Penny Dreadful S02 E02: Verbis Diablo


What frightens you the most, my little pennies? Is it the monster dressed in sheep’s clothing? The one you are unable to banish? On last week’s episode of “Penny Dreadful,” Madame Kali used the devil’s language to hound our dear, poor Miss Ives. She is a witch in the service of Satan.  Caliban meets his bride. Will it be love or fright at first sight? Grab your relics and follow me down that dark and shadowed cobbled path to the British Museum.


What better way to conquer your enemy than to win over their allies. Madame Kali/Poole knows this all too well. Vanessa Ives’ closest ally is Sir Malcolm and, it is he that Kali aims to mesmerize first.


Vanessa is unable to protect herself from the continuous onslaught of evil magic that Kali sends her way. Even in her prayers, Vanessa is attacked. We learn something new about the unlikeable Sir Malcolm. He may be obnoxious and proud, but he does know mercy. He takes Vanessa Ives to a place that is so bad; it will take her mind off her own horrors. In today’s world, more and more people worry about the rising costs of healthcare, or worse, not being able to pay for basic healthcare. Imagine what life was like in the old days.

Malcolm takes Vanessa to a place where cholera is rampant and most often, fatal. Sir Malcolm works the soup kitchen helping the unfortunate ones of London. Vanessa is so busy helping the sick, that she gets some reprieve from her worries. While there, she meets Caliban who is now using the name John Clare.


Two of my favorite characters meet at last, but it is by far, too short a chat. I love Rory Kinnear’s portrayal of the Frankenstein monster. Although his character is a monster in physical form, it isn’t by choice and, Rory Kinnear does a wonderful job of reminding us that behind the mottled face is a gentle soul who spins words into gold. Can you fall in love with the English language? I think you can especially with Kinnear’s monster quoting poetry. I hope that Caliban/John Clare will become one of Vanessa’s allies.

Dorian Gray is back in this episode. Reeve Carney is as delectable as a box of Godiva chocolates, but you need to remind yourself to sample this eye candy, slowly. Dorian is pining for Vanessa. He loves her, but their lovemaking brings out the devil in her and they must keep apart. A mysterious woman named Angelique approaches Dorian and leaves a card where he can find her later. She seems to know a lot about Dorian.


I’ve listed Victor under foes because he, once more, is putting his desires ahead of his poor creations. Caliban/John Clare has asked for a bride, but Victor is also falling in love with Brona. He has to reteach Brona how to speak and act. She has no memory of her past and is given a new identity and hair style.


While Madame Kali continues to work her magic on Sir Malcolm, he contacts an old friend. Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale) a witty, knowledgeable man is called in to help Vanessa, but that doesn’t stop him from hitting on Ethan. Our cowboy handles this with grace and goes to the British Museum with Lyle to steal the relics of Brother Gregory from the museum’s archives. The ancient monk, although possessed by demons, was able to write down the devil’s language on objects that were in his cell.


I worked at a museum for many years. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is filled with many archives that store some pretty important specimens like fossils and plants collected by the Lewis and Clark expedition and, they also have the fossils of the first dinosaur discovered in North America; Hadrosaurus Foulkii. Every once in a while the museum will do a behind the scenes tour for the members. It’s a treasure chest of history and science.


“Penny Dreadful” is a sensory delight for the eyes and ears, but the subject matter is dark and frightening. Friends are sometimes a foe, like Ferdinand Lyle. He is a double agent and in the employ of Madame Kali and, he will help her in her quest to destroy Vanessa.


Sir Malcolm has sworn to protect Vanessa, but he has been bewitched by Madame Kali. Caliban wants someone to call his own; someone to love; someone to recite beautiful poems to, but his creator is not an honorable man and he also covets Brona.

Dorian is not able to be with the one he wants, so he’s spending time with Angelique who it turns out is also a man. Dorian is happy with both sexes and they with him because he is, after all, wonderful eye candy.

Madame Kali reveals how evil she and her daughter are in this episode. Hecate wipes out a family to steal their infant. Is Madame Kali planning on another bloody bath? Madame Kali collects dolls, but these are no ordinary dolls. The heart she takes from the child is placed into a doll that resembles Vanessa.


Vanessa Ives will need a witch of her own to battle the devious Madame Kali. Let’s hope she finds one. See you next week, my little pennies, and if you’re ever in Philadelphia, visit the Academy of Natural Sciences and plan a behind the scenes tour of that fine establishment.

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