“Ebb Tide” – we saw two of our main characters face harrowing danger (Lily and Vanessa) and two others finally exact their will over them (Dr. Frankenstein & Dracula).
“Ebb Tide” – aired 6/12/2016
Written by John Logan
Directed by Paco Cabezas
*Spoilers are contained within*
“Ebb Tide” brought us a happy homecoming for John Clare when his wife welcomes him back into the fold. It also brought us visions of future calamity and the world’s impending ruination, if Ethan Chandler and Co. can’t get back to London in time and rescue Vanessa from her walk on the wild side. With next week bringing the third season finale of Penny Dreadful, I can’t wait to see how or if this season’s baddie (Dracula) will be defeated.
The destruction of Lily – A pros and cons stance
“Ebb Tide” reminded me of a night when I was riding on the F train and saw a rat that was just standing on the train platform. As the train pulled in to a stop at the station I realized that the thing was crying and bleeding from its head and I instantly felt overcome with the strongest conflicting impulses that I’d ever felt. I can remember thinking, “Gross vermin! Someone has to kill it!”, but then my emotions kicked in and had me thinking, “That poor creature is hurt. Someone must help it.” This cycle went on and on in my mind until the train finally pulled away from the station and shuttled me on further toward home. But all night long, I was disturbed by those warring impulses, one to see harm done and one to help. Right now, I feel very similarly to the way I did back then. One side of me feels that Lily deserves what she gets for her behavior towards Dorian Grey and the other is up in arms at the thought of the horrors that Dr. Frankenstein intends for her. In this episode Dorian Grey, finally fed up with Lily’s betrayals, enlists Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll into seeing to it that she gets her comeuppance.
Pros: I can’t say that I’m distressed at her capture because I feel that Lily is getting what was coming to her for the repeated disrespect that she’s shown to Dorian. She cast him out of his rightful role as her partner in her crusade against male tyranny. She allowed her disciples to threaten his well-being and openly challenge him in his own home. She even lumped him in with all of the other men, behaving towards him as if he’d brutalized her sisterhood. Like I said last week, Lily was wrong for treating Dorian this way. He wanted nothing more than to share his life with her and to work alongside her, helping her to achieve her goals. After it became clear to him that she had little use for him besides serving as a bankroll for her operation, Dorian decided be rid of her and I really can’t blame him for that.
Cons: Here’s where it gets sticky for me; Lily being in the clutches of the maniac Dr. Frankenstein and his crony, Dr. Jekyll, represent for me an assault to Lily’s rights to have feelings and emotions about all of the terrible things that have happened to her in her life. The procedure that the doctors plan to impose on Lily is offensive to me as a person and as a woman. Dr. Frankenstein feels that it is his duty to exorcise Lily of her hard-earned rage because it isn’t lady-like. He feels that women aren’t entitled to their honest feelings, if some of those feelings are angry and/or hostile. This is where he goes off the deep end for me. Lily without her ire is Lily without her spirit. It’s a woman with no spunk, no drive and no motivation. Dr. Frankenstein’s quest to de-claw Lily is a pitiful thing to me because even when Lily was living high off her power and surrounded by her girl-gang, she was still able to show him kindness after his failed attempt to abduct her from Dorian’s home. Keeping this in mind, the doctor should be able to realize that Lily isn’t all one thing. She is a multi-faceted person with complex thoughts and emotions and just because she is female it doesn’t make her ineligible to own or express those emotions.
Vanessa Ives and her bad boy, Dracula.
With last week’s consummation of the relationship blossoming between Vanessa and Dr. Sweet, I was anxiously holding out hope that once Vanessa found out that Dr. Sweet and Dracula are one and the same she would break out some of her witchy whoop-ass and do her damnedest to end him. This week’s episode brought me no such satisfaction. After doing a major library haul to find as much info on good old Drac’ as possible and having an info session with the scholar Catriona Hartdegen, Vanessa figures out who Dracula really is. At first, she seems fully determined to defeat him and even learns how to mortally wound him. The problems arise when she confronts Dracula as she goes at him immediately on the offensive but once he begins his defense, she quickly falters to his logic and surrenders to him. I mean, the guy spoke to her for about 2 minutes, pointing out that he loves the broken things, the things that have been shunned for their differences and professed his love for her and then the girl just wilted like a tissue left out in the rain. What happened to her fire and her resolve? I was hoping that the confrontation between these two would be pretty explosive; instead what I got was pretty blah.
Sidenote: Remember when Kaetenay says to Ethan that he has seen in a vision that “their” ancestors have foretold that one Apache is destined to save the world from a great evil and that Ethan is that Apache? What the heck is that mess?! I’m not trying to be funny but why is it that people of color can never be the ones who are destined to save the world? Think about it: Ethan is not a born Apache and 10 minutes ago he couldn’t even stand Kaetenay and now he’s the prophesied Apache savior. Really? Can a person of color save the day once in a while? I could get behind Kaetenay being the hero and Ethan and Malcolm kicking ass as the backups.
Penny Dreadful airs on SHOWTIME, Sunday nights at 10 PM ET. Check your local listings.