harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

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Penny Dreadful reviewed: S1, E2


Penny Dreadful
Season 1, Ep 02


DIR: J.A. Bayona
Writers: John Logan

Blurb: Vanessa and Sir Malcolm go to a party at Mr. Lyle's in hopes that the eccentric will look further into the hierogryphics from within the autopsied vampire. But things take a strange twist when Vanessa participates in a seance.

In the meantime, Dr. Victor Frankenstein works with his creature, named Proteus.

SC 01: We open on a lady of the corner, shivering in the deep cold damp of London's night. She unwraps an apple from the newspaper it was wrapped in, to see the news story about Jack the Ripper - though we know it was not Jack who caused the recent deaths being attributed to him.

In the deep fog, she hears a loud clang and shivers in nerves, rather than the cold.

The clanging is the end of a metal pole being semi-dragged along the cobblestones, as a man walks around the park they're in and lights up the flame streetlamps. The woman watches him approach her warily as she sits on a park bench.

The old man gives her a look down his nose at her, before passing off into the heavy fog. After watching him and his flame swallowed by the fog, she turns back to her green apple. She doesn't have time to bite into it, before she hears the sudden dropped metal pole of the lamp lighter and the sudden still quiet, except for her startled breath.

SC 02: She sees a dark shape coming through the thick fog, but seems frozen to her seat, unable to do anything but breathe heavily, and look wild-eyed at who approaches.

She whimpers as whoever it is gets closer and closer to her, but still seems unable to stand and run. We never see who/what it is, but she screams before there is a spray of blood on the ground.

A pan shows us her outstretched hand still holding her green apple. But the arm that it is attached to doesn't have a body with it. Just the arm, lying torn from its socket.

The credits do like crediting...

SC 03: Ethan suddenly awakens, he knows not where. He's at the seaside, and in the distance we hear dock workers going about their daily business. Ethan is in pain, hunched against the chill and lying on rock against a wooden pillar.

He opens his hand to find that he's dug his nails deep into his palm.

Ethan pulls himself together enough to stumble into a nearby Mariner's Inn, looking like he may've drunk himself into a blackout the night before.

He starts his day with a slug of whiskey.

SC 04: Elsewhere, Victor writes in his journal over a cup of coffee. Across from him, sits his creature - Proteus, the resurrected man. Victor takes a very small tear of bread and slips it into his mouth as Proteus studies his actions.

Victor takes a bit of bread and gently slips it between Proteus' teeth.

Victor then tells his creation he needs a name, and uses a book of Shakespeare to allow the creature to choose its own name at random (which is why he's Proteus, instead of Paul). Proteus shocks Victor by repeating the name back to him.

SC 05: Later, Victor is packing up his bag to go to work - back to the morgue to study and earn the money he needs for his experiments in anatomy. Proteus gets up with a quiet grunt to follow him. Victor tells Proteus that he must go for a bit, in order to earn the money to feed them both, but the resurrected man doesn't understand and continues to follow him up the stairs.

Victor again explains that he must stay, while Victor goes, which upsets Proteus, but he shushes him as if to a child, resting his hand against his face before he again makes his exit. Proteus watches him go, forlornly and confused.

He's left whimpering in the silence of Victor's lab.

Commentary: I'm a bit disturbed, but I think that Proteus is becoming my series boyfriend. I KNOW! But Alex Price is breaking my heart. He's wonderfully expressive and I just want to hug him and stroke his face. [Added: 12/11: On a side note: I'm absolutely positive that no one in any show or movie comes across these reviews. I KNOW this. But ... I feel the inherant need to apologize bubbling up. Like, it's an insult to the actors to have a gay find them attractive and engaging. Isn't that awful? Chalk it up as being a difference between Gen X and Gen Y. Despite knowing I'm just a person, I still feel an instinctive need to apologize to straight men for looking at them "In That Way". UGH. Embrace your embrace of 'alternate lifestyles' Gen Y! It's an improvement on my generation. ... ICK - on to the rest of the already posted review!

