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Showtime (ended 2016)
So, hey, we're at "Possession", the penultimate episode of Penny Dreadful. Where in most series they set things up for the big climactic showdown.

But not Penny Dreadful. No-siree-bob. This is another episode where there's not a lot of narrative advancement. In fact, all they really did was wrap up a storyline that they weren't really doing much with anyway. Remember when Egyptian vampires were all the rage and our poor missing Egyptologist Dr. Ferdinand was predicting that there would be a time of great darkness when the two Egyptian deities would mate and the world would be destroyed?



I have a subplot around here somewhere, don't I?

Well, neither did writer/creator John Logan and his merry band. Sure it's been mentioned briefly from time to time. But there doesn't seem to have been any real concern about it. Well, tonight Logan & Co. decided to address it by ending it. Sort of. Vanessa seems to be demon-free now: dispossessed, as it were. Thanks to a deus ex machina.

In fact, rather than the typical penultimate episode, "Possession" is more of a bottle show than anything. They reuse the standing sets and only have one guest star.* You don't usually expect to see a bottle show in the next-to-last slot, even in short-run series.

So what happens in "Possession"? It's basically an episode-length machine to get Eva Green an Emmy. She acts her little heart out, foaming and frothing and cursing and saying Showtime levels of explicit sexual dialogue. Hey, it got Linda Blair an Oscar nomination, didn't it? It was either do a possession episode, or cast Eva in a remake of Roller Boogie.



Pea soup, anyone?

And don't get me wrong: it's a great performance. As one reviewer noted, probably the best possession victim acting since Linda Blair in The Exorcism. And the episode served to do what many other possession-type episodes have done in the past on other shows. They shine a light on the other characters. We find out how big of a dick Malcolm really is. He not only left his son to die, but named a mountain after himself rather than Peter. Victor is a virgin (or is he? does sex with one of his creations count?). Victor and Malcolm bond over drugs. Ethan and Sembene kind of bond over spicy food. Heck, even Ethan and Victor bond in the only humorous scene. Ethan realizes that it doesn't do much good telling Victor to treat a trigger like a woman, and then Ethan says that Dad (Malcolm) is mad at them.



Like you're touching a lady's neck... oh, never mind.

And Josh Hartnett is still pretty entertaining in a role that could have been a stereotypical American cowboy. He gets the humorous moments of the episode, and a dramatic bit talking about how Indian children were taken from their tribes and raised as whites.

But that brings us to... the ending. As we discover that Ethan is an exorcist? Where the heck did that come from? And not some kind of Indian shaman: I'm pretty sure that's Latin he's chanting. And it's certainly Brona's St. Jude medal he's using. I don't think they've dropped any hints that Ethan is a rogue exorcist (exorciser?) from the Catholic Church. And why the heck did he wait until the last minute? He didn't seem to be in danger by doing it.



Why the heck didn't you do that 54 minutes ago?!?

So that's what I meant earlier about the deus ex machine ending. They spend 54 minutes or so talking about how Vanessa's case is hopeless and all they can do is kill her and put her out of her misery. And then *poof* she's cured and the threat of the Egyptian deities goes away for the foreseeable future. If one of them can't possess Vanessa and use her as a host body to start the apocalypse, the whole take over the world plan goes away. Sure, they'll probably threaten her with repossession *heh* in season 2. But the ending here pretty much put paid to that for the foreseeable future.

Dorian and Brona are absent, although mentioned a few times. Rory Kinnear lurks outside but has no dialogue and no input on the plot. Hope they're getting fat paychecks to not show up.



And then… Caliban comes up and breaks his frikkin' neck.

So overall, "Possession" was an acting episode, but not a whole lot of narrative progression episode. Sort of like "Closer Than Sisters". Of course, by now it just may be that John Logan isn't trying to do a bunch of narrative progression. Or maybe he's just saving it all for the finale. The preview definitely makes it looks like it's crammed full of lots and lots of dangling plotlines coming to fruition. And a few new ones as well.

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

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* Played by Oliver Cotton. Who somewhat coincidentally showed up in the American premiere of The Musketeers on BBC America an hour earlier, playing D'Artagnan's father. Busy night for him.
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It was a preist that ethan was asking for the whole episode, I feel it was so he knew what he was dealing with and it seemed after they cleared the room Ethan knew what he was up againest. Then the prayer to surpress the devil just added more mystry to him, I can honestly say I enjoyed it and his exit was a classic. And now after watching the Finale I really do want to See a Season 2. For 3 Reasons , 1) The mystry of Ethan, 2) To hear Vanessa's answer and 3) Dorain Grey.... I'm hoping to see the portrait.

The young Dr.Frankinstien is also a great charater and to see him grow has been great, so I say bring on season 2.

