You there! I see you!
Don’t try to run and hide, because you can’t!
Now that I have you in my snare, you may as well confess…
Since we know you did (not) it!
That’s right, you have committed a crime!
As in, you are not watching Penny Dreadful, that awesome TV show that is criminal not to watch!
But don’t worry, it’s never too late to start, and and atone for your sin (unlike someone of the characters in the show, who seem past the stage of atonement, but I digress.)
Yes, this show still has me hooked. And I can’t stop watching. Or bending everyone’s ear off about it. The story lines keep getting more compelling, and dragging the viewer in deeper. And that is the mark of some good television, my wayward friend!
So, without further ado, here is my recap and review of the fifth episode of season 3, titled This World is Our Hell.
And, as always:
Back in London, Henry and Victor continue to experiment on Balfor, the mental patient who had threatened to assassinate the queen. They inject the man with Henry’s serum, but are surprised when the man has no memory of the two scientists, or why he has been institutionalized to begin with.
Ethan and Hecate continue to make their way across the New Mexico desert. They discuss their childhoods, and of how both of their parents made them into unwilling recruits: Hecate’s mother forced her into witchcraft, while Ethan’s father forced him into the US Army.
Night falls, and Ethan shares his story with Hecate. Several miles away, Kaeteney shares Ethan’s story with Malcolm. Ethan and his fellow soldiers attacked and killed a defenseless tribe of Apache Indians. Ethan’s commanding officer dragged the body of a boy into the river, using the boy’s blood to poison the water. The commanding officer told Ethan that the boy was not worth the bullet, and bashed the boy’s face in. Ethan then shot and killed his commanding officer.
After killing his commanding officer, Ethan rode into Kaetenay’s village and begged the old man to take his life. Instead, Kaetenay forced Ethan to fight against his home army. Ethan told the tribe where to find weapons and supplies at his father’s ranch. Kaeteney promised to lead a non violent raid, but broke his word and murdered all of Ethan’s family (his mother, brother and sister) except for Ethan’s father.
Kaeteney reminds Malcolm that Ethan is descending into darkness, and tells Malcolm of the horrible visions he has had of Ethan and the apocalypse that he says will be brought upon mankind if Ethan cannot be saved.
In the meantime, Ethan and Hecate join forces to cast a spell that brings rattlesnakes out of the earth. The snakes attack Inspector Rusk’s men, and all the men are killed, except for Rusk and Marshall Ostow. Malcolm and Kaeteney invade Rusk’s site and steal horses. However, Kaeteney is also bitten by a rattlesnake. Malcolm and Kaetenay then manage to escape Rusk and his lone surviving member of the search party. Rusk then vows to kill Ethan, no matter the cost.
The situation becomes desperate for Ethan and Hecate, who have no water. Ethan is forced to shoot his horse, as it is dying of dehydration. Ethan and Hecate spend the night in a cave, which contains drawings depicting the Apache story of creation. Hecate argues that the drawings may actually be a story of how the world ends. Ethan then succumbs to Hecate, and they make love, with Ethan swearing that he is done trying to be on the side of the good.
Over the next few days, Ethan and Hecate lose their last horse. Ethan carries Hecate across the desert for a time, but then gives up, thinking that they will die from dehydration. However, Ethan is saved by Malcolm, who has finally caught up with them. Malcolm gives Ethan the last of his water, which Ethan shares with Hecate. Malcolm threatens to shoot Hecate, but Ethan will not have it.
The standoff is interrupted by the arrival of the men sent by Ethan’s father. Malcolm, Ethan and Hecate are then dragged back to Ethan’s father’s home. When asked what should be done with Kaeteney, who is suffering the effects of the rattlesnake bite, Ethan advises the men to leave him to die, telling them the old man is not worth the bullet.
While Ethan and Hecate are recuperating at Ethan’s father ranch, Ethan’s father, Jared Talbot, has a long conversation with Malcolm. Jared intensely dislikes the Apache tribe, and derides Malcolm for teaming with Kaeteney. Malcolm becomes self-righteous, but Jared points out some of the acts against Africans Malcolm committed during his time in Africa, reminding Malcolm that he is also a racist.
After Ethan recovers, he dresses and prepares to kill his father. He then learns that Jared has no desires to make amends, and wants Ethan to atone for his sins, and suffer in the meantime. Jared walks Ethan through the family chapel, where members of the Apache tribe murdered the rest of the family. Jared demands that Ethan repent for his sins, and pulls his gun on his son. Ethan states that he is done repenting, and that he belongs in hell.
I underwent therapy after watching last week’s episode, A Blade of Grass.
My recovery was progressing nicely.
Well, until I watched this week’s episode, at any rate.
And now I will have to find another, understanding therapist, who is familiar with what shows like Penny Dreadful do to a person, and why we are still helpless to stop watching them.
Yes, this episode was intense. And also unexpected, in some ways.
