Penny Dreadful Series Three Finale (?)

Penny Dreadful Series Three Finale (?)

The Penny Dreadful season finale consisted of a two episode arc titled Perpetual Night and The Blessed Dark. I’m still not sure how I feel about this season or the finale. I’m still processing the ending. It appears that  Lily’s and Vanessa’s stories are truly over. I’d love to see more of Kaetenay in the future and we still never got to meet Mr. Hyde. Basically the other character’s  stories…

View On WordPress

Penny Dreadful Series Three Finale (?)

The Penny Dreadful season finale consisted of a two episode arc titled Perpetual Night and The Blessed Dark. I’m still not sure how I feel about this season or the finale. I’m still processing the ending. It appears that  Lily’s and Vanessa’s stories are truly over. I’d love to see more of Kaetenay in the future and we still never got to meet Mr. Hyde. Basically the other character’s  stories aren’t over and I’d love to see their conclusion, but I’m told this is the last episode for the series. I really don’t want to believe that. It sees so abrupt, with so many threads left dangling. I believe the show could endure without Eva green because the other characters are all very compelling, but we can only hope that the PTB will see it that way.

Also, this season felt  shortened. Wasn’t there supposed to be twelve or thirteen episodes? The season seemed to be moving at the usual leisurely pace of a twelve episode season, when suddenly Vanessa is throwing herself on Dracula, the world is ending, and then she’s dead and everything is back to normal, only without her. I’m not satisfied with the explanation given by the shows writer that basically he meant to do that. I think there much more to the story than that. The show ended much too abruptly, and even introduced brand new characters I’d love to see more of, like Seward, and Jeckyll.

image

In the previous episode, titled Ebb Tide, Vanessa discovered the shocking truth about Dracula. She confronted him but eventually surrendered to him, bringing about a kind of vampire Apocalypse, but only  in London, which is where we begin the finale. This isn’t  the most fascinating episode, or even the most interesting event, although I was reluctant to believe Vanessa would do such a thing. No, the most fascinating  event turned out to be Lily’s and Dorian’s story, and the dynamic between Kaetenay and Ethan. I also had finally decided that I liked Catriona, who turned out to be a total bad ass, and I hope there is a next season because I’d like to know who she is, where she came from and if the Mummy storyline will be introduced through her and Lyle, because I’d watch the Hell out of that.

Perpetual Night and Blessed Dark are fairly straightforward episodes, though. I wont recap them, just cover the highlights because there’s not a whole lot of plot. Even during the finale, the show manage to keep that same leisurely tone, as if wasnt about to end in 90 minutes.

Ethan , Kaetenay and Malcolm arrive in London and find  the entire city fogbound, people getting sick from some kind of plague, (from the mal aria), and that Dracula’s minions are roaming the streets as they please, taking whom they will, just like the prophecies stated.The highlight is when Ethan wolfs out among a bunch of minions and is  joined by Kaetenay, who is also a werewolf. Apparentl,  Ethan didn’t know this. Kaetenay says he kept it a secret from his own family even. Well, I’d kind of speculated about  what happened between them. Kaetenay was the one who turned E. into a werewolf.

image

Victor sets Lily free after the two of them have a heartfelt discussion about why he shouldn’t obliterate her memories of who she was, and why she did what she did. She harbors a lot of rage for about her dead daughter, the things she felt she had to do for her, and her daughter to survive, because of the life restrictions placed on women at that time. I never thought Lily’s anger or reasons were illegitimate ones. Hell, I was angry for her. Hell, the British trampled every culture and continent they encountered. She wasn’t the only person getting shafted by Englishmen, at that time. I just didn’t think that slaughtering them, one by one,  was the answer to that particular dilemma.  I don’t care how mad you are, that’s a lot of killing.

John, the Creature, witnesses the death of his son. He’s implored by his wife to take him to Victor to be resurrected, but John refuses, and buries his son at sea. That story felt truncated too. In an ideal world there’d be a fourth season where John had made a different choice.

Hyde confronts Victor about not using the formula on Lily and informs him that his father has just died. He is Lord Hyde now, having inherited his fathers titles and estates. We never got to see Hyde at all, and the funny thing is, this finale is something of a surprise to the actor as well, because in some earlier interviews he mentioned the conventional makeup used to create him.

image

The three men are still looking for Vanessa, when Dr. Seward comes calling. She takes them to Bedlam where she has imprisoned Renfield. They need to find Dracula’s whereabouts, so  Seward hypnotizes Renfield into giving up the location.

Dorian goes back to his home and kicks out Lily’s army of women. When Justine refuses to leave, he kills her. Lily discovers her broken body on the floor of the ballroom, and after saying goodbye to both of them, decides to leave Dorian, which I thought was a fitting response. They’ve got no more to offer each other. He betrayed her to Victor, and killed her girl, after claiming she bored him, although I really think he thought she would decide to stay with him. Once again, because of his ennui and cynicism, Dorian ends up alone and I gots no sympathy for him.

The Five; Seward, Kaetenay, Malcolm, Ethan, and Catriona, arrive at Dracula’s lair, where there’s a long drawn out battle with Dracula’s minions. I’d like to point out the fight choreography is great here, as Catriona gets in some really nice stunts, and Drac’s minions have some great body movement. I’d like to believe Cat’s not entirely human, and it would’ve been nice to find out what she was, and if Dracula, or Amenhotep, had something  to do with that. Ethan finds his way down a long hall to a room full of candles, (which is something I always find especially funny. Who takes the time to light all these tiny damn candles?). He finds Vanessa, who convinces him that the only way to stop the end of the world is to kill her, so he shoots her. Everything stops. The minions all stop, the sun comes out and Dracula simply flies away. Why wasn’t he killed?

Episode 309

Later , everything goes back to normal, as London cleans its streets, the group bury Vanessa, and all go their own ways.Its cute and touching to see Victor grabbing and hugging Ethan, like a little brother. I’m still mad at him for being a dick to Lily, so it’s not that cute. I’m not gonna be shipping these two anytime soon.Later, Ethan, who has nothing to go back home for, decides to stay home with Malcolm, who is the closest thing he has to family now. That’s fitting.

The world spins on without Vanessa being miserable in the middle of it, and the series ends with waaay too many dangling plotlines and characters , we will never get to see.

Oh well…

 

Penny Dreadful : Episodes 5&6.

“Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – Tears for Fears

This World is Our Hell:

Last week, we learned a lot about Ethan and Hecate, as the two of them trudged through the desert to reach his homestead. Ethan’s plan is to go back home, confront, and possibly, kill his father.

Ethan and Hecate get to know each other as they slowly dehydrate but that doesn’t stop them from having sex. In fact, I’m not surprised they did. The entire time they’ve been together, Hecate has been telling Ethan what a wonderful creature he is, and how they will take over the world, or something. This is much more believable coming from Hecate, than it is from Lily, who we didn’t get to see in this episode. Unlike with Lily,  I’m actually afraid of what Hecate might do.

It also appears as if Ethan is slowly coming around to Hecate’s way of thinking, on this issue, as he stops protesting, and side-eyeing her. Maybe she’s just worn him down, or he’s starting to like her, or he’s just pretending to care about what she says. It’s hard to tell with Ethan, as he likes to play his tenderest emotions close to his vest.

The two of them are  still being pursued by Rusk and his men, most of whom get killed when Hecate works some arcane magic to call snakes out of the sand to attack them.  During the chaos, Kaetenay gets bitten while trying to steal the posse’s horses,  and things do not look good for him. He and Sir Malcolm make a getaway, but it’s not clean.

