“And Hell Itself My Only Foe” — “Penny Dreadful” Review (SPOILERS!)

Jul 2, 2015

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“Penny Dreadful” isn’t being fair. It isn’t fair that a show can be this good. The brief opening scene between Roper, Ethan Chandler (or can we now finally call him Lawrence Talbot?*) and Vanessa Ives was a wonderfully executed, well choreographed three-way close-quarters fight. Mr. Chandler had his hands handcuffed behind his back, knocked to the floor and still somehow capable of kicking Roper repeatedly. Miss. Ives aided Mr. Chandler by taking Roper’s knife and stabbing him multiple times until the breath of life seeped out from his lungs. As for Roper…he had no chance.

Best TV “couple.” Is there an award for this? There should be.

Wish they’d post a clip of it online but it’s too good to spoil. It’s one of those treats only us fans who watch the show week-to-week without fail are, well, treated to. What made it all the better was not a typical fade-to-black-see-you-next-week-tease outro, it cut to the show’s fantastic “main title sequence.”

Smart, audience-driven TV is what “Penny Dreadful” does. Few shows do this well. All others that don’t need to follow. Okay, enough of that. Back to the review.

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For the second week in a row Billie Piper had another knockout performance. Who is this actress? She was likable at best through the first season and a half of this series. Now? She’s becoming one of the standouts alongside Eva Green, Josh Hartnett and Timothy Dalton. Telling Dorian Grey to kneel took a handful of cojones to stand-up to the eccentric because his charm places a spell over whoever he’s trying to seduce, 200 percent of the time it works. However, with Lily it didn’t. She even called him out on his secret of immortality. Wait. How did she figure this out? Guess we’ll find out. Should we place it in the ever growing to-be-continued-in-season-three pile?

“And Hell Itself My Only Foe” is the penultimate to next week’s impending finale. So the final third of this episode had to deliver in a big way, and man did it ever. Instead of bogging down in too many words, here’s a list of what was seen in the last minutes:

  1. Dr. Victor Frankenstein is trapped in the same room as Sir Malcolm Murray where he’s going mad, if not already. As Frankenstein tries to console Sir Malcolm he’s confronted by John Clare**, Lily and (drum roll) Proteus from the early episodes of season one.
  2. Miss. Ives comes face-to-face, again, with Evelyn Poole and meets the doll fetish of her. (The freaking thing opened its eyes and spoke!)
  3. Mr. Chandler wolfed out while trapped inside a claustrophobic stairwell with Sembene, who “died” upon being mauled by The Wolfman.

* The name of Lon Chaney, Jr’s Wolf Man in the 1941 film.
** Didn’t mention at all what happened to our poor creature. He was duped by the all of a sudden backstabbing bitch Lavinia Putney, the supposed kindhearted blind woman at the wax museum. He’s now locked in a cage to later be put on display as a “living attraction.” Oh so, so cruel. Yet so good. Can’t get enough.

For more on “Penny Dreadful,” read the rest of GWW’s reviews and watch this coming Sunday’s promo for the finale below. 

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