Penny Dreadful Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 6

Good morning everyone, and welcome to this week’s trip to the adult sundae bar, aka season 2, episode 6 of Penny Dreadful!

And what a trip it was this week!  Finally, these trips are starting to become eventful, and we now have a lot more flavors to choose from…this is what I’m talking about!

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So, with that being said, here is my recap and review of Penny Dreadful, season 2, episode 6!


Synopsis

The episode begins the morning after Malcolm consummates his relationship with Evelyn.  Evelyn snips a lock of Malcolm’s hair, and whispers to him that he will be in for a long day.  Evelyn is later seen crafting a voodoo doll in the likeness of Malcolm.

Ethan is paid a visit by a man with a mask partially covering his face.  The man seems to know of Ethan’s true nature, and tries to persuade Ethan to come back to America.  Ethan refuses and the man leaves.

Malcolm returns to his mansion, where he receives tragic news:  Vanessa informs him that Gladys is dead by her own hand.  However, Malcolm does not seem bothered by the news, and is more concerned with his appearance.  He also debates on whether or not to shave his beard so that he may look younger.

Caliban continues to assist Lavina Putney and her family at the wax museum.  Lavina touches Caliban’s hand, and is disturbed because Caliban’s hand is unnaturally cold to her.  Lavina brings this up to her family, but no one else seems to think that this is unusual.

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Dorian Gray awakens next to Angelique, and tells her that he wants to show her off to his friends.  Dorian tells Angelique that he will host a ball that week, and invite everyone of importance to her coming out party.

Dorian Gray 1

Ethan visits the wax museum that employs Caliban.  The museum has a display that depicts the Jack the Ripper murders.  The museum also has a display depicting the Mariner’s Inn Massacre that Ethan was responsible for.  Inspector Rusk also happens to visit the museum, and attempts to question Ethan again.  Rusk is clearly suspicious of Ethan and his involvement in the massacre, but tells Ethan he will not attempt to trail him this time.

Dorian Gray visits Malcolm’s mansion and issues invitations to his ball to Malcolm, Vanessa and Victor.  Despite the death of his wife, Malcolm is giddy with anticipation and looks forward to the ball.  Victor also tells Lilly of the ball, and Lilly becomes very excited and begs Victor to allow her to attend the ball.  Victor agrees but tells Lilly she needs to now learn how to dance.  Evelyn also somehow knows about the ball, and it is clear that she is planning to attack Vanessa at the ball.

Evelyn Poole 2

Vanessa asks Ethan to attend the ball with her.  Ethan becomes agitated and refuses the invitation.  Vanessa is hurt but decides to attend the ball any way.

Dorian’s ball turns out to be the splendid affair that Dorian promised it would be, and there is no shortage of guests.  Evelyn attends with Malcolm, and Vanessa attends without an escort.  Hecate also attends the ball, as does Ferdinand Lyle.  Lyle seems to know of the planned attack on Vanessa, and attempts to distract Hecate to no avail.  Victor escorts Lilly to the ball, and she is overwhelmed by the elegance.  The ball becomes the coming out party promised to Angelique, and she and Dorian spend time dancing and socializing with their guests.  However, Dorian becomes taken with Lilly, and asks to dance with her, which upsets both Angelique and Victor.  Vanessa attempts to comfort Victor, stating that Dorian is only being courteous to his guests, but Victor is still angry and jealous, as is Angelique.

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Ferdinand Lyle gives up on trying to distract Hecate, and tries to protect Vanessa instead.  He insists on dancing with Vanessa, and demands to escort Vanessa home, warning her that she is not safe on her own.

Vanessa then begins to feel unsettled, and senses the presence of the coven that has been harassing her.  Vanessa then sees a vision of the ballroom, the guests and herself covered in a rain of blood.  This is clearly the work of the coven, and Vanessa is powerless to stop it.  Vanessa then faints in the middle of the ballroom and the night’s festivities come to an abrupt end.

