Penny Dreadful Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 2

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to this week’s trip to the sundae bar, aka my review and recap of Penny Dreadful!

sundae 2

And this week’s trip to the sundae bar was interesting, to say the least.  In fact, the flavors this week were…well…odd to say the least.  In fact, I don’t know if it could even be properly called a sundae, as opposed to a very mixed, confused batch of ingredients randomly thrown into a bowl of vanilla ice cream, and called a sundae.  But the flavors were indeed interesting, even if they didn’t make any sense after being thrown together.

sundae 1

With that being said, here is my recap and review of Penny Dreadful, season 2, episode 2.


The episode begins with Vanessa in a state of shock, presumably after the disturbing visit from the witch’s coven.  She seeks comfort with Malcolm.  Vanessa then accompanies Malcolm to a soup kitchen for cholera victims, and meets Caliban.  Caliban introduces himself as John Clare, and he and Vanessa speak of religion and poetry.

Inspector Rusk finds the sole survivor of the Mariner’s Inn massacre.  The man’s face is mutilated beyond recognition, but Rusk intends to question him anyone to find those responsible for the massacre.

Dorian Gray makes another appearance.  He is propositioned by a woman who turns out to be hiding a big secret:  she is actually a man.  However, this does not seem to bother Dorian at all.

Dorian Gray 1

Ferdinand Lyle makes another appearance in this episode, ostensibly to help Malcolm, Vanessa and Ethan to make sense of the strange words uttered by Vanessa and the witches in the previous episode.  Dr. Lyle tells Vanessa that an 11th century monk wrote these words on whatever materials he had available for writing, until the other monks learned of his possession and burned him at the stake.  These words are Verbis Diablo, or Words of the Devil.  Ethan accompanies Dr. Lyle to retrieve these artifacts from a museum.  Ethan sees artwork depicting wolves, and begins reminiscing about the wolves he encountered during his time in the New Mexico territories, stating that those wolves simply fed and did not protect anything.

Malcolm encounters Evelyn Poole, who is the head of the coven of witches that has been terrorizing Vanessa.  Evelyn and Malcolm go on a date of sorts to the shooting range.  Evelyn impresses Malcolm with her shooting skills.  Malcolm reminds Evelyn that he cannot divorce his wife, but this does not seem to bother Evelyn, as she still attempts to seduce Malcolm with her magic.

Evelyn Poole 1

Victor Frankenstein and Caliban are successful in resurrecting Brona, but begin to argue over Brona’s “upbringing” and re-assimilation into society.  Caliban wants to read poetry to her, but Victor states that she needs to regain her language skills.  Victor works with Brona, and her language skills return quickly.  Victor tells her that she is his cousin and provides her with fictional details of her previous life, telling her that she suffers from amnesia.  Victor also cuts and dyes Brona’s hair, and renames her Lilly (which is also the flower of resurrection).

Brona 1

Evelyn Poole convenes with her coven, and Ferdinand Lyle is included in the meeting.  It turns out that Evelyn is blackmailing Dr. Lyle, and attempting to force him to help her and the coven terrorize Vanessa.

Evelyn Poole 2

Hecate, Evelyn’s daughter, follows a young couple into the London Underground.  Hecate murders the couple and their infant.  Hecate then removes the heart from the infant, and the camera shows doll versions of Malcolm and his friends.  The last doll shown is one that bears a likeness to Vanessa, and the episode ends with the camera panning to Vanessa, who takes a sharp breath.

Vanessa Ivers 2



My Thoughts

Oh, my thoughts.  Aka the jumbled mess that they became after this particular episode…

However, I will try.  I will even give it the old college try.

old college try

And I felt like I needed a doctoral degree to comprehend this episode.  I still enjoyed, but man oh man…just so much stuff crammed into a tiny suitcase!

I think this sums up the expression on my face:

breaking bad

Or maybe I felt more like this:


Well, I’m exaggerating (at least a little).  But boy, did I feel a bit confused at times while watching this episode!

