Penny Dreadful S:1 E:8 Grand Guignol



Last Week On Penny Dreadful: Secrets...secrets...and more secrets! Vanessa, possessed by her sex induced inner demon, decides to let everyone know exactly what she thinks of them and everything...literally EVERYTHING she knows about them. Elsewhere, Caliban stalks Victor like the palest peeping Tom ever and Ethan becomes The Exorcist with less than sexy results. But sexy or not Vanessa knows where Mina is, which brings us to...(Read about it all HERE)

This Week On Penny Dreadful: Vanessa thinks Mina is at the theater. Sir Malcolm concurs because it's apparently the only dark place left in Victorian London. As illogical as that reasoning is, it serves as a reason to get the Scooby Gang back together. But first Dorian drops by to talk to Vanessa. She blows him...off. She blows him off - you perverts.

Ethan is trying to nurse Brona back to health. But unfortunately doctor does not follow sharpshooter and exorcist (and probably werewolf) on Ethans business card.  Luckily, he knows a Doctor, unfortunately its a doctor who likes dead folks more than live folks. Victor shows up, sends Ethan away and proceeds to smother Brona. Too bad Ethan couldn't cut off Bronas hand, have it regenerate into a half human version...ah fuck it, that's too much of a stretch for even me. It was going to be a whole Rose Tyler/Doctor Who thing...but lets move on...

Caliban tries to get Maud the actress to notice him and fails miserably. He gets all sexual asssaultish before he gets fired. With nowhere else to go her shows up at Victors door. He pours his heart out admitting he'd rather be dead than the walking corpse he is now. Behind him, Victor approaches with a gun. Caliban begs him to shoot. Victor refuses and they hug it out. Victor leaves to help/kill Brona and hatches a deliciously evil idea.

Ethan, distraught at having just the lost love of his last month, walks. He bellys up to a bar, only to be confronted by two American dudes looking to bring him back to America for his father. They have a slight disagreement over the mode of transportation. The two dudes figure boat. Ethan is in favor of nothing. The dispute is settled when Ethan beats the shit out of the two guys.

He meets Vanessa hanging out on the street corner. They smoke some weed for some reason. They are quickly joined by Sir Malcolm and the rest of The Avengers. They moved into the theater which, of course, does hold the remnants of of the vampire clan they have been hunting in two out of the other seven episodes. They split up with Ethan and Victor taking on the Brides of Legolas, while Vanessa, Sir Malcolm and the big black dude go in search of the vampire leader. Just as it seems Ethan and Victor are about to succumb to the blondies, Sir Malcolm sticks the lead vampire guy in the heart saving everyone....EXCEPT...Mina shows up and captures Vanessa. Sir Malcolm, faced with killing his daughter or Vanessa, chooses to save...his daughter, and shoots Mina. What! More on that later. He plays off a Lethal Weapon 2 "Diplomatic immunity" "Has just been revoked" line reading. Time for denouement time.

Sir Malcolm takes down the Africa map room and confesses to Vanessa that the odds are he would never go. Vanessa goes to the church. This time she goes in. Victor works on Brona as Caliban falls in love with her corpse. Vanessa approaches a priest. Ethan drinks again...and is again approached by the same two dudes. And in a move telegraphed since the end of Newhart, Ethan turns into a werewolf and kills the guys. Vanessa talks with the priest about an exorcism. The priest challenges her, asking her if she even wants to be normal? End Episode.

Reaction: A season finale that was pretty much everything to everyone. We got what we knew what coming - Ethan is indeed a werewolf. The only problem with that is the fact that even though it was treated like a surprise, it had been telegraphed since the opening credits of the first episode, so the episode ended on a pretty big let down when it cam to Ethans character.

Caliban got (or presumably will get) his redemption at the hands of Victor (literally). A great performance by Rory Kinnear as The Creature almost makes one forget that he murdered Van Helsing not two episodes ago. The only issue with the redemption and reconciliation was the time frame it took place in. I understand the point of killing Van Helsing, but it really feels like there was a scene missing between the killing and the stalking of last week. How did Caliban go from murderous rage, threatening to kill everyone Victor knows, to the realization that he needed help. Is it something we can chalk up to simple emotional growth? if so what was the catalyst for such  growth. I can see the rejection by Maud being that catalyst, but that took place after the murderous tendencies had already been quelled. Still, quibbles aside, I like the way they are setting up the whole Victor/Caliban/Ethan/Undead Brona thing sets up for next season.

One curious thing before I wrap up. Sir Malcolm chooses his "daughter." Now logic would dictate Vanessa could be his metaphorical "daughter." But could Vanessa really be Sir Malcolms biological daughter? We know he was screwing around with Vanessas mother. Is it a huge stretch to think that he could be her actual father? Will this question be approached during the next season? Is it even really a question? What do you think? Leave comments below.

Overall a pretty good season that tries to be a little too smart for the average joe at times and throws a lot at the wall early hoping some of it would stick.  There were great performances from Eva Green and Harry Treadway. A great episode (episode 2) and a couple really good episodes. This was buoyed by some curious choices - mainly the whole inclusion of Dorian who just seemed superfluous and existed purely to have sex with people.  Luckily, the good outweighed the bad and made for an enjoyable viewing experience. Should I feel so inclined, I may do a season wrap up, much like the one I did for Hemlock Grove. But that is up in the air at this point.

As always...thanks for reading and "Enjoy every sandwich."

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