Penny Dreadful: Little Scorpion Review (S2 E7)

“Little Scorpion”, the 7th episode of Penny Dreadful Season 2, takes us back to the Cut-Wife’s cottage. The episode focuses almost entirely on Vanessa and Ethan, who make the journey together in hopes of finding a weapon–that book Vanessa was only supposed to touch in the direst of times, I would hope. Indeed, this seems the direst of times for the group, as Ethan battles the wolf inside and Frankenstein comes to terms with Lily’s growing independence. (Warning: spoilers are lurking below!)


Despite Sir Malcolm’s reservations (and really in part because of his strong objections), Vanessa and Ethan leave without telling anyone in the group where they’re going—except Frankenstein, because of course Someone Has To Know. Prudent thing to do and whatnot.

At the cottage, Vanessa and Ethan spend a lot of time talking about monsters, redemption, and damnation. Oh yes, and she’s afraid of dolls. She doesn’t trust them, never has. Dear me. Ethan always seems to be talking about himself, and Vanessa seems quick to note that. And if that weren’t enough, Ethan bolts off into light of the full moon one evening, demanding that Vanessa bolt the door until morning.

The sexual tension that the show has been building between the two characters becomes even more obvious, though it’s also a bit confusing. In exchange for dancinglessionsshooting lessons (something she’s unsurprisingly good at), Vanessa agrees to teach Ethan to dance. After saving the cottage from a fire, the two embrace in a big, Notebook-style kiss. But Vanessa quickly pushes Ethan away. They’re dangerous, apparently.

But Ethan is still swearing to protect Vanessa. And it’s about this time that the two encounter Sir Geoffrey, the land owner who attempted to rape Vanessa and who killed the Cut-Wife. There’s a tense moment, but it passes. Back in the cottage, Vanessa vows to avenge the death of the Cut-Wife. Ethan warns her that killing isn’t something one can return from, but Vanessa doesn’t especially care.

Back at the mansion, Lyle is still trying to sort out the Verbis Diablo. That “hound of god” phrase is still troubling him. He thinks that the repetition is caused by the demon ruminating on something—probably something that represents a threat. Is this Ethan? And somehow we’re back to Amunet and Amun-Ra, immortals Lyle mentioned in season 1 who desperately loved one another but had to be kept apart because their union would bring about the apocalypse. Oh, great.

Ethan decides to go after Sir Geoffrey himself. But before he does, Vanessa reads from the Verbis Diablo. There’s lots of thrashing about and guttural sounds, and Eva Green’s fantastic ability to look like a madwoman shines as Vanessa reads a passage that makes Sir Geoffrey’s small pack of very large dogs turn on him and tear him to pieces.

Frankenstein is also dealing with the complex feelings he has for Lily when she goeslilydorian out with Dorian. She notices Putney’s Wax Museum, and since she’s never been to one before, he takes her inside. They’re looking about the museum when they stop in front of an exhibit and have a wee chat about grave-robbing. Lily looks both horrified and perplexed, and Dorian looks like he knows far more than he’s sharing.

On her way home, Lily stops for a drink. It’s an odd sort of moment—she brushes past a lot of men in the bar, finally stopping at an open stool beside an older gentleman. They chat for a few minutes, but then they’re off to the bedroom. And while they’re there—–Lily chokes him. To death. What is this?!

It looks like next week we’ll see more murdery things from Lily and perhaps some more of those pesky witches, who were mostly off the grid this week.