Penny Dreadful - Little Scorpion
"Little Scorpion" sounds like an affectionate nickname. Unfortunately, affection of any kind was hard to come by in this eponymous episode.
Vanessa Ives earned a dark victory of sorts when she sought to flee the city and seek solace in the countryside abode that once belonged to the "Cut Wife."
After the events of Dorian's Ball, Vanessa no longer felt safe in London. She had felt a vibe from Sir Malcolm that was unfamiliar and after she had passed out in a room full of people she realized she couldn't be safe anywhere.
(And to think she had invited Madame Kali to the London townhouse at that very same Ball!)
Sir Malcolm registered his consternation at Vanessa's decision and she countered that she would choose her own prison cell. I actually sympathized with Sir Malcolm's position but as Dr. Frankenstein put it, it is hard to argue with Miss Ive's intuition.
Ironically, this decision born of fear, actually led to a greater danger for Vanessa.
As viewers, I think we all thought it was a good idea for Ethan to volunteer to go with her. In the end was it a good idea?
They did make a pretty cute couple. Foraging for berries.
Setting rabbit traps.
Even trading childhood war stories.
Eerily, Vanessa's story involved her disdain for dolls. She recalled looking at them at night, "Waiting for them to come to life." The Cut Wife said Vanessa was born with her gift. It seems as a child Vanessa was perspicacious enough to divine the future workings of Madame Kali. (I loved how Eva Green bugged out her eyes in the above frame to replicate her spooky playthings.)
It's too bad Vanessa's prescience didn't involve the very near future.
Mr. Lyle had told Victor Frankenstein they call the evil that is Lucifer, "Legion" because he is seemingly everywhere.
It also seemed to guide Ethan and Vanessa into an impassioned embrace.
This is the moment I had been waiting for. I thought for sure Lucifer wanted our "Scorpion" and "Wolf" to be together so he could absorb them as one.
This is the lesson Sembene had told us at the beginning of the episode when one animal becomes the other when it consumes its prey. How better for Satan to absorb the Scorpion's sting of love and defeat God after Ethan and Vanessa "consumed" each other with their lovemaking.
There was some exposition from Ferdinand Lyle as this scene played out. It then faded back to the conversation between Lyle and Victor Frankenstein. He concluded his brief treatise to Victor by telling him the Hound, the Scorpion and the Demon were fated to circle each other.
Did Vanessa sense this and use it to push Ethan away?
If she did, the serenity it gave them didn't last long into the next day.
Their idyll was broken by the pernicious presence of Sir Geoffrey Hawkes.
"Young flesh burns the best."
Therein lies my own consternation at Ethan and Vanessa retreating to the cottage together.
If they hadn't, they wouldn't have fought and the enchantment used against Hawkes wouldn't have come with such great cost. Was this Lucifer's plan all along? Or did Vanessa unknowingly play into his hands?
"Now that you are a murderess, you'll never get your soul back."
"Welcome to the night Vanessa."
That Other Trigger Point
What could possibly go wrong on a date between Lily and Dorian Gray?
While many of the events of the night between Ethan and Vanessa didn't come as a surprise (although no less shocking) the events following Lily and Dorian's tryst were a surprise indeed.
A visit to Putney's house of wax began the descent for Lily. She seemed titillated and disarmingly excited. Everything is so new to her it easy to forget her horrid past. You'd think such horrors as the wax museum offered would just make a naif such as Lilly giggle with fear. Yet deep down inside they served to stir latent terrors.
As Lily departed the company of Dorian her cab ride took her past a Pub. She ordered the handsome to stop and proceeded to sit at the bar. Most of the men seemed stunned at her presence as a men's bar is no place for a lady. As Brona, Lily spent quite a bit of time in bars, as back then she was not considered a "lady."
One particular "gentleman" took a keen interest in Lily.
It wasn't long before the house of cards that is Lily's life began to collapse.
Why did Lily turn to murder in her moment of ecstasy? Certainly the horrors of the wax museum triggered something as did Dorian's presence and the subsequent pub visit.
My guess goes all the way back to season one when Victor cared for Brona as she lay deeply ill.
You may remember Victor actually suffocated Brona while Ethan was away from the room hastening her demise. It may be her last thoughts were that of murder at the hands of the person that gave her rebirth. Those last thoughts became imprinted on her soul.
I can't wait till those two meet again.
Odds and Ends
I loved the image of the heroic boyfriend chopping down the tree that gave Vanessa such awful memories. Well played Ethan.
How do win the hand of a fair maiden?
As we learned from "12 Monkeys" teach her to shoot and let her teach you to dance.
Much to Ethan's chagrin, Vanessa proved quite adept with firearms.
As for dancing, Vanessa proved every bit as adept at instruction as Cassie did.
Come to think of it, Frankenstein got a reference in 12 Monkeys. No wonder I enjoy these shows so much.
Speaking of the good doctor.
Interesting how Victor was paired with the crucifix in Vanessa's room. We know resurrection is a theme of this show. Any deeper meaning? Victor will die for our sins? (Not likely.)
Vanessa gave Victor her location. A wise move? It didn't come into play as of the last episode. If it does it may lend credence to my theory Caliban will come to Vanessa's rescue.
A parting shot for Sir Geoffrey Hawkes
Didn't he say something about dogs learning to eat from the hand that feeds it?
Wasn't that his hand that went spinning off to the side as his animals gorged themselves?