A Penny Dreadful Community
Showtime (ended 2016)
And so we come to another week of Death joining us together, with "What Death Can Join Together." Or at least joining together the League of Fearless Vampire Killers and their assorted hanger-ons and associates.

Death is pretty much everywhere this week, as Billie Piper gets to stay in bed and Brona gasps out her last few days of life in a bloody bed. Ethan seems strangely unconcerned that he's going to catch anything from her, which is all the hints we get this week that he's a werewolf or some such. There's also no mention of him and Dorian bedding each other two episodes ago.



I'm not quite dead yet.

That leads eventually to Ethan joining Malcolm and Sembene on a vampire hunt. This time they're checking out a plague ship thanks to a vague vision from Vanessa about people dying on a ship. The ship is filled with blonde female vampires who all dress at the same Hot Topic, and (presumably) the Master hanging out below decks. It's not quite clear why he has a ship full of blonde vamps just sitting in port doing nothing (Gotta catch 'em all?), but we do get a thrilling fight sequence as vampires leap on one of our three heroes, they shoot or stab them, they fall off, repeat and rinse.

I say "presumably" because Robert Nairne is credited as playing "Vampire." Except he played a vampire in the first episode, "Night Work," who clearly wasn't the Master because... well, they killed and skinned him. So is Bald & Cracked Mouth supposed to be the Master, our unnamed Dracula? Or just "a" vampire? Or are all of the male vampires clones of the Master (much like all the females looked a lot alike)? Or can't the producers afford more than one creepy bald guy?



Am I am charge, or am I in charge?

I say "three heroes" because Malcolm has decided that he doesn't trust Vanessa. Which seems kind of out of the blue. He then tells her that she's hot in her new dress and then sends her off on a dinner date with Dorian. Who seems intent on bedding every member of our team. I'm looking forward to the episode where he and Sembene get together (Penny Mandingo?).

So Vanessa decides to have sex with Dorian and cuts his chest with a knife, and then she gives in to the demon that seems to always be with her, never giving her a moment's privacy. She leaves after some near-sex and near-nudity on Eva Green's part, and Dorian goes down to his portrait and heals his sex scratches.



I am one fine looking dude.

Dorian also drops a few hints about liking portraits, eternity, and how bored he is with everything.

So Vanessa goes home and decides to hang around with Malcolm. Float a few ideas. Lift his spirits. Indulge in flights of fancy.



Your mother knits socks in Hell, Father Karras!

Oh, and Caliban first gets kind of hit on by Maude the actress, and then when he gives her a book, she dumps on him, unaware that he's watching through the most obvious screen in theater history. This lead to him deciding to kill Van Helsing just after Dr. V lays a buttload of exposition about vampires on Victor, seeing him as the son he never had because he staked and decapitated his wife.



RIP Van Helsing. You were a class act.

So yes, Caliban brutally kills someone else in front of Victor again, someone who didn't deserve it.

And if you read carefully above, you'll notice that a lot of this was repetition. Brona is still coughing and dying. Caliban is still killing innocent people. Three of the group go into a dark location and fight vampires. Dorian has sex with someone. Eva Green rolls her eyes and writhes. Seen it, done it, bought the t-shirt.

So this week's episode seems like a placeholder of sorts. Not really a lot happened to move the plot forward, except for Vanessa getting possessed. Which seems to lead into next week's episode, but may or may not move the plot forward a bit since the whole Egyptian mythology angle seems to have faded away along with Ferdinand, who I kind of miss. Of course, if he came back Caliban would probably kill him.

With two episodes left, you kind of wish they'd move it along. Judging from the episode titles, next week will deal with Vanessa's possession and reveal a bit of the Egyptian lore. The finale will be the Grand Guignol piece and Caliban will probably get sweet, sweet revenge on Maude for rejecting him, playing the whole thing out... well, grand guignol style on-stage. But will the Master be defeated? Will Caliban get his bride? Will Ethan wolf out? Will Dorian's secrets be revealed onscreen? They'd better hurry it up or we're going to have a lot of cliffhangers to wait 10 months for.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?

