Previously on Penny Dreadful: The witches went after Malcolm’s wife, who wound up killing herself; Dorian took his relationship with Angelique up a notch; Lily and Frankenstein got it on.
‘I come bearing an adventure.’
‘In this house, we celebrate the unusual.’
Some poor maid goes to deliver Lady Murray’s morning tea and finds the woman dead in a pool of blood. Much screaming ensues.
Victor wakes and finds Lily humming to herself as she makes breakfast. What a good little housewife. She sees he’s awake, smiles, comes over, kisses him, and asks how he likes his eggs. He grins and kisses her.
Kali takes a little box and pair of scissors out of a hidden pocket on her dress and snips a bit of Malcolm’s hair as he sleeps. She tucks it into the box, then climbs back into bed beside him, urging him to sleep, because he’s got a long day ahead.
Dorian watches Angelique get ready and asks how they should spend their day. She plans to do a walk of shame and, to avoid further instances of that, asks if she can have a drawer or something at his place. He’s cool with that and even suggests shopping on Bond Street. She hesitantly asks if that’ not a bit…public, but that’s exactly what Dorian wants. ‘In this house we celebrate the unusual; we set the tune the world follows,’ he says, exhibiting a rather overblown image of himself. Dorian, may I point out that you were not the one who got spat on just last night. Apparently he has forgotten all about that, and so has Angelique, because when when Dorian proposes throwing a ball to give Angelique a ‘proper coming out’ she doesn’t even balk. What an incredibly terrible idea this is. First off, homosexual acts were quite illegal in Britain at this time, and showing off your transgender girlfriend in the most public way you can think of is practically suicidal. This is also really selfish: Angelique just said not twelve hours ago that she’s tired of fighting and being mocked, and here you are, setting her up in public to be…what, celebrated? This is just Dorian wanting to shock people because that’s his thing. Dick.
Malcolm returns home, all: ‘isn’t it a nice day? What a splendid day! Why is everyone so solemn? Beautiful day!’ Vanessa gently takes him into the sitting room and breaks the news that Lady M is dead. Ethan stands by, just in case he’s needed for some reason, and Sembene too. Malcolm asks how it happened and Vanessa says the woman committed suicide. Malcolm calmly observes that that doesn’t sound like Gladys. Furthermore, when he hears she did it in the bedroom, he blithely remarks that he’ll have to have the carpet replaced. Oh well, easy come, easy go. He leaves, and all the others are just standing around with their WTF faces on.
Malcolm heads upstairs, humming cheerfully. The stab Kali’s made in his neck seems to have bled a fair bit.
Meanwhile, Kali makes a Malcolm doll. Of course. She pumps the tiny heart in it, speaking Verbis Diablo, and it begins to beat. She kisses the doll, because it’s been about three seconds since she was last creepy.
Lavinia explains to Caliban that they have someone else do the initial moulding of their figures, she just gives them that final touch of life. I was wondering about that. He compliments her skill and she says she thinks her blindness makes her more sensitive to the nuances. She calls him over and takes his hand, then notes that it’s unnaturally cold. She asks him why, despite knowing Caliban’s a kind man, she’s frightened? Before he can answer, her father comes in and sends Cal to fetch some blood, but before he does that, he gets a head’s up that they’ll be adding in some new attractions soon, nothing to bother himself over, though. Once they’re gone, Lavinia tries to collect herself.
Ethan, Vanessa, and Sembene agree that there’s something really not right about Malcolm right now. Sembene goes out briefly, then announces a visitor for Ethan. It’s the sole survivor of the Mariner’s Inn massacre. Ethan asks to see the man alone. The guy checks out and compliments the surroundings. Ethan asks what he wants. The guy wants Ethan to come back to America, but Ethan’s not interested. He tells the guy he’ll kill him if he sees him around the house again. The guy practically shrugs, which is ballsy, faced with someone who could take the other half of his face off fairly easily. He then threatens to go after Vanessa or the others if Ethan leaves or falls asleep, which frankly just seems suicidal. He sees himself out.
Putney is still trying to convince his wife that the freak show is the thing, but his daughter’s more interested in telling them that there’s something off about their new employee. She says it’s like he’s not really alive. Putney is interested.
