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Showtime (ended 2016)
So onto the second episode of Penny Dreadful. Perhaps not surprisingly, not much happened after the bang-start of the first episode. Basically, we got a lot more exposition and some world building. Or at least character connecting.

The three main characters omitted last week are featured this week. First among them is Billie Piper. She's perhaps the most puzzling of the three because so far she doesn't seem to play a major role in... well, anything. She's a connection between Ethan and Dorian, but the character herself doesn't seem to serve much purpose. A heavily-accented prostitute/factory worker/nude model dying of consumption. Umm, okay. Billie Piper is as entertaining as she always is (take that for what it's worth), and she can give Tom Baker a competition for the "teeth and curls" department. But she doesn't seem to have much to do here except indulge in a bit of almost-nudity and banter with Josh Hartnett.

One night only - Billie Piper IS Fantine, in Les Miserables

Dorian Gray is well played by Reeve Carney as the young-appearing, dissolute gentleman intrigued by death that he (presumably) can't have himself, fascinated by the concept of captured images with both paintings and photographs. Presumably his fascination with Vanessa draws him into whatever group that may form, if the concept of a society of allies is even necessary.

Last is Rory Kinnear, who we only see for a couple of seconds. So who knows what's going on with him? He's suitably violent, I suppose, and brings us closer to the novel and movie version of the Frankenstein's monster. As opposed to poor doomed Proteus. Alex Price gives a heartwarming performance as a new being introduced to a new world while starting to remember his old life. The question is will he be back nor not? His fate at the end of this episode seems very... final.

Gotta split!

As for the regulars, Timothy Dalton, Harry Treadway, and Josh Hartnett really don't have much to do this week. They kind of move things along and serve to connect the dots. Danny Sapani really does nothing, same as last episode. That leaves Eva Green, who gives the tour de force performance of the week as the possessed Vanessa during the séance. She writhes, twists, snarls, hisses, crawls, and does contortions, all while saying the "c" word enough times to make Bill Maher proud. And then goes out in the rain to have sex with a lucky sailor.

Everybody limbo!

This isn't to denigrate those performers, or anyone else. They all have some nice little moments of chemistry, whether it's Malcolm telling Vanessa to unbutton her collar button, Vanessa and Victor exchanging poetry, or Hartnett, Piper, Treadway, and Price having an awkward meeting on the streets.

Sweets for the sweet? Oh, yes. And here's some nuts for you.

Nobody else really gives much of an impression this week. Even Simon Russell Beale seems a bit subdued but he gets two of the best lines. One minute he's joking about social awkwardness when dealing with the primordial forces of darkness, a few minutes later he's laying out the annihilation of mankind.

Otherwise... we really don't learn much about the major plots, whatever they are. The vampires are connected to two ancient Egyptian gods who can never meet. Still no word on who or what is responsible for the Ripper murders, other then that there are more than what we saw last week and that someone is collecting reproductive organs (from a 7-year-old girl?). No werewolves, although there's a werewolf-like creature in the opening credits. I think I figured out why I thought Billie Piper might be playing a werewolf: her teeth are almost as big as the ones we see in opening credits.

Where wolves? There wolves!

The real question is how Malcolm's hunt for his daughter ties into Dorian's (presumed) immortality, which ties into an immigrant factory worker looking for work, which ties into Ethan's crime back in the U.S., which ties into whatever demonic creature is or isn't stalking Vanessa, and how this all ties into the Ripper murders. Or if any or all of this ties together at all and is just a disparate bunch of story elements. We've got six more episodes to find out, so hang on for the ride...


* With apologies to Stephen King...
Comments (3)
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May 26, 2014
Just watched the episode again. Older than Ahmen-et? Would that be the monster inside of her or Lucifer, or Ahmen-RA? So Sir Malcolm took his son on an expedition. He was well and committed to get help for his son or could he not bear to watch his child die and left him? Pretty sure Frankenstein original is the ripper and after episode 3 I'm sure why.
May 25, 2014
"someone is collecting reproductive organs (from a 7-year-old girl?)"

From her mother I think. Didn't one of the ladies in the street say she was pregnant again?

I think the major plot is probably quite simple and that John Logan has written the characters as "complex" instead. Malcolm and Vanessa are searching for his daughter and "curing her" of Dracula. They'll employ Frankenstein and Ethan to help and eventually Dorian through his infatuation with Vanessa.

Brona I'm not sure about. But considering she is dying and everyone on the show seems to be linked to some aspect of immortality and rebirth I wouldn't be surprised to find her dragged into the fallout of one of the other character's personal tragedy (e.g. becoming another Proteus perhaps?).

May 25, 2014
I believe the inspector said "they're", not "hers."
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