TV Recap: HEMLOCK GROVE S1 E1 – “Jellyfish in the Sky”

The moment we’ve all been waiting for, HEMLOCK GROVE is here. Read on below for a recap of Episode One…


Directed By: Eli Roth

Written By: Brian McGreevy & Lee Shipman

The episode opens up on Roman Godfrey sitting in The Nutty Chocolatier, gripping what appears to be a vanilla ice cream cone. A woman walks by the entrance and stops. She looks dead at Roman, and then walks on. The ice cream cone was a signal. Roman leaves the candy store, follows her, and we cut to the woman expertly riding him in his roadster two-seater. Before he finishes, he cuts the tip of his thumb with a straight razor and rubs the blood on her shoulder in circles. She calls him by his name, tells him that he’s weird, but she likes it. He hands her a wad of hundred dollar bills and reiterates that she doesn’t know his name. She agrees as fast as he rudely kicks her out of his car. He sucks the blood from his sliced thumb.

The next scene is short and shows Brooke Bluebell in a cheerleading outfit outside on the football field, teaching a group of young girls the steps to a cheer. Roman Godfrey watches them from a distance; he waves when Brooke’s eyes catch his.

Psychics’ class and the bell rings, Brooke approaches her attractive female teacher, in guise of a criticism with her lesson. The teacher disagrees and hands her a copy of her Master’s thesis in novel form, signs it. As Brooke exits the class, she investigates the teacher’s signature. It’s not a signature at all, but a note: “Tonight @ 8pm Bansky <3”

At a railroad crossing, closing for a train to pass, Brooke slows to a stop and receives a text from Bansky: “Call me when you’re close ;)” The train passes, Brooke responds with a text, the guard raises back up towards the sky for open passage. We are looking at her, texting, when something powerful hits the car, tossing Brooke into the passenger seat before ejecting her from the car. Seatbelts save lives. She tumbles down an embankment, somehow still gripping her cell phone. A chase scene ensues throughout the surrounding woods. She finds herself on a playground of sorts, and stumbles into a small playhouse. Brooke thinks she is safe and her breathing steadies, right before loud creaking sounds surround her. The something is on the roof. She cups her mouth for to not scream. It doesn’t matter, soon she is ripped from the playhouse leaving behind only her nail, against the wooden frame. Cellphone still in hand, she accidently dials Bansky.

Bansky exits the shower and answers her cell, towel wrapped around her. Her smile turns to that of shock and fright when she hears Brooke on the other end, screaming, gurgling, and being chewed.

Brooke, laying on her back, lifeless, jerking tugs at her midsection.


Title Card: Earlier This Summer

Peter Rumencek and his mother, Lynda, exit their Gremlin and approach a rundown trailer, and call it home sweet home and agree to unpack. Peter is smoking a marijuana cigarette and notices a large mansion through the trees. A remark is made about Vincent, Peter’s uncle and previous owner of the trailer, now deceased, and that he was sad when he was sober. Peter exits the trailer to hang up some herbs outside and notices a girl watching him from behind a tree.

Peter heads to town but soon returns to the trailer with a new leather jacket, Lynda comments, “Mommy’s little thief.” He notes that she didn’t need any help with cleaning up the trailer. Peter hands her a set of pearls that he stole for her. They eat dinner and toast to their new home.

Peter is dreaming and we get a glimpse into his mind, jellyfish against the background of a nights’ sky and a snake swallowing his own tail. Another serpent strikes at him and he awakens from the nightmare outside on a hammock, noticing the same girl watching him. She calls him a gypsy and introduces herself as a novelist. He explains that he’s only a half-breed, and that his grandfather was full Kalderash Roma from the Carpathians, but he married a gadjewoman.  He offers her a beer and she notices all the empties on the ground, ridden with mud and age, and we find out that Peter’s uncle, Vincent, was an alcoholic and died of alcohol poisoning. She notices a pentagram etched on a tree and asks him if he worships the devil. He answers that the five points each represent an element, with the topmost being the soul. She then calls him a werewolf, pointing out that his middle and index finger are the same size, recalling that she saw it on TV somewhere. A bit melodramatic this one.

Olivia Godfrey, mother of Roman, wakes her son early from his habitual fourteen hour slumber. She remarks on his tattered clothes and tells him that he needs to go shopping before school starts tomorrow. Roman tells her that he promised his cousin Letha that he would court her to the amusement park. Olivia takes one of his marijuana cigarettes and smokes it in front of him.

Roman is getting fitted at the tailor when Olivia reveals that as thanks for indulging her on the last day of summer break, she rented out Pennsylmania out for the night, for Roman and Letha.

Letha is in her parent’s kitchen and her mother informs her father, Norman Godfrey, that Letha is off sushi, or rather the mercury contained within. Letha’s cell phone rings and it is Roman, telling her that Olivia rented out the amusement park for them and she confirms the time.

Roman and Letha explore Pennsylmania with no one else in the park, riding rides with no line, playing all the carnival games with the workers catering only to them. He wins her a giant bull. Letha philosophizes over Pennsylvania having more hate groups per capita than any other state and that it also leads the nation in HoHo consumption, and they both ponder over the correlation between the two. Roman then tries to get her to ride the rollercoaster, but she will not.

We are at the school, first day. Peter is at his locker and hears someone stomping down the hall. Her name is Shelley. She is taller than all the other kids and has bandages on her hands, slouched over, hair hanging in front of face. She is a seven foot tall mute. A group of kids make fun of her by walking like Frankenstein. Roman approaches her and says “hey sis.” Peter literally scratches his chin over this one.

