Showtime’s Penny Dreadful Resurrection TV Show Review. Penny Dreadful: Season 1, Episode 3: Resurrection was an exploration Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway)’s past and The Creature (Rory Kinnear). The story that surrounds Dr. Frankenstein’s younger incarnation (Gus Barry) was very much like the back story to Bruce Wayne: a tragic event happened that laser focused a young mind down a path that would change his life forever, a path that he may otherwise not have chosen. This was illustrated with the swept aside toys in favor of an anatomy book. Like in a previous Batman comic book issue (the exact issue escapes me) where a young Bruce Wayne was glimpsed with Alfred Pennyworth in school during a parent-teacher conference to talk about Bruce’s attention on certain school subjects while ignoring others, young Frankenstein in Resurrection became similarly obsessed. Victor knew at a young age that he had to do something even if he did not know what that was. He saw first hand that death was not peaceful or kind or glorious and decided to use his hands and intellect as death’s antithesis.
The Creature in Penny Dreadful is the finest incarnation of Mary Shelley‘s creation to date. He possesses the yellow, filmy eyes that she dreamed of and a intellect that probably rivals that of Dr. Frankenstein. The Creature spoke as though authors David Mitchell and Michel Faber wrote each and every line of it’s dialogue and not just him but his thespian benefactor Vincent Brand (Alun Armstrong) as well. Writer John Logan knows how to write period-centric dialogue (think Deadwood) but not only that, dialogue true to each person, upbringing, education, and profession.
When Aaron Eckhart was on The Howard Stern Show promoting I, Frankenstein, he spoke of The Creature’s abandonment and the issues surrounding this past event in his character’s life. In Resurrection, that abandonment issue was upfront and central. Dr. Frankenstein’s past rejection of The Creature had focused it’s mind on him in the same way an earlier, messy demise in Victor’s life caused his pathological attention on the spark between life and death. When The Creature said that the two of them were the Janus Mask, from the perspective of life and death, the statement was very true.
This episode could have easily been called The Creature because it was the most interesting aspect of the episode (like the seance in the previous episode).
The request that The Creature made of Dr. Frankenstein is the same request made in Shelley’s novel. It was no surprise, even after the brief pop quiz The Creature gave Victor (“Top marks”). Where The Creature took Dr. Frankenstein to procure ‘the necessary ingredients’ immediately brought to mind the macabre predilection of one of Little Finger’s brothel clients from season one of Game of Thrones. What The Creature was suggesting was ‘fresh ingredients’ and all that their procurement entailed.
One of the two questions that struck the viewer during Resurrection was where was Dr. Frankenstein’s money? At a young age, he lived in a opulent home yet he has continually talked as if he was nearly destitute. How does he afford a private room with a laboratory attached to it? Per month that must cost many ‘pounds.’
The Creature threatened Victor yet Victor seemed to have nothing in his life but his work (thus the threat was hollow). When the viewer remembered something from one particular scene at the beginning of Resurrection, it became clear what was referenced. This raised a question about The Creature’s intelligence gathering techniques. Has he researched his “asset” that well? He certainly has the intellect to do so.
The second question raised during Resurrection was the biggest of the episode. No one asked how Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) did that thing with the wolf at the zoo. It was an incredible, gargantuan logic oversight. How could four people see that and not ask how or why, especially when so many lesser questions were asked after it had transpired? It was a plot hole that kept breathing and pulsating in the room afterward yet no one would acknowledge it with a query. It was very strange. Why introduce something so profound then not explore it? The assembled cadre of characters were curious about everything except what averted them from being attacked by multiple animal fangs? It was like it never happened immediately after it took place, like a Mob hit.
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