After months of anticipation and excitement, it finally happened.
I turned on my television last night, and there they were!
My Avengers came back!
No, not those Avengers, although I am looking to spending some quality time with them soon, especially my man Iron Man.
No, I am talking about my literary Avengers!
In other words, I watched the first episode of the third season of Penny Dreadful, aka my adult sundae bar, aka my literary Avengers last night.
And, I felt a sense of homecoming. Some may say that familiarity breeds contempt. And sometimes this is true.
But familiarity is not necessarily a bad thing. And the episode I watched last night proved this in spades, as much of the characters and ideas have been seen before. But, this is Penny Dreadful, and there is always a twist. In other words, the sundae bar had new flavors. And new flavors are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, they provide a welcome addition to what has already established itself. I am always looking for additions.
So, without any further ado, here is my recap and review of the first episode of the third season of Penny Dreadful, which is titled The Day Tennyson Died.
And, as always:
The episode opens to a depressed Vanessa Ives. Vanessa is now living in squalor in what was once a beautiful mansion. Vanessa has stopped caring about her appearance, and also appears to spend most of her time alone. Mr. Lyle knocks on her door, and forces his way inside. Lyle notices the squalor and Vanessa’s appearance, and gives her a referral to a psychologist.
Ethan has returned to the States, and is being escorted by Inspector Rusk to face justice for the crimes he is accused of committing. Ethan and Rusk are traveling by train. The train is held up by would-be robbers, and chaos ensues. Several people are shot and killed, but Ethan and Rusk survive the attack. Hecate is also a passenger on the train, and she also survives the attack. It is then revealed that the would-be robbers are actually bounty hunters, who have been sent by Ethan’s father to capture his wayward son.
Malcolm has buried Sembene in Africa, which no longer holds any allure for him, and he is eager to leave the continent and return home. On his way out of a bar, he is nearly mugged, but saved by a man named Kaetenay. Kaetenay tells Malcolm that he must not die before he serves his intended purpose, and that there will be a confrontation with the forces of darkness. Kaetenay also tells Malcolm that Ethan is in trouble, and needs his help.
Caliban has become stranded on a ship that is frozen in place somewhere in the Arctic. His fellow passengers have become desperate, and are thinking of resorting to cannibalism to survive. One of the fellow passengers is an infant who is dying. Caliban sings to the child, and has memories of an unidentified man comforting a child in a similar manner. Caliban then kills the child, viewing the act as one of mercy. Caliban then exits the ship, and begins his journey via foot.
Dr. Victor Frankenstein requests a meeting with an old friend and colleague, Dr. Jekyll. Victor discusses his discoveries with Dr. Jekyll, and confesses that he wishes to destroy Lilly, as he fears that she has become an evil creature incapable of any good. Dr. Jekyll attempts to talk Victor out of murder, and speculates that they can possibly bring Lilly over to the side of the good. Victor reluctantly agrees to try this, but says he will destroy Lilly if this experiment fails.
Vanessa meets with Dr. Seward, the shrink recommended by Lyle, and receives a huge surprise because Dr. Seward bears more than a passing resemblance to Joan the Cut-Wife. In fact, Dr. Seward tells Vanessa that she is descended from the Claytons, and may actually be a relative of Joan’s. Vanessa commits to the therapy, and Dr. Seward advises her to do something for herself that she has never done before, and report on the experience in their next session.
To fulfill her commitment to Dr. Seward, Vanessa visits the London Natural History Museum, and makes the acquaintance of Dr. Alexander Sweet, who confesses that, like Vanessa, he also loves broken creatures, as he feels that someone needs to care for them too. On her way home, Vanessa encounters a strange boy who demands money for a cause related to Alfred Lord Tennyson, who has recently passed away. Vanessa obliges the young man, and we also see another young man take away the money donated by Vanessa.
Upon returning to her home, Vanessa proceeds to clean the mansion and bring back its former glory. She also writes a letter to Malcolm, confessing that all has not been well, and that she is suffering from a depression which threatens to take over her life.
At the end of the episode, the secretary who works in Dr. Seward’s office steals the money Vanessa left for services and heads to the questionable part of town, and pays for a prostitute. However, the man is captured by the same creatures encountered by Vanessa earlier. The creatures bring the man to their Master, who introduces himself as Dracula. Dracula then forces the young man to do his bidding, as he has business with Vanessa. The young man’s name is revealed to be Renfield.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again:
So much love, and this is only the season premiere. So the bar has been set, The bar has been set really high. But don’t worry actors, producers, writers, etc…you guys got this, I know you do!
