harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

Penny Dreadful reviewed: S01, E03


Penny Dreadful
S1, E03


Writer: John Logan
DIR: Dearbhla Walsh

Blurb: A flashback episode reveals what caused Dr. Victor Frankenstein to pursue his questions of life and death in an unethical manner. And we find out what happened to, and why Victor abandoned the First Creature and why the Creature is now back.

My Blurb: Which then caused my heart to break again due to the end last episode, thanks to the First Creature returning and taking out his anger and hatred on innocent, and adorable, Proteus.

Scene 01: We look upon a young boy, clearly our Victor, where he stares down at a flower. In voice over, Victor recites a poem by William Wordsworth as he strolls through a garden of flowers.

He comes across something that is highly blurred, but the suddenly comes into focus. It is his dog, dead long enough for the maggots to have begun their work on the carcass.

A voice over of his mother says in sympathy that she's sorry about Bradshaw. We see now that she's actually there with him, her face beautifically framed by sunlight. She tells him that he was a good dog.

Commentary: Not that I wanted a dead dog on screen, but uh -- this prop dog looked a lot like it was made out of felt. Otherwise, I think we can already intuit that Victor's mother will die, which will really kick off his mad science interest, just by the way that the actress was framed in that brief shot, showing Victor idolized her.

Scene 02: We skip over to an outside shot of the grand manor that Victor grew up in, so clearly he was in the money at some point, in stark contrast to the conditions he lives in now to pay for his grotesque experiments.

Inside, boy-Victor lies in bed, looking sweaty. His mother sits at his side. He thinks about death and points out to his mum that when poets speak of death, they're always describing it as serene. He wonders if that is the fact of it.

Victor is definitely sickly, and he wonders more about the ending of things, but his mother asks him if instead of an ending, if maybe death is more like a movement toward something else. As Victor and his mother bonds over missing Bradshaw, to the horror of both, blood begins to seep from the corner of his mother's mouth.

She has a spasm cough, splashing Victor in blood as she chokes. Victor wheezes in horror, gripping his mother's hand tightly, as she spasm-squeezes his in return, struggling to breathe.

Scene 03: Cut to a maid rushing upstairs with towel, bowl, and water.

Victor stares in through the crack in the door as the maid rushes up behind and around him. We hear his mother continue to struggle with her breath, through bouts of choking.

From another room comes his father, and he quickly orders Victor to come away from his mum's sickroom. The view of his mother is of a woman in dire straits, coughing blood up by the mouthful, and the servants doing little of help.

He asks his father if she'll die that day, which his father denies in shock at Victor's asking. Victor (I just can't see him as 'Vic', so I apologize to the reptitive use of his name) observes that death is not serene.

His father, realizing that it's a little too late to try to protect his son from seeing his mother in misery silently walks away.

Scene 04: Cut to later, where his mum is being laid to rest. Victor does not stand with the rest of the family, but gazes on dispassionately from across the lawn.

To his father's sympathetic gaze toward him, he walks away with a cold determination on his face.

Scene 05: In his room, he carries two large, thick volumes. Pushing everything on his desk to the floor (which reveals artistic talent and interest), he sets down medical volumes.

Scene 06: In the present, Frankenstein is on hands and knees on the floor. He, with fright, stares up at the First Creature. The creature repeats his final lines of last episode. Victor kneels over the remains of Proteus, as the First Creature [who will end up going by John Clair, so let's just do that] asks him if he thought that John would not find him.

Despite Victor's obvious despondancy over the fallen Proteus [I share your pain, Victor! Proteus was going to be my series boyfriend!], John natters on about how he can't die, so Victor should've known he'd come back for him. He's florid. And enraged. And very theatrical.

[And it all works wonderfully for this scene! The set and camera shots have been set up to look like we're watching a two man play, and both actors are fully engrossing.]

John orders Frankenstein to stand and face him, so Victor does, but he's shaking and near hyperventilating. John goes on to point out that everything that Victor had hoped to find in his replacement [alertness, mobility of expression... all physical attributes toward 'humanity'], he already has in his first born.

He then smears Proteus' blood on his hands over Frankenstein's face. John tells Victor to listen to how his first creature bled [i.e. suffered, not literally bled and presumably after Frankenstein ran off on him].

Scene 07: The Creature takes Victor back to the night of a storm raging outside. At first John's perception was warped, so he wasn't sure what he was seeing. But then Victor, holding a candle and staring down into John's eyes came into focus. The Creature took its first deep breath. And screamed!

