Series Issues: Penny Dreadful 2×2 – Verbis Diablo

(Source: Showtime)

(Source: Showtime)

Nightmares are ahead. Spoilers too, but mostly nightmares.

There’s been a lot of nightmare fuel on this series, but Penny Dreadful 2×2: Verbis Diablo might add the equivalent of kerosene on an already lighted fire. In other words, puppets. Yes, forget the Creature, the Witches, the Master or whatever monster you can fathom. We get puppets in this episode and I’d take monsters any day of the week over this one.

Back in Frankenstein’s lab, Brona finally has clothes on. Caliban is still admiring her like an idiot while Victor obviously wants him out of here. He sends him away, although the Creature does issue a final warning to him: Tread carefully. He might’ve been echoing a lot of fans that are still creeped out from Victor’s actions last week. Victor is still enthralled by Brona – who he renames as Lily. Is he being nice, manipulative, infatuated, creepy or all of the above? The thing is Brona/Lily is quick to gain back her speech, although she’s lost her accent and now seems to mimic Victor’s. That’s a good thing. Victor seems to walk a strange tightrope between telling Lily some of the truth but still giving her some leeway. I can’t tell if he’s trying to antagonize her relationship with the Creature, who now prefers to go by John Clare than Caliban.

I hope you remember Inspector Rusk from Scotland Yard because as it turns out he was talking about a survivor, and that was not Ethan Chandler. Instead, we have someone wrapped in bandages who might be instrumental in outing Ethan as a werewolf. Then again, this survivor is supposed to have lost most of his face.

Miss Vanessa Ives has formed a bond with Sir Malcolm Murray. After her nightmarish scene last week, she seems close to the edge. Sir Malcolm suggest she accompany him somewhere he feels grounded. For a moment I thought they would board a boat to Africa. Nothing of the sort, Malcolm takes her to a place under the train tracks where they help the people victims of cholera. It’s a warm moment, even made warmer when Vanessa decides to stay longer and runs into Caliban aka John Clare. Unsurprisingly, Vanessa soothes his fears as she talks to him.

Dorian Grey returns. He’s gazing at a picture of Vanessa Ives when he is propositioned by a woman named Angelique, who is all to quick to invite him to her bedroom. He turns her down, but at a later date visits her place of work. Angelique is not only a courtesan, but she has also kept secret her gender identity. Whether she’s a transgender woman or a transvestite, I can’t say but it seems Dorian has been aware of it the whole time. For a show that is supposed to happen in Victorian times, although it takes anachronistic liberties with the timelines of characters and events, it is pushing the boundaries of what you can see in the small screen.

Sir Malcolm Murray has become the target of Evelyn Poole. They ran into each other as Malcolm has gone to shop for a gift for Vanessa. While Evelyn convinces him to sample some fragrances, she takes the opportunity to whisper an enchantment to him. Later on, Sir Murray invites her to a shooting event and even shows her his beloved rapid-fire gun from last season. She seems very proficient with weapons, while Malcolm seems to miss the target.

Ferdinand Lyle returns! He’s willing to assist decoding the language by stealing some pieces from the British Museum. The scene is actually one of the lighter moments of the show as Ethan Chandler comes along to help him. Although they do find some a container filled with broken pieces of everything with strange writing on them, it does seem that there is no obvious connection or clue.

Unfortunately, we discover Lyle is working for Evelyn Poole. While she warns him how bad will things go if he betrays her, Hecate appears. We’ve already seen her stalking a couple with a newborn baby and cutting their throats on the underground train. Now she brings back the child to her mother. Evelyn takes the dead child down to… the scariest room I have ever seen. A room where the walls are stacked with puppets. She then proceeds to take out the entrails of the child and put them inside a new creation. The new puppet has a striking similarity to Vanessa Ives.

Well, there go my plans to get any sleep tonight.

Highs/Lows

  • The show is going to some very, very dark places. However it also has moments in which it pushes the envelope more than any other series.
  • The scene with Dorian and Angelique is full frontal nudity. At this point we don’t know the exact gender of Angelique as a character, but she’s actually shown without any judgement. Hopefully she doesn’t end up dead… Then again we’re watching Penny Dreadful. And for the moment being, I’m still referring to her as she.
  • Helen McCrory is really developing a most evil character with Evelyn Poole. It’s a welcome addition from last season’s shadowy enemy, although he/she/it/them might still be moving the strings in the background. The fact that it might be the proverbial Devil himself is one thing, but giving our nightmares a face makes for a more engaging show.
  • John Clare aka Caliban aka the Creature is now put more in the foreground. Is the show trying to redeem him? On the other hand, Victor is now teaching Brona/Lily and basically remaking her into a new persona. But as she regain her memories, how long until she turns on him? John Clare loves Lilly because “she’s perfect” before she even says a word. Victor’s motives are murky. He’s reasoning is still a mystery, but he’s obviously enthralled with her. Who kills who first?
  • Puppets. Why did it have to be puppets…

That will do for now.

(Source: Showtime)

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