“Good and Evil Braided Be” was one of establishing allegiances, asserting dominance and rediscovering past memories and connections. It felt a bit slower than the previous two episodes of SHOWTIME’s ‘Penny Dreadful’. However, while “Good and Evil Braided Be” still had its fair share of blood and mayhem, its focus seemed to be on exploring the backgrounds and motivations of the characters.
“Good and Evil Braided Be” – aired 5/15/2016
Written by John Logan
Directed by Damon Thomas
*Spoilers are contained within*
Lily and Justine
Moment: While sitting at a café, they witness the assault of a group of Suffragettes by the police. Justine asks Lily if their mission is the same as the Suffragettes.
Observation: This moment was quite powerful for me because I think that Lily’s answer to Justine’s question sort of touched on a query that many modern women and modern feminists have today. There has always been a question of where or not the cause of feminism is for all women (for all ages, colors and creeds, sexual orientations and socioeconomic levels) or if the movement was only for one discerning class of women (white wealthy women). Lily feels that her mission is separate from the Suffragettes. Her answer to the question is, “No. Our enemies are the same but they seek equality. [We seek mastery]… and they’re all so awfully glamorous all this marching around in public and waving placards. It’s not it.” It’s clear that Lily’s purpose is fight for the upliftment of abused, discarded and disenfranchised women but her true goal is to shift the status quo and establish women as the dominant sex. She makes it clear that she refuses to accomplish this politely, which is what she thinks the Suffragettes are doing by attempting to win equal rights for women by waving around signs and shouting about it in the streets. Lily reveals that she intends to obtain her goal by stealth and by force. She understands that those in power secured their status, not by permission but “by craft, by stealth, by poison, by the throat quietly slit in the dead of the night, by the careful and silent accumulation of power.” Lily has plans to build an army with which she will take what she wants. At the end of this scene I couldn’t help but think of her as a mafia Don. I can just see her now, dressed to the nines, sitting at the head of a long table and surrounded by her female lieutenants. So fierce!
John Clare/The Creature
Moment: With the aid of several flashes of memory, John remembers his old family residence and finally tracks down his wife and son. While hiding in the rafters, he quietly observes his wife tenderly caring for their ailing boy.
Observation: This was such a touching moment. It’s clear that the family has suffered greatly in John’s absence. It appears that the boy has contracted TB (or Consumption as it was called then). The wife is very poor and is doing the best that she can to care for him. Despite of their dire circumstances, it’s obvious that there is a lot of love in this family.
On the one hand, I’m so happy for John because he’s found the family that he’s been yearning for. But on the other hand, I wonder if his newly found family will be another source of torment for him. I wonder if when the time comes and he finally reveals himself to them if they will accept him. I’m sure they know that the husband and father that they previously knew has passed away. Could you imagine how you’d react to a long deceased relative’s sudden appearance at your front door? Could you imagine having to struggle with the shock, horror and grief of learning that the person that you’ve loved and mourned for, had been defiled (and deformed) by a mad scientist and summarily abandoned? Would you be able to accept them as they now are? Would you be able to welcome them back?
Dr. Alexander Sweet/Dracula & Vanessa Ives
Moment: While out on a date, Dr. Sweet and Vanessa visit a hall of mirrors. Vanessa becomes separated from Dr. Sweet and soon realizes that she is being stalked by a vampire (Dracula’s lead familiar). The familiar confronts her and begins to taunt her with personal information scaring her with insights and details about her past and her initial contact with his Master.
Observation: When the familiar tells Vanessa that she’d previously interacted with his Master it sets a couple things into motion. Firstly, his description of this incident calls up a scene of her being in a white room with his Master and one other person (Is that other person someone that we already know?). He freaks her out so badly that shortly afterward, she calls off her date with Dr. Sweet early and hurries over to plead with Dr. Seward to help her to recover long buried memories (with the aid of hypnosis.) With Dr. Seward’s help she’s able to piece together that this encounter with the Master took place while she was in a white padded room in a mental hospital. Through hypnosis Vanessa reclaims that memory and we all learn that she knew John Clare before he died and Dr. Frankenstein got his hands on him. John Clare was her caretaker and orderly at the hospital!
Secondly, the familiar’s confrontation with Vanessa leads to his immediate destruction. As I watched him stalk Vanessa I thought, this guy is going to die. It so obvious that Dracula has some major plans for Vanessa so when the familiar began to taunt her, I knew immediately that he was making a big misstep. I wonder if the familiar’s decision to confront Vanessa was an attempt to protect his status as the lead familiar. He may have felt threatened that once Dracula had his way with Vanessa and I’m assuming turned her into a vampire, then that would mean that he would lose his top spot. But at this point in the storyline we don’t even know what Dracula’s end game is or what his real plans are for Vanessa. However, what I did know is that the moment the lead familiar began to intimidate Vanessa that was also the moment that he sealed his fate. Dracula exacted his punishment and made an example of him by ordering his other familiar’s to “feed” on him.
Penny Dreadful airs on SHOWTIME, Sunday nights at 10 PM ET. Check your local listings.