Penny Dreadful: The Witches

Penny Dreadful Series 2 Episode 201Previously on Penny Dreadful: Malcolm Murray assembled a crazy dream team to track down his be-vampired daughter, Mina. They finally managed to find her, but she was beyond saving, so they killed her instead. All good, right? It might be, if everyone else wasn’t dealing with their own dramas. Dr Frankenstein’s original monster, Caliban, resurfaces making all sorts of demands, chief amongst them: give me a girlfriend. Frankenstein stupidly decides that Ethan’s dead girlfriend, Brona, will fit the bill. And Ethan’s a werewolf. A very deadly one.

Vanessa walks through the snowy park, a dark figure against the white. She smiles at some children playing, seeming happy, for Vanessa. As she passes a statue, Mme Kali, standing next to it, begins speaking some sort of demonic language and Vanessa begins having all sorts of crazy flashes, to pentagrams and a creepy looking book and smearing blood from her fingers all over a stone. She drops to her knees and a passerby stops to help her, but she waves him off. He looks a bit alarmed and moves on.

Ethan comes to in the pub where he went to town on those Pinkertons his dad sent. Apparently he tore into everyone there, because there are bodies all over the place. Yeah, this one’s going to be hard to explain.

He makes his way to Malcolm’s, where he finds Vanessa just returning home, and asks to speak with her, not in the house. They climb back into the cab she was in and tell the driver to just go, anywhere he wants.

Inside, Ethan tells Vanessa that he has to leaveLondon. She asks why but he only says that he’s afraid of hurting her or anyone else there. HE plans to go off and find a war to join. Vanessa tells him there’s a war in London that needs fighting. A very dark war. HE admits that he’s got a dark war of his own going on, that he has these blackouts and, you know, kills people. Vanessa, of course,d oesn’t judge, just asks how she can help.

Suddenly, the carriage jerks, and the driver and horses begin screaming. After a few seconds, there’s silence, and then a trio of…female creatures of some kind start diving through the carriage windows, going after Vanessa. She and Ethan wrestle them off and the she-devils retreat, but only for a moment. When Vanessa looks up out of the carriage, one of the she-devils appears and speaks the demonic language to her. Vanessa gets fierce and speaks the language right back to the creature, which disappears. Ethan looks a little freaked out, even though he managed to pull a pretty similar trick when Vanessa was possessed last season. They climb out of the carriage and find the driver and horses dead. The she-devils are off to the side, and they swiftly transform into fairly normal-looking women, pull hoods over their faces, and walk off into the night.

At Victor’s, work is continuing on Brona. HE and Caliban prepare to lower her into the pool that’ll bring her to life and Caliban asks if she’ll remember her previous life. Victor hopes not, since her previous life kinda sucked. They lower her into the pool and settle back to wait for a storm. Since it’s pretty snowy outside, I think they’re in for kind of a long wait.

Caliban gets ready to head out and find work, which is pretty scarce for one such as him. He reminds Victor that he won’t ever be far away, like Victor could ever forget. Victor asks if Caliban will leave him alone, if this works. Caliban tells him that they’re bound together forever. ‘I ask you, what is Dr Frankenstein without his Creature?’ Caliban asks. Not a literary legend, that’s for sure.

Vanessa returns home, where she clutches a drink before the fire. Ethan fills Sembene in on what happened, telling him that these were not like the creatures they’ve encountered before. Ethan joins Vanessa by the fire, where she’s shaking and crying a little, and asks if he can do anything for her. She tells him she knew these creatures, btu she won’t tell him any more. He reminds her that they tried to kill her, but she says that, if they were really trying to kill her, they wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. She tells him to leave, since that’s what he intended to do. Instead, he promises to return the following day. Sembene sweetly wraps a shawl around her shoulders. She asks if he thinks the past can return. He believes the past never leaves us, since it’s essentially what we are.

Ethan walks out into the night, turning to look back at the house. One of the she-devils watches from a nearby rooftop.

Malcolm and his wife stand by Mina’s grave. Ahh, so this is where his wife’s been. She talks about how depressing it was, burying an empty coffin in her son’s grave, though Mina’s full coffin wasn’t much better. Malcolm suggests he come home, since they’ve been apart too much in recent years. She asks him what they would do and he reminds her that they were happy once. She turns and gives him a cold look and tells him that he was happy once, but she never was. All that was between them is now dead and buried. They’ll remain married, for decency’s sake, but she’ll live in their house in the country and he can go wherever the hell he wants. He tells her he tried really hard to save Mina but she frigidly says they have no children left for him to save or kill. Brrr, lady.

Caliban walks the streets, looking for work, but all he sees are notices of vacancies having been filled. He eyes a beggar child, looking a bit depressed, and then spots a waxworks that needs a new employee. Seems perfect: just a different type of theatre; one where there shouldn’t be too many opportunities for interpersonal conflicts. He heads inside, checking out the various historical figures, before going downstairs to the chambers of grotesqueries and gore. There, he finds the proprietor, Putney, who doesn’t seem at all disturbed by Caliban’s appearance. When Caliban asks about the job, Putney tells him that it pays terribly, since they don’t get much foot traffic. He’s hoping to change that, though, with some new exhibits of famous homicides plucked from the headlines. He shows off one tableau of the Jack the Ripper Annie Chapman murder. He’s just getting underway with the latest: Ethan’s latest massacre. Putney asks Caliban to come back that evening at 7 to meet his wife and daughter.