Comments (61)
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This show gets a firm ok when people ask me about it. What could've been great has fallen into the same traps that previous League of Extraordinary Gentlemen type of stories fall into. A whole lot of stuff but nothing particularly special. We've had two terrible episodes and one so so with only two left. The whole thing was going nowhere for me all though some little interesting tidbits. Vanessa is now full possessed but all I wonder is why she put herself in such a position to begin with. Did she forget the sexual link and the power it gives the demon that's been following her since a child? Making all the vampires look a like and all that just to see Mina spirited away again and we still don't get Ethan wolfing out wtf? Only thing I liked was seeing that Dorian has to be with in view of the portrait to get restored. As to Dorian and Ethan yeah no reason for two guys in the weining days of Victorian England to talk about butt secs...
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I'm going to read the comments but first wanted to say I really enjoyed the humor incorporated into this review. I don't mind the pacing of the show and find some of the dialogue to be outstanding. Needless to say I am a fan of Penny Dreadful and have enjoyed every episode. It's not "perfect" but it is a top show for me (loving it)!
Thanks for reviewing this show!!
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Also, if Malcolm doesn't want the Master to get his hands on Vanessa... why let her go out for the night on her own?

At least two episodes ago when she went to the theater, he (presumably) sent Sembene along to secretly watch over her.
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Maybe he figured, he'd be dealing with the Master "permanently" so it didn't matter.

Or maybe he took one look at her dress, and knew they (she and Dorian) wouldn't be "out" long. wink wink.


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This episode threw me. Sure it was better than last week's superboring story of Vanessa betraying Mina (a cliche story that needed a 10 minute flashback tops) but suddenly now Sir Malcolm and Vanessa are squabbling? They were thick as thieves, the picture of harmony where Vanessa could speak for Sir Malcolm (as she said to Ethan) and now for no apparent reason (unless the watched the flashback episode too and remembered they had to be angry at each other?) they are bickering and questioning each other?

Also unclear to me why sleeping with Dorian triggered Vanessa's possession when it did not happen after she slept with a guy in an alleyway post-Seance. Is Dorian part of the devil's team perhaps?

I still love the show but it is a bit up and down in quality. The show is already subverting the genre and so many well known stories so the overall narrative should be tighter and instead it feels a bit all over the place.
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yeah, this bit really confused me--& "suddenly now Sir Malcolm and Vanessa are squabbling? They were thick as thieves, the picture of harmony where Vanessa could speak for Sir Malcolm (as she said to Ethan) and now for no apparent reason (unless they watched the flashback episode too and remembered they had to be angry at each other?) they are bickering and questioning each other?"
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The demon was possessing her when she had sex with the guy in the alley (I don't think much sleeping was involved :) ). It got into her during the seance.
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ha ha... you are right - it was straight fucking, no sleeping... what was I thinking... What surprised me is that the aftermath of that didn't lead to Vanessa levitating and losing her shit but sleeping with Dorian did? Or was it the blood drinking and other kinky stuff? I don't know, maybe I am just confused and should stick to watching procedurals...
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I think it was the loss of control that did her in. With the guy in the alley she had already lost of a bit of control during the seance but was able to reign it in again.

With Dorian, she kinda went "all in", and I think it snuck up on her.

I thought it was interesting though, that when she was talking to Dorian about keeping her composure, she kept referring to herself as "we". I suppose it's not that odd for the time period, but I do think it was a stylistic choice.
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That makes sense... I have been thinking in the meantime and perhaps Dorian plays a role that is not just random? Perhaps part of his deal for staying young, beautiful and unblemished (even if women scratch him or he kisses TB diseased Brona) is that he acts for some higher (evil) power? Perhaps Dorian was enlisted to get the team fighting against the master in trouble, and particularly Vanessa?
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She all but levitated during the seance, so the demon didn't need to levitate her afterwards. :)
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last couple of eps have been meh. I will skip a few eps and watch them all at once so I can see where this thing is going. now its like s schizophrenic chicken with his head cut off.

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Could not agree more. This week's was a bit less tedious than last week's period drama snorefest. I think one of the problems is that this show is pace and continuity in how the story is told and this may have to do with having a different director for every 2 episodes (I think). To me the first two were the best although our expectations may have been risen after those and so disappointment was inevitable...Still, I enjoy watching it as it all feels pretty unpredictable so at least it is entertaining...
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Linda Blair's got nothing on Eva Green! ROFL!
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I love everything about this show except the main premise - rescuing Mina. I just can't seem to care about her despite a whole episode that was at least partly designed to inspire some feeling toward her. But that episode, combined with this weeks romp, made me even more charmed and fascinated with Vanessa and Malcolm... and i can't help but love Dorian. He has that slick boyish swagger that only an eternal youth could muster, it just glows from him. Oh such fun!

