“This World is Our Hell” In This Week’s Penny Dreadful

Credit: Showtime
Credit: Showtime

After our Vanessa-centric episode aired a few weeks ago, it was about time we see what the rest of the cast is up to, and this episode did not disappoint. We finally got a peek into Ethan’s dark past with a sprinkling of Father/Son reunion.

So, what did you miss?

The Dark Side Has Cookies: We start off the episode in the middle of the New Mexico desert, where we find Hecate tempting Ethan to the dark side. Hecate asks Ethan what his God offers him in return for his continuous guilt, and Ethan replies “forgiveness.” However, it doesn’t even seem that Ethan believes he’s worth forgiving at this point. Hecate tells Ethan that they are the same, while I scream into the screen HELL NO YOU AREN’T! But, as per usual the characters do not heed my request, and Ethan and Hecate confide in one another about their childhoods. Ethan was pressured into the American army, while Hecate was forced to serve the devil. Anyone else think Hecate had it worse?

Two to Tango: As night falls we break into a split screen with Ethan and Kaeteney telling their respective partners their story. Ethan and his regiment attacked and killed a band of sleeping Apaches. The commanding officer told Ethan they would get a metal for this and Ethan, sick with guilt, shot the officer in the head. From there, Ethan ran into Kaeteney where he begged to be killed. Kaeteney in turn had Ethan join the Apache and destroy his own regiment. The Apache found themselves on the losing side, so Ethan told Kaeteney where they could find his father’s stash of weapons. Kaeteney promised no one would get hurt – he lied. He cut out Ethan’s younger sister’s tongue and eyes, while her father watched – awkward.

Snakes, Snakes, Snakes: Kaeteney worries that Ethan is getting closer to the darkness, and he’s not wrong. Hecate uses Ethan’s blood to cast a spell on the marshalls’ camp, bringing rattlesnakes out of the earth. This is just in time for Sir Malcolm and Kaeteney to arrive at the camp to steal the horses and kill everyone. However, they are too late and Kaeteney gets bitten, while the rest of the snakes descend upon the marshalls, killing them all. Rusk arrives at the campsite full of dead bodies and has decided to abandon his moral code and commits to killing Ethan no matter the cost. Meanwhile, Ethan and Hecate have a moment in a cave, which I could have lived without. But Ethan did reveal the story about how the world was made, due to the Apache paintings in the cave about the boy who defeated the darkness – could this be foreshadowing?

Rescue Party: After Ethan and Hecate’s last horse dies, the two are forced to wonder the desert on foot. Hecate eventually collapses and Ethan attempts to shield her from the sun, awaiting death. But, good old Sir Malcolm comes to the rescue, with Kaeteney in tow. And then my favorite line of the entire season is uttered (thanks Ethan): “What. The f— are you doing here?” It’s a good question. Ethan gives Hecate the last of Malcom’s water and before Malcolm freaks out over who is in his lap, the two are interrupted by a crowd of Pinkerton agents, who drag everyone away.  Now off to Talbot ranch we go. 

Home: With Hecate and Ethan recuperating in their respective rooms, Malcolm and Jared Talbot have a little talk. The two go head to head. Talbot asking why Malcolm was riding with the “Apache filth,” and Malcolm argues he was “riding alongside a man.” However, Talbot calls Malcolm out on his blindness stating:  “When you were in Africa, how many of these men did you slaughter?” MIC DROP. Talbot tells Malcolm he is going to help him get his son back – but this entire situation gets turned on its head during Talbot and Ethan’s confrontation. Talbot takes Ethan to the family chapel, where the Apache murdered his family. Talbot wants Ethan to atone for the family’s deaths.  Talbot shows Ethan where his brother was murdered, and blood stains the wall, the location his sister’s tongue was cut out. Talbot then pulls a gun out on Ethan who claims he belongs in hell and won’t repent. Talbot cocks the gun and the episode ends. 


Ilene Friedman
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