Monday, May 30, 2016

Penny Dreadful - The World is Our Hell




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.


Personal Philosophy


 
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.


 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Orphan Black - The Antisocialism of Sex




She nearly did it didn't?
 
Take the big leap.  End it all.  Pay for her sins.

Faced with the ghost of Beth and burdened with her betrayal of S and Cosima, Sarah nearly ended it all by taking that fateful plunge on to the tracks.

Just two weeks ago I discussed the possibility of Sarah's attempt with suicide in Sarah's schisms.  The pressure was building and it seemed as though Sarah was heading down the same path as Beth.  Her knowledge too great and the weight of its burden too much to endure.



Fortified with liquor, Sarah went on a classic bender.  Damn that girl can drink.  And party too.  It wasn't long before she hooked up with a couple of party predators that nearly did her in.  I had a feeling Dizzy would show up.  I was relieved to see him but, damn, she nearly did him in!

The bar scene wasn't enough for her and Sarah went into the night.




She stumbled upon the spectral image of Beth's shoes and purse just as she had left them and it wasn't long before Beth stood before her.




She looked a little disgusted too.  Arms crossed she seemed disappointed with Sarah.  

Beth had passed on her mantle to Sarah and Sarah had chosen the wrong path.

Had it all come to this?




I didn't really think Sarah was going to end it all those two weeks ago when I wrote my original piece.  As many astute observers on Facebook responded, Sarah's support group was too strong to let this happen anyway.  Beth was too isolated and paranoid while Sarah had her family and the Clone Club to lean on.

Enter Felix.

Fee did double duty on this one.  Not only did he bring Sarah back from the abyss, he delivered the crucial news to Cosima that Delphine was carried off ALIVE after she was shot!  

Damn Felix you were both Batman and Robin in this one.  




Cosima was just about to insert the Maggot-bot into her cheek.  Scott had told her the device could be used like an on and off switch to the disease and in her despair Cosima was prepared to take the plunge of her own.  Poor Scotty btw, Cosima coldly dismissed him as her lab partner when she referred to Delphine earlier.  She caught herself when she said no offense.  "Some taken actually" was his broken hearted reply.  Yeah, that one stung and I said "Ouch" as I watched from home.  Cosima was in a bad place.

But all is well as it turned out.  Disaster averted on two fronts. 


Oops, the Other Disasters



Donnie gets hauled off in handcuffs amidst a child's birthday party.  Classic Orphan Black.  I was a little perplexed Alison didn't get whisked away too.  But I guess they are saving some drama for later.

Like searching the garage and finding a body buried in it!

Alison will have to think quickly.  She's facing an abyss of her own.  What with Donnie in chains and the pending charges of the drug dealing from the Bubbles storefront.  This looks like a job for Sarah.  She's adept at cleaning up messes.  Yes, making plenty of her own.  But I think seeing Ali in such deep doo-doo will get her to refocus and this will allow her to mend the rift that has been threatening to tear her and Ali apart.

BTW, in a related matter, I have to say, watching Art give Duko a beat down was cathartic in some sort of perverse way.  Duko had it coming.


 

Another looming disaster is the dissolution of the Neolution effort.  (That was a tongue twister.)  Yes, Susan Duncan and her Neolutionist kin are hardly worthy of sympathy.  They are responsible for too much heartache.




It's Charlotte I'm worried about.

Rachel gave her a long look and now that she is free who knows what she will stoop too.  Susan Duncan will eventually shake out of her stupor and turn to Charlotte too.

There are three different scenarios that will free Charlotte from her doom.

  1. Helena finds out where they are and rescues her.
  2. Ferdinand learns where they are and pulls Rachel and Charlotte out.
  3. Krystal kidnaps Ira and they barter for the release of Charlotte and Rachel.

Krystal grabbing Ira is my favorite scenario.  The Clone Club will learn of this and use it to their advantage.  Of course hilarity will ensue.  How can you not have high comedy when Krystal is involved?

