harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,
harsens_rob
harsens_rob

Penny Dreadful, reviewed: S1, Episode 4

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Penny Dreadful
Season 1, Episode 4

"Demimonde"

Writer: John Logan
DIR: Dearbhla Walsh





Blurb (imdb): Vanessa's infatuation with Dorian Gray grows. Professor Van Helsing is hired to work with Dr. Frankenstein. Fenton draws his master to Sir Malcolm's mansion.


Scene 01: We open on Opera playing softly, as an assortment of naked people (mostly women, of course, but not exclusively) lounge about. There is some BDSM in the background as POV weaves through the gathering.

We're at Dorian's, because of course we are.

He's sitting on the sofa, with a woman at his leather-clad knee and a man in his arms. They watch as Ms. BDSM is being eaten out by a woman on her knees as Mr. BDSM is rubbing her shoulders and arms.

On another sofa nearby, a couple copulates. There is drug use. Dorian's male companion begins to kiss at his nipple, but Dorian appears quite bored. The ennui of the rich, idle and immortal. Dorian stares up at his collection of paintings of people surrounding him.


Scene 02: Much later, Dorian is alone wandering his cavernous manor. He picks up a candle and wanders along empty hallways. Behind one particular painting is a hidden passage, which he now follows. This leads to a room tucked away, and within this, is the painting of his story. His vulnerability, but also his source of longevity and eternal beauty.

He sits and stares at the image, but we do not see it.


That evocative credits sequence does its thing.


Scene 03: We now join Vanessa as she's staring from a bench at one of England's grand churches. She's disturbed from her thoughts by a little girl asking her why she doesn't go in. The girl is chatty, easily skipping from one topic to another, which lightens Vanessa's mood from her heavy contemplations.

The girl says some things about burying her mother, and how she won't stay there, which freaks Vanessa out a bit. But the girl smiles at her that the dead go to Heaven... well, unless they go to the other place. During this, she is giving Vanessa a look as if she were actually far older than her body might make her look. It unnerves Ms. Ives.

Vanessa is left pondering the church again, when she spots Dorian Gray exiting. Vanessa eyes follow Dorian's progress intently, before she gets to her feet, and begins to follow - still fascinated by their previous encounter.


Scene 04: Ms. Ives and Mr. Gray end up in a botanical gardens, where Dorian is taking in the sight and smells within a greenhouse. Vanessa has a weirdly intent gaze for him as she follows behind, watching him caress the petals of a dewed flower, seemingly captured by his fingertips. A moment later, Vanessa seems to take hold of herself, breaking a sort of light trance.

Dorian is sensually touching and smelling the orchids, as Vanessa slowly approaches him, watching.

Ms. Ives intrudes on his moment, but he's very pleased to see her again.


Commentary: This scene is a bit strange, and feels out of place somehow. And yet, I can kind of get it. I think that Vanessa is impacted by Dorian's supernatural beauty, due to her own psychic abilities, and that caused her to almost be pulled toward him. And, this is a way to bring Dorian closer to the greater narrative, but the meeting is so random. I don't like the set up, I think. I believe it would've worked better if Dorian had purposely seeked out Vanessa because he remained fascinated by her due to the seance he attended with her.

He could sense that she was an unusual woman, and she in turn would still be influenced by his erotic aura. Perhaps over time, she'd even begin to wonder if there wasn't something more unusual than she had at first perceived. And, ultimately, vampire hunting could be the thing that would relieve his boredom, at least for a time.

It would also be interesting to see him vying with Ethan for Vanessa's attentions, though Ethan's attraction to her is different than Dorian's.



Scene 05: Dorian leads Vanessa to a purple-flowered plant, and has her describe her impressions of it. She tells him that its sent reminds her of berries, and a jungle. It invites her to touch its fragrance against the skin of her neck, to taste its petals. He smiles, and tells her it's the Belladonna. The flower's beauty and intoxicating scent is to draw in the unwary and poison them. That is why he likes plants, they can have such hidden layers to them.