SC 06: Back at the pub, a woman leaves a room at the Mariner's Inn. She sits next to Ethan, grabs the bottle of whiskey that he's busy polishing off, and pours herself a small shot all without a word.

They strike up a conversation, mostly because they both happen to be sitting there, and she did just nip some of his bottle without asking. Our woman comes off as the worldly sort without any illusions of what shit life can hand out.

She tells him she was a loomer, but all of the human workers are being replaced by better machines now. He tells her that he's an ex-theatre worker. Our woman tells him it's not to worry, as there is always a bit of money to be made as long as you still have a bit of flesh to peddle. She's refreshingly open and blunt, to Ethan's amusement.

But she's also suffering from a bit of health issues, as she keeps coughing into a handkerchief. And she admits that her lungs are buggered [My first guess was flu, but then I started thinking it's consumption, she's suffering from - which is quite worrying for Ethan to be in such close approximation but he doesn't seem to be concerned].

Ethan finally introduces himself by name with a handshake, which gets her to reveal she's Brona Croft.

She gives him a smile and a thank you for "breakfast", before going out into the world to find some work that a machine can't yet do.

Ethan immediately asks the barkeep if he has any more rooms for rent.

Commentary: And Brona is played by Billie Piper, so I like her immediately. She did very well at always smiling and being just slightly sarcastic, while showing a sadness over her lot in life underneath. This series is wracking up the terrific actors.

SC 07: At the Sir Murray's, Vanessa is currently penning a letter, when Malcolm comes in uninvited to tell her excitedly that someone is there. He tells her to unbutton the first button on her dress and then rushes back out, while she places her letter into her locked desk.

SC 08: The guest worth so much pleasure is Dr. Frankenstein.

Victor is brought down into Sir Murray's basement, where he has procured their vampire corpse -- this time, with all of the skin removed to better show off the full extent of the symbology across its inner skin. The body lies in salt to try to minimize the decomposition, so that Victor can perform an extensive battery of tests.

Vanessa notes Victor's chipper mood as she flashes her pale neck at him, and he agrees but provides no details of his recent successess, of course.

They discuss more about their subject, but Victor isn't all that interested in the Book of the Dead matter -- just enough to tell Malcolm that he's heard about the book, and has dabbled in other religions during his studies, but the esoterics aren't among his interests.

Vanessa spots Victor's poetry book, which takes her by surprise and she pulls a quote from the air especially pertinent to Victor's real field of interest, though she doesn't know why that particular verse came to her.

SC 09: Later, Victor studies a blood sample under slide, and reports his findings: Basically human, but with some exotic cells which he isn't able to identify. He tells Sir Murray that he'd need a hematologist consultant, and Sir Murray promises to engage one, whom Victor will consult with.

Victor tries to beg off as being too busy, but Sir Murray hands over a bundle of wrapped cash for his services, and insists that Victor will consult with their blood expert, when one is hired on.

Dr. Frankenstein takes his leave & Miss Ives tells Sir Murray that their doctor has a secret of his own.

SC 10: Elsewhere, Brona has gotten dressed up and pinches her cheeks for some color as she arrives at an apartment in the upper scale section of London. She's greeted and invited inside to her nervousness.

The apartment is palatial, putting her clearly out of her element, and opera plays throughout the cavernous rooms.

The walls are covered in artwork - all portraits of strangers from across time and place. And staring at the paintings is a lean, blond gentleman. He welcomes Brona, and introduces himself as Dorian Gray.

SC 11: Elsewhere, we pan across photographs of the crime scene with focus on the gruesome bodies of the woman and child killed at the very start of the opening scene of the series. We're in a detective's police office, where Sir Murray enters. Being of considerable wealth and reputation, he's able to impose on the Inspector.

Sir Malcolm and his man, Sembene, study the photographs and Sir Malcolm asks if the Inspector believes that Jack has returned, which is discounted due to the victims being in the vegetable trade, and not 'whores'.

