Happy Thursday, all! Time for the recap of Episode 3 of Penny Dreadful. This episode, “Resurrection,” more or less gives some exposition concerning the characters, though we do see some action and get a cliffhanger at the end.
The episode opens with a flashback to young Victor Frankenstein’s childhood, right after the death of a beloved pet. We already see a curiosity about the divide between life and death in the boy, and but it’s his mother’s sudden illness and death that are the catalyst for his life’s work. Even as a child, he begins studying the anatomy books in his father’s library so that he might learn about the human body.
We cut back to Victor’s lodgings, where he is standing before the body of Proteus in shock, and where Proteus’s murderer, Victor’s first creation (Rory Kinnear), begins to address him. The monster, known only as Creature, is clearly envious of the camaraderie that Victor and Proteus shared, and of the fact that Victor let Proteus choose a name for himself. It’s revealed that Creature’s awakening was agonizing, for Victor had not yet perfected his method for waking the dead. Victor saw his creature as an abomination and abandoned him. From the window of the building in which he was locked, Creature was able to see man’s cruelty to beasts and his fellow human beings, and this shapes much of his development. He teaches himself to read from the books Victor left behind and slowly realizes that he is not an animal, but a human being, and perhaps a symbol of the rapidly changing world outside.
Meanwhile, at Sir Malcolm’s mansion, Vanessa is climbing the stairs with a cup of tea in her hands when she begins to hear the sounds of animals calling out to her. She drops her teacup, which hovers in midair, when she sees a vision of Mina in front of her. She asks Mina where she is. Mina tells Vanessa that she is trapped with the beasts that feed in the night and begs to be rescued. As soon as the teacup hits the floor, the vision ends. Vanessa informs Malcolm of her vision.
Creature finally escaped from the building and tracked Victor to London, where he was feared and mocked. Eventually, the head of a theater troupe (Alun Armstrong) came upon Creature sleeping in a stable, and, assuming that Creature’s injuries were from some industrial accident, offered Creature a job in the troupe. He does even more for Creature: When he asks Creature’s name and Creature can’t answer, the leader of the troupe christens him with a nom de théâtre–Caliban. That was the very first time Creature had experienced kindness, though he had to remain in the shadows as a stagehand. “I would seek you even in the maelstrom of the blackest tempest of the darkest night,” he tells Victor. It’s clear that he wants something from Victor, the man who brought him to life and abandoned him to learn his own way in the world. Victor apologizes to Caliban for what he did, and demands of Caliban what he wants. Caliban bids Victor to rise and walk with him, and he’ll show Victor what he wants.
We cut to the inn where Brona and Ethan are shacked up, and they’re shown having sex. When they’re done, Brona rises from the bed so that she can spit out the blood she has coughed up. Ethan asks her if she has any medicine for her ailment, and she laughs and tells him that it’s more important to eat. Saddened that Brona can’t afford medicine that will at least alleviate her symptoms, Ethan decides to approach Vanessa and Sir Malcolm for a job.
When he arrives at the mansion, Malcom and Vanessa are already planning what she calls “an expedition.” Ethan offers his services in exchange for money. He admits to Vanessa that he has no desire to return to the United States and his father at this point in time. and that he may have had some legal trouble. When he asks Vanessa about her vision of Mina, she explains to him, “I see things sometimes. I’m affected by forces beyond our world.” Ethan is not bothered by Vanessa’s ability, though he wants to know what happened to Mina. Vanessa explains that Mina had been a governess and had once been engaged to Jonathan Harker, but it was another man who would compel her to change her behavior and become his slave, “hovering between our world and his.” They’re not exactly sure of who or what this other man is, and whether or not there are more out in the world like him.
Victor and Caliban are wandering the streets of the city, and Victor again demands of Caliban what he wants. Caliban tells Victor that he has been able to fulfill his basic human needs, except for love. But he does not seek Victor’s love. He wants Victor to make him “a companion…an immortal lady, a woman like myself, everlasting.” If Victor does not follow through, Caliban threatens that he “will strike down all those you love.”
