Penny Dreadful: Season 3 Finale Recap and Review

For once, I am at a loss for words.

And no, I don’t exaggerate.

I am literally speechless.

Last night, I watched what I thought was simply the season finale to Penny Dreadful, which is one of my favorite television shows.  And that is saying something, since I don’t care about most television shows.  I read books.  I hold things to a very high standard.

In other words, it takes a lot to impress me.  A lot.

And Penny Dreadful impressed me.  It impressed me, and did so much more.

I fell in love.

I fell in love with the characters.  I could see a bit of myself in every one one of them.  Even the ones who were not “human.”

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I fell in love with the dialog.  This is one of the most quotable shows I have ever watched.

I fell in love with the setting.  This show has gorgeous visuals, there is no other way to put it.

I fell in love with the story lines.  Some of the story lines were better than others, but I loved them all.

And I may have taken this show for granted.

Not that I expected a long run, but I thought we would get more seasons.  If a show is this good, we get more seasons, right?

Well, no.  Last night, I watched the finale to season 3.  Turns out this is also the series finale.

In other words, I said goodbye last night.  And it was gut-wrenching.

I had an ugly cry.

My nose got stuffed up.

My eyes turned red and bloodshot.

My makeup ran all over my face.

In other words, it was beautiful.

Gut-wrenching still, but beautiful and cathartic.

ugly cry

Endings usually are.

So, without any further ado, I bring you my recap and review of the series finale of Penny Dreadful.

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

Dr. Seward finds her receptionist, Renfield, in her office listening to her sessions with Vanessa.  Renfield exhibits odd behavior and attacks Dr. Seward.  Dr. Seward realizes that she is dealing with a supernatural creature, and is able to fight him and capture him.

Ethan, Kaetenay and Malcolm arrive in London and immediately notice that things have gone awry in London.  They are told that the air has become poisonous, killing thousands of people.  They hurry back to Malcolm’s mansion, concerned about Vanessa.

Once Ethan, Kaetenay and Malcolm arrive at Malcolm’s mansion, they are almost immediately accosted by vampires.  Malcolm is bitten, but saved by the arrival of Catriona, who cauterizes his wound.  Dr. Seward also arrives, and tells the group that she has captured Renfield, who can help them find Vanessa.

Caliban dines with his family, and they discuss moving away from London,  Caliban’s son Jack expresses a desire to return to the beach when he is well.  However, Jack becomes overtaken by his consumption, and Caliban helps him to bed.

Ethan leaves the mansion to find Victor, as he feels that Malcolm needs a doctor.  A mysterious boy is awaiting him at Victor’s apartment, and promises to lead to him  to Victor.

Dorian returns to his mansion, and demands that the women who have gathered there on behalf of Lily leave.  Most leave, but Justine stays, and challenges Dorian’s authority, stating she will not return to her old life and that she would rather be killed by Dorian.  Dorian obliges her, snapping Justine’s neck.

Victor holds Lily captive in Henry’s lab in Bedlam.  He tells Lily that the serum will make her better, but Lily disagrees.  She then proceeds to tell Victor the story of Sarah, her daughter who died in infancy.  Lily was forced to prostitute herself so that she and her daughter could survive.  One night, Lily was badly beaten by one her of customers.  By the time she arrives home, Sarah has died from the cold, and Lily is heartbroken.  Victor has a change of heart, and lets Lily go.

The mysterious boy leads Ethan right to Dracula, and Dracula unleashes his creatures upon Ethan.  Ethan fights back, but turns into a werewolf because it is the full moon.  He is joined by another werewolf, who turns out to be Kaetenay.  Both wolves fight off the creatures, and transform to their human selves.  Ethan realizes that it is Kaetenay who cursed him and is angered.  Kaetenay tells Ethan that he cursed him in order to help save the world, and that Ethan has the ability to help Vanessa, despite his curse.

Victor tells Henry that he has allowed Lily to go free.  Henry chides Victor for this, telling Victor that his work in science will amount to nothing.  Henry then tells Victor that his father has died, leaving his estate to Henry.  Henry demands that Victor address him by his proper name:  Lord Hyde.

Dr. Seward leads Malcolm and Catriona to Bedlam, where she has locked Renfield in a cell.  They also meet up with Victor, Ethan and Kaetenay.  Dr. Seward hypnotizes Renfield, and deduces where Dracula is holding Vanessa captive.

That night, Caliban awakens in the middle night and checks on his son.  He discovers that his son has passed away from consumption in his sleep.  Marjorie and Caliban make plans for his burial, and Marjorie demands that Caliban ask Victor to resurrect their son.  Caliban refuses to do so, stating that he will not curse his son to eternal life.  Marjorie then tells Caliban that if he does not resurrect their son that he can leave their home.

Malcolm, Kaetenay, Ethan, Catriona and Victor hunt down Dracula.  They are again accosted by vampires, but fight back using various weapons, such as guns and stakes.  Ethan escapes the creatures and finds Vanessa in a room lighted by candles.

Ethan tries to persuade Vanessa to escape with him, telling her that he will protect her from the dark forces that seek to possess her soul.  Vanessa tells him that this is impossible and the she wants her suffering to end.  Together, they recite the Lord’s Prayer, and Ethan shoots Vanessa with his gun, ending her life.  Before she dies, Vanessa tells Ethan she sees God, and He is waiting for her.

After Vanessa dies, the sun comes out from behind the clouds, and Dracula flees.

Lily returns to Dorian’s mansion, where she finds the body of Justine.  She tells Dorian that she cannot be with him any more, and leaves.  Dorian is skeptical, and predicts that she will return to him.

Caliban buries his son at sea, against the wishes the wishes of Marjorie.  He returns to living his life in the shadows.

A funeral is held for Vanessa.  Malcolm says that he will not return to Africa, as he will stay in London to properly grieve Vanessa and the rest of his family.  Ethan states he will also remain in London, as he considers Malcolm his only family now.

The episode ends with Caliban visiting Vanessa’s grave, reciting a Wordsworth poem, in honor of his friend.


My Thoughts

So many thoughts…such as long blog post.

And I don’t really care about the length.  After all, this is my last post in regards to this show, so I may as well make it count, right?

This post will probably wind up being a bit emo, so let’s talk about some of the lighter moments in the finale, as there were a few.  After all, you can’t have a series finale be all about the feelsies, right?

I loved the action scenes in this episode.  In fact, I think they were my favorite part of the episode.  I can be a sucker for moments that don’t require mountains of tissue.

One of the best action scenes was the Werewolf Bowl.

That’s right.  Game of Thrones got its Bastard Bowl.  Therefore, Penny Dreadful gets its Werewolf Bowl!

bastard bowl 1

Ethan was kicking ass on his own, but then he is joined by the “gray wolf.”  Who is none other than Kaetenay!  How about that?

And it turns out that Kaetenay was actually responsible for Ethan’s curse, and that he had a good reason for putting that curse on Ethan…who knew?

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I also loved the gun fight that took place between the Scoobies and Dracula’s groupies.  Malcolm and Victor were bad ass, but in my mind, they did not hold a candle to Miss O’-Nine-Tails, aka Catriona.

On a side note:  did anyone else think of Danny Glick when they saw that kid vampire, or was that just me?

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That’s right, I misjudged Miss O’-Nine-Tails.  Turns out that she was not on the side of evil, but on the Scoobies’ side the entire time.  And a valiant fighter.

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She swung from rafters, for Pete’s sake.  And cauterized Malcolm’s wound without a second thought.

In other words, she was a total fucking bad ass.  The only bad thing I can say about her now is that she was only in a handful of episodes…sniff…

In fact, Buffy herself would have been proud…a turn of the century Slayer?  Hey, I can dream, right?

Oh, and let’s not forget Renfield.

Renfield munching on a frog and tendering his resignation to Dr. Seward…priceless!

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As always, the visuals for this show did not fail to impress me.

In particular, I was struck by the scenes of Ethan walking down the street, with the Japanese lanterns in the background.  The contrast between the colors was beautiful, and made things look that much more eerie.

One thing is for sure:  the visuals on this show have spoiled, and pretty much everything I watch will be held up to the standard that Penny Dreadful has set.

I would also like to talk about character arcs for a moment.

For instance, the ones I find fascinating are Dorian’s, and Caliban’s (we will talk more about Vanessa later.)

Dorian Gray 1

On the surface, these two may not have very much in common.  But that’s on the surface.

Both are immortal.  Both have lived in the shadows, so to speak.

In fact, when the show started, Dorian and Caliban lived in the shadows.  And neither cared very much about the lives of others, although often, they would use other humans as a means to an end.

However, one character took a different path from the other, and became a better person for it.

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 7). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_307_1030

That’s right, Caliban is the one who experienced growth.  In fact, out of all the characters, Caliban may have been the character who experienced the most growth.

Slowly, throughout the series, Caliban found his humanity, through the memories of his family, and his relationship with Vanessa.  The same cannot be said of Dorian, however.

Caliban has learned from his experiences.  For example, he chooses not to resurrect his son, even though it costs him his relationship with his wife.  Dorian does not learn from his experiences, however.  When  he grows tired of Lily, he discards, along with Justine and all the other women who had a been a part of Lily’s army.

And while both Dorian and Caliban may continue to live in the shadows, only one has seen the light.  And that would be Caliban.

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Ok, time to talk about the feelsies…

And there were so many of them, in what turned out to be the series finale for a spectacular show.

Finally, we got a little more information on Lily, when she told the story of what happened to her daughter.  Did anyone else feel the oxygen getting sucked out of the room, or is my imagination just that vivid?

The story of Lily’s daughter was tragic.  It also brought up an interesting point:  our memories, both good and bad, make us who we are.  And to rob someone of his/her memories, as Victor intended to do, would be a cruel act.  Myself, I have plenty of bad memories, as I am a domestic abuse survivor.  But if I were robbed of those memories, I would not be me.  Like Lily, being a shell of myself, and not having those memories, some of which are painful, but essential to my being, would be the cruelest punishment of them all.

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Then there was Caliban.  Which made me cry more, the death of Vanessa, or the sight of Caliban burying his son at sea?

I don’t know, but the two are pretty close.

I thought a bit of Pet Sematary, which I read earlier this year, when watching this episode.

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Caliban was kind of the anti-Louis Creed.  He resisted temptation, and gave his son a proper send off, so that his son would not be damned for all eternity.  And boy, was this painful to watch.  I heard a splintering noise and figured that was the sound of my heart breaking wide open.

Before I conclude this post, let’s talk a bit about Vanessa and her arc.

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Now, I wasn’t happy that Vanessa died.  In fact, I was anything but.  I hated it!

I hate this ending, but I also feel that this was the only ending.  While this ending sucked, it was definitely the right ending.

Some may vehemently disagree with me on the ending, along with the fact that John Logan did not let us know that this was the last season of the show.

However, I agree with Malcolm:  Vanessa never would have found happiness, had she lived.  She was doomed for all eternity, and would have been fleeing from the darkness all of her life.  Not even Ethan would have been able to protect from those forced that sought her soul.

Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 1). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_301_5002

So Ethan performed the ultimate act of love:  he shot her and ended her suffering.  However, he used his powers as Lupus Dei to bring her back to her God, so that she found peace before her death, and (hopefully) salvation in the afterlife.