After watching this episode, I foresee a lot major reveals (maybe.) And I have been wanting some reveals, so hopefully this prediction comes true.
For instance, there is my wolf, er man, Ethan. Finally, we may get an Ethan origin story! The show has spent two full seasons teasing us about the wolf and Ethan’s past, but we still don’t know the story of how he turned into a wolf, why he is on the run from his family and just exactly why he defected to England. What did Ethan do in the States that made him a wanted man, even before the incident on the last episode of the first season? Was he born a werewolf, or was he cursed by someone or something (and this may have tie-ins to something Native American, given that mysterious man who has been spying on Malcolm)?
And just exactly what is going on with Ethan’s father? Does he have something to do with that fact that Ethan is a werewolf? And why has he gone to all the trouble to send bounty hunters after his son, who was in the custody of law enforcement officials anyway?
Yes, tons of questions, I know. But legitimate ones, and I hope that the show has decided to answer at least some of them this season.
And it looks like that my literary Avengers have finally found their Hulk…
No, not that Hulk!
I am talking about the introduction of the character of Dr. Jekyll.
Although he claimed he no longer “hulks out” (my translation for his quaint, turn of the century speak in regards to his “rages”), I don’t buy this. Nope, not at all.
In other words, I am sure that Mr. Hyde will make an appearance. He did seem rather possessive of that beautiful monster, Victor. So will that bring out Mr. Hyde? Maybe. Or will he fall for Lilly too? Since he is probably a glutton for punishment, too, I can buy this, and things could get ugly pretty quickly between him and Victor (I love how the show casually implied that these two were at least roommates in the past, with possibly something more between them. What a way to bring together two classic characters). So Hyde would make an appearance. And I can’t wait to see how the show and the actor interprets Hyde. I am sure the interpretation will be a bit off the wall, but somehow make perfect sense.
As always, Vanessa. Yes, I know, I may be the president and founding member of Club I Obsess over Eva Green and Therefore Vanessa Ives Too, but I can’t help it. My girl Eva Green is just a freaking genius!
I loved how, in this episode, there were so many faces of Vanessa.
We started off with feral Vanessa, who needed a kindly reminder from Mr. Douche er Lyle to pick up her hairbrush.
Then we had funny Vanessa. That interaction between
The Cut-Wife Dr. Seward and Vanessa was just priceless…I loved it!
Somehow, Eva Green managed to make hand-scrubbing floors a classy act…who does that???
The scene in the natural history museum was also a good one. Dr. Sweet? I am figuring he is either a vampire in disguise or possibly a future victim of a vampire, given his name and his personality. I just don’t think anyone by the name of Sweet is NOT destined for something terrible in the Dreadful Universe.
Oh, and speaking of vampires…
Yes, *that* vampire!
Finally, we have at least a voice for something else the show has been teasing us with for the past two seasons: we heard Dracula speak! So we have a voice for the icon now, even if we don’t have a face. But still, that voice sent chills up my spine when I first heard it. And now, anticipation is in the air…
Oh, and speaking of chills down my spine…
The end of the episode. You would have thought I was watching a Colts football game where Andrew Luck made a miraculous play and took a substantial lead away from some crazy team in Detroit, from the way I reacted (true story, by the way.)
(I also told my husband that if we ever get another cat, its name must be Renfield. Really, he was laughing with me, not at me!)
As I stated before, there is something to be said about the familiar. We are all familiar with the character of Renfield. In fact, I remember reading Dracula in college, and finding that bit about Renfield somewhat amusing, but more than a little bit disturbing. The guy lives in an asylum (predecessor to Arkham, I am sure), suffers from “delusions” and eats insects. But he’s sensitive too, as all he wants is a kitty…go figure!
In other words, this is another classic character who will get an updated interpretation, courtesy of this show. What kind of role will he play, and what will he fate be? Definitely some interesting questions, and I am looking forward to the answers. Again, the anticipation is in the air!
Well, that’s it for The Day Tennyson Died. Join me next week for my review and dissection of episode 2, titled Predators Far And Near.
Tune in next week…same bat time, same bat channel!