Sir Murray questions if they were drained of blood, to the Inspector's confusion, but he answers in the negative. Sir Murray was clearly thinking 'vampires', but this appears to be the work of something or someone else. Sir Malcolm offers to continue assistance if the Inspector will share with him any further victims. When the Inspector asks if he believes there will be more, Sir Murray offers it is inevitable. He also shares that the Inspector won't find his killer with his current methods, because he's currently hunting for a man, but the evidence is pointing out that they've got a Beast in London.

[And with every other main character having secrets, I'm starting to wonder what Sir Murray's inner dark is all about. I already know something is off with Vanessa, so her dark secret is also sitting there to be revealed. And it was here that I was putting together some vague clues and wondering if Ethan isn't actually a blackout butcher -- Jack, after all? But one who is doing things unconsciously? Although, if he was responsible for the opening slaughter, then a Jack style killing isn't correct.

And now I wondered if they're pulling a Universal Monsters on us? Vampires. Frankenstein's Monster. Dorian Gray could be standing in for the Invisible Man. We haven't gotten a gill-man, but could Ethan be a werewolf?]

SC 12: In a room full of more paintings, flash powder goes off. We slow pan, to find that Brona's current way of making money is to model for risque photographs, which then lead into porn. Over this, watches Dorian in a state of boredom.

Brona coughs, and Dorian notes the blood on her lips. He asks if she has the consumption, and she confirms. She asks if she should go, but he offers that she should only do so, if she wishes. His interest is far more peaked now.

Dorian becomes turned on by Brona's sickness, and turns things toward the intimate, even after she warns about the sickness she carries. In fact, it is due to the sickness, that Dorian is apparently so interested in sex, now.

The photographer is instructed to expose his plates, as Dorian sets to intimate touching and then rutting with Ms. Croft.

Dorian straight up tells Brona that he's never fucked a dying thing before, excitedly...

As Dorian pumps her, Brona hocks up blood across him to her motification, but he only smiles and goes in for deep kissing.

Commentary: UGH. Dorian Gray is an awful, awful character and hand it to Reeve Carney for fulling embracing the decodence of the character. I found myself nearly immediately turned off, despite the supposed eroticism. His throwing Brona's impending death in her face was just tacky and cruel.

But for those interested, you do get to see Reeve's butt if you'd like.

SC 13: Elsewhere, a telegraph service is busy humming and clacking with activity. Ethan is there, where he picks up a telegram waiting for him. In VO, we hear it is from Ethan's father who is demanding that his son come home. He offers that he's been able to smooth things over with the Marshall Service, and that he has lawyers who can get his son out of his legal troubles.

SC 14: Back with Victor, he's sketching his creation, as Proteus colors contently. Dr. Frankenstein notices Proteus has begun to sing a little song to himself: An apparent sea shanty. Victor excitedly stands and retrieves a book with pictures to show to his resurrected man.

[Alas for me, Alex has been given clothing full time, now.]

Proteus is able to recognize a picture of whale hunters, indentifying the boat and the whale in the reproduction. He is also able to identify the men as hunting, and for some reason, this causes him to weep. It tells Victor that Proteus' former life was probably as a seamen who was a whaler.

Proteus is bothered by the fact that he's killed, but Victor tells him that as he "grows up", he'll discover that all men commit deeds and sins that they are shamed by. Proteus notes Victor's change in mood, as well, and pours him a cup of water (a bit clumsily still) to comfort him.

Proteus then stands under a skylight of sunlight and wonders at the bright warmth in the sky above him. He shifts foot to foot and goes back to softly singing to himself.

Commentary: I love the scenes between Harry Treadaway and Alex Price -- the two actors have such a quiet, intimate chemistry between them and there are beautiful moments between Victor and Proteus in the scenes between the two characters. If they'd miscast either of these parts, the scenes would've fallen apart, but both actors are restrained, controlled but affectionate.

They're really amazing together. And the orchestral score is perfectly used.

SC 15: That evening, Miss Ives and Sir Malcolm arrive at Mr. Lyle's grand party by carriage.

Sir Murray wishes to dive right into the additional runes recovered from the body in his basement, but Ferdinand hushes him, as that has been kept from his 'beloved, booze sodden' wife. He ushers Malcolm into a parlor, while Vanessa is left to make their introductions to the lady of the house in the name of propriety.

