Previously on Penny Dreadful: A coven of witches were after Vanessa hardcore, and Victor brought Brona back to life, convincing her she was his cousin.
Vanessa has just finished telling Malcolm, Victor, Lyle, and Sembene the story of her time with the cut wife, at Ethan’s urging. He thought they needed to know that they’re truly fighting against magical creatures, which I thought they were already aware of. Malcolm asks what these creatures’ goal is and Vanessa says they do the devil’s bidding, for their own ends. Pretty much the classical witch, then.
Lyle jumps in and says he’s had a breakthrough with those artifacts they stole. He’s realized that what’s written on them isn’t a new language, but a collection of languages forming new patterns. He found some Greek and Latin, so he started there, with a piece that had been written on in Greek: So God looked down on his defeated angels and… Realising the story continued elsewhere, he started looking for the rest of it and found the next bit in Latin on another fragment. Ethan translates: He found them to be evil angels, so he cast them out. He took…
Except Ethan’s a tiny bit wrong: it’s not cast them out, but us. They realise that what they’re looking at is the Devil’s autobiography. Well, that should be a bestseller.
Victor gets ready to leave, but first he asks Vanessa if she would accompany him on an errand the next day. She readily agrees. He departs and she turns and sees Sembene sitting on the stairs. She asks what he’s doing and he replies that he’s watching for those things that hunt at night, like lions.
Outside, Hecate stands on the roof opposite the house, staring at the place.
A photographer snaps photos of the dead couple in the railway car before Rusk walks around to get a good look and runs over what happened. Nobody saw anyone come or go, so how did the perpetrator (whom he assumes is male) do this, carrying a baby that didn’t even squall, no less. His junior inspector suggests the baby was dead already, but Rusk can’t see why the child would be taken, then. He notes that the wounds are precise, not like the animal butchery they’ve been seeing lately. He figures they’re going after this wrong, looking for logic when really they should be looking for magic.
[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]They realise that what they’re looking at is the Devil’s autobiography. Well, that should be a bestseller.[/cryout-pullquote]At Putney’s, Putney is preparing for his new exhibitions while his wife complains about the cost and doubts people will pay good money for this. Putney tells her they’re going to have something special, because, from the sound of it, he’s adding a genuine freakshow to the lineup, keeping the freaks down in the basement. ‘They don’t need the light, they’re freaks,’ he says.
Downstairs, Caliban’s stirring a vat of wax. Lavinia comes down and he stops. She feels her way to the workbench, smiles, and tells him she knows he’s there. He apologises and she says everyone does that, trying to observe life at its most natural, unaware of being watched, but she always knows when someone’s around, because the molecules in the air change. She calls him over to her latest work (she sculpts the faces and arms and legs and things) and asks him if it looks like Gladstone. He agrees that it does. She says that the man’s been PM so many times they have to keep making him older and trotting him out. How would she be able to sculpt real people like Gladstone, unless she could feel their faces or something? It’s not as if she can look at a photograph. Does she just get really precise descriptions from someone?
Back to it. The trick to the aging, she says, is in the eyes, because they get a bit cloudier as you get older. She asks Caliban what his eyes look like, and then tries to guess their colour. She thinks brown, but he says they’re yellow. She comments that that’s different and figures (correctly) that they’re kind of a turmeric yellow. She says she heard that Gladstone goes for walks in the evening, and if he comes across a fallen woman he talks to her and gives her money. Caliban agrees that that’s kind. She says that kind people deserve a place in a museum. He asks about the others she works on, the ones that aren’t kind and she says she hates working on her father’s murderers and victims, because she feels like she’s bringing them to life and torturing them. They’re all fresh when they come out of the mould and then she makes them suffer. He says that some think life is like that: born fresh, only to suffer. He used to think that but now he’s not sure. She urges him not to give up on life just yet. That was a sweet scene.