First of all, Dorian Gray made another appearance.  Not that this a bad thing.  Not a bad thing at all, actually.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives and Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray in Penny Dreadful (season 1, episode 2). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_102_2151

But sheeeeesssshhh!!!!  Where on earth does he fit in?  And when are we going to get more salacious details?  All we know so far is that he is a tri-sexual (nothing is off limits, in other words) and he is a good looking guy that seems to want to play the field (I know, and I want more salacious details?  Yikes!)  But really nothing on this background, and we haven’t really seen the painting (although he does appear to be obsessed with pictures).  And just where does he fit in on the show?  With Vanessa?  With Ethan?  Maybe with both (that tri sexual thing, after all)?  Or is he just a pretty face thrown in to confuse us?  Come on, writers…little help here!

And then there was Dorian’s love interest on this episode.  Well, maybe hook up would be a better word, but I will be nice.

First, my mind went here

Crying Game 1

And then I remembered:  think horror movies, self!  So naturally, my mind went here:

camp sleepaway

Although Dorian’s new friend did at least seem a little happier than the dude in the pic above.  And yes, I searched Google for this specific image.  You are welcome, my friend!

In all seriousness, I was left scratching my head.  What is going on with Dorian Gray?  Really, just throw me a bone, even if its a small one…give me something I can work with!

Per usual, this episode was a tease about the wolf

Wolf 2

Well, the werewolf that is actually masquerading as the other pretty boy, aka Ethan Chandler.  Again, this episode teased, but still gave us no real information about the werewolf.  Although there has to be an episode coming soon that will do more than tease, as the murder investigation for that horrible slaughter at a certain inn apparently has not been closed (in other words, Ethan’s hulking er wolfing out may come back to haunt him).  And I am all for a slow build up, but this is getting ridiculous…again, throw me a bone (see what I did there).

Ethan Chandler 3

But this episode was not all bad.  Far from it, in fact…

The witches’ coven.  Yes, the very same one that seems intent on torturing Vanessa like a cat would torture a mouse (or a lizard, in the  case of my cats).  This episode did deliver on the witch action.  And dolls…shudder.  Hey, dolls are scary, ummm-kay!

In fact, my mind went here when I saw those dolls:

Chinga 1

Tres creepy, no?  And of course, that particular episode was written by the master himself, so I have to pay homage!

But the dolls in this episode…again, shudder.  And of course, the writers had to incorporate voodoo (I am assuming that’s what they were trying for, due to the likeness of the dolls of Malcolm and his friends).  And voodoo, don’t get me started!  And the end, with Vanessa drawing a sharp breath, and the end credits rolling and leaving a bit of a cliffhanger…that is how its done, friends!

But I have saved the best part for last:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
-William Blake
I need this engraved on my tombstone.  Or at least quoted at my funeral.  I love William Blake!
And Caliban quoted William Blake!  I have always been sympathetic to The Monster in Mary Shelley’s work, and thought he got an unfair rap.  And apparently, at least one writer on Penny Dreadful agrees with me, as Caliban (he will never be just The Monster to me) is turning out to be one of the most sympathetic characters on the show.  There will never be enough love for him (at least on my part).  His conversation with Vanessa at the soup kitchen was simply beautiful.  A so-called “monster” telling a woman being hunted down by demons that his focus is what good he can do in this life, as opposed to the “after-life”…just priceless.  And that is the only word that describes it!
Proteus 1
And he quoted my favorite poet of all time.  Way to go, Caliban!  Now no matter what terrible thing you may do (although I am sure it will be justified), I will be forced to root for you!  After all, how can I root against someone who QUOTES WILLIAM BLAKE????!!!!!
Caliban 1

So that’s it for this week’s trip into literary Avengers.  Or the adult version of a sundae bar.  Or Penny Dreadful.  And whatever you want to call it, there was never a dull moment.  Tune in next week for my review of the next episode…same bat time, same bat channel!

adam west


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