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!

batman and robin

 

 

Penny Dreadful Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 1

I am a nerd (I know, in other news water is wet, the sun sets in the west, etc).  But since I am a nerd, I have a few things that I am fan of…

Well, maybe more than a few.  Maybe I have quite a few, actually.  So, I guess that makes me a fan girl…

I also remember the sundae bar at restaurants when I was a kid (and I may still visit the sundae bar in my adulthood, but that can be our little secret).

Now, there is nothing better than an ice cream sundae…for dessert, at least.  Ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, maybe some sprinkles…now is that pure awesomeness or what?!

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But there is something extra special about a sundae that you make at the sundae bar at some un-named buffet restaurant (really, is there any other reason for visiting those places?)  You get to choose what you put on it, and mix it up!  Gummy bears, crushed oreo cookies and maraschino cherries?  Sure, why not?  Live dangerously, I say!

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I think the reason why the sundae bar is so appealing to kids (and us adults who never really fell into the trap of growing up) is because they can take their favorite things, and put them into one bowl of delicious.  Your favorite things are special when they are not together (when are gummy bears not special?  I dare you challenge me on that one!), but when they are together, they are…well…magic.  That’s the only word I can think of.  A sundae made up chocolate sauce, maraschino cherries, crushed oreo cookies, gummy bears and maybe some other candies randomly thrown in (M&M’s are the bomb diggity on sundaes) is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  In other words, you now have something made up of the familiar, but its a brand new product (with a guarantee of a major sugar hangover, but like I said, live dangerously).

And the ice cream sundae bar analogy can also apply to fandoms.  We love, love, love our fandoms (whoever said nerds are not passionate needs to log on to any website that discusses Batman, for example, and that notion that we are not passionate will be almost immediately disproved) but when seemingly separate universe converge, it turns into something beyond love.  Luv, perhaps?  Or if the convergence is done really well, maybe “multiple orgasms” would be a better word than “love” or even “luv”…

And the notion of converging seemingly separate fandoms is not new.  Marvel is perhaps the most famous for it, as they have given us the Avengers movies, and we have been told that everything, from billionaire Tony Stark, to the green monster no one wants to piss off, to the raccoon with the foul mouth, is all interconnected (and now you can’t leave a Marvel movie without staying past the opening credits to get a sneak peek at the next movie and start puzzling out how that relates to that movie you just saw).  And this has been quite the clever move by Marvel, as the fact that their universe is tied together has likely made their franchise even more popular.

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And this guy…this guy is probably the master at weaving together a universe, and I will just leave it at that!

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So we have all these cool, fictional universes and super hero mash up movies…you know what would be really cool?  To have a TV show where all these fictional characters are in one universe!  Maybe Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula and Dorian Gray?  And have it take place in turn of the century London, which is just a great setting, period?  Sounds cool, yo!

Well, we actually do have such a TV show and it called Penny Dreadful.  So far, Penny Dreadful is a mash up of Frankenstein, Dracula and Dorian Gray.  And it has a beautiful woman who is prone to becoming possessed by unknown forces.  And it has a werewolf!  A really, really hot werewolf, in fact!  And yes, it takes place in one of favorite historical places and time periods:  turn of the century London!

And since this blog is really nerdy (in case you haven’t figured that out yet), the show Penny Dreadful fits right in.  And will be subject to a recap and review by yours truly!

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So buckle up, and let’s take a ride to the literary Avengers universe aka the show Penny Dreadful!


Synopsis

Season 2, episode 1 of Penny Dreadful begins with Vanessa Ivers experiencing some disturbing visions while walking in the snow.  In the meantime, Ethan Chandler awakes, and discovers blood and dead bodies that he was likely responsible for.  Vanessa and Ethan meet up, and take a carriage ride together.  Ethan begins to tell Vanessa that he will probably leave town and possibly take up residence in Spain, as he feels running away will prevent him from hurting anyone else.  However, the discussion is interrupted when the pair are attacked by what appears to be a band of female demons.    Vanessa is able to speak Latin and fend them off, but the driver of the carriage and the horses are killed in the battle.

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

Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Caliban (The Creature) anxiously look after the corpse of Brona, who was dying of consumption but had her death sped up by the good doctor, in his desire to create Caliban a “bride.”  Caliban wanders the streets of London and happens upon a wax museum that rivals a certain famous wax museum, and finds employment at the museum.  The business is a family run business, and Caliban seems taken with a female employee.  Caliban also gives a false name of John Claire, and agrees to start work right away, even though the salary is low.

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Malcolm Murray and his wife bury their daughter, Mina Murray Harker.   Gladys blames her husband, as the couple is now childless.  Malcolm attempts to convince Gladys to sell their home in the country, but Gladys refuses, stating that she will remain married to Malcolm in name only.

