Series Issues: Penny Dreadful 2×1 – Fresh Hell

(Source: Showtime)

(Source: Showtime)

Spoilers might come to light.

It’s very hard for me to critical of a series that is so carefully planned. Penny Dreadful 2×1: Fresh Hell starts us on a new road of beautiful nightmares. I don’t think I’m going to surprise anybody at this point by revealing what Ethan Chandler has yet to discover about himself, but that being said let’s go with subtlety at this point. Ethan wakes up at Mariner’s Inn amongst dead bodies, ravaged by claw and fang.

Vanessa Ives is still trying to avoid evil itself. As of now she has more unwanted company. She’s attracted the attention of what can only be described as a coven of witches. We’re talking the non-human devil worshipping kind. Again, this show is about nightmares. Miss Ives doesn’t know it yet, but Evelyn Poole (the former Madame Kali from season one) is on to her. It seems Evelyn might be the leader of said coven herself.

The new threat makes their appearance in a brutal attack on the carriage that takes Miss Ives and Mr. Chandler through London. Ethan pushed them away but the new supernatural creatures keep coming until Vanessa hisses something back at them that they seem to understand and they scamper off. Later in the safety of Sir Malcolm Murray’s home, Miss Ives can’t remember what she said.

Dr. Victor Frankenstein has seem to found a shaky truce with Caliban. The idea being that they’ll keep Brona’s corpse ready for the next storm, whence Victor will actually revive her. Yes, I saw Victor creepily feeling up the body and I know the hint of necrophilia will make people vomit. That being said, we’re not dealing with angels here. I really hope there’s a redemption road for Victor, even if the entire internet has already written him off the show.

Sir Malcolm Murray and his estranged wife Gladys have a cold reunion at Mina’s tomb. Does the name Harker mean we can expect Jonathan Harker to appear? Nothing is certain except the disdain that Sir Murray receives from his wife. When Malcolm suggests he might move back home, Gladys relegates him back to London without blinking. “We have no more children for you to save,” Gladys tells her former husband. “Or kill.”

Caliban looks for a job. He finds one at a wax museum owned by the Putney family. The owner is putting on a new scene, the massacre at Mariner’s Inn. The owners’ daughter, Lavinia is blind. She feels his face to recognize him. Unfortunately, that seems like she’s Caliban’s next obsession..

Back at Victor’s the storm rages. Dr. Frankenstein and Caliban run around flipping switches and toggling toggles as the lightning is brought down into the lab. Brona lives once more, but who is she now?

Evelyn Poole, who we already have seen taking a bath in blood and cutting one of her witches’ throat after failing to kill Vanessa, prays to her master as she promises to deliver Miss Ives. Meanwhile, in Vanessa’s room, she cuts herself and draws in the floor using her blood as she prays and counter-spells whatever curse Evelyn is using against her. We don’t get to know the winner of this curse-pray duel, but behind Vanessa the three remaining witches appear in their monster form, albeit briefly.

Highs/Lows

  • I have the feeling the whole Victor admiring Brona moment was just creepy-ness amped to the max just to stir the viewer, but we’ll see. I do hope for a redemption moment for him. Failing that, a glorious death. I still think there is potential to the character – although that doesn’t mean necessarily as a hero.
  • I know there’s fans who have written off Victor as too creepy to remain on the show. Evelyn Poole just bathed in blood. That was a chilling scene. But I guess, not as creepy. Again, Victor is not a good guy and I am not condoning his actions. But as a surgeon, he sees dead bodies all the time. I don’t think medical students would be creeped out.
  • Yes, there’s a lot of nudity in this one. There’s none that is supposed to be enticing. Mostly it comes out as raw and unforgiving.
  • Evelyn Poole is being set up as the big bad, and particularly Miss Ives’ nemesis this season. What exactly do this coven wants is still to be revealed.
  • Eva Green once more is the lead role here and the main character as Vanessa Ives.
  • Caliban’s moment with Lavinia Putney is supposed to be endearing. Unfortunately, we already know what happens to the girls that Caliban ends up falling for.
  • Dani Sapani as Sembene remains severely underused.

Post-Mortem Editorial: Let’s address the whole “Was Victor feeling Brona up?” thing. This was a comment I posted on The Mary Sue.

Victor is a surgeon. He’s done horrible things already such as dismembering corpses. Doctors, medical students and people who work at the morgue usually end up losing that fear/respect for dead bodies. Victor is also very repressed, obviously a sociopath and lives in Victorian times.

I’m not excusing the character, but although you could accuse him of necrophilia, I really hope that’s not where the show is going. Victor is not a good guy. But he’s also a very repressed man that doesn’t hang around women much. He is fascinated by anatomy? Yes. He’s put corpses back together, but never female. He probably has seen a few naked female corpses but never had revived. Is he admiring a creation that he himself has not put together? I don’t mean to absolve him here, he remains at fault. I’m saying he wasn’t a teenager copping a feel. He was a sociopath with a God complex looking at the work of his competitor. Or perhaps you’re all right and he’ll fall in love with a corpse.

Victor has already done unforgivable things. He’s a necessary evil used by Sir Murray for a good cause. There are no knights in shining armor in this lot but I’ll agree he’s almost beyond redemption.

That will do for now.

(Source: Showtime)

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