I am a nerd (I know, in other news water is wet, the sun sets in the west, etc). But since I am a nerd, I have a few things that I am fan of…
Well, maybe more than a few. Maybe I have quite a few, actually. So, I guess that makes me a fan girl…
I also remember the sundae bar at restaurants when I was a kid (and I may still visit the sundae bar in my adulthood, but that can be our little secret).
Now, there is nothing better than an ice cream sundae…for dessert, at least. Ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, maybe some sprinkles…now is that pure awesomeness or what?!
But there is something extra special about a sundae that you make at the sundae bar at some un-named buffet restaurant (really, is there any other reason for visiting those places?) You get to choose what you put on it, and mix it up! Gummy bears, crushed oreo cookies and maraschino cherries? Sure, why not? Live dangerously, I say!
I think the reason why the sundae bar is so appealing to kids (and us adults who never really fell into the trap of growing up) is because they can take their favorite things, and put them into one bowl of delicious. Your favorite things are special when they are not together (when are gummy bears not special? I dare you challenge me on that one!), but when they are together, they are…well…magic. That’s the only word I can think of. A sundae made up chocolate sauce, maraschino cherries, crushed oreo cookies, gummy bears and maybe some other candies randomly thrown in (M&M’s are the bomb diggity on sundaes) is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, you now have something made up of the familiar, but its a brand new product (with a guarantee of a major sugar hangover, but like I said, live dangerously).
And the ice cream sundae bar analogy can also apply to fandoms. We love, love, love our fandoms (whoever said nerds are not passionate needs to log on to any website that discusses Batman, for example, and that notion that we are not passionate will be almost immediately disproved) but when seemingly separate universe converge, it turns into something beyond love. Luv, perhaps? Or if the convergence is done really well, maybe “multiple orgasms” would be a better word than “love” or even “luv”…
And the notion of converging seemingly separate fandoms is not new. Marvel is perhaps the most famous for it, as they have given us the Avengers movies, and we have been told that everything, from billionaire Tony Stark, to the green monster no one wants to piss off, to the raccoon with the foul mouth, is all interconnected (and now you can’t leave a Marvel movie without staying past the opening credits to get a sneak peek at the next movie and start puzzling out how that relates to that movie you just saw). And this has been quite the clever move by Marvel, as the fact that their universe is tied together has likely made their franchise even more popular.
So we have all these cool, fictional universes and super hero mash up movies…you know what would be really cool? To have a TV show where all these fictional characters are in one universe! Maybe Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula and Dorian Gray? And have it take place in turn of the century London, which is just a great setting, period? Sounds cool, yo!
Well, we actually do have such a TV show and it called Penny Dreadful. So far, Penny Dreadful is a mash up of Frankenstein, Dracula and Dorian Gray. And it has a beautiful woman who is prone to becoming possessed by unknown forces. And it has a werewolf! A really, really hot werewolf, in fact! And yes, it takes place in one of favorite historical places and time periods: turn of the century London!
And since this blog is really nerdy (in case you haven’t figured that out yet), the show Penny Dreadful fits right in. And will be subject to a recap and review by yours truly!
So buckle up, and let’s take a ride to the literary Avengers universe aka the show Penny Dreadful!
Season 2, episode 1 of Penny Dreadful begins with Vanessa Ivers experiencing some disturbing visions while walking in the snow. In the meantime, Ethan Chandler awakes, and discovers blood and dead bodies that he was likely responsible for. Vanessa and Ethan meet up, and take a carriage ride together. Ethan begins to tell Vanessa that he will probably leave town and possibly take up residence in Spain, as he feels running away will prevent him from hurting anyone else. However, the discussion is interrupted when the pair are attacked by what appears to be a band of female demons. Vanessa is able to speak Latin and fend them off, but the driver of the carriage and the horses are killed in the battle.
Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Caliban (The Creature) anxiously look after the corpse of Brona, who was dying of consumption but had her death sped up by the good doctor, in his desire to create Caliban a “bride.” Caliban wanders the streets of London and happens upon a wax museum that rivals a certain famous wax museum, and finds employment at the museum. The business is a family run business, and Caliban seems taken with a female employee. Caliban also gives a false name of John Claire, and agrees to start work right away, even though the salary is low.
Malcolm Murray and his wife bury their daughter, Mina Murray Harker. Gladys blames her husband, as the couple is now childless. Malcolm attempts to convince Gladys to sell their home in the country, but Gladys refuses, stating that she will remain married to Malcolm in name only.