Malcolm eventually meets up with Hecate and Ethan, who are on their last legs and about to die, but all of them are apprehended by Ethan’s father’s men. It turns out that Kaetenay is an Apache, one of fiercest and most rebellious tribes, during the time period before they were mostly wiped out. There’s no love for Kaetenay, in this crew, so Ethan tells them to abandon him in the desert. I’m not sure if Ethan is doing this to spare Kaetenay’s life, if he knows Kaetenay will be alright and come rescue him, or if he really doesn’t care.  Again it’s hard to say what Ethan knows, but I’m inclined to believe that he knows Kaetenay will come for him.

Earlier, Kaetenay  outlined to Malcolm, Ethan’s great sin, which was aiding in the massacre of his tribe and family. I’m still unsure if Ethan was cursed at the time this happened, or if it was something Kaetenay did to him afterward, which would be incredibly ironic. Cursing the man who massacred his family to murder any other people he comes in contact with, (including his own family), sounds like the sort of vindictive , horrible, yet mordantly funny thing, Kaetenay might do. His sense of humor is very odd. At any rate, Ethan must have killed scores of people in his, relatively young, life.

At Ethan’s home, Malcolm and Ethan’s father have words. Malcolm is not greatly impressed by the man, although they seem to have much in common. I think the difference is that Malcolm, as hard headed as he is, eventually learns when he fucks up, and Ethan’s dad, not so much. Dad still insists on making the same mistakes he made before, hoping for a different outcome. As evidenced by his actions when he tells Ethan why he insisted on bringing him home.

In the movie Seven, one of the detectives mentions something called “Forced Atonement”.” It’s when you regret your sins but not because you love God. It’s because you have a gun to your head.” That’s what I thought about when Ethan’s father held a gun to Ethan’s head to make him beg God for forgiveness, and make atonement for what he thinks is Ethan’s great sin, killing his wife and daughter, Ethan’s mother and sister. He says he wants Ethan to pay for what he did, but I’m still not sure what threatening Ethan is going to accomplish.

It really would be interesting to find out that the Apache they let go in the desert is the person who is indirectly responsible for what happened to Ethan’s family, which doesn’t bode well, for the relationship between John and Vanessa. This show likes to mirror characters, and if the relationship between Ethan and Kaetenay is a mirror of the one between Vanessa and John, then there is some hard  news for us viewers, later.

On a side note, we watch as Victor and Henry work on his serum together. Their goal is to get the effects of the serum to be permanent. So far, we’ve seen no sign of Mr. Hyde, but we have seen some startling and disturbing glimpses of Henry’s rage at the world, and how it’s treated him, at the bigotry of the English, and the disregard of his father. This is a man with a deep well of rage, and from time to time, he can’t seem to keep it underneath. Is he already taking the serum , or is this leading up to him taking it, or being given it by Victor?  This also unclear. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Victor did such a thing. Twice now we’ve seen him admonish Henry for displaying his anger. Testing the serum out on Henry isn’t something that’s out of bounds for him.

 

No Beast So Fierce:

So far, Hecate and Ethan want to rule the world, with Kaetenay  and Malcolm trying to nip that in the bud. Lily and her charge, Justine, want to rule the world with Dorian. Satan tried but lost his bid, but that’s okay because Dracula has put in his application to rule the world  with Vanessa. Who the hell even knows what Henry wants and John  just wants to take care of his family.

Dr. Sweet and Renfield:

Renfield is still giving Dracula  regular updates on what Vanessa has been telling Dr. Seward, including her last session, in which she found out his name, for which he is being rewarded by being made Dracula’s favorite. Dracula now knows that Vanessa knows his name. My thoughts while watching this scene: Dracula has got them (bishies) in check.  A mere twitch of his fingertips is enough to have his followers, minions, (or whatever) groveling on the floor in front of him. Now, that is control!

Vanessa and Lyle:

screen-shot-2016-05-31-at-1-53-19-pm.png

Unfortunately ,this seems to be the last we will be seeing of Lyle, as Vanessa catches up with him just before his expedition to Cairo, something he says isn’t strictly voluntary on his part. Vanessa asks him for the name of someone who knows as much about the occult as he does, and this is how Catriona Hartdegan, a new female character and Thanatologist, is introduced, for this season. (Note that famous Egyptian name that Lyle drops before his departure.)

Vanessa goes to see Cate at her fencing lesson, to ask her to investigate Dracula’s name. Cate is definitely a modern woman, bold and snarky. I’m not sure I like her just yet, as she seems very brittle and scratchy, so far. She’s not unlikable, just skritchy. I think one test of whether or not I’ll like her, is how well she gets along with Vanessa, who seems intrigued by her, and how well she handles the situation with Dracula.  I also think its important to learn whether or not she can shoot a gun.  In other words, is she as bad-ass as she likes to think she is, and does she have Vanessa’s back.

Lily, Justine, Dorian:

image

“No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity. But I know none, and therefore am no beast.” -Shakespeare

Oh boy, do I have a lot to say about these relationships this week. Now I’m intrigued by the introduction of Lily’s little girl and I’ve decided I’ll call her by her name this week, Justine. Things are definitely heating up between these three, but not in the way you might think, which does not bode well for either Lily, or Justine. I have decided to apply the above quote to Justine and Ethan, although it could apply to just about any of the characters in this episode.

Somebody gon’ die!

Lily has begun to draw up her army. They are mostly prostitutes, and other fallen women, whom English society has disdained as worthless. They’ve been gathering, mostly quietly, at Dorian’s estate and learning from Lily how best to gut and stab their male clients. I watched Lily’s demonstration on Dorian, and I think Lily forgot to factor in that there would be arterial blood spray, if you cut someone from the front. (You really want to do that kind of shit off to the side, or from behind, where the blood wouldn’t hit you.)

Anyway, her biggest problem isn’t that she is teaching incorrect murder classes, but that Justine, who has pledged herself to Lily, has pledged herself to Lily alone. When its time for Justine to demonstrate on Dorian, Lily can barely restrain Justine from cutting his throat. I think Dorian not dying would be a surprise to all of them. He doesn’t actually look scared but he does look nervous. Either he hasn’t told Lily what he is or he’s worried about how little control he has over these women. I’m guessing, the latter.

image

At any rate, its not Lily who is the wild card in this scenario, it’s Justine, who will take orders from  no man, including Dorian. Justine basically looks him in the eye,  and tells him to fuck off, something I’m pretty sure Dorian isn’t used to from women he’s  actively sleeping with. At any rate, the future doesn’t look good for Justine. Dorian killed Angelique just for finding out what he was. If Justine can’t be controlled by him, in his own house, then she has a very short future. And if he kills Justine, then he can forget about having a happy relationship with Lily.

Victor and Henry:

The two have finally gotten the serum to work. Victor makes plans to kidnap Lily so he can administer it to her. Henry, long ago, sussed out the real reason Victor is obsessed with saving her. Victor is that creepy stalker, who believes he’s a nice guy.

John:

There’s a little of John’s situation this episode as he goes to visit his family. His son is suffering from some disease and is very sickly. When his wife leaves him alone, John sneaks down from the attic to see him. John manages to give the child a single hug before the boy wakes up  to see a strange man, who looks suspiciously like his father, standing over his bed, and begins to scream. Its heartbreaking to think that this is the only opportunity John will have to touch his child.