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Agree with the review points this episode was about acting and not story development. Although engaging while it was happening watching Eva Green do her thing. A few minutes afterwards and I'm left with a lackluster feeling. I mean really all that hub bub you've got to go somewhere with the story. Did we really need a glorified super jumbo packed back story episode?
Sir Malcolm is a hefty bag of dicks, Dr.Frankstein prefers his work to women if you don't count reanimated oral or butt seks, and Siembe is not just a jungle oddity Sir Malcolm brought home whoop... As to Ethan in a longer series I could forgive his impromptu Catholic exorcism, you're correct Gislef, and not drop the dreaded Deus Ex Machine hammer on the show. Style points for not doing a Native casting spell and now we have not just a cowboy but a international man of mystery on our hands.
I as the viewer shouldn't have to assume Ethan in an effort to get the wolf or perhaps I should say Wendigo out of him. Tried everything to no avail hence his knowledge of the Catholic rite but then again I should've gotten my wolf on by now and we're 1 episode left till end of the season and I'm wolfless... The show has firm okay in my book and I'm pretty sure I'll be back next year fingers crossed they don't frak up the finale.
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I feel like way too many people are used to TV shows being neat, linear little stories that are summed up in a season or an episode. Expecting a show like Penny Dreadful to play out like a police procedural is a bit naive I think.
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While I wouldn't say that I would expect nice neat linear stories, I wouldn't call those that prefer them to be "naive," either. Preferring a certain type of story is... well, a preference. Maybe expecting Showtime to have a show with nice neat linear stories might be naive, but then again I'm not sure who is expecting that, either. Wasn't me.
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Maybe naive is the wrong word. I feel like there are so many different genres and ways of telling stories in so many different cultures, but many people are just used to a Hollywood-style linear narrative taking primacy over character development or world-building or the creation of atmosphere (which is vitally important is a genre piece like Penny Dreadful) that when they're exposed to media that does try to break away from it, rather than question their expectations, they immediately say that it must be wrong. Penny Dreadful is pretty obviously based on the gothic horror novels and pulp that were popular at the time. The genre pretty much DOES prioritise thrills (both visceral and sexual), scares and a brooding, dark and malevolent atmosphere over plot development. If you go into the show with an understanding of the kind of genre they're trying to recreate, it becomes clear that they're doing an amazing job of it.
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Perfect way to explain it, Cuttlefish. I hope the show continues on in the same vein.
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Can't speak for those people. I don't feel that way. I didn't find the insertion of a flashback into episode 5, for instance, disruptive per se. And I've watched and written recaps for shows like Awake, which is the most non-linear show you can probably imagine. Person of Interest comes to mind as well, where they had flashbacks two years after something happened to explain the full story of what happened.

But unless you're going to go hog-wild, and John Logan seems to have little intention of doing so (unlike, say, David Lynch), writing a story has some basic elements, like foreshadowing, and closure. And in some ways (not all ways, or even most ways), Logan seems to so far have omitted those in the last few episodes.
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Person of Interest is different beast altogether. The story telling is very linear. Even when is employs flashbacks to further explain the narrative, the show is still straightforward, those flashbacks enrich, enhance, and explain the story, they do not change it's direction.
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HOLY CRAP EVA GREEN. FULL STOP THE END.
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I got the impression that Ethan wanted them to summon a priest a lot earlier in the piece but Sir Malcolm quashed that - determined to use the situation to get more information/understanding.
I believe that Ethan was holding off as long as absolutely possible before revealing that he could do the exorcism - was he a religious figure in the past (?) - is that why he has problems back in the US (doing exorcisms?).
So Ethan becomes a far more complex and interesting character... and also, I think moves further away from being a candidate for the Ripper crimes...
Victor is getting character development as well... its obvious that his rejection as a candidate to travel with Sir Malcolm has wounded him and he wants to be more "manly"...
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Mmm I totally agree about the outrageous magic cure by Ethan... that was weird. Yes, what he says is a bit of Latin (with a nice Italian intonation) I think (not 100% sure here) that what he says is something like "St Jude, glorious / magnificent apostle, I am your devoted servant I pray / I beseech you for (?) " There is something else but I do not understand...

More like a movie that tells a story, I sometimes feel that it is like a painting: we get to know, understand how people look and feel but, yes there is little action LOL. That does not mean I do not like it. It is definitely a pace we are not used to...

I wonder how this ends and if they knew already they were getting a second year?

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Okay - question. If I understand the original Penny Dreadfuls they were a serialized story that came out one chapter at a time over a period of time. So...does that mean that this story is ending with this season and a new story (with different players) starts up next season? Or are they going to view the "seasons" as just different chapters to the same book?
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i think its clear from this episode that ethan is a native indian, like those boys he talked about, who would go back to their tribes, and be rejected, and then just wander and die. i think he was one of them,a nd got adopted. i feel this expains his abilty to talk with animals and perform exorcism and all that. i think theres even a moment in this episode where he says so himself
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Or he was one of the soldiers that enforced that removal of the Indian children from their homes - and has problems living with what he did. Still - it might be interesting if he was part of the native culture. It would explain his ease with the wolves.
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* I consider the problem with the show is that way too much was put into the first few episodes and now things need to 'drag' a bit.