Josh Hartnett as Ethan and Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 9). - Photo: Patrick Redmond/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_309_1688

And I agree with John Logan that this was really Vanessa’s show.  Vanessa touched the lives of many, including Ethan, Malcolm, Caliban and even Dorian.  So without Vanessa, there is no show.

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Announcing the end of the series would have been a spoiler of sorts, as any intelligent person (probably) would have deduced the death of Vanessa.  And where would the fun have been in that?  Personally, I enjoyed this season.  Knowing that it was the last season would have put a damper on my fun, although I still would have watched it.

The Rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the Rose,
The Moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare,
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

And what better way to end the series, than to have Caliban recite a Wordsworth poem, in honor of his friend?

Vanessa touched the lives of everyone she met, but I believe that she had the greatest effect on Caliban.  When she was a patient in the Banning Clinic, he was the orderly tasked with caring for her.  However, it could be argued that she helped him much more than he helped her, as she brought out his humanity even then, making him the best man he could be.

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 9). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_309_3197

And even after he became an un-dead Creature, Caliban’s relationship with Vanessa still made him a better man.  It inspired him to reunite with his family, even though that ultimately proved painful, with the death of his son and the loss of his relationship with his wife.  However, these losses served to bring Caliban back from the dead, so to speak, and proved that he was not in fact the monster everyone saw on the outside, but someone more human than almost everyone else on the show.

Nothing is more beautiful than a man who recognizes what true humanity is, and strives to make sure that everyone is afforded it, no matter the cost to himself.

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 9). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_309_3066


Well, that’s it. That’s it for Penny Dreadful.

We have been so lucky to have been blessed with such a wonderful show.  The acting, the visuals, the dialog, the writing…all of it was superb, and I would not change a thing, as this show has been simply perfect.

So, I am tearing up a little, but I bid the series goodbye, and am thankful to have had the privilege to watch it, and spend so many hours writing about it and discussing it.

The series may have been cancelled, but it will live on in my heart forever.

mash 1

 

 

Penny Dreadful: Season 3, Episode 7 Recap and Review

According to my internet dictionary, an ebb tide is a period of rest between the high tide and the low tide.

In other words, an ebb tide is the calm before the storm, or the eye of the hurricane.  It may seem safe for the time being, but you better know what you are doing, so you can get out of the way quickly.

ebb tide 1

Or else.

And after watching this week’s episode of Penny Dreadful, it seems that we are in for a big dose of “or else.”  Actually, we have no choice but to walk straight into the tide, as all the other avenues are closed off to us now.

Uh, whee, I guess?

So, without further ado, here is my recap and review of this week’s episode of Penny Dreadful, titled (coincidentally) Ebb Tide.

Oh, and as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

At the beginning of the episode, Lily is visiting the grave of her daughter, who died in infancy.  Lily vows to never allow any more suffering, especially at the hands of men.

Vanessa is asleep in the natural history museum.  While she is sleeping, Renfield attempts to sneak up on her, and begins to lick her neck.  This angers Dr. Sweet, who lifts Renfield up by his neck, reminding him of who is in charge.  Vanessa awakens, and thanks Dr. Sweet for a lovely night before she leaves.

As she is walking on the streets of London, Vanessa runs into Caliban, who tells her he needs a friend.  Caliban tells Vanessa that he has suffered a horrible accident and become disfigured as a result of that accident.  Caliban is afraid to reunite with his family, but Vanessa encourages him to seek out his family, as they should still recognize the man he is inside.  Vanessa also points out that she knew Caliban from her time at the Banning Clinic and that he was kind to her then.  Caliban does not remember, but Vanessa encourages her friend to do the right thing.

After speaking with Vanessa, Caliban tracks down Marjorie, his wife.  She tearfully embraces him, and he tells her the story of his resurrection, expressing his outrage of Victor’s treatment of him, and confessing that he has committed violent acts that he is not proud of.  Marjorie tells him that this does not matter and that she still loves him.  Caliban and Marjorie return to their home, and Caliban also tearfully reunites with his son, Jack.

Lily makes a speech at Dorian’s mansion, while she has a party for women who have been oppressed.  She encourages the women to cut off the right hands of bad men, as a show of their power.  Dorian is not impressed, and appears to be feeling left out of the plans.

Back in America, Malcolm secures passage for himself, Kaetenay and Ethan to return to London.  Kaeteney warns Ethan and Malcolm of the upcoming apocalypse, of which he has seen in his visions.  Kaeteney also speaks to Vanessa in his visions, and tells Malcolm and Ethan that it may be too late, as Vanessa has already succumbed to the darkness.

Dorian and Lily take a walk around the city, and Dorian expresses his concerns to Lily regarding her plans, telling her that she is bored.  Lily is then kidnapped by Victor and Henry, who take her, along with Dorian, back to Henry’s lab.  Lily refuses Henry’s serum and is angry at Dorian for kidnapping her, but the men plan to administer the serum to her anyway, as they believe it will make her a better woman.

Vanessa is researching Dracula when Catriona shows up.  Catriona tells Vanessa that all she knows about Dracula is wrong.  Dracula cannot be killed in his real form, but can be killed when he is human.  Catriona also tells Vanessa that Dracula would be hiding among the creatures of the night.  Vanessa has a revelation, and realizes that Dr. Sweet is actually Dracula.

Vanessa then confronts Dr. Sweet with the knowledge that he is Dracula.  She threatens to shoot him, but is unable to carry through with her threat.  Dracula tells Vanessa that he has fallen in love with her, and that he wants to rule the Earth with Vanessa by his side.  Dracula also tells Vanessa that he loves her and accepts her for who she is.  Vanessa then succumbs to Dracula, allowing him to drink her blood.  Outside, Kaetenay’s visions start to become true.


My Thoughts

Takeaways from Penny Dreadful.  Sit tight, I have quite a few.

Vampire sex is kinda hot.  Actually, vampire sex is pretty hawt!  And I’m not ashamed to admit that, either!

And Vanessa doing the walk of shame, turn of the century style (instead of a cab, she gets a horse and carriage from her gentleman er gentle vamp) was pretty entertaining too!

Catriona.  I dig her, but what’s up with her?  That chemistry she has with Vanessa (even though they’ve had only a few scenes together) is undeniable.  Cat calling herself Cat-o’-nine-tails was just…well…just there.

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But it seemed like getting Vanessa to figure out that Dr. Sweet was Dracula was so easy.  Cat just mentions a few things, and one of them conveniently happens to be where the night creatures hide, aka the natural history museum, and Vanessa just has a light bulb moment, and realizes that her “sweetie” (see what I did there) is actually the King of all Big Bads, and the brother of another Big Bad.

And it only took her how long?

Christian Carmargo as Dr. Sweet and Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 2). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_302_5057

So, why so easy?  Is Miss Cat-o-nine-tails who she says she is?  In other words, Lyle’s friend who just happens to be the expert that Vanessa so desperately needed?  Pretty convenient, if I do say so myself…

Or perhaps Cat is not who she says she is.  After all, Dracula can influence and corrupt (more on that, aka Renfield, in a minute.)  Is she working for Dracula after all?  She seems to know a little too much about him, and was little eager to give Vanessa all that info, and Vanessa didn’t have to work very hard to make her deduction, and appear to walk right into the arms of the enemy.  But there are two episodes left, so plenty of time to find out if Miss Nine Tails is on the Scoobies’ side or not!

Renfield.  I have not talked about him too much this season, which is something that needed to be remedied.  Stat.

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That opening scene, where Renfield is licking Vanessa (seriously, how do you not wake up, Vanessa?  I would wake up and be running through a brick wall to get away from that creep, but that’s just me, I suppose) was pure gold.  Dracula/Dr. Sweet picking Renfield up by his neck (Vanessa still didn’t wake up, will we find out next week if she can really sleep through Armageddon?) was just the cherry on the sundae.

Should I have been laughing that hard? Probably not.  But I don’t regret one chuckle.  Not a one.

Caliban.  In other words, the one who has become just a little less Creature-y, and a lot more human.  In fact, I think he may have the most humanity out of any of the characters on the show.  I know that he wins it for the feelsie moments, hands down.

penny dreadful 3 17

And he may be responsible for the biggest feelsie moment that this show has seen, period, when he reunited with his family.  How could you not cry?  How could your heart not melt when his wife threw her arms around him?

Then there was the reunion with his son…

Normally, I avoid stepping in feelings like I would avoid stepping in dog poo, but the poo er feeling pile was just big when I watched this episode.  So I got knee deep in it.  The feeling pile, that is.  I mean, how could I not, especially after he embraced his son, who didn’t scream his head off this time?

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 7). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_307_1030

And, speaking of too easy…

Caliban’s story wrapped up nicely this week.  Or so it seemed.  Is he really going to get a happily ever after?  My heart wants to believe this, but my gut is telling me not to get too complacent.  I have had a feeling that someone is in for a horrible tragedy this season.  And my gut is telling me that it may be Caliban.

We know his son is extremely ill, and has been for some time.  I am rooting for Caliban (perhaps rooting for him more than anyone else) but I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for him.  Something terrible is going to happen to Caliban, unfortunately.  Ebb tide:  can’t be lulled into a false sense of security, as the waters will begin crashing again.

Caliban 1

Vanessa and Caliban shared another scene in this episode.  They’ve only shared a few scenes, but I treasure each and every one of them.  Somebody, can these two have more scenes together?  Do I need to start an online petition for this?

Oh, and Vanessa does remember Caliban from her time at the Banning Clinic!  I almost started clapping my hands when that was revealed.  And my eyes got a little leaky when Vanessa encouraged him to reunite with his family, telling him that his family would still love him for the man he really is, even though he is now horribly disfigured.  Gotta see someone about my eyes, can’t figure out why they keep leaking like that, when I watch this show…

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Lily and Dorian.  Until last night, that part of the story was floundering a bit, even though I still enjoyed it.

But then Lily crawled on a table and made a rousing speech.  Seriously, I thought of Kevin’s speech on American Pie, and I was kind of half-expecting Lily to shout “We will get laid!”  I wasn’t too disappointed though, as there was a table full of right hands.  Anyone else curious about the owners of those hands?  How do you explain that to your family, if you have one?  It’s one thing to come home smelling of someone else’s perfume.  It’s another thing to come home without your right hand.  How do you explain that one to your family?  I would love to hear the excuse for that one, since I don’t think the old “I accidentally ended up in bed with this tramp” line would go over very well, but what do I know?

Penny Dreadful 38

And the look on Dorian’s face when Lily made her speech…priceless!  I was a master of bored, disdained looks as a teenager (and still am, especially when I am forced to leave my bat cave er house) but I bow down to Dorian…I wanted to frame that shit and hang it on my wall!

Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 7). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_307_2135

Has Vanessa really surrendered herself to the dark side (she needs a t shirt that says that she surrendered to the dark side and all she got was this lousy shirt and no they didn’t even have cookies)?

The signs point to yes, I suppose.  So now it is up to Ethan, Kaetenay and Malcolm to try to save Vanessa, who may not want to be saved now.  Oh, and avert the apocalypse and save the poor Earth while they are at it…all in a day’s work!

In other words, time to get the band back together!

Penny Dreadful 3


So that’s it for Ebb Tide.  Join me next week for the recap and review of the two part season finale, titled Perpetual Night and Blessed Dark.