 

Victor and Lily

All that happens is Victor gets captured at Dorian’s house. The only reason Justine doesn’t kill him is because of the amount of control Lily has over her, and Lily’s mercy. She warns him not to try it again, or he’ll be killed.

Hecate, Talbot, Malcolm 

 

The set piece of the episode is the final dinner and shootout at the Talbot corral. Everyone is calmly sitting and eating dinner as if guns weren’t being brandished a couple of hours earlier. Guns get brandished again when Rusk asks Hecate what she is, knowing what she did to his men with the snakes, and she reveals her true face to every one at the table. That’s some next level shit to everyone, as the room  immediately erupts in gunfire. We get to see Ethan’s gunfighter skills come into play and Hecate gets taken down by a bullet from Papa Talbot. No future Queen of the Earth for her, I guess.

Talbot barricades himself and his men in the chapel where he’d earlier threatened Ethan, but Kaetenay, who simply refuses to die, comes through, in the cut. With the two biggest influences in his life dead, Ethan is free to leave with Malcolm and Kaetenay. The all need to return to England NOW! because Vanessa is falling further into Dracula’s clutches.

Vanessa and Dr. Sweet

penny-dreadful-no-beast-so-fierce-.jpg

 

After a visit with Dr. Seward, who urges her to mend fences with her friends, Vanessa goes to see Dr. Sweet, who goads her into talking about her problems with him. He is still sweet?talking her, with his opinions about creatures of darkness, and loneliness. He seems surprised that she has turned up to see him because he thought all his hard work in wooing her had been wasted.

A lot of the things Sweet tells her are about himself, and she seems, on some level, to understand this because they end up having sex in the exhibit. Yeah, this does not look good. All evening long, Sweet seems as if he’s on the verge of telling Vanessa his real name, but keeps thinking better of it. Shit is gonna hit that fan when that happens.Vanessa: betrayed yet again!

Obviously, Vanessa cannot be left alone to choose her own friends, and must needs adult supervision.

Let’s hope Ethan reaches her quickly before something horrible happens.

 

Of Note:

It’s interesting that Dracula, despite his nefarious purposes, really seems to actually love Vanessa. His behavior towards her is so incredibly convincing, as Dr. Sweet, that even I occasionally forget what he is. I know he’s probably lying to her quite a lot, but I still can’t help but feel a great deal of sympathy for his evil ass. This a testament to the skills of the writer and the actor. (Plus, it doesnt hurt that that actor is really really hawwt!)

Penny Dreadful: Season Two Finale

WOW!

The two part season finale had some awesome confrontations taking place between all our major characters. Most especially the highly anticipated blow up between Evelyn Poole and Vanessa.

The least interesting portion of the show was Dorian and Lilly, so let’s get that out of the way. I really like Reeve Carney and I love Billie Piper but I’m not feeling the enthusiasm.  Also, I saw that sexing coming a mile away, even though I could’ve done without the ear biting. I’m probably not attached to them because I don’t know where John Logan is taking this particular plot and Lilly’s Dr. Evil mindset seemed to come out of nowhere.

image

At any rate, Lilly sold Dorian the same bill of goods about immortality and ruling the world, that she fed to John/Caliban.Dorian seems to be buying it, but I wonder when he’s going to get bored with her, too. I guess one of tonight’s revelations is that he does remember Brona. I can’t wait to see what happens when Ethan finally meets her but knowing John Logan, he’ll probably make the whole thing as anti-climatic as possible.

John Clare gets suckered into trusting that sweet, little blind girl routine and is now trapped in the basement of the museum, to be used as a sideshow attraction. He looks more upset about her betrayal than he does about his entrapment. I don’t expect him to remain there for long anyway, if he’s as strong as Lilly. When he killed Victors first creation, he did it with one punch, so yeah.

image

So,  how many of you want to see the Putneys get broken? Show of hands!

The next most interesting relationship is between Ethan and Vanessa. The bounty hunter, Roper, confronts the two of them at the cabin. He spends some amount of time threatening  Vanessa, after which she and Ethan take turns  whoopin’ his  ass,  until he’s dead. After burying the body, Victor shows up to let Vanesssa know that Malcolm is in trouble. He is such a strange bird that he doesn’t blink an eye at their disheveled appearance or even ask what they’re burying.

image

When they get back to town, Rusk confronts Ethan with his real name – Talbot. Oh, How very Lon Chaney of Mr. Logan. I still would love very much for Rusk to meet Ethan’s bad side, up close and personal-like. Even more, I’d love for Ethan’s father to show up at some point. That meeting would be epic.

After that reveal, we get Lyle turning traitor on Evelyn. I knew he cared about this crew and I wondered when he’d realize where his real loyalties were. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see his actual confession, which would’ve been nice to watch. He does look suitably contrite afterwards, though, and is willing to go into the lion’s den to save Malcolm, even if he’s only carrying a tiny gun. I still think his crush on Ethan may have played at least a small part in his change of heart.

While waiting for nightfall, Hecate confronts Ethan by simply walking through his room mirror. Yet another indictment against the ownership of large mirrors. She is trying to hook up with what she thinks is a good deal, with Ethan. I think she believes Ethan is the Anti-Christ. Judging by his reaction, so does Ethan.  But in fact, he’s probably the Lupus Dei that Lyle spoke of, at the beginning of the season.

Lyle’s studies of the Verbis Diablo said that the Lupus Dei, The Hound of God, is actually the Protector of Lucifer’ favorite, so I don’t think Hecate is going to get whatever she thinks she’s going to get out of their relationship.

Everyone advises Vanessa to wait until the next day to rescue Malcolm, which is a complete waste of breath as she just sneaks her hard-headed ass, right over to the witches home that night. The time when the Nightcomers powers are at their strongest.

image

So, now the rest of the group, Victor, Lyle, Sembene and Ethan have to go rescue Vanessa and Ethan is naturally reluctant because he knows his change is coming on that night. He and Sembene have a very touching bff moment. I like these two, so much. They just seem like they should be natural friends.

We also get some backstory that Sembene used to be a slave trader, but this doesn’t actually make me like him any less because I love a good  atonement story.

They arrive at the haunted house where Lyle pauses to say Kaddish, after which Victor becomes trapped in the same cursed room with Malcolm, beset with all of his worse secrets, while Lyle is trapped outside, being accosted by Hecate, who is still desperately trying to make her subplot stick.

Ethan and Sembene get trapped in a hallway when Ethan’s change comes on and he attacks Sembene. I won’t believe Sembene is dead until there’s a funeral so…

So, the Hound of God is at large, Victor and Malcolm are trapped by the memories of their ghosts and Vanessa and Evelyn engage in a bit of verbal jousting before Evelyn introduces her to Doll-Vanessa. I do recall my exact thought upon seeing that doll, was that if its eyes open, I’m gonna totally freak out.

I only shrieked a tiny bit.

Vanessa, then,  has to fight her own doll for posession of her soul. It turns out that Lucifer requires her consent and either the doll speaks for Lucifer or is Lucifer, I’m not sure, but he and Evelyn spend some time trying to get  Vanessa’s  consent to sign over her soul, using the technique of convincing her she’s already corrupt and tempting her with the idea of living a normal life with Ethan. While this is one of Evelyn’s tactics that seem to be working on Malcolm and Victor, this doesn’t work with Vanessa.

image

This is a tactic that only works by inducing guilt about  life choices in people who have lied to themselves about the decisions they’ve made. You can understand this in what the phantoms say to their victims. Malcolm’s ghosts keep hammering him with the knowledge that he is ultimately responsible for their deaths and Victor’s  ghosts chastise him for his lack of humanity, which is why he can only ever create monsters. All this does is make me wonder if I would be susceptible to such a tactic. Since I have a nasty habit of being blunt, coupled with a complete inability to lie to myself, I try not to engage in behavior I’m going to need to run from, or lie about later.

