Last week’s “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places” episode veered off stage left from what we’ve come to know “Penny Dreadful” as. It was “less dreadful” as dubbed in the episode’s review. And it actually wasn’t that bad, but when in comparison to the show’s standards of high production value, very dark themes and aesthetic and quality performances. The show was more in the good-to-great range than its usual, “WTF, that was insane!” In a good way, of course. Thankfully “Above The Vaulted Sky” returned back to the former rather than the latter. What it did in its mid-season episode was reveal and add mystery at the same time. It was so seamless that it worked where the viewer doesn’t feel left out. Instead they should feel wanting.
It delved deeper into the mystery behind the dolls that Evelyn Poole is making out of people we’ve seen throughout the show. At the end of last week’s episode, we see the three witches attack the group just to come away with a piece of Vanessa Ive’s hair. Failed attempt on her life? Nope, think again. Miss. Ives says near the beginning of the episode that the witches are crafting “fetishes” or, more widely known as, voodoo dolls. Mhm, “Penny Dreadful” is indeed going there. Season one was awesome with its vampire storyline, but it’s hard not to argue that season two’s take on witches is not only better but also more frightening.
Back to Ms. Poole. The opening scene of the show is of her gently cracking open the doll skull of Gladys Murray, Sir Malcolm’s estranged wife, revealing a real brain — probably taken from the babies they kidnap and kill, which we’ve just seen them excise their hearts to this point. She goes on to slowly puncture each side of the brain with a heated piece of metal until it begins to drip blood. The scene cuts to Gladys lying peacefully asleep when all of a sudden she awakes wide-eyed and grasping her entire head screaming maddeningly. If that wasn’t enough. She ends up slitting her throat because she hallucinates her and Malcolm’s children Mina and Peter rise from the dead.
Poole didn’t stop there. She later on manages to bed Malcolm who really has “no idea” what he’s allowing himself and, ostensibly dragging in, the others into. They weren’t the lone pair to fall into each other’s embrace. There was a montage-like ending when we saw Dorian Grey again, more visually, have sex with “Angelique”; Ethan Chandler and Miss. Ives almost do it; and not surprisingly but much sooner than expected Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Lily get it on. That last pair’s ever growing relationship is going to have maybe the most impact on the show but certainly the opposing characters. Namely, John Claire AKA “the creature” and Mr. Chandler because she still has the face of his thought of dead lover Brona Croft.
Is it worth mentioning that Mr. Chandler’s name may not even be “Ethan Chandler”? As revealed by Bartholomew Rusk. This head-to-head match between Mr. Chandler and Rusk is another interesting and potentially great plot point but it came off as too much looking-ahead-to-season-three. With that being said, the Wolfman story and Mr. Chandler’s obvious upcoming origin episode can’t come soon enough.
For more on “Penny Dreadful” read our reviews and watch next week’s promo.