Vanessa goes through the translations they’ve managed so far with Victor, who says that he doesn’t really see what use this is. Vanessa says it must have a purpose and he dismissively says that not everything does. ‘You sound like my friend, Mr Clare,’ she comments. That gets his attention. She calls Clare a kindred spirit and wonders if it was random fate that they met, or some plan. She changes topics to Lily, asking how she is. ‘Functioning,’ Victor replies. She tells him not to be so coy and he admits that his whole life he thought he thought he was just going to be this disjointed, freakish thing and be different from everyone else, but it turns out he’s like everyone else after all. He does confess that the thing with Lily is complicated, which is putting it mildly, but Vanessa says that relationships can just be like that.
Dorian then shows up with an invitation to his ball. Vanessa introduces Victor and Dorian invites him as well. The more the merrier!
Vanessa goes upstairs to Malcolm’s room, where he’s contemplating shaving off his beard because he thinks it makes him look older.
Malcolm: Sure, sure! Oh, BTW, not going to my wife’s funeral. Far too busy in London! What’s that, an invitation to a ball? Par-tay! Hope you can find yourself a date, Vanessa, ‘cuz I’m taken now.
Lyle’s meeting with Kali, who tells him she’s going to the ball with Malcolm, of course. He asks if that’s wise, since Vanessa will be there, though it seems that if Vanessa were going to recognize Kali, she would have already. Kali figures he admires Vanessa and he admits she’s an interesting creature. Kali starts talking about some of the crazy things women have done, historically, to hold onto youth and beauty. ‘Such a price we pay,’ she sighs. She tells Lyle that she didn’t turn from God, he turned from her and the others. From everyone, in fact. She urges Lyle to look around and try to find Him in this life of perpetual misery and suffering. She tiredly says they must carry on and earn their reward fro the Master: to live forever while the world suffers. Sounds like a crap reward, and she agrees with me.
Victor returns home to find Lily making dinner (mmm, shepherd’s pie). He tells her about the invitation to the ball and says they’ll have to prepare her for it. She promises to work really hard so as not to embarrass him. He catches her in his arms and whirls her around. She asks who’s giving the ball and he replies that it’s a guy he just met that day, someone named Dorian Gray. Oh, this is gonna be awkward.
Putney’s out on the street trying to draw in punters. Ethan visits and checks out the Mariner’s Inn display, which is grisly indeed. Rusk joins him and asks if the depiction of the inn is realistic. Ethan says the place didn’t leave much of an impression. He asks if the crime scene is accurate and Rusk says it is, frighteningly so, but there was more cannibalism in real life. It was more like what you see animals doing, actually. Rusk asks Ethan why he’s there and says he thinks the murderer is returning to the scene of the crime, in a sense. He whispers that he knows Ethan is involved, and he’ll find proof, he always does. And if that doesn’t work, Ethan’s guilt is sure to gnaw at him until he can’t stand it anymore.
Ethan returns home and Vanessa asks if he might accompany her to the ball on Friday. He thinks for a second and then tells her he can’t.
A ball! Drink! It’s lavish and crowded. Lyle arrives with Hecate, who asks if he’ll dance with her. He puts her off and then calls her out on playing games. He asks if her mother’s aware of them. Hecate replies that her mother has games of her own, but Hecate’s are more far sighted.
Dorian makes a grand entrance with Angelique on his arm, as the assembled guests applaud and don’t even blink at Angelique’s appearance, which I find very unlikely. Victorian high society did not cheerfully party with rich men’s mistresses or transgender people. Not out in the open and in mixed company like this.
Victor and Lily arrive, she dressed like a fairy princess in pink satin. She gazes at the spectacle in wonder. They find Lyle and he introduces Hecate. Lily compliments the scarab brooch Hecate’s wearing. Hecate asks Victor if he’ll dance with her but he says he’s promised to Lily. Lily keeps looking around and admits she has a funny feeling she’s been here before. Victor doubts that. They dance. Once the waltz ends, Dorian finds them and is introduced to Lily. Both Dorian and Lily get, ‘hey, you look familiar’ looks on their faces. Dorian introduces Angelique, then invites Lily for a dance. Angelique suggests she and Victor go get some champagne. He glumly says he doesn’t drink spirits. ‘I won’t hold that against you,’ she says, steering him towards a waiter. Heh.
