Series Issues: Penny Dreadful narrates This World is Our Hell

Spoilers might be driven into your cerebral cortex through an electrically charged needle.

This week’s episode of This World is Our Hell took the narrative to New Mexico. Ethan and Hecate are still flying from their pursuers but they’re not without resources. As it happens, I don’t believe it’s Hecate’s insistence that convinces Ethan to drop any attempt at redemption. I think we’re seeing Ethan reaching the end of a road he’s been traveling on for quite some time. Hecate isn’t certainly helping things but just hastening what seems to be Ethan’s inevitable corruption.

(Source: Showtime)

Kaetenay and Malcolm ride behind the marshals, but their intent is far from lending aid. Kaetenay sees them as an obstruction that he intends to remove. That Malcolm agrees with this, or at least allows it to happen, is a bit surprising. Unfortunately their timing to sneak into the marshal’s camp matches Hecate’s spell that sends snakes to creep and kill the sleeping lawmen. Kaetenay gets bitten. Malcolm shoots down Rusk’s assistant. Rusk vows to follow and kill Ethan throwing away any code of honour he once followed.

That’s hard to believe. Rusk has been strictly following Ethan because of his duty to the law. That’s how he pursued him last season and that’s why he’s been on to him until now. Rusk is not a stranger to dire and bloody situations, as he himself tells the story of losing his arm to the sheriff. What exactly changed here for him? Also, you can notice how each character has a companion: Ethan has Hecate, Kaetenay has Malcolm, Rusk has the sheriff. Rusk got the worst here.

I believe it’s Kaetenay leading Malcolm and not the other way around. That is, until they’re found by Talbot’s men and Kaetenay is left to die at Ethan’s insistence. It’s interesting how Ethan and Malcolm are at odds with each other over Hecate. It’s also fitting that although Hecate can summon deadly magic to kill their enemies she couldn’t summon water from the ground when they were about to die from the heat.

(Source: Showtime)

Jared Talbot is an interesting character, and although Malcolm will disagree, he’s very much like Sir Murray. Ethan’s backstory is dark and full of death. His father blames him for leading the Apaches into the house and killing Ethan’s mother, sister and brother inside the chapel, a chapel he’s kept the same as that night. Jared wants Ethan to repent and ask for forgiveness or eat a bullet, a point he emphasizes by aiming his revolver at Ethan’s head.

We do get a second, less thorough storyline with Jekyll and Frankenstein. They’re using Balfour, the same mental patient to test a combination of Dr. Jekyll’s potion powered by Dr. Frankenstein’s electric batteries connected to a needle that Victor menacingly aims at Balfour’s eye. Holy shit I would be shitting my pants if I was that actor. Victor seems to have his full ego back. “After all, it is our memories which make us monsters, is it not?”. Jekyll is slowly becoming enraged at his attitude, as Victor believes them both outcasts. He’s right and he’s wrong. Jekyll was expelled because he attacked a member of the faculty over racist remarks. Victor seems to have been shunned because of his scientific experiments.

(Source: Showtime)

I would’ve wanted a separate episode for both storylines. Ethan’s certainly dwelled deep into his backstory almost becoming a full exposition. Victor and Henry almost felt like an interruption. I believe their journey would merit a full episode as well.

Highs/Lows/GetThatNeedleAwayFromMyFace:

  • In an episode with many expositions to make, we get Ethan’s, Kaetenay’s, Rusk’s and even a little bit of Hecate’s. Somehow this episode managed to bring some horror and darkness into a place where the sun is your greatest concern. It’s still a lot to take in, which makes me think we’ve got a lot more to learn next.
  • I did enjoy the conversation between Malcolm and Jared Talbot. Sir Murray has to admit they’re certainly alike in more ways that one. Also, a big shoutout to Tennessee whiskey. That sure felt like Jared was going to mention Jack Daniels.
  • I loved the dynamic between Ethan and Hecate. Ethan is a bit dry as a character for me. However, I think Hecate doesn’t really turn him to the dark side as much as she tidies up a work done by Ethan himself over the course of his own self exile. I do think Hecate makes Ethan much more interesting, but I hope the show doesn’t fridge her thinking that would further Ethan’s character.
  • I did love Ethan’s line to Malcolm: “What the fuck are you doing here?”
  • Kaetenay is only temporarily out of the picture. He’s just became an ace up the show’s sleeve to bring back once things get messy.
  • I prefer Rusk as the unwavering by-the-book inspector from Scotland Yard. This out-for-blood Rusk that threw all his codes of conduct and pursuit of justice ideals out to the winds is not the best version we could have. So far I’ve thought of him as unrelenting because of his code, not because of his emotions.
  • Yes, creepy Victor is still in the show as we see him go back to his lab and clean up the mess he left behind in his drugged stupor. That includes washing Lily’s dress, a sign he’s still pining for a woman he thought he knew but only the way he wants her to be. It’s wrong in so many levels, which is the reason I’ve read many a blog about getting rid of the character. However, exploring why is Victor wrong could be an enlightening experience – even an educational one.
  • Please tell me the reason why some bloggers love Ethan but hate Victor is not that Ethan killing a ton of people is somehow less of a crime than Victor’s misguided obsession for Lily. Ok, if that’s it I am fine. But if it is because Ethan is played by Josh Harnett, I am certainly not.
  • Henry Jekyll is giving out a lot of red flags that he’s not quite ok with the direction that Victor is taking his experiments, which is now a shared project and could easily become just Victor’s. Is Victor going to be responsible for bringing out Mr. Hyde in Henry? Victor does not need another creature.
  • Seeing Victor go full Frankenstein as he powers the needle he’s about to drive into the cerebral cortex of Balfour is one of the reasons I can’t help but love this show. Junkie Victor is out thanks to Jekyll. Perhaps the world was safer with Victor living as a cocaine addict. Perhaps Jekyll actually made a mistake bringing back the mad scientist inside Dr. Frankenstein.

That will do for now.

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