Genevieve Valentine (glvalentine) wrote,

Penny Dreadful: "What Death Can Join Together"

Last night, everything started falling apart on Penny Dreadful, and it was both campily hilarious, because that's what we're here for, and a little amazing. (The fact that Caliban is presumably walking the streets waiting for anyone to be nice to Victor so he can snap their neck and bellow "MAKE ME A GIRLFRIEEEEND" into the sky was this episode's greatest twist.)

But as always, this series is Vanessa's show, and she fell apart harder than anyone when her demon came back to haunt her.





Loved this excruciatingly slow moment as the demon comes rushing back. Eerie more than cheesy. The horror is in knowing it's back, not seeing anything lurking in the bedroom.

I mean, Dorian's lurking in there, but he's only been interesting for the exact span of time Ethan was making out with him, and otherwise he's distinctly out of the action. He even spent the entire episode with Vanessa trying to make fetch happen, but she's got so much more chemistry with any of the other guys on the show that it's just never going to make sense, sorry, show. The most exciting thing about their sex scene was that he sliced off her corset and she was wearing a chemise underneath.

And on that note, I have questions re: when the demon suggests he was waiting for "this." This like sex? Because she banged that other guy in the alley in episode 2. Either she was still possessed there and therefore this demon comes and goes, or she was shaking off the effects of the séance and just went for what she wanted. Going into another round of possession, I'd love to know if this is something that comes and goes. And she had no sex consequences then, so why now? Why Dorian? We may never know. (We honestly may never know; unless that demon is actually the vampire and all that dovetails, we have so many plots happening that we'll be waiting at least a season for all those answers; somebody still has to wake up as the bride of Caliban, Mina still has to reveal she's the mastermind behind it all – please oh please – and Malcolm must reveal what he didn't get a chance to tell Vanessa before she started floating her way northwards.)

What we do know: Dorian's house is somehow less creepy with the lights off, which is true of almost nobody's house.



This definitely had a dark-fairy-bower feeling, don't get me wrong, but the stares are muted in candlelight; a creepy double-world, sure, but you're in it alone! I guess that's a bonus. Typing this I'm reconsidering. (Still, creepy or not, some great shots this week from Coky Giedroyc.)

And speaking of an unblinking stare, I also hope we get some amazing plot hail-mary pass re: the photograph of Vanessa. Watching her face fall as she stared into the lens was amazing, shifting as she dropped the veneer of manners she always puts on when she's trying to force herself to be normal (such as when she came home during the Malcolm/Ethan/Victor snide-off and recalibrated everyone effortlessly) and ended up with the piercing stare she has when she's actually being honest.



But unlike every time she's leveled this look on a person or a vampire and unnerved them, the lens looked back impassively.



It's both a callback to the last time Dorian wanted some photographs taken (women he's convinced to have sex with him? Women he can talk into doing things they'd rather not? People who will soon die? With Brona and Vanessa those Venn diagrams are intersecting an awful lot), and one of those devil-on-your-shoulder moments. The ghost of Vanessa in the curving lens hints at what's in store for her.

As much as I tend to dislike stories in which a woman is damseled in order to galvanize the men around her into heroics, I feel like the tone of her possession so far as been portrayed as a struggle of hers, which changes the context a bit, and that whatever happens, she'll be a participant. Can't wait.

(As always, the detailed breakdown, with questions and guesses, is over at io9, in which my chart catalogs some bursts of paternal feeling from Malcolm in the wake of realizing he's failed Mina repeatedly, and in which I need Victor to stop looking at little ballerinas, because just don't.)
Tags: io9, penny dreaful, recaps, tv
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