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'Hemlock Grove' plans more blood and gore


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Jumping into the season two premiere of Netflix‘‍s “Hemlock Grove,” keeping track of who has been resurrected from the dead is no simple feat. Yet among these scientific and supernatural wonders is this astonishing fact:

Olivia Godfrey — part family matriarch, part “Mommie Dearest” and played with sleek menace by Famke Janssen — has ditched her signature all-white wardrobe. Not since another Olivia — “Scandal’‍s” Pope — stopped wearing those white suits has a television character demonstrated such character change through the embrace of bold colors.

“There was a conscious decision, this introduction to a new color palette,” said Ms. Janssen, whose Olivia was last seen being zipped into a body bag. “Olivia is Olivia, and we certainly set up a specific character but... in this season, I think we will see some unexpected turns in her character traits that I don‘‍t think anyone would have seen coming.”

Netflix released the entire 13-episode season online today, and that‘‍s a whole lot of blood-letting, leech consumption and dark brooding, the last from the series’‍ two male leads, Bill Skarsgard and Landon Liboiron. The story of the super-rich Godfrey clan and its gothic influence on the postindustrial town of Hemlock Grove picks up a few months later with more creepy human experimentation by the even creepier Dr. Pryce (Joel de la Fuente) and a plot device that forces werewolf Peter (Mr. Liboiron) to abandon his plans to head west.

His mother (Lili Taylor) was been arrested for theft. He needs to raise money for an attorney, who asks, “What was she planning to do with a baby elephant?” Peter explains, matter-of-factly, “She knew a guy.”

“Hemlock Grove” is based on a novel of the same title by Pittsburgh native Brian McGreevy. He and partner Lee Shipman wrote most of season one and served as executive producers but reportedly had nothing to do with the new episodes. Instead, they are attached to a new AMC series, “The Son.”

One of the criticisms of season one touched on the series‘‍ languid pace. Charles “Chic” Eglee, the new executive producer/showrunner whose career includes “The Shield,” “Dexter” and “Hill Street Blues,” said that has been stepped up.

“I’‍m a big proponent of putting 15 pounds of story in a 5-pound bag.”

It‘‍s there, all right, starting with a new life — and certainly not the first, second or even third — for Olivia. Mr. Eglee and Ms. Janssen confirmed with a certain glee that monsters, they’‍re just like us. Even moms and their kids have to get past trying to kill one another.

“Olivia loves her son, but her son doesn‘‍t know he loves her in the way he should love her back, so it remains a complicated relationship,” Ms. Janssen said.

“And as we know from real life,” added Mr. Eglee, “it’‍s possible to love someone but be extremely angry at them, to hate them, even.”


Maria Sciullo: msciullo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.

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