Vanessa, though, is the type of person who does all manner of bad things but is perfectly okay with the decisions she makes. She doesn’t like the decisions she makes but she  accepts that she made them, and she’s gonna live with them. It’s extremely difficult to shame somebody with things they are well aware of. Vanessa gives the devil the verbal smack down and cracks the doll open, releasing a flood of “little scorpions”, her namesake. Evelyn totally loses her shit but before she can attack Vanessa, WolfEthan shows up and rips her head off.

image

As uncontrollable as he is in that state, he has the presence of mind not to attack Vanessa, though. When Evelyn dies, all her spells die with her. It turns out that the witch attacking Lyle is not Hecate but one of the others. Lyle shoots her, and Malcolm, now free of Evelyn’s spell shoots the other. The only witch left is Hecate who burns her mother’s castle to the ground, on her way out the door.

The season ends on the saddest tones.

Sembene is actually dead but since this is a series featuring dead people walking around and talking, I’m not sure how to feel about the only Black guy on the show, getting fridged to aid Ethan’s storyline. Yeah, alright! I don’t like it. On the other hand, since the only Black guy on the show just died , the writers  will have to fill that quota with his brother, uncle or an Asian or Native American next season. Remember people…there can be only one! Any more than that and White people will find it impossible to watch the show, I guess.

Well,  at least we have Lyle, who gets one of the best lines in the entire series when he tells the witch, “Never underestimate a queen with lovely hair.” I now love Lyle, who is the only gay, Jewish, senior citizen, in a primetime television series.

image

Victor and Lily part ways, as she and Dorian go full on Doctor Evil. He shoots them both but that doesn’t kill them and they just go one dancing, as if he hadn’t interrupted them, at all. I can think of some pretty inventive deaths for them, though. They might not die but they’d be just as useless when I m done with both of them. They don’t even impress me as villains. Mostly they’re just deeply annoying, with their talk of “we’re superior beings, let’s take over the world” BS. What’s superior about that? Human beings already know how to be assholes to each other, without being immortal, so it’s not like they’d be teaching us anything new.

The most satisfying moment is the deaths of the Putneys, except for their blind daughter. I saw that coming a mile away. I knew that cell couldn’t hold John for long. And c’mon! They really were asking for it by taunting him relentlessly, about his looks,  mostly. And the worst thing he could’ve done to little Miss Future Matchgirl, was let her live. In that particular era, and with no one to support her, she’s in for a short, brutal life of misery and I hope people are as kind to her as she was to John.

The most tearful moment is when John asks Vanessa to leave England with him and she kisses him goodbye.

Followed by Vanessa asking Ethan to come away with her and he leaves. She doesn’t get a kiss though.

Malcolm takes Sembene back to Africa. All he has left now is Vanessa. He is truly not a fortunate man, to have survived the deaths of all the people he loved.

image

I guess the death of Sembene was the last straw. Ethan turns himself over to Inspector Rusk and gets extradited to America.

Vanessa is all alone in Malcolm’s house. She burns that cross that was on the wall. The one she spent so much time praying in front of. That’s all over now, she thinks.

Only Lyle gets to ride off into the sunset.

With the witches dead and everyone scattered to the four winds, how will the next season set itself up, I wonder? Will everyone contrive to come back together? Will we get to meet Ethan’s father and is he cursed too? Will Victor resurrect yet another dead person, or has he learned his lesson yet? Will Dracula make an appearance this time? Will Lilly and Dorian try to take over the world, (I’ve decided I’m going to call them “Dilly”), or just be killed in some embarrassingly low key incident, like being run over by some horse drawn carriages? Will Malcolm bring back another Black guy to replace his dead butler?

Stay tuned for the next installment of Penny Dreadful, coming next year.

Penny Dreadful : Momento Mori

We have two episodes left in an extended season and events are beginning to reach their peak. All season, John Logan has been ratcheting up the tension like a vise. The finale is going to be  a huge release for everyone. This episode featured some not quite epic confrontations, but still very satisfying.

There was no Ethan or Vanessa in this episode, nevertheless their presence was felt, as the story begins to coalesce around what Vanessa will do during the finale, and how things between her and Evelyn will play out, although I have no doubt Evelyn will lose. Like the best plots, Vanessa’s victory may create a situation that’s even worse.

Yes, there are still too many secrets for my taste but I have come to understand the underlying theme of this season seems to be eternal youth and immortality.

You have Victor Frankenstein, who has found a way to cheat death, through Science. You’ve got Dorian Gray, whose backstory everyone already know, ,if you’ve read the book. We have the Nightcomers, Evelyn Poole and her daughter Hecate. Apparently Evelyn is pretty old, something which makes her daughter think that she is weak and ineffective. She thinks her mother needs to be  supplanted by someone more youthful, like herself.

image

And  there’s Evelyn’s cats-paw, Lyle. I thought she held some horrible secret over his head to keep him in her clutches, but it turns out that her only hold over him is vanity. He wishes he were younger and prettier, so he could more easily attract the young men he lusts after .As for why Evelyn wants Vanessa – vanity. To keep her youth and immortality, she has promised to procure Lucifer’s favorite.

Whether or not Lilly and John will age remains to be seen. Technically, they’re already dead but this is not without its issues. They’re stronger and faster, something Lilly proved last week,  but are completely  amoral and have no qualms about harming people.

Just like Dorian, who, after discovering that Angelique found his secret, poisoned her with a glass of wine. And this is another theme  to be discussed. Up til now, we’ve all been quick to dismiss Dorian as just a pretty wastrel, mostly harmless and charming. We tend to forget that he is nothing like that. For the first time we get to see the painting that shows what he actually looks like and yeah, it’s  as awful as you imagine.The man in the painting is disgusting, with a scowling, leering expression.This is what Dorian actually looks like and its all the more frightening because not only do you like Dorian, you want to like him. When I mentioned earlier that the Gentlemen of London were not Gentlemen because of the way they treated Angelique, well, Dorian is not a Gentlemen either and never was.

image

Many of the people on this show are pretending to be something they’re not. Evelyn states as much to Lyle. John is the only monster that looks like one. Lilly, the Nightcomers, Ethan, Vanessa and Dorian all have some very pretty packaging. I think the difference is in how each of these character approaches their monstrousness.

Lilly has decided to embrace her inner monster. She is a woman with a deep well of hatred for men, and that’s understandable considering the life she led before her resurrection.  When John confronts her about the men he’d seen her with and thinks to hit her, she has this great monologue, infused with all her rage and contempt at how she was treated in her old life. In fact, she so totally forgets her present, that right in the middle of her speech, her accent changes back to her  Irish brogue, and so smoothly, that if you’re not looking for it, you miss it. Billie Piper is wonderful here.

image

John is pretty shaken by this. He’s  speechless, as she tosses him around the room like a doll. He totally didn’t see any of that coming.

Victor, in a touching moment with Sir Malcolm confesses his addiction to Morphine. Its interesting to watch Victor become a warmer, more approachable person. I think this is due to his acceptance by the group and them treating him like family. Even Sembene behaves tenderly towards him, and Malcolm is understanding and kind when he makes this confession to him.

image

Earlier, after finding him in a stupor, John threatened to kill Victor, again. How many times per episode is that going to happen? John is very big on threats but the only person we’ve ever seen him kill is Victor’s second experiment, who was technically already dead. John also  threatens to take Lilly away, declaring that she belongs to him. Well, Lilly makes it clear that she has very different ideas about her life and that he won’t be the only one, wearing the pants in their relationship.

