Penny Dreadful, Episode Four
We open on an Eyes Wide Shut-worthy party; it’s apparently Tuesday for Dorian Grey and he’s very bored watching lots of people of every gender and combination have a great deal of sex while he lounges about with a pretty man beside him and a woman at his feet. After the party we see Dorian enter a secret hallway lined with mirrors before passing into the private chamber that contains his portrait. We don’t see the painting, but it’s clearly the only thing capable of holding his attention.
After Dorian’s orgy, it’s on to a church, where a little girl questions whether Vanessa about whether she likes churches and is intending to go inside. After some small-talk in which Vanessa confesses she is single, the little girl turns totally creepy and says, “We put mother into the ground, but I don’t think she’ll stay there. They never stay do they?” She claims to be talking about heaven and “the other place” but it seems a lot darker than that, especially once we discover the child’s name is Lucy and this is clearly a Dracula reference.
Vanessa is freaked out and so are we, but everyone is quickly distracted by the sight of Dorian Grey walking near the church. He has finally put on clothes, and once Vanessa catches up to him they have a series of highly sexual conversations about plants and poison.
Victor, meanwhile, is hanging out with a blood expert named van Helsing, putting another key Dracula player on the board. Science, however, is interrupted, by Caliban is lurking outside on the street and has shown up to nag Victor about making him a bride. Victor notes that this takes time and he needs a suitable corpse. But Caliban just calls him a demon and stalks off.
Next we catch up with Ethan and Brona who are in bed talking about their pasts and the brutality they’ve endured. The acting is affecting and the subject matter disturbing, but all you really notice is how much they look like a romance novel cover.
Less appealing are the ongoing experiments Sir Malcolm’s team are perpetrating on basement boy, who increasingly seems to offer some sort of Renfield-like function. Basement boy talks about the world being full of monsters as he looks at each member of Sir Malcolm’s team. Meanwhile, Ethan and Victor fight about each other’s masculinity.
Next up is our weekly venture into colonialism as Sir Malcolm rants about the Nile and starts planning an expedition. He invites Ethan but not Victor and everyone is a drama queen about it. More interestingly, Basement Boy is hungry, and so Vanessa tries to feed him an apple, since she remains some sort of Biblical temptress in some as yet unexplained way. Basement boy freaks out, however, because he doesn’t want apples, he wants blood!
The butler, who really, really needs a plot shows up with a cat, and you can guess what happens next.
To help us forget that horror show, Brona and Ethan decide to have date night at the theater where Caliban works. She is breathless with joy at being there and the emotion of the experience for her is truly breathtaking. Ethan, however, buys an apple to snack on and tempts her with it. This may not end well. Oh look, Vanessa and Dorian are there too (separately). This is really, really not going to end well.
Before that disaster can manifest, however, Sir Malcom and Victor wind up in a physical fight with a vampire master and Basement Boy in Vanessa’s room. The vampire jumps out the window in bad CGI form, but Basement Boy dies after he smashes his head on the window sill.
Meanwhile, Vanessa, Brona, Ethan, and Dorian all meet up during intermission. It’s the most awkward night ever. Brona runs off into the street upset. Ethan follows and then they have a fight about the futility of their relationship since she’s just going to die. She runs off into the night and eventually collapses in a doorway.
Ethan’s response is to go get trashed with Dorian Grey, but first, they watch rich people bet on how many rats a dog can kill. Dorian takes Ethan back to his place after he gets into a fist fight (because Ethan is a dog too) with men at the betting club over the decency of the sport.
Dorian is still bored, and rants at Ethan about perfume, before serving him absinthe. (Pro-tip: If your absinthe is ever as green as it is in this show it probably has food coloring in it and is of low quality). They toast to Vanessa who comes home from the theater with a really bad feeling. Sir Malcolm is moping. Their capture of Basement Boy was all a vampire ploy! Sir Malcolm then says Vanessa and her cruelty is the daughter he deserves. Sir Malcom is a jerk.
Meanwhile, Ethan is having intense flashback hallucinations that recap the first four episodes of the show. Clearly, absinthe is the best plot device ever. He then angrily grabs Dorian before kissing him. Dorian acquiesces and then begins to undress a startled, drunk, and really enthusiastic Ethan.
Tragically, the episode then cuts to black.
Anyone want to take bets on Brona becoming Caliban’s bride?