Penny Dreadful: "Seance"
I don’t know how, but Penny Dreadful is becoming more twisted and creepy with each new episode!
The star and scene stealer of the show continues to be Eva Green. We also were introduced to some new characters. London is the one place I have dreamt of going for forever, but this version of London is gross and very unappealing, the horror isn’t helping either. The show’s mythology and mystery was the focus and expanded. I thought Jack the Ripper was Victorian England’s biggest predator...
Victor is teaching his creation how to eat, speak, and function in society; he even allowed the being to pick his own name from the pages of Shakespeare---Proteus. Proteus is gentle and articulate, unlike the Monster usually depicted in Frankenstein iterations. To me, Frankenstein is one of the most overdone (in an unoriginal way) characters from literature; however, Penny Dreadful seems to be expanding the story in an interesting and possibly darker way.
Chandler seemed a little lost this episode, and he appeared if only to help introduce Brona Craft, who will be living at the same tavern as him. The awesome Billie Piper plays Brona, an Irish girl who lost her job to Industrialization, and if her luck isn’t bad enough, she’s got consumption. Her Gaelic accent was very tough to understand; I had to rewind her first scene more than twice to get the gist of how she talked. I’m not sure if the accent is good or bad, but I hope I can pick it up fast and not get frustrated or distracted from the story. Brona went off on a job to sit for photographs.
Enter Dorian Gray—he is obviously a lover of art and asks Brona to pose for him. When Brona coughs up blood, things get cray cray. He is turned on by her sickness, and it gets hot and heavy fast. Now those familiar with Dorian Gray should know he’s a trickster with plenty of weird secrets. I’m not sure how I feel yet about Reeve Carney playing Dorian. I don’t find him super hot and enticing like Gray should be (think it’s the hairdo), but he does carry an air of mystery.
Malcolm has skinned the vampire to reveal all of the hieroglyphics and allow for Victor to take blood samples. The hieroglyphics depict an evil tale of Amonet and Amun Ra, which sounds like the same book from The Mummy series. The spell foretells of the end of the world and demon creatures taking over. Basically, not a good scenario in any way and Malcolm is warned to stop and stay far away. Also, Malcolm makes a point to visit the Inspector to learn more about the murders; the victims were not drained of blood (cross out vampires) but body parts were missing (Frankenstein’s Bride? Or Poe related?). He warns the cop to look for not a man but a beast.
The highlight of the episode for horror, acting, spectacle, and all around awesomeness was a dinner party séance. Malcolm and Vanessa arrive in what seems out of social necessity and skeptical of the oblivious rich people being entertained by a medium. Vanessa is whisked away by Dorian Gray and schooled; Dorian full on “reads” Vanessa to a tee. Madame Kali is introduced to begin the séance around a small table that Dorian, Vanessa, and Malcolm conveniently participate in rather than watch. She fakes a possession and connecting with the spirits. Boy is she in for a treat.
Vanessa becomes full-on exorcist-style possessed and it is ON! Her eyes roll back, voice demonic, and body spasms all directed at Malcolm, who has a look of both terror and hope on his face. Eva Green then portrays what seems like multiple spirits entering and leaving her body in a straight 10 min monologue/performance. The only spirit I fully grasped was Malcolm’s son, who seemed to die from a long painful battle with some illness. God knows—pretty much anything was deadly back then and diseases ran amok. Then Vanessa starts talking about Mina…and maybe Malcolm had a sexual relationship with his daughter, ugh. Vanessa blows out the candles, shatters the glass table, and then does that creepy back bend look from The Last Exorcism before running out in the rain to have sex with a random dude. Eva Green killed this scene, and Vanessa seems to have it unfairly rough with this connection to the other side.
The original Penny Dreadful comics/magazines were synonymous with cliffhangers for the end of each issue. This show is proving no different. I yelled at my television with sadness and shock when hands shot through Proteus’s chest and ripped him apart…like in half…dead. Turns out, Proteus is maybe not the Monster of Victor Frankenstein’s tale but a second try. A dude with dark hair is paying Victor a little revenge visit. This may be the vicious Shelley Monster we are more familiar with. I can’t wait to find out Malcolm’s twisted past and what killer(s) is tearing through London. I am going to guess things can only get worse and creepier.
By Kasey Michael--a lover of all things entertainment. Born and bred in North Carolina, she has a degree in Film Studies and can usually be found in front of a screen.