Later that evening, Ethan, Vanessa, Malcolm, and Sembene enter the zoo. Vanessa believes that Mina may be in great danger. Malcolm himself is concerned about how Vanessa’s gifts make her vulnerable and expose her to the evil they are chasing, and Ethan must work with them to make sure Vanessa comes out of that night alive. As the four of them wander throughout the zoo, they seem to sense that they’re being watched, and Vanessa senses something wrong and asks Ethan what he hasn’t told her. Something is very wrong, indeed, as a wolf emerges from the fog, snarling at them. Ethan urges the other three to remain still and hold their fire. Slowly, he approaches the wolf, and using some Jackson Galaxy tactics, he kneels down and is able to bond with the wolf somehow, and the wolf leaves them.
The four of them make their way to the monkey house, where they come upon a young man feeding upon the animals’ blood. When the man tries to attack Vanessa, Malcolm hits him on the head with his walking stick, knocking him unconscious. They bind the man in chains and take him to Sir Malcolm’s house.
Sembene finds Victor in the street and tells him quietly that he is needed at Sir Malcolm’s house. When Victor arrives, he is rushed to the basement where he sees a young man bound in chains and very clearly being kept prisoner. He reveals that his name is Fenton, and he seems to know Vanessa’s name. When asked about how he knows this, he tries to attack Malcolm and Vanessa. He refuses to tell Malcolm, Vanessa, and Ethan who his master is and cryptically tells them that his master is with them, in the dark. “All light will end and the world will live in darkness. The Hidden Ones will emerge and rule,” he tells them. He hisses out the names Amanet and Amun-Ra, but still refuses to answer their questions. When asked about Mina, he doesn’t answer the question, but he knows who Vanessa is and raves that, “Mother is very angry with you, you naughty girl.” Malcolm, angry with Fenton’s refusal to answer their questions, begins to beat him while Fenton wails about how hungry he is. Victor and Ethan intervene. The scene cuts to one of the upstairs rooms in Malcolm’s house where they are discussing what to do with Fenton. We learn in this discussion that Ethan may have fought in the Indian Wars in the United States. Victor also states that it may be a good idea to keep Fenton around as a sort of test subject to see if they can concoct an antidote to counteract whatever may have been done to Mina. Ethan is appalled at this, but Vanessa tells him, “We here have been brutalized with loss. It has made us brutal in return.”
“If we are to proceed, we are to proceed as one, without hesitation, with fealty to each other alone. This we seek demands nothing less. It’s not for the weak or the kind. No one in this room is kind…Now look into each other’s eyes and pledge to go as far as your soul will allow,” Malcolm says. Ethan and Vanessa to swear allegiance to one another, and Vanessa confronts Malcolm and demands whether or not he knew Mina wouldn’t be at the zoo. Malcolm admits that he feared that she wouldn’t be, and that he believes the creature never wanted Mina, but Vanessa for some unknown purpose. Vanessa had been used as bait, and she is very angry.
Later, Vanessa and Ethan are alone in the room, and Ethan tells Vanessa about Brona. In another room, Victor and Malcolm make arrangements for the former to come to the house with blood transfusion supplies to use on their prisoner. Victor warns Malcolm, “There is one thing you need to consider: When you transform a life, you are making it anew. Whatever happens to that creature downstairs, we are now responsible for it. It is our burden now. Every action builds another link that binds us to it. The chain is everlasting.” Sounds like Victor has learned his lesson!
In the cellar of the house, Fenton answers his master’s silent call. He rises as though someone is approaching him. “Master,” he whispers, his eyes brightening.
So that’s it for this week’s Penny Dreadful. I have a sinking feeling about Brona’s fate, and I’m pretty sure we all know by now what’s up with Ethan and why he’s been traveling from place to place with the Wild West show for so long. And Caliban’s arrival can’t be a good thing for anyone.