As predicted, the lightness of episodes past in this season are over and the darkness is back. Although we still have three episodes left in Season Two, “Little Scorpion” definitely felt like a proper setup to the climax. I loved seeing Eva Green’s smile, albeit briefly because goodness, was she absolutely terrifying or what? Vanessa went to the dark side, and Ethan was right there with her.
Although I loved the first season of Penny Dreadful, I found it a bit self-indulgent, and I think mostly that came from trying too hard to decide if it wanted to be drama based on historical literature or just a shocking horror television program. Season Two is really where I think that the show has found its legs. This episode proved to me that the writers are firmly in the court of making brilliant and complex characters who have real relationships with those around them. Even with the supernatural elements, the relationships of the characters really sets apart the other shows within this genre.
“Little Scorpion” was truly a showcase of the relationship between the two main characters: Vanessa and Ethan. They are both very complicated, mysterious, and hide behind a lot of secrets, so they do have very similar personalities. This makes them incredibly vulnerable, but in this episode, they learned more about each other than either one was prepared for.
Ethan, in the wake of his continuous occurring transformations, decided to teach Vanessa how to shoot. It wasn’t necessary because, of course, Vanessa can’t miss. In exchange, Ethan wanted her to teach him how to dance. It should be noted that dancing does not come as naturally to Ethan as shooting comes to Vanessa. I like their relationship; it reminds me a lot of Harry and Hermione from Harry Potter. I think that the writers want to me to want Vanessa and Ethan together, but I don’t think of them that way. I think of them more as very close siblings: those who have very similar backgrounds and have an unconditional bond. Plus, I think that Eva Green and Josh Hartnett have great chemistry onscreen, just not as a couple.
The only other storyline was saw briefly in this episode was the growing tumult between Victor and Lily. Billie Piper and Reeve Carney have very little onscreen chemistry, so I much prefer Victor and Lily over Dorian with Lily. Dorian takes Lily to the wax museum and John spies them together. I am not really into the angsty love quadrangle, unfortunately. However, Lily did become about a thousand times more interesting when she murdered the random stranger after going to bed with him. This is a peculiar turn of events that has really piqued my interest.
This was a solid episode, and my only real criticism was with the pacing. I really enjoyed the story that we got about Vanessa and Ethan, but it felt like Lily’s storylines were thrown in at the last minute so that the episode wasn’t solely about the events at the moor. The dark and bare style and set design was also in such stark contrast to the light and lushness of the past few episodes that it was a little off-putting. I wanted the vibrant colors to keep going forever! I have to keep reminding myself that this is a horror show, and blue filters are our friends in the genre. I am just hoping that we get to see more of our night crew next week.
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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