This week, The Creature gets nasty and Dorian Gray gets his kicks from sleeping with mortally sick women.
As mentioned in the previous recap, Penny Dreadful’s first episode, Night Work, dragged in the latter half. This time, Séance kicked the crazy into high gear and hinted at a potentially much more compelling and even darker series than Night Work let on. This week’s Cold Open Murder arrived in the form of a young lady of the night, attacked in the fog. Blood splatters newsprint and a severed forearm clutching a blood streaked apple hits the pavement.
Ethan wakes with a start in the shipping yard with deep cuts in his palms from his own fingernails. He staggers to a conveniently nearby inn and orders the breakfast of champions: a bottle of whiskey. A woman who lives at the inn, Brona Croft (Billie Piper), helps herself to a glass of his whiskey. Brona is unemployed and has a terrible cough which, in Victorian literature, pretty much puts a death clock over her head.
Like a teenage creative writer, Frankenstein suggests picking a name at random from a book of Shakespeare for his new creature
Like a teenage creative writer, Victor Frankenstein suggests picking a name at random from a book of Shakespeare for his new creature. They land on Proteus. Victor meets with Malcolm and Vanessa, who lead him to Egyptian Nosferatu’s corpse, stripped of its exoskeleton. Victor draws some of Nosferatu’s blood and inspects it under a microscope, confirming that it is human blood or at least blood of a vertebrate. If Victor is always this precise, it’s probably best that he works with dead things.
Malcolm pays Inspector Galsworth a visit to inquire about the Ripper-style murders. The murderer took some organs from last week’s Cold Open Murders. Galsworth doubts the Ripper is back because he only targeted prostitutes. Brona responds to an ad for photographic subject and encounters a beautiful dandy in a room brimming with portraits; he’s Dorian Gray, because subtlety. Brona coughs up blood, which arouses Dorian’s…curiosity. They start having sex as the photographer continues taking photos. Dorian remarks, “I’ve never fucked a dying creature before” (SWOON!). The scene climaxes as Brona projectile coughs blood into Dorian’s face. He likes it.
At Lyle’s fête, Madame Kali (Helen McCrory) begins a séance. Vanessa must also be a medium as she begins channeling Malcolm’s son, Peter, who reveals he left at a base camp to die of dysentery. Vanessa next channels an unknown spirit (at Mali: “Amunet, girl? No, much older”) before channeling Mina, who berates Malcolm for having an unspecified affair and pleads for him to find and save her. Back in control of her body, Vanessa storms out of the party, encounters a man on the street and has wild, “I just want to feel connected to my own body again” sex with him in an alley.
Seance would’ve made a terrific addition to Night Work as an extended premiere. Now the full ensemble has been introduced
Lyle warns Malcolm to abandon his inquiry into the hieroglyphics. These hieroglyphics join Amun-Ra and Amunet, forming a spell foretelling the annihilation of man and the coming of the beast. Lyle also warns Malcolm not to tell Vanessa because, “after all, who wants to know they’re being hunting by the devil?” (I think she already knows, dude). After meeting them during his first trip outside, Proteus calls Ethan and Brona his friends and he wonders if he’ll have many friends (ten, more than ten). A hand bursts through his chest and he is nearly torn clean in two. A blood streaked face emerges from behind him. “Your first born has returned, father.”
Seance was an exciting and informative hour that would’ve made a terrific addition to Night Work as an extended premiere. Now that the full ensemble has been introduced, it will be fun to see what dark and twisty exploits await us next.
-There’s a striking close up of Victor feeding Proteus as though dispensing communion. It’s fitting he considers naming Proteous Adam and dismisses it because “theological connotations aren’t very ‘us’ are they?” Says the guy who literally plays God.
– It seems likely that the first creation (The Creature) is committing the Ripper murders. And considering the victims are only women and various limbs and organs were taken, it seems likely The Creature is attempting to build a bride.
– Consumption sex with a bloody cough money shot? Your move, True Blood.
Don’t miss: Last week’s recap of Night Work
All images: Showtime