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TV Review: Penny Dreadful: Season 1, Episode 6

06.16.2014by: Chris Bumbray

Episode 6: What Death Can Join Together

SUMMARY: Another of Vanessa's (Eva Green) visions sends Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) and Ethan (Josh Hartnett) and a dark search through London, while Victor (Harry Treadaway) and Van Helsing (David Warner) continue their research. Meanwhile, Vanessa's relationship with Dorian Grey (Reeve Carney) takes a dark turn.

REVIEW: After a week spent revealing more about Vanessa's relationship with Sir Malcolm's doomed daughter Mina, PENNY DREADFUL finally picks up on episode four's crazy cliffhanger, which showed Ethan being overcome with lust after being bewitched by Dorian Grey. We get to see a bit of Hartnett's next morning walk of shame, as he crawls into bed with Bruona, whose illness seems to be entering it's final stages. Ethan doesn't seem terribly bothered by what happened with Grey. One wonders if he even remembers what happened. He seems more concerned with Bruona's illness, and it's interesting that the love story here ended up being between her and Ethan, as one figured he'd end up with Vanessa. It's a nice twist, which will no doubt come to a tragic end.. More than ever she seems doomed to become Caliban's mate.

Caliban (Rory Kinnear) continues to break our hearts, with a young grand guignol starlet showing him some much needed affection. Sadly, once he follows her home he overhears her dismissing him to her lover, resulting in more lonely suffering for Caliban. Then again, just as you start to pity him he bursts out of the shadows, snapping Van Helsing's neck just as the old man professes a father-like devotion to Victor, with Caliban promising to do the same to anyone Victor cares about until he gets his mate. This is a bit of surprise as I figured Van Helsing would have a bigger part, especially with David Warner in the role.

Once again Vanessa the major focus of the episode, with her wearing a drop-dead gorgeous dress to her rendezvous with Dorian Grey. Grey's has a relatively easy time seducing her, not needing to break out the Wagner as with Ethan. That said, Grey seems like a red herring, with his interest in Vanessa being unsavory and no doubt sinister. That said, the love scene with Grey is dead sexy, with Green looking good enough to eat in a corset that just barely manages to stay on. It takes a kinky turn as she starts to cut Grey's flesh, but it goes too far as it awakens a demonic presence in her, which seems to really manifest itself the more sexually excited she gets.

As for Ethan and Sir Malcolm, the two – along with Malcolm's manservant Sembene – do a little night work. They stumble upon a nest of the undead, with the infected looking like albino zombies, not unlike the baddies from THE OMEGA MAN. It gives the episode a good action beat, which has been missing a bit, with Malcolm even seeing Mina from a distance. Whether she's real or not is left open to interpretation.

Overall, this is another solid episode, although other than Van Helsing's death and great sex scene, it feels very much like a “connect the dots” kind of episode, meant to set up the season's final act – with only two episodes left (the show has already been renewed for a second season). While not as insane as episode four (which remains the best the series has been so far) it's still quite good and promises some rather sinister twists to come, although most of the plot-lines will likely be left dangling rather than resolved.



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