Commentary: Ferdinand Lyle is a curious, eccentric man. Clearly either gay or bisexual, and married more as a matter of convenience than passion, he's able to none-the-less move in his wife's circles with apparent comfort while also remaining highly unorthodox among the hoity of London society. I find him an interesting anomaly in the room, and I love Simon Russell Beale's embracement of Mr. Lyle's unusual personality quirks. In his first appearance, I was thinking it was too much, but now I just find him to be a breath of fresh air in the staid English manners drama going on around him.

Another small detail that I'm liking about how the series is being put together, is that the main characters clearly can't do everything themselves. Sir Malcolm is an adventurer, but he hires a expert in gunplay for the dangerous meeting with the vampires in their nest. His expertise and experience in globe trotting dealt with inner Africa, so he hires an Egyptologist when the vamps are involved in that region in some way. Doctor Frankenstein's expertise is of the anatomy and biological sciences - he's not one of the typical Omnidisciplinarians who is an expert at every subject, even other biological sciences such as in the study of blood are beyond his skillset when 'alien' cells are discovered.

Vanessa is being strongly hinted at as having psychic powers, but she isn't a telepath or displaying super powers in them and so will not be the Deus Ex Datadump character to shortcut the mysteries surrounding our characters.

The only thing I remain unclear on is how Dorian is going to be of any use to the larger plots of either Dr. Frankenstein's creature, or Sir Malcolm's search for his [oh, c'mon Sir Murray -- don't you think your daughter is well-doomed by this point -- she's with vampires!] missing daughter, Mina. The Invisible Man, I think, would've actually worked better in what I'm seeing thus far as our band slowly revolves around one another and becomes more entwined in each other's dramas.

SC 16: Vanessa stands alone in the crowd at the party, when she senses a heavy stare at her back. As she turns, she sees Mr. Gray approaching her with interest.

Dorian offers that he couldn't help but notice Miss Ives' skepticism about the room and its many clashing themes in the decor, showing him to be unusually observant about his surroundings and others' body language [which is going some way in giving me a guess on how he may be of use in the greater adventure].

He also happens to stand a bit to intimately close for somebody who has only just met a stranger. Vanessa finds him charming (which is apparently a Dorian superpower which has failed on me), and asks after his knowing Mr. Lyle. But Dorian only received a last minute, unexpected invitation to the soiree and decided on a whim to accept.

Interestingly, Vanessa takes a step back from him, apparently coming out from under his natural charm somewhat to ask him why he'd come, to which is response is that he never says 'No', in a borderline seductive manner.

Vanessa offers she wasn't skeptical about the room, and has Dorian guess at what her expression was actually denoting. He pretty much sizes up her entire character by the body language and her scanning eyes alone. All the while, he steps back into her personal space.

Dorian reaches out and takes Vanessa's hand to her momentary attempt to withdraw again, and tells her that he's noted that she's the only woman at the party not to be wearing evening gloves. He tells her seductively/creepily that her hands want to touch, but her mind wants to appraise, leaving her heart torn between the two impulses. His seduction seems to be drawing her in, but the spell is broken by Mr. Lyle who draws everyone's attention to him by insisting.

This is so he can introduce his guest of honor: They mysterious Madame Kali, who walks regally into the gathering with much dramatic posturing.

Commentary: It was an interesting interaction, setting up a possible physical relationship with the otherwise reserved Miss Ives, but I find myself just cold toward the Dorian character, so it isn't doing much for me. Despite his attempt at intimacy in a crowded room, he strikes me as too practiced in this sort of thing, which I believe to be deliberate by John Logan for the character. I am very curious though about how much Vanessa is picking up about Mr. Gray. It would be interesting if she mentions something about him to Sir Malcolm later.

SC 17: With the Madame's arrival, everyone gathers about a table in order for Kali to impress with her spirit calling skills (Spirit communication was the rage in early 1900s Britain - although it was the time of fraud exposure, too).