Other shows would have had separate seasons for the Mina/vampire storyline, the Frankenstein creations storyline, and the Dorian Gray storyline. Maybe another for the Ethan storyline whatever that is.

Instead, all these people are crammed together and we pretty much only know much of anything about Vanessa Ives's character and Victor Frankenstein's character.

This show is actually much less complicated than Continuum and that show manages to put a lot into the show without needing things to drag.

* Regarding the actors, it's clear that the show largely is written for Eva Green. And that's fine if there weren't all these other storylines going on. Whatever happened to the whole Jack the Ripper stuff?


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I keep waiting for them to get back to Jack - but nothing seems to be moving in that direction. Maybe next season?
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True dat. :)

And from the previews I get the impression the season finale will be just as crammed, with at least one new storyline concerning Ethan.
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There is a lot wrong with this show. It definitely got lost after the first four episodes, I agree. But I actually quite liked this one, I thought it brought the characters closer and gave the show a chance to reset.

That being said, it's hard not to top the last few episodes of 'but, why?'

Dorian Gray and his whole storyline is very poorly done. I do not feel any gravitas from that actor, and am annoyed by his facial expressions and emo hair. (The anime comparison was hilarious and spot-on) I don't care for him with Vanessa, Ethan, or Brona. Seriously, I think he should be cut loose. And also, what kind of asshole doesn't even check on Eva Green after she runs out in the middle of sex and you don't hear from her in a week? I thought she was the answer to his loneliness. Please, too shallow to relate to.

I want to like Brona, but again I feel prejudiced against the actress who I don't much care for. Plus she mostly she just coughs blood on people. Oh well. I'll be happy when she's Caliban's bride.

I really do like Ethan, I'm not sure if it's Josh's charisma or the sweetness of the character, but I enjoy his presence on the show. I even loved his turn as Lucifer, now that was a scene I could not look away from. I do want some answers when it comes to him though. Army background is better than nothing.

Dr. Frankenstein is portrayed as layered here as well, he's just missing that social component, but still craves it. And I would love a friendship with Ethan and Vanessa. His cold calculations are very useful to the team. I feel he is really portrayed to perfection by the actor.

Malcolm is such an ass. I do not feel sorry for him, I feel like he's actively a shitty person. However, it's still interesting, and he does seem to be the only one who actually moves the plot forward. But he really is contradictory. Loved his daughter, but ignored his son. Cares for Vanessa when it suits him, but turns his back on her for any mistake or when it isn't convenient. I know that's the point of his character, but outside of show territory, it really doesn't make sense to me.

I'm sorry the cool African guy with the facial marks is stuck with that guy, he could do so much better.

Eva Green really is going the extra mile here, the extra 5 miles. She just GOES there. However, I do think the show is focusing too strongly on her. If you want to have all these plots and work in notable characters and historical aspects, you gotta change it up show. Or just commit and make it about her, we'd all watch. But that was a long fucking possession. And the whole backstory with Mina was a ridiculous snooze. They grew up in perfect rich happiness next door to each other. Please someone get possessed and fuck someone's fiance, I mean, come on, what a lazy backstory.

So yeah, a lot is wrong with this show. Mainly, it is trying to tell too many stories without setting the stage first. Some of the characters (and actors) are too shallow and don't mix well with the others. And sometimes 10 minutes of smearing poop on the floors, telling peoples secrets, and scratching your nails down the walls until they bleed is enough, another 50 minutes of it is just overkill and no longer shocking. However, I still like the look of the show and can see its potential. But get it together, and keep it tight. With short seasons, you should focus on less at a time, and keep up the hope for next season to keep going. They're already renewed, I think.
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Are you familiar with the character of Dorian Gray outside of this show?
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Yes, of course.
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I don't agree that the final exorcism simply came out of the blue and I think the reason it happened at the end is fairly clear. It is an absolute, last ditch attempt by Ethan to save Vanessa. He has not done it to that point because it never occurred to him to try and he probably would not think it would work even if it had occurred to him. But, in that moment, it is the only thing he has left, short of killing Vanessa. Indeed, remember that St Jude is the patron saint of lost causes; you can actually see, in his facial expression, when Ethan gets the idea of invoking St. Jude in what is, clearly, a "lost cause." (His Latin is not an exorcism ritual, it is actually an invocation of St. J) So, I think that it fits well with what has been established to that point. Moreover, it is worth bearing in mind that Vanessa may have done it all herself, without divine help. Earlier, Malcolm suggests bringing in an exorcist because he thinks that Vanessa's religious beliefs may make the ritual work; it is possible that Ethan thinks the same thing.
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While I hate to disagree, but telling a story to the audience aside, wouldn't the character need to set it up so that Vanessa has some reason to believe Ethan can exorcise the Devil from her?