And Caliban... i wobble between love and hate for him. Victor is just mildly distasteful, i haven't yet felt much of anything toward him to be honest, but his Monster is another story. In a single scene i find myself wanting to both hug and dismember him.
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In fairness for Caliban, that's what Shelley's novel does, too. He's portrayed as a sympathetic character even though he slaughter his creator's friends and loved ones.
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Yes, the Monster was always a sympathetic character, forced to his miserable lot in life, not understanding the harm he was doing at times. His hatred is not necessarily misplaced, his creator doomed him then abandoned him. I like that Caliban is portrayed with intelligence and cunning, not the mindlessness of an animal. He's complex, interesting, and still keeps me off balance. Definitely enjoy that!
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are we getting the photo recap, i love those :)
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That'd be up to the person who volunteers their time to create them.
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Thank you from my daughter for the Pokemon reference, she's a big fan of the games. ;)

That said I like both this review and the episode - sure nothing really moved forward....well, except for Caliban living up to his name and Van Helsing's employment ending suddenly (and unpleasantly). I wonder if Caliban ever heard of the phrase ' you catch more flies with honey, than you do with vinegar'?

I mean this constant slaughtering of people Victor likes is hardly likely to get him his 'beautiful' monster bride is it? I mean if I were Victor I would filling in my daring do pals on my monster stalker, and planning on ways to dismember Caliban rather than building another (female) version.....

As for Dorian - he's just a man slut who's obviously trying to end his immortality by catching some super charged STD. I mean there's not really any other reason for his constant need to bed everything he meets - though him and Caliban getting it on should be interesting..... ;) Oh and I laughed out loud at the 'Penny Mandingo' quip.

Ethan is quite obviously werewolf material - which might explain the whole humping on Dorian; even though, apparently, it's moved into the 'something of which we will never speak, think or act out again' folder. In wolf and dog packs sometimes the alpha male will mount (though not actually mate) a subordinate male as an act of dominance - basically reinforcing his Alpha status. Dorian might not see it this way; but, basically, Ethan metaphorically lifted his leg on the other immortal, marked his territory, showed him who's boss and moved on.

Vanessa will no doubt be growing horns and a tail in a victorian semi somewhere near a misty graveyard fairly soon. She's certainly sending our intrepid team into increasingly dangerous, and pointless, situations for no clear reason except the visions told her to. Now, either her visions are being controlled by a fairy imp who clearly hates the men, or she's possessed by a devil.

Brona's being lined up as Caliban's lady monster - her slow, torturous death (for us as well as her) is clearly a set up for Victor to have a light bulb moment on hearing of Ethan's ex (or just grab her in sheer desperation to rid himself of his homicidal stalker with the most appalling comb over in history). I mean this is such an obvious upcoming plotline that I'm expecting a flashing neon sign to appear above Brona's bed saying 'female body for Caliban' with an arrow pointing down at her to materialize at any moment.

Sir Malcolm is remaining remarkably calm given the murder, mayhem and outright freakishly grotesque madness that's occuring everywhere he goes....perhaps he's drinking the blood of the equally eerily calm Sembene? I mean I know he said he'd 'murder the world' to save Mina; but the world seems to be doing that for him and so surely he should at least be a little surprised?

However I dearly love this show and the recaps are as cool; so, for me at least, even this 'placeholder' episode is a winner.

I'm now off to heart the recap. :)
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Just as a note, the recap is the episode-level recap, not the community photo recap. TV.com doesn't want me to post the text recap in the community.
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huh? this is in the community…slightly confused but nothing new with that;-)
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If you go to the episode page, there's a button that says Fan Recap. that would be my detailed recap.

While I wrote this review that covers the basic plot points, I wouldn't call it a detailed recap.
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i did put a link to the recap in here once I had it up...

I could also post the recap here and not on the episode page. But overall, I'd prefer to put it in the designated spot. And that's based on the last thing staff told me.