Tune in next week…same bat time, same bat channel!

batman and robin

 

 

 

Penny Dreadful: Season 3, Episode 6 Recap and Review

Well, I am in recovery today, folks.

No, I didn’t go out and partake in a wild night of drinking, where I did things (like get married, hehe), that I have to piece together the next morning.

Hangover 1

Rather, I watched the sixth episode of this season’s Penny Dreadful, titled No Beast So Fierce.

And what a ride it was…

I’ve always been kind of curious to see what Quentin Tarantino’s take on a period horror drama would be (seriously, I want to see Quentin Tarantino’s take on pretty much anything, but I digress.)

And I got my wish last night.

In other words, I got my period horror drama (as always.)

Ethan and Vanessa 1

But, there was comedy.

There was a gunfight.

And there were ridiculous lines that may have seemed ridiculous, but somehow, they still worked.

In other words, Quentin Tarantino is an un-credited writer for Penny Dreadful.  I tell you, it’s the only thing that makes sense, as this was an entirely new turn for a show that has been filled with surprises almost from the get-go.

So, buckle yourselves in, and prepare for the recap and review of No Beast So Fierce.  And try not to fall out of your seat, ok?

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with Renfield meeting with Dracula, begging Dracula to feed him.  Renfield discloses the names of some of Vanessa’s friends, including Malcolm and Ethan.  Dracula then allows Renfield to feed on a nearly dead corpse, reminding Renfield of who is really in charge.

Vanessa pays a visit to Dr. Lyle and requests his assistance.  Lyle tells her that he is leaving for Egypt, and that this time, the visit may be permanent.  Vanessa is heartbroken to be losing yet another friend, but Lyle gives her the name of another acquaintance who may be able to help her.

Back in America, the stand-off between Ethan and his father Jared is interrupted by the arrival of Inspector Rusk, who announces that he is arresting Ethan, so that Ethan may stand trial for his crimes.

Caliban has recovered some memories of his past life, and looks in on his sleeping son.  The boy is ill and in discomfort, but recognizes his father’s voice.  However, once the boy opens his eyes and sees Caliban in his form as the Creature, he begins to scream.  Caliban is heartbroken, but vows to obtain medicine so that his son may be cured.

Vanessa attends a fencing match, per the instruction of Dr. Lyle.  She finally meets Lyle’s friend, Catriona Hartdegen.  Catriona is an accomplished female fencer, despite the accusations against her of cheating.  Vanessa tells Catriona her story, and requests help in her fight against Dracula.  Catriona agrees, but reminds Vanessa not to isolate herself, as there is strength in numbers.

Vanessa then has a drink with Dr. Seward.  Dr. Seward tells Vanessa that she understands what it is like to be alone, as she killed her husband in self-defense and was forced to stand trial for murder.  Dr. Seward encourages Vanessa to seek the company of Dr. Sweet, to decrease her risk of isolation.

Henry and Victor put the finishing touches on their serum, and Victor leaves for Dorian’s mansion, in the hopes of injecting Lily with the serum, so that she may revert to her docile self.

At Dorian’s mansion, Lily teaches a self-defense workshop of sorts to prostitutes who are forced to endure abuse from men.  Lily uses Dorian as a model to demonstrate her techniques.  However, Justine cuts Dorian’s throat in the demonstration.  This prompts concern from Dorian, who states that Justine has forgotten her place in their lives.

Malcolm, Ethan, Jared and Inspector Rusk sit down to a dinner in Jared’s ranch.  Jared forces Ethan to say Grace, and harasses Ethan until he complies.  This prompts Malcolm to come to Ethan’s defense, reminding Jared that his son is still a good man, no matter what the accusations against her are.  Hecate also tells Ethan that she will unleash her magic, if he will just give her the word.

Victor then visits Lily at Dorian’s mansion.  He is held at knife-point by Justine, and tries to convince Lily to allow him to inject the serum into her, telling her that it will make her memories of her troubled past vanish.  Lily refuses, and Justine offers to slit Victor’s throat.  Dorian says that this act of violence would be senseless, and Lily ultimately agrees.  She frees Victor, but states that she may have use for Victor and his services at a later time.

Vanessa visits Dr. Sweet at the natural history museum, and confesses her troubles to him, stating that she is being hunted by a creature called “Dracula.”  Dr. Sweet is not frightened, and tells Vanessa that he loves her for what she is.  The two then consummate their relationship.

Violence erupts at Jared’s mansion back in America.  Jared shoots Ostow, who had accompanied Inspector Rusk in his quest to bring Ethan to justice.  Rusk then asks Ethan and Hecate about the snakes that were conjured in the desert.  Ethan and Hecate then spring to action, as does Malcolm.  Hecate reverts to her nightcrawler form and is shot by Rusk.  Rusk is then shot by Ethan.  Malcolm is cornered by one of Jared’s bodyguards, but is saved by the sudden appearance of Kaetenay, who has recovered from the snake bites.

Hecate dies in Ethan’s arms.  Ethan teams with Malcolm and Kaetenay, and they find Jared in his chapel.  Ethan shoots the gun out of his father’s hands, and his father taunts him to pull the trigger.  Ethan is unable to pull the trigger, and walks away from his father.  Jared then taunts Ethan further, promising him that he will still hunt him down.  Malcolm then shoots Jared, killing him instantly.


My Thoughts

Again:

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So.  Much.  Going.  On.  In.  This.  Episode.

Where to start, then?

Well, let me begin with my favorite character of the series, aka Caliban aka The Creature.

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 7). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_307_1030

It is true that poor Caliban only had but a few lines of dialogue in this episode…

But let me reiterate:  poor Caliban!

His son recognized his father’s voice.  And started talking about joining the angels (my heart was torn out of my chest.)

And then his poor soon opened his eyes.  And (rightfully) screamed his head off.

Then we saw Caliban openly weep, vowing to obtain medicine to cure his son.  And not seeming to care to be back in his family’s life, either.  All he wants to do is something so that his son no longer has to suffer.

I never thought of him as The Creature.  I have called him Caliban because…well…because I just happen to like the name, and I think it suits him.

But now it is especially hard to think of him as The Creature.  He has displayed probably more humanity than almost anyone else on the show, and has been responsible for so many Feels.  So calling him The Creature is a disservice, and I will hear none of it!

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Next, T-Dal.  Let’s talk about T-Dal.

Timothy Dalton has been officially upgraded to T-Dal.  And he has earned it.

Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 1). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_301_5002

Malcolm Murray is a bad ass.  Malcolm Murray can throw down some serious shade.  You do not want to meet Malcolm Murray in a dark alley.

Last week, Malcolm Murray referred to Jared Talbot as “vainglorious”, and then complimented his whiskey.  In the same breath.  I thought that couldn’t be beat.

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Oh, how wrong I was.  After watching this week’s episode, I need to recant the error of my ways…

Malcolm telling Kaeteney that he was too mean to die.  In the midst of a gunfight that would make this guy proud:

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Malcolm 1, rest of the world, 0.

Malcolm standing up for Ethan, trying to get him out of saying Grace.

Malcolm 2, rest of the world 0.

Malcolm putting a much deserved bullet into Jared’s skull, after Ethan backed down (see a pattern here?)

Malcolm 3, rest of the world forfeits and concedes to Malcolm.

In other words, the moniker T-Dal is a sign of respect, and to not use it is just sacrilege, dammit!

Also, I need a moment here…

Yes, a moment to mourn the fallen, as there were a few in this episode.

Such as Hecate.  Technically, she is a villain, who did some pretty terrible things last season.  But her ill-advised hookup with Ethan was such fun to watch, in a car wreck sort of way.  So, we can mourn her.

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We also have Jared Talbot.  Two episodes just were not enough.  Is there more Ethan backstory that could be told in flashbacks, so we can get more of you?

Inspector Rusk.  Or rather, Bartholomew “I am a stubborn bastard who just cannot fucking die already” Rusk.  But finally, you met your end.  And went out in a blaze of glory, as you should have.  Kudos, buddy.  Now let’s reunite the Scoobies in London already.

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Ethan was another reason why I loved this episode.  I have always loved Ethan’s character (even that crazy wolf half), but this episode was quite important for Ethan.

First of all, some of Ethan’s lines were comedy gold.  Well, maybe comedy that is blacker than how my dad takes his coffee, but that’s still comedy.

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Ethan saying Grace, but perverting it the way he did has to be the best thing I have seen on television in 2016.  Maybe even ever.  Or at least it makes my top 10 list.  And this is not just for Penny Dreadful.  We are talking about television, period.

The (literally) bloody dinner, and the gunfight that followed it, was also some television gold.  Again, if Quentin Tarrantino was a secret writer for Penny Dreadful (there can be no other explanation, natch), then this is how it would unfold.  Ethan and Hecate casually cutting their meat, while a dead body sits at the table, along with Hecate chomping at the bit to (again, literally) unleash all Hell on Jared and co.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

This episode was also important for Ethan’s character, in that he appears to have come back to the side of the good.

in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode -). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_302

Ethan was given the chance to unleash Hecate and her magic on his father.  He did not do that, and chose to fight for himself.  And he actually mourned Hecate, as opposed to treating her like something to be used.  In other words, he behaved like a decent human being.

Sarah Greene as Hecate and Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 5). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_305_0087

But more importantly, Ethan had the chance to kill his father.  He has only been talking about that all season, after all.

However, Ethan was unable to pull the trigger.  Instead, Malcolm stepped in to protect his surrogate son.  In other words, Ethan talked a good game, but refused to walk down a dark path from which there was no return.

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So, has the apocalypse been averted?  On Ethan’s end at least, the answer appears to be yes, as he has returned to the side of the light.  Now to just get the band back together and square off against Dracula, the ultimate Big Bad…


So, that’s it for No Beast So Fierce.  Tune in next week for the review and dissection of the seventh episode, titled Ebb Tide.

Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel!

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Penny Dreadful: Season 3, Episode 3 Recap and Review

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.

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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…

Like that a threesome involving Dorian and Lilly will be interesting, to say the least.

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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:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode opens with Ethan having a vision of Kaetenay, who is covered in blood.  Ethan awakens in a stable with Hecate, who tells him that she wants him to realize his true werewolf self.

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.


My Thoughts

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.)

Ethan and Vanessa 2

One thing I loved about this particular episode was…you guessed…more of my friend, Caliban, aka the poetry quoting monster!

Caliban has always been a fascinating character to me.  Actually, he won me over completely last season, when he quoted William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence.  Oh, that beautiful monster!

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 7). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_307_1030

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.

Caliban 1

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Christian Carmargo as Dr. Sweet and Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 2). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_302_5122

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?

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(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).

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Ethan is a werewolf, and we are (hopefully) going to find out just what he did in his previous life.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Penny Dreadful: Season 3 Episode 2 Recap and Review

Sometimes, things just go together.

Like peanut butter and jelly…

Macaroni and cheese…

Netflix and chill…

Jason Statham and well…anything…

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(Seriously, that man could be covered in tar, and I would still try to lick it off of him…yum.)

Eva Green and Patti Lupone

Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Frankenstein…

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Vanessa Ives and the Undead…

Yes, I just watched the second episode of this season’s Penny Dreadful last night, in case you can’t tell.

And saw some interesting combinations.  I am sure some of them, like Jekyll and Frankenstein, along with Eva Green and Patti Lupone, will become instant classics!