John voiceovers to scenes of his screaming and knocking over shelves, as he stumbled around that he was born into a terrifying agony. A horrified Victor could do nothing, being rooted to the spot, but gaze upon a desperate resurrected man screaming out at him in beseeching.

But Victor, so overcome that this creature was not his beautiful resurrected man that he'd been working toward, pulled away from John's grasp. He rushes from the room, abandoning his suffering, blood covered and naked man alone in despair and physical agony.

John is bitter that his first human reaction upon his birth was rejection. And he waited for Victor's return, but the doctor ran away, never to return.

[And if you want to see Rory's ass, you get plenty of opportunity. I should warn you it's covered in blood, though.]

Scene 08: After some undetermined amount of time, John stopped screaming a wretched sob for deliverance from whatever this horror was that he was experiencing. His pain subsided. And out of the windows of Victor's lab, he saw sunlight and heard children playing.

He was drawn to the barred window, and he watched people on the street and learned what they were [from the piss poor example of a man whipping a poor horse pissless for not following whatever command he's trying to give the animal, so not really the best of examples to reteach The Creature about humanity].

Commentary: The voiceover narration is stellar by Rory Kinnear, but this section of The Creature's beginnings hews a little too close to Shelley's tale [which exists in universe, written earlier than Victor's experiments because John specifically mentions it - which confuses things mightily that his tale is now following so closely to her fictional story] to be entirely engrossing. We're all aware of the most basic outlines of Frankenstein's folly, so I do wish we'd gotten some differing twist on it if we were going through his whole history.

On the positive side is definitely Rory's acting, and the fact that in-universe, John isn't relating information that Victor already knows because he was there -- the worst sort of scripting to get the audience caught up. Instead, he's telling Victor how he came to track him down, because his creator wasn't there.

Scene 09: The Creature then went on to read the volumes of poetry and other books that Victor had abandoned in his haste to flee responsibility for what he'd brought life. He'd learned that Victor preferred the old romantics from his pencilled notations, but poor Victor didn't realize he was creating a modern man... one of hard iron.

Victor tries to flee again, but John easily grabs him, lifting him without effort by one hand and pinning him against a pillar. With him held immobile, he turns his sights back on Proteus, and sobs - asking how he could have done that to him.

The Creature offers that aborting Victor's child before it could learn pain was a mercy. He throws Victor to the floor and stands over him, glaring with spite.

Scene 10: Back at the Murray townhouse, Vanessa carries a cup of tea up the stairs. The house is cavernous, and oh so quiet. She suddenly stops, swaying with a psychic impression, like cold air across the skin.

She tries to shake it off and continue to her room, but the psychic impression returns stronger. This time there are strange vocalizations, almost hyena laughing, and deep human-voice roaring.

Vanessa is mentally transported into the deep darkness, but never leaves the hallway. She drops her teacup, but perceives it as stopping in mid-air. And there before her, is a terrified Mina Murray, begging Vanessa to help her.

She asks where Mina is, but of course she answers with a non-sequitor. Time seems to snap back into place, as Vanessa now sees the teacup complete its trajectory to the floor beneath.

Commentary: OH, C'Mon. Please tell me nobody is buying this. Not after the visitation [as confusing as it was] to Malcolm. Mina is dead. She isn't terrified and surrounded by vampires. She is one. She has to be! It has been too long for her to still be kept alive.

What I wish I understood is why the vampires keep stringing Malcolm and Vanessa along to find her. What do they want? What is the endgame here for the monsters with this ruse?

[I should've seen the entire thing coming with Mr. Lyle's observation that Vanessa is being pursued by 'the devil', but I didn't. And we have to wait until S3 to get a solid answer... but really, don't be as dumb as me. Although, to be unusually fair to myself: I don't really spend time looking forward while I'm watching something. I don't really want to see the big moments coming, because I like that sudden gut-punch of shock, that sudden horrible sinking feeling when the revelations begin playing out. But still..., this one should've gotten through my wall.]

Scene 11: Vanessa rushes to Sir Malcolm's study, her cheeks still wet with tears.

She tells him that she needs to talk to him, even though he looks a little annoyed with the interruption.

Scene 12: Sometime later, we're with Victor and The Creature, where the not-resurrected man is picking himself off the floor. Proteus' remains are still there on the floor in all its terrible [because Dearbhla is also psychic and knew I'd be watching and that I'd want Proteus to be my movie boyfriend, and decided to continue pouring salt in my wound, no doubt laughing maliciously as he does so] horror.