Sir Malcolm seemed to be coming out of Evelyn’s spell.  Ms. Poole, pushing her luck too far, started a working over the doll she created of him and it backfires. I’m not sure what the spell was supposed to accomplish but Sembene put a stop to it, by reminding Malcolm of his past. When the spell breaks, Evelyn, who seemed to actually care about her relationship with Malcolm, was very shaken. I’m guessing no one had ever willed them-self out of one of her spells, before.

image

Sir Malcolm is also confronted by Inspector Rusk, who is circling closer and closer to Ethan. Watching the two of them verbally jousting is almost as entertaining as watching Rusk and Ethan. What do you want to bet that Rusk gets exactly what he wants and meets Ethan’s monster, face to face?

image

Realizing what had been done to him, Malcolm hies off to confront Evelyn about it and their confrontation is the highlight of the episode, as we’ve all been waiting for it. Malcolm thoroughly rejects her. Are her tears real or fake? At its conclusion she drops a tiny scorpion in his lap and leaves him alone with the  hallucinations of his dead wife and children.

I’d also like to point out some of the parallels we’ve seen in the actions of certain characters from first season to this one. At one point we see Vanessa teaching Ethan how to waltz. Earlier in the season we saw her teaching another monster how to waltz. She reassures John that he is not the monster he thinks he is, and Sembene does the same thing for Ethan in an earlier episode. We also see Ethan bonding with Victor while teaching him to shoot and later we see him do the same with Vanessa.

Next week we’ll see if Vanessa reaches Sir Malcolm in time to save him from himself and possibly a final showdown between her and Evelyn. At some pint everyone is going to have to deal with Ethan’s secret, and Dorian’s as well. And things between Victor, Lilly and John reach a moment, but its also possible, these may be the cliffhangers for next season.

Penny Dreadful : Little Scorpion

This week’s episode is an Ethan/Vanessa vehicle. Fewer plot threads are introduced, which is a good thing because it’s easy to lose track of how many people aren’t talking to somebody,  even though there’s less than ten people in the cast.

Vanessa’s symbol is the scorpion. Its been part of the shows iconology since season one. The nickname was given to her by the witch that trained her, The Cut-Wife. After making the decision to protect Vanessa from Ms. Poole/Mme Kali, at her cabin, Poole maneuvered the local landowner to burn her alive because she was being magically restricted from setting foot on the property herself, and needed to get Vanessa out in the open. Most of this episode takes place at the cabin.

image

Last week,  Ethan asked Sembene to watch over him while he turns into a  werewolf. And it’s a beautiful, naturally lit, opening scene, where Sembene explains to Ethan what he witnessed. He’s surprisingly alright with it because his people are not unfamiliar with the idea of shape shifting. He reassures Ethan that this is not necessarily a curse because he can see that Ethan is a good man.

I agree. I think Ethan is a very dark soul, but essentially a good man, who has done some very horrible things. The fact that he’s intelligent enough not to try to justify the horrible things he’s done and tries to do better, even if he  fails, speaks well of him as a character. Of course, this is only something that’s true on screen. In real life people like that are repulsive.

The family, (and from hereon, I’m going to refer to the group as a family, as it’s what they’re slowly becoming, despite all  their secrets), discuss what happened to Vanessa at the party the night before. None of the people present witnessed  anything and Vanessa calls into question their ability to protect her if the danger can get so close to her, and none of them see it. She decides she needs to leave. She wants to go back to the Cut-wife’s cabin. Ethan tells her he will accompany her. Lyle is the one who  suggests Vanessa not tell the group where she’s going.

And Lyle is a very interesting character. He is supposed to be working for Ms. Poole but is definitely coming to care for these people he’s supposed to be betraying. He makes that suggestion because he knows he’s compromised and that Malcolm is thoroughly roofied. Ms. Poole can find out anything from the two of them and Lyle really does seem to want to keep Vanessa safe. So while he does, in fact, work for Ms. Poole, he appears to be doing so under great duress and works to thwart her activities, as and when he can.image

But Vanessa does tell Victor. She is very warm and loving to him and  treats him much like a little brother. I think its very telling that while it’s Ethan who accompanies  her to the countryside, because he wasn’t at the party, it is Victor she trusts with her location, against Lyle’s advice.

She and Ethan arrive at the cabin and spend the day cleaning and collecting food. Later that evening, they have a lovely exchange of stories about their past and Vanessa teaches Ethan how to waltz. But later Ethan, feeling restless, warns her that he must leave and she is to make sure the door is locked. After he changes, we see him eating some neighbor’s sheep.

image

The next day, Ethan takes it upon himself to cut down the tree where the Cut-Wife was burned by the estate owner. This man was another who had fallen under the sway of Ms. Poole. Later, while out walking, Vanessa and Ethan encounter this man, riding with his pack of hounds. He’s still as nasty as ever and decides he should add degrading and threatening Ethan, by comparing him to his well-trained dogs, to his list of sins.

Vanessa makes the decision to kill him before he can become a problem. I’m all for getting rid of potential problems before they become actual problems. I know that sounds blood thirsty but I’m pragmatic. If someone has threatened to become an obstacle to your happiness, why wait for them to get started. (Keeping in mind, that this works great in movies because no one ever goes to jail for preemptive murder. Not so workable in real-life.)

Ethan cautions Vanessa against killing this man because it will damage her soul and goes out to do it for her. But Vanessa spells the man’s dogs to attack and eat him before Ethan can shoot him in cold blood. When he gets back to the cabin, lightening strikes the cabin and after she and Ethan put out the resultant fire, they share some wet kissing. After a minute, Vanessa cuts that shit short because she knows its a “bad idea”.

And here’s  why:

According to Lyle’s interpretation of the artifacts of the Devil’s Bible, the “hound” (otherwise known as Ethan), is the protector of the Devil’s favorite , hereinafter referred to as Vanessa). The hound is apparently the only thing that can thwart the devils plans for her, as he gets a lot of shout outs in the artifacts.  At the same time, there’s a dark soul that, should it become conjoined with Vanessa’s, could bring about the apocalypse. Ethan fits both criteria, (while Dorian only fits one of those), so make of that what you will.

image

BronaLilly receives an invitation to go out on the town from Dorian and Victor says he’s okay with it. He really shouldn’t be because Dorian is still trying to figure out where and when he last saw her. Naturally, they visit the Wax Museum where John Clare works. Since he’s never mentioned to anyone that he has a job, she doesn’t know this. The sheer amount of things people are not talking to each other about, in this show, is just staggering. Of course John witnesses her date with Dorian.

Instead of going home after her date, Lilly indulges an impulse to stop at a pub. She picks up a man there, goes home with him, has sex, and chokes the man to death. I don’t think this was an activity that Brona got up to when she was alive. The killing part, not the sex. Actually, I’m not at all surprised by it. I’m sure that when she was a sex-worker she hated that job and men like the one she killed. I think this is an expression of that contempt, although she has no memory of where it comes from.

So we are almost done with the season and we have more questions than answers. As much as I complain about this show, i really do love it and hey!, it could be much worse. It could have at least one rape, burning or lynching per episode, so that’s a step up, right?

