Penny Dreadful: 3.02 Predators Far and Near
Director John Logan doesn’t hold back; there is no slow build up, he wants you right bang in the middle of the gory action. This episode sees the reintroduction of Lily and Dorian Gray, who were nowhere to be seen in the first episode. Seasons one and two saw the bizarre and visceral transformation of Lily from Brona Croft, a 2-bob Irish sex-worker, to the reanimated and murderous Lily, who has become to a ruthless high-society femme fatale, a perfectly dangerous companion for the sometimes villainous Dorian Gray.
We join the ethereal Lily and Dorian in the utterly seedy underworld of a torture room, where a secret hard-core pain-performance is being held for a small group of rich men. A young sex worker, played by Jessica Barden , is being held captive and as she readies herself to be tortured, mutilated and likely killed by a large black leather hood-wearing porn-daddy for the voyeuristic pleasure of the gentlemen present, and luckily she does this by spitting in the face of her executioner. It is then that Dorian and Lily show some unexpected clemency and swiftly rescue the girl by murdering the entire aristocratic audience; both are infatuated with her elfin-like beauty and surprisingly take her under their wing: Indeed Lily sees in the girl the answer to some deranged revenge she wants to exact on all the men that abused her and presumably herself.
Meanwhile across a continent, police forces are still on Ethan Chandler’s handsome-tail and the rugged Sir Malcom Murray is en route to rescue him, under the supervision of his unlikely companion spirit-buddy, Kaetenay, who manages to locate Chandler through a questionable Native-American ritual. The ensuing vision hints at a dark entanglement between Ethan and Kettarney; another plot twist is yet to be revealed and we cannot wait.
Back in London, a parallel stories sees Dr Jekyll – who is wrestling with his half-Indian heritage, indeed we are even treated to the shockingly racist shouts of a housewife who attempts to pour a bucket of slop on his head – invite Dr Frankenstein to his laboratory at Bedlam where he reveals his chemical concoction which transforms a severely psychotic patient to a sane and ludic individual. It cannot be long before the two doctors start dosing the other cast member or indeed themselves.
And of course the episode would not be complete without the Eva Green’s beautifully tortured Vanessa Ives, who becomes somewhat infatuated by the enigmatic zoologist Dr Sweet. Taking her therapist’s advice, she decides to surprise Sweet by attending one of his lectures at the British Museum, where she then pleasingly invites him on a theatre date; however, unbeknownst to her, Sweet is not quite the charming intellectual he seems to be, indeed cruelty and violence might just lurk within this dapper suitor. His true identity is disclosed at the end of the episode.
So episode two is yet another gory fairy tale, filled with pitch-perfect darkness and intrigue; and just when we thought we knew true evil, in all its lace and velvet finery, Logan treats us to a host of ambiguous and threatening new characters who are bound to spill blood...keep on watching if you like your horror with a pinch of heritage.