On last week’s episode of “Penny Dreadful” we were captive voyeurs of Vanessa’s mind and her memory of the “White Room.” There were only three actors present: Eva Green, Rory Kinnear and Patti LuPone, but it was one of the best episodes in all three seasons. This week, we follow Ethan and Hecate while Victor electrifies Jekyll’s experiments.
Before I begin the review of episode five, I want to talk about actor Rory Kinnear’s performance in last week’s episode. I have great respect for this actor who not only plays the gentle poetry reciting monster, but who also was able to play three different characters on last week’s show.
Not only did Rory Kinnear give us insight into John Clare’s former life, but he also portrayed the two rivals for Vanessa’s soul, Lucifer and Dracula. “Penny Dreadful” has earned its large number of fans because of the very talented actors and actresses who mesmerize us for sixty minutes every Sunday night and, for the superb writing that holds us captive, then leaves us wanting more.
Our little vixen has a plan, my little pennies, but I fear it favors the demon that sent her. The witch and the wolf ride across the desert, but the Marshal and Rusk are hot on their trail. There is no water in the desert and I doubt the witch can use her spells to bring forth a cool drink. While the posse pursues our wolf, Sir Malcolm and Kaetenay trail the posse and talk about visions.
We do learn why Hecate, played so wickedly by Sarah Greene, is employed by Lucifer. It wasn’t by choice, it never is. Hecate’s mother gave her to Lucifer when Hecate was only five years old. The girl doesn’t know goodness, but as bad as she is, Hecate does love animals and shows mercy to the thirsty horses. Hecate is doing what Kaetenay fears she will do. The witch is turning Ethan away from GOD and towards the darkness. She uses his hatred of his father and her body as the carrot on the stick.
Forced into the army by his father in order to make him a man, Ethan tells Hecate that he served under a commanding officer that considered the Apache as less than human. The commanding officer orders Ethan and the other soldiers to kill everyone in the village. The entire village is slaughtered as they sleep. The guilt is too much for Ethan and he kills the commanding officer and joins the Apache survivors. Kaetenay’s revenge was to have Ethan kill all the soldiers and to even attack his own father’s ranch.
Everyone has a story to tell in tonight’s episode. While Kaetenay tells Sir Malcolm of the horrible things he did as the soldiers closed in on them, Rusk tells Marshall Ostow how he lost his arm and still managed to capture his man alive. Everyone has a story, but maybe Kaetenay is holding back some important facts.
We saw what Vanessa had to endure during her time at the Banning Clinic. Her treatment at the hands of the medical staff was deplorable and her only comfort was the daily chats with the kindhearted John Clare. Balfour, I suspect, has endured just as horrible a treatment at the Asylum. But, I doubt there is a kindly orderly to give him any hope. He is a mad man who had tried to assassinate the Queen. Balfour doesn’t remember his crime. It doesn’t matter because he will become a new experiment for Victor.
Do we really know all that electricity is capable of? Victor has proven that electricity can bring back the dead, but can it help Jekyll’s serum work permanently on the mad? Victor inserts a very long needle into Balfour’s eye and injects the serum. While they wait for the patient to regain consciousness, the two scientists argue. Who is the madder of the two? I think I’ll place my wager on Victor. He is possessed with wanting Lily to himself and, poor Balfour is the unwilling guinea pig.
Ethan and Hecate are in danger of suffering the same fate as their horses who could not survive the desert heat and lack of water. After Hecate does a spell that sends a host of rattle snakes to attack the soldiers, they take shelter in a cave. What secret does the cave drawings reveal? It is the story of the first Apache and the boy who defeated darkness. Hecate has won the battle and captured the wolf’s loyalty with her constant prattle against GOD and, with her body… but they are still in the desert.
There are no good or bad people in this episode, per say, but they are all guilty of horrible acts. Kaetenay is bitten by one of Hecate’s vipers as he slices the throats of the sleeping lawmen. When Sir Malcolm attempts to kill the unconscious Hecate, Ethan threatens to kill him. Their standoff is interrupted by the arrival of Talbot’s men. Kaetenay is left to die in the desert.
Jared Talbot (Brian Cox) is an angry man and a bigoted man who tells Sir Malcolm that they are more the same than different. Jared hates the Apache and he hates the son who brought disaster into his home. What did Ethan do to bring on such anger from his father? A trip to the chapel reveals what really happened the night that Ethan and Kaetenay’s tribe attacked the ranch. Ethan had only wanted to steal the horses and the guns, but Kaetenay wanted revenge against the white man; any white man.
While Jared tells Ethan how his brother, mother and little sister were tortured, scalped or left to roam the world mute and blind, Victor, back in his lab, prepares for Lily’s homecoming. He washes her dress and cleans his lodging. There are no good or bad people here… just men doing horrible acts. See you next week, my little pennies.