|Season 1, Episode 13|
|Written by||Brian McGreevy & Lee Shipman|
|Directed by||Deran Sarafian|
Children of the Night
Birth is the thirteenth episode of the first season of Hemlock Grove, the thirteenth episode in the series as a whole, and the season one finale.
The tragic conclusion the Hemlock Grove killing spree leaves both the Godfrey and Rumancek families devastated, with the final horror yet to come.
In the previous episode we all found out the true identity of the vargulf that’s been killing off young girls in town as none other than Christina Wendall. The episode starts with a flashback to that summer, when Peter and Christina were still friends. Christina is hanging out in the Rumanceks’ living room rattling off a story about one of her friends as Peter surreptitiously takes a few swigs of his beer. When Christina reveals her worries over feeling weird and different from everyone else at her high school, Peter is quick to encourage her, leading to a somewhat sweet bonding scene. Too bad we all know how that story is gonna turn out.
Back in present day, Letha is still struggling with the church doors as Roman faces off with wolf Christina. Just when things are starting to look very, very bad for both Roman and Letha, Peter comes back – now in his shiny black werewolf form, having made the necessary sacrifice in the last episode – and thus begins the final showdown between Peter and Christina.
Christina’s desire for destruction seems to be even stronger than Peter’s desire to protect his friends and Christina ends up biting into Peter’s neck with a sickening crunch noise. As she turns back around to growl menacingly at a shocked Letha and Roman, quick thumping footsteps behind her reveal Shelley Godfrey. She pulls Christina away from her family members and then snaps the wolf’s neck. Shelley stares sadly down at both Christina - who’s reverted back to her human form now that she’s dead - and Peter who is still in his wolf form. Roman approaches his sister with a comforting smile, only to get his face covered in Shelley’s blood as she is shot in the back by Sheriff Sworn. Shelley runs out of the church and into the woods as Roman and the Sheriff give chase. Outside, Roman uses his mesmerizing to stop Sheriff Sworn from hurting his sister before entering the woods after her.
Back in the church, a clearly traumatized Letha clutches her baby bump. She watches as Sworn reenters the building to carry Christina’s body away, barely even glancing at either Letha or the humongous semi-dead wolf to his right. Peter comes to and Letha scrambles over to his body and holds him as he whines in pain. Peter turns back into a very alive human, with his face pretty much intact. Letha is overjoyed to see that he’s okay. Roman, on the other hand, is much less joyful. He returns to the Godfrey mansion and updates Olivia on what just happened, and tells her that he can’t find Shelley anywhere. Letha and Peter return to his cousin Destiny’s house, where Lynda is waiting for them. As Peter goes to get some much-needed sleep, Lynda and Letha talk about Peter’s werewolf/death/rebirth. Lynda tells her that Letha’s love was what brought Peter back from the dead and they embrace.
Norman, meanwhile, is waiting in his car outside for Letha and listening to a radio broadcast pronouncing Shelley Godfrey as the “disfigured, mentally ill biotech heiress” that’s been killing everyone. Norman switches the radio off when Letha gets into the car. He then tells his daughter that he, Olivia, and the Sheriff have arranged a specific story about the killings to protect “the ones that are still here”, Letha and Roman now have to pretend they were never there, and buy into the whole thing about Shelley being a murderer. Letha agrees, knowing that’s the only way to protect Peter – because the town needs a villain to pin everything on, and because the people will believe whatever the Godfreys say. On the other side of town, Olivia and Roman make plans to protect Shelley if and when she comes back to Hemlock Grove. Later on, Christina is given a funeral in the cemetery which Letha and Norman attend in order to keep up appearances. In the middle of the service, Letha leaves to go check up on Roman as Norman goes up to Sheriff Sworn to offer his condolences.
The Sheriff is still consumed by grief and anger, though, and he mutters that if he were a real hero, he would burn the Godfrey Institute to the ground and kill Dr. Pryce, the scientist who created “that abomination” Shelley. He then tells Norman that he’s resigned as Sheriff. After the funeral, Norman heads to the White Tower to officially sign off his shares to Lod LLC. Peter drives Roman to see Destiny. Roman asks her to use her powers to find Shelley, to no avail – Shelley isn’t answering. Roman is hellbent on finding his sister, and Destiny gently asks if he’s looking for her because she needs him, or because he needs her. A gust of wind blows through the living room where Peter is waiting, just as his phone rings – Letha’s having her baby! Peter is adorably excited, and he and Roman immediately rush off to meet her at the hospital… but not before Destiny finally gets an ominous reading off of Roman.
