'Penny Dreadful' Has Sir Malcolm Faces his Deamons


 With Ethan and Vanessa absent for an entire episode, “Penny Dreadful” shifted its focus to Sir Malcolm and the problematic situation of his enchantment. Thankfully, he shook it off and shared a chilling showdown with his crazy, presumably-ex paramour. Timothy Dalton’s performance was commanding, effectively oscillating between fear, inner torment, and defiance.

The strong writing gave him a chance to shine in a role he’s recently had a greater opportunity to flesh out. Why Sir M decided to confront Madame Kali on his own, without any backup, was hard to decipher. However, their face-off was well worth the wait and ended with a beyond-creepy cliffhanger.

The hour’s most shocking development came when Lily launched into an arduous diatribe that revealed her current state of mind with lurid clarity. The recipient of her rant was The Creature, who’d come by to let her know that she was “his,” she quickly set him straight on that belief. Following her train of thought required a lot of mental whiplash and, quite frankly, a few giant leaps.

For instance, where is all of her hatred for men coming from? She was spewing a vein with her outspoken detest of them, and nothing had happened in her life to explain her newfound fervent disdain for them. The major question swirling amidst her tirade was why she had manifested any of these feelings, to begin with. 

All the men she’s known as Lily have only treated her kindly. The same applies to her past life as Brona, where she was shown a great deal of affection by Ethan. The audience was never privy to any cruelty that she endured, though there were hints that she might not have always been treated so well before the show started.

Still, the source of her rampage was difficult to ascertain. Not to mention her frenetic ramblings about rejecting The Creature’s affection, only to have her turn around and start coming onto him, saying they were made for each other. It was all dizzyingly confusing. To her credit, Billie Piper gave the scene its heft with a dazzling execution of Lily’s extensive monologue, turning in an overall vivid performance.

Another shocker came towards the end of the episode as Angelique unmasked Dorian’s portrait and, with it, the decrepit reality of who he truly was. Even though Angelique seemed ready to accept him, warts and all, Dorian made a lethal move that was a grave turn of events. It’s the first time Gray’s true nature has been completely unveiled, and it’s grim. 

Side Notes / Burning Questions: Did anyone else catch the mention of a hellhound? Ethan certainly meets that description. It was nice to finally clarify the significance of the breadcrumb regarding the relics’ account of the fallen angels’ rebellion. When it first came about as a plot point, it was drastically unclear why the series spent so much time rehashing a well-known story.

Now we know the answer. According to their mythos, there’s more to it. Victor’s heart has been broken for the first time, and it’s hard not to feel sorry for the guy. What does Lily have in store for him? Lyle is quickly becoming one of the best characters on the show.

Photo Credit: Penny Dreadful/Showtime