Ethan happens to be walking by Putney’s and sees a sign for the Mariner’s Inn massacre show. He walks away and instead gets a newspaper with the story of the murdered family on the front page. Nearby, Hecate watches him, then nods to one of her sisters, waiting down the street, who stabs a horse in the bum with a pin, sending the animal bolting. Hecate walks right into the animal’s path and Ethan rushes into the street and rescues her. She pretends to weep and he reassures her that it’s all right.
The Marinier’s Inn survivor, Roper, has woken up, so Rusk has gone to speak to him. Roper claims not to remember anything about that night. Rusk doesn’t believe him, but he and his partner switch to another question and ask why the man was wearing a gun in a holster. Roper says it was for protection, but that’s all he’ll say. Rusk tells him that the city is bathing in blood and he needs to put a stop to it, and he’ll get Roper talking somehow. Roper tells the man that he’s a citizen of the United States and as soon as he’s able he’ll be taking off. Rusk leaves.
Victor takes Vanessa with him to pick out some clothes for Lily. Vanessa’s amused by this. He explains that his cousin has come to visit him from the country and needs some things. He babbles nervously, which only entertains her more. There’s some confusion with the proprietress thinking they’re married, and then thinking they’re having an affair, and Victor doesn’t help things by being all squirrely. Vanessa steers him towards some clothes, asking questions about Lily’s body type and size. She shows him one dress, which he thinks is too low cut, so they move on. He also asks Vanessa if she’ll have tea with him and Lily sometime and she says she’d be delighted. And then she has a bit of fun with him, telling him they’ll have to get some undergarments to go with the dress.
Ethan takes Hecate to a teashop, where she (putting on an American accent) tells him her name is Hecate, thanks to her classical-period-loving parents. He’s charmed by her and asks how she ended up in in London. She tells him that, after growing up in Maine and graduating from Northwestern, she wanted to leave Indiana and New England behind and check out culture. She’s come with her botany degree and sensible shoes to see what the old world has to offer.
She notes the books on Latin he’s got and he says he’s just brushing up on a few things. He then calls her on her bullshit, figuring she’s another Pinkerton sent by his dad, because her accent’s wrong and she put Northwestern in the wrong state. He tells her to go tell his father to leave him alone and says her shoes aren’t really all that sensible at all. Had to get in that one last zing, didn’t you?
Dorian takes Angelique out for a date and notes that she’s raising a few eyebrows. Angelique asks if he minds and he says he doesn’t, because provocation is his favourite thing. They go into a giant, rather lavish room where people are playing table tennis, which has recently been brought back from India. Dorian orders up some champagne and he and Angelique start their game.
Hecate reports to her mother that she she made ridiculous errors, but it wouldn’t have mattered, because he smelled her. Well, eau de baby blood is rather strong and unpleasant. Kali sighs that they should have expected as much, considering what he is. She tells Hecate to take the others with her on her errand that night, while Kali prepares the spell. She checks that Hecate knows what to bring her and warns her not to disappoint her again. Hecate hisses at her mother in rage, then quickly backs down. Kali warns her not to overreach. Hecate says she doesn’t trust Lyle. Kali says they’re not supposed to trust him, but he’s weak as a lily, so there’s no need to fear him. She tells Hecate she can do what she likes with the others, only Vanessa matters.
Back at the table tennis parlour, Angelique is totally kicking Dorian’s ass. They pause for a little flirtatious talk about how fun little deceptions can be, and how nice it is to be what you want to be, not who you are, and then they make out for a little while. You know, I’m ok with these two actors, but I’m desperate for this storyline to feel relevant, because right now it just feels like an unnecessary distraction and diversion from the main action.