Helen McCrory as Evelyn Poole in Penny Dreadful (season 2, episode 3). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_203_2785

In the meantime, Ethan remains at the mansion.  He is accompanied to the basement by Sembene, and demands that Sembene shackle him in chains.  He also instructs Sembene to look away and not attempt to fight him.  Ethan then transforms into his wolf self, and tries to attack Sembene, who disregards Ethan’s instructions and begins to battle the werewolf.


My Thoughts

As a certain time-travelling scientist has been known to say:

Oh boy.

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That pretty much sums up my feelings on this episode:  Oh boy.  So much to say, but I will try to condense it here (ha).

Up until this point, the show had been meandering a bit. Not that this was a bad thing, but there was relatively little action.  Mostly, it was back story, character building, etc.  I am a junkie for that, but I wanted to see some major action, dammit!

And last night, I got my wish.  In spades, actually…

But before we discuss all of that, I first need to give Penny Dreadful a shout out…

That’s right, I am giving a show set in turn of the century London that also features witches, werewolves and all kinds of supernatural creatures a shout out for being socially conscious and even groundbreaking!

You see, I can’t think of any show that I have ever watched that has featured a transgender person.  Additionally, this is a somewhat regular character who happens to have thoughts and feelings, and her gender identity is not central to the show, nor is it ridiculed. I love the writers of this show for portraying Angelique as strong, noble even, as opposed to pitiful and broken, which would be too easy to do. Angelique is a actually a sympathetic character, and I am rooting for her, at least.  I am not necessarily rooting for Dorian, as I know he will probably end up breaking her heart.  But their relationship is still sweet any way, and I do love Dorian’s acceptance of Angelique for who she is.  After all, isn’t that what we all want?  Someone to love us, warts and all, and someone who will still love us the next day, even after seeing us under morning’s cold light?

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And now, let’s talk about the action in this episode…there was plenty of it, that’s for sure!

And that action included the wolf…the wolf has finally been seen!

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Well, actually it was a werewolf…

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I predicted that Ethan would have his due, and this episode did not let me down.  In fact, this episode was actually fairly Ethan-centric, as opposed to Vanessa-centric (although not to take away anything from Vanessa, we will talk about her later in this post).

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But Ethan got his due in this episode, and then some.  The Inspector Rusk story line has been amped up several notches, so it seems that will be coming to a head pretty soon.  And people looking for Ethan, and trying to “persuade” him to come back to America…I don’t think we will be hearing persuasion in future episodes as much as we will be seeing our favorite wolf-man forcibly dragged back to America…

Ethan Chandler 5

And ending this episode with Ethan transforming into the wolf and attacking Sembene…talk about a cliffhanger!  Who else will the wolf attack?  There is now one person who knows of Ethan’s secret, and now he is in mortal danger.  Will Ethan tell anyone else?  And what will happen to people who find out about Ethan’s secret?  All compelling questions, and I figure we will at least get those partially answered pretty soon.

I also loved the ball scene and the period costumes.  The shots of people dancing were also beautiful, I really felt like I was in turn of the century London for a moment, waiting on a gentleman to ask me to dance the night away…

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

Who am I kidding?  The costumes and the ballroom were beautiful, but it was really all about the witches and the blood!

The moments leading up to the blood were also well executed, as we saw something was clearly wrong with Vanessa, and the witches had her in their clutches.  The suspense was tight, and therefore the payoff was tremendous.

Oh, and the blood itself.  Did I mention the blood?

My mind went here

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And even here

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But this scene was one of the best, if not the best scene in the short history of this show.  The execution was marvelous:  the blood looked gory, but no one but Vanessa (and the coven) could see it.  I loved how the blood rained down, but the music continued to play, and the party goers continued to dance.  The look on Vanessa’s face was heartbreaking, as she knew that she had been ambushed (this time), and there was nothing that she could do, and no one to help her, as Malcolm was wrapped up Evelyn (in a literal sense) and Ethan was missing in action.  Definitely one of the best gore moments I have seen in a long time.

Vanessa Ivers 2


 

So that’s it for this week’s edition of the adult sundae bar aka literary Avengers aka Penny Dreadful.  Tune in next week, when we find exactly what happens to our heroes, and how they get themselves out of this pickle, as we review and dissect episode 7!

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