Dorian is fascinated by the dark within seemingly beautiful things. This leads to Vanessa commenting on how things are rarely what they seem, while Dorian acknowledges that everyone has their own secrets, too.

It seems that Vanessa is approaching a revelation about Dorian's nature, but the moment is lost when he points out the plant that he actually wanted to take special interest in showing her. This would be one of the rarest orchids in the world, being gazed upon by a small crowd. Dorian and Vanessa share more subtext flirting with one another about dangers lurking below the surface of a thing [which is certainly applicable to Mr. Gray, without a doubt].

Dorian leaves Vanessa for another engagement, her being shaken by his intimate contact, despite their having been in such a public venue.


Scene 06: Elsewhere, Victor is consulting with a hemotologist over the blood sample of the vampire recently captured. The blood expert is Dr. Van Helsing.

Through some experimentation, Abraham shows Victor that the blood has a unique and rare property that is stopping the fresh blood from coagulating. Victor wonders to what purpose, and Abraham suggests with a very serious look of meaning, that such a property would assist with the consumption of blood, for one example as to a purpose, if one is needed.

Victor immediately gets up and crossed the room, and we find that he and the Professor are in Sir Malcolm's sitting room. Victor closes the door on Sembene, in order to confide in Van Helsing about current events around the Murray residence.

It turns out that Dr. Van Helsing knows much more than Frankenstein or Sir Murray realized. This isn't the first time that Abraham has seen a sample such as the one he was asked to analyze for them. Victor is taken aback by this revelation, but his attention is drawn to outside as horses whinny. He checks to see who is arriving at the residence. What he sees is his creation, stalking him from across the plaza. Victor excuses himself.


Scene 07: Frankenstein leaves the residence to confront John on his presence at the Murray's. John is again there to stress him on creating a companion, but Victor frustrated informs him that the lab is in shambles, and he needs supplies to do what John wants. All of that takes money, which is why he's engaged at this home.

John presses on Victor to be on with it, as he has no patience for his creator. He also warns that his bride will need to be beautiful, however she is to be acquired.





Scene 08: Elsewhere, Brona and Ethan are lying in bed, canoodling.

Brona wonders at Ethan's lips and all of the other lips they've kissed, but he assures her that is in the past now. She offers up tidbits of her own past, telling him of her engagement to a brutal man with brutal hands. He asks why she'd be engaged to such a man. She replies that there was no money, so you either married, and he was a ship welder - so he was gainfully employed, or you whored. Brona, emotionally, tells Ethan that one night when he was fucking her, he was rough, and there was blood. So she went to her mother, and she was advised to go back and marry him, anyway.

That same day was the first day that she'd turned to fucking a stranger for money. Ethan tenderly wipes a tear from her cheek. Ethan whispers to her that they all have a past, and further tells about his dark deeds. And I love the way it's phrased, so...

"We've all done things to survive. There are such sins at my back, it would kill me to turn around."

They cuddle, before Ethan smiles and tells her that he's going to take her out on the town. Ethan gets up to gather some funds, so he can take her out [more Josh ass]. Brona asks him to be careful with this mysterious work he's doing.


Commentary: I love Billie and Josh's work together. And the more I see of Ethan, the more I love Josh taking this role. This is a small scene, but it's some beautiful acting, and nice character development work that is both hinting more at Ethan's troubled backstory (we still haven't gotten firm confirmation about what is going on with him, but I think it's relatively clear that he'll be the werewolf killing people in London), and motivation for everything that Brona does later.


Scene 09: Back in the Murray cellar, the nameless young vampire strains at his chains and snarls.

Victor is readying a shot of sedation, while the vampire struggles to break free. He suddenly calms enough to insist that he be allowed to see "mother": Vanessa.

After being given the sedative, the vampire insists that he doesn't want to sleep, with a few tears in his eyes. But when Malcolm asks why not, he doesn't answer. He gazes at the men staring down at him: Ethan, Malcolm, Victor and Sembene and comments that there are so many monsters....

