April 12, 2024

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Penny Dreadful “Predators Far And Near”

Season Three, Episode Two.

Amazing how giving Dorian Gray a purpose for the narrative almost makes him interesting.  I mean, this episode opens with him and Lily going to an underground torture room where a naked young woman named Justine is going to be brutally murdered for the entertainment of a small crowd of well-dressed gentlemen.  Justine gets a mark of approval from the two immortals when she spits in the hooded face of the man who’s going to rip her open.  So, just as hooded killer dude is about to get started, Dorian and Lily jump up and kill everyone in the room except for Justine, who they declare is now theirs.

OK, it occurs to me that for this episode, the entire Dorian-Lily subplot featured Dorian barely saying a damn thing.  Maybe that helps.

But there sure are a lot of understanding doctors in this episode.  Dr. Seward hears Vanessa’s whole story and doesn’t cast any judgement.  Henry Jekyll never questions Victor’s success.  Heck, Victor is willing to assist the half-Indian Jekyll in Jekyll’s own lab underneath Bedlam Asylum, where they successfully cure a psychotic Scotsman.  Maybe they can fix Lily too!

But in a scene that plays out very differently from their last encounter, Lily and Victor chat, and Lily makes the very feminist statement that she doesn’t need or want a man to save her, but she urges Victor not to be near her again because she does seem to care for him a little bit.  That’s…sweet?

No, Dr. Sweet is the guy who does the taxidermy and the zoology lessons at the local museum.  Encouraged by Seward to do something she thinks will be fun, Vanessa asks Sweet out to some kind of moving picture show about Captain Nemo, a favorite character of Sweet’s from his childhood.

Should we be surprised Vanessa’s favorite was Joan of Arc?  Nope.

Should we be surprised Renfield is twitchy and steals the recording Seward made of Vanessa’s session for the mysterious Dracula?  Nope again.

Should we be surprised Sweet is Dracula?  Have you ever seen a show like this before?  Seriously, it was going to be someone we knew and he was too good to be true.

Granted, the feeding scene at the end, where Renfield kneels before Dracula to drink blood from his wrist…that sure was suggestive.

And yeah, he probably wasn’t a fan of Captain Nemo in his youth.

Meanwhile, in America, Inspector Rusk is still determined to see Ethan hang, and though Sir Malcolm and Kaetenay are crossing the ocean, the old Apache can contact Ethan in a dream.  And…man, Ethan hates that guy for some reason.  Maybe Kaetenay’s why Ethan goes all hairy during a full moon.

Hey, guess what happens while he’s in custody at a stopover?  After a short conversation with an elderly Apache woman, Ethan asks her to leave the room.  And then the moon comes out and the slaughter starts anew.  I mean, Ethan almost kills everyone in the room.  Yeah, almost.  Hecate pops out to take out two of them herself, and then Ethan…just looks at her.  Huh.

Sir Malcolm probably can’t get to New Mexico fast enough.