Penny Dreadful S02 E07: Little Scorpion


On last week’s episode of “Penny Dreadful,” Madame Kali used her voodoo to put Malcolm under her spell. London isn’t safe for our Miss Ives. Where should she go and, who should she take with her? There is only one that she can trust with her life.


I really like the character of Sembene and Danny Sapani does a wonderful job of making his character seem both mysterious and protective, but what do we really know about Sembene? We know that he is a longtime friend of Sir Malcolm. We know that he is willing to protect all who live in Sir Malcolm’s home. We know that he is from Africa and that the scars on his face were part of a ritual, but there is so much more that we don’t know.


We don’t know how Sembene became acquainted with the spiritual world, or how he learned about monsters and shape shifters. Did he learn about these creatures while living in Africa? This continent is the cradle of humanity and it seems believable that Eden is where mankind first witnessed the eternal battle between good and evil. Is this why he so understanding of Ethan’s transformation during the full moon.

Only Sembene would be able to get Ethan to see his wolf as a blessing and not a curse. Things become other things. The leopard consumes the monkey, then the crocodile consumes the Leopard. The crocodile becomes all three animals. It is a simple explanation of the food chain. We are what we eat. That beef burger we ate is only as healthy as the cow and, the cow is only as healthy as the grass it fed on. By eating that burger, we become the cow and the grass. Like I said, I like Sembene.


When Vanessa decides to go away, Ethan goes with her. Their location is kept secret from everyone except Victor. I understood why Vanessa wasn’t willing to tell Malcolm her destination. He is acting strangely, but for her to confide in Victor was a surprise. I don’t know from week to week if I hate Harry Treadaway’s Victor Frankenstein or love him.

Harry Treadaway is a talented actor who does an excellent job of keeping the viewers off balance. In one scene, he is able to win us over by looking very handsome and vulnerable while batting his puppy dog eyes at the camera, but then in the very next scene, we hate his character. This week, I loved Victor’s decision to not only help Vanessa, but to also let Lily go out with Dorian. He may later regret that decision.


Vanessa and Ethan return to Joan Clayton’s home. It is there at the site of her mentor’s brutal death at the hands of Sir Hawkes that the friendship between wolf and scorpion grows. Josh Hartnett is not only a very handsome man, but he makes his character, Ethan Chandler, someone you’d want protecting you. Over the two seasons of “Penny Dreadful” so far, it is the Ethan character that has shown the most growth and that is because Josh Hartnett is able to make us sympathize with his monster.


Vanessa surprises Ethan with her ability to catch rabbits in the woods. He surprises her by cutting down the hated tree; a reminder of Joan’s death. Vanessa doesn’t question Ethan’s demand to lock the door when he leaves for the night. Does she understand the power the moon holds over him. Does she understand why he feels it necessary to teach her how to shoot a gun?

When they encounter Sir Hawkes while walking in the woods, Ethan swears his loyalty and protection to Vanessa. Sir Hawkes reveals his evil ways when he tells Vanessa and Ethan his methods of controlling his dogs. He is a monster who needs to die.


Tonight was all about the ladies; Victor’s Lily and Ethan’s Vanessa; both ladies stood at the precipice; both would need to make a choice. Would they choose good or evil? Lily and Dorian are mesmerized with each other. Dorian offers the temptation of unrestrained indulgence and sensual pleasures. That is who Dorian is, but he’s no dummy and he suspects there is a reason for Lily’s cold hands. Did that trip to the wax museum bring back memories for Lily? Was it the wax grave robbers that sent her to that bar and to a stranger’s bed?


Ethan is a wolf that loves a little scorpion. He is the only one The Devil fears. Ethan is God’s hound. He is forever tied in a dance to keep the devil at bay while also avoiding the scorpion’s stinger. He is the only one who can stop the destruction of mankind.

Ethan teaches Vanessa to shoot a gun. He tells her to never look an opponent in the eyes. Vanessa teaches Ethan to dance. She tells him that unlike homicide, you must look into a person’s eyes. But at the end of this episode, we realize that Ethan and Vanessa must admit to themselves that they are not like others. They have claws for a reason. Vanessa has used black magic to kill Sir Hawkes via his abused dogs; a fitting act of revenge.


While an unhappy Ethan tells Vanessa that she is now a member of the dark side, Lily is strangling the stranger she has mounted. Both women have made their choice and it is up to the monsters to save them.

See you next week, my little pennies, and do stay out of the woods when the moon is full.


3 Replies to “Penny Dreadful S02 E07: Little Scorpion”

  1. “The scorpion will sting you whether you believe in him or not.” is the most chilling line in the whole episode.

    1. I love the second season even more than the first and it’s because of the language and the beautiful way it’s spoken..

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