After the vampire is asleep, Victor instructs Ethan to raise his sleeve to give the vampire a blood transfusion for experimentation. Ethan refuses. Victor bluntly tells him to do it, as it won't hurt, but Ethan replies that it would be a bad idea. Sir Malcolm ends up being the donor, while everyone wonders at Ethan's intense recalcitrance.


Scene 10: Later, the three white men are retired to Sir Malcolm's sitting room, while they wait to see if the small amount of transfusion makes any difference for their guest. Ethan is edgy, asking how long they have to wait. Victor is reading the front pages, and wonders if they're quarry is involved in a rash of mutilations around London. This gets Ethan even more edgy, as he snatches the paper from Victor's grasp and tosses it aside.

Victor and Ethan exchange words of insult, with the former telling the latter that he's too emotional and thin skinned and Ethan reponding that not everyone can be a bloodless dandy. Sir Malcolm tries to soothe the tension in the room, by reminding them that there is already enough of it, what with their quest and what they're trying to face down.

Sir Malcolm starts a tangent on the Nile, leaving both Ethan and Victor exchanging "what does this have to do with anything" confused looks. Sir Murray seems to get lost in a desire to return to Egypt, and turns suddenly to ask Ethan if he'd like to accompany him. Ethan asks if there isn't enough danger where they're at.


Commentary: That was a weird interlude, but I do think that Sir Murray's sudden return of interest to Egypt is about what he gleaned from Mr. Lyle, and the hieroglyphs that Victor found carved on the inside of the vampire he'd previously autopsied. It's still a little sudden and off, though, and it's also a bit off in the writing that Victor wouldn't make the connection, even though he'd expect him to mention - like Ethan - that they have enough going on in their current location.

I do like the simmering tension among the various players, though. And I like the interplay between Josh and Harry. Of course, at some point, they should bang.



Scene 11: On this bit of oddity walks Vanessa from her day out. She mentions that they all look so somber, while she's in a pleasant mood. When Victor tells her about Malcolm and Ethan planning a trip to Africa, she scoffs. Sir Malcolm asks why she is always denigrating his work, but she replies that she just knows that he isn't going to go, as he's mentioned this trip often in the past and it hasn't happened. Sembene comes into the room to tell them that their prisoner is awake.


Commentary: More evidence that our gang of supernatural warriors are really people being bound by work (Victor and Ethan) and circumstance (Malcolm and Vanessa) with only one among the group who is acting out of some personal loyalty (Sembene). And we get another hint of the personal issues that were obliquely referenced in the pilot episode between Malcolm Murray and Vanessa Ives. I am really liking the layers and shifting relationships among this core group.

But again, Dorian isn't fitting into this overarching story yet, and it makes his scenes oddly disconnected.



Scene 12: Our gang, including Vanessa, rushes down into the cellar, where Fenton is coming around. He asks if they're going to beat him, and when Malcolm says no, thanks them. He also asks if he deserved to be beaten, which no one answers. Fenton weakly says that he's hungry, and Vanessa rolls an apple to him that she had bitten into and carried down with her.

Fenton acts as if he's going to take a bite of it, as everyone watches, before suddenly violently throwing it away while yelling that he needs blood and calling Vanessa a devil-whore. He goes on to scream in pain as he shouts for blood and flesh to ease his hunger.

The vampire sobs. Victor reminds Malcolm that treating this illness will be a process. Ethan walks away in disgust, telling Malcolm to get the boy something to eat, with Vanessa following on Ethan's heels.


Scene 13: In the foyer, Vanessa tries to sympathize with Mr. Chandler, but Ethan tells her he's not disturbed by the vampires they're facing. He is disturbed by them, and how far they may go in their drive to find Mina. He leaves the Murray's. Vanessa begins to walk toward the back of the house (I'm assuming the kitchen area), but changes her mind suddenly and marches upstairs.


Scene 14: In the cellar, Victor is telling Malcolm that they could try some very rare meat to subside Fenton's hunger pangs. Malcolm suggests scraps from a butcher may do the trick. From behind them, comes Sembene, holding a kitten. He dispassionately snaps the kitty's neck, and tosses it to the floor in front of Fenton. The vampire bites into the kitten's body with gusto.


