New Show Recap: Penny Dreadful 2×08, “Memento Mori”

Well, kids, this is it! Episode 8 of this season of Penny Dreadful! So much has yet to happen! And did you hear the good news? Penny Dreadful has been renewed for a third season!

The morning after Brona’s assignation with the man in the pub which led to murder, she cuddles with her victim’s corpse. She seems to feel no remorse over what she has done, humming to herself as she dresses and leaves his flat. Caliban has returned to Victor’s rooms, awakening Victor, who had fallen asleep waiting up for her. Caliban is furious that Victor let Lily go out with another man, by herself, and he splashes Victor with the water from a pail used to collect leaks from the roof during the rain and roughs him up. Victor hollers at Caliban to stop with the shenanigans, but Caliban loses patience and threatens Victor with a live electric wire. “You made her for me!” Caliban declares. “She is not mine! She is not yours! She is not his! She is mine! I will take her!” Holy male entitlement, Batman! He also threatens to return to Victor after he and Lily have left to show him the monster they both created.

At Scotland Yard, Rusk is further investigating the murders at the Mariner’s Inn. A hint comes up, and Rusk decides to visit Malcolm. He comes upon Malcolm as he is reflecting over the photos of his family. Rusk asks Malcolm about the murders in their city, and he asks Malcolm about his visit with Inspector Cosworthy (remember — Malcolm said Cosworthy was hunting not for a man who committed those killings, but a beast). Malcolm recalls it and dismisses it as whimsy. Malcolm pretends not to remember the details, but Rusk is much too wise for that. Rusk notices the steel door. He brings up how Malcolm filed a missing person’s report in late June of the previous year, but he abruptly stopped visiting Scotland Yard for news of Mina. Malcolm insists that Mina is dead and buried, but Rusk notes that there is no death certificate. Rusk is suspicious. Rusk shows Malcolm a picture of Ethan from the Wild West Shore, but Malcolm insists he doesn’t know anything. Rusk only backs off when Malcolm threatens to get a lawyer.

Lyle tells Evelyn about his sordid past flings as he watches her receive a massage. Evelyn asks him if he cares about anyone on Team Vanessa, but Lyle insists he has long since given up caring for anyone. Evelyn reminds Lyle of the power she has over him and what she can offer him. She asks Lyle about Ethan and Vanessa, but he can divulge no information, despite her threats of torture and death. Evelyn kisses him before he leaves, just for funsies, and says that he tastes like a fat little man. Hecate corners Lyle as he leaves, and she promises Lyle much if he will work with her and tell her about Ethan.

Lily returns to Victor’s. When Victor asks her where she has been, she plays calm and tells him that she went for a walk and fell asleep on a bench. She notes that he brought her flowers and tells him that he’s a good friend, though he tells her the flowers are from Dorian. Victor tells Lily he wishes to leave London, but Lily has no wish to. Lily calls him her boy and promises him poached eggs for breakfast, but Victor, agitated, leaves. Victor, it seems, is addicted to cocaine, and to love. Malcolm empathizes with him. “We suffer in our own ways… We are enchanted,” Malcolm says. Malcolm is worried about the sudden change in his life, and he asks Victor about the sudden change in his personality. Malcolm, it seems, suspects that something has happened to make him change. As Evelyn whispers the Verbis Diablo into the ear of the fetish of Malcolm, and Malcolm seems to notice the effects of it.

Lyle tells Malcolm he has translated the languages on the relics, and that the words tell the story. In the great war with God the demons were vanquished and cast out of heaven. The two leaders of the rebellion, brothers, were cast into different places: one to Earth, to become the Master of the Vampires, and the other to Hell, to become Lucifer. They are both in an eternal quest to find the Mother of All Evil, so that one of them might conquer God and reign in Heaven, everlasting, which will bring about the apocalypse. Victor and Malcolm deduce that Vanessa could be the avatar of the Mother of All Evil. There is someone else who might protect Vanessa, the Hound of God, but Malcolm sees that in Arabic the word is Wolf, not Hound. Evelyn uses her magic, at that time, to possess Malcolm, and Sembene locks him away, ordering him, “Know who you are!” It seems Sembene has broken the spell, as Malcolm dances with his wife and children in a vision. He remembers how much he loved his children and his wife. The spell Evelyn has cast is broken by Malcolm’s will.

There is a break between Evelyn and Hecate. Hecate notices that Evelyn has lost her power over Malcolm, but Evelyn reasserts her power. Malcolm leaves the house to seek out Evelyn and experiences the witches in their true form. In their conversation, Evelyn implies that Vanessa may not only be Malcolm’s ward, but his biological daughter. Malcolm offers to give himself up to Evelyn for eternity if only she will leave Vanessa alone, but Evelyn only laughs. The Master still wants Vanessa.

Lyle, Victor, and Sembene have discovered that Malcolm has left the house. Lyle advises them to find Vanessa and Ethan.

Dorian leaves for another dinner with Lily Frankenstein, and Caliban follows them. Angelique is left alone in Dorian’s house, and he discovers Dorian’s secret passage. When Dorian returns, he sees the open door, and finds Angelique in the secret room where his portrait is concealed. Angelique has discovered the picture of Dorian Grey, and the portrait shows him as he truly is. Angelique can love him for who he is, and the two drink champagne together, only for Angelique to succumb to the poison Dorian has placed in it, for he doesn’t think Angelique can love him for who he truly is. As Angelique dies, we see the picture of the true Dorian Grey, as a deformed, elderly man who is chained within the painting. Dorian is in fear of it.

Lily encounters Caliban in Frankenstein’s lodgings. She plays the innocent and tries to foist him off, requesting that he recite poetry. Caliban demands of her who she is, and he tells her to stop pretending she doesn’t know her past. He asks her about Dorian, whose company she enjoyed. Lily knows what Caliban wants of her, and she thinks he’s pathetic alongside her beauty. She speaks of what she remembers of her life of prostitution and sexual abuse as she roughs Caliban up. She will kneel to no man again, and all men shall kneel to her as Caliban does. She calls Caliban her monster, her beautiful corpse, and speaks of how Victor created them for one another, and how he created demons. She lusts for Caliban, and wishes to take him to her bed and kill Victor. “We are the conquerors. We are the pure blood. We are the steel and sinew both. We are the next thousand years. We are the dead. No being, whoever was, whoever shall be, will love you like I do.”

Malcolm has visions of his dead wife and children risen as vampires. Has Evelyn cast another spell on him?

A few things:

  1. Will Dracula proper come into the mix? And whatever happened to Jonathan? Please address this plothole!
  2. It seems that Lily, and not Vanessa, is Amunet. Do we agree?
  3. What does Rusk know? Will Ethan be the scapegoat for the Ripper murders (sorry, folks, I know I keep bringing these up, but with the possible link between Bram Stoker and Ripper suspect Charles Tumblety, in six degrees of Kevin Bacon terms, no surprise they would draw on that and use Ethan as a scapegoat!).
  4. I also thought that they might use elements of H. Ryder Haggard’s Ayesha, in which Alan Quatermain meets SHE (Ayesha). And they did!
  5. If they use the magical minority trope with Sembene, I may throw my Kindle Fire across the room.
  6. Helen McCrory is amazing. In all the things.
  7. So Ethan is a werewolf. OK. Was it an actual bite, or was it some Dr. Moreau bullshit (because I’m finishing up Megan Shepherd’s Madman’s Daughter series and Dr. Moreau so fits!).

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