Penny Dreadful: Fresh Hell
April 24, 2015 7:11 PM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Season premiere episode released early by Showtime. Find it here .

In this exciting episode, we find our characters in a new pool of trouble. Vanessa becomes the target of Madame Kali and her band of witches, while Ethan wakes up to a gruesome scene. Dr. Frankenstein and Caliban proceed with bringing Brona back to life as eternal girlfriend to Caliban. Meanwhile, Sir Malcolm Murray is told to stay in London by his estranged wife and returns to another occult situation. It is a slow burn of an episode with Caliban getting a job at the wax museum, too.
posted by jadepearl (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I admit that I enjoy the richness of the scenery and costuming. I want Eva Green's outfits so I can put some steampunk gears and what not on them. Err, yes, the episode! The part that is going to get weird, is the love triangle that will emerge between undead Brona, Victor and Caliban. That scene with Victor kind of groping the dead Brona was a bit unsettling.
posted by jadepearl at 7:15 PM on April 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Victor fell in love with Brona just because he liked her dead body?! He cannot be that hard up! (I see what I did there.) Frankenstein has issues. I loved that Caliban went out and got a job. It was such an odd line. "Hey, dad, I'm going to look for a job today. Wish me luck!"

Definite uptick on the full frontal for women already.

Who was Vanessa praying to? I know she was in front of a cross but that didn't seem correct from what I remember of last season.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 8:19 PM on April 24, 2015


Who was Vanessa praying to? I know she was in front of a cross but that didn't seem correct from what I remember of last season.

No, it's correct; in fact she did basically the same exact type of prayer-ritual at the end of the first episode last season, only that time it ended with her cross flipping itself upside down and a shitload of bugs (spiders?) coming out of it. So arguably her praying this time actually went rather well, comparatively. Or maybe adding the bloody scorpion-drawing helps prevent spider swarms?

In fact the whole end of this episode was very much parallel to the end of the very first episode, which also saw Frankenstein bringing life to that short-lived second monster of his the name of which I forget.

I'm coming off watching Daredevil, which waited almost three episodes to show us even a hint of its true Big Bad, but I couldn't help feeling that they squandered some opportunity for mystery here by giving us scenes from the villains' point-of-view so soon. Last season we never really knew or understood what the baddies were after except through faint hints and clues, and that worked pretty well, imo.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:57 AM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought this episode was terrible, almost comically bad at some points. That final scene with Vanessa did work for me, though. There were times last season that I enjoyed the show and I think I do understand what it's attempting. The problem, in my opinion, is that it's not that successful at what it's attempting and when it fails, it's just embarrassingly dumb. It manages to be as successful as it (sometimes) is because they've got some talented actors working their asses off. And it's pretty to look at.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:38 AM on April 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


Gah. You're right. I remember the upside down cross and the other monster now. The reveal of the other monster was one of the better plots. I definitely should have done a re-watch or looked for a 10-minute review of season 1 on YT.

Hey, Dorian Gray is still alive and out there, right? I don't recall that going anywhere satisfying. Didn't his story just peter out? Also Malcolm slept with Mina, if I'm remembering correctly, are there to be no repercussions for that?
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 9:48 AM on April 25, 2015


There is a whole bunch of skeevy I am trying to parse. So, Mina has been addressed by Malcolm as his daughter twice, including the fateful choice of Mina over Vanessa and in this episode. Vanessa being his biological daughter is possible because of Malcolm's affair with Vanessa's mother. Which leads us to the "Closer than Sisters" episode where it is stated that Vanessa was going to marry Peter, Malcolm's son since they had grown up together and the closeness of the families. Now, if Malcolm knows that Vanessa is his daughter his tacit acceptance of the situation of his two children marrying is unsettling.

The dialogue from the seance is a bit unclear. Was the demon(s) which possessed Vanessa addressing Sir Malcolm or potentially other guests at the party? This is in reference to Mina and sex reference. We know that vampires are capable of illusion e.g., Mina so having a daywalker is not inconceivable at the party. I assume the big reveal is that Harker, Mina's husband is a vampire. He seems so absent from the narrative, at this time.
posted by jadepearl at 12:54 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not loving the monster design. The witches look a lot like the vampires, which all look like Gollum.

Victor and Caliban both continue to be terrible. It's getting so comical how the show insists that Cali is some hideous guy when he just kind of looks like a goth Meatloaf. Which, granted, not a great look but also not exactly a Lovecraftian horror that makes you instantly insane.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:34 AM on April 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


Meatloaf! Thank you, Kitty Stardust. I've been wondering why Caliban seems so familiar.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 1:25 PM on April 26, 2015


Yeah, I agree that Caliban is not that horrific looking. Heck, I knew people who would have KILLED to get that look at Goth parties. How did you get the yellow eyes? Your pallor, I want your pallor! Now that you mention Meatloaf, all I can think of is Caliban singing the Bat Out of Hell album.
posted by jadepearl at 2:10 PM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


They're going for a very particular steampunk Victorian era look and a truly horrific visage wouldn't fit the aesthetic.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 2:58 PM on April 26, 2015


Was the inspector referring to Ethan with his "This time there's a survivor" line? Like, from examining the blood spatter patterns he could see that one person walked away from the carnage? Or was there an actual survivor?

Happy to have the show back. The whole Caliban/Brona/Victor situation is creepy as ever though, bleh.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:19 AM on May 4, 2015


Since we are being shameless, I am speculating that Ms. Kali is actually Elizabeth Bathory. I get this two ways, one the bathing in blood scene and the clothing of her witches, which are in Renaissance period wear. Now, if you google images of Bathory you will get portrait misattribution to an Italian Renaissance painting whose costume bears a resemblance to the witches' outfits.
posted by jadepearl at 10:09 AM on May 4, 2015


i hate caliban a lot and look forward to his eventual gruesome death.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:58 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


That whole scene leading up to Madame Kali in her bath o'blood was pretty boss.

I can totally do without anymore Dorian Gray and Victor nearly molesting a dead woman, though.

This show is a glorious mess and I love it for that.
posted by Kitteh at 9:38 AM on May 11, 2015


John Clare! What a glorious, appropriate, obscure reference! Caliban's books, indeed!
posted by mwhybark at 9:53 PM on January 22, 2018


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