“There’s kid at my school.” This is said at both diner tables, The Rumencek’s and The Godfrey’s. Peter confesses to his mother, Lynda, that the kid is an upir, but he doesn’t think he even knows it. Peter tells her that the family is The Godfrey’s. Lynda tells him to stay away from them, that it’s her business. Meanwhile, Roman tells his mother Olivia, that the kid is a gypsy, and that a girl has been spreading rumors about him. He thinks the kid Peter is related to that guy in the trailer by the river. Olivia throws down her utensil in disgust, mutters “filth.”

Shelley Godfrey leaves the dining room table and takes an elevator to the attic, where she sits alone. She takes off her wig revealing a large eye and her skin glows electric blue in miscellaneous areas.

Title Card: 13 Years Ago

It is raining heavily, Dr. Norman Godfrey is meeting his brother Mr. Godfrey, father of Roman. Mr. Godfrey is frantic and rants about his daughter and wife, how it’s his fault that she is the way she is, because he brought evil into the house, his wife. Mr. Godfrey tells Norman that he hired a private investigator to find her people, and she has none. “She has no people.” He asks his brother to help him destroy Olivia, before she destroys their family. He leans in close to Dr. Norman and whispers, “I know you’re fucking her.”

The roadster pulls into the mansion, it is still the past. Mr. Godfrey goes and visits both of his children, gun in hand. Shelley wheezing in her crib, and Roman sleeping soundly in his bed. He leans to kiss Roman and tell him that he’s sorry. Thunder clashes as he visits Olivia. She is listening an old record and drinking wine. He asks her, “What are you?” She retorts, “Pull the trigger and find out.” We find out that Roman was born with a caul, and that Olivia believes he will always be hers. Mr. Godfrey cocks the hammer on the .38 revolver. A gunshot rings out. The record scratches. A young Roman enters the scene and witnesses the death of his father. Olivia picks up her son and tells him that it will be alright and that he will be stronger than his father ever was.

The present, Roman smokes a marijuana cigarette in the bath and rubs cocaine on his gums. He hears a vehicle approach the house through an open window. He leans out to see his uncle, Dr. Norman Godfrey exit the car.

Norman meets Olivia in the greenhouse garden, and they quarrel over her proposed sixty percent increase to research and development. She offers him a Valium. Olivia tells him to ask Dr. Pryce what he wants the money for. He conveys that he is upset about her renting out the entire amusement park and spoiling his daughter, Letha.

A jogger on her morning routine, busy listening to headphones, catches something out of the corner of her eye. She gasps. Brooke is half inside, half outside of the playhouse, intestines messing about the ground. The jogger screams for help.

Six police vehicles occupy the playground which we find out doubles as a soccer field as well. The coroner wheels Brooke into the back of a van, inside a body bag. The Sheriff comments to his two deputies that it’s some first day of school. His deputy tells him that there is nothing inside the perimeter, no weapon, no tracks.

Peter walks by the scene suspiciously. The Sheriff yells for the deputy to bring the boy to him. Peter tells the Sheriff his name and when questioned, admits that he is walking home from school and that he didn’t hear anything the prior night.

Shelley is gasping for air and crying while a radio broadcasts news of Brooke Bluebell’s tragic death. Roman comes in asking what is wrong, puts his hand on her shoulder, and realises what she is so upset over. He turns off the radio and holds her.

A scene shows distraught students in the school. The young girl is whispering to her two twin friends about Peter, he notices. Her friends call him a gypsy freak, then ask the young girl if he is the werewolf she was telling them about, as they walk off down the crowded hall.

Dr. Norman is on the phone in his car calling Letha, telling her how great it is to hear her voice. It sounds like they have a lisp every time someone says her name. He stops his car at the same building he fought with his brother in front of, thirteen years ago. He meets the Sheriff and they go inside. They meet Dr. Pryce and the tension is thick. The Sheriff shows Dr. Pryce the crime scene photos, which he concludes that it was not a human, but an animal, an apex predator. Dr. Norman believes the good doctor is lying or hiding something.

Peter walks by a classroom and sees a teacher leading a prayer circle. Public school.

Peter concerned at home, talks with Lynda about the murder and she assures him that it wasn’t upir, that it’s not their style.

In the Godfrey kitchen, Roman and Olivia go back and forth, her trying to fish if he did it or not. He tells her that he didn’t even know Brooke. A conversation ensues about trust. Roman tells his mother that he trusts her.

In her bedroom Olivia uses an eyedropper and drips a clear liquid drug onto both pupils. It induced a tranquilizing effect for we leave the scene and she is nodding off.

Roman logs onto Facebook and stalks through Brooke’s pictures. Eventually he stops on one of him and her, drinking bottled beers.

Peter is at the playground where Brooke was found, on his knees, and shuffling through the dirt with fingertips. He turns and looks up at the sky. Hundreds of floating candles from the vigil are being carried through the night sky. The camera dissolves into jellyfish, just as in his dream. A voice startles his from behind. “What did it feel like?” It is Roman, and he suspects that Peter killed Brooke.




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Christopher Gibson

Chris can be found only at night, playing vast hours of XBox 360, reading uniquely disturbing novels, and scouring Netflix for late sixties horror flicks. He has 69,000 Gamerscore and counting. Supposedly at the age of three, he beat Super Mario Bros. on NES, though possesses no recollection of this. Writing novels since the age of fourteen, he hopes to one day publish them. On Friday nights, he is seen at the local indie film theater, then the pubs next door shortly after, for thorough critique among friends. Follow him on Twitter @Literaryman420 


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