Penny Dreadful: Glorious Horror

Well, not much happened and yet a lot happened. There was serious ratcheting up of the tension, as friends and rivals circle closer and closer to each other, and to a final showdown, of some kind. This episode takes place in the immediate aftermath of last weeks episode.

Everyone gets up the next morning and, right away, they start working on the culmination of all this drama. Mme. Kali takes a lock of Sir Malcolm’s hair, so she can finish up her voodoo doll of him. She’s taken his blood and hair, so he’s pretty much her beeyotch for the rest of the season. I wonder what is the outcome of all this maneuvering? Is she just doing this for her own entertainment? To hurt Vanessa? So, its dolls all around, I guess. Meanwhile her daughter Hecate makes her own quiet plans to usurp her mother’s authority.

Malcolm wakes up smiling, happy and complacent, exactly the way Kali wants him, and then continues to behave like a brain removal patient for the rest of the episode, leading all of the other characters to question  his mental status.  Especially after he remains  completely unbothered by the news of his wife’s horrific suicide, only remarking on how he’ll need to change the carpeting in the house. Now, that’s some cold shit and all the characters seem to understand that, especially Sembene, who was present at the death of Sir Malcolm’s son, and knows this reaction is just all kinds of wrong.

image

Victor, after sleeping with BronaLilly, realizes its a bad, bad thing he just did, and that John is going to beat his ass, when he finds out about it. Not if. When. Because that’s how this show rolls.

Dorian wakes up and decides to throw a grand ball, as a coming out party for his new paramour, Angeligue. I can’t help but think that the only reason he is so smitten with her is because he has a fetish for her uniqueness, and as soon as Angelique’s novelty wears off, she’ll be kicked to the curb. I think Angelique knows this, having been kicked to the curb, after use,  several times before. And I think we’ve already established that Victorian Englishmen are not gentlemen. Will she find out Dorian’s secret? How will she react when she does? Not if, but when.

Vanessa confronts Victor about his love for his “cousin”. She mentions  her friend, John Clare and Victor puts two and two together and realizes just how little she knows about what he gets up to when he’s on his own. Victor’s got nothing but secrets. I guess that makes up for his lack of character. If he engaged in less deception or had better people skills, maybe he wouldn’t have so many.

Dorian stops by the house to issue an invitation to the ball and Vanessa says yes. She attends, unescorted, when Ethan, who has much larger issues to attend to, turns her down.

Ethan ran into Rusk at the Wax Museum where John Clare works. The Museum has put on a showing of the massacre at the Inn, where he used to live, and Rusk confronts him about it again. They do that little verbal dance, that I enjoyed so much in the last episode, where Rusk keeps throwing chum in the water and Ethan keeps nimbly dodging the bait.

John Clare and the blind sculptress at the museum are  edging closer to being friends, when she realizes that there’s something very wrong with him because he has clammy hands. This frightens her and she confesses her misgivings to her employer.

image

Ethan is also visited by the bounty hunter who survived the massacre, and he threatens to slit the throats of all the members of the household, late one night.  I just had to raise my eyebrows at that because  part of me was saying, “I wish he would! He don’t know who he’s messin’ with.”  If he tried something, he’d be in for a  surprise. Nobody in that house is a pushover. Okay, maybe Malcolm is. But, as far as I can tell, Sembene never sleeps  and Vanessa could probably make him burst into flames with a sharp look. So, yeah, right dude!

So, everyone who is anyone, is invited to the ball. Ethan and Sembene are the only ones who don’t attend. The two of them have bigger concerns. For a household that’s supposed to be under siege, everyone is very lax in their safety. It’s like they’ve completely forgotten about the recent home invasion, and the house battening and sage burning of the last episode.

Victor and Lilly show up and Lilly thinks she remembers being in that house. Dorian meets her and is intrigued by his own feelings of déjà vu. He’s had so many sexual partners, what’s one long absent,  consumptive, whore. Of course he can’t remember her, but he wants to. This exposes the first chink in Angelique’s armor. She’s very jealous of Dorian’s attention to this sweet, shy, fragile looking, and cis-gender, blonde. How is this jealousy going to play out later, if at all? The writers keep introducing new plot threads and resolving none of them.

image

Lyle tries to talk Hecate out of whatever she plans to do to Vanessa that evening. And then  tries to talk Vanessa into going home. I’m pretty sure Vanessa knows about Angelique’s gender status. Her reaction to meeting her was very interesting. I didn’t see that coming and I wonder if it will have any meaning in the future. Or maybe she was reacting to something else about Angelique, that we don’t know.

Hell, if I know.

Mme. Kali arrives with Mlacolm and she and Vanessa exchange some sugar coated barbs. Instant antipathy between the two of them, was not at all surprising. Before she can leave, Vanessa is approached by the other witches and hallucinates a blood rain before losing consciousness. It’s one of the most striking scenes  I’ve ever seen in the show. I’m not sure if this is a result of Vanessa’s precognitive abilities or if the witches sent her this vision.

image

That evening Ethan approaches Sembene with a request. He tells him he needs  to be locked in irons and watched carefully. That no matter what happens, he is not to set him free or leave. Puzzled by this request, but willing to go along, probably becasue Ethan is one of the few people I’ve actually seen speaking to him, he is surprised and horrified to see Ethan turn into a werewolf.

We’re halfway through the season and the plot is moving so very slowly. I have no clue where any of these plot threads are heading, although I can see the slow convergence of all the characters. I’m starting to suspect that the writers are either  stalling for  time or just winging it. Do they have any idea how they’re going to wrap all of this up?

Stay tuned to find out.

Penny Dreadful : Above the vaulted Sky

This episode, while less spectacular than the previous, has just as much drama, while ratcheting up the tension between all of our characters and the various secrets they’re all holding, especially Victor.

We’re entering the midpoint of the season and so far we’ve been absent many sex scenes, but this episode more than made up for the lack by featuring some hot, sweaty, monkey-love, between people we never expected to be seeing naked on TV. Namely Timothy Dalton.

I do recall stating, earlier,  that I had no wish to see Timothy Dalton’s naked bottom and, thankfully,  the creators of this series kept my request in their thoughts while filming.  Actually, it was very tastefully done, if conventionally shot. I could also have done without all the bloodletting but then I’m pretty sure Sir Malcolm could’ve done without it as well, as he had not signed up for that, when he began flirting with M. Kali.

image

After the house was invaded by naked, chameleon, witches who stole Vanessa’s hair, the group decides to batten down the hatches and adopt a siege mentality. I know this because Ethan gives a speech about the last siege/ambush event he’d been involved in, and because we get to watch a montage of Sembene and Ethan, battening down the hatches. Sir Malcolm arms himself, Sembene lies in wait on the stairs, while Ethan fogs up the house with some Sage, and Lyle, the traitor’s traitor, etches some magical symbols around the house. The witches are just going to have to ninja their way into the house some other way, the next time they come trawling for hair samples.

image

Vanessa tells the group, that the Nightcomers can only approach or attack during…guess what? The hours of night. To protect herself, she has decided she needs to sleep in Ethan’s bed, but without Ethan in it, so far, although you can tell, the two of them are giving it some serious thought. She claims everyone should be safe from  witchery during the day, but that’s besides the point because there are all new dangers they face during the day, as they all run out to their separate errands.

