New Show Recap: Penny Dreadful 2×06, “Glorious Horrors”

This week’s episode of Penny Dreadful took an almost Dickensian turn as everyone’s stories are starting to come together to be part of this season’s main storyline. Secrets are starting to come to light, battle lines are being drawn, and alliances are being forged. Also, we have major dress porn in this episode.

The housemaid finds Gladys dead the next morning. She cut her own throat with Malcolm’s straight razor during the vision sent to her by Evelyn.

Victor awakens to find Lily making breakfast for him after their night together. She seems very content with what has happened. When she kisses him good morning, he holds her close, as though he can’t let go of her.

As Malcolm sleeps, Evelyn snips a piece of his hair so that she might use it in a spell later. As he snuggles up to her when she gets back into bed, she tells him to sleep tight, for he’s going to have a challenging day. Malcolm returns home later in the morning in a very splendid mood — hey, he just got laid! He doesn’t notice that Vanessa, Ethan, and Sembene are wearing grave expressions, as though they have just heard terrible news. Vanessa is the one to inform him of Gladys’s death, and he presses Vanessa and Ethan for details, which they reluctantly give up. Once Malcolm hears this, he nonchalantly remarks that the carpet in the master bedroom will need to be replaced, as though Gladys’s death has not affected him at all. He goes upstairs, humming a happy tune to himself, and as undresses, he notices the small cut on his neck from Evelyn’s ring. As that same moment, Evelyn is using the hair she took from him to make a fetish so that she might further bend him to her will.

Angelique is dressing after her night with Dorian and they discuss some long-term plans. Dorian wants to take Angelique shopping, but Angelique is concerned that the places they would go are too public. Dorian tells Angelique that he is one to defy convention and that he will do as he pleases while the rest of the world marvels at their uniqueness. He decides to throw a ball for Angelique, as she deserves a proper coming out.

Lavinia and Caliban are working in the museum’s cellar, and Lavinia tells him about her process as she makes another wax figure. She thinks that her blindness makes her fingers a little more sensitive to touch. She asks to take Caliban’s hand, and he gives it to her. She remarks that his hand feels cold and dead. She asks him about this, and he is evasive in his answer. She asks him why she’s frightened, and he assures her she has no cause to be frightened. Even though she knows he’s a kind man, she’s still scared of him. Putney interrupts them before she can pursue the conversation further. He tells Lavinia and Caliban about the new attractions being expanded into the cellar and orders Caliban to come with him, for there’s work to be done. Lavinia is left alone to reflect on what just occurred between her and Caliban. At lunch, Lavinia tells her parents about Caliban’s hands and how cold they are and that it feels like he’s not really alive. This sets Putney scheming, and he urges his daughter to continue.

Ethan and Vanessa are concerned that Malcolm doesn’t care, yet Sembene is adamant that there is something wrong with Malcolm. They’re interrupted by a visitor, the survivor from the massacre, Warren Roper. He was the Pinkerton agent Ethan’s father hired to bring him home and whose face werewolf Ethan ripped to shreds, and he has come to confront Ethan. We learn that the agent used to be a Texas Ranger, and that he was ruthless. He tries to blackmail Ethan into returning to America, which Ethan refuses to do. Ethan threatens to kill Roper if he comes near the house again. Roper threatens Ethan and the other members of the house, going as far as to say he will sell Ethan to a freak show and even break into the house and kill all of them. He bids Ethan good day, leaving the younger man to ruminate about what he might be capable of.

Vanessa and Victor are studying the relics, and their conversation turns to her meeting with John Clare, the name Caliban has been using while in London. She tells him about how she pities Mr. Clare, and his eyes widen in horror as he realizes she has met Caliban and talked with him at length. Vanessa notices the flower that he is wearing in his buttonhole, and Victor tells her about his love for Lily. He had been content to live his life alone, until he met Lily, and he compares their relationship to complications, or the parts of a watch, that fit together so neatly. Dorian arrives with invitations to the ball, and Vanessa introduces him to Victor. Dorian invites Victor to the ball as well. Vanessa delivers Malcolm’s invitation to him, and he asks her whether or not he ought to shave his beard. Vanessa is concerned about Malcolm, but he insists all is well. Malcolm isn’t going to the funeral with everything going on, and he snatches the invite to the ball away from Vanessa and declares that is eager to go. He invites Evelyn to go with him.

Evelyn and Lyle discuss the ball, and Evelyn notices that Lyle seems to admire Vanessa. We learn more about Evelyn and the price she has paid to the devil for her witchcraft, most likely her soul. Evelyn believes that God turned away from her and from all of humankind, which is why she turned to Lucifer. Her reward for delivering Vanessa to him is eternal life.

Victor tells Lily about the invitation, and she is eager to go. Victor is just as excited to go to the ball with Lily, and he teaches her to dance.

Ethan runs into Inspector Rusk at Putney’s. As they stare at the Mariner’s Inn exhibit, Rusk tells him about the crime. It seems there was some cannibalism involved, and some kind of savage bloodlust like that of lions Rusk had seen while on military duty in Africa. Rusk asks Ethan what kinds of predators lurk in America. Ethan, trying to remain as nonchalant as ever, mentions grizzly bears. Rusk adds wolves to the list, and then remarks on the killer returning to the scene of the crime to relive the experience, as Ethan is doing in a way by coming to see the exhibit. He knows of Ethan’s involvement in the crime, and he tells Ethan he will find out what part Ethan played in it. He also tells Ethan that no man can live with the guilt from crimes like that forever, and that he will get Ethan. Ethan returns to the Murray home, visibly troubled. Vanessa asks him to escort her to the ball, but he declines, as it happens to be on the night of the next full moon. She can see that he is visibly troubled.