At the actual scene of the crime, a police inspector, Rusk, walks around the place, ignoring some guy who keeps trying to hurry him along so the owners can take the place down and build some tenement flats. The other guy guesses this is the work of the Ripper, because surely there can’t be two monsters like that in London. Rusk informs him that things are different this time: this time there’s a survivor.

Vanessa agitatedly smokes and looks out the window at people strolling below.

Downstairs, Ethan arrive sand hears from Sembene that she hasn’t left her room yet. Ethan says that he never thought he’d see her scared, after all they’ve been through.

Alone in his workshop, Victor goes over to the tank where Brona’s floating and starts chatting with her, wondering what she’ll make of this life. He talks about how much she’ll learn and further wonders who she’ll be. He begins tracing the scar that runs down her chest, and then gets really creepy and begins feeling her up. Nothing like a little necrophilia to break up the monotony of the day.

Someone knocking on the door startles him, and he opens it to find Sembene, summoning him to Malcolm’s.

Caliban returns to Putney’s and meets his icy bitch of a wife, who tells him he’s facing long hours, boring work, and only 15 shillings a week. Caliban’s fine with that. She asks his name and he gives her John Clare. She has him sign his name in a book and Putney suggests he meet ‘our Lavinia.’ His wife raps on a metal box and loudly calls for Lavinia to come meet their new hire. A young woman, clearly blind, comes in and asks to touch Caliban’s face. He tells her it’s not a face for touching, and she says that she has no other way to meet him. He allows it and she gently runs her hands over his face, feeling his scars. She smiles and says it’s good to meet him. Putney asks her to see Caliban out. They’re barely throught eh door before his wife starts complaining about how Caliban will scare away what few customers they have. He harshly tells her to shut up, because Caliban’s face will make their fortune.

Malcolm finally arrives home and Vanessa races right into his arms, like a frightened daughter. Malcolm turns to the boys, hovering in the sitting room, with a WTF happened? Face on.

Murray and Victor get caught up on what happened. Vanessa tells them that the women bore the devil’s mark. These are not the creatures they faced before. Victor notes that her pulse is a bit erratic and suggests she rest. Malcolm gently asks about the language they spoke and Vanessa informs him it was the verbis Diablo, a dead language, the word of the devil. It’s supposed to be an inversion of the angelic language. Malcolm asks Vanessa if she knows what the creature said to her. She does not, she spoke entirely on instinct and doesn’t even know what she said. Malcolm’s like, ok, project! We need to figure out what’s happening here so we can protect Vanessa. She insist they can’t help her, but Malcolm says he’s not prepared to lose another daughter. Sembene asks what the women were and Vanessa says they were Nightcomers. Also known as witches.

In a large mansion somewhere, Mme Kali sings while bathing in the blood of (presumably) the dead woman lying next to the tub. What, is she Elizabeth Bathory now?

Once she’s done with her bath, she goes downstairs, where the three she-devils are waiting, along with a fourth young woman who greets her as ‘mother.’ Kali kisses her and then scolds the others for screwing up with Vanessa the night before. Her daughter, Hecate, says she should have gone, since the other three are unequal to their task. Kali says she overestimated all their powers. She’s also concerned about Ethan, Vanessa’s protector, whom Hecate refers to as ‘Lupus Dei’, adding that he’s powerful. Kali says they’ll just have to work smarter. Kali will start working on Malcolm, so they can ultimately deliver the devil his heart’s desire.

One of the others asks for another chance, explaining that she only failed because Vanessa knew the language. She’s unable to say what Vanessa said, saying it was unclear. Kali doesn’t deal well with failure and slashes the girl’s throat after telling them the history of momento mori. She orders the girl taken away and the other two non-daughters remove the dead one.

Vanessa goes upstairs and Ehtan tells Malcolm that Vanessa will speak to them in her own time, He continues that he was planning to leave, but now he doesn’t think he should. He doesn’t even think he should leave the house.

A storm’s coming in. Victor hurries home, where Caliban’s waiting for him,  and starts preparing for the (re)birth. Caliban lends a hand when asked. Lightening flashes, thunder cracks, Victor reels off instructions. Caliban begs her to live. Victor throws some levers. ‘Let her live now!’ Caliban bellows. ‘Now! Now!’ both men begin shouting, though it kind of sounds like Victor could be saying ‘No!’ Lightening strikes and everything lights up as Caliban is thrown backwards, away from the pool. He recovers, gets up, and approaches. Smoke rises from the water, and then, so does Brona. One hand tentatively curls over the edge of the tub, followed by the rest of her. She rises and stands before them, shivering and confused.

Vanessa stares up at the crucifix on her wall. Ethan slowly approaches her room and they lock eyes for a few moments before he goes into the guest room next door and she closes her door. Once alone, she places two candlesticks on the floor, takes a set of nail clippers or something out of a drawer, and cuts her thumb, drawing blood. With her bloody thumb, she begins tracing over the floor, not really forming anything particularly recognizable, but man, did she bleed a lot. Did she hit an artery? She looks up again at the crucifix and begins to pray in Latin.

Kali, meanwhile, cuts her own thumb and draws an upside-down cross on her forehead. She begins to speak to Lucifer, promising to assault Vanessa day and night. She promises over and over again not to fail him, then begins speaking the Verbis Diablo.

Vanessa continues praying desperately in Latin, her voice overlapping Kali’s. The lightening briefly illuminates the three she-devils in Vanessa’s room. Vanessa turns and they’re gone. Well, that’s a nice, creepy start.



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