Hemlock Grove - S1E1 "Jellyfish In The Sky" Recap

We begin with what is perhaps my most favourite opening shot of any show I've seen. An intense-looking young man sits in an ice cream shop holding a waffle cone containing a single scoop of vanilla ice cream with an intense gaze hooded by his heavy brow. An attractive young woman catches his gaze from outside and he follows her out to his car where they begin having sex. Mid-thrust, he pulls out a blade, nicks his finger, and plays with the blood before spreading it on her arm. She calls out his name, "Roman," and he insists that she doesn't know his name. Post-coitus, he pays her to leave and forget his name whilst sucking on his wound. Later, Roman observes a different pretty young girl coaching little cheerleaders and waves to her from afar.

In school, a high school teacher lectures her students on particle physics. A female student approaches the teacher after class and it is implied that they are having an affair. They make plans to meet at 8 o'clock that night. That evening, the girl stops before a set of train tracks and texts the teacher while waiting for the train to pass. An unknown entity slams into her car and she runs terrified into the woods. She finds a small shed and hides inside. Sure enough, this unknown monster finds her and in the ensuing struggle, the teacher ("Banksy") is called via the girl's mobile and hears the girl's gruesome death. *Cue the opening credits.*

A mother and son with the last name of Rumaneck move in to a trailer in the woods. The boy observes a luxurious mansion in the distance. During move-in, the woman finds some vials and is thrilled by the discovery. As the boy leaves, a young girl observes him whilst remaining hidden. When the boy returns in a new coat and other new belongings, the mother celebrates his thievery; they are Gypsies. Later, the boy sleeps on a hammock and dreams of jellyfish flying through the sky and a snake devouring itself tail-first. He wakes to see the same girl from earlier and they strike up a conversation. He shares some snippets of his Gypsy heritage and she states that she is an aspiring writer. She enquires as to whether or not he is a werewolf based on the premise that his index and middle fingers are the same length. He states that he is with a tone dripping with cheek. To spare you any inconvenience for the rest of this summary, I will inform you that the Gypsy boy's name is Peter and the girl's name is Christina.

Roman wakes in his luxurious room (within the same luxurious house seen earlier by Peter) to find his mother telling him that he must get new clothes. He states that he would rather hang out with his cousin, Letha. She gets her way and he is met by a private shopper/tailor who beefs up his wardrobe with fancy new threads. As a reward for doing what she wanted (or perhaps to further spoil him), she informs him that she has rented out the entire amusement park for him and Letha. He is giddy and later, the two cousins play in the empty park. At times, they appear more like childhood loves than family. (Fear not, if you have yet to squirm in your seat, you will be by the time you finish with this series).

On Peter's first day, Roman eyes him from afar and Christina greets him coldly. He also observes an enormous girl with bandaged limbs, an occasionally glowing blue face, and some mysterious effect on the lights she is near. She is revealed to be Roman's sister. Later, Peter informs his mother that a kid (Roman) at his school is an upyr, though he seems to be unaware of what he is. She warns him to stay away from the Godfreys. At the Godfrey's home, a similar conversation takes place in which Roman tells his mother about Peter and that a girl (Christina) is spreading rumours that he is a werewolf. She reacts with disgust and calls them "filth." Later that night, Roman's sister Shelley goes upstairs and removes her wig, revealing to the audience the hidden half of her face on which she has an eye that is lower on her cheek and enormous in size.

There is a flashback of JR Godfrey, Roman's yet unseen father having a conversation with his brother, Dr. Norman Godfrey. He states that he has had Olivia, Roman's mother, investigated and that no one has been able to find any of her family. He is highly agitated and the suspicious he harbours for his wife and his unexplained disdain for his daughter Shelley are weighing heavily on him. When Norman attempts to reassure him, JR tells him that he knows that the two have been engaged in an affair. JR returns home and retrieves his gun before visiting both Shelley and Roman in each of their rooms. He apologises to a sleeping Roman (who wasn't actually sleeping) and goes downstairs where he gets in an eerily calm argument with Olivia in which she insults him heavily. He wants to know what she is and she tells him to pull the trigger if he wishes to find out. Finally, he commits suicide and Roman comes downstairs to find his father dead. Olivia reassures him, stating that he is so much stronger than his father was. Here we see the beginnings of Roman's mummy and daddy issues, among other things.

In present day, Roman lounges in the tub with a cigarette and some cocaine. He steps out when he hears a car arrive and sees Norman walking up. Norman visits Olivia with questions about a new proposal on increases in budgets for various departments for the Godfrey Institute. She flirts with him and he further insists that she not apply the same spoiling that she bestows upon Roman to his daughter, Letha. She points out that she doesn't control whom Roman spends time with and he retorts that no one was accusing her of having any control over her son. He leaves after this heated exchange.

A jogger discovers the body of the girl from the top of the episode and her intestines are on display outside of her abdomen. When police officers are at the crime scene, speculating what could have caused this vicious crime, they spot Peter walking by on his way to school. They question him and display their suspicion of and disdain for gypsy folk. At the Godfrey's, Roman comforts Shelley, who is upset by the news of the young girl's death. At Hemlock High, everyone seems to be distraught over the news and some are already suspicious of Peter.

Norman visits the Godfrey Institute with a police officer to visit a Dr. Pryce to get his expert opinion on the attack. He states that it appears to be done by an animal. Norman appears to harbour a great deal of animosity for Dr. Pryce.

Peter questions his mother as to whether an upyr could have committed the murder and she states that it is not typical of their style. Roman is questioned by his mother as to whether he knew the girl and he lies, stating that he didn't. After this exchange, Olivia drops a drop of liquid into her eye from a vial identical in appearance to those in the possession of Lynda, Peter's mother, earlier. Lynda calls out for her son but is unable to find him in their small home. Peter is out in the woods looking for answers on the creature responsible for the girl's demise. There is a vigil taking place for the deceased girl in which lanterns are being lit and sent adrift into the night, and as Peter looks up at them, he is reminded of his earlier dream of jellyfish flying through the sky. He is questioned by Roman on what it felt like, and when Peter asks him what he means, Roman replies with, "Killing that girl."

Season 1 of Hemlock Grove (a Netflix original series based on Brian McGreevy's novel) is available for viewing on Netflix.


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