OK, so…I don’t get why Dr. Peter Craft is on this show. I don’t see what Magda wants with him. He’s been very far removed from, oh, everything, and I was tuning out his storylines so much that I didn’t realize his maid was Mama Vega.
That’s something of a problem with this Penny Dreadful.
Look, I’m not dumb. I don’t expect the show to hand me everything up front. What I do prefer is, you know, the series actually look like all this stuff matters. And thus far, the trials and tribulations of Peter Craft haven’t done that. His estranged wife in this episode vows to reveal his deep, dark secret. And we learn what it is when he tells Magda later…his real name is Peter Krupp, and he was a medic for the German army in the first World War, and everything he saw was so horrible, it made him a lifelong pacifist.
Um, unless the assumed name or the German veteran thing would somehow get him arrested or something, that doesn’t exactly sound like a problem. He sounds like a good guy.
So good, in fact, that when Magda (in the little boy form) deliberately burns his hand on a stove, Peter gives Maria a raise instead of firing her.
But it’s like the Townsend subplot. Showing what gay people had to do in order to keep their orientation a secret and somehow stay sane is cool. He’s had what I would normally call some nice monologues on what the city means to him. But he’s a bad guy cozying up to Nazis, and he has authoritarian tendencies. Plus, while I could look it up and see if anyone confirmed it at some point, so many of the scenes about him have sounded like commentary on certain modern day, real world elected officials who are on their way out the door fairly soon. Point is, while I don’t see a problem with making a gay man a villain, I do have an issue with using a gay villain to try and raise some sympathy for what gay people in America have gone through within the lifetimes of my grandparents. It feels counterproductive since it’s really hard to sympathize with someone who knowingly works with Nazis.
It’s keeping all these balls in the air that’s largely preventing me from enjoying the show. A hard-boiled detective story would be great, even if they battle Nazis. Something about race relations in America would be great if done right. A demon woman trying to influence all kinds of people for some reason would make for a good story. But mixing the lot of them together? That’s a lot trickier. It could maybe be done, but I don’t see City of Angels doing it very well if at all right now.
So, potentially cool moments like Michener getting a contact inside Townsend’s office, not knowing it’s demon-woman Magda, is fine but wasted. Same with Adelaide Finnster’s tour of her temple to passive aggressively hit at Tiago. Maria’s night time terror attack seems like something out of the original Penny Dreadful. But right now, there are too many characters doing too many different things in too many places. It’s not working.
Methinks I will not miss this show when I finish it.