Normally I have no problem getting through episodes of Penny Dreadful and being nearly completely satisfied, but “Good and Evil Braided Be” left me shocked, confused, and wanting more. I am going to need some help talking through this one!
This episode ended with one of the biggest cliffhangers of the series, but before we talk through that one together, I need to go back through the episode. Each week I find myself loving some stories, hating some stories, and just being completely shocked. This episode was just more of the same, but unfortunately, I hated more than I loved.
First, the good. We got back in touch with John Clare who seems to be traveling back to London after getting some of his memories back from when he was alive. From the snippets we got, it appears that he had a loving family with a young son and wife. After tracking them down using those memories, we found that his son is quite ill (likely with consumption) and that the two are just scraping by. John feels their anguish and leaves a pocketwatch on the table to found, most likely to be pawned for money. John has always been one of my favorite characters, so seeing some small glimpse of hope on his face is always satisfying, and although I want him to be happy, I fear that he is doomed to be disappointed by reappearing in his family’s lives.
The other tolerable story this week, as usual, was Vanessa’s. Even though we now know that Dr. Sweet is really Dracula, I actually love seeing their flirtatious friendship. I am also grateful that the writers are showing the slow burn of their relationship because so often, tales of vampires, and especially Dracula, are so sexual in nature that it takes away from the charisma that the character is supposed to embody. This iteration is much more of a treat. And who doesn’t love to see a smile on Vanessa’s face? Unfortunately, she is still tormented by her past, and after being confronted by one of the blood slaves at the carnival, she is even more desperate for answers. I continue to love her scenes with Dr. Seward, though, and find that I look forward to those supremely over all others in this season.
Once again, Victor and Henry sit in the neither love nor hate column. I find their story interesting, but it also isn’t as engrossing as the others. I am frankly shocked to see Victor making such progress so quickly after having been so severely depressed in the prior episodes. Henry clearly is good influence on him, but I am really looking forward to Henry’s breaking point where he goes Mr. Hyde on Victor. Victor shouldn’t be the dominant one in this relationship, and yet thus far, he is. I did see glimpses of Victor drowning himself in work instead of obsessing over Lily, which is a good change of pace, but I fear we will be back into that tangent next episode.
Ethan’s storyline is another one that is moderately interesting, but not really fulfilling. I like the dynamic going on between him and Hecate, but I am still clueless as to why Hecate followed him across the globe. Is it really to help him see his destiny as Lupus Dei? I think she is just obsessed with him and is trying to get to him to the dark side. As the title of the episode infers, all of our Dreadfuls have a little bit of light and a little bit of dark in them; it is their actions that determine which will become more dominant. Ethan has always swayed to the light side despite his wolf affliction, but that is hardly his fault. The point is that I do not want Hecate to taint the only decent dude on this show. Please keep Ethan good!
That brings me to the weakest story of the episode, nay season: Lily and Dorian. We get it, Lily and Dorian really love dancing and sex! But the bloody threesome was completely unnecessary. I think the narrative of the storyline is legitimate and interesting–Lily building an army of abused women to seek revenge–but the dynamic just isn’t working for me. I did rather enjoy the nod to the suffragette movement, however, and how Lily explained to Justine that she is not after equality with men, she is looking for power over them. Lily has completely overstepped her lightness into being singularly vengeful, and her collective bloodlust with Dorian is just an okay story. I like the addition of Justine, but I hope the story picks up the pace, and not just for more completely disgusting threesomes.
This brings me to the final scene with that giant bombshell. After Vanessa was put into a hypnotic state to determine who the “master” after her is, we find that it is–John Clare? What does it mean? I am still reeling from this, and I have yet to conclude what I think. I have some theories, but I would like to hold onto them a little longer until I have more information. I think it is safe to say, though, that Vanessa and John have a much deeper connection than any of us realized.
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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