Aaaaand we’re back for episode 2 of Penny Dreadful‘s second season. This week’s “Verbis Diablo” gave us our first view of Dorian Grey in the second season and, of course, told us more about the Night Comers. Also up this week: Vanessa meets Caliban, we find out what Brona’s life-after-death looks like, and Madame Kali gets witchy. And oh my, is this show’s second season a lot of fun so far! (Warning: Spoilers lurk beneath!)
We start with Vanessa going to Sir Malcolm for comfort and peace. Malcolm takes her right into a cholera-infested shanty-town, where to two don masks to serve soup to the poor and sick. Sir Malcolm confesses to finding peace in service, atonement in helping.
And while we’re down there, oh, hooray, Vanessa has a tete-a-tete with our Creature, who is now calling himself John Clare. (Clare was an actual British poet who died in 1864–interesting to move from a Shakespearean name to a poet’s.) Vanessa chats with Clare a bit about religion–she’s “not on the best of terms with the Almighty” and he has allowed Wordsworth to supplant the Bible for him. I’m surprised at his capacity to see such beauty there, given his past (and his rant last week when he was looking for a job and unable to find work)—but perhaps it makes sense that he sees the most beauty in the tragedies. Vanessa is so kind—and it’s obvious that Clare finds that surprising.
Back at the Murray home, the Egyptologist, Lyle stops by to chat about the Verbis Diablo, and We Learn Some Things. The language has only been written down once: in the 11th century, a monk called Brother Gregory was possessed. He was eventually burned at the stake, but not before he etched it into anything he could find.
Ethan goes with Lyle to the British Museum to retrieve the items. There’s a fun bit of flirting, and a wee bit of faux intrigue. It’s going to be a puzzle, putting together a cypher from the array of items.
And Dorian is back. He’s at a cafe, mooning over a picture of Vanessa. But along stops a lady for a chat. She slides him a card—and later, we see Dorian at the brothel. She’s not shy about showing Dorian what he’s buying—and Dorian doesn’t look shy about the buying. Let’s not forget how we met him, or who he is.
Frankenstein, meanwhile, is working with the newly-revived Brona. He asks Clare to leave, and it’s evident that there’s already brewing tension between them. New-Brona doesn’t quite have language yet–but it begins to return to her quickly, and with a whole-new accent. Frankenstein names her Lily and gives her a back-story: she was his cousin, and Clare was his intended. We still don’t know if her memories will return, so it’s difficult to say if this story is going to work–and what difficulties Frankenstein’s obvious affection for her is going to cause.
Speaking of difficulties…There was a survivor of Ethan’s attack at the Mariner’s Inn. He’s not in much shape to talk—possibly ever–but it still seems as thought his might cause trouble for Ethan: the police are still interested.
And finally, we turn to the Witchery of the Week. And my, my, are these witches bad. Madame Kali sees Malcolm–she’s buying perfume and asks for advice. She uses the moment for a bit of demonic whispering in his ear, which he doesn’t seem to notice at all. Later, the two go shooting together on a date-but-not-a-date. Madame Kali is a sharp shot. Hmm. Madame Kali is also holding some “indiscreet” photos over Lyle’s head, threatening to release them if he doesn’t comply with her wishes–an interesting development.
Hecate is on the London Underground, stalking a small, young family. She attacks when they’re alone on the car, killing the two parents and stealing their infant. We at least don’t see her kill it, but we do see her give it to Madame Kali. And then, in something that was almost to squicky for me, we see her take the baby’s heart and put it into a wooden puppet of Vanessa. Queue Vanessa, across town, drawing a large, gasping breath.