Penny Dreadful: City of Angels 1×09 Review – ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’

Sing sing Sing Penny Dreadful review episode 9
Charlton and Alex in ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ (Image: Screengrab)

The penultimate episode of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels focused a lot on different relationships. While I enjoyed watching ‘Sing, Sing Sing,’ I was expecting a lot more to happen. I guess the writers wanted to keep a stable pace before next week’s finale?

After what Maria experienced in the previous episode I thought Elsa was going to activate her offense-mode and harm Maria. However, that didn’t happen. We know that Elsa is okay with killing humans. That’s why seeing her take a different approach with Maria doesn’t make sense to me. Why hasn’t she tried to kill Maria? Is it due to Maria being protected by Santa Muerte in some manner? I don’t know about you, but I want an actual battle between Maria and Magda.

‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ was all about family. We saw Charlton Townsend going to meet his incredibly rich father (played by the late actor Brian Dennehy). It was revealed that Papa Townsend’s responsible for all of the roads and private transportation in Los Angeles. He’s now focusing on airplanes. It’s clear that Charlton didn’t have a healthy childhood. His father’s very dismissive of him. According to Papa Townsend, Charlton’s a very weak man and that’s why he refused to support his son.

With only a couple of days before Charlton’s recalled, I’m looking forward to seeing what he will do to secure his job. Everyone thinks he’s weak. I have to say that I liked how the writers made it clear that his weakness wasn’t because he’s queer. Regardless of his sexuality, Charlton’s in dire need of growing a backbone.

With the finale coming up, I wonder if he’ll end up doing something he’ll regret in some senseless act to prove he’s strong. Do you think Charlton will kill Councilwoman Beck? I don’t want him to turn into a murderer (on top of already being a racist), but let’s see what happens.

As for Kurt, we saw him getting ready to kill Dottie (Lewis’s friend) and kidnap Brian. However, Kurt’s unable to take his shot because Benny (on Lewis’s request) came just in time to take Dottie and Brian to a secure location. I have no idea if Kurt will survive the finale. Can a Nazi be redeemed? Also, I don’t trust Brian. He took way too long come out of the kitchen. I have a weird feeling he left some kind of note for Kurt.

Coming back to family relationships, I liked the scene between Richard Goss and Lewis. He threatened Lewis to leave him alone or Lewis’s children will suffer the consequences. I was waiting for this show to talk more about Lewis’s family. Turns out, his wife died and his son and daughter don’t talk to him.

Talking about fathers, we got a brief storyline involving Peter trying to reconnect with his kids. It was nice to see Peter feel guilty about how he sent his wife away and brought Elsa and her demon child into his house.

‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ focused a lot of the Vega family. Coincidentally (well, we all know it was because of the plot), the entire Vega family met each other at the Crimson Cat club. First, Maria and Raul met Josefina. Then the three met Mateo (along with Rico and Rio) and of course, Maria was angry at him. While I understood where Mateo was coming from when he talked about finally finding a purpose in his life, I wonder if Maria will be so forgiving if she knew Mateo recently murdered a policeman.

There was also a quick scene featuring Rico and Josefina dancing together. Due to Rico hooking up with Mateo, I really didn’t want him hitting on Josefina. That’s why I was glad when the scene showed Josefina warn Rico about how she will always have Mateo’s back. With just one more episode left, I have no idea what will become of Mateo’s storyline.

The same goes for Josefina’s character arc. There was a moment where it was implied that Josefina might become a priestess. I get that she’s very religious. But I don’t see her being devoted to the Temple has the right choice. Raul seems to be lost, too.

Santiago was the last to meet his family and of course, the encounter led to an argument. Maria recognized Sister Molly and immediately told her to leave the Vega family alone. Seeing Santiago stand up for his girlfriend, while sweet, made me roll my eyes. I still don’t trust Molly. How can she not know that her mother (and the Temple) is working with Nazis?

Santiago’s speech about how his family should accept him for who he is was nice. Throughout the season we have seen Santiago as a character who’s stuck between two worlds. His loyalties are divided between the police force and his community. He isn’t religious enough for his mother. He isn’t Mexican enough for his brothers. Seeing him declare that’s just who he is and he shouldn’t be pressured to change came across as a nice sentiment. However, I do think he might have to make certain choices during the finale. He was saved by Santa Muerte as a kid, and that’s got to come into play in the finale episode, right?

Seeing Magda (as Rio) looking at the Vega family healing their bonds made for a very interesting moment. I think this is the first time she’s seen a grown-up Santiago. She’s definitely planning someone and I can’t wait to see what happens.

I liked how ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ showed us a parallel between a happy Vega family and the dangers that still lurked outside the club. Yes, Santiago can enjoy a nice night out when he’s off duty, but the racism in the real world isn’t going to take a break. The moment it was time for Lewis to transport Diego to an actual prison, I just knew something bad was going to happen. Poor, Diego. It was obvious the policemen weren’t going to settle for anything else than his death.

Are you excited for the finale? What do you think will happen?

Let us know.

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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