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Answers to the Questions - Hemlock Grove's Ending Explained

By Edited Oct 10, 2016 1 1

Hemlock Grove, a recent Netflix Original Series  based on the book by Brian McGreevy of the same name, is both infuriating and intriguing at the same time. It intrigues by opening up hundreds of questions throughout the series and infuriating because it only answers about half of them. It is clear that the creators are gearing up for a second season, but for now it has left fans scratching their heads. I aim to fix that.

The following are questions I have concocted at least theoretical answers to by examining the episodes closely (sometimes so closely my nose about touched the television screen) and never forgetting the small details that were presented in previous episodes.

Note: Those looking for answers to the second season's finale can find them here: Hemlock Grove Season 2' Ending Explained.

Those looking for answers to Hemlock Grove's third and final season can find them here: Hemlock Grove's Final Season Explained

Questions that will be answered:

  • What drug was Olivia using?
  • Is Shelley alive?
  • Who was in the Ouroboros tank?
  • What did Olivia want Roman to do with the baby?
  • Is Olivia dead?
  • What is the significance of Christina's grave at the end?

If you, the reader, have any other questions, leave a comment and we can theorize together.


olvia and drugs

What drug was Olivia using?

It was never clarified what drug Olivia was using throughout the series and was so desperate to obtain from Peter's family. Again, there is no name for the drug, but it was probably something to control Olivia's bloodlust as an Upir so that she did not murder the whole town.

Roman, who was half Upir, did not take the drug and had a strong affinity for blood. It gave him pleasure, as one can assume it does all vampires. So the drug Olivia was using also gave her pleasure, making it likely a replacement for feeding.

Is Shelley alive?

As Peter and his mother are leaving town, we see a glimpse of the hulking black clad figure by a tree up the road that is clearly Shelley. However, as they drive past, the black clad figure is gone and a beautiful red-blonde haired girl remains. Some fans believe this to be a vision of Letha, but after comparatively looking between Letha and this girl, they are not similar in anyway.

Peter and his whole gypsy family have always had a particular affinity with spirits, so I believe what Peter saw was Shelley before she was reanimated. I think they gave a glimpse of the Shelley we know just to purely explain that. If I had to commit to a side on whether she was alive or dead, I would side with dead. Since I believe Peter saw her spirit at rest and because Peter's cousin Destiny told Roman what dream Shelley had said to him in his coma.

ouroboros tank

Who was in the Ouroboros tank?

When the contents of the project ouroboros tank are shown near the end, it is a particularly large fetus inside an embryo-like sack and the chamber itself emits a blue light. This is clearly what has been used to reanimate Shelley, but there are theories on who is actually inside the tank.

I strongly believe it to be Shelley. The name Ouroboros can possibly support this as it represents death and rebirth. I previously discussed Shelley to be dead and so thus, this is her rebirth. There is an odd little scene between Shelley and Dr. Pryce in the third episode, in which Pryce shows Shelley a flower that lives and breathes, but it is not alive. He says it is a preview of what is to come and afterwards Shelley asks for a hand. Because of that scene and the fact that the fetus in the tank has similar eyes, nose, and a still somewhat deformed skull, that it is Shelley in there. Dr. Pryce was merely rebuilding a potential shell for her soul when it left her current body.

This theory is supported by the inspiration for Shelley's character. Shelley is a hat tip to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

What did Olivia want Roman to do with the baby?

Olivia wanted Roman to eat the baby. What is curious is that Dr. Pryce made it seem like both Letha and the child had died during childbirth. Perhaps Pryce was able to bring it back quickly.

A particular habit that sets Upirs apart from other sorts of vampires is that they eat the children of the family first. So thus, it was a present for her son when he awakened. Finding out that he was Letha's child's father was enough to force him to kill himself, which awakened him as an Upir. This is something I believe Olivia meant to happen, however I do not think she expected Roman to kill her instead of the child.

olivia in hemlock grove

Is Olivia Dead?

She certainly look all dead and blue when they took her to the institute. However, Upir Slavic lore is very specific that to kill one you have to either chop of its head or burn it. I believe Olivia was taken to the institute to heal and the line "we have room for one more" suggests that have other Upirs there as well. Perhaps they are using them for research.

What further supports the dealings with the Upirs is the priest from the Order of the Dragon recently bought shares into the company. He only seemed bothered about having Clemantine Chassuer kill werewolves and not the Upirs, meaning he might be in dealings with them. Plus the Order of the Dragon, in name, is likely to serve the dragon. The dragon is shown to be the awakened Roman as his blood painted dragon wings on the wall.

What is the significance of Christina's grave at the end?

Like with much of Hemlock Grove, it is important to remember things that were mentioned before, even if they did not seem that important. Previously Peter said that after a member of "his people" die, you have to cut off their head or bad things happen. it even shows him cutting off his grandfather Nicolai's head when he was just a boy.

Some misconstrued "his people" to be gypsies, but he was referring to werewolves. So whatever 'bad thing' happens when a werewolf does not have its head cut off is happening to a very much alive Christina in the ground as they could not get near the body to remove the head.

Hemlock Grove: A Novel
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I hope this little article helped clear up some of those bugging questions left by the season finale of Hemlock Grove. Though it is important to keep in mind that none of these are official answers, so they might be disproven by further books or season 2.



May 18, 2014 9:16am
"Is Shelley alive?" I think that in the end when Peter sees her, he is seeing her as someone who cares about her sees her. In Romans dream when he was in a coma, he sees Shelley as a beautiful little girl in a white dress, the same girl Peter sees walking.
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