May 26, 2024

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Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels “Wicked Old World”

Season One, Episode Three.

I don’t know what Magda the demon woman wants, but I somehow suspect it won’t be good for a whole lot of people.  I say that mostly because Michener, after roughing up a college student who had dinner with some fascists, gets a name of some interest to anyone who knows a bit of history:  Wernher von Braun.

If you don’t know, von Braun was a rocket scientist who worked for the Nazis.  Whether or not von Braun was a Nazi is…debatable.  His attitudes on the subject were, to use Wikipedia’s word, complex.  Regardless, after World War II, the U.S. got him to come over to the States to work with NASA and help us develop out our own rocket program.  His Nazi past was more or less ignored, and he even appeared on a TV special from Disney on the wonders of science.

I’m told you can find that special on Disney+ and von Braun is the screenshot.  That…is not a good look for Disney.

Regardless, it means that whatever the Nazis, and by extension Magda, are up to involves missiles and maybe nukes since those are on the way within the next ten years from this story’s setting too.  That should be scary enough, but it does seem to be an odd thing to do in a story that seems largely focused on racial conflict between the city of Los Angeles and the Chicano community, particularly since that seems to be what Magda is trying to enflame on various fronts.  Where and how the Nazis fit into all this, I have no idea.

Meanwhile, she keeps appearing in multiple places, as the secretary for the ambitious, wannabe fascist Councilman Townsend, an abused wife and son for German born Dr. Craft, and now, as a hot-tempered Latina egging on her boyfriend Fly Rico and maybe young Mateo Vega as well when the cops raid the Chicano dance hall.

Fun fact:  Craft is played by actor Rory Kinnear, the only holdover from the original Penny Dreadful series where he played Frankenstein’s nameless monster.

And in the middle of all that, Sister Molly sneaks off to grab something like a date with Tiago.  It’s sweet, but she can’t take the Popeye doll he won for her on the pier home, and when she gets there, her mama decides that Carrie White’s mother was a good role model for disciplining her kids and locks her in a closet.  Also, Molly may have been fooling around a bit with the dead man.

Before the dead man died.  Sheesh, this show isn’t that gruesome.

But then there are some signs that Magda’s control isn’t absolute.  Raul wakes from his coma with no memory of what happened or how he got shot, but he does say Mateo shouldn’t be angry at their brother because as a cop and a Chicano, Tiago doesn’t fit in with either group.  Townsend’s bluster spills over while dining out with the Nazis, causing both the Nazis and Townsend to snap at each other.  Townsend departs to pick up someone for sex…another man.  And even if Mateo is joining Fly Rico’s gang, Rico himself doesn’t seem to agree with his girlfriend (which, again, is Magda in disguise) about how to handle the cops.  And since the girlfriend is a demon in disguise looking to stir up trouble, I figure it’s doubtful that anything that woman wants will end up being all that peaceful.

Of course, Mateo seems a lot more impressionable…