Scene 15: That evening, Ethan and Brona are enjoying themselves, when Ethan takes her to the Grand Guignol theatre.





Brona has obviously never had the wherewithall to go anywhere that costs, so she's fully delighted by being in the otherwise kinda-dumpy arthouse. Ethan treats her to an orange, and enjoys her giddy excitement.


Scene 16: Below the stage, John works at his tasks in checking the ropes and pulleys for that evening's performance onstage. Vincent gives John a theatre good luck on the evening, and John beams with a pleased smile.

Brona watches the stage in excited glee.


Scene 17: The act involves an "innocent" girl awaiting her love under a full moon, with thunder in the distance. Her would-be lover arrives to seranade her, not with love sonnets, but with dire warnings of cursed spirits and portents of doom.

In the meantime, Brona is soaking it all in. A camera pan reveals that Dorian has also come out this evening for the skits. While Ethan and Brona sit at floor level, Dorian - naturally - has a balcony seat.

While the play goes on, Dorian looks across at the boxes on the otherside, and sees that Vanessa has also attended this night's performance. He and She share flirty smiles at one another.


Scene 18: Back at the manor, Dr. Frankenstein is glancing through a text while Sir Murray is fussing with maps. Victor asks if Vanessa was right that Malcolm isn't actually going to Africa, but Malcolm states that he'll be leaving in a few months, after finalizing some travel details. Victor asks, jealously, if those include selecting his traveling companions -- still stung by Malcolm blatantly inviting Ethan, but not him. Malcolm asks if it is jealousy, and Victor doesn't deny it. He tells Malcolm that athleticism was always his brothers' strengths, but he'd like to believe he's at least a capable man.

Sir Malcolm tells Victor about his son's death in Africa, and that Victor reminds him of his boy in some ways. Sir Murray tells Victor that Mr. Chandler doesn't mean anything to him, that Ethan is just a finger on a trigger. But he has a far higher opinion for him. Malcolm turns back to his maps, while Victor is left touched.


Commentary: This moment was really nice between Harry and Timothy. I liked the implication that Victor, even after so short a time, sees Malcolm as someone whose respect he'd like to earn... sort of a distant, father-figure, and Timothy's line delivery has been excellent thoughout the past episodes. It's no different here. When he shares that he has an emotional attachment to Frankenstein, it's carried with such gravitas through Tim's voice, that it's easy to believe that Victor would be left feeling proud.

I just can't compliment the casting enough.



Scene 19: In the meantime, our vampire is softly chanting to himself, when he suddenly gets a smile on his face. "Master," he says with joy. He begins to bite at his wrist to help free himself from the manacle binding him.


Scene 20: At the theatre, the Beauty & the Beast skit is continuing with Beauty assuring her love that she will stand by him, whatever torments him so, while he continues to warn her away for her own good. John runs from top to bottom of the stage, working special effects and pulling on this rope, or winding that handle. Brona chews at her lips and fingers in nervous anticipation. Dorian and Vanessa continue to slip glances one another's way over the audience members below them.

While Vincent continues to recite his danger to her, our actress, Maud stands near a trapdoor, so that John can connect a hose to a needle and tube that she has running up her leg that will lead to wherever the "blood" will fly out of her in moments for the audience's thrill.

Vincent warns Maud that the beast is here, with a flash of smoke to obscure his being lowered into the understage, while The Beast is risen into his place. The actor in the costume gives John nasty glares of contempt as he performs his duties, but John ignores him as best he can.

In the audience, Brona jerks with fright at the spectacle, while Ethan watches her with amusement. The Beast and Beauty stand staring at one another for a moment, ratcheting up the tension. And then The Beast swings out a claw, slashing Beauty's throat, with faux-blood spraying over the stage. Brona nearly jumps into Ethan's lap, hiding her face in his shoulder to his chuckling. Below the stage, John continues using a bellows to pump gushing blood as Beauty screams her last and falls to the ground, her... well, everywhere... being bathed in red.