But I've got a crackpot theory attached to this and hopefully it will lead to a major bombshell.


 

Ira is the one that shot Delphine.

There may be a few holes in this but it could it explain the horror Krystal felt when she saw Ira at Brightborn.

Why didn't she just blurt it out then and there?  Why didn't she tell Felix when she spoke to him?  

We are talking Krystal here.




Oh, you're probably right, it was Ferdinand.

Maybe I should start a suspect list for who shot Delphine.  At least the good news is she will be back.

Right?


Odds and Ends

 
 
Sarah has a lot to do to mend fences with S.  She's lucky she didn't get breakfast thrown in her lap.




MK has contacted Kira.  This creeped me out a little.  Anyone else?  MK should be harmless but I don't know, I got a bit of a chill when I saw this.  We'll have to wait and see.




What was up with all the weird Swan hallucinations from Rachel?  Is her new eye accidentally tuned to the Swan channel on cable?  




She saw that equally creepy illustration in the book to start the episode.  Maybe that has a lot to do with it.



We can close with Rachel.  I loved this perspective as she learned she was free to roam around her Dr. Moreau prison.  Maybe the Swan imagery is Rachel's brain working away at connecting the original Duncan research with a little Dr. Moreau mixed in for inspiration.

Maybe she will rescue Charlotte.

 
 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

12 Monkeys - Immortal




Welcome to the dark side Cassandra Railly?

You know what they say about black eyes...





Yep, black eyes are not a good look.  "The ocean turns red" gulp, you mean like the Red Forest?   Let's hope Cassies eyes don't roll back or anyone refers to her as having "dolls eyes."

If that happens then we're going to need a bigger boat.




Black eyes are a sign of evil if not being possessed by evil.  Aaron Mark(er) of the devil had them.



 

Fake Cole did too.




Even Miss Ives' attendant on Penny Dreadful sported the black orbs.

So, what does this mean for Cassie?  Is she evil?  Probably not.  But it could mean she is under the thrall of The Witness.  The implications of which would mean he has an insider with Team Splinter.  She can wreak havoc for him anywhere in time they send her, or perhaps worst of all, in the year 2044 at Splinter Central.

Cassie has been acting out of character of late so who would be able to actually notice if she starting a drifting little to the Red side?  

Here are the candidates.

Deacon?  He started her down a different path in the first place.  "Let 'em live, create an enemy."  Those words would turn heads before.  Now, maybe no one would blink.  If Cassie starts doing the bidding of the Witness her harder edge may just be more appreciated by Deacon.

Cole?  There is word of an rapprochement coming between the two.  Cole would be best served to notice a change in Cassie.  But he may be so mission driven that it might slip his notice or even be dismissed by the busy Cole.

Dr. Jones?  A good candidate.  She trusts Cassie more than Cole now with the mission.  If Cassie acts with "Extreme prejudicewill Jones look the other way?  We are talking about the person who authored the Project Spearhead massacre.

Ramse?  A very good candidate.  No one fully seems to trust him (except perhaps Cole as of the last episode) and he, in turn, has a mistrust for all the rest.  He's called out Cassie several times before so this could fall to him.  

The irony would be no one would listen to him warning everyone about someone named Cassandra!

Jennifer?  Also an excellent candidate to out Cassie.  But, tsk, Jennifer is taking her fight to the streets while she urges Cassie to return to the future.   Bad move Jen.


All in Her Head? 



Good point by Jennifer.

What if all of this is in her head?  Kyle Slade did tell Cole The Witness could get inside your head and make you think things.  Jennifer found Cassie down in the lobby going "full Nell" which was hilarious by the way.  I saw Nell in the theater and Jen's reference was pretty spot on.  

So, was that the imaginary Witness that Cassie saw in room 607?  Terry Matalas just tweeted out a highly detailed look at the Witness and big W is sporting all sort of breathing apparatus with a gauge centered amongst it.   Why bother with the breathing gear if he is nothing but an apparition?  Then again, if you are just getting a "spiritual" look at him perhaps we are looking at him as he exists in his yet to be completed time bubble of a Red Forest space.  

