Penny Dreadful / Screen

Penny Dreadful: “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places”

You can probably tell by the scarcity of these reviews that Penny Dreadfuls’ been having a hard time holding my attention. Even after the previous episode, the show’s just not grabbing me. The same issues from last season are there, with no signs of being changed. The evil the group is facing is there, while the motivations are nebulous enough that I’m not sure what they’re doing or what they want. The scenes of Evelyn and the rest of the Nightcomers should illuminate them more than they do, but it seems the show is incapable of doing so without a flashback episode.

The show is still very slow. It’s episode four, and the Nightcomers have been a problem since episode one, but this is the first time we’ve seen the team sitting down together to discuss the Nightcomers and to take action. They’ve talked about them, but they were apparently mostly content to sit and wait and see what happened. This reactivity isn’t attractive in any heroes, especially not when we’re being told what danger they’re in.

Hecate makes her move on Ethan, playing the damsel in distress, and Ethan doesn’t even realize who she is because he mistakes her for one of the Pinkertons, sent by his father to apprehend him. I suppose that’s not a totally ridiculous idea to have, but you’d think Ethan would be a bit more on it considering the beginning of the episode was devoted to Vanessa catching them all up on the Nightcomers.

The episode’s climax comes as the Nightcomers invade the mansion, which is likely supposed to be more of a big deal than it actually is. Sure it matters, because they escape with Vanessa’s hair (and that surely doesn’t mean anything good), but the qhole sequence feels as if it should be happening later or not happening at all. The lack of concern about the Nightcomers, even though Vanessa’s known about them  and known that they can make their way into the house, is strange. And this isn’t even the first time the house has been stormed by a malevolent being either. But no precautions are taken, though I’m sure that will change by the next episode.

Despite these faults, there’s some nice character work in this episode. Sembene and Ethan have a nice chat, but honestly it’s just nice to see Sembene doing anything). He’s underused and neglected constantly, but he and Ethan finding some common ground in the house and worrying (or not worrying) about Malcolm and Vanessa, adds depth to both of them that wasn’t there before. Vanessa accompanies Victor shopping, and though nothing can make me not painfully creeped out by everything Victor does, Vanessa’s smiles and general giddiness are a nice reprieve from her usually tormented nature. It doesn’t last long, not when Vanessa learns that she’s the object at the end of a satanic quest and that the Nightcomers have approached Ethan. And though Dorian and Angelique may never have anything to do with what else is going on in this show, the two of them flirting over table tennis is perfectly nice, and though their calm will likely be shattered soon (how long until something terrible happens to Angelique?).  Angelique may have more personaltiy than Dorian, and she’s way funnier, but sometimes it’s refreshing to see two people on this show who are just living their lives and not worrying about witches or vampires or whatever else.

Stray Observations

  • I was kind of shipping Ethan and Hecate for a minute. She was so charming.
  • Lyle is so funny. He hears that Malcolm is “courting” Evelyn and advises him to proceed with caution.
  • The same strange logic applies in the investigation underway into the massacre at the inn. The detective is quick to say they can’t rely on logic in solving the case but in magic. He’s right of course, but there’s no explanation for why he believes this aside from just believing it.
  • The Creature’s new boss is planning an exhibit of “freaks”, all of whom will be real people. He’s likely going to try to add The Creature to this collection, but I can’t imagine that will go well with his violent nature.
  • I hate that Victor/Lily is about to become a thing. I hate it.

One thought on “Penny Dreadful: “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places”

  1. Pingback: Penny Dreadful: “Above the Vaulted Sky” | Channel Chelsea

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