Series Issues: Penny Dreadful shows us Predators Far and Near

Spoilers might be stalking nearby.

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

You’ll definitely have to see Predators Far and Near before we begin. Done? Ok.

Vanessa Ives starts her sessions with Dr. Seward. Her innovative Alienist relies on the latest technological achievement – a victorian recorder. Miss Ives is not too fond of the instrument. Still, she marches on, warning the doctor that her tale might deprive her of some sleep. Show of limbs, who knew that Renfield (Samuel Barnett) would take advantage and be listening to the recordings before the episode was over? I’m sure we’re seeing one of the reasons why patient-doctor confidentiality was invented. I guess you can’t explain the concept of personal privacy to a quasi-vampire.

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

Dr. Jekyll is definitely a good influence for Victor, or at least a good distraction from his self-created drama. Yes, Jekyll has had success on a different level than Frankenstein. His work has allowed to seemingly bring calm from madness. For all his genious, Victor has not only created madness – he’s become it. Watching Dr. Jekyll work to bring sanity back to a derange patient seems like a dream come true, but we’ve watched mad scientists before. There’s probably something that Jekyll has not revealed, or even discover himself. Or about himself.

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

The object of Dr. Frankenstein’s obsessions couldn’t care less about him. Lily and Dorian are the new power couple in town. They infiltrate an underground lair where women are abused and tortured for sadistic rich assholes. Of course they all get slain, but the rescue has a motive. Lily wants to give the young would-be victim a chance at revenge. The girl, Justine (Jessica Barden), eagerly accepts it. It’s this Lily that we’re just coming to know. Is she indeed a woman of power wanting to free others like her, or is this Lily recruiting herself an army of like-minded followers? Are we supposed to side with her? It’s certainly hard to side with Victor, who stalks in the bench just outside Dorian’s mansion, looking like a puppy without a home. Is Victor right in wanting to “save” Lily? No. Our creepy Dr. Frankenstein is still ignorant not only in the ways of love but in the basic tenants of a gentleman. Lily is actually nicer to him than she should when she comes down to send him away. In giving him a kiss goodbye, Lily might have just encouraged Victor to believe that “his” Lily still exists. Wrong move.

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

I’m slowly getting into the western setting of New Mexico. It’s going to take some getting used to from our usual Victorian setting. Thanks to Kaetenay’s telepathic mind link, we learn that he’s not only Ethan’s adoptive Apache father, he’s also hated by the gunslinging wolfman. It didn’t take long for Hecate to get involved, did it? It also didn’t take long for Ethan to turn feral and free himself. His liberators/captors already had their hands full with a werewolf to suddenly have to deal with a Nightcomer Witch. Don’t rule out Inspector Bartholomew Rusk. Despite all the slights in his face from local authorities, he’s still one badass tracking son-of-a-tea-drinking-lady. I must confess, they’ve packed this chapter chock full of characters to make sure we’re not ruling it out as a side story.

The final reveal feels… A bit too soon? Yes, we all expected Renfield to tell all and already be addicted to the blood of his Master. I must confess, I did enjoy Miss Ives and Dr. Sweet. Still, to reveal him as the big bad D in just the second episode does not give us the proper time to be invested in his character. Is Dracula/Sweet the same guy or do we have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr… Ok, you know what I mean. Could it be to a point, Drac is actually emotionally interested in Vanessa or is this another blind infatuation such as Victor has with Lily?

Highs/Lows/Creeps

  • A lot of people think Victor is a creep (he is), dangerously obsessive (also true) and egomaniacal (three in a row). I’m fully aware he’s not heroic by any extension of the word. He’s up to no good and I’m hoping for some mad scientist mayhem along with Dr. Jekyll. He remains an interesting character because…
  • Let’s put it in a different perspective. Lily might be the culmination of personal empowerment if it were allow to fly freely, without social constraints or morals. Lily has found a kindred spirit in Dorian Gray. Lily is not saved by Dorian, they both support each other as equals.
  • Victor is the depth of the depravity of a genius turn inward, one that only has himself to blame for the results.  Victor has found a friend in Dr. Henry Jekyll. Jekyll instead, is Victor’s only chance at gaining back his sanity. Strangely enough, even Victor seems attracted to sit in that chair himself. I think he’s blind to his own madness, but his subconscious might be sending him messages. Victor is the one that needs saving, but you and I know that the chances of him being saved are close to nil.
  • On the other hand, Jekyll might have something to Hyde. Yes, I had to do that because reasons.
  • Renfield would be creep number one if we hadn’t seen Victor outside Dorian’s and Lily’s place. Yes, Renfield might be visually the creepiest, but Victor is somehow mentally a far more dangerous threat.
  • Dr. Sweet is a nice character so far. Was he just a performance or is he somewhat real? Has Miss Ives gained another paranormal stalker – YES, we know the answer is YES. This show is not called Penny Sunshine. Still, we’ve yet to meet Dracula. If Miss Ives defeated the proverbial Devil, how harder can Dracula be? Tough act to follow, is all I’m saying.
  • Expect the good Sir Malcolm Murray to join the wild west the next episode. I want to get into it, but at the same time this seems so far away from the beginning of Penny Dreadful that the setting is a bit of a culture shock. I want it to work, but it’s taking time. Thankfully, we’ve got a myriad of characters participating.

Coming up on the Calendar:

  • Thursday, May 19: Legends of Tomorrow (season finale)
  • Tuesday, May 24: The Flash (season finale)
  • Wednesday, May 25: Arrow (season finale)

That will do for now.

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