“The Day Tennyson Died” – aired 5/1/2016
Written by John Logan
Directed by Damon Thomas
*Spoilers are contained within*
In seasons 1 and 2 of Penny Dreadful, we’ve seen Vanessa & Co. first fight against demonic entities in an effort to free her closest childhood friend (Sir Malcolm’s daughter) from evil’s influence and then do battle with a coven of shape-shifting satanic witches.
On Sunday, season 3 of Penny Dreadful began and it didn’t disappoint. This season is going to bring us a fantastic new antagonist, some promising new supporting characters and plenty of the purely creepy.
Here a few notable moments from this episode:
Ethan “Talbot” Chandler (Josh Hartnett)
Moment: Cowboys kidnap Ethan from federal police custody.
Observations: We catch up with Ethan while he’s in police custody and being extradited back to the States to stand trial for the crimes he committed while in London. Then, a team of men begin executing everyone on the train, both police and civilians, just to rescue him. It’s clear that Ethan doesn’t know these guys and isn’t happy when he later learns that they were sent by his father to retrieve him. There’s so much meat on this bone because we know that Ethan has a terrible history with his father. He goes so far as to join a traveling carnival and leaving the country just to be away from him. Now that his father may have gotten him back, I can only imagine what lengths Ethan will have to go to finally be free of him.
Side note: Did you guys notice that the “defenseless” woman who didn’t get gunned down in the train car was in fact the formidable witch Hecate?
Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton)
Moment: While abroad in Zanzibar German East Africa, Sir Malcolm meets Kaetenay, an unknown Native American man who demands that he travel back to New Mexico with him in an effort to “save our son” Ethan Chandler.
Observations: As mysterious figures go this guy is a doozy. One night Kaetenay shows up and helps him fight off a crew of murderous thieves. This earns some goodwill between the two men and this is when Malcolm realizes that this man knows all about his life and his old mission to do away with the evil in the world. We learn that he’s been following Malcolm from London on through to Central and Eastern Africa. Two things come to mind with the introduction of Kaetenay; now that we know that Ethan is being brought to him father, does Kaetenay’s insistence that they save him imply that Ethan’s father means to do him harm is some way? Also, what is this “our son” business?
Vanessa Ives (Eva Green)
Moment: The moment that she lays eyes on Psychiatrist Dr. Seward and realizes that her newest confidante (and mentor of sorts) looks exactly like her old confidante and mentor Joan Clayton.
Observations: After the loss of both her faith in God and the burgeoning romance she had with Ethan, Vanessa falls into a deep depression. In the hopes that Vanessa will get the emotional support and psychological assistance that she needs, Lyle sets up an appointment for her to see Dr. Seward, a woman who amazingly (or suspiciously) looks like the spitting image of the deceased Joan Clayton. How is this possible? Well, they try to explain away the resemblance as being a result of Seward and Clayton being distant relatives but I don’t buy it. Dr. Seward is too similar to Joan Clayton. They both have the uncanny ability to swiftly cut through Vanessa’s defenses and help her to find the strength that she will need to endure life and battle the darkness that continually looms near.
Side note: Did you notice the gender role swap in Dr. Seward’s office? I can’t imagine that there were many male secretaries to female medical professionals in the 1800s. Interesting.
Renfield (Samuel Barnett)
Moment: While engaging a prostitute, Renfield (Dr. Seward’s secretary) meets this season’s villain – Dracula.
Observations: Dracula sets Renfield to the task of ferreting out Vanessa’s greatest fears, weakness and secrets. Dracula bites him and compels him to exploit his position to funnel info to him. Now, I’m wondering if Dracula was the evil that has been trying to get Vanessa all along. For some reason I always thought it was just plain old Lucifer (Lol! As if Lucifer could ever be ordinary).
The Creature/John Clare (Rory Kinnear)
Moment: While singing to a dying child, John is surprised by flash of a long lost memory.
Observations: I’m so excited for John because if his memories return maybe he’ll feel more whole. His brief remembrance gave him a glimpse into the life he had before his death and reanimation. It appears that he was a family man and had a wife and young son! This season we are going to learn more about his past.
Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway)
Moment: Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll are plotting to tame and domesticate Lily, under the guise of ridding her of her evil and depravity.
Observations: I have to take several cleansing breaths on this one. Dr. Frankenstein is so out of line here. He calls on his childhood best friend to help him murder Lily because he can’t deal with her anger towards him (and because she will never love him). Lily has every right to feel angry because he made every attempt at taking away her choices in life and love. But who is he to say that she is depraved or evil when he murdered her when she was Brona Croft and played God with her (and John Clare’s) life but resurrected them with no regard for their feelings on the matter? Yet, somehow Lily needs to be reined in, have her spirit broken and be emotionally lobotomized. Ridiculous!
Side note: Dr. Jekyll! And Mr. Hyde?
Penny Dreadful airs Sundays at 10 PM ET on SHOWTIME. Check your local listings. In case you missed the season three premiere of Penny Dreadful – “The Day Tennyson Died”, you could still view it for free on Universal Monsters Universe.