Let me talk about our favorite werewolf, aka Ethan, for a few minutes.
For the past three seasons, the show has been hinting that Ethan has committed some terrible crimes and needs to answer for those crimes.
It was hinted at early on in the first season that Ethan is actually a werewolf. That fact was also revealed at the end of first season, via the Mariner’s Inn Massacre, where Ethan transforms into his wolf half after the death of poor Brona, and kills several people while in his wolf form.
Of course, I was expecting that all the terrible things that Ethan has done, and is on the run from, had to do with his curse. He transformed into something horrible, but the acts were involuntary, as he (probably) did not wish to become a werewolf.
Well, I was wrong.
So far, all the things that Ethan is running from have absolutely NOTHING to do with his curse. Rather, they all have to do with human fuckery (something that is really the biggest horror of them all.)
At the beginning of the season, I had thought that Kaeteney was actually responsible for Ethan’s curse (and this theory may still be true.) When Ethan came to Kaeteney with blood on his hands, begging Kaeteney to kill him, I thought that Kaeteney’s punishment was the curse of the werewolf.
However, that appears not to have been the case. The old man actually did much, much worse to Ethan, by forcing him to fight against the army, and committing an act of treachery that left the blood on Ethan’s hands, along with unimaginable pain and suffering, for both Ethan and his father.
So we still know very little about the actual werewolf, who seems to be tame compared to its human counterpart. But, we have four more episodes left this season, and I am patient.
The pairing of Ethan and Hecate is also another thing that I am loving about this season, although this relationship is almost as ill-advised as Dr. Frankenstein’s attempt to tame and and capture Lily. In other words, Ethan shacking up with Hecate is simply NOT going to turn out well, but will provide us with some nifty entertainment.
Ethan and Hecate’s interaction this episode was fascinating: those two really are cut from the same cloth. They both had domineering parents, although I think Hecate wins that one. Being clawed by Lucifer Himself at age five is hard to beat. Both have darkness in them, although Hecate has embraced hers (maybe she did get cookies when she came to the dark side), while Ethan struggles with his and is still trying to figure out what to do with all that darkness (somehow, doing in Inspector “How the hell are you still alive” Rusk doesn’t seem to be on his bucket list.)
Side note: next time Hecate surrenders herself to the dark side, she may want to ask for powers other than the ability to conjure snakes out of nowhere and kill (almost) entire search parties. You know, like the ability to conjure up water for when you need to spend an untold number of days trekking across the desert with a werewolf who can tell you Apache folk tales on demand…cookies be damned!
All season, the show has been hinting at dual natures.
We have Ethan, who is also a werewolf.
There is Vanessa, who apparently had a big chunk of her past that was forgotten until recently.
We have Caliban, who is (slowly) beginning to remember the person he was before he became The Creature.
And pretty much every time Dr. Jekyll opens his mouth, we get some sort of lecture about duality. Although I will listen to that lecture in that voice all day long, no complaints here!
This episode also placed an emphasis on duality, with the introduction of Jared Talbot, Ethan’s father, whom we have been teased about for several episodes, at this point.
Finally, Ethan reunited with his father. And not just Jared, as Ethan also managed to reunite with Malcolm, who conveniently made an appearance before Ethan and his witch gal pal succumbed to the desert and all the pleasures it had to offer.
Malcolm has been a father of sorts to Ethan almost from the beginning. Those two seem to have an understanding, and although it did take some time, a respect for one another.
Eventually, we knew we would meet Ethan’s father. And that meeting would be interesting, to say the least.
Finally, we got that meeting. And it was beyond interesting. The final third of the episode was when it really kicked off, giving us some tense story telling, and interactions that were just genius.
For instance, the interaction between Malcolm and Jared was one for the ages. The similarities between those two men are pretty striking when you think about it. Both have lost almost their entire families. Both are culpable, to an extent, in the deaths of their family members: Jared set in motion a chain of tragic events by forcing Ethan into the army, and Malcolm forced his son to accompany him on one of his trips to Africa, which did not end well. Both men are obsessed with achieving success, even if that success comes at a cost (which it did.)
So seeing them exchange words was just beautiful. And bonus points to Malcolm, who managed to call Jared “vainglorious (pot meet kettle), and compliment him on his whiskey, in the same breath. Malcolm one, Jared zero!
The reunion of Ethan and his estranged father has also been hyped. And it lived it up to that hype, as we finally got more information on why his father was so (rightfully) angry. Hearing about what happened to Ethan’s family (which is really a result of his father’s controlling nature and his need for perfection, his son’s best interests be damned) was heartbreaking. And then guns were drawn.
Now we have to wait until next week, to find out how this reunion will conclude. Somehow, I see more tragedy, although I may be wrong about that. But I don’t think so.
So that’s it for This World is Our Hell. Join me next week for the review and dissection of the sixth episode, titled No Beast So Fierce.
Tune in next week…same bat time, same bat channel!