As the seance continues, Kali either is possessed by a spirit, or is faking the whole thing dramatically. But Sir Malcolm looks across the table in concern at Vanessa. She is staring into the candlelight, drifting - apparently - into a trance.

Kali's "possessor" voice is replaced by her own as she tells the summoners that another is among them, while Vanessa's hand covers her neighbors, Dorian's. Kali slips into whispering a foreign chant, while at the same time Vanessa jerks - her eyes rolled back, gasping at the ceiling.

Vanessa also starts to speak in tounges, but then she switches to the voice of a child, and turns attention straight on Sir Murray. She asks him to take her with him on an adventure, and the startled look on Sir Malcolm's face tells us that he recoginizes the words, and perhaps the prebuescent voice immediately.

Vanessa calls herself Peter, before hyperventilating violently. She asks Sir Malcolm how they'll survive with the porters missing?

Miss Ives, or her driver, now says things that implies she's reliving something that has happened to Peter, probably a son of Sir Malcolm, and that he must've gone to Africa with his father. Vanessa's language gets rough, saying that she's sick and the porters are dying, and she's shitting blood and wonders if it's the dysentary.

Kali looks fearfully between Vanessa and Sir Malcolm, as he becomes more physically upset. 'Peter' meanwhile, tells his father that he has no more clean pants and tells him that it's alright to leave him at basecamp to continue onward without him. He asks his father about naming a mountain after him, and asks if Malcolm is proud of him, before Vanessa jerks with outstretched hands causing the candlelight and the fireplace to extinguish.

'Peter' weeps as he says goodbye to Malcolm and then starts to sing a child's song. Sir Malcolm is unable to hold back his own tears, as he stares at Vanessa with a look of the shellshocked. As Malcolm looks on the verge of shattering, Vanessa's tone becomes hostile. She,  or rather 'Peter' asks if it isn't true that Sir Murray knew that Peter was dying then. Vanessa apparently lives out Peter's last, dying moments.

Dorian is left puzzled and taken aback, while Malcolm trembles and weeps with growing effort to suppress his heartache laid bare to the party goers. Vanessa continues to sit still in her chair, her eyes open, but seemingly empty. Kali stares at Vanessa, seemingly unsure whether to be afraid, or pissed that this other guest is stealing her spotlight.

But Vanessa now comes to, and continues, now seemingly channeling something other than Peter. This spirit appears far more unclean - obscene in its language and gestures.

This new spirit is of such power, that as Vanessa returns her hands flat on the glass table, it completely shatters and scares Madame Kali right out of her chair. This new presence still focuses on Malcolm, but this time taunting him that Mina is waiting for him.

Sir Malcolm stands up in outrage, but Vanessa outbursts a violent 'No...' and then shushes him. To Malcolm's extreme anger, the spirit in Vanessa wonders aloud when Sir Malcolm realized that he wanted to fuck "her", whoever she's referring to. The spirit's dialog makes it clear that Malcolm cheated on his wife, and that his daughter had caught him rutting with a mistress, damaging his relationship with Mina. Sir Malcolm stands frozen, shaking with rage at this shameful sin being used against him, and in public, by Miss Ives.

She crawls across the cracked glass of the table, sweeping candleabra aside as she continues to repeat, "You man, you animal!" over and over. Vanessa's possessors calls out that someone close by is filled with red eyes and a red mouth, and she's in a place cold and wet like a dark jungle. She pleads with Sir Malcolm to find her, now apparently being inhabited by the enslaved Mina.

Vanessa in the meantime has stood up on the table, and to everyone's fear, bends awkwardly backward, her back cracking.

Vanessa starts a warbling screaming cry, as Madame Kali repeats it, shaking violently on the floor.

Commentary: Wow! That scene started off feeling silly and like it was going to be a waste of minutes but turned into the exact opposite. We've gotten so much hidden backstory and implications about Sir Malcolm and his relationships to his children. We've now definitely gotten that Vanessa has some sort of psychic ability, and that she's susceptible to dark spirits because of this. And we know that the vampires can reach out through Vanessa, reinforcing her ability to link with them, hinted at in Episode 1 when her mearly staring at a vampire was enough to quell it.

