudes in masks mystery” and whatever it is that Norman and Varghulf Christina are up to back into the fold, “Luna Rae” is a bloated mess.
I never thought I’d object to more Shelley but her inclusion in the episode makes little sense and leaves her plot almost literally back where episode 12 of season one ended. Shelley runs through the woods, kills a re-animated Christina Wendell again and then finds refuge in a basement with a “Precocious Child Who Can Look Past Physical Defects Into A Person’s Soul ™” If Shelley’s fate were just to kill Christina yet again, why even include her in an episode that was already bursting at the scenes anyway?
Additionally, it’s troubling that Shelley is on her own at all. As a gentle mute, Shelley’s biggest asset to the show is how other people relate to her. Roman is a far better character for how he interacts with his “little” sister. And Peter is a creep for borderline sexually harassing her for four episodes before moving on to her pregnant cousin. Man, Hemlock Grove season one was weird. Yes, the plot currently demands that Shelley be on the run but plots can be changed. Just ask Dr. Pryce and his syringe full of Deus Ex Machina.
Meanwhile Roman and Peter are still estranged. The reasoning is not entirely clear: something about Peter leaving after Letha’s death but at least the season has been consistent with their relationship thus far. Mercifully, there have been no scenes at Roman and Peter’s school, the gossip at which was often the driving factor behind Peter and Roman’s Scooby-Doo Adventures.
In its place, however, are Peter and Roman’s cryptic dreams. This time they drive Peter to obsess over the numbers “047” and “048 and predict a shady “murder-suicide” at Gone Sis. At this point in the show, “why Peter and Roman have the same dreams” is a compelling mystery but also frustratingly the one I suspect we will never receive an answer to. When the two main characters are a werewolf and a “upir,” the plot doesn’t necessitate an example beyond that. It’s a shame because a show about two non-supernatural people who experience the same precognitive dreams would be just as interesting, if not more.
It makes you wonder if Roman and Peter’s shared dreams will reveal that Peter has cuckolded Roman yet again. Roman might have baby-smooth skin and a mansion filled with money but Peter has his Tarot cards and a chest with increasing numbers of scars. Yes, Miranda sleeps with her tow-truck driver Peter then returns back to Casa Godfrey to crash. Miranda is weird. At least Peter is starting to suffer some noticeable physical effects of his decision to “turn on a bad moon,” to impress some hapless gangsters into buying snake oil. And thankfully, Destiny is around more to point out his shortsightedness. Destiny is a rare character who has actually been served well by season two, thus far, even if it’s likely that her ominous warnings could soon become annoying nagging.
Speaking of those gangsters…they finally realize via their creepy farmer boss, Beaumont, that the drugs Peter sold them were duds. There are cult members in masks killing innocent people and then making it look like accidents but by all means, Hemlock Grove, let’s throw some Appalachian drug dealers in the mix.
Michael Chasseur…excuse me, Sheriff Michael Chasseur also makes his first appearance in this episode as it turns out the previous Sheriff blew himself up. Shows you what good it does to be a Battlestar Galactica alum on this show. Chasseur is still in league with the clergy and still on the hunt for his sister’s killer and werewolves but he seems a good bit more level-headed than his sister.
He’s sure to have more on his plate soon as Norman’s wife (sources tell me she actually has a name and it’s “Marie”) becomes Olivia’s latest victim. Olivia’s brazen murder of a family member could serve as added intrigue to Roman’s struggle to not lose control of his hunger. But currently it just in eliminate another struggling plot, get Norman firmly in Olivia’s grasp and regrettably: violently dispatch another attractive blonde woman. Oh well, only one three episodes into the season isn’t so bad.
It’s hard not to discuss “Luna Rae” in terms of pure plot recap as that is all the episode provides. Hemlock Grove season two was on a more streamlined track for two episodes and all “Luna Rae” does it slow it down.