Series Issues: Penny Dreadful 2×7 – Little Scorpion

(Source: Showtime)

(Source: Showtime)

There’s a reason people like us have claws – Ethan Chandler

Yes, the picture is from another quote, “Welcome to the night, Vanessa” but I really liked this quote better. Penny Dreadful 2×7: Little Scorpion takes a break from the main storyline of the Nightcomers. Perhaps it was for the best, it’s a little back and forth that just seems to change location. Sometimes this show shines better by episode alone than as serial, but it always shines. Ok, it shines with a black light and otherwordly voices chanting in unknown tongues, but that counts right? Riiight. Oh yeah, spoilers ahead.

It’s getting stuffy in Sir Malcolm Murray’s place. The spell that he’s under seems to have dimmed his wits to the point that we’re seeing a different character on the screen. Female hysteria? Even the distracted Dr. Frankenstein casts his own issues aside to point out how unlikely it is for Vanessa Ives’ perception to be flawed. All critics be damned, Victor is still my second reason to watch this show.

The first reason remains Eva Green as Vanessa Ives. In this episode, she actually decides to go back to the moors and to the Cut-Wife’s cottage that was left to her. Ethan Chandler wants to come along. He’s fresh from his latest transformation which was witnessed by a very open-minded Sembene, who actually has some lines in this episode. Lyle carefully suggests that they tell nobody where they’re going. Vanessa agrees but ultimately writes it in a paper for Victor to keep. Not the best choice. If Vanessa prefers to give that location to someone who was not at the party her obvious choice would’ve been Sembene, not Victor. That paper is going to fall from his pocket the next time that John Clare throttles him.

Vanessa and Ethan are off to the countryside, actually quite fast. The next time we see them they’re at the cottage already. Ethan takes on manual labor, Vanessa seems to enjoy showing him how to cook, and of course Ethan rans off when he feels like devouring sheep. Exactly what these accomplishes is just getting the two of them closer. Ethan won’t tell Miss Ives his secret, opting instead for teaching her how to shoot. Turns out she’s a natural that needs no training whatsoever. Mr. Chandler however proves not as skillful when dancing.

And so during a thunderstorm, lightning hits the cottage because insert dramatic license here and they have a passionate moment that almost turns into something else but Vanessa won’t have it. Perhaps it’s best, sometimes there’s just too much issues within oneself to allow someone else in. Ok, I might be projecting. Also, I don’t like dolls (or puppets brr!) looking at me either (muppets are totally ok though).

Seems that was as far as the storyline goes, but then Lord Faarquad shows up. Ok, I don’t know his name but whoever that aristocrat from Episode 3 was. Besides showing up to just completely monologue about his trained dogs, insult Vanessa and proclaim to be their better, well he’s just setting himself up to be killed as he’s done every minute that he’s on screen. I was taking bets on who kills him first.

As it turns out, both go for it. First, Ethan has a row with Vanessa just to go out and hunt him. The row feels fake because it’s just Ethan using it as a pretext to leave thinking he’s going to save her soul by killing him first. Not his best laid plan. If Ethan really wanted to spare Vanessa the title of murderess and a lifetime of guilty conscience he should have stayed behind. Instead he takes the gun aims it at the Duke of Douche while he’s feeding his fiercely loyal dogs and then is forced to watch as the dogs attack his own master. Vanessa has opted for revenge and taken The Book That Must Never Be Opened from the shelf.

I fully expected her to use that last resort against Evelyn Poole, not some aristocratic lord that can be killed a million of other ways. Seems like a misspent resource. Once could argue that she can use it again, but chances are each time takes a lot from you. We just haven’t seen it yet.

Back in London, Victor Frankenstein is backing off and letting Lily go out with Dorian Gray. The twisted part here is that she tells him she won’t go if he says not to, but at least Victor is following Vanessa’s advice. If we dread Lily will be a pawn in Dorian’s hands, we really shouldn’t. She even drags him into the Putney’s Wax Museum where John Clara lurks at them from a window. This puts John Clare into a collision course with Victor, Lily or both of them.

However, it’s what follows that might be an even more critical development. As Lily leaves Dorian, she decides to step out of the carriage that he drops her onto and wander into a bar. There she picks up a stranger, literally fucks him, and then as she turns the tables to be on top decides to choke him to death. Lily has a killer streak, not unlike Caliban – or perhaps even deadlier. If you weren’t sure to expect the unexpected from her, it’s time to expect it now.

I liked both storylines but although Vanessa and Ethan at the cottage was nice for a bit, it doesn’t make sense in the long run if they go back to London on the next episode. Well, she might drag the book along this time. On the other hand, Lily is stepping away from Victor although this might bring either of them more trouble with John Clare. To be honest, Caliban’s story seems the most superfluous every episode.

Are we seriously just going to keep Sembene in the background then? Is that the plan?

Highs/Lows

  • Lily is not innocent. I think this is a bad thing morally but a good thing for the show. Makes it interesting to know we have a wildcard here.
  • I really don’t want Caliban coming back to claim rights over Lily to Victor but I guess it can’t be helped. I really want Dr. Frankenstein to somehow get leverage on his Creature. Perhaps Victor will get some backbone and face his own creation down somehow, or the threat to Lily will make him do that or Lily will have to save his hide. Either way, John Clare needs to back the hell away and go do his own thing.
  • Lily has figured out where she came from when seeing the gravediggers scene at Putney’s.
  • Wait, so Vanessa has not figured out Evelyn Poole is her own nemesis or did I get that completely wrong? This is a bit convoluted but she should be instantly recognizable.
  • Ethan Chandler and Vanessa definitely both have claws, which makes them the obvious choice if we have to have a couple. However, we don’t. So they can be just friends if that suits them.
  • Sir Malcolm Murray is definitely not snapping out of this on his own.
  • Sembene is definitely relegated to support character for another season.
  • Angelique is completely missing. Dorian Gray is still my least favorite character.

Bonus: The preview for next week’s show certainly promises action:

Watch on YouTube

The show has been renewed for a third season. Amen to that. That will do for now.

(Source: Showtime)

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