Of course, some combinations, such as Vanessa and supernatural creatures, were not unexpected.  But still, these combinations (like Jason Statham covered in tar), were fun, and I definitely want to see more of them.

So, without any further ado, here is my recap and review of the second episode of season 3 of Penny Dreadful, titled Predators Near and Far.

And of course:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with Lilly and Dorian Gray, who make their way into the underground sex scene.  There, they rescue a young woman named Justine, who is set to be sexually tortured by a group of older men.  Lilly and Dorian shoot the men, and take the young girl back to Dorian’s mansion.  When Justine awakens, Lilly promises her that they will seek revenge upon the men who abused her.

Victor speaks to Henry Jekyll about his desire to transform Lilly into the woman he thinks she is.  Henry tells Victor that he is employed by Bedlam, a mental asylum, and is experimenting on his most psychotic patients, in a hope that he can find a cure for their ailments.  Henry brings Victor back to the asylum, and demonstrates his “cure” on a deranged man accused of conspiring to murder the queen.  The cure appears to work, as the man becomes docile and no longer raving, and asks for a glass of water.

Malcolm and Kaetenay continue on their travels, heading to America in the hopes of helping Ethan.  Kaetenay reveals to Malcolm that Ethan supposedly killed his family, and he has let Ethan live as a punishment.  Kaetenay then smokes something and appears to Ethan in some sort of vision.  Ethan is angered by seeing the old man, warning him to keep his distance, as he is being returned to his father and wants to seek revenge against his father.

The full moon rises when Ethan is in a saloon along with the bounty hunters who are tasked with bringing him back to his father.  Ethan speaks to an elderly Apache woman who appears to have ties to Kaetenay.  Ethan tells the woman to leave the bar immediately.  Shortly after, Ethan transforms into a werewolf and murders everyone in the bar.  He also receives some assistance from Hecate, who tells him that she has missed him.

Vanessa begins her sessions Dr. Seward, and tells her entire story, which is recorded on audio.  Even Dr. Seward is visibly shaken after Vanessa finishes her story, and tells Vanessa to do one thing that would be unexpected of her, yet make her happy, and report on it next week.

After her session with Dr. Seward, Vanessa makes her way to the natural history museum, where she listens to one of Dr. Sweet’s lectures.  She leaves him a note inviting him to attend a performance of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea later that night.  Dr. Sweet accepts, and the two have a pleasant evening.  Vanessa also invites Dr. Sweet to have coffee with her, but her declines the invitation, and tells her that he will see her again soon.  Vanessa is then followed by Dracula’s minions on her way home.

Victor sits on a bench outside of Lilly’s mansion, lovelorn and heartsick.  Lilly speaks to him, telling him that she does care for him, but that he needs to stay out of her way, as what she is planning will be dangerous.

At the end of the episode, Renfield returns to Dracula’s lair to give the creature his intel on Vanessa.  Renfield then begs the vampire for blood, and Dracula obliges.  Dracula is then revealed to be Dr. Alexander Sweet.


My Thoughts

This week’s episode was an interesting one, for sure (well, duh.)  But it was interesting for quite a few reasons, and most of them don’t actually have much to do with “horror.”

First of all, this was not an action heavy episode (except for the end, which we will talk about in a bit.)  I view this episode as more of a “bridge building” episode, as opposed to one that would really advance the plot.  And there is nothing wrong with that, as some more was revealed about the characters (never anything wrong with that!)

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 7). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_307_1030

And speaking of characters, let’s talk about Dr. Jekyll for a minute.

While we are talking about “interesting”…

First of all, The Hulk er Jekyll has always been a fascinating character, at least to me.  We all have a dark side, after all.  Usually, we are supposed to keep that dark side hidden, and it is not acceptable to unleash that upon the rest of the world.  But there is no denying that dark side, and that side can just sometimes make an appearance, whether it is “acceptable” or not.

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In pretty much every depiction I ever seen of this character, he has been pretty…well…white.  Not that there is anything wrong with this, just putting this out on the table.  And the reason for his anger is never made clear, just that he has evil urges that he represses.  And we are all pretty familiar with what happens:  Jekyll hulks out into Mr. Hyde, goes on violent rampages and nothing good happens when Hyde is around.  This particular story seems to serve as a warning to all of us about our dark side, i.e. everyone has one, even the nicest guy, and when it gets unleashed…watch out, that’s what you get for having anger issues and not dealing with them.

Well, this is Penny Dreadful.  And Penny Dreadful likes to take the “traditional” and stand it on its head.  You can always put a twist on something, even something that is classic, like the story The Strange Tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

And the show has done this by depicting Dr. Jekyll as a man who is half Indian, in turn of the century London.  Go big or go home, right?

This “change” (after all, this is a work of fiction and not immutable) has actually paid off dividends, even though we are only two episodes into the season.

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First of all, variety is the spice of life.  Nothing wrong with vanilla as a flavor, but why not mix it up a little sometimes, and add some spice?  Even turn of the century London didn’t consist of all white folks, and modern day society sure doesn’t.  So seeing other flavors on any television show is never a bad thing.

But (and this a big but) the fact that we have some variety on the show is not the only reason why making Dr. Jekyll half Indian has worked so well.

Being a person of color is hard, even in “modern” times.  However, being a person of color today cannot possibly hold a candle to being a person of color in turn of the century London.  Even though Dr. Jekyll is half-white, he is seen as Indian by almost everyone.  To add insult to injury, he is also an outcast in India, and would probably be seen as an Untouchable, just like his mother, who had a child by a white man and then contracted leprosy, which she later died from.

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So, Dr. Jekyll is marginalized.  He may be even more marginalized than The Creature or even the ladies on the show, as he cannot really fit in anywhere.  He has no place among the white folks, and no place in India.  Jekyll is educated and intelligent, with much to offer.  However, the best he can do is to work with the “other Untouchables”, aka the mentally ill.  Even there, no one respects him, and he has to remind people to address him as “Dr”, a title he has rightfully earned.

And what happens to someone who is marginalized?

Well, I would be pretty angry if I was treated like that and had my options in life limited because my skin color wasn’t “right.”

And it’s pretty evident that Dr. Jekyll is angry.  I could hear it when he reminded that man of his proper title.  I could also hear it when he told Victor the story of his background, and how his father discarded him and his mother like a piece of trash.

In other words, Penny Dreadful‘s version of Dr. Jekyll does not have unexplained “evil urges.”  He is someone who has been kicked around by life, and legitimately has a chip on his shoulder.  And that chip on his shoulder will (probably) emerge as Mr. Hyde.  And I am sure that Mr. Hyde will somehow buck “tradition.”  And I can’t wait.

I also need to give a shout out to the visuals on this show.  The first two seasons impressed, and it looks like the third season is continuing the trend…

The opening was probably my favorite.  The red Japanese lanterns against that ominous backdrop…can you get more ominous than that?

I also loved the vision sequence, when Ethan receives an unwanted visit from Kaetenay.  The desert against the dark sky…talk about surreal!

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So, let’s talk about this ending…

While I enjoyed this episode, it was a bit ho-hum…

Well, until the ending, that is…

We have been teased about Dracula for going on three seasons now.  Last week we got a voice.  And this week, we can put a name to that scary voice.

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And the name is…Dr. Alexander Sweet?

I know that I made the statement that with a name like that, Dr. Sweet had to be either a vampire, or vampire bait, at the very least.

Christian Carmargo as Dr. Sweet and Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 2). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_302_5122

But, still this came as a bit of a surprise to me.  Revealed this early on in the season?  Kind of like going all the way on a second date, eh?

(As a side note, I feel a little better about my own previous dating life.  Can’t say I dated Dracula, but I am sure I at least hooked up with his familiar a time or too.  Poor Vanessa!)

So, now we know that Dr. Sweet (appears) to actually be the biggest Big Bad of them all.  So what happens now?

I can’t answer that question.  But it sure has gotten interesting.

How long will it take Vanessa to figure out that her new boo is the bloodsucker responsible for the death of her best friend, Mina?  Vanessa seems pretty smitten with the new doc, so I think this may take her a while.  So far, she doesn’t appear to have noticed the wannabe fan boys who have been stalking her as of late, but she’s not dumb either.  So there’s that.

Christian Carmargo as Dr. Sweet and Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 2). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_302_5057

And will anyone else, such as Dr. Seward, figure out what’s going on?  I am not sure that the good doctor entirely believes Vanessa’s story, but it looks like she may also be afraid not to believe it, either.  Not to mention that her secretary is now Dracula’s bitch…

in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode -). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_302

Speaking of which, we have Dracula.  The biggest Big Bad of them all, as stated before.  Has he been working in a natural history museum (makes a weird sort of sense if you think about it, actually) right there, under our noses the whole time?  How long has he had Vanessa in his hooks?  Why is he moving in on her now?  Who else will he either murder or turn into a creature of the night in order to get at Vanessa?

Like Dr, Jekyll, I am sure that the show will turn the character of Dracula on his fanged head.  And again, I can’t wait to see what they do with him.


Well, that’s it for Predators Near and Far.  Tune in next week for the review and dissection of the third episode, titled Good and Evil Braided Be.

Tune in next week…same bat time, same bat channel!

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Penny Dreadful: Season 3, Episode 1 Recap and Review

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.

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 7). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_307_1030

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:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

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.


My Thoughts

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again:

ermahgerd 1

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)?

werewolf 1

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…

hulk 1

No, not that Hulk!

I am talking about the introduction of the character of Dr. Jekyll.

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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.

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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.

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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???

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives and Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 2, episode 5). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_205_1509

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…

sparkly vampire 1

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…

Dracula 1

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!

in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode -). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_302

in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode -). – Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME – Photo ID: PennyDreadful_302


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!

batman and robin

 

 

 

The X Files Renewal: Episode 2 Recap and Review

Sometimes, you just need to get back to basics.

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Well, not that kind of basic.  To each his own, but I think pumpkin spice lattes are basically disgusting!

No, I mean to kick it old school…

Mulder and Scully 3

Yes, I am that old that I can remember when those phones were considered to be cutting edge technology.  Nice thing was, you couldn’t crack the screen.  Although they were kind of limited, in that you couldn’t take those cute selfies with them.  Nor could you download endless kitty pics with those…

No, I am talking about getting back to what works.  What’s familiar.  Sure, there may be new twists on it (even most dinosaurs have smart phones in this day and age), but it is still recognizable for what it is:  old skool.

old skool 1

And that is exactly what were treated to with the second episode of The X Files Renewal, titled Founder’s Mutation.  Sure, Scully may have cracked wise about our dependency on Google (guilty as charged, doc!) and Mulder may have updated his cell phone just a bit. And Scully’s wardrobe may have been missing the shoulder pads that screamed 1995 and proud.  But really, those details were the only ones that reminded me that it was not, in fact, 1995 (I did get a few flashbacks, though.  I confess:  my criminal record is not completely clean.  I must admit, I have committed more than a few crimes against fashion.  Ah, well.  the 1990’s happened to the best of us).

X Files 5

In other words, I got to travel back to the 1990’s.  And I didn’t even have to subject myself to ESPN footage of the Dallas Cowboys to do it!  And it was grand!

Dallas 2

So, without further ado, here is my recap and review of Founder’s Mutation, the second episode of The X Files Renewal.

