TV Review: Penny Dreadful: Season 2, Episode 6

Season 2, Episode 6: Glorious Horrors

SUMMARY:  Vanessa (Eva Green) breaks some horrible news to Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) only to be stunned by his unexpected reaction. Meanwhile, Victor (Harry Treadaway) prepares Lily (Billie Piper) for a ball thrown by Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney).

REVIEW:   This week's episode of Penny Dreadful ends with one of the most arresting genre images I've seen in years – and that includes film and TV. Like Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful is among the most cinematic shows on the air, but when Vanessa – in the midst of Dorian's ball – finds herself drenched by a grand guignol style shower of blood my jaw absolutely hit the floor. While Mrs. Poole's baby vivisection is still the season's most shocking scene, I wasn't prepared for how far they'd go here, with the flood of blood being so torrential that we even see the blood pooling up in Vanessa's eyes. While yes, I'm sure CGI played a part, it was an absolutely incredible set piece.


While this definitely made the episode, the rest was actually pretty damn outstanding, with this ranking as my second favorite of the season (so far) after the amazing Cutwife stand-alone installment. As always, this is Green's show all the way, but I'm surprised how much I've been getting drawn in by Victor's relationship with the reanimated Bruona/Lily. While I thought the idea of a master falling for his creation was a little old hat, the way it's played out has been surprisingly sweet (or as sweet as borderline necrophilia can be). Treadway and Piper are actually quite charming together, although it's pretty obvious that with Gray in the picture, not to mention Rory Kinnear's Caliban, the story will have a shocking outcome. My only hope is that Showtime brings it back for a third season so we can really see it play out, as it's unlikely the second season can (or should) wrap up all the plot-lines.

It was also nice to see Timothy Dalton get some much-warranted extra screen-time this week, with Sir Malcolm starting to go cuckoo crazy thanks to Poole's spell. His reaction when he learns of his estranged wife's death is classic, with him barely batting an eye and suppressing a leer. Dalton seems to be having a blast embracing this unsavory side of the character. I had a good chuckle at his reaction to Gray's invite (“I haven't been to a ball in ages!!!”) and Dalton's milking it for all it's worth. I also got a kick out of seeing him clean-shaven at the end, with Dalton still looking pretty Bond-like for a seventy-year-old (again – I'd love to see him recreate the character in a one-off).

Probably the only one who came up a little short this week is Josh Hartnett's Ethan, who reveals his wolf-side to Danny Sapani's Sembene. Truthfully, considering the insane evil they're faced with every week, it seems crazy that Ethan's so reluctant to reveal his true nature. Next to Vanessa's demonic possession last season it seems relatively mild. All in all though – another ace episode.



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