It’s that time again, where we spend an episode flashing back to Vanessa’s past to better understand what the sam hill is going on in the present.
As an added bonus, we can see the Creature from when he was just a guy with a job and a family while we’re at it.
Under hypnosis from Dr. Seward, Vanessa flashes back to her time in a padded room. The room had no windows, no clock, and the lights were on all the time. The only time she isn’t in there is when she’s given what the 19th century thought was acceptable treatment for mental illness. That sort of stuff generally involved tanks of water or electric shock or other things that probably never really helped anybody.
And the only person Vanessa saw in the room, and one of only three characters to appear in the entire episode, was a nameless orderly. He never said what his name was, and aside from jamming a funnel down Vanessa’s throat to feed her, was actually kind to the scared woman.
You know, when it was really him.
We’ve seen Vanessa be approached by a demon in the past, a demon that always took the form of someone she knew, and sometimes he appeared as the orderly. And then, it happened. The demon-as-orderly said his name was Lucifer. And he had a snake for a shadow. And then…his brother showed up.
Yes, Dracula in the mythology of Penny Dreadful is Lucifer’s brother. And Dracula comes to Vanessa…also looking like the orderly. And it seems that, since Earth is Dracula’s place of punishment, that he may be stronger than Lucifer there.
By the by, kudos to actor Rory Kinnear for playing the orderly, Dracula, and Lucifer. He did a good job there as three distinct characters that are only superficially like his regular character on the series.
But Vanessa, she’s no dummy. She has the brothers’ rap down. Lucifer wants her soul. He’s not interested in anything else. Dracula wants her body. He isn’t interested in anything else either. Vanessa would rather keep both for herself, thank you very much, and after some levitation and what sounds like Latin manages to banish both brothers.
It doesn’t seem to end happily in the sanitarium. Vanessa is scheduled for a lobotomy, but we knew that from the first flashback episode. The orderly can’t work for such a torturous place anymore and comes to say goodbye. He still never gave a name.
Back in Seward’s office, Vanessa remembers everything now. You know, except that she met the guy she knows as John Claire back before he was quite so pale.