If the key is Vanessa's religious belief, then doesn't she need to believe that Ethan has some religious mojo?
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I don't believe the "Devil" has been exorcised from her. Whatever this "demon" is, it is a part of her, now and forever. The difference between possessed Vanessa and normal Vanessa is her own sense of strength and control. Begging Ethan to kill her and seeing him unable to do, seeing him grab hold of a faith that he has previously not seemed to put much stake in, in an attempt to save her allowed Vanessa to regain control. It is her own beliefs in the catholic church and rites that saves her again and again and it is her guilt that condemns her to madness when she "loses control".

That she personifies the demon as "lucifer", or Sir Malcolm or Ethan, but that he does not identify himself is interesting. I'm starting to wonder if Vanessa herself is Jekyl and Hyde. And that her demon is her attempt to reconcile her own supernatural abilities that she has because she is the reincarnation of Amnuet.
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Mmmm Jekyll & Hyde that is interesting...
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I agree! Where before were we showed or even hinted that Ethan was a religious person that would actually know a prayer in Latin? Was he raised maybe in a catholic orphanage, like somebody suggested (he's part native American too)? And the only prayer he knows did the trick???

[I do remember that the Catholic Church actually celebrated the Mass in Latin from the 16th to mid 20th century but most people had no idea what the priest was saying...]

Maybe the writer here is not "showing all the cards" but as much as I have liked the show so far... that definitely came out of the blue!

The Ethan character is presented in a very sympathetic way, and the character is actually the one we try relating too, I have to admit that much.
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The Excorcist, Gaslight edition.
Better than the original, I thought.
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The scene at the beginning where Ethan appeared to be possessed. Was that him or was he sitting down-stairs with Malcolm, while Vanessa had a vision?
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I'm not sure which scene you're referring to. It was the Devil taking Ethan's appearance when "he" talked about being cast out of Heaven and wanting to rule Earth with Vanessa at his side. I don't think there was any other occasion when Ethan might have been possessed or actually been the disguised Devil.

Which scene were you thinking of?
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That was the scene I was referring to. I wasn't sure if it was Ethan or Amon-Ra taking Ethan's form.
Now that I've had time to think about it it seems pretty obvious.
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I don't know that we can absolutely know for sure. However, later when Vanessa was hallucinating the glyphs appearing on her skin, nobody else could see them. So the evidence seems to suggest hallucinations.
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Just a quick question, Sir. Since you obviously don't like the show and the way it is structured, why are you the one to review it? I mean, I really liked the episode, I like the way the whole series is set and, frankly, I am getting a little tired of all the irony in these reviews
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That said, I'd advise anyone not to bother writing a review just to argue with me. My little reviews here are hardly worth it. (Although that's irony, too...)

Write a review, spell out what you like and dislike and why, and then let everyone who disagrees with you pick you apart. It's fun for the entire family! :)
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Given all the things I've said I like about the show, and the structure I was happy with for the first four episodes, what makes you think I don't like the show? Judging from the responses on this thread, there are about as many people who think I don't go far enough, as those who think I go too far.

I'm not a staff reviewer, if that's what you mean. I'm the one to review it because I'm willing to volunteer my time and efforts, and no one else is. And because I can type fast, put down my thoughts, and do so in a timeframe that gives us a central place to talk about each episode shortly after it airs.

Since no one else apparently wants to write a review, the alternative would be to either a) use the somewhat inferior episode discussion thread, or b) wait until OzgeB finishes his or her photo recap. Which I would highly recommend. But if you think my reviews are ironic, lord knows what you think of those. :) And they're not timely. Nor do I expect them to be. I can't imagine the amount of quality work that goes into them, but it is no doubt considerable. I'd take far longer (if I could do it at all) than OzgeB does. Me, I take about two hours to watch the episode and jot down notes, check a transcription site to make sure I don't miss anything, and then an hour to write the review.

As I noted earlier, if anyone else wants to write a review, I'd encourage them to do so. Otherwise, I wouldn't ask anyone to read my reviews. It's easily enough to skip them and scroll down to the bottom, and start discussing.
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Gislef, I guess some people forget that a review isn't meant to be fan-gushing drivel. Acting aside, the three Vanessa-centric eppies have done little to propel the plot. If anything, they've derailed any momentum the show had. Background is great, but the show should be more than an Eva Green portfolio piece.
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Oh, I'm quite capable of fan-gushing "drivel" as the opportunity arises. I kind of thought I did with Eva Green, actually. :)

I just find the question of "Why do you review it if you don't like it?" a frustrating one, to me or to any other reviewer. What difference does it make? As long as I'm not biased, why does it matter why I review what I review?

