“The Institute will be in good hands.”
Ooh another Shelley-related flashback! 16 years prior to whenever this show’s present day is, J.R. (Paul Popowich) and Norman Godfrey’s (Dougray Scott) car screeches to a stop just outside the Godfrey Institute. They drag a depressingly tiny coffin out of the trunk of the car, only to have it snatched away by Dr. Pryce (Joel de la Fuente), who rushes up the steps and into his laboratories. Through dialogue, we discover that the body in the coffin is Shelley’s. So for anyone who was still wondering: yes, homegirl is a Frankenstein’s monster-esque creature, and yes, the name “Shelley” is a shout-out to Mary Shelley, author of the Frankenstein novel. Subtlety is obviously not this show’s forte.
Back in present day, it looks like Letha’s (Penelope Mitchell) has gotten over the shy phase she was going through in the last episode. She approaches Peter (Landon Liboiron) during lunch, and they flirt over drinks and a box of snacks. Letha asks Peter to take care of Roman – that Roman doesn’t have many friends, and he needs someone there to keep him from doing something stupid.
She also tells Peter more about the infamous Olivia Godfrey (Famke Janssen), particularly the story of when she and her husband, J.R., first met: J.R. had been in Europe touring biomedical facilities when he fell in love with Olivia and brought her back with him to Hemlock Grove.
As they’re talking, Peter roots around in his box of snacks and finds a prize – a plastic ring shaped like a snake eating its own tail. Indeed, we get the Ouroboros imagery again. Peter slides the ring onto a smiling Letha’s finger… and the camera zooms into Roman’s (Bill Skarsgard) scowling face. Uh oh, someone’s jealous. But of whom, I wonder?
Chasseur (Kandyse McClure), meanwhile, is taking the advice that Norman gave to her last time about investigating the Godfrey Institute. She casually begins her questioning of Dr. Pryce the second he enters, but when Dr. Pryce smugly informs Chasseur he’s going to be recording this conversation, it becomes unclear who, exactly, is interrogating whom.
They get to talking about Johann’s research into, and I’m paraphrasing here, “reanimating baby corpses.” Johann asks what relevance that has to the “demon dog” or to Fish and Wildlife Services, then denies Chasseur’s claim that one of the facility’s human subjects – Francis Pullman, for example – may have escaped. He does offer some insight into the case: that he believes this is the premeditated work of a pathological sexual predator.
Since this opinion is in direct opposition to what he was last heard saying about the case, Chasseur raises an eyebrow and tells him that no person could cause that kind of damage to those girls barehanded.
Dr. Pryce smirks, gets up, and demonstrates to her his superhuman strength by snapping his tape recorder into smithereens using only his fist. As cool as that was, he just made himself into a suspect with that little demonstration.
In her car outside the facility, Chasseur looks highly unsettled. She glances uncertainly at her glove box several times before finally opening it, pulling out a flask, and taking several swigs. Chasseur is startled when she almost immediately gets a phone call from the mysterious priest dude who sent her out to Hemlock Grove. Somehow, even though he’s however many miles away, the guy is omniscient and knows that Chasseur is “still drinking,” though he does tell her that he trusts her before hanging up.
Chasseur gets a flashback then, of five years earlier in her life when she was thrown kicking and screaming into a prison that seems to be devoid of any other prisoners besides Chasseur and a heavily pregnant young woman who’s sharing her cell.
The woman, Hermila (Nicole Muñoz), tells Chasseur that INS is lying about her being in the country illegally, but that no one would listen to her. Neither does Chasseur, who disinterestedly motions for her to get up off the bed so Chasseur can lie down. As Hermila parks herself on the other side of the prison cell, there’s a close up of the pendant around her neck: St. Jude, aka the exact same pendant that Chasseur has been shown praying with. So that’s where Chasseur got that necklace…
After that mini-conversation and flashback, Chasseur can’t bring herself to keep drinking from her flask, so she just tosses it back into the glove compartment and sighs. Hmm, so not only does Chasseur have commitment issues, she’s got problems with drinking as well.
Back at Hemlock High, Peter runs into Christina (Freya Tingley) on the way to class and tries to offer his condolences, but Christina won’t have any of it. As Peter walks away, she shouts after him – “You won’t get away with it, you know!” – and then runs off to literally cry in a corner. Gurl. You made the decision to kiss a dead body all on your own, there is no need to blame Peter for everything that goes wrong in this town. As she’s sobbing, she notices that a strand of her hair has turned white due to stress.
Roman comes back from school to find a cop at his house holding one of the shovels that Roman and Peter had left behind when they were interrupted whilst grave robbing. The shovel belongs to the Godfrey family’s gardener, who’s been in the hospital for weeks and obviously is in no shape to be creeping around at night digging up bodies. The cop suspects that Roman stole the shovel, and that he and Peter went and defiled Lisa Willoughby’s grave – but since there is no real conclusive evidence, he’s unable to make any arrests. He does, however, insinuate that he’ll be watching Roman from now on for any more suspicious behavior.
Olivia, of course, is furious. When Roman tries to explain himself, she smacks him viciously across the face not once, but twice (best sound effect ever, by the way) and sends him away.
