So, here we are in week three of Penny Dreadful, and I’m still kinda sorta lost. OK, I’m totally lost. No, not in the respect that I can’t follow along; more like we still have no clue where they’re going with this show and some of the characters.
Note: There are potential spoilers throughout this review, so you may want to stop here and return after watching the show.
With the third installment, “Resurrection,” we get more backstory on Dr. Victor Frankenstein – starting with a bit of his childhood. We see his mommy dearest cough up blood over young Frankenstein, and she soon dies. This leads the young child to dig into a copy of the Human Anatomy Handbook.
We also get to know Frankenstein’s first born… err, made – The Creature (Rory Kinnear). It would seem that the sweet and innocent Proteus was not Frankenstein’s first attempt at playing God. However, his first child (Is that the proper word?) is much different.
The Creature looks more like the monster I remember from the book – cobbled together, mismatched, and misshapen. And though Frankenstein created him, he also rejected him – leaving The Creature to find his own way.
The scenes with The Creature were some of the most chilling I’d seen in a long time – any show, any movie. Rory Kinnear exudes an anger, a rage that he keeps brewing right under the surface, and his scenes with the good doctor are brutal. His hatred is so at odds with the flowery speech pouring from his mouth. The poor doctor looked just as scared as I did!
Much of this episode focused on The Creature. We learn that The Creature didn’t fare as poorly as one would think. He educated himself – and truth be told, he was so well spoken, he put most English professors I know to shame! He eventually finds a kindred spirit in Vincent Brand (Alun Armstrong). The character, Brand, is an actor who lives for the dramatic and over-the-top. He gives The Creature – who he believes was the victim of a horrible industrial accident – a job and a place to live in the theatre. The Creature is also given a name – Caliban.
Interspersed throughout the episode, we see bits and pieces of the other characters. I’m still scratching my head as to how Brona Croft (Billie Piper) – the Irish immigrant suffering from consumption that we met in episode 2 – is landing all these men. Were pickings that slim in Victorian London? But no matter, it would seem our American gunslinger, Ethan Chandler, is quite taken with Brona, and realizing she needs medicine, he offers his services to Vanessa Ives and Sir Malcolm Murray as a gun for hire.
And this is where things get weird… or rather weirder. It would seem that Murray’s daughter, Mina, came to Vanessa in a vision and told her the beasts were all around her. Naturally, Vanessa takes that to mean Mina and the vamps are hanging out at a zoo. (Really? Not sure how that worked out.) In any event, Malcolm, Vanessa, Ethan, and Malcolm’s mysterious manservant, Sembene (Danny Sapani), head out to London Zoo, determined to do battle.
Before we get to see the battle royale, we jump right back to Caliban and Frankenstein. In short, we learn that Caliban wants to fall in love. (Guess he hasn’t met Brona Croft yet.) He believes he has found his place in the world, and he demands that Frankenstein make him an immortal mate. BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN!!!
Back to the zoo… Well, needless to say, Mina and the vamps (Cool name for a band, don’t you think?) are not hanging out there, but our determined foursome is cornered by some rather vicious-looking wolves. Rest assured, Ethan will just stick his hand in a wolf’s mouth, and all will be well. Yes, that’s exactly what happened. And no, I have no idea what it means. (What the hell is this guy? Werewolf? Zookeeper? Wolf trainer? Crocodile Dundee? No clue!)
While they don’t find what they are looking for, it would seem they are not alone at the zoo. Renfield – here named Fenton – is having a midnight snack, and after they catch and subdue him, they decide to bring in Frankenstein to cure him of his “rare blood disorder.” Frankenstein agrees, but then reminds Malcolm that ultimately they all must understand that they will be responsible for the creature downstairs – perhaps his own guilt talking here.
While I am still in the dark as to where the show is going, I’m hoping we start getting some answers. The air of mystery and the darkness surrounding our characters keep drawing me in.
Can’t wait until Sunday!