One can't help but wonder if the thing in the darkness with the red eyes and red mouth isn't Dracula.

This scene was brilliant, with the foul language and Eva's physical acting - especially that contorting at the end and that unearthly warbling cry. Just brilliant!

And I liked a lot how Dorian's seemingly random meeting will be his gateway into the greater narrative, as surely this experience will be new enough for him to want to see much, much more of Miss Ives.

By the end of this scene, I was breathing heavily and a little bit afraid. KUDOS to this whole sequence.

SC 18: Vanessa suddenly bursts out of Mr. Lyle's home to march away in a growing storm, leaving behind everyone staring at her in fear and wonder over how the night suddenly went.

She walks the dark streets of London in a heavy thunderstorm, ignoring the elements battering her.

[The only reason I don't screen cap this is because I just did three -- but this is some amazing cinematography and camerwork looking down on the dark street (despite the row of lanterns trying to light it) and the rain and Vanessa looking small and focused. Beautiful, like a dark poster.]

A young man also out in the weather deliberately bumps her as he passes. Both of them stop, and stare back at one another. Vanessa strolls up to him, and without a word, takes him to an alley for a wild, meaningless rut against the soaking bricks.

SC 19: Sir Malcolm, meanwhile, sits at the cracked table at Mr. Lyle's alone.

SC 20: Miss Ives, or whatever is still driving her body - we can't tell - animalistically rides the young stallion, wiping blood from her glass cut hand down his face. [Okay, John and/or J.A. ... am I really going to have to dive into your psyches to find out what this warped blood and sex thing you've got going is about? Because, ew, I'd rather leave that in your mind(s) if it's all the same.]

SC 21: Malcolm continues to sit, looking broken by the seance and Peter and Mina's visitations.

SC 22: Meanwhile, Dorian has followed along behind Vanessa and now pervs on her riding the anonymous dayplayer wildly in the pouring rain.

SC 23: Sir Malcolm returns home alone by carriage, where Sembene greets him at the door. Sir Malcolm can scarce speak, and trudges wearily up the stairs toward his rooms. Suddenly changing his mind, he enters Vanessa's instead. He finds her there, curled up under her sheets.

We can see her shoulders carrying bruises. Sir Malcolm tenderly drapes a blanket over her and stares down at her with a heavy sigh.

Commentary: Now, this is an interesting bit. Sir Malcolm was shocked and angered by the spew that Vanessa threw at him over the seance, but he didn't look particularly surprised by her possession. And here, he's not reacting in a way you'd expect someone to react when they've seen an acquaintance apparently be possessed earlier in the evening.

You add this to the Christian iconography in Vanessa's rooms, her habit of praying in Latin, the spiders that sudden spin forth when she's praying for help... Is this not the first time that Vanessa has been used as a conduit? Perhaps even used as a conduit by dark spirits? Is this not the first time that Malcolm has seen Vanessa possessed?

SC 24: The following morning, we're again at the Mariner's Inn. Ethan is again starting his morning with a whiskey.

He's soon joined by Miss Croft, apparently only now returning [Wait, was she left to sleep off her sex with Dorian, while he left her to go to Ferdinand's?] from a night out. He offers her breakfast, and on seeing its "their usual repaste", she sits down with him.

They chat a bit, before she tells him she needs some sleep. Ethan offers to buy her dinner later, and she reponds that he's mistaken her for an innocent debutante, but he waves this aside. She offers that he likes the 'back alley' sort of woman, then, but he returns that he likes things to be presented as they are.

She accepts, as long as it's somewhere that isn't the dive inn.

SC 25: That mid-morning, Sir Malcolm returns to Mr. Lyle's to re-discuss the hierogryphics. Mr. Lyle's first line is, "I'm not having her (Vanessa) back," as he nervously smokes.

Ferdinand tells Malcolm that the debutants were outraged at the end of the night, but he waves this off as having to deal with a bit of social awkwardness, if you're going to interact with the agents of primordial darkness. One can't help but think that Mr. Lyle is trying to casual wave off something that struck him as a bit too outre, even for himself.

