Penny Dreadful: No Beast So Fierce (Review/Recap) [Video]

Penny Dreadful

Considering that the last few weeks’ of “Penny Dreadful” have heavily focused on the backstories of characters Vanessa Ives’ and Ethan Chandler, respectively, “No Beast So Fierce” brings both these mini-plotlines to a close and builds to the upcoming battle for the season finale. This week’s episode may have been seen as a filler in some viewers’ eyes, but “No Beast So Fierce” was a progressive chapter for this season that brought together the entire cast and moved along their storylines in a well-timed manner.

One story-line that needed a close was Ethan’s morbid family reunion with his father and mercenaries. “The World is Our Hell” shed some light on why “Penny Dreadful’s” male protagonist carries so much guilt and why he came to the iron city of London. Coming face-to-face with a father that was so cruel as to continue to torture his son with overwhelming guilt for the mistakes he made in the past, there was no wonder that Ethan needed an escape from the Wild Wild West. Picking up right where “The World is Our Hell” left viewers, Ethan found a newfound backbone (thanks to his homicidal traveling buddy Hecate) and was tired of feeling remorse for past mistakes. Ironically, it was the arrival of the Marshall and Rusk that stopped Jared Talbot from gunning down his son.

Penny DreadfulBeing the warm host that his father has been, Talbot invited the men for one of the most uncomfortable sit-down dinners. The bashing and guilt-shaming of Ethan continued, Sir Malcolm came to Ethan’s defense, and the Marshall got gunned down. All actions taking place before the grace. Ultimately, a battle broke out post the metaphoric last supper as Rusk antagonized Ethan to explain his supernatural killings. Hecate was the first to make her move, transforming herself into the tatted spawn of the devil and attacking the bodyguards around the table. Sir Malcolm struggled to take down another, but was eventually saved by the arrival of a revived Kaetenay. Considering that he was left for dead in the desert in last week’s episode, the explanation of is return would be needed before the end of the season.

The battle raged on to the chapel, where Ethan’s father tried to fortify himself with the remaining hired guns. The same chapel that the Apache soldiers killed all of Ethan’s family, but his father, in. Of course one can not be in the west without an old-fashioned Western shootout and can not have a season of “Penny Dreadful” without one or two scenes of a bloodbath. Unlike the blood-rain illusion of “Penny Dreadful’s” season two, this battle was far more entertaining and brought the corruption of Ethan Chandler’s storyline to an abrupt end. No longer was Ethan going to suffer from his father’s constant shaming (thanks to Sir Malcolm shooting Jared Talbot down) and Hecate’s persistence (thanks to Rusk gunning her down). Though the “Wolf of God” going evil storyline may have come to a quick finish, it was a necessary plot development to make room for the possible corruption of Ms.Ives.

Penny DreadfulFollowing Vanessa Ives’ trip down memory lane during her stay at “Penny Dreadful’s” Arkham Asylum, her character finds a new purpose as she prepares for war against an ancient predator. Now knowing his name, she sought to build her defenses against the supernatural beast known as Dracula. Fortunately for Vanessa, she found help in a fierce and intelligent ally, Catriona Hartdegen (played by Perdita Weeks). “Penny Dreadful” writers’ took very little time to set Dr. Hartdegen up as a strong, feminine figure during a time suffrage was just making its stance. Yay, feminism?

Penny DreadfulEven with both strong doctors Hartdegen and therapist Dr. Seward, Vanessa still missed her male counterparts and family. With both Ethan and Sir Malcolm being halfway across the world, she was pointed in the direction of ‘Dr. Sweet.’ Still unknown to her that this was “Penny Dreadful’s” main antagonist’s latest form, Vanessa’s palpable feeling of loneliness and abandonment thrust her into finding comfort in the seductive doctor. Confessing her that she was being chased by Dracula himself, the ‘doctor’ reassured her that she had nothing  to fear from him and that he would never leave. He took her there in that moment, but it is still unclear on whether her submission to Dracula completely put her under his spell. One thing that it does for foreshadow is that Vanessa is still in need of her protectors. Just in time for them to make their triumphant return to London.

Too bad Vanessa could not enlist the help of Lily and her band of street walker revolutionists. It seems that the new-found wave of strong female leads has made its way into the themes of “Penny Dreadful.” Catching viewers up on Lily’s self-made war against the cruel, rich men of London’s fetish nightlife, there seems to be dissension in the ranks. Lily’s prized pupil Justine (whom blurs the line between bad men and just men in general) is becoming a bit too comfortable in her new home and command.

Penny DreadfulUndermining Dorian’s authority, while fully devoted to Lily, Justine is overstepping her bounds in Dorian’s eyes. Unfortunately, Lily does not see it this way at all. It is no surprise that with all the man-bashing sermons that Lily has been feeding these disturbed souls and the targets that she chooses, Dorian would soon be out-of-place in her revolution. Dorian’s arrogance blinds him to the fact that he too is one of these men Lily speaks on. One of the many men who treated her as a conquest during her time as the street walker in “Penny Dreadful” season one.

Penny DreadfulThough Lily is still a relatively new character, she has easily ascended into one of Penny Dreadful’s strongest. The scenes between her, Dorian, and Frankenstein are easily some of the most fun to watch and also shed some more depth into her character. More than just a neck-slicing and groin cutting killer of men, Lily always still has some humanity left in her as she spared Frankenstein’s life after his attempt to kidnap her. This love triangle also gives Dorian a purpose greater than “Penny Dreadful’s” supernatural playboy as he shows signs of jealousy towards Justine and Lily’s relationship. A jealously that may lead to an unlikely alliance between Frankenstein and Gray.

“What No Beast So Fierce” accomplished this week were the closings of minor story arcs and the introduction to the upcoming battle for Vanessa Ives’ soul. It seems that battle has become the recurring theme of the “Penny Dreadful” series. Whomever claims her soul seals the fate of the world. One thing that this week’s episode also foreshadowed was the upcoming big-bad for the season to come. Dr. Ferdinand’s indefinite departure to Cairo, Egypt raises nothing but suspicions that the Mummy could be the next villain to walk London’s streets. “Penny Dreadful” could also turn Dorian into one of London’s most notorious villains, Jack the Ripper. Considering that she is only rounding up street-walkers and resentment is already building, Dorian’s jealousy and homicidal nature could lead him down a path of putting an end to the revolution Lily started.

Opinion By Tyler Cole

A.V. Club: The pace accelerates on an eventful Penny Dreadful
Showtime: Penny Dreadful
Wired: 5 Books You Must Read to Truly Get This Season of Penny Dreadful

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