(For the record: I'm a fan of the genre, and I have no dislike of any of the cast or crew before.)

People expecting my opinion to agree with their opinion, makes as much sense as me griping at people because they don't share my opinion. Which is why I don't. :)
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I really appreciate your reviews. They are always interesting, informative, and cleverly written. I just assumed you are on TV.com's staff because of the quiality and ironic sophistication of your writing. IMHO, you should be getting paid; I never dreamed you were a volunteer. Please keep up the excellent work.
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Gislef can't be on TV.COM staff. His reviews are too well written. :)
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And part of why I write reviews is just to hear one in a hundred persons say that. :)
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"Why the heck didn't you do that 54 minutes ago?!?"

Because it could have killed her!!! He waited until there was no alternative. Either exorcism or death, which is what she was begging for.
I personally love this tiny reveal into Ethan's character, still think there's something werewolfy going on with him tho'.
Superb acting by Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in that scene, had me on the edge of my seat.
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She was dying anyway, and really, the only thing they were doing for her was keeping her (barely) alive but in a steadily worsening condition.

If she couldn't drive the demon out when she was healthy, wealthy and wise, why would she be able to a week later after intense physical and mental abuse?

I understand that they didn't really have any alternatives (and Caliban would probably have broken the neck of any specialist they brought in ;) ), but overall they took a pretty passive approach.
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Yes, Eva is brilliant. But unfortunately she alone cannot save this show. From the very first episode I have waited for something to happen. And it never does. I'm all for slow paced shows, like Rectify, but this show is a snail of a show. This episode wasted a whole hour on characters coming to terms with Vanessa's possession. That's it, that's all that happened. When there are only eight episodes in a season, one would expect more. I don't think I'm being unreasonable when requesting that.

It's pretty remarkable that this show has come out of Logan's pen. He has written so many great scripts and has three Oscar nominations under his belt. If something big will happen in the season finale, which I truly hope, I will also feel disappointed because it required seven episodes to build up to it. The dialogue is quite beautiful, I'll give him that, but I wouldn't expect anything less from him.
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The episode in which Malcolm Murray was revealed to be the WORST television father ever.
Not one comment he made in this hour redeemed him in any way, he forced his son to whore, left his son to die, buried him quickly so he could get back to his work and ignored his one dying wish. We've yet to see Johnathon Harker- Mina's husband make an appearance- and we've all figured by this point he dropped the ball when it came to raising his daughter. Then Vanessa...he really lets his sociopathic side shine with her.
And what exactly is Ethan Chandler? He knows not to give his blood as a transfusion to a vampire, he can perform an exorcism and seems to have no concern about contracting TB, which even in Victorian London they understood to be contagious. He's the one character whose back story I don't know and fascinates me.
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Ethan's an American Werewolf in london
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See I figured that but I thought it might be too obvious- you're probably right though
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Yeah there are so many hints that point to it that I'd be surprised if he wasn't a werewolf.

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That's really been bugging me. There are all these little hints, but no true reveal. I don't know how they're going to squeeze that in to the finale with all the other loose ends and storylines they need to tie up. :/
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And I suppose its only obvious in consideration with the other tv shows out there. Watching PD alone it would be a surprise.
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In episode four Frankenstein was reading a newspaper article about gruesome attacks in the city, and asked if they were done by the creature (vampire) they are hunting. Malcolm responded by saying that it can't be the case because the limbs were torn from the victims' bodies, and no blood was drained. Could these attacks have been done by a werewolf, or as you suggest, Ethan?
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Yeah there's those attacks. The fact that he refused to donate his blood for that vampire transfusion test. The wolves backing down in the park. His reaction during the dog fighting, his need to get away from the fighting like it would trigger him. His mysterious past. Also in the opening credits it shows a wolf the Ethan right after.
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and we saw him get along with wolves pretty well in an episode right ?

If its true, he's possibly an adopted american native exorcist turned werewolf. Probably a former priest as well. What a mix:
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While I too have questions, I'm in no way unhappy with this episode. Yes, it was another excuse for Eva Green to act her fanny off, and yes, not much else SEEMED to happen, but underneath it all, it did manage to fill in some back story for several characters, it did demonstrate the depths that Malcolm would go to in his search, and Vanessa's final appearance did set the scene for a final showdown. And just because Vanessa seems to be cured at the moment, it doesn't mean the battle is won.