For shows i edit, the episode pages are always pretty complete. :)

As far as my recaps, they're pretty straightforward non-photo-content text retellings. I don't know how much interest they'd be to people who have already seen the episode, unless there was a plot point they were unclear on.
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why have reviews/recaps in two different places? People have a hard time finding the communities and the episode pages don't get advertised and the rare times I check they don't have much new stuff (isn't that were you can rate episodes….it's been forever since I have gone there). Granted I rarely go to the episode pages and don't know of may people who go to them.

Can you post them in both areas? I thought the site was pushing the communities and not the episode pages.
@Gathard can maybe help explain this. It's already complicated enough: community pages that are hard for some people to find, episode pages that don't interest many people, and aren't the forums still active. I know the site is understaffed but reviews and recaps should go in the community. If they go in different places then less people will see them. I hope the reviews in the episode pages can also go here (or incorporate the episode page reviews into these community reviews so these review in the community has everythigna and the episode pages).

I wonder if anyone else puts stuff in the episode pages (reviews) and if users even see them, know about them, can find them and read them routinely. I guess one has to search for them. Maybe incorporating links into each on that link to the other…IDK). Strange that reviews are in two different areas and not linked together but that's just my opinion.

Maybe this is obvious to everyone but I don't go to the episode pages--maybe a few time before the communities but not since they developed the communities).

If it is not to much trouble can you put a link in here to your other review?
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Just sayin' but overall, I found myself wondering...uh, to my...self what it says about me that the absolute brightest moments of the entire series so far are the brief glimpses we get of Caliban cracking the occasional smile while working backstage.

That's not a small thing

When I step back and really think about it, I completely drown in the subtlety. He may be a monster, but to me, it makes him the most human thing in the show
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And the recap is up, or will be available very shortly.
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so... am I right to assume that Ethan is an American werewolf in London? :D
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Better by far than an American werewolf in Paris.

Although maybe that will be Penny Dreadful Season 2.
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oh no! lets hope the pop culture references remain cool.
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Hmm. I'd forgotten the actor playing Sembene, Danny Sapani, was in Doctor Who. So that makes three of the PD regulars who were on that.
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And, one step removed from Doctor Who, you have Harry Treadaway, who also played David Tennant's son in the film 'Recovery'.
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(Oh, and Treadaway's mum in 'Recovery' was Sarah Parish, who has also been in Doctor Who)
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Penny Mandingo would be one hell of an episode.Good job on the piece.
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This show definitely plods along, but it's so pretty and entertaining that overall I don't mind. It definitely feels like the kind of show that is made for bingeing on and that people who have waited and watch it all at once will definitely not feel it dragging so much.

The scenes between Dorian and Vanessa are easily my favourite part of the show. Their banter and chemistry is so easy, so comfortable, I could watch them dance around each other forever. In fact I need a show wear they travel around the world, solving mysteries, throwing parties and frequenting perverse underground clubs. I would watch the sh*t outta that.

My second favourite part of the show is Frankenstein. It amazes me how a character that (IMO) has been done to death, is still so entertaining. Despite knowing his sins and how he'll pay for them, I still feel for him every time. How many more people will he lose because of his refusal to be bullied by his aberration. His monster becomes less a tragic figure and more an unsympathetic beast as each episode passes.

I'm still not convinced the Vampire we keep seeing is Dracula or the one who is hunting Vanessa. Vanessa described Mina's downfall as her "becoming embroiled with another man." I think Dracula is still someone we have not met.

When Van Helsing spoke of killing his wife, I laughed out loud (morbid I know). But it reminded me of the scene in Dracula where Anthony Hopkin's Helsing explains to Mina how he put Lucy "at peace".

No "ripper style" murders in a few days? Wonder why?

Welcome to the show Sembene. :)




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"I think Dracula is still someone we have not met."