Vanessa goes to visit the homeless shelter again, where she encounters Frankenstein’s monster and they have a poetry recital. I’m always baffled by people who remember huge chunks of poetry, until I remember that’s no different than my having thoroughly memorized old TV show jingles, from the 70’s, only more pretentiously high-brow. She gives John a  dancing lesson, not realizing that the person John wishes to woo, is the revivified corpse of Brona/Lilly, with whom she just  had lunch and totally didn’t recognize. What will she think to know that John is yet another revived body that Victor pieced together? She didn’t seem to recognize Brona/Lilly from their meeting last season, at the theater, but since she was with Dorian, who is very distracting, I will forgive her this inattentiveness. She can tell that Victor is very obviously in love with his “cousin”.

image

Sir Malcolm runs off to flirt with Ms. Poole some more. He’s very smitten with her and I’m not sure if it’s genuine or a spell she put on him. I’m still not used to seeing him smiling so much after the gloomy Gus he was first season. After Kali finds out that he cannot divorce his wife, she takes steps to rectify that situation by making a doll of his wife and spelling it. Malcolm’s wife goes insane and committs suicide. That distraction aside, Kali can now devote all of her energies to tormenting her doll of Vanessa and seducing Malcolm.

Ethan and Rusk finally meet face to face. Its a lot of fun watching their verbal parrying. Ethan is so much smarter than most of the people in the show give him credit for. He dances nimbly around Rusk’s questions about the massacre at the Inn and, even more nimbly, eludes the man that Rusk hires to shadow him, when Ethan is less than forthcoming about who he is, or how he survived.The greatest revelation may be that Ethan Chandler may not be his real name.

image

Later that evening. Dorian and Angelique visit a table top tennis parlour. I had no idea this was a thing in Victorian England, but okay. He and Angelique flirt shamelessly and it’s really cute, until Angelique is recognized by a former client, who spits and throws things on her. So much for the proper, English gentlemen myth. You’ve got Malcolm cheating on his wife, Victor reviving dead friends of friends, without their permission, and stealing his monster’s girlfriend and these yahoos, spitting on people in public.

Keep it classy, fellas!

Dorian takes her to his home where she makes love to him as a very comely man. What’s notable here is that the creators show this scene, at all, and film it just like any other sex scene, making no attempt to turn it into an Afterschool Special or veil it in false chastity. They juxtapose it with Sir Malcolm’s sex scene and Victor’s, which doesn’t make me feel too good about what secrets Angelique could be withholding. Since I’m experiencing so much tension with  the other two relationships,  it’s no trouble for me, at all, to transfer some to Dorian’s relationship. I’m waiting for Angie’s shoe to drop on his head.

Next week, we get more spectacle, as Dorian comes back into the fold, Throwing a ball for everyone at his home. Ethan and the bounty hunter who was the catalyst for Ethan’s change into a werewolf, when they last met, meet and annoy each other again. And Ethan shares his secret with Sembene. If we’re lucky! we might get one of them to open their mouth and say something…anything, about their past and we’ll get a little more backstory on each of these men.

image

I hope to see some major revelations next week, involving Victors secrets since both he and Lilly are attending Dorian’s ball. If Ethan attends, there may be unannounced fireworks.

Penny Dreadful : Evil Spirits In Heavenly Places

The third episode of this season, titled The Nightcomers, chronicles Vanessa’s coming out, and reaction to, her realization that she is a Witch, with superpowers. How she learned to deal with her special abilities and how this has shaped her, is the focus. It touches on her history with the witches, Evelyn Poole and her daughter, Hecate, and how they have been trying to procure her for their master, Lucifer, for a number of years, and how she managed to escape them.

The following episode deals with the aftermath of Vanessa’s confession, to the group,  about her past and how she came to know about the Witches and how they have pursued her and why.

In Evil Spirits In Heavenly Places, there are a number of enchantresses at work, too.

Sir Malcolm is still courting Evelyn Poole, also known as Madame Kali/Leader of the Witch’s Coven. She has already placed an enchantment of some kind on him,  in an effort to get him to betray Vanessa at some future point. Its fun to watch him be flirty and happy around Evelyn, even when you know its going to all end in tears, as she’s just deceiving him to get to Vanessa.

image

Victor Frankenstein has become thoroughly enchanted with the re-risen Brona, whom he has renamed Lily. He created her for His Monster, John Clare, but she appears to be falling in love with him, and he with her. He goes to Vanessa to help him choose a suit of clothes for his cousin, “Lily”, and mostly lies to Vanessa too, but she can tell he’s very taken with the young lady, whom she hasn’t met since her resurrection. She doesn’t know that Lily is Brona, Ethan’s late -girlfriend. On the other hand, Lily has no recollection of her past life and even has a different accent than the lower class one she sported as Brona.

image

Ethan is approached by Hecate, Evelyn’s daughter. The witches are fascinated by  Ethan, believing him to be Vanessa’s champion. Hell, that’s understandable. Ethan is a fascinating man and one day we’re going to get his backstory. If they can turn him to their own ends, that would be yet another avenue by which they can suborn Vanessa’s  trust in her friends and take her for themselves. But Ethan manages to detect Hecate’s lies,  when  she pretends to be an American while trying to seduce him. Ethan has so much depth. Hopefully the witches will not discover he’s a supernatural creature and use him to hurt his new family.

image

This episode is notable for Ethan reaching out to Sembene. It’s fascinating to watch the beginning edges of this gentle and tentative friendship blooming between them, mostly spurred by Ethan as Sembene is very close mouthed. I suspect they have much in common and would get along splendidly if each of them could let their guard down enough to do that.

In fact its interesting to watch all these characters behaving as a real family now. There are a lot of outside forces that are aligned against them, and they all have so many secrets, that its important that they finish the growing pains of last season and start to develop actual relationships and caring for one another. They will need it.

It’s not just the witches they have to deal with. It’s some of the choices that have been made by some of the characters, namely Victor. There’s Victor’s betrayal of both Ethan and John. What will happen if Vanessa meets Lily first? What will she say and do? Brona actually met Dorian before but Victor and Dorian are not in the same social circles, so its unlikely they will meet. Ethan was just on the verge of telling Vanessa his secret, I think, but he stopped and none of his friends know about him or that he was the cause of the massacre at the Inn, that’s been so much in the news.

Sir Malcolm takes Vanessa to visit a soup kitchen/homeless shelter where she meets John Clare, who is homeless after losing his job at a theater. He now works for a waxwork museum, whose owner has a blind daughter, who can’t see how ugly John is and has won his attention. Also, the owner has some nefarious purpose in mind regarding John, that involves making money off John’s unfortunate looks.

Dorian, on the other hand, now that Vanessa has forbidden him to be with her, lives a separate lifestyle from the other characters. He has fallen in with a transgender woman named Angelique. I’m waiting with suspense to find out what her secrets are. That she’s transgender is not the secret. That’s only shocking to the denizens of Victorian London, but I hope she also doesn’t turn out to be one of the witches or some other kind of supernatural creature.

image

I appreciate that the writers are trying to involve Sembene in the action and dialogue a bit more this season but I dont expect a whole lot because this show is still very much a vehicle for Eva Green. But it is nice to watch him do something else besides shoot things or serve food. This time we get to watch him fight over washing dishes with Ethan. It would be nicer still if the writers felt confident enough to give him some real dialogue and a purpose. Here is  a hint writers: just write him the way you would any other character on the show.

Detective Rusk is getting closer to Ethan after the massacre at the Inn last season. The only survivor is one of the men who was the catalyst, for the massacre, in the first place. A man hired by Ethan’s father to retrieve him by any means available and take him back home.