I'm also OK with Ethan's sudden ability to perform an exorcism, almost as if he too were possessed by some supernatural force - after all, if the bad guys get to use this trick, why can't the good guys? In any event, I trust the writers enough to allow them to explain this at a later date. The deus ex machina argument only applies until more information is revealed, which I firmly believe will happen. While they've turned many horror stereotypes on their heads so far, they've been fairly consistent with the world they've created as well, and rather than complaining that things don't make sense at this point, I merely await the next episode, and next season if necessary, to answer these questions.
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This was a very good episode. It was super dark and gritty. Green is a wonderful actress. Demonic possession is always scary for me. She played this great...I felt so sorry for her and hoped Ethan would put a bullet in her to stop all that misery. I was thinking Ethan was a werewolf and maybe he is but he acted like a priest. I am beginning to think he is something all together different than what we think. Malcolm is a jerk but, I am loving this character. Victor as a morphine addict is believable how could he not be, knowing the things he has done..I am sure he is in pain. I thought this episode moved the story along myself...it was just deep and you had to glean it out to see it. Very well acted by all the cast that was in this episode. Even Caliban standing on the street just watching let you know he is Victor's demon. This was a episode that showed all the players had their own demon possession.......
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And the recap is up. Or should be pretty shortly.
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I already saw the exorcist. IMO this was the third consecutive filler episode and I'm tired of "Vanessa this, Vanessa that". Eva Green is ok but theyre dwelling on her character too much . The League of extraordinary ripoffs do nothing but stand around making the bait and switch of the series overly obvious. THis aint what I signed on for. The main vamp thinks he's Giger's Alien but comes off like a nasty backup dancer from En Vogue. Where's the ass kickin'? I'd rather watch Buffy or Kolchak on the old NIGHTSTALKER series. Watching PD is like hanging with me old bipolar girlfriend.
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Well, who wouldn't want to watch the old Kolchak series? :)

If you want to watch it, it is easily available on the Net. Granted, it's the 70s so they couldn't do the same things Showtime does now. And it's clearly not the same thing they're trying to do with Penny Dreadful. Still, the last few minutes of The Zombie are among some of the creepiest on TV of that era. Check it out at about 41:49 on.
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What Zombie? is that a Nightstalker episode or PD? I liked PD til ep 5. It ran off the rails at the end of ep 4.
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First let me say, thank you for doing these reviews. TV.Com's coverage is spotty at best. I've been reading them since the Vanessa flashback episode. That said, i pretty much disagree with you on everything.
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Also, it's not necessary to point out what Logan is doing right. He's already doing it. :)

Not speaking to you specifically... ummm, L-T-P-G? But if folks don't agree with me, that's fine. Some folks here think worse of PD than me. Some folks think better of it.

As always, anybody else who wants to write a review, feel free to do so. Please don't let my reviews discourage you: we can always use another community poster.
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You're taking my comment the wrong way, i'm not trying to bash. Which is why i didn't get specific. I really do appreciate you doing these reviews. I do enjoy them. It makes me think more critically about the series, than my own biased view would otherwise allow.

Most people have opinions on most things. People will agree on some things some of the time, but agree on everything none of the time. I was just expressing my opinion. I did get a little more specific, in my other reply.

I wish i had the ability to write, i don't. I do occasionally post links to stories and videos, not on tv.com yet. But that as far as my skills go at present.
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You mean you don't agree that Eva Green and Josh Hartnett are great actors? :) Because I'm pretty sure I said they were... or is that one of the few small parts we agree on?

I'll stand by what I said, but I will note this since it seems unclear. Overall, I did enjoy the episode. But I'd like to see them do better.

If I focus on the things that aren't as good, it's because there's only so many ways you can say something is great without sounding like a suck-up. ;) But sure: Reeve Carney is great. Eva Green is great. Timothy Dalton is great. Rory Kinnear is great. (See, it gets kinda of boring) Danny Sapani is great. Harry Treadway is great. Josh Hartnett is great. David Warner is great. Alun Armstrong is great. Olly Alexander is great. Alex Price is great. Simon Russell Beale is great...
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Ok, i don't disagree with you on "everything". ; ) Every show can use improvement. But i believe that this is a great show. I wish it had 13 episode seasons, instead of 8.

I believe they are trying to layout a complex storyline. It's a gothic horror serial, so they are taking their time. Two episodes ago, you stated that the episode, didn't show us anything we didn't already know. I think that we learn something new, ever episode.

For instance, i didn't know that Vanessa had sex with the devil or whatever. I didn't know what her betrayal of Nina was. And before that flashback, a large group of fans though that Sir Malcolm had sex with his daughter, because of Miss Ives' seance ramblings. Now we know who she was really talking about, Vanessa's own mother.
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Personally, I think that Ethan wasn't ... himself ... when he 'exorcised' Vanessa. It seemed to me that he was taken over and some other force (God? alternate personality?) was acting through him. There was an intensity and mania in his demeanour that didn't match the character we have come to know.
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I feel the same way!! That scene was my "wtf moment, give me more!"