[And, wait... how long did Victor lie there?! I think we have some editing-time-shenanigans afoot between the scene before we visit Vanessa, then this scene after our scene jump. It looks like hours must've passed. Oh, for mercy's sake, harsens-rob, get on with it!]

Eventually, John had to venture out from the hideaway only to be confronted by the open contempt at his appearance. So The Creature started its quest to find its creator. He found only cruelty, bumping into a woman and having her repulsed by his face, and then beaten by men on the street to protect her honor... or just because they're street trash looking for reasons to visit violence on the obvious outsider.

But on the same night as he learned personally of man's hatred, he also discovered mercy in the form of an elderly gentleman, who other than tactlessly asking what happened to his face, offered him kindness. And alcohol... from a test tube hidden in his cane handle [which is so awesome, I wish I carried a cane to work].

The old man gets a closer look of John's face, and assumes that he'd had a mechanical accident at some factory. He takes the bedraggled Creature out for eats and companionship. And John finds out that the elderly gentleman is in the theatre, and so is also used to being close to broke and homeless.

After lamenting that he used to be valued for his art, the old man confirms with John that he needs work, and offers him a position where his visage won't be of such hindrance.

Commentary: Wow. I absolutely adored Alun Armstrong's delivery of his soliquey about how the deformed and neglected can find love and acceptance in the theatre. That was so wonderful [and I'm really tired] that it left me with a tear in my eye. Lovely.

Scene 13: Vincent Brand brings John to the Grand Guignol, lamenting again that the hall used to play Shakespeare, but now has had to perform for the masses, with more outlandish fair. The Creature is left awed, and dazzled by both Vincent's easy acceptance and the entire aura of stagecraft. And he forgets about his burning desire for his creator's head.

[Well, obvs this is going horribly wrong. Which is sad, because I like this John.]

Scene 14: We jump to a woman screaming as a razor is brought across her throat, and blood pours down her cleavage.

There is an off-screen "Oy, oy, oy..." and a complaint about the amount of blood being dumped from the pump. For the woman was not actually getting her throat slit. We are back stage, during rehearsal, where Vincent and John enter from the stage door.

The performance they're working on is the tale of the mad barber, Sweeney Todd.

John is led under the stage by Vincent who offers him the position of "stage rat"... the man responsible for rigging, the lighting and other special effects. And he's offered that he can make himself a living space there, if he wishes.

John takes it with joy. And Vincent finally gets around to asking The Creature's name, which leaves him at a loss as he doesn't remember his past, at this point. Vincent takes his hesitation as fear of being known by his real identity, and offers that The Creature can use an alias, as so many theatre people do. He offers him the name [no, not John Clair - that comes later, but it's the most convenient for me to use] Caliban, which brings a smile to John's face.

Scene 15: He VOs to Victor that he'd found a home [but alas, he also found an actress with which to form an insta-love on, surely leading to that which went so wrong].

John finds himself in his element, working in the shadows. He [okay, he is too florid] compares the actors to beings like himself- dying, but always being resurrected the next night. Maud Gunnerson gets shot dead on stage by Vincent, to the audience's gasps and shock (& delight, but don't expect them to admit to such).

But not everyone welcomed him [there's always one or two, isn't there?] due to his grim features, and he saw them whispering and laughing at him, reminding him that he was different and meant only to lurk in darkness.

Scene 16: John tells Victor that after he'd found work and a place to lay his head, it was easier to slip out at night to find Victor [and dammit, there's Proteus again...].

He found him in short order, and saw what he was up to, so he waited - following his progress on his 'brother'.

Victor finally asks what it is that John wants of him for if it was to make him suffer, he's done that now. Frankenstein weeps again, and apologizes for leaving his creation, for the cruelty he'd endured and for the nightmare he now lives, but also points out that he can't unmake the past.

John tells him that he's not interested in the past, but only the future. He tells Victor to get up and walk with him. He gives Frankenstein a dirty rag to wipe the blood off of his face, and tells him he's going to show him what John wants.

Commentary: So, I was wrong. Despite John's finding a place where he mostly has acceptance, he didn't let go of finding Victor. And it's really sick that he stalked him and waited for his 'brother' to be created, just so he could destroy him. I want to be on somebody's side here, but I CAN'T  ---  They're both repugnant characters!

