‘Penny Dreadful’: Memento Mori [Review/Recap]

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The bait has been set for the final hunt between Vanessa Ives and the nightcomers. Memento Mori moved along the story of Penny Dreadful‘s characters this season rather beautifully. Viewers got a further look into the dimensions of the other characters while giving insight into the motives of others. This week’s episode also answered some questions, while still leaving enough inference out for viewers to intrigue viewers to find out more. The plot is moving along nicely and this season finale is sure to be an interesting shocker.

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Continuing the theme of self-reflection that carried over from last week’s Little Scorpion, it seemed the spell Evelyn Poole (Madame Kali) has over Sir Malcolm is beginning to fade. As our Senior Citizen Indiana Jones spent less time with the head witch, he began to come down with the feelings. Sitting with Victor Frankenstein and pondering his mysterious actions of late and his newfound happiness, Malcolm came to the realization that this was not him. Victor even confessed his recent full-blown junkie behavior for morphine. The moment was as beautiful as it was sad, as the two embraced pain and disappointment as their reality. It could have been shock from the passing of his wife or the middle-aged-crisis enchantment Evelyne Poole placed on him, but he was beginning to come to his senses.

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As Penny Dreadful‘s adventurer gained more insight into his actions of late, viewers finally gained some insight into what the diary of the fallen angel was about. In an oddly quick fashion, Ferdinand had deciphered the multiple languages that composed the tale of Lucifer. It turns out that Lucifer was not banished alone but had a sibling (Dracula), so there is one to rule on Earth and the other to rule in Hell. It also turns out that Vanessa is not possessed by the Devil, as Penny Dreadful writers once alluded, but actually a deity destined to bring about the apocalypse if she ever mates with either brother. A confusing and lose-lose situation for protagonist Ms. Ives, but not without its silver lining of not being possessed by the Devil. Just possessed by the Mother of Evil. Even better?

Just when the Victorian-Age Scooby Gang was making progress with the fate of Ms. Ives, Evelyne Poole was playing with her latest Sir Malcolm action figure. Chanting in the Verbis Diablo to the voodoo doll, Penny Dreadful viewers may have thought she was giving him a heart attack, but it actually turned out to be something way more interesting. After some quick chest grabs, Sir Malcolm eyes went black and he became possessed by Madame Kali’s master himself. Flipping the table and rushing to the door, Sembene was the only member of the heroes to take charge.

Penny DreadfulGrabbing Malcolm and throwing him into a dusty room, Sembene forced the possessed hero to remember exactly who he used to be. In a bittersweet scene, Malcolm flashed back to a time when that now dusty room was lit by candlelight and his family was by his side. Joined by apparitions of his late son, daughter, and wife, Malcolm began to break free from Kali’s gnat-like chattering. The spell was eventually broken and all that was left was rage for the band of witches, who played him like a marionette.

Speaking of rage, Penny Dreadful‘s other characters demonstrated just that in Memento Mori. Frankenstein’s creature was already in pain from being shot down by his resurrected wife-to-be and he was not taking anything lightly. Stalking her on her dates with Dorian Grey, the creature later confronted her in the episode’s best scene.

Penny DreadfulWhat started out as a creepy moment that foreshadowed a sexual assault on Lily as she was getting undressed, quickly turned into one of Penny Dreadful‘s most unexpected moments. The creature confronted Lily and was onto her act as an innocent, amnesia ridden beauty, but Lily was not playing any more games with the creature. The series’ latest femme fatale quickly flipped the damsel-in-distress routine and completely took control. It appears that Lily is self-aware of her past life as a street walker and her resurrection has brought on a newfound feminism with a dash of homicidal mania. After overpowering the creature with some Mean Girl words and undead strength, she convinced him that it was time to fill the world with the undead and kill their creature–Victor Frankenstein.

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Things were not turning out so well for Penny Dreadful‘s heroes. After Kali’s failed attempt to control Sir Malcolm, her prediction of his next action was more than accurate. Malcolm was enraged and knew exactly where to go to take it out. Unfortunately, his literal witch hunt at Kali’s layer was nothing more than a trap. What made his capture intriguing was Kali’s proclamation to let him join eternity by her side. Another well-acted scene delivered by Helen McCory as she added more dimensions to her baby-killing, villainous character.

Penny DreadfulLike a true hero though, Malcolm would not take her up on the offer for eternal youth for Vanessa Ives. Sadly, Kali had a backup plan. She left Sir Malcolm in the room with a memento (pun intended) of his deceased loved ones. Now the bait is set and Vanessa will have to come and rescue her father.

Penny Dreadful’s: Memento Moir was a great episode that sets the stage for what will be an epic showdown between the witches and Vanessa. Now that Ms. Ives has tasted the dark side, it may be easier for Kali to corrupt her for her master and get her to embrace her masterfully. Only the last two episodes of Penny Dreadful will tell.

Opinion By Tyler Cole
Edited By Leigh Haugh

A.V. Club: Penny Dreadful: “Memento Mori”: London Calling to the Underworld

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