I still wonder exactly how much Ethan knows about what he is and what he can do. At one point, the witches infiltrate Sir Malcolm’s house, to retrieve a lock of Vanessa’s hair, so that Evelyn can finish her Voodoo doll of her. The witches have the ability to blend into the background, like chameleons. Only Vanessa and Ethan are able to detect their presence. Vanessa because she’s just hyper-aware of everything and Ethan because I think he smelled Hecate. So his senses are exceptionally keen, no matter what form he’s in?

image

Also, this scene is Hella creepy.

The witches manage to get Vanessa’s hair, which I still think, is a fairly elaborate way to go about doing it but it gives us several butt-shots of the witches, I guess. So there’s that. We really should get some butt-shots of Ethan, at some point. That would be much appreciated because, hey! It’s Josh Hartnett. We’ve had several butt shots of Dorian and I remain unimpressed because Twinks aren’t really my bag and I don’t think anyone wants to see Malcolm’s bottom.

The show is much more interesting than last season. It continues to be both sexy and deeply weird and creepy, like nothing else on television. There’s a concrete villain, even though her goal is somewhat nebulous. She’s  much more interesting than the Dracula we never saw, or the demonic entity that possessed Vanessa.

This season has a lot more depth and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, when all of Victor’s  lies and deceptions start catching up with him and we get to see more of Ethan’s story about how he became a werewolf and why his father is willing to send hardened bounty hunters after him. What will Sir Malcolm do when or if he finds out about Evelyn? What will this new family do when they find out about Ethan?

Next week: I’ll be finishing up my overview of season 10 of Supernatural, binge watching Sens8, which I’m getting very excited about. Check it out on Netflix on June 5th.  And reviewing Sunday’s episode 5 of Penny Dreadful, titled Above the Vaulted Sky.

Penny Dreadful: Fresh Hell/ Verbis Diablo

I know some of you have no idea what this show is or  what this show is about. If that’s the case, please go watch the first season, which introduces the world and characters, of this Gothic London Horror series. Watching this show, should give you plenty of time to get ready for Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak, this Fall.

This show has all the well-worn monster tropes, given new life, by being set in Victorian London, and made more accessible to modern viewers, by going into the minds of its monsters. We have Dorien Gray, Dr. Frankenstein, and his Monster, werewolves, witches, an English adventurer, gunfights, and prostitutes dying of consumption. In other words: The Full Victoriana.

image

The monsters hide in plain sight, among the regular populace and interact with humans, yet, remain completely hidden from common knowledge. What the protagonist of this show, Vanessa Ives, calls “The Demi-monde”, the in-between world, that is neither the real world, nor the world of the truly monstrous.

There’s :

Vanessa Ives – A Seer and Witch. She is the main focus of the show and a choice role for Eva Green, who gets to show off  her ability to act totally batshit. Last season, Satan seemed to really be into her, Dracula was out to get her, and  now the witches are after her, for who knows what reason. Vanessa prays a lot, but as far as I can tell, this doesn’t seem to help her much, and only seems to make her more popular with the monsters.

image

image

Ethan Chandler – Ethan, as portrayed by Josh Hartnett is full of all manner of hidden depths, including the ability to speak Latin, talk to wolves and an occasional taste for men, sometimes literally. An American gunfighter, who is running from some deep dark secret in his recent past and a father, who is so desperate for him to come back home, that he sends bounty hunters with chains after him. When Ethan refuses to cooperate with this manner of travel, it results in a barroom massacre at the end of the season, which is being investigated by

image

Inspector Rusk – played by Douglas Hodge. We don’t know what his secrets are yet, but I do expect to see a gunfight showdown between him and Ethan by the end of this season, or I will be disappointment.

Sir Malcolm – is an English adventurer, wholost his daughter to Dracula’s vampires last season, lost his son in Africa, adopted Vanessa as his new daughter, and  is trapped in a loveless marriage with a rich wife.

image

Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his Monster – who have a contentious relationship. The monster hates his maker but has threatened him into providing him with a mate. Victor stole the body of Ethan’s consumptive girlfriend, resurrected her and renamed her Lilly. We will find out later this season, exactly how Ethan will be feeling about that, and I can’t wait. It’s going get very, very interesting, especially since Ethan and Victor have been trying to bond through gunfire, earlier in the show. I hope Victor gets thrashed because I can’t stand him. I don’t think anyone does, even though the show has been trying to make him more likable.

image

The Monster – calls himself John Claire and is under the mistaken impression that just because he can commission Victor to build a woman, doesn’t mean Victor can control how she will feel towards anyone. There’s the possibility that Lilly may never love John, but I don’t think this has even occurred to him. What will happen to her if she rejects him?

image

There’s Dorien Grey – A complete omnisexual, who is responsible for most of the full frontal we get subjected to on the show, and who has slept with half the cast, Including Brona (Ethan’s late girlfriend), Ethan, and Vanessa, who is never allowed to get within touching distance of him, ever again, since the last time she slept with him, she totally lost her shit and thought she was possessed by Satan.

image

Last season, the characters dealt with vampires and demonic possession and it’s also fascinating watching them navigate each others weaknesses and trying to bond as family. Sir Malcolm is the father figure, with Sembene as a kind of Uncle. Ethan and Victor are like jealous brothers and, of course, there’s  Vanessa, the little sister, whom everyone must protect and around whom the show revolves. The only times they’ve defeated all the monsters, is when they’ve gotten over their issues, stopped lying to each other and worked together as a unit.

This season, the theme seems to be witches, and  a lovely group of witches we have.They like to run around naked, carve Pentagrams into their skin and have no loyalty to one another, even though they kiss a lot. In the  first episode of this season, we meet a coven of witches, who are hunting for the devil’s favorite, otherwise known as, Vanessa. Also, they’ve taken a marked interest in Ethan, whom they believe to be Vanessa’s champion, since he was the person who was present to fight them off, after they attacked her coach. I get the distinct impression that they would’ve believed that of anyone who’d been in the coach with Vanessa.

image

The three witches, who look like the Erinyes  of Greek lore, except with more hair, (except when they’re being bald,) shop for perfumes, attack public coaches, steal babies, bathe in tubs of blood, and use these actions to cast spells on Vanessa and her adoptive father, Sir Malcolm.image

In an attempt to understand exactly what’s been happening to Vanessa, the group of heroes, which also include an African Shaman, named Sembene, who I hope gets some secrets of his own, conclude that they need the Verbis Diablo, a book chronicling the language of demons.The person procuring the manuscript for them is Ferdinand Lyle, who is a spy for the witches and totally crushing on Ethan, who is very charming, while ignoring his flirtations.

image

Since I know almost nothing at all about European Occult practices outside of some bad Horror movies, you will have to decide for yourself the accuracy of any of the Occult shenanigans, in this show.

Everyone on the show has some deep dark secret that they’re trying to hide from everyone else. Sir Malcolm, hides his depression and despair and that he’s thinking of cheating on his shrew of a wife, Ethan is pretty much hiding his entire life and there’s the strong hint of some potential romance with Vanessa. Vanessa is hiding everything from her past and the only way anyone seems to find out about it, is when it comes back to bite people.on the ass.

Last Sunday’s episode was notable for introducing a new transgender character, to be devoured by Dorien, Vanessa actually cracking a smile after she meets John Claire, and some infanticide. If these sorts of things greatly upset you, than this is not your type of show.

Next episode: We find out why the witches are so interested in Vanessa. What do you wanna guess, that  it has something to do with a dark secret, from her past?

The show is in it’s second season and airs on the Showtime network.