Penny Dreadful S1E6, “What Death Can Join Together”

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I apologize on the tardiness of this.  I was out of town for the past week-and-a-half and had no way to watch this until yesterday.  I’ll have my episode 7 recap up tomorrow.

Between the flashback episode and being gone for a week, I had almost forgotten about Ethan and Dorian’s night on the town.
This episode opened with a sweet scene between Ethan The Gunfighter and Brona The Lunger.  He kissed her bloody lips and pledged to take care of her until the end of time.  When he said, “I love you with all my heart,” she responded with, “And I you.”  It was a really sweet moment.
Brona also asked Ethan where he had been the night before.  He responded simply with, “I went out with Mr. Gray,” which is the mildest possible way he could have described his evening.  I am now stealing that line for whenever I have a particularly crazy night.  (Because we accountants are known for our hard-partying lifestyles, you see.)

Dorian, meanwhile, is busy hopping from one conquest to the next.  He appears at Malcolm’s mansion in search of Vanessa, and woos her with one of my favorite exchanges of this episode.
“Do you have time for an adventure?”
“Is there any other time?”
He takes a picture of her, and they end up making a dinner date.  Dinner with Dorian only ends one way: sexytime with Dorian.  As near as I can tell, Dorian’s character description reads like this: “have sex with everything that moves.  EVERYTHING.”  I’m putting The Master on the list as Dorian’s next conquest.
But Vanessa isn’t like other girls, and the night doesn’t go quite as nicely as Dorian had planned.  In the throes of passion, Vanessa lost herself to the demon within.  She has made comments about needing to be in total control of herself to keep the darkness at bay.  In that moment, she lost control.  (I also like to think that the demon is brought on in a moment of true happiness.  Where is Jenny Calendar’s Gypsy Curse Gang when you need them?)
Eva Green has absolutely owned this show, and she has been terrific when she’s able to let the crazy out.  The episode ended with a possessed and disheveled Vanessa staggering into Malcolm’s room and promptly levitating and spinning in place.  She’s interesting because she sleeps above the covers.  Four feet above the covers.

While Vanessa is showing Dorian the darkness within, Ethan, Malcolm and Sembene decide to check out a “plague ship”.  Upon entering, they find a bunch of lifeless female bodies.  Malcolm inspects every one, looking for his beloved Mina.  “Not her.  Not her.”  I franticly shouted, “Who cares?  Kill them while they’re down!”  But it was no use.  They walked through the bodies without a care in the world.  This isn’t a field of posies, fellas.
Sure enough, the bodies all rose and attacked.  This is why you don’t walk unprepared into a nest of vampires.  Still, the three of them were able to fend off all attackers.  It was a tremendous scene.  Far and away the best action sequence of the series.
Someone kicked a lantern, and, while the ship burned, The Master emerged holding a screaming Mina and bolted.  Malcolm is still holding onto the belief that Mina can be saved, but Sembene is taking a more measured approach, ie., we’ll probably have to stake, decapitate and burn her.  For some reason, Malcolm is not overly excited about this thought.

Ethan snapped on Malcolm and dropped the line, “You’re pretty goddamn sure you know what’s going on all the time.” Through this show, Malcolm and Vanessa have been the mysterious, all-knowing entities behind all of this business, but that image is starting to crack a bit.

We get to see a bit of Frankenstein, Caliban, and Van Helsing in this episode.  I’ll tell you this much right now: Caliban is really getting on my nerves.  He’s an imposing, threatening, demanding figure around Frankenstein, but timid everywhere else.  He demands that Frankenstein make him a mate, but he doesn’t take advantage of the opportunities right in front of him.  His actress crush visits him in his lair and opens up to him, only to have him hide and not say more than two words to her.  I realize that she’s not undead, but he could have at least tried to say something to her.  Instead, he leaves her a book about Lucifer (her brother’s name, apparently) and watches from the shadows while she opens it.  As far as first moves go, it was pretty weak.
Caliban is not interested in working on anything for himself.  He wants a mate created for him.  I know dating is hard, but it’s a pretty big step from, “That girl may not like me,” to “I will be alone until someone is created specifically for me out of dead bodies.”  He wants Frankenstein to do for him what he is unwilling to do for himself.

While Caliban is totally screwing up with the actress, Frankenstein is hanging out with Van Helsing.  I love their rapport.  Very natural.  Frankenstein sees Van Helsing as a kind of father figure, and the childless Van Helsing looks upon Frankenstein as a son.  Eventually, Van Helsing educates Frankenstein about vampires by holding up a copy of “Varney, the Vampire”, a very popular penny dreadful (you can download it here) and saying, “[the author] missed the facts but caught the truth.”
Their night ends in heartbreak when Caliban shows up and snaps Van Helsing’s neck to speed up Frankenstein’s process.  That scene felt like a punch to the gut.
It’s worth noting that Frankenstein is working on creating a mate for Caliban.  Earlier in the episode, he’s scouting potential female bodies to use.  Try asking a question every now and then, Caliban.

I really liked this episode.  Where the last couple felt like they were running in quicksand, this episode really seemed to move things forward.  I’m really excited to see what the last two episodes have in store.

A final note:

Frankenstein drops a Percy Shelley line (“No more let life divide what death can draw together”), which led me to look into the timeline.  As you’re no doubt aware, it was Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein, and now her creation is quoting works from her husband.  It was all very meta.  Anyway, I wanted to see when the pieces were written.  Mary’s Frankenstein was originally published in 1818, and Percy’s Adonais – the poem the line was taken from – was published in 1821.  So Frankenstein would have been in existence when Percy Shelley wrote that line.  Good to know.

Your line to work into casual conversation this week: “The dead travel fast.”