At the ball, we get major dress porn. And Dorian’s amazing house. But the ball is also the meeting point for many of the characters. Hecate Poole and her sister minions are there with Professor Lyle. Lyle tells Hecate to leave Vanessa alone, but Hecate laughs and tells him that Vanessa is sacrosanct.

Victor and Lily arrive, and Lily seems to recognize the ballroom, though Victor tells her there’s no way she has seen it before. As in the first season, she is troubled by the pictures. When introduced to Hecate, Lily remarks on her jewelry, which is very old and in the shape of scarabs. We also learn that Hecate had very unusual parentage.

Victor introduces Dorian to Lily, and they meet Angelique. Dorian flirts with Lily the entire time, intimating that he recognizes her from somewhere, maybe a past life. From the way he’s questioning her, Victor seems to know what’s up…or maybe not. He does notice that Lily’s hands are cold. As Lily laughs at his compliments, Victor watches them jealously, gritting his teeth.

Victor introduces Angelique to Vanessa. Angelique, Dorian, Victor, and Lily discuss Lily’s background. We learn that Victor doesn’t drink, and when Dorian offers Lily champagne, Victor is quick to say that she doesn’t drink, either. When Lily insists, he relents, and she enjoys the champagne. As Vanessa and Victor watch Lily and Dorian dance, Vanessa picks up on how possessive Victor seems to be of Lily and how jealous he seems to be of Dorian. She tells him not to worry about Dorian, because it’s just one night, but it’s clear Victor is thinking of something else. He tells Vanessa that he wants Lily to have a life, and that means a life with him and not Caliban. Vanessa is ready to reach for his hand when she senses the arrival of Evelyn. Malcolm and Evelyn approach them and he introduces Evelyn to them. When Malcolm leaves to get Evelyn a drink, Vanessa seizes the opportunity to confront her. She remarks that Malcolm is a changed man since he has met Evelyn and has become more intimate with her. Vanessa tells Evelyn that she has known Malcolm for a long time, and that he is acting differently, perhaps because of Evelyn. The battle lines are drawn between the two women, as Evelyn is intent on remaining close to Malcolm and Vanessa makes it clear she will do anything to protect him. Vanessa invites Evelyn to visit the Murray home, and Evelyn says that she will soon. Hecate’s daughters watch the entire exchange.

After Malcolm and Evelyn leave her, Vanessa is observing the goings-on in the ballroom, including what seems to be an argument between Victor and Lily, since Lily seems to have had a little too much to drink. Lyle and Vanessa begin to talk, and when he sees how earnestly the Poole daughters are watching Vanessa, he urges her to leave, insisting on seeing her home, as the ballroom isn’t safe for her. Vanessa only wishes to say good-bye to Victor. As she crosses the room, Hecate Poole and her sisters surround her, working their magic on her. Vanessa grows dizzy, and as the ball continues on around her, she hallucinates that she sees a blood raining from Victor’s ceiling. She collapses in a dead faint, and Victor and Lyle rush to her side.

Ethan finally caves and asks for Sembene’s help. They go down to the cellar, where Ethan has set up several chains and manacles. A chair sits in the corner. Ethan asks Sembene to chain him up and sit in the chair, and not to move from the chair whatever happens. Sembene asks Ethan what he’s supposed to do, and Ethan tells him to watch. Sembene witnesses Ethan’s transition into a werewolf.

And that’s it for this week! Some quick remarks:

  1. Ethan has finally confided in someone who might be able to help him. I always thought there’s more to Sembene that meets the eye.
  2. Dorian seems to have put two and two together with Lily and Brona, but he’s been around for a while and seen a lot of things and is no dummy, so that’s kind of a gimme. He’s still just as much of an enigma as ever, though. He doesn’t seem to be a warlock or allied with Evelyn and her coven. Maybe he’s an angel, fallen or still in good standing with God? Or maybe he’s a fairy of some kind, or even an “old god?” He’s very charismatic and people are drawn to him, he flouts society’s rules, and he’s always looking for new thrills because he’s bored. And there are stories that some of the angels who were cast out of heaven did not fall as far as Lucifer and his followers did; they fell to earth and became fairies. Anyone else care to share their theories?
  3. I think Vanessa is starting to suspect there’s more to the whole Lily situation than meets the eye, and she senses that Victor isn’t telling her something. I questioned why she wouldn’t recognize Lily as being Brona, but she’s so consumed with what’s going on with her that she hasn’t really figured things out. Did you notice she reached for his hand, maybe to take a peek inside his mind, before Evelyn and Malcolm approached?
  4. Victor is awful and I hope all of his lies blow up in his face before he throws Caliban under the bus and leaves him to the mercy of those awful Putneys. I think he will be pushed out as Caliban is brought into the Murray home. And how do you think Ethan will react when he finds out what Victor did to Brona?

Anyhow, I love this show and can’t wait for the next episode.

2 thoughts on “New Show Recap: Penny Dreadful 2×06, “Glorious Horrors””

  1. Even though it was a minor note in a complicated episode, I feel very sorry for Angelique. She’s tough, but I can’t imagine she’ll be philosophical about Dorian basically ignoring her because another woman has gotten his attention. I think her story with Dorian is bound to end tragically.

    1. Any affair with Dorian is bound to end tragically. Angelique seems philosophical about it because I assume she has been involved in arrangements like the one she has with Dorian before.

      I would not be surprised if Lily does end up hooking up/staying with Dorian at the end of the season. It’s not so much Dorian himself, but the idea of him and what he would represent to her. He can offer freedom and new experiences, which Lily seems to hunger for, and he’s the only person who has been honest with her since her resurrection. Plus Victor makes me sick.

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