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- Episode: Resurrection (Season 1, Episode 3)
- Starring: Reeve Carney, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green
- Written By: John Logan (creator)
- Directed By: Dearbhla Walsh
- Network: SHOWTIME
- Studio: Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions
PENNY DREADFUL: Resurrection Review
I am pretty lost
By Jarrett Kruse
May 27, 2014
PENNY DREADFUL: Resurrection Review
So after screening the third episode of SHOWTIME’s freshman drama, I can without a doubt say that I am pretty lost. The pace moves slower than molasses making me one frustrated reviewer. I wish I was able to dictate a glowing recommendation for the new show but after the third entry in its debut season, I am feeling just a little disappointed. A show like this with a scant 8 episode order, Penny Dreadful is need of a serious boost in the narrative before season one’s finale. The first few episodes seemed to be on track with a macabre view of turn of the century London but the story takes an odd turn in episode three that left me a little confused as to what exactly is going on in jolly old England. Also, the core four characters are making it remarkable difficult to choose just which character is the overall protagonist.
After last week’s shocking ending where Dr. Frankenstein’s new prodigy Proteus is gutted by his the Doc’s first creation, I anxiously awaiting to see the fallout this week. Unfortunately, Dr. Frankenstein’s ordeal with his first monster that tried to make his way in the world despite his grotesque visage. As “Caliban” makes his way through London, he was able to become part of the theater scene by a benevolent wealthy man who assured him that his appearance would work well in the world of the Bard. The gutting of Proteus at last week’s finale showed was one of the more grotesque bludgeoning in recent memory as Caliban ripped the new Frankenstein monster into pieces. The gore was everywhere and blood was flowing on both the corpse, Caliban and more importantly Dr. Frankenstein who realizes that he has indeed become a monster himself. It could be out of loneliness or scientific frustration but either way the good doctor is desperate for a friend. Now that his first creation has returned and Proteus has been killed, it is difficult to think that the doctor will become buddy-buddy with Caliban.
The majority of the episode is devoted to the good doctor and his acolytes and it does a good job of making the narrative suffer from sheer boredom. Basically seeing Caliban flourish in the world of theater; in the shadows I might add, does not make for interesting TV. Instead it just seems to be a lame attempt to show that Dr. Frankenstein barely knows what he is doing and what the outcome of his personal experiments can do as monsters of the undead. One of my main problem is that as master of these creatures, Dr. F at his young age seems to be thrown by the monsters maturity and what they become after they are on their own. Covered with blood and terrified by Caliban, he demands a view of the London streets and more than anything requires love in the form of any babe London has to offer.
In the second half of the episode, Vanessa Ives and Sir Malcolm are pulling the strings for their next expedition in the underworld. Renewed with confidence after taking the company of the whore Brona, sharpshooter Ethan Chandler is keen on being a full time part of the steampunk era wanting to use his God given talents with his sidearm. Sir Malcolm reveals to Ethan that he has arrived just in time for another adventure that crew that Sir Malcolm has planned to save his dear Mina. Still, Frankenstein’s monster Caliban, who has become far more human than expected is the character that gets the most screen time making me think he is here to stay for the long run.
After a brief encounter at the London Zoo, the triumvirate is trying to find any types of clues to locate Sir Malcolm’s Mina. The trip is a waste save for Ethan being able to seemingly communicate with wolves. But upon leaving the site, the four come upon a character named Fenton. He is some sort of monster but I am not quick to judge on just what kind exactly. Still the gang takes him to study since he is spouting off ancient Egyptian which ties into the previous weeks episode. Still I am not ready to give him a proper moniker considering I have no idea just what Fenton is!
I am on DEFCON one trying to figure out how much I should be enjoying PENNY DREADFUL and I am coming up empty. I will say that the foursome is coming together but at what cost? Sacrificing the overall narrative with almost a half-hour of exposition on Doc Frankenstein’s new/old beast, it sucks the life out of what could have been a pretty stellar episode. Instead I knocked it down a peg in hopes that we can focus on our fantastic four of 1891 London. In summation it was way to early to introduce other monsters of Frankenstein because all they basically do is try to get free and learn as much information as Johnny 5 from SHORT CIRCUIT. I am still hopeful for the series but in a British turn of phrase, I can easily say “what are you playing at??”