As everyone cheers the performance after the wolf howls, Vanessa and Dorian again share smiles with one another. But down on the floor, tucked behind a pillar, Sembene watches her for reasons unclear.


Commentary: This whole thing was pretty fun, except for the contemptuos ass of an actor. But watching Billie playing the delighted Brona was infectious and brought a lot of smiles to my face. And it was fun to see how the theatre was carrying out the bloody gags. It's infuriating that John Clair can be so happy in these moments, and then turn around and be so vile later.

But this scene was just overall fun to watch.



Scene 21: Back at the manse, work continues with Sir Murray and Dr. Frankenstein focused on their own business in companionable silence. Victor hears movement from upstairs and comments that he'd thought Vanessa had gone out for the night. When Sir Malcolm confirms this, he questions if his man is working upstairs. Malcolm tells him Sembene is off that evening. Sir Murray goes to investigate the strange clattering noises above them.


Scene 22: In the cellar, we see blood and the empty shackles where Fenton had been.


Scene 23: Upstairs, Malcolm begins to search the hallways and rooms for the source of the sounds of movement. Dr. Frankenstein chooses to join him.

Behind them unnoticed and unheard is the barefoot Fenton, crawling up the carpeted stairs. He stalks them on hands and knees.

The two men check Vanessa's room, where they're confronted by a vampiric creature far different looking than the pretty much human Fenton:





In addition to this creature, Fenton now launches an attack from behind them, wrapping himself around Sir Malcolm's back, and calling to his Master that Vanessa isn't there.

The vampiric creature launches itself out of the window and into the night, while Fenton continues to try to subdue Sir Murray. Victor finally gets over the shock to try to help, but he's easily shoved into a wall and onto his ass. It's alright though, as Malcolm manages to throw the wild, young man off of him. Though, it's less well for Fenton, as he manages to land on broken window pane, driving the shard into the back of his neck.





Fenton struggles to draw breath, as he bleeds out from the wound.


Scene 24: After the spectacle at the Guignol, Vanessa joins a crowd at the pub for a brandy. She spots Mr. Chandler, who introduces her to Miss Croft. Brona is extremely uncomfortable with the meeting, recognizing immediately that Miss Ives is of a different social class, though for Vanessa's side, she doesn't seem to notice. They're presently joined by Dorian, seeking Vanessa.

Of course, Brona tries to play that she's only meeting him, but he doesn't play along, although he's classy enough not to make it obvious that he recognizes her from their dalliance. Whether this is for her modesty - which is doubtful - or for Miss Ives' benefit, pretending at being a gentleman - which seems much more likely - we don't know for sure.

Vanessa jokes with Mr. Chandler being at the theatre, what with their first meeting coming at his wild west show. Brona, feeling very self-conscious excuses herself for some air and rushes out, leaving Ethan to follow confused at her suddenly taken ill.

Brona's problem is now knowing that Ethan has been hobnobbing with the upper classes, and she rails against him at thinking they could have a future. She reminds him that he's "fucking a skeleton every night". She spits at him to go and join his lady friend, and from now on, he fucks her like everyone else - after he's paid. She storms off, leaving him at a complete loss at what just happened.

Moments later, Dorian comes out to inform Mr. Chandler that the next act is about to begin. He finds a devastated Ethan standing alone.

Ethan asks Dorian if he ever wishes he could just be someone else, and Dorian tells him all of the time. He offers Ethan that he should follow him, if he'd like to forget who he is for the night. Ethan asks about Vanessa, but Dorian smiles that Miss Ives doesn't want to be anyone else. With assurances that Dorian's plan calls for many drinks, Ethan accompanies him.


Scene 25: Back at the theatre, Vanessa is left with glancing over at Dorian's empty seat. Sembene continues to watch over her from the shadows.


Scene 26: Brona, meanwhile, is clomping down the street in a state. Trying to rush too fast for her damaged lungs, causes her to lose her breath and collapse on the street. In between sobs, she coughs up mouthfuls of blood, as everyone around her ignores her sitting on the sidewalk, doubled over.





She's left collapsed against a doorway, continuing to be overlooked by the crowd going about their own business.


