December 9, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Penny Dreadful “Closer Than Sisters”

Season One, Episode Five

After all the misery that is the hunt for Mina Murray…let’s go back a bit for the Secret Origin of Vanessa Ives!

Vanessa is writing a letter to Mina.  She says she’s written many, but now we go back in time to the two girls’ childhood.  Mina and Vanessa’s families live next to each other in large estates.  Vanessa is an only child (and apparently Catholic) while Mina has a sickly brother Peter.  Peter just wants to be an explorer like his father…and with his father.

But one night, Vanessa wanders a no-doubt symbolic hedge maze and spies Sir Malcolm with her own mother.  Yes, Vanessa’s mom and Mina’s dad were carrying on together.  And Vanessa isn’t appalled by this.  She’s…amused?  Fascinated?

Look, the girl’s hearing voices and she starts doing small-scale bad deeds like stealing single items.  She ups the bad stuff years later when Mina gets engaged to an army officer.  While Vanessa herself was unable to seduce Peter in that same damn hedge maze, she can seduce Mina’s fiancé the night before the wedding.

Oh, and Mina caught them.  The Ives family are no longer welcome at the Murray’s estate.

Vanessa is still hearing stuff, and she collapses soon after.  Doctors are called.  Nothing seems to work, so her parents take her to a psychiatrist type who uses the best treatments the 19th century can provide.  You know, forced ice water baths, drugs of all kinds, the fire hose, and then brain surgery.  Cripes, did anyone get better back then?

Vanessa actually seems to, at least when Peter comes to see her one last time.  He’s off to Africa with his father, and Vanessa snaps out of her fugue to tell Peter he’s never coming back.

We know from episode two he doesn’t.

Not long after that, Vanessa gets a visit from some evil spirit taking the form of Sir Malcolm.  Said spirit says she can close the doors to her weird psychic powers any time she wants to, but then she’d just be ordinary.  So, is that what she wants?

Well, no, so when Mama Ives comes into Vanessa’s room, she spots Vanessa naked and copulating with the air.  That sight seems to kill Mama Ives.

After the funeral, Vanessa finds Mina on the beach.  Mina has forgiven her for the whole engagement break-up.  Then Mina seems to know things she shouldn’t because her new master told her stuff.  Then she begs Vanessa to help her.  Something yanks Mina away.  Is it Dracula?  Well, we’ll see.

Vanessa then goes to see Sir Malcolm, and after the two get over their whipping it out to see who’s bigger in the seeing horrors department, the two join forces until they rescue Mina.

Vanessa’s final words are creepy.  Sir Malcolm loves his daughter enough to save her.  Vanessa loves Mina enough to kill her.