Back at Frankenstein’s, Brona’s trying to get into the clothes, complaining about how tight the corset is. Victor says that’s the point, since ladies aren’t supposed to exert themselves. She comes out and he’s transfixed by her. She’s in a fairly simple, very modest skirt and blouse. He tells her she looks beautiful and she tells him she can’t breathe. She also has some trouble with the shoes, which have very high heels. Victor says he picked them for just that reason, because he likes a woman in stilettos, it makes her legs look good. He starts pinning up her hem, which is just a little too long. She asks what would happen if women ditched the corsets and just exerted themselves and Victor says they’d take over the world. So, men keep them corseted up, both literally and figuratively. She comments that everything women do is for men and then asks him if the corset flatters her. He says it does. She asks him if he wants her to wear it and he says no, not if it gives her pain. So, she goes to take it off, but she’ll keep the shoes on, because he likes them. Always doing something for the men in our lives, right?
Nighttime at Malcolm’s. He’s trying to read some Arabic on one of the artifacts but can only make out a few words. Lyle offers up his reading glasses, which help immensely. He deciphers the text and they link it up to what they’ve already translated. Lyle observes that Malcolm’s enjoying this, because he needed a new quest. Also, Malcolm shouldn’t be so vain about glasses. Malcolm says he’s kind of dating Kali these days, so he wants to look good. Lyle warns him to proceed with caution and Malcolm says he has no choice, since he’s still married.
Ethan tells Vanessa about the woman he rescued and how he thinks she was sent by his father. He tells her about the name Hecate, which the woman claimed was a sea goddess. Vanessa corrects that and says she was a moon goddess and bringer of magic. Also, the protector of witches in Macbeth. He says she didn’t look like a witch and Vanessa says they can assume any guise, like a chameleon.
Ethan goes to fetch coffee, and on his way he pauses and cautiously sniffs the air, then continues on his way. One of the witches pulls slightly away from the wall, where she’s disguised herself as part of the wallpaper, chameleon-like indeed.
Ethan goes into the kitchen, where he finds Sembene washing up. He tries to help, saying it pays for his keep, but Sembene grabs the plate away from him and says it pays for his keep. Ethan grabs a cloth so he can dry the dishes and asks Sembene if he was a hunter where he came from. ‘Partly,’ Sembene replies. He won’t say what the other part was.
Vanessa, Lyle, and Malcolm walk her through what they’ve deciphered so far and ask if any of it strikes a chord in her. She says that the cut wife told her when Lucifer fell, he didn’t fall alone. Malcolm thinks this story is really a prophecy: one that involves Vanessa. She kind of freaks out and says that a woman isn’t mentioned at all and she finds it hard to believe she’s the subject of some eternal Satanic quest. Yeah, when you put it like that it does sound somewhat unlikely. She refuses to believe this and whirls to stomp out, then calms herself and apologises, saying she’s tired. The gentlemen bid her goodnight. Another witch is hiding in the wallpaper.
She goes to the kitchen to say goodnight to Sembene and Ethan, who are preparing coffee and a buttercream torte. She asks them to save her a slice for breakfast and heads upstairs. In her room, she finds the window open and goes to close it. She begins to undress but clearly starts getting the creeps.
Downstairs, the men go about their business.
Vanessa brushes her hair at the vanity table.
Ethan heads out with the coffee.
Vanessa suddenly stops brushing her hair and puts the brush down slowly, then veeery slowly turns and looks at the opposite wall. She turns back to the mirror and sees one of the witches emerge from the wallpaper, then take her usual form, growling.
Downstairs, another witch comes away from the wall in the drawing room, startling Lyle and Malcolm, and the third witch goes after Ethan.
The witch upstairs approaches Vanessa, who backs away on the floor, then starts angrily speaking a curse in Verbis Diablo, sending the witch fleeing.
Downstairs, the witch throttling Ethan is taken out suddenly and spectacularly by Sembene, while Lyle and Malcolm grapple with the other one. The upstairs witch calls to the others, showing a lock of Vanessa’s hair that she’s managed to get, and they rush through the open front door and into the night. Hecate smirks and tells Ethan she doesn’t need any sensible shoes now, then follows her sisters.