June 2, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Penny Dreadful “Possession”

Season One, Episode Seven

I neglected to mention that the previous episode ended with Vanessa floating off the ground.

That’s kind of important.

Lots of things come to the fore here for an episode that’s pretty much set entirely in Sir Malcolm’s house and only features some of the main cast, plus one guy who shows up late.

Ferdinand Lyle had warned Sir Malcolm in an early episode about something called the “Mother of Evil,” and this week we see the evil spirit in Vanessa, this time taking the form of Ethan, telling her she is to be the Mother of Evil next to him.

But since the cast and the setting is fairly limited, this plays out mostly like a bottle episode.  The plot moves a bit slowly, but most of it is here to give the cast some character development, and it’s mostly for Ethan, Sir Malcolm, and Victor, with a bit for Sembene and Vanessa.  To be fair, Vanessa spends most of the episode possessed, so whatever is coming out of her mouth isn’t her.

And that demon thing knows stuff!  Mostly it knows who’s been sleeping with whom.  It knows Sir Malcolm apparently liked to get the booty call going in Africa, and that Ethan slept with Dorian Gray, just as Brona slept with Dorian Gray.  But, you know, to be fair, everyone seems to have slept with Dorian Gray.

But between knocking Vanessa out and listening to her scream stuff, the episode mostly acted to let the characters get to know each other.  Ethan and Sir Malcolm bristled at each other.  Sembene offered some cryptic hints to his origin.  Sir Malcolm confessed to Victor that his explorations were borne of selfishness and there isn’t anything decent in him since he cared more about naming a mountain after himself than his dying son Peter.  He’s also using Vanessa’s illness to increase the scope of Vanessa’s powers to try and find Mina.  Ethan wonders why Sir Malcolm wants Vanessa to live.  Ethan showed Victor how to shot a pistol.  Victor revealed he’s a morphine addict going back to cocaine dosages he was given to treat his childhood asthma.

Actually, Victor being a drug addict explains so much about how he can not worry so much when corpses are walking around and bugging him for a girlfriend.

Victor also has his faith in science questioned when spiders erupt in a wave from Vanessa’s tarot deck.

Finally, even Sir Malcolm agrees to call for a priest, but the guy needs the Church of Rome’s permission to perform an exorcism.  He can offer the standard sacraments, and that gets him hit with some blasphemy and possessed Vanessa taking a bite out of him.  Sir Malcolm, Sembene, and Victor are all tossed around, and all that’s left is Ethan, the one who seems most interested in actually helping.  And he…grabs the pendant Brona gave him, presses it to Vanessa, and seems to recite Latin to toss the demon out.  The guy knows exorcism stuff?

If anything came out of it, Vanessa recognized some verse that Mina told her in the flashback episode with some verse she heard in the Grand Guignol.  So, yeah, she knows where Mina is.

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