Sometimes, I think that I have become a bit too desensitized.
All these years of reading The Master, watching horror movies, spending some quality time with the merc with the mouth (such a good cure for blah-ness, by the way) and basically being incapable of watching or reading something that does not make me its emotional bitch (thanks, Kurt Sutter and Sons of Anarchy) have left me a bit…apathetic, to say the least.
Nothing can surprise me, horrify me or gross me out (so I think, at least.)
But I think I have found a cure for my ailment…
You guessed it: watch an episode or two of Penny Dreadful, as if you couldn’t figure that out!
Finally, I have found something that can manage to surprise me every now and again.
And this week’s episode was no different. And I learned quite a bit, actually…
And that if you are a character on this show, and don’t have an alter ego of some type, well you probably won’t survive in this particular universe.
So, let’s get to it, and review and recap this week’s episode of Penny Dreadful, already!
Oh, as always:
Lilly has tea with Justine, and they watch the police use brutality against suffragette protesters. Lilly tells Justine that their approach will be different, they will move silently and accumulate power before striking.
Lilly and Justine then return to Dorian’s mansion, where they show Justine her tormentor, who had purchased her to be his whore when she was 12 years old. They tell Justine that she has choices, and list the man’s crimes against her. Justine then slits his throat, and has a threesome with Lilly and Dorian. All three bathe themselves in the man’s blood.
Caliban returns to London. He sees Vanessa with Dr. Sweet, and smiles, as he is happy that Vanessa seems to have found happiness. Caliban’s memories of his previous life are also slowly returning, and he remembers that he had a wife and son. Caliban tracks down his family, who have been forced to move into run-down housing. His son also appears to be quite ill, but still insists on learning to read and write. Caliban robs a man of his watch, and leaves the watch for his son’s mother, so that she may sell it.
In America, Ethan and Hecate steal horses so that they may travel across the desert. In the meantime, Ethan is still being hunted by Inspector Rusk, who now suspects that Ethan has an accomplice. Rusk also warns the American authorities that occult forces are involved, and it is dangerous not to believe in the occult. Ethan and Hecate are nearly accosted by the authorities, but manage to escape on their stolen horses.
Vanessa speaks to Dr. Seward and is distraught that the doctor does not fully believe her story. Vanessa then touches Dr. Seward’s wrist, giving the doctor details about her past, which startles Dr. Seward.
Vanessa also accepts a date with Dr. Sweet, and the two attend a carnival. Dr. Sweet persuades Vanessa to go into the house of mirrors, although she is reluctant. Vanessa agrees, and all is well at first. However, Vanessa encounters one of Dracula’s familiars, who recites morbid nursery rhymes, and tells her that they have met before, when Vanessa was institutionalized. Vanessa becomes badly frightened, and ends her date with Dr. Sweet, telling him to stay away from her.
Dr. Sweet becomes angry at his familiar for revealing himself to Vanessa too soon, and tells the creature that he wants Vanessa to become completely vulnerable to him. Dr. Sweet then sets the rest of his vampire familiars on the creature as punishment.
Malcolm and Kaetenay travel across the American Southwest by train, in the hopes of saving Ethan. Kaetenay tells Malcolm that a great disaster will occur if they do not get to Ethan in time, and that if Ethan can’t be saved, then they must kill him. Malcolm and Kaetenay then find evidence of the massacre at the saloon, and Kaetenay tells Malcolm that Ethan has an accomplice in Hecate, which makes the situation even more dangerous.
Vanessa returns to Dr. Seward, and demands that she be hypnotized, as she believes that she was tortured when she institutionalized. Dr. Seward reluctantly agrees to the request, warning Vanessa that some memories are better left as un-recovered. Dr. Seward then hypnotizes Vanessa, bringing her back to her time in the institution. Vanessa is then taken back to her time in the institution, where she was locked in a padded room. An orderly then enters the room, and is revealed to be none other than Caliban, in human form.
I watch this show on Monday, most of the time. At the advanced age of nearly 38, 10 PM on Sunday is too late to stay up.
In other words, Tuesday through Sunday are my antsy days, since I have to wait the next episode, which is an unfortunate side effect of actually watching a current show, instead of waiting the five or six seasons until said show is nearly done, and then spending a shameless number of hours binge watching said show…sniff…boohoo…
I constantly think about Penny Dreadful. This is actually not anything new, but my thoughts seem to a little more intense this season. And for good reason, since it seems we get a twist in every episode (more on this later.)
One thing I loved about this particular episode was…you guessed…more of my friend, Caliban, aka the poetry quoting monster!