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with a scientist named Dr. Sanjay, who works for a man named Augustus Goldman, entering his place of employment.  Dr. Sanjay attends a morning meeting and begins to suffer from extreme auditory distress.  He also sees a large flock of birds outside the window.  Sanjay them locks himself in a server room, where he downloads files on to a portable drive.  However, the sounds become so unbearable that Sanja scrawls something on his palm, and commits suicide by stabbing himself with a letter opener, as his horrified colleagues look on.

Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully then arrive at the scene.  Scully debunks the incident as a psychotic break, and questions why the agents have been called to investigate it.  Mulder wants to examine the hard drive, but is told by a man who presumable works for the Department of Defense that the property contains classified information that the agents cannot access.  However, Mulder takes Sanjay’s cell phone, and schedules a meeting with a man named Gupta, in the hopes that he can learn what led Sanjay to commit suicide.

Mulder meets with Gupta.  Gupta mistakenly believes that Mulder wants to pay him for sex.  Mulder learns that Sanjay was homosexual, but lived his life in the closet.  Mulder also learns from Gupta that Sanjay seemed distressed, and stated that his “children” were dying, even though he was a single man with no biological children.

The agents then investigate Sanjay’s apartment.  There, they find pictures of children with terrible genetic mutations.  Mulder also hears the same piercing sound that Sanjay heard before his death.

The next day, Mulder and Scully meet with their boss, Walter Skinner.  Skinner tells them that all files having to do with Dr. Sanjay are classified and off limits.  However, Mulder has made copies so that he can continue to investigate Sanjay’s death anyway.  Scully also performs an autopsy on Sanjay, discovering that the area where the scientist stabbed himself when he committed suicide is actually the area of the brain that processes auditory information.  Scully also notices that Sanjay has written the words “Founder’s Mutation” on his palm before his death.

Scully also reviews the surveillance footage from the day of Sanjay’s death, looking for clues.  Mulder confesses that he has heard sounds that no one else seems to be able to detect, which worries Scully.

Mulder and Scully discover that Dr. Augustus Goldman is a donor to the hospital where Scully is employed, and Scully arranges a meeting with him.  When they visit the hospital, Mulder and Scully also meet a frightened, pregnant young woman who tells them that Dr. Goldman wants to take her baby and perform experiments on it.  The young woman scurries away, however, when she sees the hospital staff members coming her way.

As they leave the hospital, Mulder theorizes that Goldman is involved in The Project and using unborn fetuses on eugenics experiments.  This leads Scully and Mulder to discuss their son, William.  Scully has a daydream where she and William experience a normal childhood, but the normal childhood is interrupted when it is discovered that William is actually a mutant.

Mulder and Scully pay a visit to Dr. Goldman’s clinic.  The clinic houses several, parent-less children who suffer from horrible genetic mutations.  Dr Goldman is defensive, and tells the agents that he is working in the interests of the children.  The agents also notice that the clinic houses a girl named Molly, who does not seem to suffer from any visible mutations. Mulder does some of his own research, and finds out that Mr. Goldman’s wife has been committed to a mental hospital for killing their unborn second child.  Scully and Mulder also find out that the frightened young woman from the hospital has died in a suspicious hit and run accident, and that her unborn fetus is missing.

The agents visit Mrs. Goldman, who tells them of her husband’s experiments on unborn children.  She tells of an incident involving her daughter, Molly, who fell in a pool but did not drown because she appeared to have the ability to breathe underwater.  Mrs. Goldman also tells Mulder and Scully that her second child, a son, is not dead.  She claims to have attempted to escape from her husband and his experiments, and given birth to her son after a nearly fatal car accident.  However, she does not know the whereabouts of her son.

Scully reviews the surveillance footage and deduces that the janitor seen in the footage is actually the son of Mr. and Mrs. and Goldman.  The agents pay a visit to the boy, named Kyle Gilliam, and his adoptive mother.  Kyle’s mother is protective at first and does not want to disclose any information to Mulder and Scully.  Mulder begins to hear the noises again, and notices that birds are gather in large groups on the lawn.  Scully finds Kyle in the barn, and points a gun at him, telling him to desist.  Kyle obeys, and agrees to go with the agents to see Dr. Goldman.  Kyle tells Mulder and Scully that he never meant to use his abilities to hurt anyone and that he is actually looking for his sister.

Mulder and Scully arrive with Kyle at Dr. Goldman’s clinic.  Dr. Goldman takes a sample of Kyle’s blood, and Kyle inquires about his sister.  Dr. Goldman brings out a young girl, but Kyle sees through the ruse and knows that the young girl is not his sister.  Kyle then finds Molly, and it becomes evident that Molly possesses telekinetic abilities.  The two free Molly from her confines, and attack their father, Dr. Goldman, causing him to suffer from a massive hemorrhage.  Kyle and Molly then escape from the clinic, and quickly disappear.

The episode ends with Mulder also daydreaming about his son William, the son who he claimed that he did not think about earlier in the episode.  Mulder also daydreams about a normal childhood for William, but that childhood is again interrupted by the fear that William suffers from some kind of mutation.


My Thoughts

Well, this episode made me shiver…

And not just because I am married to the Penguin who insists on keeping our house at temperatures that have earned it the nickname “Arctic Zone.”

penguin 1

No, this was a good shiver.  A happy shiver…

THE X-FILES: L-R: David Duchovny, guest star Dough Savant and guest star Jonathan Whitesell in the "Founder's Mutation season premiere, part two, episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

This episode was nostalgic.  I felt like I had come back to Grandma’s house for dinner after being away many years, and that she had remembered exactly what I like and how I like it.  And she was there to greet me with a big hug.

And this episode was chock-full of what I liked.  Grandma Chris Carter certainly has a good memory!

We had one of my favorite dishes, aka Mulder.  Mulder with his sense of humor that is so dry that it makes the Sahara Desert seem like Lake Michigan.  Mulder and his wild theories that refuse to be tamed by the rational mind known as Scully.  Mulder minus the scruff of the opening episode, even (don’t worry Mulder, I would still love you even if that beard grew out to ZZ Top length).

THE X-FILES: L-R: David Duchovny and Mitch Pileggi. The next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES debuts with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, Jan. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT), following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, and continuing with its time period premiere on Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

And Scully performing an autopsy on her subject, and speaking her medical terms….talk about some shiver material right there!  Pure nostalgia at its finest!

X Files renewal 13

We were even treated to a dose of Skinner, telling Mulder and Scully that there was no way they would have access to any relevant info they would need to move forward an inch in this case, and oh by the way you did have the presence of mind to make copies of those top secret files, right, Mulder?  In other words, Skinner’s way of saying, “Oh, you kids!  Here’s the keys to my car, and try not to wake me up when you get back in, ok?”

The X-Files (Fox) season 9 Shown: Mitch Pileggi (as Assistant Director Walter Skinner)

The story line to Founder’s Mutation was pure 1995.  Classic.  It contained everything that made the series work in 1990’s, but still somehow stayed relevant to 2016.

One of the things that this episode contained was gore.  True, this is a network television show, but the ick factor in this episode was surprisingly high for prime time.  The episode even opened up with the ick factor…how do you get ickier than a close-up of a bloodshot eyeball?  Well, have your guy commit suicide in a gruesome manner about 30 seconds after showing the close-up of the bloodshot eyeball.   After all, you gotta set the tone, right?  And set it early on, too.

THE X-FILES: L-R: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the "Founder's Mutation season premiere, part two, episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

This episode not only contained ick and gore.  It also contained just overall freakish-ness.  For example, the kids. The X Files is no stranger to freaky kids.  Even Mulder and Scully conceived one (more on this in a minute).  But these kids…wow!  I felt a mixture of horror and sadness when I saw them, and I even felt some pity.  They reminded me a bit of Frankenstein’s monster:  they did not ask to be put on this Earth, but have to cope with their afflictions, and learn to survive in a world that is not ready for them, and likely never will be.

MaryShelley2

I also loved the nod that this episode gave to old school horror.

For example, the birds that appeared when those super-sonic noises were made…

sparrows

Well, they were also positively Hitchockian…I am sure the man would have been proud!

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And kids with paranormal powers.  Nope, definitely something I have not seen before…

Carrie 2

But, as always, The X Files managed to throw us a curve ball, with this episode.

And that curve ball happens to go by the name of William.

William 1

Well, I don’t want to think that he looks like that, actually.  After all, someone related to Mulder is still going to be ultra-cute, right?  Even if he does have that pesky alien DNA…

The discussion of William was a curve ball indeed, and a touching curve ball at that.  If you didn’t tear up at least a little at those daydreams (before alien William interrupted, at least), that  you have ice instead of blood running in your veins.  And you probably kick puppies, too!

Scully and William 1

And how could you not melt, when Mulder, aka Mr. I Don’t Give a Crap Oh Wait I Really Do You Can Totally See Through My Hardened Exterior, had his little daydream sequence, where he snuggled on the couch with William (who adorably mispronounced the word “monolith,” aww) and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  And built a model rocket with his son.  It was enough to melt even those of us living in the Arctic Zone, I tell you!

X Files renewal 14

Of course, I am sure this will make a nice arc into William’s story, and what exactly has happened to him over the years (I hope, at any rate), along with adding another layer of complexity to Mulder and Scully’s characters and their relationship.  So bravo, Mr. Carter!  You grossed me out a bit, but you also made me tear up!  But then again, you are the genius!

ugly cry


 

So that’s it for Founder’s Mutation!  Join me next week for the recap and dissection of the third episode of The X Files Renewal, Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

Tune in next week…same bat time, same bat channel!

batman and robin

 

My Top 10 Scariest Stephen King Books

So, it’s that time of year again…

Yes, Halloween is drawing upon us…

The season for scary stuff!

Like watching scary movies…Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers, here we come!

Oh, and don’t forget watching NFL football, especially Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts!  And I am not talking about the good kind of scary here, unfortunately…

Oakland Raiders v Indianapolis Colts

But there is a good remedy for when your football team is so embarrassing that the local Fox syndicate switches from the Colts game to the game played by the other not scary good team (the Washington Redskins, as a matter of fact)…

Yes, a little therapy from The Master!

stephen-king-cover-ftr

Football team got ya down?  Go read some Stephen King, and be reminded as to what is really scary!  Suddenly, two interceptions thrown by your darling quarterback (sorry Andrew, you know I still got love for ya) seems pretty tame!

Yes, Stephen King is scary.

Well, his writing, at any rate.  He doesn’t look too threatening in that picture, but one never knows.

Stephen King is many things, and I have spent an incredible amount of time on this blog (who knew) addressing those things.  Most importantly, he is a great writer.  He has the ability to even appeal to the non-horror fan (well, the one who will give him a chance, anyway).  He creates characters that readers get attached to (and kills them off and seems almost gleeful about it, but I digress).  He is also the Everyman, giving the reader realistic scenarios, and then casually placing in the horror and/or fantastical element, making the story that much more believable.

But, I would like to get back to fundamentals for a moment, if I may.  Stephen King writes scary stories.  This may sound like Captain Obvious tooting his horn, but the man is able to frighten folks.  And frighten folks badly.  It could be the fact that seemingly “good” characters often go “bad”, at the drop of a hat.  Or maybe it’s the element of realism that makes it seem a certain room in a hotel really could be bad news.  Or maybe because he makes great villains, including evil clowns, that haunt the dreams of many a 90’s kid.

