Penny Dreadful: City of Angels 1×02 Review – ‘Dead People Lie Down’

Dead People Lie Down Penny Dreadful review
Sister Molly in ‘Dead People Lie Down’ (Image: Screengrab)

The latest episode of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, titled ‘Dead People Lie Down,’ introduced us to some new characters while opening doors to certain narrative plot points that could be very exciting down the road. 

In my review of the premiere, I talked about how there’s a lot happening for a single season to handle. Well, the second episode didn’t pause stuff either. There’s still too much going on in ‘Dead People Lie Down,’ and I think I should stop expecting this show to take a breather or two.

This episode picked up a few moments after where the premiere concluded. Turns out that even though Santiago (Daniel Zovatto) shot Raul (Adam Rodriguez), he’s still alive. However, according to the doctor, Raul only had a couple of days and the Vega family should make the proper arrangements. I liked how Maria (Adriana Barraza) refused to give up on her son. Seeing her continue to pray on her knees next to Raul’s hospital bed was very relatable.

Santiago has been created as a character who’s stuck between two worlds. He’s L.A’s first Mexican homicide detective, but siding with the law made him an outcast in his Mexican community that’s trying to save their homes by preventing a motorway from being built. Even though Santiago stood with the police force during the riot, the men in blue still don’t fully accept him. For them, he’s still a POC they hate.

With Lewis (Nathan Lane) being the only one who’s in Santiago’s corner, I liked seeing the relationship between them develop. Being Jewish, Lewis is more understanding of what Santiago has to deal with. Everyone’s painting the Mexican community as the villain and Santiago needs all the friends he can get.

‘Dead People Lie Down’ also allowed the murder mystery to progress a bit. Lewis and Santiago decided to visit the church that victim James Hazlett was from. That’s where we got introduced to Sister Molly (Kerry Bishé) and her mother, Adelaide (Amy Madigan). It’s clear there’s something going on in said religious establishment and I look forward to seeing what Adelaide (and perhaps even Molly) are really up to.

With Lewis and Santiago coming to the conclusion that the Hazlett family murder was done by someone wanting to frame the Mexcian community, I’m here for the two detectives peeling back layers and finding themselves in the supernatural underbelly of the city.

Now, while I do think there’s definitely chemistry between Santiago and Sister Molly, I didn’t like seeing Santiago being unprofessional during his conversation with her. He was supposed to interrogate Sister Molly, and that shouldn’t have included sharing his emotions about his brother possibly dying.

I get that there’s a lot of guilt inside Santiago for shooting his brother, but come on; he’s on the job. He shouldn’t be sharing personal stuff with a murder suspect. Sigh! 

Mateo (Johnathan Nieves) also got an interesting scene where a handful of racist policemen cornered him in the hospital. That’s where we got to see another new character named Rico. After helping Mateo, Rico invited him to a club. I guess, through Rico, this show will be exploring the Pachuco culture.

And of course, Magda (Natalie Dormer) continued to exploit the racial tensions inside the city. The scene where she manipulated Townsend into using the death of the policemen to portray the yet-to-be-constructed motorway as a symbol of justice was well-written. It came across as something certain real politicians would do.

She also interacted with Dr. Peter Craft again (with her creepy kid becoming friends with Craft’s two sons). As Elsa, Magda’s clearly manipulating Craft’s tendency to help broken women. It’s a trope we have seen before where men, instead of only offering aid, begin to fantasize about a romantic bond with the women in need. I’m interested in seeing what Magda (as Elsa) has planned for Peter.

Dead People Lie Down review Penny Dreadful
Elsa and her creepy kid (Image: Screengrab)

‘Dead People Lie Down’ showed Lewis and three of his friends going after Gloss. Seeing the four split up into teams of two raised red flags for me. I just knew the two male friends tailing Gloss were going to get killed (and they did). Lewis, with his woman friend, followed a young person to an office. I think Gloss will be using the young man to create some kind of chemical weapon to help Nazis.

One of the most supernatural things to occur in ‘Dead People Lie Down’ happened in the final moments. Maria decided to summon Santa Muerte. The diety appeared in the hospital even though Maria wasn’t able to interact with her the way she did during the premiere.

Now, I’m a bit suspicious of Raul being able to stand on his feet. I say this because the episode recounted a story about American soldiers using the dead bodies of their comrades to scare the Arabs away during a battle. Lewis told that story to Santiago and Peter’s kids told it to Elsa’s creepy child.

Raul surviving getting shot by Santiago made me remember that story. I wouldn’t be surprised if Raul’s supposed to be some kind of zombie. He was being manipulated by Madga during the riot. Who’s to say she can’t still control him? Also, could it be Magda who decided to heal Raul instead of Santa Muerte?

And even if it was Santa Muerte who heard Maria’s prayers, will Santa Muerte ask for something in return?

Also, I think this show is going to have Raul confront Santiago about shooting him. The two need to talk about it. As I said, there’s a lot happening in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels and I don’t think it will slow down anytime soon. 

Before I end my review, I have to say that this series needs more supernatural content in it. I wouldn’t mind Nazi werewolves, vampires, or zombies. I think the only paranormal beings we have seen until now are Magda, Santa Muerte, and possibly Raul (because he could be some kind of undead). For a show that has the words Penny Dreadful in the title, that’s a severe lack in the supernatural department.

Maybe Sister Molly is able to attract people because she’s half succubus or a siren? I don’t know. I just hope more creatures or magic appears soon.  

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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