In the hospital waiting room, Peter and Roman share celebratory cigars. They also talk about Shelley, and Roman confesses to having forced himself to see Shelley by using his powers on himself. Peter’s totally unnerved, and flashes back to the warning Destiny gave him early on in the season: Roman is going to face the hardest choice of his life, and whoever’s around him when it happens is going to share in the consequences. Meanwhile, Letha’s delivery isn’t going so well at all. A code omega is called in her OR and all available staff rush to her aid, but it’s too late – Letha and her baby are dead, and Norman, Roman, and Peter are absolutely destroyed. Norman pulls her lifeless body off the operating table and brings her to Dr. Pryce, begging him to save her, to bring her back the way he brought back Shelley. Pryce regretfully tells Norman that that’s impossible because she’s too old – he can only bring back the bodies of babies. Norman collapses onto the floor in his grief, as Pryce tells him, “I’m sorry. I’m… not God.” Later on, alone in his office, Pryce himself succumbs to tears and rage.
Back at home, Peter and Lynda have packed all their things and are preparing to leave town. Before they go, Peter cuts off all his hair. At Roman’s request, Olivia takes her son to go see Peter, but the Rumanceks are long gone. As Roman cries at having lost both his best friend and his close cousin, Olivia stands outside and remembers her childhood, the daughter of a wealthy and powerful man, she had in her youth fallen in love and run away with a slave on her father’s property. The slave, named Dimitri, had eventually betrayed her by stealing all her jewels and both of their horses, leaving her alone and impregnated, to die in the cold woods. Abandoned, young Olivia then took a sharp rock and carved off her tail. Olivia’s family found her a few days later, and when she gave birth to a daughter she ordered her to be taken away to a peasant family.
Back in present day, Norman and his wife are finally separating from each other. Norman goes to Olivia, where she accepts his presence with open arms. That night, Olivia brings Roman up to Shelley’s attic, where she shows him his birthday present, a baby pram, complete with baby. Olivia recounts how she’d committed infanticide countless times before finally giving birth to Roman, who was “born with the caul.” The angel Letha thought she had been impregnated by was revealed to have been Roman all along. The baby in the pram is Roman and Letha’s daughter, and Olivia means for him to kill the child to fulfil his destiny. Horrified, Roman rejects this information and tries to mesmerize himself into “making his heart steel,” as dream Shelley had told him to do. Roman then pulls a razor out of his pocket and slices deep into both arms, committing suicide. Olivia seems largely unbothered, and it’s clear why in the next scene: suicide is how their Upir side is born. When Olivia had cut off her tail all those years ago, she had bled out and died, only to rise again and become an Upir.
Roman wakes up an Upir, and attacks his mother, draining her of blood and then ripping out her tongue using his teeth. Roman becomes the head of the Godfrey estate and all the millions that come with it. Elsewhere, Chasseur’s brother Michael reports for duty to the same priest that Chasseur met with before. The priest tells Michael that Roman Godfrey was the one to kill Michael’s sister and the look on Michael’s face shows that someone is going to pay in season two. At the same time, Sheriff Sworn is listening to police radio scanners and building bombs.
Lynda and newly bald Peter are driving down an aimless stretch of road when Peter sees a vision of Shelley, young and unmarred by the Godfrey Institutes’ hands, on the side of the road. Back at the Institute, Dr. Pryce is shown putting Olivia’s corpse in the hospital morgue with a little smirk on his face. We finally get a glimpse of what’s inside that creepy and ominous black box in the Institute’s basement – a humanoid body encased in some kind of crystal… and it’s just opened its eyes. In the ending credits, the camera zooms in slowly onto Christina Wendell’s tombstone, and as we inch closer and closer we start to hear screaming from underground, indicating she is still alive.
Songs from the ShowEdit
- "In the Morning" by Branches (Peter and Christina are talking in his trailer)
- "People That You Must Remember" by Zulu Winter (Peter says goodbye to Letha on her front porch)
- "Sister Song" by Perfume Genius (Peter and Lynda drive away from Hemlock Grove)
- "Make Me a Bird" by Elektrik People (Roman smokes in his empty pool; end credits)