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Whatever the reason, people find Stephen King books frightening.  And many enjoy being frightened.  Some people skydive (eek).  Some watch Indianapolis Colts football (eeek, maybe I should skydive instead).  Some people enjoy drag racing.

And then there are the stalwart, the steadfast, the bold (you know, like me?)…we read Stephen King for our fear fix!  After all, gotta get the good old adrenaline rush somehow, right?

And a King book will give you that and then some!  In fact, many King books may just scare you into a change of pants!

With that being said, here is my list of the top 10 scariest books of all time.  Please note, this is my opinion only, and not to be taken as gospel…

Oh, and as always:

Homer spoiler


 

10)  Rose Madder

As I have stated before, one of King’s strengths as a writer of horror is the human horror.  Sometimes (well actually, a lot of times), men are beasts to their fellow man…

And woman.

The villain in the book Rose Madder is human.  Well, in appearance at least.  However, on the inside, Norman Daniels does not pass for human.  Not even remotely.

Norman Daniels savagely abuses his wife Rosie, for the nearly 14 years of their marriage.  To boot, he is racist.  And uses his position as a police officer to grossly abuse his power and literally get away with murder.  It is only a mere drop of blood on the sheets that awakens Rosie one morning, when she runs away from her hellhole of a marriage and attempts to begin a new life, free of the horrific abuse.  But, as can be expected, Norman does not take Rosie’s flight lightly, and leaves behind a trail of bodies in his quest for revenge and his hunt for Rosie.  It takes a magical painting set in the world of our friendly neighborhood gunslinger for Norman’s trail of blood to be halted.  Even then, the death count is enormous, and Rosie is barely able to cope with the events.

Roland 10

There is a line in the book that where Rosie thinks that after surviving her horror of a marriage to Norman, anything else is pretty cut rate.  As a survivor of an abusive marriage, I would have to agree with that assessment.  When you are married to an abuser, you don’t need to Stephen King or scary movies to get your fear fix.  An argument with your spouse will give you that fix in spades.

norman daniels


 

9)  From a Buick 8

The unknown is scary.  HP Lovecraft played upon on our fears of the great beyond, with stories such as The Colour Out of Space and The Dunwich Horror.

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Stephen King has cited HP Lovecraft as an enormous influence.  This is evident in his novel From a Buick 8, which tells the story of a mysterious vehicle that becomes the charge of a police department in a small town in Pennsylvania.

It quickly becomes evident to one of the officers of that police department that the “vehicle” is not actually a vehicle at all, but rather an object from another dimension beyond human understanding.  The vehicle becomes the center of many odd occurrences, and the police department struggles to do damage control.  However, the vehicle is responsible for the disappearance of at least one person and the death of the department’s mascot, a dog named Mr. Dillon.  There is even a confrontation of sorts with one of the creatures from the unknown dimension.  The images King paints are disturbing, especially when he references the fact that our world may be as frightening or even more frightening to those creatures as their world is to us.

What is perhaps most disturbing about this novel is the fact that the “vehicle” very nearly traps a young man who is the son of a fallen police officer, and sees the “vehicle” as his one remaining connection to his father.  The young man is saved by timely intervention from another officer, but barely.  Sometimes, a person with an obsession is the most frightening of all.

From_a_Buick_8_by_nosprings


8)  Revival

Revival is another novel that deals with our fear of the unknown.  More specifically, Revival deals with the last of the unknown frontiers:  death, and what may happen once we die.

Revival is also a morality play, much like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  If we have the means to find out what happens after death, should we?  And what will be the consequences if we intervene in matters that we (probably) have no business intervening in?

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The consequences for Jamie Morton and his friend Charles Jacobs are not pretty.  Jamie Morton first met Charles when he was a child, and Charles was the pastor in his rural hometown.  However, tragedy strikes Charles Jacobs, and he is forced to leave town after a disastrous sermon that comes to be known as “The Terrible Sermon.”  The experience shakes Jamie’s religious beliefs to the core, and Jamie is never quite the same afterwards.

Charles is also shaken to the core by this tragedy, and quickly becomes a man obsessed.  Charles discovers what he refers to as “the secret electricity”, and believes that this mysterious force will allow him to find out what happens after death.  Jamie refers to Charles as his “fifth business” throughout the book, and encounters him by chance when he is an adult.  Jamie is addicted to heroin, and Charles is able to use his “secret electricity” to cure Jamie of his addiction.  Jamie feels that he owes Charles a debt, and agrees to help him conduct what turns out to be his final experiment: using the “secret electricity” to find out what happens when we die.

And it turns out that sometimes ignorance is bliss.  As stated before, the consequences are not pretty for Jamie and Charles, and Jamie’s “cure” for his heroin addiction has come at an enormous price.  The ending is disturbing, reinforcing the belief that at least sometimes, not knowing is the best option of all.

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7) Desperation / The Regulators

Yes, I know that this entry actually consists of two books.  However, I am considering one work for my purposes, since both books mirror each other, with one being written by Stephen King, and the other being a posthumous script from the poor, beleaguered Richard Bachman, who died an untimely death due to cancer of the pseudonym.

Stephen-King-Sons-of-Anarchy

Both Desperation and The Regulators are also tied together by one of King’s uber-villains, Tak.  Tak may not be as creepy as Randall Flagg or Pennywise the Clown (at least to some), but he is able to hold his own in the King universe.  Tak is frightening because he is able to drain people almost like human batteries (mostly), and discards them in the same manner.  However, there is one human that Tak cannot drain, and that is Seth Garin (the autistic boy in The Regulators).  What Tak does to Seth is perhaps even more frightening:  he uses Seth body to manipulate his surroundings, causing the suicide of Seth’s uncle, exploiting Seth’s aunt and killing many people in Seth’s neighborhood.  Ultimately, Tak is beaten, but at the cost of Seth’s life and many others.

Desperation and The Regulators are not only frightening because of the entity Tak, but also because they deal with a theme that many of us can relate to:  isolation.  Desperation begins with a couple who becomes stranded in a small, seemingly abandoned desert town after they experience vehicle trouble.  In The Regulators, Seth and his aunt are isolated due to Seth’s handicap and Tak’s effort to alienate Seth’s family from those who might help them.  Isolation is a big theme in many King books, and once again it adds that element of realism to the story to make it that much more frightening.

Tak_Likes_TV_by_bluefreak


 

6)  The Stand

It is no secret that horror and fantasy are closely related.  In fact, one could almost say that horror is fantasy taken to the next, darker step.  From the Orcs in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, to the witches in SA Hunt’s Malus Domestica, to the Others in the Game of Thrones series, many works that are considered to be fantasy and not horror certainly contain some frightening elements.

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The Stand is another book that toes the line between dark fantasy and horror.  On one hand, there are reluctant heroes (Larry, Stu and Nick).  But on the other hand, there is an evil wizard figure (Randall Flagg).  The evil wizard tends to be a common archetype in fantasy stories (Sauron is a good example).  But Flagg is something beyond the ordinary evil wizard (if such a thing exists).  Flagg invades the dreams of the survivors of a great plague that has wiped out most of Earth’s population.  Frannie Goldsmith is one of those survivors.  Frannie is pregnant, and dreams of being chased by The Dark Man (Flagg), who has a coat hanger in his hand.  Nick Andros and Tom Cullen, two other survivors who are a deaf-mute man and mildly mentally handicapped man respectively, encounter Flagg’s presence when they seek shelter from a tornado that may have been sent by Flagg to dispose of them.  Mother Abagail, who is Flagg’s counterpart on the side of the White, encounters Flagg when she is gathering food for her charges.  Flagg has transformed to a weasel, the one creature that frightens the old woman.  Mother Abagail is nearly beaten by Flagg, but is still able to best him the end.

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The Stand is one of King’s best books, blending both elements of fantasy and horror to make it a truly frightening, yet fantastical read.

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5)  Black House

Black House is another novel (co-written by Peter Straub) that may be considered part of the fantasy genre, along with its predecessor, The Talisman.  However, it is Black House (much like The Stand) that toes the line between fantasy and horror.

morgan sloat

One of the reasons Black House is so frightening is because it contains a human villain that is unfortunately all too realistic.  There is a supernatural villain, a creature known as Mr. Munshun, and King’s ultimate uber-villain, the Crimson King, is also alluded to in the book.  However, the human villain, Charles Burnside, is another person that is human in appearance only.  Charles Burnside appears to be a senile man suffering from the indignities of dementia and living out his final days in peace in an unsuspecting nursing home.  However, the reader learns that Burnside is actually a serial killer who targets children.  Burnside has made a grisly contract with Mr. Munshun and the Crimson King:  he allows Mr. Munshun to possess his body so that he may murder children, in exchange for seeking out children PSI abilities who Munshan and the Crimson King can use for their evil purposes.  Charles Burnside and Mr. Munshun are eventually defeated, but not before Burnside has murdered several children and left a small town nearly paralyzed in fear.

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Charles Burnside is another one of King’s chilling examples of man’s inhumanity to man.

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4)  ‘Salem’s Lot

If I mentioned ‘Salem’s Lot to you, and you responded with “vampire story”, you would be correct…

But, wait…there’s more!

‘Salem’s Lot is indeed a book about vampires.  And those vampires are scary.  The head vampire is killed but his TEETH are still alive and bit Ben Mears…so the vampires in this book are indeed gruesome.

salem's lot

But, like most really everything single thing he has ever written   of King’s work, ‘Salem’s Lot is much more than a vampire story.  Much, much more, in fact.

‘Salem’s Lot is a story about a small town, and how the small town succumbs to the vampire plague.  There is clinical language and some medical terms included when the “patients” are diagnosed, and that just adds another level of gruesomeness to what is already frightening.  Also, the description of how quickly the people in the town are either transformed to vampires or killed in some awful manner is quite disturbing, given how attached the reader gets to these characters and the town itself.

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However, ‘Salem’s Lot is also a haunted story.  Most of the action centers around the Marsten House, which is the local haunted house.  We learn some of the history of the house through Ben Mears, who believes he saw the ghost of the former owner as a child.  The house was a site for many terrible deeds that involved children, and King is able to weave this seamlessly into the vampire tale, thus adding an extra dimension of terror to an already scary story.

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Note:  Nowhere is it mentioned in ‘Salem’s Lot that vampires sparkle!

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3) The Shining

The Shining is another King work where there is more than meets the eye.  Perhaps the most famous, or perhaps infamous (thank you, Stanley Kubrik), of all King’s work.  On the surface, the story is another haunted house story (well, haunted hotel actually).  The ghosts wreak havoc on the Torrance family, and there are some truly scary moments involving the supernatural aspect of the story (the blood from the walls, the dead woman in the bathtub and a ghostly New’s Year Eve party all come to mind, along with several others).

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However, what many people may fail to realize is that The Shining is also frightening because it tells the story of the disintegration of the family unit.  Humans are social animals, and to most of us, the family is the most important unit of all.  The Torrance family feels the same.  Danny loves his parents, even they (especially his father, Jack) have failed him on many occasions.  Wendy and Jack Torrance love Danny, and each other as well.  Jack wants to do nothing more to provide for his family, which is why he takes a job that is less than ideal, given his education and his addiction to alcohol.  But that family unit slowly begins to dissolve even at the beginning of the story.  However, we are led to believe that maybe there is hope for this family, as they make an effort to draw together and achieve a fresh start.  Tragically, this is not the case, as Jack ultimately succumbs to his demons, and Wendy and Danny barely escape with their lives.

