TV Show Review

TV Review: PENNY DREADFUL: Season 2, Episode 6: Glorious Horrors [Showtime]

Showtime’s Penny Dreadful Glorious Horrors TV Show ReviewPenny Dreadful: Season 2, Episode 6: Glorious Horrors contained numerous verbal fisticuffs in and around a decadent occasion. Hecate Poole (Sarah Greene) and Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale) sparring at Dorian Grey’s lavish party was music to the ear. Both of them were unmasked, showing their mutual disdain for the other. Poole thought Lyle two-faced and rightly so. Hecate and Evelyn Poole did “recruit” him through manipulation and that leverage is all that keeps him in their service. Lyle thinks that Hecate is also two-faced, a “snake in the grass” in regards to her mother. Hecate wants the witch crown now, not later. The viewer may find this strange and a classic motif from literature. Ms. Poole would eventually give Hecate the crown and all of her knowledge. Hecate only has to be patient.

From Hecate’s point-of-view, her mother may not have aged since she was born. “The Master” that they serve and the witchcraft that they practice have kept Evelyn young and vital. Evelyn Poole could be that way for centuries. Hecate does not want to wait that long. She wants to sit on the throne now. She wants to give orders instead of take them. My guess is that Hecate will try to supplant her mother by being the one to delivery Vanessa to “The Master,” thus earning his (or its) eternal favor.

Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) vision at the Dorian Grey’s party was part nightmare, spell, and Blade “Bloodbath” flashback. Were Hecate and the two other witches (Nicole O’Neill and Olivia Chenery) really moving through the crowd towards Vanessa (shot beautifully by a skilled hand – Owen McPolin) or were they projecting that into Vanessa’s head? Was it Vanessa’s acute senses trying to tell her something, trying to warn her of impending danger? What was clear during the scene was the result of her vision and increasing physic unease.

I see Vanessa, sooner rather than latter, crawling on hands and knees to the book that The Cut Wife gave her. Vanessa is being pushed into a corner, growing increasing desperate. In that desperation, I believe that she will turn to that book. I hypothesize that the book is a guide to becoming a witch. It’s what is inside of Vanessa Ives that will determine if she is a witch of light or a witch of darkness. The brilliant part is that Evelyn Poole never calculated that The Cut Wife would give Vanessa the book. Perhaps she did and that has been her game all along i.e. make Vanessa so desperate that she becomes one of the very beings that hunts her night and day.

If the verbal barbs that Hecate Poole and Ferdinand Lyle threw at each other were entertaining, similar yet far subtler ones between Dorian Grey (Reeve Carney), Angelique (Jonny Beauchamp), Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), and Lily (Billie Piper) were fireworks bursting in the ball room. The third Creature’s mind might have been wiped clean but there was still a residue of memory in her brain. Grey weathered the shock of seeing Brona Croft now Lily alive like a seasoned lawyer would who was surprised by a damning piece of new evidence. He took it in stride and instantly adjusted. Dr. Frankenstein didn’t and to a lesser extent, neither did Angelique. Both eventually wore their displeasure on their faces as they watched the former lovers dance and re-acquaint. Dr. Frankenstein’s stoic disdain was palpable, the opposite of Angelique’s comical quibs about the country and live stock.

The hand touching moment in Glorious Horrors showed that the possible romance between Lavinia Putney (Tamsin Topolski) and The Creature (Rory Kinnear) will not happen. Her shaken reaction to The Creature’s cold, lifeless hand frightened away any possible warmth between them. It was extremely curious that Lavinia couldn’t feel the coldness and the lifelessness of The Creature’s skin when she touched his face at length when they first met. She didn’t remark on its cold feel then or the lack of blood flow beneath it. The former was a logic error and script error. Lavinia should have felt the lifeless cold then and during the hand touch in equal measure. The writers saved that “feeling” for effect during their interaction in this episode.

The meeting between the “old friends” in Glorious Horrors was tense and bound to happen. The story that Warren Roper (Stephen Lord) told Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) was not as effective as it should have been, no where near as effective as Ethan’s cliff story in Above the Vaulted Sky. It did, however, have the intended effect of getting his point across. Mr. Roper may be one of the bravest and most foolhardy people on the entire series. He might actual be the bravest and the most foolhardy. A monster transforms in front of you, rips half your face off, takes one of your eyes, kills a room full of people, and you walk into this monster’s liar and try to blackmail it? Lucius Fox would have a field day with Mr. Roper and his brazenness. Did Mr. Roper consider for a second the possibility that Ethan could control the monster, could transform at will, and that he would rip him to pieces the moment he threaten Ethan? I literally couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing. Mr. Roper was standing there completely defenseless. Even if he had his gun (which didn’t help him before – reference his face) or his fabled bowie knife, he was still defenseless. Mr. Roper was a complete moron. The Pinkertons must have hired for skill, brawn, and experience, not intelligence when that organization was operational.

Ethan Chandler being chained in the basement at the end of Glorious Horrors served four purposes: 1.) to show that a full moon was indeed Ethan’s transformative trigger (and to scare the crap out of someone who may have hunted lions in his home country), 2.) it kept Ethan away from Dorian Grey’s party where he would have seen Hecate Poole again, 3.) it kept Ethan away from Dorian Grey’s party where he would have seen Hecate Poole and Ferdinand Lyle interact, and 4.) it kept Ethan away from Dorian Grey’s party where he would have seen the resurrected Brona Croft. It was a brilliant narrative move not to have Ethan at the party. The conflicts and circumstances that it would have initiated are for later in the season and the series, not now.

One confrontation that was not saved for later was Vanessa Ives and Evelyn Poole (Helen McCrory) meeting for the first time. Ms. Ives showed how protective she was of Sir Malcolm Murray while Ms. Poole played the coy role of the innocent and ignorant recipient of a man’s warmth and affection. Ms. Poole sat back during the brief conversation, snug in the bosom of hidden knowledge and power. Ms. Poole did take a brief moment, with audience watching, to bestow a harbinger of things to come i.e. visiting Sir Murray’s residence. My guess is that she will be visiting that residence with a new ring on her finger, this one without a pin prick attached to it.

Leave your thoughts on this review and this episode of Penny Dreadful below in the comments section. For more Penny Dreadful reviews, photos, videos, and information, visit our Penny Dreadful Page, our Penny Dreadful Google+ Page, subscribe to us by Email, “follow” us on TwitterTumblr, Google+, or “like” us on Facebook for quick updates.

 

About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created ProMovieBlogger.com and Trending Awards.com.

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