TV Review: Penny Dreadful: Season 2: Episode 8

Season 2, Episode 8: Memento Mori

SUMMARY: Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) finally realizes that he's under Poole's (Helen McCrory) spell while Caliban (Rory Kinnear) confronts Lily (Billie Piper) about her place in the universe.


REVIEW:  This week, it was announced that Penny Dreadful - thankfully - would be returning next year for a third season. This welcome news comes as the show has reached an absolute creative peak, with each episode this season being better than the last. My one criticism this season has been that Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm had been sidelined with him being put under Poole's spell. This week, that whole plotline finally paid off and the result is what - after The Cutwife- is the best episode of the season so far.


What's especially impressive about it is how Eva Green's Vanessa and Josh Hartnett's Ethan are totally absent. You'd think the two leads being away would make this feel like filler, but the opposite is true. Rather, supporting characters get to come to the forefront, and long-gestating plot lines pay off in a big way.

What's so cool is that large chunks of the episode take place in Malcolm's head, as he fights Poole for control over his mind. He flashes back to happier times with his family, including Mina, and gets from them the strength needed to confront Poole, even if the results wind up being disastrous for him. Maybe the one too convenient bit is that Malcolm would take on Poole's coven alone.

We also finally get confirmation of what the series big bad is, being revealed as Lucifer's brother, who first used Mina to attack Vanessa, and is now using the coven. It sets up  the battle to come, but I highly doubt this adversary will be disposed of this season.

Otherwise, the lion's share of the episode is devoted to Lily, who had her first kill last week. Her confrontation with Caliban is amazing, with her telling him that they are brother and sister and should rule over everyone else. Lily is proving to be even more of a monster than he is, and I think that Caliban might eventually turn against her as he seems more kind hearted. We'll see. Either way, I figure this will be a major season 3 plot point.


Some time is also spent on Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) this week, and I think I'm finally starting to figure out where he falls in the show's mythology - possibly being Lucifer's brother. Again, we'll see but it'll be fun to figure out. All things considered this was a heck of an episode. Now that Game of Thrones is done for the year hopefully people will find their way over to Showtime (TMN in Canada) and give this a shot.



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