Penny Dreadful: "Demimonde"
Tomorrow,June 3, at the Back Room Bar on Norfolk St. in Manhattan—via an easy-to-miss flight of stairs—will be the Kingfisher Club! From 7pm until mumblemumble, come and say hi! A full bar will be available, and complimentary snacks catering to what I hope is a variety of dietary needs! It will certainly fulfill the needs of anyone who enjoys cheese, that's for sure (there will be a variety of other things available, I just personally can't stop buying cheese).
Okay, now onto Victorian hilarity.
This episode may still be shorter on séances as gaspworthy monster reveals than the first two episodes, but we're hitting the second act of this season's short arc, and I'm still having an amazing time. Not as amazing a time as a couple of dudes I know, but still, it's pretty good.
My recap at io9 is tracking the action with a handy chart that tries to categorize the many loaded stares this show provides. It will never get them all, of course, but we can hope to at least track some, so we remember who's broken with their colleagues from one week to the next, which I suspect Victor is juuuuuust about ready to do.
In the meantime, I embraced the theater stuff this week wholeheartedly, almost entirely because of the emphasis on the backstage perspective. (I mean, it was beautifully ramshackle from the front, too, but the backstage stuff was great.)
This whole scene was honestly a gift.
Caliban running around backstage was a perfect use of action that felt like it was leading to disaster but never actually did; I wondered if we were going to see him perving over the actress's undergarments, but not a bit, and I wondered if someone was going to come crashing down, but nobody did! (This episode, anyway. That was pretty heavy groundwork being laid for a terrible mentor-disaster in the very near future.) The whole scene was perfect, however, at building tension for Brona's explosive breakup later. Poor Brona. I figured you might end up the Bride somehow; that seems as plausible as ever. I have a bunch of nebulous feelings about where that could go, especially given your sad monologue about your jerkbag ex who, knowing this show, could honestly have been Caliban back when he was alive. Even if not, that's a dude with anger issues, no matter how adorable he seemed backstage. So much happening. Who can say.
Speaking of nebulous feelings! Here's these two discussing how Mina gave them the runaround, which means she probably hates both their guts and wanted a vampire to just rip them to pieces; then he talks to Vanessa in a really growly voice about how Vanessa betrayed them and she's really cruel and she's the daughter he really deserves, and I honestly sat there with my cursor over the blue line on the fancy chart waiting for them to just go at it. Afterward, I wondered what on earth to even mark this that was any clearer or less twisted (or hey, more twisted, just get off the dime) than what we were seeing. Bad news: nothing is clear. Good news: that's a deliciously messy psychological quagmire, you two! Whatever you're stringing us along about, I'm into it. Invade one another's personal space and then look quietly, deeply devastated, so it's framed exactly like a lovers' quarrel, could you?
But of course, this buildup of tension, like the theater business, was meant only to rev up the engines of suspense for the big event:
Ethan Chandler getting wasted and deciding that if he's going to spend a night being someone else, then he might as well go quite literally all the way. How Dorian Gray gets laid this much with hair like his is this show's biggest mystery, but otherwise I'm very interested to see how this will go. It definitely seems like something Ethan is into; whether it's something he's comfortable with is a whole different question, and we'll have to see how that plays out. My chart will be ready.