Hemlock Grove 2.01: “Blood Pressure”

Season 1? He’s not over it.

It just wouldn’t be a new season of Hemlock Grove without the premiere of a weird and grisly murder.

Read more about the weekend's binge watch schedule.

These masked guys will be the antagonists of this season, and they’re off to an explosive start.

One of the things I’ve missed most during the break is the title sequence. I love the music (Nathan Barr is always spot-on) and the imagery. It’s creepy and iconic.

At last, Peter (Landon Liboiron) returns! His gorgeous hair is back (thank goodness!) I’m glad the writers are taking the opportunity to show a bit more of Peter’s gypsy heritage. While it was discussed in season one, several things were sort of glossed over. The celebration of life at the gypsy funeral is nice staging; Peter is still in mourning over Letha. I can tell already the writing is much tighter.

Guess Love and Death really do go together.

Kaniehtiio (sometimes Tiio) Horn is back as Destiny, and I cannot say enough how much I loved her character last season. She was severely underutilized, and I’ll fall to bits if she gets a bigger role this season. Cops interrupt the funeral brandishing arrest warrants, and one particular arrest will send Destiny and Peter back to Hemlock Grove. During the ride, Peter has some sort of vision, including a glimpse at the white mask we saw earlier.

Handling it, sort of.

Roman (Bill Skarsgård) is back, too, snide as ever, and now CEO of his father’s company. Roman seems to have a better handle on himself this season. He’s immediately more confident and in control. Actually, I think I have to retract that last statement, on account of the leech-eating. Looks like Roman’s upir nature is getting the upper hand. Since the reveal at the end of Season 1, I’ve been contemplating why they didn’t do more with Olivia’s upir state. Obviously Roman gets the gene from her, so why didn’t they leave us hints? Perhaps what she did to Clementine Chasseur was an indication, but I wish they’d switched the eye-dropper mystery drug thing for some blood cravings.

For medical access, this miniskirt sure beats a hospital gown.

Speaking of Olivia (Famke Janssen), she isn’t dead. Which we knew from the trailer. According to Dr. Pryce (Joel de la Fuente), it’s been three months since Roman ripped Olivia’s tongue out. He replaced it, giving Olivia the ability to speak and ridding us of her terrible “European”accent simultaneously. That’s one character death I won’t grieve over. Olivia claims she was in a coma for two months, so I guess that puts us at the five/six month mark since the end of Season 1. She’s given up her trend of all white clothing for black, which might point to changes in her character. What they do with her will be interesting, since she was the secondary antagonist of the first season.

Ouch. Still.

As expected, Peter and Roman’s reunion isn’t exactly hugs and puppies. Peter needs bail money, but Roman is (understandably) pissed since Peter bolted. Instead, Peter runs a grift off a pair of drug dealers. Bless Eli Roth and these killer werewolf transformations. Gritty and disgusting and fascinating, Peter turns to make his drug seem effective. However, since it’s not a full moon, the turn is having a terrible effect on him. I thought he’d be suffering from the spell he used to turn when he defeated the vargulf, not continuing to turn at will.

What’s Project Ouroboros’s middle name?

At the end of “Blood Pressure,” we’ve got a pretty nice base set up for the season. A new round of murders, a broken friendship, people in jail, and the baby living in the secret room in Roman’s ironic glass house. We also get reacquainted with Project Ouroboros, who looks an awful lot like the dead Letha (Penelope Mitchell). I expect to learn more about Dr. Pryce’s experiment. We’re off to a good start so far.

Meghan Harker grew up in a small, awkwardly-named town in Georgia. She attended Brenau University, where she earned her BA in English and a minor in Graphic Design; she also attended the University of Cambridge, England, where she didn't quite master the perfect Oxbridge accent. She's an avid reader, writer, and fire spinner. She's currently working her first novel, a paranormal thriller. Visit her blog at ExquisitelyOdd.com.

Read all posts by Meghan Harker for Criminal Element.