Penny Dreadful Mourns “The Day Tennyson Died” In Its Season Premiere

Credit: Showtime
Credit: Showtime

Things got off to a dark start on season 3 of Penny Dreadful. It was so dark, in fact,  at some points you couldn’t see the main characters, but who needs main characters when you have settings like these – just kidding!

Dark Thoughts: The episode begins back at Malcolm’s mansion with Vanessa having spiraled into a deep depression. The entire place is covered in cob-webs, and it does not look like anyone has been there in months. Vanessa drinks milk out of the bottom and tears a loaf of bread – reminiscent of an animal starving for food. Lucky for her, Lyle has not forgotten her existence. He encourages Vanessa, who cannot stop scratching her hands, to visit a “mental doctor.” Apparently, he saw one due to his “unique nature” and believes she can help Vanessa. Vanessa eventually sums up the courage to leave the house, looking worse for the wear, and visits a familiar face, Dr. Seward.

The Session: Upon her entrance, Vanessa realizes immediately that Dr. Seward is identical to her dear friend, the Cut-Wife. We learn that Dr. Seward is a distant relative (because the Cut-Wife is hundreds of years old). Dr. Seward sizes up Vanessa the moment she enters the room. Vanessa is given 10 minutes to prove she is worthy of being one of Dr. Seward’s patients. Dr. Seward seems to accept Vanessa almost immediately, telling her she does not tolerate any crap and that Vanessa is not bad or unworthy – just ill. Vanessa informs Dr. Seward that they need each other – and it’s awesome. Dr. Seward leaves Vanessa with one assignment, to go do something she has not done before.

Drugs & Friends: Meanwhile, Victor is still lost to drugs and calls upon his friend Dr. Jekyll – have I mentioned how excited I am for this? Dr. Jekyll shows up to check on Victor and realizes how much he has degraded. Victor confides in Jekyll and tells him about Lily and his monsters. Victor wants Jekyll to help him kill Lily, however, Jekyll has a counter offer. Jekyll asks if he could “tame her” would Victor want her back? Victor agrees, and the two decide to work together. This entire dialogue rubbed me the wrong way, so I hope it backfires.

Natural History: Vanessa decides to go to the Natural History Museum where she runs into a zoologist named Dr. Alexander Sweet, who is epically adorable. My shipper heart is being torn apart here. Dr. Sweet charms Vanessa with his over the top enthusiasm for the unloved animals like scorpions and sheep. He is absolutely fascinated by Vanessa and the fact she has actually touched a scorpion before. The two have so much chemistry – WHY!? Vanessa eventually goes home and answers her letters, throws open the curtains, and begins to potentially live yet again.

In The Mountains of Africa: We find Malcom in the African mountains, burying Sembene. Malcolm is upset that Africa is not the wondrous place it once was. Sir Malcolm finds himself drinking alone in a bar where he is later attacked by a woman at gun point. He is saved by Kaeteney, a Chircauhua Apache who knows Ethan. Apparently Ethan is in trouble and Kaeteney wants Malcolm’s help rescuing him – YES, PLEASE! Malcolm claims he is done with that life, but we all know that is not going to last.

Highway Robbery: Ethan is on a train in New Mexico Territory with none other than Inspector Rusk. However, Rusk isn’t the only one on the train. Hecate is there too. Something is weird on the train –oh – maybe it is the robbers who are sent to kidnap Ethan by his Father. Hecate talks her way out of certain death and Rusk somehow escapes as well. Ethan warns them that his father will kill them too, but they aren’t buying it.

Blood: The episodes ends with Renfield getting it on in a marketplace at night. He is yanked into an abandoned building with a bunch of creepy zombie like villains. All of them with blood tinged eyes, white skins, and stuttered movements. They want to drink Renfield’s blood, but quickly scatter when their master approaches. It’s Dracula, and he commands that Renfield tell him everything about Vanessa’s sessions. Renfield then tilts his neck back so Dracula can have a drink.

I’m not screaming, YOU’RE screaming!

Ilene Friedman
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