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MiniCap: Penny Dreadful | TrashTalkTV

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MiniCap: Penny Dreadful

Minicap mina and vanessa 1-5

Welcome, Trashmii, to the All Vanessa Hour where we learn a lot more about just exactly how batshit crazy she is. And boy howdy is she batshit crazy.

We begin with present-day Vanessa writing a letter to Mina saying she’ll never stop writing until they find her and we almost immediately flash back to when they were lovely little English school girls frolicking on the beach. We meet Peter and learn that the Iveses were neighbors to the Murrays and they were just two happy rich British families.

Until they weren’t because the Ives women, in addition to being Catholic, were also kind of lusty gals and since men never have to pay for their infidelities, it always falls on the women to bear the brunt of the shame and humiliation. Especially Vanessa. Although, to be honest, she was kind of a bitch about it.

So, yeah, Vanessa. Things really start spiraling out of control for her pretty quickly after her dalliance in the taxidermy room. I’ll explain THAT in the recap. She starts having seizures and visions of some demon but because she’s Catholic she tries to pray it away, which only upsets her parents that much more so they take her to a doctor who recommends hopping her up on narcotics and dousing her in ice water whenever possible to quell her episodes. She’s none to thrilled about it but doesn’t really have a choice after she tries to kill the doctor.

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It goes downhill from there. Eventually she’s completely broken, and bald, so they ship her back to her parents who just kind of sit around pitying themselves for having such a loon for a daughter until Peter comes to visit because he’s going to Africa and wants to say goodbye. This brings Vanessa out of her catatonia to warn him that he’s going to die in Africa (SPOILER!) and then go all Regan in The Exorcist. This, for some reason, has an adverse effect on her mother.

Which circles us back to just before we first met everyone in the series premiere. Vanessa has a vision of Mina which drives her back to see Sir Malcolm. He’s quite the asshole about it but Vanessa’s not a little girl anymore so she unleashes a touch of her crazy on him. She’s about to leave, and they clearly still loathe each other, but they agree to work together to find Mina.

Full recap will be up in a few days. Until then, you can catch up on last week’s recap here.

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8 comments on “MiniCap: Penny Dreadful

  1. unbeldi says:

    This was the best episode so far of the series, at least in the poll we took in our household. We still don’t know what is really going on with Vanessa. If she was really visited by the Devil, why did he target her? How does this fit in with the Master? Looking forward to finding this out, as well as the circumstances of Mina being taken and how Jonathan Harker fits in to the story, Missed having no Victor this episode, though. And for heaven’s sake, let’s get back to Dorian and Ethan!

  2. mary says:

    I agree with everything you said. This episode was reeeeeally good, though that last sex scene was interesting… And yes, it needed Victor. That little shit makes the show for me, but it would have felt disjointed to have him in this episode.

  3. mary says:

    Forgot to say how amazing Eva was in this episode. I already loved her performance in the seance, but damn, she was good in this one.

  4. Lovelyval says:

    I haven’t seen the last 2 episodes. I’ve been really disappointed so far; I really wanted to like this show. Since Mad Men ended and Game of Thrones is almost over, I was hoping this could fill the void but no such luck :(

  5. unbeldi says:

    She did given an excellent performance. I also thought the writing was a bit tighter than usual (which vallegirl pokes at so delightfully), perhaps because this was a bit more straightforward from a storytelling perspective. It was really like a mini-movie, and quite well done at that. It does make me want to go back and watch the first few episodes again knowing the back story.

  6. Heather says:

    I’ve read a lot of critics who say that this show is losing its momentum. I couldn’t disagree more. Shows aren’t just about advancing plot. I love every second of this show, and the creative people who make it can take their sweet time and any detour they want. I will follow. I like everyone in it… but yes, especially Eva Green. Of course she’s gorgeous, but I particularly like the way she talks. I also love that she has a mysterious, brooding look, but that she can break out into the best smile. Most actors who affect that serious look are simply poseurs because it’s one note. Not with Eva; she’s an original.

  7. vallegirl says:

    I think the biggest mistake they’ve made was introducing Caliban this season. Not just because I can’t stand the character, but they used most of the third episode introducing him and complicating Victor’s story instead of moving the rest of it forward. Having one sweet, minor storyline about Victor teaching Proteus to be human in his free time was perfect. Having Caliban stomp around demanding a mate and threatening to kill Victor is disruptive. Plus, have I mentioned he sucks so bad he makes me cry?

    With only an eight episode order, that mistake threw off the timing because now this episode, as good and necessary as it is to the story was out of place. The whole plot came to a halt to fill in Vanessa’s and Sir Malcolm’s back story. This was the rightful third episode since the seance occurs in the second. But, no, we had to listen to Caliban fart on in his whiny, entitled way. They didn’t even give Victor much to do but look terrified and/or pissed off. None of the main characters, up to that point, had a full half hour to detailing who they are and what they want.

    Overall it was a good episode and Eva Green is charismatic enough to carry it on her own, plus the show got a second season so they can now tighten their story telling next season, but the gift that keeps on crapping on us, Caliban, is what’s slowing down momentum.

    I also really don’t like this eight-episode “pilot” season approach the premium networks took this year. It worked fine with Silicon Valley since Mike Judge’s forte isn’t less storytelling than social commentary wrapped up in comedy, but shows like Penny Dreadful and even Looking (which I linked to in the last recap) are more about developing characters you’re invested in. But with only eight hours (four for Looking) and having to also create a story that hooks viewers the pilot seasons this year have been scattershot.

    But it’s interesting that the fifth episode of both shows were very strong. Vanessa’s backstory may have brought the storytelling to a halt for a week, but it gives her, Sir Malcolm and their whole relationship more heft.

  8. unbeldi says:

    Totally on point about Caliban (hate him) and Proteus (still upset they killed him so quickly). Caliban would have worked much better when there weren’t so many other stories already going on with much more interesting characters. Also, think about he and Proteus could have played off of each other as the good son and the “prodigal” (okay, it doesn’t work exactly) son. How would they have influenced each other? And I’m in no hurry to see a Bride of Frankenstein’s Monster. Let the current characters settle in first. Caliban already feels shoehorned in, unlike Dorian, who seemed to fit in seamlessly.

    I hadn’t thought that this should have been the episode after the seance, but you are right. Still my favorite one so far.

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