Scene 27: Back with Dorian, he's led Ethan to a back alley dive. Dorian leads Ethan underground to an illegal betting racket for the well-heeled with money to burn. The game is dumping crates of rats into a hexagon, to which is added a dog trained to hunt and kill them. The wager appears to be how many of the vermin the dog can kill in a set amount of time.

[Ew. I hate you, Dorian.]

While men in suits cheer on the dog and its carnage, and Dorian waits to see if his bet will pay off, Ethan grows more and more sickly at the growling and savagery [because he's a werewolf, he has to be, the clues are adding up too clearly for him not to be]. Ethan tries to hold it together, but finally excuses himself to get a whiskey.


Scene 28: At the bar, a gentleman teases him if it's not his sort of thing. Ethan tries to tell the guy to stop talking to him, as he slams down his drink. But the twit, hearing the American accent now takes joy in accusing him of simply not understanding a gentleman's sport [obviously, I hate him instantly].

The Brits, having no sense of decorum, then demand that the American understand that he's in Britain now, and they do things their own way. Ethan, clearly trying to control his growing anger, doesn't answer which causes five of them to crowd around him, stubbing their fingers into him and generally asking for a violent beatdown. He warns them to not touch him again, which goes unheeded.

And Ethan erupts in the violence he always probably feels drawn towards (because I know you're a werewolf, Ethan!), and beats the ever-livin' fuck out of the poncy twats.

Ethan's violence is compared to the dog, also lost in the thrill of killing only dozens of feet away.

The men gang up on him....


Scene 29: And we join Ethan with but a scrape on his face, washing up. He's at Dorian's place. Dorian won at the dog/rat slaughter thingie, but he's not as excited as expected. He tells Ethan that he doesn't get the charge from it, as when he'd first discovered the matches.


Scene 30: Later, Dorian pours absinthe for them. As they talk, Dorian accuses Ethan of playing the part well. Ethan wonders about what part he believes Ethan is playing, and he replies the rude, crude, rugged Westerner. Ethan asks what part Dorian is playing, and he replies, "Human".

He hands Ethan his absinthe and toasts to this being his first.

They stand, and Dorian toasts to the most mysterious thing in London. With a smile, he adds, "Miss Vanessa Ives".


Commentary: And this quiet scene... I don't know, it feels like a sly seduction by Dorian Gray. One wonders if he'll be pulled into the greater story, not by Vanessa after all, but by an odd friendship with Ethan. Mr. Chandler would certainly capture Dorian's constant need for something new. He's American, a cowboy sort, so very different from anyone that Dorian would have met in London. And it could be an interesting dynamic if the moderately foppish Dorian and the roughin'-toughin' Ethan were to become close friends, through their alliance in helping Vanessa through her travails. Hmmm.


Scene 31: Ms. Ives returns home to a quiet house. She seems to sense that something has gone wrong while she was away, as she stands in the foyer.





Commentary: I love the composition of this shot, as well. It's like looking at a painting, which must have been deliberate, coming on the end of a scene where Dorian talks about paintings to Ethan.


Scene 32: Vanessa finds Sir Malcolm in the sitting room. Without prompting she asks what has happened, and he tells her that It was here. Vanessa guesses that the creature they seek came after the boy. Malcolm tells her the boy is dead, and they found the creature in her room. It had come for her. This puzzles her greatly.

Sir Malcolm now guesses that their capturing Fenton had been a setup from the beginning. Considering what all of this means, Vanessa now tells Malcolm that she thinks that Mina has been manipulating her. She suggests that Mina may be beyond the saving.

Malcolm rejects this obvious fact, suggesting instead that Mina just wanted to hurt her, because she's reason to hate Miss Ives. But Vanessa reminds Malcolm that she isn't the only one who lives in this house that Mina has a just cause to hate. Vanessa angrily tells Malcolm that she betrayed his daughter once, but he spent a lifetime ignoring her. She then tells him that he should be honest about his own sins before he so easily throws hers in her face.