He's less sanguine about the throwing around the language Vanessa was using (I'm sure 'fuck' and 'cunt' were not going over well with the socialites), and that his wife was left mortified (though the gin helped). Malcolm apologizes on Vanessa's account.

Ferdinand turns attention to the real reason for their meeting. He immediately identifies one of the figures in the photos that Sir Malcolm supplies as one of the entities whose name came up the last evening - a dark goddess of Egypt, and the 'hidden one'. As Mr. Lyle studies the photographs of the body's hierogryphics, he's suddenly taken up short and his mood suddenly changes to butthurt over the spectacle of the last evening, to a more immediate worry.

He tells Malcolm that one of the images is brand new, never seen before. To Malcolm's questioning, he only says that what the picture is displaying is an impossibility. Mr. Lyle tells Sir Malcolm that whatever he is investigating, whatever need he believes that he is trying to fulfill, he should immediately forget that he ever saw the pictographs he's now shared.

He goes on to tell Sir Malcolm that their goddess of the night before was a consort to Amon-Ra, a reptilian god who represents perpetual life through rebirth, but only by consuming the souls of others. The goddess and he NEVER appear in the same pictographs. They're narratives are always kept completely separate in Egyptian mythology. This is because if the goddess was ever to join the god, she would become the mother of all darkness, and the light of the world would be snuffed out. He and She together would usher in the apocalypse.

[Alas, Malcolm doesn't immediately reach out to The Watcher's Council for the services of a Slayer, but obvs a fan fic writer should get on that correction, post haste.]

Amun-et and Amon-Ra must never be conjoined, as in the symbol which Sir Malcolm has brought. With the added information that Vanessa apparently channelled Amun-et at the seance, Mr. Lyle fears that Miss Ives is being hunted by the devil, now, to bring about the end of days for mankind.

Commentary: Future!Harsens will just butt in here to say that we'd forgotten about this, because this doesn't fully come about until season 3, but in retrospect, it's interesting that this is Miss Ives entire narrative throughout everything else we'll see in regards to her.

It also suggests that, indeed, Miss Ives and Sir Malcolm have both experienced Vanessa's being possessed before but that instead of your regular ghosts, it has been Amun-et on a journey to find Amon-Ra. (But in England, and among white people - because of course.)

SC 26: At that moment, Vanessa is sitting alone in her room, blowing clouds of cigarette smoke into the air and seemingly looking deeply into it for something.

SC 27: With Victor, he's dressed up Proteus to take him out of the lab for the first time and among the denizens of London as evening is setting. Proteus is excited, as with a child, at the thought of seeing everything outside of the walls he's used to. But Victor warns him that everything will be strange for him, and asks him to remain calm.

He forces Proteus to wear a cap in order to hide the scars along his skull. Proteus' first steps outside of the walls is a cachophony of noise and crowds. Scared, he back away toward the doors to Victor's apartment building, but Victor calmly steadies him and assures him.

Victor walks with him down the block to show him "everything".

SC 28: We get a montage of all of the sights and sounds of the local market, where Proteus excitedly recognizes a dog and a horse, listens to the horse's heartbeat, compares hat with some children, etc. all under Victor's kindly lead.

On the wharf, Proteus is in wonderment over the 'fairie lights' ... i.e. the gas lamps being lit since evening is deepening. A fog horn draws his attention to the bay, and he recognizes a frigate vessel.

He wanders over to the edge of the bay wall, and happily starts naming all of the classes of boat/ship that he sees plying the waters. Things, though, take a sadder turn as Proteus remembers his wife, named Dory, standing on the docks. Victor isn't altogether pleased with this particular memory of Proteus' existence returning.

Proteus turns to Victor and asks him "What am I?" to which Victor doesn't have a ready answer. Proteus insists on the doctor telling him the truth, but they're interrupted by an evening stroll of Ethan, and Brona. Ethan reminds the doctor of their meeting at his place of employment.

Proteus is immediately taken with Ms. Croft but she and Ethan find him a bit off.