Scene 17: The following morning, Ethan and Brona are banging [Billie's turn to show off her butt, as she's riding Ethan's shlong in a quite graphic way]. Bang, bang, bang. Ethan then flips her onto her back on the mattress [hi again, Josh's ass!]. They stop long enough to share a tender kiss, and then it's back to graphic, slow thrusting [hey, Josh's ass -- not that I mind seeing you a lot, but I have internet porn for this sort of thing now].

Ethan has his 'O' moment.

A bit later, and they cuddle in the afterglow. Brona gets up to go to the wash basin, where she's hacking [hi, Billie's butt; nice to see you again so soon]. Ethan asks if she has medicine, but Brona asks who has money for that, when there is eating to be done.

She smiles through her coming doom, but Ethan gets a thoughtful look.

Commentary: The nudity. Hmmm. This was on Showtime, so I guess it was to be expected and I'm glad that Netflix didn't sensor the crap out of these episode to avoid butt-shots, but really... I don't think it was entirely necessary to get so lingering a camera angle on them. BUT- It's fantastic that the nudity is equal opportunity, which is still much too rare.

If you want the women to keep doffing their tops and bottoms, it's only fair the men should have to show us their bodies, too.

Scene 18: At the Murray residence, Malcolm is going over a London City Map, with Vanessa. He identifies where he believes that Vanessa's psychic flash may've been leading her. They're interrupted by Sembene [who I want to see more of, darn it] announcing Ethan.

Ethan gets straight to the point, offering he needs money and he's willing to work for it. This is good timing, due to the conversation just happening between Vanessa and Sir Malcolm. He tells Ethan they're planning another expedition, and leaves it to Ms. Ives to explain the details.

Vanessa inquires after Ethan's wanting money to return home, but Ethan says home has nothing for him. He asks if Sir Malcolm hasn't located his daughter yet, and Vanessa shares that this is true, but she came to her. He smirks through assuming that she didn't mean that Mina knocked on the door to say hello. Vanessa tells Ethan that she can see things sometimes and that she's affected by forces beyond their world. She wonders that he wouldn't question that. But he tells her that although he has many questions about what they're involved in, he doesn't doubt her word on her visions.

She invites him to sit, and starts to tell him what they're next plan is, but he interrupts to ask what happened to Mina Murray. Vanessa looks a bit surprised at the question, but reveals that Mina had been working as a governess & became engaged with a Jonathon Harker. But she then became embroiled with another man, but not 'a man' per se. This other creature began to influence her behavior, and now she's enslaved. They don't know the identity of the man, if man he be. But they do have a line on Mina's location, from the animal sounds received during Vanessa's experience. They intend to slip into the London Zoo.

Scene 19: It's well after dark, when the cleaned up John and Victor stroll the streets. The Creature makes some biting comments toward his brother, and Victor shares that he had a name, one he picked out for himself [well, not really - not in the manner that the statement implies... he could've just as easily picked 'The' or 'An'].

Victor again asks that The Creature tell him what he wants of his creator, and The Creature says that Victor knows what he wants. To this, Frankenstein tells him to stop tormenting him, which John finds darkly humorous, considering their past. Victor, tears in his eyes again over his other creation [that I'm really hoping someone is going to shovel up off of the floor at some point], demands to be told what The Creature seeks.

The Creature gets around to Victor understanding that he wants love, but Frankenstein tells him he could never love him. To this John scoffs that he isn't seeking his love, that the doctor isn't even capable of such feeling. No, he wants a companion that will be at his side throughout existence. He suggests that the doctor choose one of the women on the street to murder and resurrect. He tells Victor he will create him an immortal companion, or The Creature will strike down everyone Victor has ever loved [I thought he wasn't capable of love, John?].

Commentary: It's so easy to be filled with compassion for The Creature in this episode, and to fall for Harry Treadaway with his soulful, teary eyes... and then they open their mouths and you remember that Frankenstein is a cowardly, irresponsible, unethical twat and The Creature is a fury-bound, hateful, murderous piece of shit.

All of our characters are morally bankrupt [even Vanessa, as we'll find], but these two... guh!

Scene 20: Meanwhile, out at the zoo, our characters walk by the rows of animal-cruelty-cages. Vanessa tries to pick up any signals, but is unsuccessful. They walk further on, when Vanessa stops again. Malcolm asks if it's Mina, but Ives shushes him.

Around them, in the darkness, wild dogs trot toward the group. Vanessa senses something wrong, and turns on Malcolm, asking him what is it that he didn't tell her? Before there can be a response, there is a snarl from close by.

Our foursome suddenly find their path blocked by a pack of wolves in London! They're quickly surrounded, almost as if they stepped right into a waiting trap! [And yes Sir Malcolm, what didn't you reveal that could've saved you all a savaging by canine bites?]