In all seriousness, I was glad that we got more of Caliban in this episode. The theme of the episode was duality (even the title, Good and Evil Braided Be…shiver) and if anyone knows about dual natures, it is surely Caliban. Out of all the characters, Caliban is the most knowledgeable, even over Dr. Jekyll. After all, he has literally lived two lives!
I have never given much thought to Frankenstein’s monster, before this show. I pitied him, because he did not ask to be created, but was an experiment at the whim of his creator. I never thought of who he may have been before his corpse was dug up and revived.
Well, until this season of Penny Dreadful, actually.
So, it appears that The Creature had a life (see what I did there) before he became The Creature. And by all counts, it was not a happy life.
However, it was still his life, and my heart broke wide open while watching this episode. Obviously, Caliban loved his son very much, along with his wife. And now, his memories are starting to come back, and we see that he is something other than a gruesome resurrected corpse (although I knew that all along, anyone who can quote William Blake like that has at least a little humanity.) He was, and still is, a man who loved. And I think that his character arc will be fascinating: will he try to reconcile with his family? And if he does, how will that go (probably not well, given the fact that this is the Penny Dreadful universe, but still)? Are we in for more heartbreak? I think the answer is a resounding yes on that part.
So, more about Caliban later, when we talk about the ending, obviously.
Again, I want to talk about the visual component of this show.
As always, it was excellent!
I wasn’t too sure about having part of the story take place in America, at first.
But, as usual, my doubts have been proven wrong.
The shots in the desert are quickly shaping up to be one of my favorite parts of this season.
I am loving seeing Ethan in the desert. There is just something ominous and foreboding about all that open space. Maybe it’s because it plays on our fear of the unknown. It is (or was) unknown territory, and there is always a great of that. Whatever the case, the show has captured that aspect perfectly.
I also loved the scene in the house of mirrors. I always hated those as a child, and when watching this week’s episode, I remembered why.
I definitely understood Vanessa’s reluctance to enter that particular attraction. There is just something about seeing multiple, sometimes distorted, reflections of yourself that is unsettling. This particular scene brought me back to my childhood, and bonded me to Vanessa even more, as we both also share a hatred of dolls.
Of course, I never encountered a vampire in any of the fun houses I went in as a child. Poor Vanessa! And that has to be one of the creepiest things I have ever seen: a bunch of distorted fun house mirrors, along with a vampire reciting a gory little nursery rhyme of some kind, while dropping a huge bombshell on Vanessa…eeek!
And then the effect was compounded, when the vampire scampered away, but scampered BACKWARDS. Yes, backwards…why is that so creepy? I think maybe it is so creepy because vampires are corrupt creatures and are evil. Evil is the opposite of good, so it would make sense that evil creatures are the reverse of us, and would therefore do everything backwards, including scampering away into the night. Creepy stuff, regardless.
So, we are back to Caliban again. Let’s talk about this week’s ending.
Really, who on this show doesn’t have a secret identity or past of some kind?
Dr. Sweet is Dracula. That has been established.
We have Dr. Jekyll. Need I say more on that?
(Side note: with the way this is going, my identity as the Green Arrow is going to get leaked soon…oh, oops. Hope my secret is safe with
both all of you readers).
Ethan is a werewolf, and we are (hopefully) going to find out just what he did in his previous life.
And now, we have Caliban.
As I stated before, Caliban is someone who has actually lived two lives. In the first one, he was apparently a regular dude, with a wife and family. And now he is resurrected Creature, trying to recover his memories.
Well, he is recovering his memories pretty slowly. We know that he remembers his wife and kid, but the memories of what he did for a living are taking their sweet time resurfacing.
And his previous occupation has suddenly become much more than a footnote, as he was apparently an orderly at a mental institution. And not just any mental institution, either.
Caliban was an orderly at the mental institution that housed Vanessa for a time. This time appears to be significantly important to Vanessa and the mythos of the series. In other words, Caliban is no longer an interesting side story. No, he is now directly tied to the “main” story, and probably in a really important way.
Something tells me that Caliban played a huge part in Vanessa’s time at the mental institution. We know that she encountered vampires there, along with other supernatural creatures.
Now, Caliban is a part of this. And it is likely that he was a part of those encounters. Did this have something to do with his death? It is quite possible. Did this have something to do with Victor obtaining his corpse for his experiment? Also quite possible. Did Caliban possibly agree to the experiment before his death? Again, quite possible. And I can’t wait to find out where the show takes this.
Well, that’s it for Good and Evil Braided Be. Join me next week for the review and dissection of the fourth episode of the season, titled Another Demon.
Tune in next week.,.same bat time, same bat channel!