Penny Dreadful - Good and Evil Braided Be

"Where is Your Master?"

Not, who is your master, Vanessa?

I suppose when you're the object of an eternal satanic quest, it doesn't matter who, but "where" because the immediacy of the threat is more important to your survival.

Still, Vanessa, aren't you at least a little curious as to who since that same person was just within your grasp moments earlier?  Such luck.

The "Violin Player", as I call the chief familiar to Dracula, makes an ill advised approach to Miss Ives as she becomes separated from Dr. Sweet in the house of mirrors.  (The "house" serving as an illusory metaphor for the relationship between Dr. Sweet and Miss Ives.)  It would be hard to believe Dracula didn't allow this approach but I would think "Player" over stepped his bounds based on Dracula's reaction when he held his "team meeting" at the end of the episode.

Dracula is carefully constructing a seduction of Miss Ives which included some very tender moments between the two.

One such moment was spied by Mr. John Clare upon his return to Chinatown.  

He was greatly cheered to see Vanessa enjoying a blissful moment knowing how difficult things can be for her.  This happy vignette stood in stark contrast to the surprise ending we received at the end of the episode.  We'll get to that soon.

Dr. Sweet tells a sorrowful tale to Vanessa about his lost love and the sad end of his wife.

Naturally, Vanessa is quite sympathetic to this tale and reaches out to Sweet with a very human gesture.  Right about now, Dracula must be very confident his long game is working out.  But sometimes the best laid plans of mice, men and monsters sometimes go to waste. The Violin Player is trailing the couple and even a ghoul such as he must feel threatened by the intimacy between Vanessa and Sweet.  After all, his status as closest to Dracula would be threatened.

After overplaying his hand, the Violin Player is quickly called away by his master.  

Too late.  Damage done.

When the two meet later for tea the distraught Vanessa confesses she cannot have nice things like love.  Dr. Sweet tries to appeal to her that nothing is impossible and even repeats her human gesture from before and grasps her hand.

Too late.   The pain runs too deep.

Like the teacup in his hand, Dracula's plan is crushed.

Still the Master?

Here's where things get interesting.

We learned from the Violin Player that Vanessa has met his master before.  "In the white room where there was no time."  Vanessa deduces this is a reference to her time in the Banning Clinic where she was kept in a padded room and subjected to "Trephining."

Trephining or Trepanning is a "surgical intervention" where the patient experiences a bore drilled into one's skull.  Way back in the day (way back) the hole produced was to allow evil spirits to escape.  Later, this intervention was meant to expose the dural matter of the brain so to relieve pressure and ease migraines, seizures or mental disorders.

It's likely Vanessa received her trephining for a perceived mental disorder.  

So, if Vanessa was to have met the Master in the clinic before, her memories of such were expunged by virtue of the intervention to her brain.  Hence, no memories of meeting Dr. Sweet, if that's what he called himself at that time. 

The plot thickens.


Also, no memories of this particular fellow.

This was the stunner that closed the episode.  Miss Ives and Mr. Clare, spiritual cousins in poetry, had met before.  He was her orderly at the clinic!

Mr. Clare, in his current incarnation as The Creature, has no memories of their crossing paths either.  He's seen Vanessa several times and now Dr. Sweet as well.  Still nothing clicked.

But it will.

The real shocker is, if Dr. Sweet or Dracula was at the clinic then he must have known of "Mr. Clare."  Since he must have, then surely he knows of "Mr. Clare's" fate.    

Did Dracula set in motion the grim end to Mr. Clare and allow his remains to fall in to the possession of Dr. Frankenstein?

If so, then he is truly the Master in that he brought all these players together at one point only to see fate reunite them in the present.

That is one long game.

Still, there is this.


Emily Dickinson said, "Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality."

I have said before that Dracula better be careful because he is in danger of becoming the seducee instead of the seducer.   I'm sticking to my claim that despite his historical malevolence, Dracula has a soft spot for Miss Ives.

