Penny Dreadful concludes its second season with one of its most emotionally wrought episodes in memory. There is no victory here for our monstrous players, and worst of all, they find themselves alone.
An overarching theme of Penny Dreadful’s second season has involved its monstrous characters trying to find their place in the world. On their own, they are fearsome, damned things, but together they form an almost familial unit.
Evelyn Poole and her coven of witches have been fighting hard to deliver Vanessa to Satan, and “Little Scorpion” highlights one of the reason’s the devil wants Vanessa’s soul so badly: it’s steeped in darkness.
Because of his small stature and failing mental health, Penny Dreadful’s “John Clare” postulates that the real Clare most likely “felt a singular affinity with the outcasts and the unloved. The ugly animals. The broken things.” Those ugly animals and the broken things are at the forefront of this week’s episode, “Above the Vaulted Sky.”
Everyone pairs up in the latest episode of Penny Dreadful, “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places.” Penny Dreadful is obviously an ensemble show, but it’s always had a problem knowing quite what to do with its plethora of characters. After last week’s series highlight episode, which slowed things down and focused on a single coherent story, the show gets back to business, with “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places,” attempting to cram in as much information as possible relevant to season two’s main plot.
Vanessa Ives is cursed. That’s well established by now in Penny Dreadful, but this latest episode digs into the moldy, damp crypt of Vanessa’s past to show us just how cursed she is. Eva Green’s performance has and apparently always will be the best aspect of Penny Dreadful and the latest episode, “The Nightcomers”, knows this and exploits it to its fullest.
The game is afoot in “Verbis Diablo,” the second episode of Penny Dreadful’s second season. Whereas season one had a tendency to seem unfocused, introducing its ensemble rogues gallery of players, season two has its eye on the prize. That prize is Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), for whom secret witch and target-practice expert Evelyn Poole (Helen McCrory) has ill intentions.
Season one of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful was a gleefully gruesome gothic experience, firmly rooted in pulpy sensibilities and clearly influenced by Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. While it was not an altogether solid season of television, it had a ghastly charm reminiscent of lurid Hammer horror films of the past.
Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation of the genre that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.
White Bird in a Blizzard Written & Directed by Gregg Araki USA, 2014 Just in case the title wasn’t enough of a hint, White Bird in a Blizzard provides enough ponderous dialogue and artsy flourishes to reveal itself as the pretentious mess that it is. Unsure whether it’s an indie mind-screw or a conventional …
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Written by Frank Miller Directed by Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller USA, 2014 When Sin City exploded into theaters in 2005, we had never seen anything like it. It was a resounding declaration that digital filmmaking had finally arrived. The new Robert Rodriquez-Frank Miller collaboration, Sin City: …
There’s nothing like a show confident in what it’s doing. Of the dozens of pilots I watch a year, an overwhelming majority of them feel the need to explain themselves, over and over again: who their characters are, what matters to them, why the exist – and most annoyingly, why this particular story is the most epic, most original, best thing we’ve ever seen: in a world full of short attention spans, supremely critical audiences, and short-lived bombs with anemic audience draw, most pilots have to convince us that we need to be watching their show.
Various directors take very differing stances when it comes to the ongoing threat of executive meddling. This, of course, is when the studio moneymen stop what you’re doing and tell you that what you’ve made will simply not cut it at the box office, that key demographics that their marketing department has been stringently working on (usually in the form of charts) will dislike your movie.