“Predators Far and Near” – aired 5/8/2016
Written by John Logan
Directed by Damon Thomas
*Spoilers are contained within*
In this episode of Penny Dreadful, “Predators Far and Near”, we found a treasure trove of deceit, conflict and weird science. We discovered the identity of this season’s baddie, we were enthralled by some majorly bad-ass action scenes and we bore witness to the awesome majestic psychic communication (I mean is Kaetenay magical?). All of this and we’re only on episode 2.
Here are a few of my highlights and observations from “Predators Far and Near”:
Moment: Renfield goes back to the vampire den and pleads for Dracula to give him more of his blood.
Observations: This is actually the last scene of this episode but why save the best for last. Let’s get straight to the good stuff! Last week we learned that Dracula is Vanessa’s antagonist, and now this week we’ve finally seen his face and discovered his secret identity. The reveal was so good! There’s Renfield, looking utterly forlorn, scanning the room for his new master and beseeching Dracula for another taste of his blood. Dracula appears and then orders Renfield to his knees. He abrades his wrist and offers it to Renfield. The camera now slowly pans up from the wrist and out into a wider angle, revealing that the new monster is none other than the handsome and adorably forgetful Dr. Alexander Sweet. My God the deceit is utterly delicious! We are just two episodes in and it’s clear that this Dracula is a master manipulator. He’s positioned himself to portray the shy scholar (he’s the director of Zoological Studies at the museum), who’s a touch socially awkward with the fairer sex, all so that Vanessa becomes the pursuer in their interactions. How cute is it that whenever they see each other he never quite remembers her name? Yet, he always seems to remember her connection to and in interest in (her spirit animal) scorpions. Poor Vanessa is falling right into his trap. She has begun to court him and has even asked him out on a date. The moment she finally realizes who he really is, the betrayal of it all will make for some dynamic conflict.
Moment: Lily and Dorian enter a secret chamber, where they are seated among a group of wealthy men. A masked man brings out a bound and naked young woman, who appears to be brought out for these men to watch (and possibly partake in) her torture and eventual murder.
Observation: I knew this was going to happen. I just didn’t realize that this was going to happen so soon, but Ms. Lily has officially ranked high on my Mystique Scale of Villainy. The girl is an official bad-ass and with this scene alone, Lily is at a 4/5 on the M.S.O.V. When the scene opens and you see Lily and Dorian step out of their carriage, pay the doorman and are ushered into this chamber of horrors, I must admit I was a bit worried. We all know that the both of them aren’t afraid to off a man or two, but I never imagined that they’d want to be a part of some sort of murder club. However, as soon as they brought out the bound young lady I knew the real reason for their presence. It was about to go down! Then Lily and Dorian, in the most graceful and fluid manner began to slit throats, bludgeon and shoot to death each and every last participant of the secret murder club. It’s all rather gruesome but this scene gave me chills. I do believe that Lily is becoming a champion for the downtrodden and oppressed.
Dr. Victor Frankenstein
Moment : While in Dr. Jekyll ‘s laboratory, Dr. Frankenstein observes the treatments effects on an unknown patient.
Observation: It’s clear to me that Dr. Frankenstein is lovesick over Lily. He is deluding himself into believing that Dr. Jekyll’s treatment will have the desired effect over Lily. What’s most interesting is that I believe that even Dr. Jekyll knows that his procedure won’t bring Lily back to the woman who was in love with Dr. Frankenstein. Dr. Jekyll basically tells him that when he ponders, “Can we make her more calm? Undoubtedly. Can we render the beast dormant? It’s possible. But can we make her love you?” To which Dr. Frankenstein asserts, “I want her back… as she was.” The most interesting part of their interaction in this episode was our being able to observe the treatment in action. Dr. Jekyll’s patient starts out as a jaundiced, sickly, rot mouthed, social agitator. Once Dr. Jekyll injected his patient we witness a physical and mental transformation. After the injection his patient becomes suddenly both physically and mentally well with clear eyes and skin, and a much calmer demeanor.
Moment: Malcolm and Kaetenay are on a ship crossing the ocean. Kaetenay begins to smoke his pipe and psychically connects with Ethan who is far away in New Mexico.
Observations: This scene was very interesting. It held some mystery because I am so curious about the relationship with Kaetenay and Ethan. Here we learn that Ethan and Kaetenay had a relationship that was very similar to Vanessa ‘s and Malcolm’s relationship. The younger party caused great harm to the family of the older party and that lead them down a spiral of hate and retribution. Kaetenay, like Malcolm, we discover decided not to end Ethan’s life after he (while in wolf form I assume) murders Kaetenay’s family but he decided to let Ethan live and be tortured by the knowledge that he took innocent lives. At some point, Kaetenay’s feelings turn from hate to caring, just as it did with Malcolm for Vanessa. Or at least that’s what Kaetenay says. Ethan however, is having none of this. It’s clear that Ethan doesn’t feel any kinship with Kaetenay. I can’t wait to see the moment when Ethan and Kaetenay come face to face. Will they hash it out or will they destroy each other?
Side note: I’d be crazy if I didn’t mention this little gem. A scene like this is why I tune in to this show. While still in the custody of the men that were sent to bring him to his father, Ethan meets a Native American woman in a restaurant. She gives him some information on the whereabouts of Kaetenay. He thanks her and sends her away to safety before the full moon emerged. Then he silently transforms into the Wolf Man. The chaos begins. He takes them completely by surprise. The Wolf Man is mauling people and clawing out throats. The men are in shock and slow to react. When one guy finds his wits and attempts to shoot our Wolf, Hecate suddenly appears (in complete witch mode) and snaps the man’s neck, saving our Wolf and exclaiming, “How I’ve missed you.” At this point, even Hecate earns a 3/5, making for a solid ranking on the old M. S. O. V.
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.