TV Review – Penny Dreadful Episode Three “Resurrection”
Penny Dreadful Episode 3 “Resurrection” continues to build on the supernatural lore of the previous two episodes while introducing a couple of new elements.
The episode opens with background into Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) and his childhood. His mother died a bloody death, probably from consumption or some other disease that has you cough up large amounts of blood. This all occurred when Victor was young, and spurned him to investigate anatomy, science, and death.
Flash-forward to the ending of the last episode where we left Frankenstein’s first creature returning to his maker and killing the second creature, Proteus. The dialog between The Creature (Rory Kinnear) and Frankenstein continues, and The Creature tells the story of his birth. It was painful entry into the world, full of blood. The Creature screamed in pain. Frankenstein fled the scene and inevitably left his entire laboratory and The Creature within it. The Creature learned the ways of the world from reading Frankenstein’s library of books and looking out the window. He eventually left this place in search of his creator, leading him London and all the harshness and cruelty that can bestow a monster of his kind. He found a savior in Vincent Brand (Alun Armstrong), a theatre man who showed kindness and gave him a home and job. The Creature makes his way as a stage rat at the Grand Guignol where they are currently producing the stage play of Sweeney Todd. Brand also gives him the name of Caliban from The Tempest which is quite appropriate given who Caliban is in the play.
It all comes down to what Caliban wants from his maker. And that is what leads us to the next step in the Frankenstein story, a female companion for Caliban. Bride of Frankenstein, anyone?
Brona Croft (Billie Piper) makes a brief and nude appearance in this episode as Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and Brona have taken their relationship to the next level. Brona is still sick, of course.
Other than the Frankenstein story, we return to Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton), and their search for Sir Malcolm’s daughter, Mina (Olivia Llewellyn). Vanessa has a vision of Mina asking for help while animal sounds surround her and she says she is surrounded by beasts. That leads the team to the London Zoo at night. Ethan and Sembene (Danny Sapani) join them. While at the zoo, the team happens upon a pack of wolves. As soon as that happened, the thoughts that werewolves will inevitably show up in this series came to mind. I was half expecting them to shape shift right there. Ethan kneels to them and holds out his hand, and the alpha wolf approaches him and puts his hand in its mouth. Nothing more happens, but is foreshadowing of what is to come.
The team goes further at the zoo and they encounter a lone vampire who they capture and take back to Sir Malcolm’s home. His name is Fenton (Olly Alexander) and he is treated cruelly by Sir Malcolm to which Ethan protests. Sir Malcolm is determined to find Mina. Fenton does mention that his master is after Vanessa, probably for her powers. Frankenstein is also part of the team as they return to Sir Malcolm’s home.
Earlier in the episode Vanessa explains to Ethan about Mina’s situation. Mina was engaged to a Jonathan Harker but became involved with another man, but “not entirely a man” as Vanessa explains. Mina now “hovers between our world and his.” The name Jonathan Harker jumped out at me because of the recent series (and now cancelled) on NBC where he was a major character. Now we know that Dracula himself will appear at some point on this series. One thing that confuses me is the appearance of Mina to Sir Malcolm in the first episode and Mina in the Vanessa’s vision. She is already a vampire in the first episode, but in this episode she is still human. Hopefully by the season’s end, Mina’s situation will be clearer.
What will happen to Fenton? A transfusion is mentioned, and because of Frankenstein’s recent ordeal he tells Sir Malcolm that he is responsible if he chooses to alter Fenton’s life. Frankenstein learns quick.
While Penny Dreadful “Resurrection” is not as exciting as the previous episode, it does set the stage for a couple of major events to come in the following episodes. I found the writing in this episode to be superb. Caliban’s monologue on what has happened to him is eloquent, as he learned how to speak and read from Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and Keats. The new character of Vincent Brand is also quite enjoyable as he has a knack for flair with his theatrical background. Anything that Alun Armstrong is in is bound to be quite good.