Again, Stephen King is a master at including that element of realism in his stories, making them that much more believable and terrifying.

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2)  It

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Obviously, John F. Kennedy did not ever encounter Pennywise the Clown

We all have fears.  When you are an adult, they may be more abstract, such as fear of failure, financial worries, fear of divorce and so forth.  But children’s fears are pretty concrete:  most fear things such as movie monsters, vampires, spiders and so forth.  So what if there was a monster out there that could take the form of whatever a child feared most, and literally scare them to death?  And maybe this monster needs to only be visible to kids (since adult fears are too abstract to capitalize on) and live under the sewers, where It can quietly do its dirty work?

pennywise

Enter Pennywise the Clown!

And yes, Pennywise the Clown makes the novel It terrifying.  He is a clown that lives under the sewers…first strike.  He can take on the form of ANYTHING that one fears…strike two.  And Pennywise is an extra dimensional monster…I know, not really giving that clown a good character reference, am I?

However, as frightening as Pennywise is (which is at a level 19, at least), there are so many other aspects to this book that nearly beat out the clown that lives in the sewers.  It deals with spousal abuse, child abuse and bullying.  The Losers Club spends most of that terrible summer in a lot of danger, but much of that danger is NOT supernatural.  The children face bullying from the local town bully, and must constantly watch their backs.  The adults in town do not care about either the danger under the sewers (even though most can’t see it, nearly everyone is aware of its presence).  Nor do the adults care about the bullies, even though they are as aware of the bullies as they are of the monster under the sewers.  The lone female Loser, Beverly Marsh, is being abused by her father, and the abuse is becoming increasingly sexual in nature.  Other children are abused or neglected.  It seems that no one is safe from the town of Derry, and if one is not killed by Pennywise, his/her parent or spouse will step in and do the job instead.

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Childhood is hell.  There is no other way to put it.  And It capitalizes on that concept, showing us just how much more hellish it is for some than others.

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And now, for what I believe to be the scariest Stephen King book of all time…

drum-roll-please


Pet Sematary

Yes, Pet Sematary has made the top of the list, and I consider it to be King’s scariest book of all time for a multitude of reasons.  So let’s talk about those reasons.

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First of all, the concept of Pet Sematary is really scary.  An ancient Native American burial ground, poisoned by the spirit of a Wendigo that has the ability to re-animate dead animals that come back as zombies, which teaches kids that “sometimes dead is better.”  Can anything get scarier than that?  I have read a lot of stories about the Wendigo too. and the Wendigo is one of the creepiest entities I have ever come across.  So, yes, very disturbing right there…

Pet Sematary 2

But the burial ground is not only for animals.  No, the burial ground can be used for humans too, so yay?

Well, not really.  When humans are buried at the site, they do not come back right either.  And the problems are way more serious than a nasty smell or the need to hunt more rodents than usual.  The Wendigo is able to possess the body of the human, and render its subject with knowledge that he/she should not have.  And this knowledge is not pleasant.  Most of the knowledge is of the hateful variety: affairs and other dastardly deeds that were better off to remain secret.  The Wendigo is not benevolent, and has malice towards the living.

Stephen King's Pet Sematary (1985)

However, to me, the scariest thing about Pet Sematary is that I relate to Louis Creed.  The only evil in the book is the Wendigo spirit.  Gage Creed is not evil, he is the victim of a terrible tragedy, in both life and death.  Jud Crandall is not evil, he is a kind man who was only trying to help his friend.  Rachel Creed is not evil, she is only a protective mother who has an (understandable) fear of death.  Church the cat is not even evil, he is simply a beloved pet who also became an unfortunate victim of circumstances.

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Most of all, Louis Creed is not evil.  He is a loving father who (again, understandably) became mad with grief, and was willing to do anything to bring his son back and make his family whole again.  He believes that he has found a way to do that, and that he can also use science to combat any problems.  Sadly, he is proven horribly wrong, condemning himself and his family to an eternity of damnation.  But if I were Lewis, and placed in his tragic situation, who is to say that I would not do the same thing?  I am close to someone who has lost a child, and the pain is unbearable.  You will do anything to stop it, even if it is something that may have dire consequences later on down the line.

So if I knew there was a possibility that I could bring back a deceased loved one, who is to say that I wouldn’t?  I would be thinking about my loved one, not about any consequences.  And that is frightening to me:  to be that mad with grief that I would be willing to ignore Nature, and get involved with matters that I really have no business being involved with.  And grief is frightening in that way:  the pain blinds us, so we cannot see what is in front of us that may actually be worse than the grief.

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Ghosts are scary…

Vampires are scary…

Haunted hotels are scary…

Heck, Indianapolis Colts football is scary!

But what is the scariest thing of all?

That’s right, someone who has never experienced the awesomeness that is a Stephen King book!

Why should Christmas get all the fun?  It is also allowable to give gifts on Halloween, so do your part, and give someone who has never had this experience the greatest Halloween gift of all:  a Stephen King book!

Happy reading!

RoaldDahl

Penny Dreadful Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 10

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of the fantastic adult sundae bar, otherwise known as Penny Dreadful!

Well, we are now at the end of the line of the sundae, so we can’t make another visit for quite sometime…sniff…boohoo…

And what a trip it was this season.  So many flavors and toppings to chose from, and the final product was (almost) too good to eat!  But I partook anyway, and I have no regrets about doing so, nor do I even really have a sugar hangover…it really was that good!

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With that being said, here is my recap and review of the final episode of Penny Dreadful, season 2!

 


Synopsis

The episode begins where the prior episode left off.  Vanessa is trapped in Evelyn Poole’s room full of dolls, and Malcolm and Victor are trapped in a room and are tormented with apparitions.  Malcolm is tormented by apparitions of his dead children and wife, and Victor is tormented by apparitions of Proteus, Caliban and Lily.  The doll continues to speak to Vanessa.

The doll tells Vanessa it is the voice of Lucifer and tries to tempt her.  It sends her visions of her utmost desire, which happens to be of a future with Ethan.  Vanessa and Ethan are shown to have two children and to be wildly in love with each other.  The voice in the doll promises Vanessa a normal life, and safety for her friends, if she promises her soul to Lucifer.  Vanessa leans in to kiss the doll, but backs away at the last moment.  Vanessa then begins to speak to the doll in Latin, and a battle ensues.  Vanessa wins and vanquishes the dark spirit from the doll, destroying it.  A scorpion crawls from the doll and melds itself to Vanessa.  Evelyn then begins to age rapidly.

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The enchantment on Victor and Malcolm is then broken, and they are released from the room entrapping them.  Ethan is still in his werewolf form but is also released.  Ethan then kills Evelyn, beheading her.  The werewolf seems to recognize Vanessa when she calls to it, but Ethan runs away, presumably with guilt over killing Sembene.

Vanessa, Victor, Ferdinand and Malcolm escape from the mansion.  Vanessa informs the group that Ethan is safe, but does not elaborate.  Hecate is the only witch to survive the confrontation, and also leaves the mansion, but sets fire to it before she leaves.

Vanessa returns to the mansion with Malcolm, who is heartbroken over the death of Sembene.  Vanessa consoles him, and Malcolm tells Vanessa that he will return to Africa to bury and pay respects to his long-time friend.  Malcolm then boards a ship, presumably en-route to Africa.

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Victor returns to his mansion and finds Lily gone.  He deduces that Lily is with Dorian Gray, and pays a visit to Dorian.  Lily then torments Victor with the knowledge that she has always known how she was created, and has been waiting to strike all this time.  Dorian also torments Victor.  Victor shoots his gun at Lily and Victor, but this does nothing as the two are immortal.  Lilly states that they will let Victor live, so that that Victor will have to come to terms with what he has done, and how he has now created a race of super humans.  The two continue to dance, in a trail of blood.  Victor returns home, and shoots a massive dose of heroin into his body.

Ethan walks into the office of Inspector Rusk, and immediately confesses to the Mariner’s Inn Massacre.  Ethan requests a quick hanging, but Rusk tells him that he will be extradited back to America.  Ethan and Rusk then board a ship, and Rusk locks Ethan in a cage.

Ethan Chandler 2

Caliban is locked in a cage, and receives a visit from Mr. Putney and his wife.  Putney and his wife offer him money if he will agree to their terms and allow them to display him in their freak show, but Caliban breaks out of the cage and kills Mr. and Mrs. Putney.  Caliban then escapes, leaving Lavinia alone with the bodies of her parents.

Vanessa then pays a visit to the soup kitchen and encounters Caliban.  Caliban tells Vanessa that he is going away, as he has committed terrible deeds.  Caliban then tries to convince Vanessa to come with him, but Vanessa tells him that she cannot, as she is shrouded in darkness and not good for anyone.  Both begin to weep, and Vanessa kisses Caliban goodbye, telling him that he is the best man she knows.  Caliban then sets sail on a ship, for parts unknown.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives and Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 2, episode 5). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_205_1509

The episode ends with Vanessa extinguishing every light in Malcolm’s mansion.  Vanessa then finds the cross in her bedroom, and tosses it into the fire, watching it burn.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 1, episode 7). - Photo:  Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID:  PennyDreadful_107_1048


 

My Thoughts

Ermahgerd, Perney Deardful!

Well, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but its not too far off from the truth.  So much to love about this episode.  And so much action.  And so many tear…I don’t know where to start, but here goes nothing!

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One of the things that struck me about this episode was that the “action” (the rescue of Malcolm and Victor and the defeat of this season’s “big bad”) was over relatively quickly.  And the defeat of the “big bad” and the rescue of our heroes had a rushed feel, almost as if it were an after-thought.  And I absolutely loved this, because it took the focus back to some pivotal character development, and also allowed for a ton of “feelsie” moments.

Oh, and the feelsie moments…too many of them to count this episode!

As always, my boy Caliban was directly involved in a couple of those feelsie moments.  Yeah, real shocker…our resident poetry quoting monster was responsible for some feelsies…you don’t say!

I will admit, I think I lost it when Vanessa kisses Caliban, and tells him that he is the best man she has ever met.  And both were weeping.  Caliban is actually one character (ironically, given how he has been responsible for so many feelsies this season) that does not show much emotion.  But he was allowed to let loose with the waterworks on this episode, and it was one of the most beautiful, cathartic moments moments of the entire season, and perhaps the entire series.  My heart was ripped wide open, so good job, guys!

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Caliban’s escape and destruction of his enemies (the wanna-be freak show owning folks aka the Putney’s) was also one of the high points of this episode.  This was another part where Caliban showed a little more emotion than he normally would:  righteous anger.  What kind of monster locks up another living being with the intent of making money from making that being unwilling be part of his/her sick freak show?

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And for the record, I do not believe for one moment that Caliban was showing mercy to Lavinia by letting her live.  In fact, I believe he was showing her the exact opposite:  cruelty.  And deservedly so, as she helped her parents in their deception of poor Caliban, and led him on like no one’s business.  Lavinia (who is blind) being left alone with the bodies of her parents is cruel and unusual punishment.  Sheer torture.  But not undeserved…bitch!

