Penny Dreadful: Possession Review -

Penny Dreadful Review

Mania Grade: C

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  • Episode: Possession (Season 1, Episode 7)
  • Starring: Eva Green, Reeve Carney, Timothy Dalton
  • Written By: John Logan (creator), John Logan
  • Directed By: James Hawes
  • Network: Showtime
  • Studio: Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions
  • Series:

Penny Dreadful: Possession Review

It is not hitting its mark

By Jarrett Kruse     June 24, 2014

Penny Dreadful: Possession Review
© Showtime
While I give credit to what PENNY DREADFUL is trying to accomplish, it is not hitting its mark at all. I want to like the show and recommend it to you guys but at this point, I can honestly say that you are not missing much. What started out as a show that really piqued my interest, I can now say that I am non-plussed at what has transpired. There is no character that I am really rooting for and to me that is a sign. Whether its a good guy or a bad guy, you gotta have someone to invest in. With just one episode left in Pennys debut season, I fear that all that has been built will fall apart by next week. 

I expected a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen type show but at this point it is nothing like that. The whole production seems like the four main characters are all doing their own thing rather than becoming a team of sorts. Basically I am really confused at this second to last episode and I am not optimistic for next weeks season finale. The production design, costumes and performances are all stellar but frankly its just not that damn interesting. The groupthat I thought was going to be assembled by now is nowhere near becoming a cohesive paranormal unit searching for Mina.

However, Possessionis the creepiest episode of the freshman dramas season and I want to give credit where it is due. By no means though does this episode feel like a great lead in to a season finale next Sunday. Not only was I confused, I genuinely couldnt wait for the show to end. It became like a poor mans EXORCIST complete with a priest and Vanessa doing all sorts of things like walking on walls while being possessed. Eva Green is amazing and I do want to give her props for a brilliant performance. She embodies Vanessa Ives and steals every demonic scene she is in. However her terrific performance is the only thing worth tuning in for. While Vanessas soul is in flux and seemingly between worlds, each of the men (Sir Malcolm, Ethan Chandler & Dr. Frankenstein) all give it a shot to help her before calling in a cleric.

After all that has transpired up until now, I cannot honestly recommend PENNY DREADFUL to peers. It went from being an above par new program in the first half of the season to a kind of boring with just one episode left. I am hopeful that the finale gets back to the central story that I was really digging. This foursome is apparently not going to be a supernatural super-team as I had hoped but with the green light for a second season, I think we have to play the waiting game until next year. And that sucks because overall I do like the show and really thought that it would maintain the momentum from episode six. But it was not to be.

As Eva Green does a fantastic job as a possessed soul that could even give Linda Blair a run for her money, everyone else is basically standing around posturing on what to do for her character. When Sir Malcolm tries to help, Vanessa goes nuts telekinetically moving tables, books and everything else because of her possession. The demon inside of her seems to be growing stronger. The part where she is moving things with her mind is like a non humorous homage to the opening library scene in GHOSTBUSTERS. It is scary but the other lead characters are pretty calm throughout the episodes. Whatever is inside her, it has something to do with an evil Egyptian goddess needing a host. The question I kept thinking was , why should I care about this?And it is a rarity that I mutter that to myself on any program I review. 

Sir Malcolm, Ethan & Dr. Frankenstein each give talking to Vanessa a chance but all of them fail pretty miserably. Vanessa seems to know things about each of them; personal secrets no one else could know. At one point, Ethan is either possessed or the demon is speaking through him as he talks to Vanessa. It was completely unclear and confusing as hell. Still it is Eva Greens time to shine as she is the real star of the show. And she is truly brilliant as a host to the Masterbut the rest of the cast does not do much to build on the momentum of Ms. Greens performance. By the time they bring in a priest, she seems to be too far gone for him to help her. Even when she begs Ethan to shoot her point blank, he cannot do itthe hold the demon has is too strong to be exorcised. 

I even went back to last weeks episode to go through it one more time to see what I missed but I came up empty. Besides sleeping with Dorian Gray and spazzing out during coitus, what the hell happened to her? By the episodes end, Ethan takes one last shot at curingVanessa with a medallion pressed against her head while speaking some serious Latin in an attempt to exorcise the entity. It seems to work and Vanessa appears to be free of the demon. Who is Ethan Chandler really?? Upon waking from her slumber, Vanessa seems to be back to herself telling Sir Malcolm, I know where Mina is.Whoa. 

At the very least PENNY DREADFUL is an interesting take on the whole monster drama. That being said it would be cool to see more of the monsters I had hoped would be a part of the show. Instead we are given a whole lot of exposition before next weeks season finale. So I am going into next Sunday very confused at just what this freshman drama is going for besides seeing Eva Green be super scary as Vanessa. It was an Afor effort but I gave it a Cfor a right down the middle average grade. A little continuity would go a long way on shows like PENNY DREADFUL but it is pretty late in the debut season to make any changes. Hopefully the finale will answer some of the pressing questions I still have. 


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geyes11 6/24/2014 6:01:42 PM

Thought it was explained quite well what had set Vanessa off, thought they would do a little more character development with Vanessa confronting each character with the secrets she revealed, i believe that was a wasted opportunity. The confusion for me came with Ethan and the medallion, that really puts a twist on his backstory and really makes me question the theory that he is the werewolf of the show. I will still give this show a chance but the finale really does need to deliver something special for me to really care about next season

blankczech 6/24/2014 7:53:08 PM

 Green keeps bringing me back (to this show).  She's very intriguing.  The quintessential good looking crazy girlfriend.



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