Penny Dreadful S02 E08: Memento Mori


On last week’s episode of “Penny Dreadful,” Vanessa and Ethan went to ground, but their troubles and their enemies are not far behind. While Madame Kali searches for the little scorpion and her wolf, Caliban and Angelique learn disturbing secrets about their loved ones.  More after the jump. 


There are only two episodes left, and we the viewers, savor each scene as if it is our last. The characters on this show surprise us constantly and we are never quite sure that the face they present to us is their true visage. As Brona, Billie Piper played her character as a good-hearted prostitute. We pictured her life, childhood and adulthood, to be full of disappointments and maltreatment. Why else would she be on the streets selling her wares? If not to survive the only way one could without a proper trade. But, maybe there was more to Brona than we or Ethan surmised.

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As Lily, Billie Piper is given more freedom with her character and this re-animated Lily is shrewd. She likes spending time with Dorian even though she knows this hurts Victor. She finds strangers and kills them while in the midst of making love. She is strong, much stronger than she was as Brona, and she will not bow before a man; ever again. Victor can’t control her. Caliban can’t force her to love him. She thinks them no more than boys. What does Lily want? Who?

Penny Dreadful - Episode 8


I am really enjoying Helen McCrory’s performance as Madame Kali. I know that she’s the wicked witch, but she does wicked better than anyone else. McCrory’s Kali is a more interesting opponent than the vampire of season one and, as the servant of Lucifer, Kali has eternal beauty and eternal life. But, immortality can be a double edged sword. Life could get boring and it may be harder to attract a suitable mate. Kali gives us a clue in tonight’s episode that she is lonely. Unable to keep Malcolm under her spell, she waits for him to come to her. He will come, but it is to kill her.


I am so happy that Danny Sapani’s Sembene has such a larger and more important part this season. Sembene, as Malcolm’s servant, sees everything that goes on. He knows his master’s ways, knows when Malcolm is troubled, happy, confused. Malcolm is not himself. He is enchanted. Victor and he talk about their shared enchantment to love. They are helpless. While Lyle goes over the artifacts to solve the puzzle, we learn that Lucifer had a brother; one brother falls to Earth and the other to Hell; one to drink the blood of men and the other, to take their souls.


It is Sembene who sees that Malcolm is under a spell. It is Sembene who sees that Malcolm is possessed, and after Malcolm overturns the table and artifacts, it is Sembene who locks Malcolm in a room. “Know who you are,” Sembene tells Malcolm.

Love conquers all, and it also severs spells. Malcolm did love his wife, daughter and son. He wasn’t nice to them, but he did love them. The memories of happier times, and dancing with his family, break the spell. Malcolm goes hunting for Kali.


Poor Angelique, like Victor, must sit patiently and unhappily while the people they love go out with someone else. Dorian is a fickle lover. His attention span, short. Angelique finds a hidden passageway and he discovers Dorian’s secret.


Although Vanessa and Ethan were absent from this episode, their presence was still palpable. Inspector Rusk pays a visit to Malcolm about an earlier visit to Scotland Yard on a matter concerning his missing daughter. Malcolm denies recognizing Ethan in a Wild West poster.


Lyle explains that Lucifer won’t stop until he has Vanessa. But, there is that hound of God that’s mentioned in the artifacts.  I think it fitting that God picked the wolf as the devil’s nemesis. Malcolm went alone to hunt a witch. This was so wrong on so many levels. Why not have the others go with him? He was a big game hunter in Africa. You never hunt the lion, alone. When Malcolm refuses Kali’s offer to share eternal life with her, she offers him a different memory of his family.


Caliban, our beautiful monster who speaks so eloquently, finally confronts Lily. But, Lily is no frail creature. She is strong enough to knock Caliban to the floor. She is angry for the treatment she received at the hands of men. She knows that Caliban is a corpse, and that she is, too. How long has she known? She has plans and it doesn’t include Victor. She calls Caliban her beautiful monster and then she mounts him. Caliban, who’d continually seduced us with his beautiful poetry, is left speechless.


The trap has been set. Sir Malcolm has become the lamb that will lure the lion into the net. Lyle convinces Victor and Sembene that they must send for Vanessa, guaranteeing that she’ll fall into Kali’s and Hecate’s clutches. Dorian tells Angelique that the portrait holds his sins, before he kills him. The creature in the portrait is chained, old, and alive. Malcolm is locked in a room with three coffins; three rotting family members, and they are not interested in dancing.

See you next week, my little pennies, and when we do, we will release the hounds!


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