And I wont talk about Eva Green or T. Dalton.... perfect cast! HBO of course ;)
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Father Merrin has arrived.
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As did I.
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I thought the same thing.
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yeah, you're wrong - am amazing episode. most notably in regard to the acting, but also in cinematography, music & sound, editing, and directing. Reeve Carney was dearly missed, but as the penultimate episode of the season it was basically perfect - resolving the big B-story of the season, while making the central characters meet their most hidden sides of themselved, and each other. In doing so it put everyone in perfect spot for the finale, as well as pulling them closer together, despite everything. If you didnt spot the narrative progression, you must have been watching another episode. Or been using another dictionary.

An episode that proved lots of people masters of their craft - not the least Logan himself.
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"In doing so it put everyone in perfect spot for the finale"

I thought they were in a perfect spot (not "the" perfect spot: I wouldn't claim there's only one) before this episode. Whether they're closer together, we'll have to see. I thought Malcolm and Victor were closer when Malcolm told Victor that he considered him like a son. But then he blew him off in a later episode.

Ethan and Vanessa were already pretty close. Then they stopped interacting for a bit. Now Ethan saves her life and her soul, and they'll probably be close again.

That's what I mean about a progression. The characters don't progress. They advance, reverse, jerk forward a little bit, hesitate, and then jump forward or back again. "a movement or development toward a destination or a more advanced state, especially gradually or in stages" is what my dictionary says a progression is. What we've seen so far doesn't seem to be it.

Granted, real life isn't a gradual progression in stages toward a destination. But then again, Penny Dreadful isn't real life. :)
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It's only been a few weeks (time passed within the show), we can't expect all the characters to have huge progressions. :)

But each one was definitely progressed in some way. Except Sembene... poor Sembene.

Sir Malcolm is slowly (very) owning up to his part in the decimation of his family. Though he still believes saving Mina will somehow make everything alright.

Ethan has temporarily stopped running or at least he's telling himself that. Becoming attached to a woman who is dying of consumption tells us he certainly plans to run again.

Vanessa attempted to go for something she wanted (Dorian) despite everything she lost the last time she did.

Victor is making connections with real people instead of just corpses. Though he is still not being honest with himself about the decision he has made about Caliban.

Brona has attempted to be more than a mercurial whore, and despite her better judgement is staying with Ethan.

Dorian is looking for a connection that lasts longer than a brief moment.

That seems like progression to me.
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Still hovering. But damn that was a great episode. Eva is phenomenal and even Josh Hartnett was fantastic.
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So Ethan is a man of the cloth of sorts right?...we know he's running away from something but it's never even been remotely alluded to what exactly that is...maybe it's no accident Ethan is in this particular town at a time when these demons show up along with Malcom and Vanessa...

also, i think he had every intention to let Vanessa die but when it cam time to pull the trigger, quite literally as it were, he couldn't and broke out some latin whoopass for the demon...

oh wait one more also...also, the question on all our minds was answred...was Ethan top or bottom...he was bottom if the demon can be believed...
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It was presumably truthful about everything else. It's not like Malcolm spoke up and said, "No, I didn't have sex with women across the length and breadth of Africa."

With all that wading through corpses he's talked about in previous episodes, and now all the women he bedded, one wonders where he found the time to do any actual exploring...
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That is a type of exploring.
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Well, I enjoyed the episode. That's what counts, right?
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Sure.

I enjoyed the episode, too, as I think I noted. Eva Green in particular. I'd just like the story to rise to the level of the actors.
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Hello there! First I do not think that the "satan in vanessa" - "vampire wants you" is the same storyline (we shall see). Also Ethan took over when the priest was too afraid. You have to be strong, brave, not afraid and have genuine faith in order to send a spirit away. He had the will (and knowing the words maybe from his days in the army) and went for it. Desperate times call for desperate measures, that or kill her, he chose to try. Also it was a good thing for the general plot, now they know eachother better and trust eachother (also the dirt on anyone - or almost anyone is outthere.) Ethan, you rock dude! (had to say that sorry). Maybe he is indeed a werewolf and they tried to excorcise him (and fail) back in the states. Malcom is not evil, he lost everything and will try anything to save Mina. His ego is humongus, that's for sure. As Ethan said at the last episode, you have to trust your team. Now their trust level is a bit higher i think
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Well, the Egyptian tattoos on the vampire they killed led them to Ferdinand, who led them to the Egyptian deity because the Egyptologist said that Aman-ra wanted Vanessa. And the Devil/Satan/whoever certainly talked like he wanted Vanessa at his side to throw down God and rule the earth. Now, I'll grant that "The Devil" was talking in Catholic terms rather than ancient Egyptian terms, but then again, Vanessa is a Catholic (or was), so that'd be the terms she'd understand.

I suppose "Aman-Ra" could just be the Devil in an Egyptian guise. But to say there's no connection between the Egyptian vampires and the Egyptian deity that the Egyptologist said wanted to have Vanessa seems a bit of stretch... :)
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Oh, and I do hope the whole Egyptian deity subplot isn't forgotten for too long - if only for the chance to see the eccentric Dr. Ferdinand again. Make him a regular already, Penny Dreadful!
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Yeah, the actor is priceless!
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A 'bottle' episode is definitely a good way to describe this episode. While in some instances they work quite well by increasing tension/ adding paranoia, I personally don't think it worked well here.