Chasseur Flashback #2: Chasseur has broken off a long piece of rusted metal, and is attempting to sharpen it into a weapon. The woman sharing her cell tries to bond, hoping that Chasseur will take her along when she breaks out of jail. Chasseur reveals some details about her life: that she’s a Marine, and that she has a brother named Michael who is also a Marine and is also “a 10 out of 10 on the fucked up scale.” She tells Hermila that if she wants to escape with her, she needs to work for it, and sets the pregnant woman to work on sharpening the weapon.
And in present day, Roman and Peter drive to Peter’s cousin’s place to give her the jar of bloody human guts they procured last episode. Destiny Rumancek (Kaniehtiio Horn) cheerfully takes a caterpillar and sets it down into the jar with a “Bon appetit.” She tells them they’re gonna need to let it sit overnight just to be sure.
The next morning, Peter comes back alone bearing a bottle of tequila. Destiny tosses the caterpillar, bloated from its meal of Lisa Willoughby guts, into her mouth and downs it with a shot. Peter goes to strap his cousin down, right before the magic kicks in and she gets momentarily possessed by Lisa’s spirit. Lisa describes her death to Peter in a highly intense scene, but there’s nothing of particular that he can use in his investigation except that she came to Hemlock Grove because of an invitation. But who sent it?
After seeing his niece write the words “Today I have seen the Dragon,” Norman Godfrey knows something mighty fishy is up in Hemlock Grove. He goes to question Pullman more about that dragon, and about Ouroboros, and when Pullman realizes that he’s serious about understanding what’s going on, he tells Norman to go to the Institute and ask “that beady eyed fucker Pryce.” Which is exactly what Norman does.
Dr. Pryce is prepared, however, and shows Norman that the “Dragon” that Pullman and Shelley speak of comes from a poster that they both must have seen inside the Institute. He also informs Norman that a company named Lod LLC is planning to buy Norman’s shares in the Godfrey Institute. Norman is highly unimpressed with both of these statements, and warns Pryce to watch his back.
Pryce, then, goes to meet with Shelley (Amazon Eve) and tells her not to repeat anything Pryce has told her to Norman. Shelley reluctantly agrees.
Meanwhile, Roman is attending the 20-year anniversary gala for the Institute, as instructed by his mother. His date for the event, cousin Letha, feels overwhelmed by her pregnancy and pukes up right in the middle of the hall and has to be taken home. Left stranded, Roman eyes a woman from across the dance floor and they scamper away to do cocaine and have lots of sex. Roman’s bloodplay kink is starting to get out of control, however, because he grips a blade tight in his hand and stares down at the woman as she’s giving him a blowjob. He’s very obviously considering slicing her up at that point, but instead he makes a deep cut across his chest and lets the blood drip down onto her. As she runs away naked and screaming, he smiles and tells her that his father’s company is in good hands.
Olivia is upstairs getting ready for said party when she starts hearing the voices again, and tears her room apart looking for more of the eyed rop drug. She finds one last vial, and after using it she manages to silence the voices for the time being.
At the party itself, Olivia is giving a speech when a drunk and belligerent man, jealous that Roman is heir to the Institute, starts accusing Olivia of murdering J.R. and fucking her dead husband’s brother. Norman storms over and punches him square in the face. As the man is being escorted out of the building, he and Olivia share a loaded look.
In the final Chasseur flashback, she and Hermila are making the final preparations for their escape. They embrace each other in an uncharacteristic show of emotion (on Chausser’s part, anyways), and then Hermila starts to scream for the guards to come help them as Chasseur grips the weapon behind her back.
But then Hermila’s back starts to contort under the moonlight. It’s revealed that she’s a werewolf – and that Chasseur has known that fact from the very beginning. Chasseur kills her with the very weapon that Hermila had helped make. Once she’s done, a man enters the cell and commends Chasseur on a job well done and tells her that she as successfully become a member of the “Order of the Dragon,” which I assume is a society of supernatural-creature-hunters. Chasseur looks regretfully back at Hermila’s mangled body, and quietly slips the bloody St. Jude necklace out of the woman’s grip.
Thoughts + Verdict
I feel like this was the best episode of Hemlock so far, mainly because it was somewhat Chasseur-centric, and her storyline was pure awesome. The possession scene with Peter and Destiny was also very intense and relatively well-acted.
Letha: Take two. What are you doing with my cousin Roman?
Peter: What needs to be done.
Letha: Ha. You do know we’re in high school and not a Clint Eastwood movie?
Letha: On the day that they buried her husband, the local papers described my aunt as the most beautiful and despised woman in Hemlock Grove.
Destiny: I want you to find time every day to be mindful of the love and nourishment flowing from your Manipura, ok? And lay off of the refined sugars, it messes with your metabolism.
Hermila: God does not want us to be happy. He wants us to be strong.
Lisa: I’ve always had a way with dogs. I reached out a hand to pet his cheek and then I saw his eyes. A horrible yellow. Oh god, it was the way he looked at me, the helpless way a dog looks at you when it can’t tell you what it needs.