Considering that this season of Penny Dreadful‘s plot has been moving at a pace faster than its previous season, it was only the viewers hope that Glorious Horrors would sustain this momentum. Unfortunately this was not the case. Though the episode was well-written and the dialogue was thought-out appropriately, very little took place for such a build-up. Glorious Horrors came across more as a filler episode with a tragic ball, than an actual grandiose of the gothic, horror series.
The news of Sir Malcolm’s wife’s passing reached the group quickly, but not all were affected in the same way. Mrs. Poole’s middle-aged crisis spell over the philanthropist seemed to have taken its tole and it was apparent that he was in a Stannis Baratheon-like stupor. As Vanessa broke the tragic news that his wife took her own life, Malcolm only seemed concerned about replacing the carpet in the master bedroom that she bled all over and continued to hum his way back up the stairs to later trim his beard. Of the group, Sembene was the only one to be fully convinced of foul play.
Keeping up the same awkward interactions between Vanessa and the Penny Dreadful male characters, Dorian Grey made a guest appearance to the newly fortified mansion. The forever-youthful Mr. Grey stopped by to formally give Ms. Ives an invitation to Angelique’s ‘coming-out’ ball. It was clear that Dorian was still not fully over her infatuation with the elusive Vanessa as he was clearly trying to make her jealous with this grand gesture. Ignoring her better judgement, Vanessa agreed to attend. Knowing that Mr. Grey was inviting all of the small, elite social scene in London to the ball, Penny Dreadful viewers knew this was not going to end well for anyone.
Penny Dreadful‘s protagonist Ethan Chandler was also paid a visit by a figure from his past. The same gentleman that survived the inn massacre finally confronted the American werewolf in London, during the daytime. Contrary to Penny Dreadful‘s viewers speculations, the dark figure from Mr. Chandler’s past was not another werewolf in disguise, but simply just a creep bounty hunter. He had been following him for sometime and, even after getting mauled in last season’s closer, was still determined to collect his bounty. The same bounty that was placed on Ethan by his estranged father. Clearly a show runner for father of the year, given Ethan’s reluctance to return home.
The rest of Glorious Horrors continued to catch viewers up with the rest of the cast. Caliban and his time with the blind wax museum’s daughter took a turn for the worst as she felt his cold, life-less hands. Smarter than your average character, she immediately knew that something was wrong with his backstory and, ultimately, him.
Looks like things were not as complicated or messy for the good Dr. Frankenstein. Waking up to a fresh new breakfast and a situation that he still couldn’t imagine was real, the doctor and his latest creation celebrated a beautiful moment together with little regret. Their moments of love continued after he received an invitation to Dorian Grey’s ball and decided to invite Lily as well. In true Penny Dreadful fashion, this was another moment for one of the main characters to have a nice moment later turn to a travesty.
The night of the ball was upon them and the atmosphere was just what viewers’ would expect- beautifully creepy but subtle. In a way, the ball went off with little interference or conflict. None of the patrons really batted an eye or even looked at Angelique in a disrespectful way, minus a few jealous stares from the female guests as she came into the room. Dorian was his usual charming self and quickly took a liking to Lily. Grey’s forwardness and muddled flirtation did not go over well in the doctor’s mind. All were in attendance, minus Mr. Chandler who was locked away on this full-moon night. There were some humorous moments between Lyle and Hecate (alluding that Hecate may have her own agenda). Lyle seems to still have fragments of his conscience still within him, as he seemed very protective of Ms. Ives and even urged her to let him take her home. The witty barbs between Vanessa and Mrs. Poole were also entertaining as it showed that Vanessa was onto her.
Ultimately Glorious Horrors was a rather tamed episode for the Penny Dreadful series. Vanessa eventually was stalked by the three hound witches, but no violence came to her. After a strange vision of a blood-showered room, Vanessa just ended up collapsing. Sembene’s and Ethan’s odd relationship grew closer as he finally got to Chandler change into the werewolf, who looked about as threatening as a Victorian, homeless Wolverine. All in all, the episode came across as more of a filler to make next week’s all that more enticing to watch.
Opinion By Tyler Cole
A.V. Club: Penny Dreadful: “Glorious Horros”