The characters never felt in a great deal of danger throughout the episode (they could leave at any time, and Mina only ever really attacked them once), and I felt that the juicy character revelations that usually accompany a possession were quite boring because we, as the audience, already knew those things about the characters (plus they didn't really upset/ disturb the group dynamic amongst the characters). This was the perfect opportunity for some information about Sembene, too, and we got nothing!

And your thoughts on the ending sums up my own pretty perfectly. Why didn't Ethan exorcise her 54 minutes ago? In fact, he wasn't very helpful throughout the entire episode, it always seemed like Malcolm and Victor were doing all the work anytime Vanessa needed to be subdued.
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The reactions of the individuals, as possessed Vanessa spouted their darkest secrets, were very good. Especially their facial expressions, when they realized that she knew what she should not of known. I believe the point of these by the writers, was to allow the group to realize, she was indeed possessed, rather then a victim of some sexual psychological trauma. It didn't matter to me, that i already knew these secrets, only their realization that they were exposed.

"This was the perfect opportunity for some information about Sembene, too, and we got nothing!"

Yeah, i was a little disappointed as well. But we are only in episode 7, and this is a complex storyline, that they are opening up slowly. They've been slowly showing Sembene more, and i can wait.

"Why didn't Ethan exorcise her 54 minutes ago?"

I believe that Ethan was a priest, or a priest in training, before his "curse" caused him to run. His experiences, had him lose faith in God existing. He did say, that he believed in everything except God. His talk with Sembene and what was going on, may of rekindled his faith. I thought it was a nice touch, and insight into his possible past.

"...it always seemed like Malcolm and Victor were doing all the work anytime Vanessa needed to be subdued."

It's easier to use guns at a distance, rather than in physical contact. Some many thing can go wrong that way.

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If the priest petitioned Rome and described what he experienced, would the Pope sanction an exorcism?
I think he might.
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Not being catholic, i'd have to go off the movie The Exorcist, which took place in a modern setting. If memory serves me, i believe they had the same rules. Though a Bishop, may of had the power to grant permission, instead of going to the vatican.

In TE, the victim had to have a psych evaluation. But that medical field was shat, in the 19th century. Then the a priest had to investigate, by running spiritual tests. If he believed an exorcism was warranted, he have to take it to his highers up. I'd imagine, it would be somewhat the same here.
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Yes, you're wrong. The best thing about this episode was its brilliant narrative and how it holds your attention. This simply just isn't your cup of tea I suppose.

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Hard to put in words what I'm trying to say. But basically, it seems to me like the acting is driving the story, and kind of papering over the narrative weaknesses.

Let's look at another show, Under the Dome, to show what I mean. Imagine...

Dean Norris = Malcolm
Mike Vogel - Ethan
Alex Koch = Victor
Rachelle LeFevre = Eva
Alex Koch = Dorian
Natalie Martinez = Brona

Overlook the accents for a moment. Do you think that Martinez could sell the dying prostitute? That LeFevre could do the tour de force possession scenes? That Vogel could bring a combination of humanity and mystery to the Ethan character? That Koch could do... well, anything? :) Okay, Norris could pull off being the sympathetic bastard the way Dalton does.

Then, reverse the parts. Timothy Dalton = Big Jim Renny, Eva Green = Julia, and so on. I think they'd make UtD a much better show, and people would be less likely to pay attention to the big plot holes that series has.

I think Logan is talented at finding the actors he needed. But with lesser actors, the storyline problems would be much more evident. The best example is Brona. Brona's fate is pretty clear from next week's previews. But so far, Ms. Piper hasn't really sold me on the character, and I'm not convinced she'll be able to, (presumably) moving forward.
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Oh my pancreas no, no, no.... I didn't read UNDER THE DOME in this community, oh my eyes, no, no... forgive him HBO, his under a lot stress lately (or drugs)
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HBO? Showtime, maybe...
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MY BAD... but I still think ou need some rest :) - love your reviews bytway, but get some time off
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Did you just compare Penny Dreadful to Under the Dome? No just no. -_-
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I'm unsure where I said it wasn't my cup of tea, so I'm not sure what you think I'm wrong about.

So how did the storyline narrative of this episode hold your attention?

To me, the acting holds my attention. But I think the best TV series do both: acting and storyline. I think Logan et al is more focused on the former than the latter.
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No, I'm stating that it's possibly not your cup of tea.

The show it brilliant. You aren't able to see and experience that. Thus, it's just not for you. Maybe you'd like the CW channel.
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A great deal of it is brilliant. I'd say 65-75%.

You can disagree with that, but I'm not sure why that means The CW is better for me given that.
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