Penny Dreadful 2×4 Review: Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places
Hopeful and lightweight are not usually words that I would use to describe Penny Dreadful, but “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places”, as the name implies, held that dichotomy of lilt and melancholy. It was an action-packed episode with a lot of forward movement, and we spent time with every single main character.
Last week we had Vanessa’s origin story, and now we got back into the main story lines of the season. Ethan, rightfully so, believed that the rest of our night crew should know about Vanessa’s story, so the episode began just as she finished recalling it again. Even though I found last week’s installment to be a great addition to the overall plot and to the characterization of Vanessa, I greatly disliked its placement. Now here we are, picking up where we left off, but I don’t remember any of it! The Verbis Diablo codex seems completely nonsensical to me, but perhaps if I were able to remember what was discussed about it two weeks ago, I would be in better shape. I think the writers need to do a better job keeping the pacing consistent. I consider myself an active viewer, but every time Dr. Lyle spoke, my eyes glazed over (and this is coming from someone who loves the character).
Luckily, everyone else’s story lines had momentum, whether or not I remembered where they left off. There was a lovely scene between Caliban and his employer’s daughter, Lavinia. Since Lavinia is blind, she tried to guess what color our favorite monster’s eyes are. Of course they are yellow )due to being brought back to life), and she rightly guessed the shade! I can’t describe their interaction as anything other than sweet, because it is just so wonderful to see Caliban so honest and hopeful. It is truly a bright spot in an otherwise dreary series.
Dorian and Angelique made a brief appearance, and they are still seeing each other. They play “gossamer tennis,” which is basically table tennis (ping-pong). We only got to see them for a few moments, but it was a nice, light scene compared to those somber portrayals of Dorian that we are used to. I am still hoping that Dorian resumes his interaction with the rest of the night crew, because as much as I enjoy his bold portrayal, it does get a bit boring, being so isolated from the rest of the story.
The lone survivor from the Mariners Inn massacre is awake and talking. Fortunately for Ethan, the survivor doesn’t remember the attack at all. Though it appears that the survivor is Mr. Roeper, the one that confronted Ethan at the bar that night, he clearly knows more than he is letting on, but fortunately appears to be protecting Ethan.
Speaking of Ethan, Hecate and her sister nightcomers have some sort of scheme involving him, or trying to figure out what he is. She posed as a young American adventurer, which seems to click well for Ethan. Hecate flirted mercilessly with him, and he seemed to go for it…until he called her out on her story because her accent was faked. He thought his father sent her, which brought up even more questions. We also discover that Ethan can smell the witches due to his “lupus dei” affliction. I really need to learn more about Ethan, and it looks like we are headed in the direction of finding out his story.
Victor asked Vanessa to join him as he shopped for dresses for Lily (formerly Brona). It was another pleasant scene where Vanessa showed a lot of personality. She definitely likes to tease Victor, and I love their dynamic. The giggle that Eva Green gave when Vanessa reminded Victor that they need to purchase undergarments was completely out of character, but absolutely lovely. Her acting is definitely growing on me. Later when Lily modeled her new clothes, Victor was speechless. Yeah, he is definitely falling for her, and that probably won’t go over well with Caliban.
The episode ended with the night crew getting attacked by the three nightcomers. One of them stole some of Vanessa’s hair, and Vanessa spoke the Verbis Diablo back to her. These witches are pretty intense, but Ethan being able to smell them will probably come in handy.
Overall, “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places” was a very engrossing episode that I greatly enjoyed. The music in this series is always gorgeous, but it seemed to stand out even more than usual for me in this episode. It is so haunting, but the particular arrangement in “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places” matched the rest of the episode in its lightweight and lilted tone. It was quite beautiful.
Erin has reviewed many shows over the years including Orphan Black, iZombie, Penny Dreadful, and Killing Eve. She has a keen eye for on-screen chemistry, and loves to tackle the subject of casting. She is also our horror aficionado. She live tweets shows, and loves to share her feelings. Erin has a BA in History, and likes to analyze the lore behind historical fiction. She attends San Diego Comic Con every year and has also attended C2E2 and WonderCon.
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