Sir Murray tells her that he sometimes wishes that Mina had been born with her cruel spirit. She's the daughter that he deserves. Sir Malcolm gets up and tells Vanessa that they'll continue this battle. They can afford to lose every fight, except the last. He marches upstairs, leaving her in front of the fireplace thinking.


Commentary: Wow. Short scene, but dripping in spite and guilt. I LOVE quiet, intense scenes like this one. Timothy and Eva were excellent! It was just a pleasure to watch them acting with this hard-bit dialog at each other.


Scene 33: Back at Dorian's, Ethan looks at all of the people on the wall. He asks if Dorian has a favorite, which he'll admit to, but he tells Ethan it isn't in this room. Ethan tells Dorian about the paintings in the mountains of Colorado, left behind in cliffside homes by the Anasazi Tribe. Thinking on these paintings on walls, Ethan is moved to near tears. To Dorian's query as to why he likes them so, Ethan replies they're honest.

Dorian questions the honesty of art, but he shares that he finds music honest. Ephemeral, fleeting, but true.

He pulls out a cylinder of Wagner to play for Ethan. Dorian talks about the heartbreak in the singer's voice, before looking at a slightly staggering Ethan intently. Ethan replays Brona slapping him, demeaning him and walking away from him that evening. They both continue to drink absinthe, but Ethan is drinking more. Ethan flashes back on everything that has happened thus far, the craziness he's involved in with Vanessa, watching the police pull the bodies that he may or may not be reponsible for, waking up panicked on the beachfront after a blackout, etc.

It all leaves him vulnerable to the passionate sadness of the opera being played. And to Dorian Gray.





Ethan stalks across the large room, and grabs Dorian by the throat. He seems stuck between a violent outburst, and something else. He pulls Dorian into himself, and kisses him hard and fiercely. Ethan suddenly pulls back, shocked and with tears on his face, while Dorian stands passively and unreacting. Ethan shakes as he tears Dorian's shirt off of him, and then stands as Mr. Gray gently unbuttons Ethan's shirt.

They stare at one another, until Dorian leans forward and gently kisses Ethan back. They kiss again. Ethan stares into Dorian's eyes, and we fade to black with the opera playing.



The Good: I like what they're doing with this mystique that surrounds Dorian, and seemingly affects both Vanessa and definitely affects a drunken Ethan profoundly.

I loved Billie and Josh's work together, especially before everything collapsed due to Brona's self-image problems and her impending death. I especially loved Billie's acting when Brona is swept up in a child-like joy at being at the theatre.

I love Timothy Dalton.

Watching Brona collapse and lose blood by the lungful was awful. And it was worse that nobody walking by cared enough to seek help for her. We're left not knowing if we just watched her die there on the street.

I frikkin' adored the scene of Malcolm and Vanessa picking at each other's wounds. Timothy again. And Eva was more than a match for him in the acting department.


The Bad: Nothing.


Other Thoughts: It's not in the bad, but Dorian's floating on the edge of the main plot without actually getting involved somehow is mildly annoying me. This episode takes another step in perhaps bringing him into the fold, but it remains odd to do so through Ethan, rather than Vanessa. And I'm not crazy about Vanessa's happening to see Dorian come out of a church in order to meet with him again. Dorian should find Vanessa fascinating enough after the seance business, and her hooking up with some rando in the street afterward to be seeking her out, instead.

I loved the slow seduction of Ethan by Dorian. I'm also disappointed that we faded out without knowing if they're going to continue, or if Ethan comes to his senses and pushes him off. It was an unsatisfying place to end the scene.

I do wish that we'd give Sembene more to do, and more of a voice in the current affairs surrounding Sir Murray's daughter. Even if it's just side looks, or expressions that only the audience is privvy to.

Again, not in the bad, but there were a few draggy bits: John once again stopping by to threaten Victor as one example. And the scene with Dr. Van Helsing was strangely truncated, after his showing to Victor that he knows a bit too much about the blood infection of the vampire, Fenton. It just doesn't go anywhere.


The Score: 3.75 out of 5 stars


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Tags: penny dreadful s1 reviews
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