SC 29: Victor returns "Mr. Proteus" to the lab. He tests his memory by having Proteus tell him about all of the things that he'd seen that evening on their walkabout. Proteus is talking about friendships, when he jerks suddenly. Blood appears on his chest over his heart.

[NO! Wait, wait... no... I like this guy!]

As Frankenstein watches, a hand burst out through Proteus' chest! [FUCK! WHAT THE HELL?!] Another hand joins the first, and Proteus is suddenly torn asunder down the middle!

And there, standing is the ACTUAL Frankenstein's Monster!! Proteus was the second creature! And the first is not at all happy to have been replaced by his creator.

Victor stands in horror as his first creation stares him down, and Proteus' split body falls to the floor. Victor falls to the floor beside his second resurrected man in obvious stricken grief. [ME, too... damn it!]

The Actual Monster glares at Victor on his knees and informs him archly that his first born has returned.

Commentary: Oh, man. I was so taken over by the sudden loss of Alex Price that I'm not kidding, I thought that my throat was going to constrict for a minute. I was worried I might even tear up a litte. I didn't. But G'Damn It -- I was really liking (loving) Proteus! FUCK!

The Good: There is some really good grue effects, again, with the opening attack.

Alex Price is perfect as Proteus. And I am was loving his chemistry with Harry Treadaway.

I am also really liking what they're setting up between Ethan and Brona, especially when Billie smiles or lightly laughs. She's delightful as an actress.

That scene with Gray seducing Croft for the cameras (and his own fascination) was really well done, if very disturbing.

The whole scene with Vanessa being inhabited at the seance was terrifically filmed, and left me anxious at the end of it... nice, nice job.

I am loving the scoring for this episode, and the way it was used.

The shocking entrance of The Monster as the real Frankenstein's Creature was shocking (but a caveat).

The Bad: I have nothing bad to say.

Other Thoughts: Well. All of our characters are being set up to be deeply flawed, which should make things very interesting, but finding a character to unabashedly love may be challenging. And I'm not convinced that Dorian Gray, as a character, actually fits into the other participants in the main storyline. I'm left awfully cold about his character, as is, and I'm afraid he's not going to mesh with the main plot well.

I am enjoying the way that one main player in the plot isn't able to do everything, so that an ensemble will actually be necessary, but Malcolm trying to find his daughter has me worried. One -- all signs point to her being dead, but I've not gotten the sense from Timothy's acting that his character has reached this place, yet. And that feels a little too ridiculous: he MUST know that she's a vampire by now. I'd like to have him acknowlege this by telling someone - Sembene would be a logical choice - that he knows he can't bring her home, but that he wants to rescue her from what she's become, just to make it clear he's not delusional about her being alive in the strictest sense.

I also had a small issue with a white woman running around calling herself "Kali". I wish they'd brought in an actual person of color for this role, or at least have a follow up appearance where she's actually named something much more Anglo-Saxon [Future!Harsens tells me this is so].

Hmmm... it feels like Vanessa's casual bang was unnecessary. I get that it's a sort of clue that Vanessa isn't herself, even after she storms out of the party, but it felt excessive.

I appreciated, too, that Mr. Lyle isn't just a comedy, eccentric character. It makes his fear about what Malcolm has brought to show him more impactful, because he's suddenly subdued and serious.

Okay, in addition to my personally hating that Proteus lies torn apart and dead, because Alex Price is suddenly gone from the cast, I also object (just a bit, I can't deny the scene worked) to someone as large as 'Frank' very suddenly standing behind Proteus to make his shock entrance. It's just... not plausible, to say the least. Even for a race of tv-people, who have zero peripheral vision, Victor not seeing 'Frank' beforehand is ridiculous.

The Score: This episode started off slowly, and I thought it would be a quiet one just there to set up things to come and ergo, ultimately skippable, but then that seance scene came up! And the continued wonderfulness of Victor and Proteus really added a lot of heart. And then we have that ending scene to change everything for Dr. Frankenstein.

4.0 out of 5 stars

Tags: penny dreadful s1 reviews

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