Series Issues: Penny Dreadful takes all Good and Evil Braided Be

Blood, I mean, spoilers might spurt out of every cut.

Okey, I’ve been loving this series for two seasons now and it does have its weaknesses, but scarcely so. That being said, I’m not going to give it a free pass just on the fact that any other TV show would go for campy. Exactly how dreadful are we going to get? Very. But as good as the show can be, there’s a few things here and there that I’m hoping could be a little less predictable. Also, vampires don’t reflect in mirrors! That’s why they hate mirrors! Sorry, jumping ahead…

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

I want to believe that the Dracula/Sweet storyline is going somewhere – and by that, I mean it will be something new. At this point, I’m not sure why it seems that the persona of Dr. Alexander Sweet is needed. Does Dracula require that his bride be in some particularly weak state before he takes her? Because so far, you’d think he’s trying to woo her first. He acts more in love with her than she is. Is it all fake or is there really some twisted idea of love in Dracula’s mind? Oh, and the vampire that approaches Vanessa in the hall of mirrors… Yeah I could tell he was a goner for sure after that. I’m actually more interested in Vanessa’s sessions with Dr. Seward. The hypnotism session felt rushed. They really should’ve left it for the next episode.

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

On the other hand, there was not much time for Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Dr. Henry Jekyll. However, they made do with what they have. After the experiment with the patient turns out to be short-lived, he returns to his insane nature. Ever the old egomaniac, Victor thinks he can solve that part of the problem and make it permanent as he believes he has mastery over electricity and its life-giving properties. Henry however is a bit troubled, as he can’t decide if man’s nature is one of an angel or a demon. When Victor replies that man is both, Henry exclaims: “Are we? In the end, we must be that thing the world demands of us. We must take the lust and the avarice and the ambition and bury them!” Victor’s reply is classic Victor: “We need not live on the fulcrum. We can be angel or beast fully. We’ll create a choir of angels. One in particular.”

But the angel project he has in mind has no interest in participating. Lily has taken apt pupil Justine out for a stroll and a talk about the weak nature of men. Justine eagerly makes comparisons when she sees women of the sufragette movement marching up the street. Lily is not amused, she believes them too loud and too meek in their search for equality. She’s looking for something else: mastery. And so, the lessons continue as Dorian and Lily present Justine with a gift. Rickon Sta…! Dammit, sorry. Wrong entry. They’ve captured the man who enslaved Justine, forced her sexually when she was younger and then whored her out until he decided to torture her to death and charge an entrance fee. So we’re clear in the fact that the guy had to die a million of horrible deaths, but the whole orgy in his blood was just overkill. Guess that’s why it’s called an orgy, but still.

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

(Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

The Wild Wild West section of the show was strange. Hecate just swore to follow Ethan to hell, the same Ethan that doesn’t want her here. Still, he can’t deny she’s been useful – up until the moment that he realizes that she’s more of a cold blooded killer than he is. I must admit they do have something of a chemistry. Ethan has not forgotten who she is, but at least he’s allowing her along – not that he has any choice. Sir Malcolm Murray and Kaetenae are not far away, but neither are the US Marshalls and Inspector Rusk. I’m glad that Hecate is along for the ride, because at least she diverts the storyline from becoming way too predictable.

Highs/Lows/Blood, So Much Blood

  • Vampires have no reflection, therefore they hate mirrors. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot… If someone could get classic vampires right, it would be Penny Dreadful. Perhaps further ahead we’ll learn that Dracula is trying to become human and can reflect in mirrors in his Dr. Sweet persona.
  • Yes, the blood orgy between Lily, Dorian and Justine is shocking. I do feel that they can’t really reuse that, though. Are we going to keep watching as Lily’s promised “army of women” is formed? Is Dorian really along for the ride? I don’t really find Lily and Dorian particularly charismatic. I know they’re going for the super-villain vibe, but so far they feel more like a swingers couple.
  • Dracula so far has been a paint-by-the-numbers story of seduction. I’m not seeing any deviations from the master vampire plot. This whole overzealous-minion-reveals-important-clue and minion-gets-killed-by-boss-for-failing is a little too villain 101 to be enticing.
  • I like the conversations between the good doctors Jekyll and Frankenstein. I wish they’d be pursuing a different project than just “bringing Lily to her senses” because that has a level of patronizing that is off the scale. I dare say Dr. Henry Jekyll is my favorite of the new characters introduced this season.
  • Kaetenae should have defended himself. I didn’t like this racial interlude to be used as a moment to build up Sir Malcolm. It should’ve been Kae’s (yeah I need a short nickname for him) moment instead.
  • I like Hecate. I wish she’d be chasing her own agenda (and who knows, perhaps she is) instead of looking for a wolf god to serve.
  • Ethan is racing toward his father, the same person he used to run away from. Not quite making sense of that.
  • The Creature aka Caliban, is just remembering his new life and… well, if that’s the only thing they were going to have him do this season it’d been a waste. But then we got that finale with pre-Frankenstein Caliban showing up in Miss Ives’ hypnotherapy session.

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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