Now, I know that shit isn’t word we normally associate with sundae bars…now, that doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it?
But if we are talking about Penny Dreadful, I think we can make an exception…
So holy shit. This week’s trip to the sundae bar was eventful, to say the least. Many unexpected flavor combinations were available, and the sugar rush was overwhelming…I could barely contain myself!
So here is my recap and review of Penny Dreadful, season 2 episode 8!
The episode begins with Victor passed out in his home, after a heroin binge. Victor is awakened by an angry Caliban, who demands that Victor surrender Lilly to him, so that Caliban may leave town with her. Caliban also tells Victor that he will return one day, and implies that he intends to kill Victor.
Ferdinand Lyle visits the home of Evelyn Poole. Ferdinand feels conflicted, but he is reminded that he is under the control of Evelyn and must do her bidding. Evelyn also torments Ferdinand, who tries to escape. Ferdinand is then confronted by Hecate, who states that anything her mother promises him is a lie, and that he should serve Hecate instead.
Malcolm speaks to Inspector Rusk, and Rusk questions him on the death of his daughter. Rusk wants to know Malcolm suddenly closed the investigation, and Malcolm tells Rusk that the death was embarrassing for his family and a private matter. Rusk also asks Malcolm if he knows Ethan, and shows Malcolm a picture. Malcolm denies any knowledge of Ethan, but it is clear that Rusk does not believe him.
Lilly returns home to a furious Victor, who demands to know her whereabouts from the previous night. Lilly states that she took a walk after her date with Dorian Gray, and feel asleep on a park bench. She then sees the flowers sent to her by Dorian, and torments Victor with the sight. Lilly then offers to cook Victor breakfast, but Victor hurriedly exits the house.
Victor pays a visit to the mansion and confesses his drug addiction to Malcolm, and the two discuss their various life woes. Ferdinand finishes translating the artifacts, and it is revealed that Lucifer has a demon brother. This demon brother is actually Dracula, who used Mina Harker to attempt to lure Vanessa so that he could possess Vanessa’s soul (which ultimately failed).
As Malcolm is discussing the implications with Ferdinand and Victor, Evelyn begins to utter a spell over a voodoo doll version of Malcolm. Malcolm becomes possessed and starts speaking in a voice not his own. Sembene throws Malcolm into an unused room in the house, and tells Malcolm that he must know his true self. Malcolm then sees visions of his dead children and wife, and the spell is broken.
Dorian returns home to Angelique after his date with Lilly. Angelique has discovered Dorian’s secret room, and the portrait housed in that room. Dorian hands Angelique a glass wine, and asks her is he can accept who she is. Angelique says that she can, but the wine contains poison, which kills Angelique almost immediately. Dorian then looks at the portrait, which is actually the portrait of an old man. The portrait hisses at Dorian, as if angered by his actions.
Malcolm deduces that Evelyn is responsible for the coven of witches that has been tormenting Vanessa. He makes his way to Evelyn’s house with his gun in hand. Malcolm asks Evelyn to stop the torment, but Evelyn states that her Master needs Vanessa for his purposes, and tries to convince Malcolm to join the coven and become immortal. Malcolm refuses, and Evelyn unleashes a scorpion, stating that the scorpion is actually Vanessa. Malcolm attempts to leave Evelyn’s house but is trapped. Malcolm then sees what he believes to be the bodies of his dead children and wife, and begins to weep. The corpses then come to life and appear to attack Malcolm.
Brona returns to Victor’s house, and is confronted by Caliban. Caliban tells Brona that he knows that she lied about her whereabouts the previous night. Lilly takes Caliban into her arms, and talks about her hatred of man, and her hatred of Victor in particular. Lilly then tells Caliban that they will collaborate and destroy Victor, and that Caliban must do her bidding. Lilly and Caliban then consummate their relationship.
So. Many. Thoughts. Can’t. Possibly. Keep. Them. To. One. Blog. Post.
But I will try anyway…so here goes nothing!
First of all, the visuals. Oh, the visuals. This show has always been a visual one, with everything from the period costumes, to the haunting moores, to the blood. Lots and lots of blood. Tons of blood…
But this episode stands out. The producers somehow managed to keep it from being over-saturated with visuals, while still almost overwhelming us with the beautiful visuals that the episode contained.
And I can’t pick a favorite, there were so many! I think the scene (and there are many), that stands out in particular for me is the scene where Malcolm is being possessed, attempting to fight the possession and then seeing his dead wife and children and fully fighting the possession is one that stands out. My favorite part of that scene is the white light that surrounded Mina, Peter and Malcolm. This gave Malcolm’s family an ethereal effect, making them actually look like ghosts or apparitions that were indeed not of our world. It also provided some great symbolism. I took the symbolism to mean that Malcolm’s loved ones were actually part of another plane of existence (hence the white light), or it could also be taken to me that they were apparitions and not “real”, except perhaps in the mind of Malcolm. Either way, this scene was done beautifully, and I loved it.
I also loved the death scene of Angelique. Now, I know that I have been singing praises because the show had a good transgender character, but her death was great! I still love you, Angelique, but your death scene was done beautifully as well. The look on Angelique’s face, and the shattering of the glass…this may sound a little trite, but somehow it was so well executed that it did not come off as trite at all. The first showing of Dorian’s portrait (which I had been curious about since the beginning of the series) was also handled quite well, and I loved how the portrait hissed at him…is this some kind of foreshadowing? I think that it is, although we may not see it until next season…but I still can’t wait!
This episode is so far the strongest of the season (and perhaps of the entire series). A major reason for this is the writing: the writers are finally being to tie things together. And the tie-ins were extensive: Dracula, the main antagonist from the first season who appeared to be cast off this season, has finally re-appeared, and we have a little more clarification in regards to his true nature (hint: I am pretty sure he does not sparkle). And Dorian Gray has finally become a little more fleshed out, and the writers appear to be developing his story line as well.
Again, the writing for this show is brilliant, and especially for this episode, I may be repeating myself, but I can’t over-emphasize this point. And one of the reasons this episode was so well-written was the inclusion of Malcolm’s story line. Previously, Malcolm was mainly seen through the eyes of Vanessa. However, Vanessa and Ethan were on holiday at the moors for this episode, so Malcolm had to step up to the plate. And he did so brilliantly. I have stated before that this show is Vanessa’s, and I still stand by that statement. But Malcolm was the MVP of this episode, and I stand by this statement as well. We finally begin to see some chinks in his armor (the ending with the re-animated corpses of his family is a great example of this), and Malcolm has become more human and easier to sympathize with. And this has been done with no Vanessa (or Ethan) in sight…in other words, the writers did not take the easy way out, and instead provide us with some smart, tight writing…bravo!
Speaking of the writing (imagine that!), it appears that the story line of Lilly, Caliban and perhaps even Ethan is slowly coming to a head. Lilly is no longer sweet and innocent (if she ever was), and this episode proves it. Both of Victor’s creations have literally come back to haunt him, and it appears that Lilly is now toying with him, just like a cat would play with a mouse before killing the mouse. So I think this episode promises a showdown of some sort, and again, I can’t wait!
So that concludes this week’s trip to the adult sundae bar, aka the show known as Penny Dreadful! Join me next week, when we continue with more dissection and analysis of everyone’s favorite literary Avengers!