Mania Grade: B-
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- Episode: What Death Can Join Together (Season 1, Episode 6)
- Starring: Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Reeve Carney
- Written By: John Logan (creator), John Logan
- Directed By: Coky Giedroyc
- Network: Showtime
- Studio: Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions
Penny Dreadful: What Death Can Join Together Review
Asad showing by Sir Malcolm
By Jarrett Kruse
June 16, 2014
Penny Dreadful only on Showtime
It is fair to say that PENNY DREADFUL has become one of the breakout hits of the early summer season. While I agree with such sentiment, episode six kind of threw me for a loop and wondering what exactly the end game for the frosh series will be in just two weeks. While the production design, costumes and overall look of the show is second to none, those factors are winning the fight against the cast when it comes to formulating a really good narrative. Instead we are given a lot of caricatures of just what classic horror fans are hope will happen. That is not to say the show is bad; far from it. It is actually one of the many new joys of TV in this world of what seems like dozens of seasons per year. Still its not difficult to understand why Penny Dreadful is pulling in new devotees to watch the show. I may not know where it is going but I am invested already so I too want to see what’s next.
After last week’s episode “Closer Than Sisters,” we were given an extreme hour long look into the young life of Vanessa Ives and her history with her best friend, the missing Mina. But this week we head back to the narrative but unfortunately nothing ever seems to be moving forward in the story. Instead the characters eccentricities become more magnified rather than delve deeper into an actual plot. Yes we know that Mina is missing and that Sir Malcolm is using his means to find her to no avail. I am all for exposition but with just an eight episode run, I am of the thought that you’ve gotta pack each episode as full as possible to leave fans, both old and new, wanting more.
Professor Van Helsing is back and the elder teacher is trying to impart his wisdom on his young pupil, Dr. Frankenstein. Time is of the essence because Frankenstein’s monster, although working at the theater as a stage hand, is in dire need of a missus for himself. While Van Helsing and Doc Frank discuss death, Van Helsing is suddenly killed by the monster that was waiting in the wings. It was a sad death especially since Frankenstein finally seemed to find a mentor that has eluded him for years. Finally someone that can teach his insatiable mind of the knowledge he craves. Just as the two were scratching the service of vampires and their capabilities, Van Helsing is unceremoniously killed. Van Helsing did reveal that he killed his wite with a stake through the heart and cutting off her head. Its not easy to be a vampire nowadays.
Ms. Ives and Dorian share some intimate dialogue about what they think about being “different” and the trials and tribulations that come with such monikers. Soon the two start on what can only be described as a date and it seems innocent enough. Ms. Ives is dazzled by Dorian’s art of portraits and expensive items littering his space. Vanessa seems to be falling over herself and seems drunk at how impressed she is with the world of Dorian Gray. While the two do end in the sack, Vanessa’s demons return and it is clear that she is a conduit of sorts for the devil himself. However Vanessa cannot control her powers and needs to find a way to harness said powers.
Ethan Chandler is still taking care of Brona who is getting worse by the day. There is not much that Ethan can do for his love but he is doing his best. Scared to cough on him in case of infection, Ethan balks and kisses her anyway. I gotta think that this is because he is a big bad werewolf but just hasn’t been shown on screen yet. They are running out of time if you ask me to show the big reveal. While last week’s episode gave us a lot of backstory on what can arguably be the “lead” of the show, this was not the follow up I expected. I guess I am just anxious to see the kinds of stories that we saw in the first five installments of the new freshman drama. There are many interesting questions posed like “do you believe in fate?” said by young Dr. Frank as he shares tea with Van Helsing. They are setting things up but it has no sense of urgency for the audience to invest in.
Sir Malcolm is but a secondary character in this episode but you can tell he is just dying to get out there and search tirelessly for Mina. I guess before he can do that, he needs a squad of believers in his cause. Oh wait, yes he does already have men and women willing to help him in his quest for his little girl. It can all be a little bit confusing and this is really the first episode where I scratched my head wondering why they did not continue the cohesive run from episode four. Admittedly, Ian, Ethan and Sembene do go on some sort of hunt, presumably for Mina but only find a whole lot of undead females. “She must be here somewhere” bellows Sir Malcolm just like the last few times they went looking. He is doing anything he can do to hold on hope that his little girl is alive. A gun battle erupts among the vampire blondes and as entertaining as it was I couldn’t think of how they actually found the place. A little background dialogues never hurts. Just then, Malcolm sees his Mina through the think flames and plumes of smoke. Is it the real Mina or just a hallucination?
In the end it was a sad showing by Sir Malcolm and if ever there was a desperate episode filled with despair, this was most certainly the one. Maybe the final two episodes will get back to business seeing the four main characters conspire to work together rather than apart.