Penny Dreadful S02 E01: Fresh Hell


When last we walked the dark and dangerous cobbled streets of London in season one, Miss Ives had survived the dark voyager that attempted to possess her. The devil has failed, thanks to the gentlemen who risked their lives to protect Miss Ives. But, evil never rests and a new enemy threatens to seek her ruin. “Penny Dreadful” has returned for a second season and with its return, our nightmares renew.

Shape Shifters

As Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) enjoys a winter stroll through London, Ethan awakes to find himself covered in blood and the patrons of the saloon, dead. His beast has escaped from his control and does what beasts are prone to do; hunt. Poor, dear Ethan (Josh Hartnett) is a gentle man with his own dark voyager; he is a shape shifter, a werewolf. He goes to say goodbye to Vanessa because he is afraid that his beast might harm her.


While Vanessa makes her way through the happy families that are out to take in some fresh air, someone watches her. It is Madame Kali (Helen McCrory) and the words she whispers to herself are ancient words from an ancient time and, they have the desired effect on our heroine. Why is Vanessa Ives so afraid? I like the strong Vanessa better. When she’s afraid, I’m afraid because Vanessa is the most focused and strongest of all the characters on this show.

Eva Green is the perfect actress to be playing Miss Ives. There is an ethereal beauty about the actress that lends itself to this Gothic time period. Her scenes last year with Reeve Carney, who plays Dorian Gray, were absolutely sensual and, their steamy love scene had everyone talking on Twitter and Facebook. This year, it seems that there is some sparks flying between Vanessa and Ethan.


Season two has given us a new enemy; witches. They are determined to hand over Vanessa to the devil, but when Ethan and Vanessa are attacked by strange naked creatures, Vanessa knows and uses the language they speak to temporarily force the witches to flee. Unfortunately, the horses and coachman didn’t fare too well. The witches that attacked Vanessa reminded me a little bit of the Volturi from the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn; very scary.


Helen McCrory is given a bigger role in season two. We find out that she is more than the spiritualist she portrayed in season one. She is an agent of the devil who loves to bathe in the blood of her victims. I had the chance to see Helen McCrory star in another film this past year. It was Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death. She is a very talented actress and I think she’ll make a worthy foe for Eva Green’s Vanessa on season two. Vanessa will be fighting for her very soul this season.

While Ethan, Sir Malcom (Timothy Dalton) and Sembene (Danny Sapani) stand guard over the fragile Vanessa, Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) works on the corpse of prostitute Brona Croft (Billie Piper).

Have pity for the monster, Caliban (Rory Kinnear), who desires a love of his own. Rory Kinnear’s monster is one of my favorite characters on the show. Kinnear’s Caliban uses his puppy dog eyes and poetry to make us care about him and, even when Caliban kills, we forgive him. He’s the monster that is more humane than the man who reanimated him.


What’s up with Victor anyway? He killed Brona in order to give Caliban a Frankenstein bride, but while Caliban is looking for a job, Victor is touching Brona’s dead body. I have to give Harry Treadaway credit for continually confusing us with his portrayal of Victor Frankenstein. Whenever we feel any sympathy for him, he does something outlandish or horrid. We’ll have to keep our eyes on him.


“Penny Dreadful” takes all the gothic and dark tales of 19th century London and serves it on a platter of sensuous delight. We are offered the terrifying characters from the minds of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde, but in a different light; a more complete version of the original stories. Viewers, tired of the repetitive horror smorgasbord which is usually offered on television, have been enjoying the well written scripts, the beautiful scenery and, the talented cast.


This show is a virtual feast for eyes, ears and mind. I love the language of this show. I love the way the actors speak. Words are so powerful. I’m worried that the kids today, who do all their texting in some understated and abbreviated code, are missing out on this linguistic treasure.


I’ll say my goodbyes until next week, my little pennies. Our dear Caliban has a new job. He will be working at Putney’s House of Wax where you can pay two shillings for a peek at the wax figures. Victor has successfully revived the dead Brona, but she is a beauty that he might want for himself.

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