Malcolm, Victor, Sembene, Ethan and Vanessa meet in Malcolm’s house in London.  The group argues over the nature of the demons who attacked Vanessa and Ethan, with Victor proclaiming their existence to be impossible, as they are speaking what he calls a “dead language.”  The group is unable to come to a consensus on how to best deal with the threat.  Vanessa agrees to stay with Malcolm, and Ethan states that he will not leave London and will stay with Malcolm and Vanessa, at least for the present.

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A group of women is seen gathering at an undisclosed location in London.  It becomes clear that these women were responsible for the attack on Vanessa and Ethan.  Their leader is seen bathing in the blood of a young woman.  The creatures discuss Vanessa and Ethan, and their leader kills one of the group for speaking out of turn.

Vanessa appears to begin praying in front of a cross in Malcolm’s house, and mutters an incantation in Latin.  The group of women also begin an incantation.  Vanessa spills her blood on the floor and continues with the incantation.  The demons encountered earlier appear behind Vanessa, but they do not attack her.  Instead, the creatures seem intent on tormenting her.

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Victor has returned to his lab, and there is a thunderstorm.  Victor and Caliban realize that their chance to resurrect Brona has now arrived, and rush to complete the task.  Their efforts pay off, and the episode ends with the corpse of Brona coming to life.

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My Thoughts

Last season, Penny Dreadful ended on some cliffhangers.  It appeared that Ethan was indeed a werewolf, and we would see more of that this season.  It also appeared that Brona was headed for a major change (being dead and being resurrected tends to do that to a person).  And lots more questions were raised about Vanessa:  just what was possessing her and why?  And what can she do to fight it?

Well, this episode of Penny Dreadful was…wait for it…a cliffhanger!  Yes, I still had questions.  Just why the heck is Vanessa being pursued by these really, really bad folks?  What on earth did she do to warrant that?  And where is the un-dead bride aka Brona?  And most, importantly, where is the wolf?  I wanna see the wolf!!!

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Well, wrong wolf there…sorry, got a little carried away.

No, I want to see Ethan’s werewolf side.  We had been teased about it all last season, and the writers are still teasing about it…just go ahead and go full werewolf already, Ethan!  Don’t worry, I won’t judge as I will still think you are hot!

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Another thing I noticed about this episode was that the demons were actually visible.  In many of the episodes last season, the enemy (may be Dracula, may be Lucifer himself, maybe something else entirely that we are not familiar with) was not actually visible.  And believe it or not, the show still managed to be creepy, largely due to the efforts of Eva Green, Josh Hartnett and Timothy Dalton.  And when the evil did become visible (which was actually rare), the payoff was pretty great.

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However, this episode went another route:  we could actually put names and faces to at least one of the enemies.  They appeared to be a coven of witches who worshiped Satan himself.  And these women were nasty, as they appear to be able shapeshift and are also pretty mean fighters.  So that was a change of pace, and it made me wonder just what direction the show is going take in season 2:  is it going to focus more heavily on the bad guys, perhaps show some more gore?  I tend to think that answer is yes, but we shall see…pun intended!

Poor, poor Vanessa.  Apparently, she pissed someone (or perhaps something) and its not good enough for that creature to kill her.  No sir, whatever it is seems to want to toy with her and just outright torture poor Vanessa.  And whatever it is means…yes sir, it sure does!  And it also seems to go by the saying:  If you can’t beat them, join them.  Well, actually whatever it is wants to apply that to Vanessa, as it appears that Uncle Evil wants Vanessa to serve it!  However, Vanessa is a fighter, and has some friends willing to fight for her as well.

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And then there is Victor Frankenstein.  Victor is…well…he’s a douchebag.  And he ranks up there (or is it down there?) on that list of literary and film douchebags I have been compiling for all of these years.

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Nor did Victor disappoint in this episode.  There is one constant in Penny Dreadful: Victor Frankenstein can be counted on to be a douchebag.  And conniving and arrogant.  And manipulative.  And I shudder to think of what will happen when Ethan finds out that Victor helped Brona along to her death to serve his own purposes.  That fight scene may actually rival a wedding of a certain unnamed shades of red   color…

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All in all, the season opener to the second season of Penny Dreadful was expected:  it had some interesting moments, and managed to raise even more questions.  But that’s all the reason to keep watching, my dear!


 

So tune back in next week, where we will revisit the grown up person’s sundae bar, aka Penny Dreadful, and talk more about our favorite literary Avengers, extremely handsome werewolf and poor hapless demon magnet!  And have a dreadfully good time doing it!

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