Malcolm, Victor, Sembene, Ethan and Vanessa meet in Malcolm’s house in London. The group argues over the nature of the demons who attacked Vanessa and Ethan, with Victor proclaiming their existence to be impossible, as they are speaking what he calls a “dead language.” The group is unable to come to a consensus on how to best deal with the threat. Vanessa agrees to stay with Malcolm, and Ethan states that he will not leave London and will stay with Malcolm and Vanessa, at least for the present.
A group of women is seen gathering at an undisclosed location in London. It becomes clear that these women were responsible for the attack on Vanessa and Ethan. Their leader is seen bathing in the blood of a young woman. The creatures discuss Vanessa and Ethan, and their leader kills one of the group for speaking out of turn.
Vanessa appears to begin praying in front of a cross in Malcolm’s house, and mutters an incantation in Latin. The group of women also begin an incantation. Vanessa spills her blood on the floor and continues with the incantation. The demons encountered earlier appear behind Vanessa, but they do not attack her. Instead, the creatures seem intent on tormenting her.
Victor has returned to his lab, and there is a thunderstorm. Victor and Caliban realize that their chance to resurrect Brona has now arrived, and rush to complete the task. Their efforts pay off, and the episode ends with the corpse of Brona coming to life.
Last season, Penny Dreadful ended on some cliffhangers. It appeared that Ethan was indeed a werewolf, and we would see more of that this season. It also appeared that Brona was headed for a major change (being dead and being resurrected tends to do that to a person). And lots more questions were raised about Vanessa: just what was possessing her and why? And what can she do to fight it?
Well, this episode of Penny Dreadful was…wait for it…a cliffhanger! Yes, I still had questions. Just why the heck is Vanessa being pursued by these really, really bad folks? What on earth did she do to warrant that? And where is the un-dead bride aka Brona? And most, importantly, where is the wolf? I wanna see the wolf!!!
Well, wrong wolf there…sorry, got a little carried away.
No, I want to see Ethan’s werewolf side. We had been teased about it all last season, and the writers are still teasing about it…just go ahead and go full werewolf already, Ethan! Don’t worry, I won’t judge as I will still think you are hot!
Another thing I noticed about this episode was that the demons were actually visible. In many of the episodes last season, the enemy (may be Dracula, may be Lucifer himself, maybe something else entirely that we are not familiar with) was not actually visible. And believe it or not, the show still managed to be creepy, largely due to the efforts of Eva Green, Josh Hartnett and Timothy Dalton. And when the evil did become visible (which was actually rare), the payoff was pretty great.
However, this episode went another route: we could actually put names and faces to at least one of the enemies. They appeared to be a coven of witches who worshiped Satan himself. And these women were nasty, as they appear to be able shapeshift and are also pretty mean fighters. So that was a change of pace, and it made me wonder just what direction the show is going take in season 2: is it going to focus more heavily on the bad guys, perhaps show some more gore? I tend to think that answer is yes, but we shall see…pun intended!
Poor, poor Vanessa. Apparently, she pissed someone (or perhaps something) and its not good enough for that creature to kill her. No sir, whatever it is seems to want to toy with her and just outright torture poor Vanessa. And whatever it is means…yes sir, it sure does! And it also seems to go by the saying: If you can’t beat them, join them. Well, actually whatever it is wants to apply that to Vanessa, as it appears that Uncle Evil wants Vanessa to serve it! However, Vanessa is a fighter, and has some friends willing to fight for her as well.
And then there is Victor Frankenstein. Victor is…well…he’s a douchebag. And he ranks up there (or is it down there?) on that list of literary and film douchebags I have been compiling for all of these years.
Nor did Victor disappoint in this episode. There is one constant in Penny Dreadful: Victor Frankenstein can be counted on to be a douchebag. And conniving and arrogant. And manipulative. And I shudder to think of what will happen when Ethan finds out that Victor helped Brona along to her death to serve his own purposes. That fight scene may actually rival a wedding of a certain unnamed
shades of red color…
All in all, the season opener to the second season of Penny Dreadful was expected: it had some interesting moments, and managed to raise even more questions. But that’s all the reason to keep watching, my dear!
So tune back in next week, where we will revisit the grown up person’s sundae bar, aka Penny Dreadful, and talk more about our favorite literary Avengers, extremely handsome werewolf and poor hapless demon magnet! And have a dreadfully good time doing it!