Sembene draws a short sword (a kukri, maybe?) and Malcolm draws his gun. But Ethan warns him not to fire. He warns them not to move in the slightest. To the wonderment of the others, Ethan then steps forward and kneels before the pack leader. He pulls a glove off, and holds his hand out, palm flat toward the wolf, who gingerly approaches him.

He and the wolf have a stare down, as the wolf threatens to bite the tips of his fingers off... but it doesn't. Instead, the whole pack just turns around and goes on their way!

Commentary: OH, F! Ethan is definitely a god-damned werewolf! And he's responsible for the harlot, & that mother and her daughter's utter dismemberment! And who knows how many others he's killed? That's probably why he's on the run!

Scene 21: Ethan leads the others in the opposite direction from the wolves, through Central Park London. But Ms. Ives suddenly stops to a strange sound and a psychic impression. She leads Malcolm to one of the cruelty-cages of the zoo.

The cage is for the monkies, but what Vanessa is interested in, is the giant hole in the fence. As she circles the cage, she finds evidence of rabbits having been torn asunder, and hears the sounds of grunting and chewing.

Waiting for her discovery is a vampire...

The vampire looks at Vanessa curiously, but then launches itself to attack. He's stopped in his tracks by a solid blow to the face from Ethan's gun. Our sharp shooter is about to blow the vampire away, but Sir Malcolm suggests they could learn more from a prisoner, than a dead vampire.

Scene 22: Elsewhere, Victor is heavily treading his way back home from the trip with The Creature. He's still weepy over the mess waiting for him in his [freakishly roomy] hidden lab. But from a doorway, he spots Sembene waiting for him with a message that Sir Malcolm requires his services, again.

Scene 23: Back in Sir Malcolm's cellar, he, Ethan & Vanessa stare down at their guest-in-chains.

Sir Malcolm tries to get information about the vampire's, Fenton, master but only gets a snarl in return. This earns the vampire a boot in the face. The creature vomits up blood on the floor, and then turns to licking it up off of the cellar floor [ew, thank you for that image].

Fenton intimates that his master [Is it Dracula?] has been watching them all. He warns that the darkness will overcome the Earth and the creatures in it will come forth out of hiding. He whispers the names that Mr. Lyle warned of: the coming together of Amon-Ra and Amon-Et.

Fenton whines that he's so hungry, but because he's not answering where his master is, Sir Malcolm turns to beating him. He's stopped by Ethan, who views the vampire as too pathetic to treat that way.

In the meantime, Sembene arrives with Victor in tow.

Scene 24: The gang take a meeting upstairs, out of the vampire's hearing. Ethan is still pissed about Malcolm torturing a child, but Victor argues that Ethan's squeamishness sounds hollow, considering Americans' obliteration of Native Indian tribes.

Sir Malcolm asks for Victor's impressions of their guest, and Frankenstein states they should keep him for a test subject so Victor can work on a possible cure. Vanessa asks about a cure for what, and Victor states that he'll start by treating their subject as if he's suffering a blood disorder, and see where that leads. Malcolm asks to what end Victor may wish to treat the creature, and Frankenstein points out that if he can remove the toxins and they see improvement in the subject, they may need a cure for when they find Mina, if she has been infected.

Ethan is even more incensed that they're talking about keeping a boy chained to a wall and experimenting on him like he's a rat, when they're not discussing torturing him for information. Vanessa tells Ethan to leave if he can't stomach it. She stares down Ethan, telling him that she, Malcolm and Sembene have been brutalized and have turned brutal in response. She warns him that if he stays, there is no going back from this moment, implying that more cruelty may be yet to come.

Malcolm stands and seeks unwavering commitment from Ethan and Victor, if they wish to continue against whatever has his daughter. He demands fealty to no one but each other and starts with Vanessa to "swear to go as far as [your] soul will allow". She gives her word, with a nod, as does Sembene as expected. Victor is a bit more hesitant, but nods his agreement.

Which leaves Ethan. Sir Malcolm tells him to swear he is with them, or to leave the house and forget the mysteries they seek to solve. He turns attention specifically to Ms. Ives and tells her that he stands with her.

Commentary: I really liked the intensity of this scene, especially Josh Hartnett's conflicted, fearful stare down with Vanessa's flat, cold, appraising glare. This quiet scene was well done, and Timothy Dalton has a special talent for making overwritten dialog sound natural and full of weight. I'm loving him in this role -- so I expect soon, we'll find out his character is awful, too.