Here's that good look.





Not very sophisticated gear for someone who's skipped about time as often as The Witness purportedly has.  

If you look closely at the eyes beneath the mask you'll see what looks like disks.  To me, that looks awfully like the Splinter goggles like the one Dr. Jones wears.

It's certainly a nomadic look.  Something the Messengers sported in the year 2043/44.  Maybe The Witness collects things as he/she needs them as he travel through time.  

So, if Cassie physically saw The Witness in room 607, then maybe he needs all that gear just to breath in that time period.

Or.

Cassie saw The Witness in his little incomplete Bubble Universe and that's what he needs to survive there.

Or, or.

It's just a spiritual or phantom look and he is not in one place or the other.  




That's a lot to ponder.

Cassie's black eyes could be just a precursor to seeing The Witness plain and simple.  But since she drank the tea and underwent the immersion I would have to believe the black eyes indicate a much larger effect.

She's probably under his "thrall" when the eyes blacken and she'll have to do his bidding.

Here's a far out thought.  What if "seeing" The Witness actually allows him to be there.  In other words, he doesn't have to time travel per se, he can just appear if someone "sees" him in a particular time period.  

I like it.

Tell me what your thoughts are for Cassie's black eyes and how they relate to The Witness!

 


 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Penny Dreadful - A Blade of Grass



Where to start on this one?

How about with Eva Green?  I once read she is considered one of the most courageous actors on screen, large or small.  Why?  Because of the risks she is willing to take.  I think we all can recall the "sex scene" she had with Lucifer.  You know, the one where her mother walked in the room only to see Vanessa naked on the bed seemingly alone and making love to the devil.

Mom had a heart attack.

I nearly had one too.  Nothing in this episode pushed beyond that shocking boundary.  Yet, Eva Green managed to transcend her normal exemplary performance we expect of her and delivered a bravura treatise on acting with a minimalist performance.

Minimalist I say?

I think one of Eva Green's greatest assets as an actor is her emotive face.


The Amazing Eva




As this episode progressed I thought, "She's amazing, I'm going to capture as many images as I can and share them with my readers to prove my point."  

Oops.

I became so enraptured with her performance I forgot to click away.   No matter, I think you all get the point.  The topmost image is when she was in full on crazy and ready to kill her attendant, "The Creature."   By the way, if you run closed captioning like I do, not wanting to miss anything, Rory Kinnear's character was referred to as "Creature" when he spoke.  We still don't know his real name and the captioning didn't give it away.  Damn!

The picture immediately above is from the "makeup" scene where Vanessa had nearly reached her nadir and for all intents and purposes, catatonic.  







 Above we find Eva subsequent to Vanessa's water torture.  Abject wretched dejection.




Lastly, there is this one when the realization comes to Vanessa she is that one person living alone in the frozen wasteland of the Arctic.  So fragile and bereft of hope.  Yet, a single spark remains knowing one person in the world has love for her.

John Logan was at his best for this episode.  The tie to the frozen North where Vanessa figuratively dwells to the place where the creature eventually banishes himself.  It was quite poetic.




So too was the backstory to poetry itself.  Previous to her White Room experience, Vanessa told her caretaker how her life was always filled with poetry.  Especially from the men.  The Caretaker had no poetry in his life and little use for it.  He knew it important to Vanessa and eventually came to read to her.  "My Shadow" was the first of such and it was very light and simple.  For viewers of Penny Dreadful perhaps there was some deeper meaning in that your shadow is something dark that always follows you.


The Mirror





Of course, Rory Kinnear was fabulous also.  Ms.Green owes a lot to her performance in opposition to his.  He at once showed violence and frustration.  Then bitterness and guilt.  Finally, loss and love.  Also a bravura performance.