And the metaphors and symbols.  I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss those, since this episode was crammed full of them.  For instance, the sailing ships.  These were a clear symbol of the new journeys that our favorite characters will now undergo, and the changes that will (probably) take place in the show.  I think the Scooby gang has fractured, at least temporarily, and that everyone is one their own for now.  So what will happen?  Will Ethan have some more adventures and maybe run into some more of his own kind, aka other werewolves, in his native New Mexico?  Will Malcolm travel to Africa and run afoul of dark magic (again)?  And poor Vanessa…she defeated Lucifer himself, but is she due to encounter someone (or something) even darker that she cannot defeat, especially now that she no longer has the rest of the Scooby gang to back her up?  Only time (aka Season 3) will tell, but the speculation is fascinating!

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Then there is the matter of Dorian and Lilly.  The white clothes they were wearing, along with the blood (such a beautifully done scene) lead me to believe that we have a new potential story line:  a race of “super-beings” has now come into existence, and could cause trouble for a few folks, especially Victor Frankenstein.  Victor, try as he might, cannot inject his troubles away, at least in this instance.  Even “Lily” means re-birth, and I think we have witnessed the full re-birth and transformation.  She is Brona no longer.  She has become the creature known as Lily, and has teamed with Dorian Gray.  In other words, there will be hell to pay!

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Last but not least, there is also the matter of Vanessa.  While this show focused on all the main characters, Vanessa was still the focal point of the episode.  As I have stated before, this show is, and always will be, Vanessa’s show.  Last night was no exception.  We start off with Vanessa, and we end with Vanessa.  The scenes with Vanessa turning off all of the lights in the mansion were simply brilliant.  I believe that we witnessed a major turning point in Vanessa’s character.  She may have defeated the Devil himself, but at what cost?  And who owns her now?  After all, a scorpion made its new home underneath her skin, for goodness sakes!  And it looks like Vanessa has forsaken her religion, which meant everything to her in the beginning (well, the beginning of the series, at least).  But the season concluded with Vanessa throwing the cross, which she always held near and dear, into the fire and watching it burn.  Other than her scene with Caliban, this had to be the most heartbreaking scene in the episode.  Vanessa did everything she could to hold on to her faith, even when the going got rough.  It may have even helped her defeat Lucifer himself.  But obviously, something happened in that encounter, and Vanessa has now forsaken her God.  Does this mean that she is on a path of darkness?  Has she become known in other circles (and probably evil circles, at that)?  Was the vision of her and Ethan simply a trick (another beautifully done scene.  And probably not coincidentally, everyone in that scene was also wearing white)?  Or is this a possible future, if Vanessa continues on the right path (even though the conclusion implied that she is not on that path)?  Again, only time (aka Season 3) will tell, and now we only have speculation, and wild fan theories to boot.

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So ladies and germs…that is a wrap, my friends!  Our trip to the sundae bar is now complete, and we don’t get to back for a little while, so I hoped you enjoyed it as much as I did!  But never fear, there is always next season!  And in the meantime, who’s to say we can’t torture ourselves with expectation, and run up some wild theories about our favorite gang of literary Avengers, aka the show Penny Dreadful?  So see you later folks…I don’t say good-bye, because we will meet again!

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Penny Dreadful Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 9

Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of the adult sundae bar, aka the show Penny Dreadful!

Now, we are getting towards the end of the line of the line on the sundae where we must go to the table and finish the ice cream, but that doesn’t mean the selection still isn’t good, and that there are not interesting concoctions to be had.  Which is actually what season 2, episode 9 was: an interesting concoction that was fun to sample!

sundae 1

With that being said, here is my review and analysis of Penny Dreadful, season 2, episode 9!

And, as always:

Homer spoiler

 


Synopsis

The episode begins with Roper paying a visit to Vanessa and Ethan at the cottage in the moores.  Roper shows the damage that Ethan has done to his face to Vanessa, and a scuffle ensues.  Roper is stabbed to death by Ethan.  Ethan and Vanessa then bury him the next morning, with Ethan stating that “it was either him or us.”  Victor Frankenstein, then appears at the cottage, and tells Ethan and Vanessa that they must return to London, as Malcolm is in trouble.

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Malcolm remains in Evelyn Poole’s home, and is driven mad by visions of his late wife and children.

Ethan and Vanessa return to Malcolm’s mansion, where Inspector Rusk is waiting for Ethan.  Inspector Rusk tells Ethan that he knows his real name:  Ethan Lawrence Talbot.  Inspector Rusk also informs Ethan that he will soon have access to his military records, and that he is looking to arrest Ethan as soon as possible.  Inspector Rusk then leaves the mansion, promising that he will return soon.

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Ethan then meets with the others in the mansion.  Ferdinand Lyle is among them, and he has confessed his duplicity to Vanessa and Victor.  Ferdinand states that he will be willing to suffer the consequences of his duplicity, and that he is now willing to fight against Evelyn Poole and help rescue Malcolm.

Vanessa wants to go rescue Malcolm right way, but Sembene and Ethan advise her against taking any action.  Sembene suggests a raid the following day, as the witches are more powerful at night.

Victor confesses his drug addiction to Vanessa.  Vanessa offers him compassion, telling him that he will soon find true love.

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Sembene encourages Ethan to tell Vanessa of his true nature, so that she may try to help him.  Ethan says that he thinks Vanessa knows almost everything anyway, but that he is hesitant to put her in danger.  Sembene tells Ethan that in his past life, he was slave trader, but he has found acceptance among Vanessa, Malcolm and now Ethan.  Sembene then thanks Ethan for his friendship, and reminds Ethan that the moon will be full that night.

Ethan returns to his room, where Hecate is waiting for him.  Hecate tries to draw Ethan to her side, stating that he is meant to use his wolf nature in collaboration with her own powers.  Ethan refuses her offer, and Hecate then kisses him, and disappears from the room via a mirror.

Vanessa decides to rescue Malcolm on her own, and leaves without her friends.  Ethan, Victor and Sembene then follow her to Mrs. Poole’s mansion.  Sembene again reminds Ethan of the full moon, but Ethan states that he will rescue Vanessa anyway, wolf or no wolf.  Ethan tells the group to shoot anyone who they don’t recognize.

Hecate and Evelyn torment Vanessa once she shows up at the mansion.  Evelyn tells Vanessa that Malcolm is going made.  Vanessa demands to be taken to Malcolm, but Evelyn tells her that she must meet her Master first.  Evelyn also reminds Vanessa that this being is Vanessa’s master as well.  Vanessa is brought into the room that contains the doll in her likeness.  The doll speaks, telling Vanessa that she is a murderer.

Caliban is working at the wax museum.  He speaks to Putney’s blind daughter, Lavinia.  Lavinia is curious about the new exhibit that her father is working on, and asks Caliban to take her to it.  Caliban sees only empty cages, and passes this information on to Lavinia.  Caliban then sees a book in one of the cages, and moves forward to pick it up.  Lavinia then traps Caliban in the cage, and begins to taunt him, saying that she was glad to trap him, as she felt that their discussions on poetry and so forth were “tedious.”  Mr. Putney then appears and tells Caliban that Caliban is part of a new display at the museum:  living “monsters”.  He also tells Caliban that he will charge people money that people will be willing to pay to see “monsters” such as Caliban, and that any escape attempts will be useless, as no one will be able to hear Caliban scream.

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Lilly returns with Dorian Gray to Dorian’s mansion.  The two begin to kiss, and Dorian addresses Lilly by her previous name:  Brona.  Lilly then demands to know Dorian’s secrets, and asks him how old he is and if he can die.  Dorian challenges her to find out, and Lilly then bites off a piece of his ear.  Dorian goes to the room that contains his picture, and returns fully healed.  The two then consummate their relationship.

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Victor has become trapped in the same room as Malcolm at Evelyn’s mansion.  Malcolm is tormented by visions of his dead family members, while Victor is tormented by visions of Proteus, Lilly and Caliban.  Sembene becomes trapped by Hecate with Ethan.  Ethan changes into his werewolf form, and attacks and kills Sembene.


 

My Thoughts

Like I stated before, we are getting to the end of the line of the sundae bar.  And the closer we get to the end of the line, the greater the sugar rush becomes…

And this week’s episode was certainly a sugar rush, even if some of the offerings were bittersweet.

This episode contained plenty of shockers, but there were some “feelsies” as well.  You know, feelsies?  When you feel your eyes get that funny burning sensation?

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Pesky, aren’t they?  Damn feelsies…

The scene before the attack on Sembene is great example of a “feelsie.”  Sembene knows that he will die after becoming trapped with the wolf version of Ethan.  Yet, he is willing and basically forgives Ethan before he gets mauled to death.  You don’t get much more “feelsie” than that.

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And speaking of “feelsies”, there is the matter of my favorite poetry quoting monster.  All along, I was thinking that poor Caliban’s biggest problem was Victor (aka douch incarnate).  But last night’s episode proved me wrong.  I wanted to scream at Caliban to not do it, its a trap.  But obviously, he didn’t hear my screams, and got locked in a cell by Putney and crew (and for the record, Putney is kind of close to PT Barnum.  So there, you heard it here first).  And the look on his face…that other noise you heard was probably my heart breaking wide open for that beautiful monster.

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And speaking of beautiful monsters, Penny Dreadful has been known to use a heavy hand when it comes to foreshadowing.  One example of this is an episode in season one, where Ethan is informed that Brona will change (due to her tuberculosis) and is asked how he will handle it.  He simply responds that he will love her for what she becomes.  And we all know what became of Brona.  And this week’s episode may have had another use of foreshadowing, when Vanessa calls Victor a beautiful monster.  Does this mean that Victor will be joining the ranks of Lilly and the poor unfortunate Caliban?  Will he be part of a “freak show”?  Something interesting is in store for douche incarnate  Victor, and I can’t wait to find out what that is.

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And speaking of the un-creature formerly known as Brona (its Lilly now, lest we forget)…whoa.  Whoa.  WHOA.  WHOA!

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Wow is an apt word too.  I actually can’t think of too many words to describe Lilly’s scene this week (although she did make me think of one of my favorite artists after I saw her stunt with Dorian).  This un-dead chic is pissed, and hell hath no fury like an un-dead chic scorned (well, maybe the original saying is a little different, but you get my drift)!  And Dorian is apparently the one who can figure out that this is Brona with blonde hair (shame on you, Vanessa!), so if we have team Dorilly (another one you heard here first.  Dig it), then there will be hell to pay.  And the payer will probably be Victor (although I think more than a few men have landed on Lilly’s shit list.  Don’t be mean to prostitutes, they may be resurrected from the dead with super human strength.  Remember that, gentlemen).  An un-dead monster with super human strength and a man who doesn’t age and who possesses the ability to heal almost instantaneously certainly do make a formidable team…actually, let’s just cut to the chase and say it:  here comes trouble!

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And trouble was a major theme in this episode, since it seemed everyone was in it, especially Malcolm, and now Vanessa.  And Vanessa was perfectly right to be afraid of dolls and dislike them, since they seem to be responsible for a lot of the trouble she and Malcolm find themselves in.  The show certainly ended on a cliffhanger, as nearly every single character was left in shit creek without a paddle.  The next episode promises to be explosive, to say the least, and my appetite has been whetted…I can’t wait!

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So that’s it for this week’s recap and review of Penny Dreadful, season 2, episode 9!  Join me next week as we journey to the end of the sundae bar, to find out just what treats are store for us at the end of line!

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