Some of literature’s most terrifying characters Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and iconic figures from the novel Dracula are lurking in the darkest corners of Victorian London. PENNY DREADFUL is a frightening psychological thriller that weaves together these classic horror origin stories into a new adult drama. – SHOWTIME
Penny Dreadful contains: Sex & Nudity, Violence & Gore, Profanity, Alcohol/Drugs/Smocking, Frightening/Intense Scenes.
Penny Dreadful begins in 1891.
The episode starts with a young girl sleeping next to her mother. The mother wakes up when she hears a noise and gets out of bed tucking her daughter, and then goes out. While she is in the bathroom, from a window behind her something graves and pulls her out. The girl, hearing the noises, starts calling for her mother; she gets up and calls her mother again and aging, with no answer she goes to investigate. She opens the door, and without the viewer seeing what she sees, she starts screaming and the opening credits appear.
The opening shows poisonous animals, body parts sewed together, sacred objects, surgical instruments, flowers, lovers, and blood.
The new scene starts with Vanessa Ives (Eva Green from 2012’s Dark Shadows) praying in Latin to a cross on the wall. During her prayers, voices are heard and spiders crawl up her arm, she goes into trance and something breathes deeply on her shoulder. The scene changes to Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett from 30 Days of Night) who is performing a shooting act where he hits at every target even attracting the attention of the ladies. Vanessa is in the crowd admiring the show. Then Ethan is seen having sex with a woven from the crowd. In a tavern Vanessa propose him a deal after scaring him by reading his body posture. He asks if she is a murder and she replies that if he cares. Vanessa tells him to meet her at the address she provides:
“I don’t know London,” he says.
“Then ask a policemen,” she replies.
“Do you have a name?” he asks.
“Yes,” She answers as she walks away.
They meet at 11 o’clock, where he is introduced to Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton from 1987’s Bond and The Beautician and the Beast). Sir Malcolm tells him that they are looking for somebody precious of his. They go underground where they are attacked by “men” and Vanessa hears the laments of a woman. They find a room filled with bodies drained out of their blood. They are the attacked by a vampire. The vampire stops when Vanessa steps in front of him and Sir Malcolm kills him. Then they kill the female vampire when they figure out that there is one more master vampire. They take the dead master vampire to a group of men that work with dead bodies.
The young man agrees to help them when he sees the vampire’s body. He opens his chest and beneath the skin there is another one with hieroglyphs carvings. The young man’s conclusion is:
“Well, it appears you have an Egyptian man of no particular age. That at some point in his indeterminate life decided to sharpen his teeth, cover himself in hieroglyphics and grow an exoskeleton. Or you have something else altogether.” Followed by an awkward silence.
Ethan asks them who they are and they tell him to meet him tomorrow at Sir Malcolm house if he wants answers.
At Sir Malcolm’s house, Vanessa introduces herself to Ethan. He sees that she has a Tarot deck and calls her fortune reader, which she denies; a spiritualist he then addresses and she answers that if that is the term he prefers, but she is something different. She gives him an explanation about the demi world, a place of shadows and curses. She tells him that if he is a wise man he should leave and forget what he saw yesterday, but if he wants to stay, they have a job for him. She then informs him that Mr. Malcolm’s daughter was taken by one of the creatures like the ones from last night, and they are looking for her but didn’t expect it to be more than one creature. He declines the offer and is paid for his services from last night. Lastly, she lets him know that if he ever finds himself in that world, he has their address while placing the cards in order as she talked and asks him to take a card out. The one that he chooses is The Loves. In the next scene, while Vanessa is telling Sir. Malcolm about Ethan’s visit, he is staring at the picture of a boy and girl together.
Sir Malcolm and Vanessa met with Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale from 2012’s TV film Henry IV, Parts I & II) an eccentric Egyptologist. When seeing the pictures of the parts with the hieroglyphics he says that some translate to blood cure or blood curse. When he reads something that makes him asks if there are more pictures, they reply yes, and he ask to see them in a different place. He invites them to a party at his house, insisting that they attend and that there he will read the rest of the pictures. Just before leaving he tells them that the source of the writing comes from the book of the dead.
The next day, people are gathered outside of the house of the mother and daughter seen at the beginning of the episode. The police found the mutilated bodies drained of blood and missing organs. Ethan sees the crowd and hears a pair of women saying that it could have been the work of Jack and that maybe his back. One of the women stares at Ethan making him leave the scene.
A delivery arrives by the hands of Sembene (Danny Sapani from 2013’s Trance) Sir Malcolm’s man servant and confident. He handles the packets to the young man with an invitation to the Explorer’s Club. It seems that the young man has a secret room. At the club Sir Malcolm asks for the young man’s services and his help. They have a heated conversation about discoveries and research. After Sir Malcolm explains what his goals are to him, the young man asks why him and Sir Malcolm replies:
“Because you were unafraid to pull back the skin and look beneath.”
Later that night, we see Ethan outside Sir Malcolm’s house, he sees that Vanessa is staring out through a window. But when it looks like he’s going to step forward, Sir Malcolm’s carriage arrives. Seeing that Vanessa goes back inside when Sir Malcolm is at the door, it seems that Ethan thought that she was waiting for him, with a look of anger or fright he leaves as it starts to rain.
Back in the house, Sir Malcolm changes his wet clothes when the light starts to flicker and then a window opens and he goes to close it. He turns around and there is a woman wet and shivering. He calls her, Mina. As he gets closer the window opens again and as he turns to see it and then back at her there is lighting. Now she is closer, her eyes are red and her sharp teeth are bearing, the she disappears. It seems that Mina (Olivia Llewellyn from 2011’s Enchantress) has been turned into a vampire, but she is still looking for her father Sir Malcolm.
The young man is seen walking back to his building. When he’s about to open the door he feels something. Behind him, it is seen that someone is following him, but before the young man can turn and see, the person hides away. The scene changes to Vanessa praying again and when she opens her eyes the cross, in front of her, is upside down and hundreds of spiders come out from behind it.
Back at the young man’s, he enters his secret room, turns on the electricity and in his workshop there is a dead body in a copper tub filled with ice. The thunder increases, he makes arrangements to his generator when a lightning strikes, there are sparks and the light goes out. After turning on an oil lamp, he sees that the body is missing. He looks around the room and finds, the now alive and walking, body near the door. They approach each other, the creature is bleeding from its sutures, it touches the young man’s face and then his own. The young man introduces himself as Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway from 2008’s City of Ember, 2013 The Lone Ranger) and the ending credits roll.
It was a thrilling season beginning. This will be my summer obsession. I saw the trailer and instantly googled it. Eve looks great in those dress. I was inform that Josh Hartnett appeared in 30 Days of Night, but I’m bad remembering the actors faces, I only remember blood and snow and the movie was too dark, but a good movie. Timothy Dalton, I remember him on the spot from The Beautician and the Beast. I like this kind of TV shows that blend one genre of stories to make something new. Poor mother to die in that awful way, who has a window behind the toilet? The show just began but I’m already intrigued about what Vanessa is. It already predicts a relationship between Ethan and Vanessa, but I also wonder what kind of relationship there is between Sir Malcolm and her. I want to see more of Victor, his creature, the vampires and the Egyptologist. I hope it gets good ratings because I want to keep watching it.