Showtime’s Penny Dreadful Séance TV Show Review. Penny Dreadful: Season 1, Episode 2: Séance illustrated why Eva Green and Timothy Dalton were chosen for their respective roles in this series: they are world-class actors and at the top of their game.
No other scene in the episode made that abundantly clear than the namesake of the episode, the séance. During this particular scene, one of the actors emoted with body and voice, the other with facial expressions. Between the two of them, the viewer was watching things that can’t be taught in acting school. What the two of them did comes from years of experience. It was a dark, morose, wonderful moment for the fledgling TV series.
Everyone in the series has a back-story and mystery surrounding them to some degree. One of those characters is Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton). During the séance, a gargantuan strobe light was shined into that opaqueness, revealing a key person in it. Sir Murray’s face went through so many emotions the viewer would think he had to practice them in a mirror. The most easily recognizable and telling emotion was anger. Sir Murray wanted to speak and/or lash out so badly yet he somehow managed to keep his composure. What was happening, the information he was gaining, was too important for him to indulge himself and satisfy a momentary impulse.
For Vanessa Ives (Eva Green)’ part of “the show”, her contorted, tortured visage was barely second to the words she spoke. Because those words were so important, they edged out, every so slightly, Ms. Green’s body acting. Ms. Ives spoke volumes of information about Mina Murray and Sir Murray yet it was the way she spoke those words, as if she were feeling each and every emotion, which made them so painful to hear by their intended recipient. Love, optimism, pain, death, and vengeance were all convened and Sir Murray felt the impact of each one.
The séance was the top moment of the episode.
The next scene that made the most impact was the photography session (the Edison equipment was a nice touch) between Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) and Brona Croft (Billie Piper). The only sex scene of this nature the viewer may have seen would be between two vampires. Ms. Croft reaction to her involuntary emissions were to be expected but Mr. Gray’s were unexpected. Mr. Gray seemed so at home with death that even when it was running down his face, he was not revolted but amused (even aroused) by it.
“The thing that goes bump in the night” had an entertaining, horror movie introduction though there was an oversight. The lamp-lighter skips lighting the lamp directly next to the prostitute (Amy De Bhrún). Why? Following it, another curiosity occurred. Even though the lamp was not lit, she was curiously illuminated anyway (the magic of TV show productions and their accompanying sets perhaps).
The Proteus (Alex Price) and Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) scenes were touching (the cup giving moment) and amusing (the scene on the street with the nuts) but the ending to Proteus and Dr. Frankentstein’s chapter was what yielded the greatest reward for the viewer. Penny Dreadful is very surprising in many areas and this particular one was no less rich (out of left field would be an understatement). In fact, it will make the next episode (Resurrection) that much more of an anticipatory event.
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