I'm not sure if we have met Dracula. However, Fenton specifically addressed the vampire who broke into Vanessa's room as "Master."
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I can't see them pulling any of the various plot threads together in the remaining 2 episodes - good thing it got renewed for season 2 :-)
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Bloody brilliant. The whole episode was great Eva green is a top actress and plays Vanessa with ease. I love Dorian he is perfectly yummy and him and Vanessa together was just what I was waiting for. I just wonder why have sex with Dorian unlessed her demon she's had sex befor we saw it but why did it happen with Dorian is it because his soul is damaged beyond repair and has an iner darkness that like her kinda. I can't wait until next episode to find out more and I really want to see Ethan as a wolf tearing people to shreds. Speaking of Ethan his walk of sham or lack of it was refreshing. Poor van Helsing, stupid caliban he needs to die a horrible death he is annoying me every thing about him and his story bothers me and I hate his character.
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Agree with everything except~~I remember Vanessa having sex with Mina's fiancé but during the act when she looked at Mina she looked possessed imo. Shortly afterwards she collapsed outside and seemed fully possessed for quite sometime (asylum, etc…). Here she looked possessed again with Dorian during or approaching climax and then seemed "somewhat" herself (able to get home) before becoming full on possessed. I'm not sure if possessed is the best term.
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I see your point
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Eva Green looks fun to hang out with.

That aside, I have to agree with Gislef. This was a well done episode, shot well, acted well. But like Gislef points out, we have seen this before. Perhaps not in the same exact context but we haven't learned anything new other than that Caliban is a whiny little twat and when Vanessa gets horny she tends to lose herself to the demon. I mean they nearly telegraphed that with the talk about poise, demeanor and control. She has to maintain control of herself because if she gives into her libidinous desires she welcomes in the demon or devil or whatever has a hold on her. But I do feel that it brought up an interesting question.

And that question is, The master vampire wants her, for what reason exactly is yet to be known. But which her does it want. Does it want her docile and in control or does it want her in full on demon/devil take over mode. Because that mode seems like it would be powerful and something that even the vampires might not want to mess with. Though it looks like Sir Malcom might and that will be an interesting episode next episode. Because Ethan hasn't seen that side of her and we have still yet to see him in his, glory, as it were.

Despite the circling or even hovering would be a more apt description of the pace of the series, it still is an interesting series and dammit I like it.

I have to wonder how big the next two episodes are going to be. And I have to wonder despite the already short season if they wouldn't do better with a shorter season. I mean there has been a decent amount of what could only be described as filler in this season. I wonder what the reveals are going to be and what is going to transpire. Is Frankenstein going to get a wife for his whiny creation? Is that going to be enough for him or does he want the girl from the play? Is Brona going to die and be ripe for the turning her into his bride, is that going to keep Caliban in the mix because she will still be alive and still love Ethan? Is Ethan ever going to freaking wolf out?


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Just a mention on this show the nude scenes for Billie Piper's 'Brona' have been the actress and not a body double. Her 8 year 'no nudity' rider was removed for her Showtime contract for this show. People, including our excellent recapper, have been saying she uses a body double as she had been for many years. Mr. Skin confirms that this has not been the case for 'Penny Dreadful' as people have been stating in comments here; its been all her all along.

So whatever about that but what a great episode. I've loved David Warner for many moons (first time I loved his performance was in the 1979 film 'Time after Time' when he played 'Jack the Ripper' to Malcolm McDowell's 'HG Wells' who in the film invents a time machine to chase 'Jack the Ripper' into the 20th century.) - he got to play Van Helsing here only to be killed by Frankenstein. This is too much fun but I wanted more Warner. Darn.

Cannot wait until they show the pprtrait we want to see at Dorian Gray's. Love that they are still making us wait. Eva Green should be a Best Actress Drama Nominee for Emmy. Such a great actress doing such a wonderful job with this bizarre role. What can't she do?
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Oh gosh! I had forgotten about David Warner in "Time after Time" ! That time machine was sweet! And the character was very cute with the glasses and all...
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Mary Steenburgen was quite cute in it as well.
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Correcting myself for my mistake - When I referred to Frankenstein when discussing Van Helsing's demise i of course meant Frankenstein's monster how could i say Frankenstein killed him when we learned how much Victor liked Van Helsing, Dumb mistake people have been making forever.
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Heh! I gotta agree with Gislef here.

If Piper wasn't following her usual M.O. & continuing to use a body double, then it would have been possible already to see shots of her face and parts of her fun bits simultaneously by now.

