There is an old saying, "Life is what you make it." So, if the world is your Hell then it seems it is of your own making.
That seems especially true to the characters in this particular episode.
Ethan and Hecate continue to ply the unforgiving wilderness that is the southwest American desert. These scenes were actually filmed in Spain and I must say it is magnificent. It's as if the location was one of the characters itself.
It is both alive and dead.
Hecate and Ethan fence over their personal philosophies. Ethan thinks he must suffer for his sins and in that, he will be granted forgiveness.
Hecate thinks this nonsense as there is no forgiveness to be seen. She tells him to embrace his sins for only then will you become your true self.
Hecate seems to suffering from a little denial as she is constantly hiding her true self. But then again, maybe her true self would be more at home when the world truly becomes Hell.
Hell On Earth
There was a fascinating tale as told by Ethan of the origin of the world. It seems that dark creatures roamed the Earth until a young boy was born. The boy defeated the creatures and made the world safe for his descendants. His name was "Apache" and the people took his name as theirs.
I recount this tale because it parallels the philosophies as told by Hecate and Ethan. The world may be a safe or unsafe place but it is what you make of it. If there are demons in it, they either exist as part of that world or they live within you. Hecate's demon was introduced against her will and she has accepted it. Ethan has chosen to fight his demon but it is an ongoing battle. It is part of Hecate's seduction for Ethan to stop his fight and embrace his sins. This will indeed free him but at what cost? To give himself over to the darkness?
If that dark world exists, then it will prey on the innocent.
To that point Sir Malcolm and Ethan's father, Jared Talbot, shared a drink and did a little verbal fencing of their own. Jared told Malcolm they were quite a bit alike. Malcom was dismissive of this until Jared reminded him of his "adventures" in Africa. As Jared Talbot blazed an unholy trail through the West, Sir Malcolm was guilty of the same in the Dark Continent.
I know I skipped ahead a little here but I thought it important to continue the thematic thread. It seems Penny Dreadful wanted its viewing audience to ponder over perception and reality, good versus evil and whether there are really demons in this world or are they within our very selves.
There is another old saying, "Hell is other people." Maybe Penny Dreadful is telling us it isn't the other people. It's truly us.
Odds and Ends
As Ethan told the Apache creation tale did you notice the Scorpion and the Bat on the wall? It looks like we will be getting back to Vanessa and Dr. Sweet next week. It seems these are of the earliest creatures. More proof that Vanessa is timeless and once existed before the Fall?
Victor and Henry continue their work on poor Mr. Balfour. Victor upped the electric juice on Henry's injection. While it rendered Balfour catatonic for many an hour he eventually came out of it with no memories
Henry seemed a little jealous and taunted Victor over whether he's subject Lily to the same treatment. He also divulged the yearning to live life or at least one moment "like a lamb." Henry seems to be battling his own personal demons. If the Balfour treatment is truly successful then it won't be long until he tries it on himself.
What could possibly go wrong there?
Victor provided some insight into the true nature of Dr. Jekyll. He seems to know him pretty well and perhaps he's seen the beast within once before.
Funniest moment of the show that didn't have many. For a moment Ethan was happy to see Sir Malcolm
It didn't last long. How far has Hecate's seduction taken Ethan?
Victor had a creepy moment when he returned to old digs that lay in ruin. Symbolically he stepped on and crushed an old hypodermic. Has he shed his personal demon?
Perhaps not, as he is still obsessing over Lily. Even to the point of sniffing her old garment. He once had the impulse to destroy her. Now he's convinced he can fix her.
Can playing God be called a personal demon? It's at least rich with irony.
Dolls! Why does it always have to be dolls?
This must have been a little Hell on Earth for Hecate. Thanks for letting the Devil claw me when I was only five years old Mom!
At least we learned there was a younger sister to Ethan. Ethan was only indirectly implicated in the slaughter of the Talbot family. Bad enough, yes. But his Mother, brother and sister did not die directly at his hand. He did say he killed his best friend. Who is he?
I pictured a Werewolf slaughter at the Talbot homestead. Now we learn it was vengeful Apaches. Is Ethan the only Wolf in the family?
Next week, Ethan must pay for his sins. Will it be at the point of a gun? How far has Hecate's seduction taken him, will he remain unrepentant? What of Kaetenay? It's hard to believe he is dead. Will the snake poison turn him into something else?
The whiskey is on Sir Malcolm till then. I'll have a double.