Dorian compliments Lily’s dancing and asks if she likes the room. She admits that all the paintings staring at her make her feel nervous. He says he feels like they’ve met before, maybe in another lifetime. She isn’t sure if there are other lifetimes. Of course, he thinks there are. He notes that her hands are chilly but says they suit her, because they feel like marble. Well, that’s a bit creepy.
Victor watches them dance like he’s hoping Dorian will burst into flame under his gaze.
At Malcolm’s, Ethan goes to the kitchen, starts making some coffee, and then asks Sembene for help with something.
Vanessa arrives at the ball—without an escort, Hecate notes, shocked. Geez, it’s not the prom, is it really the end of the world if you go stag? Interestingly, the dress she’s wearing matches Hecate’s almost perfectly. Lyle asks Hecate not to hurt Vanessa and she tells him it’s fine, nobody can lay a finger on Vanessa.
Vanessa locates Victor, who introduces Angelique. Vanessa’s clearly a little surprised but is still polite and says all the right things. The dance ends and Dorian and Lily join them. Vanessa compliments Lily’s dress and Dorian agrees that some women should only wear pale colours (Angelique gives a great side eye there). Victor tries to steal her away for another dance, but she asks if she can stay and talk instead. Angelique asks for a dance from Dorian and Dorian says they’ll go in a moment, after a toast. Victor quickly says that Lily doesn’t drink spirits. Lily asks if she can just have a sip. It’s a party, after all! Dorian toasts to their glorious evening.
Malcolm, now beardless—get the beard back, Malcolm!—arrives with Kali on his arm. Lily and Dorian are dancing again, and Victor’s pouting off to the side. Vanessa tells him to chill, because Dorian’s just being polite. Victor sighs that he wanted her to have a new life, and now she does. She takes his hand comfortingly, but then starts to get distracted by a sort of buzzing/ringing noise. Kali and Malcolm join them and Kali reminds Vanessa of the séance that went so terribly poorly. Instead of running screaming from the room at the memory, Vanessa smiles and shakes the woman’s hand. Malcolm goes to get drinks and Vanessa tells Kali that Malcolm’s a changed man since he met Kali, and she clearly doesn’t mean that in a good way. She tells Kali that she was friends with Malcolm’s daughter and his wife.
Kali: Shame about that, I know. But whatever, nobody even noticed, because if they did, they’d realize it’s wildly inappropriate for him to be bringing a date to a party mere days after the tragic death of his wife. Let’s just forget about it, shall we?
Vanessa says warningly that she’s a friend who cares a great deal for Malcolm’s welfare. Kali purrs that she really wants to be welcome in Vanessa’s life, and Vanessa proposes Kali come visit the house sometime. Kali agrees…someday.
Ethan and Sembene go down to the cellar and Ethan asks to be chained up. Once that’s done he tells Sembene to sit in a chair just out of reach and tells him not to move, whatever happens. Sembene asks what he’s supposed to do and Ethan just tells him to watch.
Malcolm and Kali dance while Vanessa looks on broodingly. Victor scolds Lily, telling her not to embarrass him, and Vanessa notices this as well. She’s joined by Lyle and they agree this really isn’t their scene. He eyes Hecate, who’s been joined by the other two girls in the coven, and he hastily asks to escort Vanessa home. She agrees, just asking to say goodnight to Victor first. She makes her way towards him, but the buzzing starts up again, as Hecate and the other two approach her. The music gets discordant, and Vanessa begins to waver. She looks at her hand and sees two drops of blood appear there. As she looks up at the ceiling, it begins to rain blood in sheets, all over the room. Nobody else seems to notice—the orchestra continues to play, the dancers to swirl. Vanessa is looking increasingly terrified and finally collapses. People rush to help her, Victor reaching her first, followed quickly by Lyle.
Ethan steps into the light of the full moon streaming through the cellar window, then starts writhing and screaming as he transforms into a werewolf and lunges at Sembene, who’s the only person surprised by this turn, because all the rest of us totally already knew that, right?