Unless that happens, or Miss P. confirms it herself. I'd say Mr. Skin is talkin' out of his ass

(Assuming it's his own ass that's claiming it ;-)
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If it isn't a body double, they're doing a very strange job of making sure her face is never visible when she's nude.
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Hes doing late night radio shows and been saying its actually her because this show is always discussed when he's on radio recently because there's a good deal of nudity in it. He's made a pretty long career geez its been decades now letting people know who's naked where and he credits the doubles and lets everyone know when its a body double (and who it is) and not the star doing the nude scenes. He's been discussing this particular show recently because he loves talking about Eva Green's sex with the invisible man (jokingly insisting that this is how all sex scenes should be shot - without dudes) and when always asked about Billy Piper he's been reporting that despite news to the contrary for this show she agreed to do everything the scripts required and removed the no nudity restriction when cast from her contract for the first time in eight years. He's telling the whole story. Dude has to have good sources cause he could get sued or someone would make him at least 'cease and desist' telling the story. The guy has made a living doing this odd particular task of documenting the nudity in film and TV throughout their history (he's documented the exact minute the clothes come off in everything) so maybe he knows what he's talking about in this particular arena.
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But if I suppose, I can go over it, frame by frame, pausing frequently one-handed (hey, I have to write with the other!) and taking careful measurements, to see if at any point Ms. Piper's face is visible atop the nude body.
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Oh, hell Son, you really should know better than to trust what you read on the internet simply just because it's on the internet. Time & popularity is not synonymous with credibility...that's a simple no-brainer.

People talk out of their ass ALL THE TIME for a living & Mr Skin is not a magical exception...& I'm saying this as a general fan of Skin's work over the years.

So don't be so blindly gullible by someones fame, Dude. Seriously,
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I don't see how anyone could sue him, at least in the U.S. Not to mention he does it on the Internet: under which jurisdiction could he be sued? And I imagine he could claim absence of malice.

When Ms. Piper says that she's done nudity on the show, I'll believe it. :) Or they show her face at the time they show "her" nude body.
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Exquisite. Magnificent. Phenomenal. I am completely enthralled by almost every scene.

Though, I have to say, I wasn't particularly impressed by Vanessa's dress. Until she took it off, of course. The dress fashions of the 1890's are strange and, to my eye, unappealing.

I don't think they are searching for Dracula but, rather, an older vampire.

With only two episodes left, I don't think we should expect any kind of conclusion. This show seems to be made entirely of cliff-hangers.
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Have to agree with you, much of this episode felt almost like a backpedal of sorts for the season. After last weeks long, but not necessarily unimportant flashback to Vanessa and Mina's childhood, it feels like the series has lost a LOT of steam coming up on its final episodes. Perhaps the creators have gotten a little too comfortable in knowing they're already renewed for a longer second season?
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I thought Malcolm agreed to let/played Vanessa to go on a date with Dorian so that she won't get in the way of rescuing her.

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Rereading my review, what I thought was out of the blue was Malcolm not trusting Vanessa, not his complimenting her.

Has Vanessa done something between episode 3 (when Malcolm took her on two "expeditions" in eps. 1 and 3) and this episode to make him mistrust her? It's almost like he watched the episode 5 flashbacks and said, "Oh, yeah, Vanessa got my daughter turned into a vampire: I suppose I shouldn't be taking her along anymore."

He knows the Master wants her, but that's not her fault. I could see it as a matter of protectiveness, or simply wanting to deny the Master access to an important piece on the board. But it's presented as Malcolm not trusting Vanessa.
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It was on episode 4 when that vampire boy was looking for Vanessa and said his master wants her. Knowing that Mina was at the hands of his master he didn't want Vanessa to come with him on his expedition or else he would risk losing Vanessa, his only hope of finding his daughter, to the Master.
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Right I referred to that above. I can see the Master wanting her, and Malcolm becoming protective of her. But why go behind her back to do it?
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He did, but she didn't seem to find it unusual he was acting out of character.
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Well, if I was Vanessa...who the fucking cares about Mina when I'm about to get laid with Dorian? Priorities sister...priorities...haha.
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I think she did notice but didn't care she was about to see Dorian and I'm betting she had every intention of seeing him naked so her mind was else ware.
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She was about to go have a play date with Dorian! Who the hell is Mina again and who does she think she is interrupting play time with Dorian?
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