I spoke to some where I work and they dismissed this episode in part because of the single setting.  Too boring for them I suppose.  A bottle episode to others.  Perhaps, but this where true acting gets to shine.  I once attended a play called "A Steady Rain" (Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig, how's that for a cast?)  It featured a barren stage and was also dialog heavy.  It was very impressive and I was amazed at the skill it took to fill that empty stage with just the actors presence alone.

The same was done here.


Darkness Falls 




We must discuss the other character or characters that Rory Kinnear portrayed.  Lucifer pays a visit to the White Room.  

We did garner some information into the nature of the relationship between the Devil and Miss Ives.  She wondered aloud why her attendant would be so fascinated with her.  He didn't answer but Lucifer did.

"Because I love you."

Of course, we're all wondering why an unearthly being that was at one time near divine and close to God would profess love for such a mortal creature.  He did reveal something very interesting in that they shared a common past.

"Before there was time there was thee and me."  And, "Be what you are and always were."

So if Lucifer was one of "The Fallen" was Vanessa also?  Did they really know each other before his fall from grace?  When he said, "Be what you are and always were" does he mean she was once an angel instead of the mere blade of grass that she is now? 

If so, does he wish to conquer her as a victory over God?  He could tempt and seduce any human, but a fallen angel that still retains her grace?  That would be a victory over the Almighty indeed.


Enter Dracula and....



It seems Lucifer has company, the "Father of Beasts".

Interesting that Dracula is more powerful than his "bother" Lucifer.  The rending of flesh turning more of a profit than the possession of souls.  I think most of us are familiar with the Devil as being the most powerful of demons.  A few viewings of "The Exorcist" will convince you of that.  But here Logan flips the narrative and makes Dracula the dark lord of our earthly plane.

I don't think we've heard Dracula refer to God the way Lucifer does.  Lucifer is always in competition with the Almighty.  His ultimate goal to defeat God and steal his throne.  What is Dracula's goal?  Does he fear God?  Is the Earthly plane good enough for his "tastes"?

It also begs the question, why does God allow Dracula to roam the Earth?

Here's an answer.  God the Almighty does have a weapon on Earth to defeat the greatest of evil.  His fallen Angel that still retains her grace.

Miss Vanessa Ives.





God must be a very tolerant deity to allow Vanessa to spew the "Verbis diablo" the way she does.  Not to mention her other digressions that will go unnamed here   There must be something special about her.  Perhaps God wants Vanessa to find her grace in defeating the fallen.  I can see the final episode of Penny Dreadful with Miss Ives rejoining the choir of Seraphim in her rightful place.  (Hmm, that sounds a little too romantic for this show.  But maybe Logan will flip the narrative once again.)


Odds and Ends


 
Both sad and ironic to hear the Creature refers to Miss Ives' treatments as "science" and later, "torture".   The same will soon happen to him at the hands of Victor Frankenstein.




I wonder how much was physical versus spiritual when Vanessa confronted her foes.  In other words, was Vanessa's visitations all in the "Theater of the Mind"?  Did she imagine their presence or was she possessed into thinking they were really there?

She did see her attendants eyes blacken when he professed his love but that could have been hallucinatory too.  Lucifer is a spiritual creature but Dracula is definitely Earth bound.   We've seen Dracula as Dr. Sweet and as the Master to his flock.  Why take on the visage of her attendant?  Still playing the long game Dracula and not wanting to appear as your true self?

Lastly.

There were some great camera angles and use of light for such a small stage.




Here, the use of the "vanishing point" as Vanessa sits dejectedly on her bed.




The use of a spotlight to accentuate spiritual confrontation.




The tried and true perspective of looking at one's self in the mirror.   Whom do you see Vanessa?

So, another great episode.  I tried to get a hashtag going for Eva Green the next day on Twitter, "#EmmyforEva" but it didn't take.   I checked later and it reappeared under a slightly different iteration.  Hmm,  thanks Twitterverse.

Next episode we head out West again so we'll have to wait to see how this episode pans out.  There is one thing we know as does Vanessa when she confided to  Dr. Seward.

"His name is Dracula."