He may have fallen in love with her when she was at the Banning Clinic or he may have just sized her up to rule by his side as he conquers the dark world on Earth.  I'm thinking in his present iteration he is truly falling in love with the mortal Miss Ives.

She has that effect on people.

Yes, in his "team meeting" near the end, he told his followers they would have their share of Vanessa once he has conquered her.  But I don't buy it.  

Unless, of course, you take Miss Dickinson's words literally. 

Fate Intertwined


So now we are dealing with the possibility that Vanessa, Dr. Sweet, Mr. Clare and quite possibly, Victor Frankenstein have all shared a common past.  


We turn our sights to Mr. Clare who is on a voyage of rediscovery.  His personal trail of tears has led him to Chinatown where his family maintained a meager apartment.  It's empty now but with some gentle persuasion he finds where the remnants of his family has moved to.

I loved this establishing shot of the new neighborhood.  A riverside teeming with energy, industry and commerce.   A fascinating look at London at the turn of the nineteenth century.  At street level, things are a lot less romantic.

There is squalor, filth and conditions that are unfit to work in let alone live in.

Mr. Clare ascends to a crawl space and finds his family living in destitution.  His son seems to be suffering from Consumption (Tuberculosis).  Any ice left in Mr. Clare's heart from his arctic sojourn melts completely and runs like tears through his soul.

Mr. Clare hasn't revealed himself to his family but has taken to leaving trinkets and money in their absence.  In this, he hopes to rescue them from their abject poverty.  I wonder how long he can keep himself hidden.  

I'm guessing his son's health will deteriorate so badly that he will bring him to the one doctor he knows intimately.  He will bring him to Victor Frankenstein.

Exploring America

Hecate and Ethan explore the great American southwest together.  They aim to stay ahead of the parties pursuing them.  One inside the law and the other quite distant from it.  I love Hecate's look as she stares down at the small settlement below them.  Such contempt for all things human.

That contempt manifests itself when she ruthlessly slaughters the small family living there.  Ethan had tried to surreptitiously gather the supplies and horses they needed but Hecate decided on the straight line approach.

Hecate can be brutal in her honesty also, but at least she finally elucidated her agenda.

"I want to liberate your truest self."  "I want to rule the darkness at your side."

It's good to have goals but I can hardly see Lucifer or Dracula or whatever dark lord roams the earth agreeing with her plan.  She must feel she will be well nigh invincible with Ethan releasing his inner self.  

Well, he is the Wolf of God.

I hated to see our group leave London.  It's gloomy Gothic environs are so well suited for this show.  But after seeing Timothy Dalton in a cowboy hat, I'm keen to see them ride the open range just a little bit longer.

What a tough hombre!

He knows Ethan isn't responsible for the slaughtered family.  His traveling partner is less forgiving.  "We kill the evil he has become." He proffers.

Kaetenay has an agenda of his own.  This particular nightmarish vision reveals the horror that lies within.  I detect a little projection here.  He warns of the evil to come when I think Kaetenay is already there.   Revenge on his "son"?

Kaetenay knows of Hecate and fears her influence on Ethan.  But there is a bigger bad out there in Ethan's father.  I foresee a possibility where Hecate and Kaetenay will have to join forces to free Ethan.  An unholy alliance?

Odds and Ends


Sadly, not too much of Victor and Henry in this episode.  Although I liked how the cleaned up Victor is starting to assert himself in the relationship.

Why so little of our mad scientists?

So John Logan can get his bloody kink on!

I won't belabor my disdain for this story line.  I do like the tie in to the woman's suffragette movement.  I suppose it will be cover for their takeover of the world and water their garden with blood etc etc.


A strong episode with the best part being the Dracula/Vanessa pas de deux.  I'm really anxious to see where this goes.  Until then I will crawl back into my box and cover myself with the dirt of my homeland.  (And a picture of Eva Green.)

Do not disturb!


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