Scene 25: With a compact of honor made, Vanessa turns to the question that didn't have a chance to be answered from earlier in the zoo... what was Sir Malcolm hiding? She's already guessed that he didn't expect to find Mina in the park, and wants to know why that is.

Sir Malcolm tells Vanessa what he learned from Mr. Lyle. That the creature they seek doesn't want Mina, but wants Ms. Ives herself. She asks why, and Malcolm tries a "I don't know", but Vanessa sees through that. She demands to know what he does. He still tells her that he doesn't know and Vanessa guesses that she was being used by Murray as bait. He blandly tells her she was.

Scene 26: Sometime later, in front of a fireplace, Ethan has a drink with Vanessa and tells her about the woman he has fallen for, and who needs money for medication because of The Consumption. She sympathizes with him, as there is no cure for TB.

Commentary: I am so attracted to Josh, right now. He really rocks the early 20th century attire in browns.

Scene 27: In the meantime, Malcolm is seeing off Victor. They discuss the following evening to get started on the blood experiments, with Victor working with the hemotologist that Sir Malcolm has already consulted and now hired on to assist them.

Victor warns that whatever becomes of the creature in his cellar, from the next evening forward, it'll be their responsibilities now. That every action they take will forge another chain link binding them to it [very obvs referring obliquely to his own binding to The Creature].

Scene 28: In the cellar with Fenton, he begins whispering for his master. He smiles as he feels/hears his master's presence.

The Good: All of the scenes between Harry Treadaway and Rory Kinnear were amazing, as both men were terrific. The intimate play-like filming of the scenes in Frankenstein's lab play cleverly into The Creature's telling of his history, where he actually ends up in a theatre. And I'm putting in a kudo for the scenes between Rory and Alun Armstrong as well.

I loved the idea of The Creature having a place in a horror-themed theatre, where he can be accepted without being mocked by putting him onstage to horrify audiences. He's not only given work, but he's given dignity by Vincent Brand.

I continue to like the relationship building between Ethan and Vanessa. It would be fantastic if they never have sex (another rarity among close opposite gender characters in tv) and just end up having this deep, abiding love and understanding between them.

The Bad: There are some weird scene transitions, where time starts to come unstuck due to the editing. It's hard to know when we've moved into the next day, or if we're just visiting our different pairs of characters on the same day, with too many of the transitions.

Other Thoughts: I don't mind nudity - really, I don't. Especially when it's being equally distributed, but this episode especially felt like we were seeing skin, just because we were on cable. Unlike say the scene between Dorian and Brona that gave us insight into the decodent immorality of Dorian Gray, we didn't need the nudity to emphasize anything here. On the other hand, Billie has a nice butt and you know I'm digging seeing Ethan's, so... I should probably just shut up.

The all-but-verbally confirmed reality of Ethan's being a beast that tears apart, even actively hunting people who should be safe in their own homes, innocent people makes another character that will be hard to love. I like that our characters are going to have layers and all, but I'd like to find a series-boyfriend who lasts longer than two episodes and I'm certainly not going to be finding him among our primary protaganists.

I do find Ethan's sudden concern for a vampire boy's health weird and offputting. It feels like it was stuffed in there so Ethan could have more weight when he commits to Vanessa in particular. But since he's been off butchering people with seemingly little effort to chain himself away during the moon [unless I'm totally off base with his being the butcher whose work we saw in ep 1 & 2, in which case I'm now embarrassed], his concern over a creature like the ones they've already almost been slaughtered by felt forced... and hypocritical to boot.

I also like the fact that our characters have the central dilemma of the vampires in London, but they're also going to have to deal with their personal bullshit, too so it isn't all about only Vanessa and Malcolm. The only one I'm still worried about not tying in yet is Dorian's story. And it doesn't help when he's not even in the episodes dealing with the central threat. It's hard to see what they're going to be doing with him, or how to bring him 'into the fold'.

The Score: This was a solid episode, but not as riveting as the first two episodes. I loved the acting by Rory, but the Frankenstein Monster's tale is a little too worn by now for me to have welcomed a retelling of his history taking up so much screentime. Even the terrific idea of his finding shelter in a horror playhouse is still skirting a bit too closely to Universal's finding shelter in the hermit's hut.

I also found the titilating nudity to be too intrusive into the narrative this time out, with the exception of that found during the First Creature's birth.

3.50 out of 5 stars

Tags: penny dreadful s1 reviews

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