Golden Armchair Awards 2016: The People


The holidays are approaching, 2016 is (finally!) drawing to a close, and that means it’s time to look back and smile or shake our heads at all that happened this year in the world of costume dramas. First: let’s vote on the characters we loved, hated, and will miss.

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Penny Dreadful: Perpetual Night

Penny-Dreadful-Perpetual-Night-3x08-promotional-picture-penny-dreadful-39713396-500-333Previously on Penny Dreadful: Dorian got bored and handed Lily off to Victor to be cured, and Vanessa hooked up with Sweet and brought about the End of Days.

London’s now overrun by a thick fog and rats and frogs and things, which are coming out of the sewers in actual waves. I never really thought of frogs as night creatures—the ones we had in our pond when I was growing up were fairly active during the day.

Seward finds Renfield (looking pretty cadaverous now) listening to Vanessa’s sessions and demands he get lost. He informs her he’s been freelancing for Dracula, rips the guts right out of a frog and eats them, and attacks her. Seward manages to incapacitate him and somehow, despite all the chaos, gets him committed to Bedlam.

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Penny Dreadful: A Blade of Grass

pennydreadful3040075rjpgPreviously on Penny Dreadful: Vanessa found out that Dracula’s met up with her before—when she was a patient at the Banning Clinic—so she demanded Seward hypnotize her so she could remember. At the start of the hypnosis, she discovered that the orderly at the clinic was none other than Cal.

Seward asks Vanessa to describe the orderly, which takes us back to Vanessa in the Clinic, literally clawing the walls. Cal brings her food, but she refuses to eat, and after a few (or several) days of this, he gently urges her to eat, warning her that starving herself will have consequences. Those consequences are forced feeding, which Cal has to administer. Well, this relationship’s gotten off to a great start. Cal clearly hates doing this.

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Penny Dreadful: Good and Evil Braided Be

penny_dreadful_3-3Previously on Penny Dreadful: Lily and Dorian adopted a young woman so they could start building an army to get revenge on horrible men. Victor began working with Jekyll to find a cure for Lily, Ethan was freed by his inner werewolf and Hecate, and Vanessa started seeing a psychiatrist and dating Dracula (though she doesn’t know about that last bit).

Ethan dreams of seeing Kaetenay again, and this time the man’s face is covered in blood. Ethan wakes in a barn with Hecate sitting nearby, watching him. She offers him water, face glowing like a true fangirl, and he takes it, hesitantly. He realises he has to get away, because the authorities will be after him soon for the latest massacre. Hecate insists on going with him, and when he tries to shake her, she points out that she not only followed him across an ocean and a continent, she also kind of just saved his ass, so he doesn’t get to order her to get lost.

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Penny Dreadful: Night of the Living Dead

PennyDreadful_108_1469.r_article_story_largePreviously on Penny Dreadful: Caliban wanted a girlfriend, Ethan’s girlfriend lay dying, and Vanessa’s love life led to her being possessed, though on the upside, she found out where Mina is during said possession.

Vanessa tells Malcolm she thinks Mina’s trying to be found, at the theatre. Malcolm’s somewhat encouraged, but there’s a hard truth he has to face: if Mina can’t be saved, he’ll have to kill her. He goes to contact the boys so they can all go to the theatre after it closes. Alone, Vanessa looks contemplative, and then senses something. A moment later, Sembene announces that a gentleman is there to see her. It’s Dorian, as she knows, and he’s rather cutely like a schoolboy with a crush. Vanessa invites him to sit and he politely says it’s good to see her doing better. He babbles about having gone travelling while she was ill, hitting up Italy for some shopping, as you do. Noting her tarot cards, he asks her to read his future. She wearily says she’s not sure he has one. He asks to read his past, but she says that would rob him of his mystery. He desperately tries to ask her out, but she lies that she’s permanently busy. He tells her he’ll be waiting for her somewhere at four o’clock that afternoon. She shortly informs him that their time together is done and sweeps out.

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Penny Dreadful: The Beast Within

Episode 107Previously on Penny Dreadful: Vanessa’s sexy date with Dorian was interrupted by the arrival of her old possession demon friend.

Vanessa reclines on a sofa in the sitting room, a steaming cup of tea at her side, musing on how messed up Victorian ideas of feminine beauty are, while Malcolm listens nearby. Malcolm tells her that the evening before she went into some bizarre fit. She’s oddly relaxed about that and apparently doesn’t remember it. She starts chatting and it quickly becomes obvious she’s channeling Mina. She’s got that little kid voice on again and babbles about how her fat mother cried in her loneliness whenever he was away, and that he hated her for being fat and preferred pursuing lean ladies. Her voice growing dark, she tells him to tell her about the other women, scolding him for not going to Mrs Ives’s funeral. She goes on to list the other women he was with, the prostitutes in Zanzibar and the native women he met along his journeys. He tries to contain his rage as she goes on, and then her anger starts to create a hurricane in the room powerful enough to throw furniture and books around. She stares at him as Sembene comes in and Malcolm looks helpless. Sembene takes things into his own hands and hits her twice, knocking her out. The enchantment breaks. He takes her upstairs as Malcolm looks at the wreckage of the room.

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Penny Dreadful: Getting Freaky

d5f453e564b197d19539901c332e2aa7Previously on Penny Dreadful: Vanessa started flirting with Dorian, who apparently slept with Ethan after a strange night at the theatre and perhaps too much absinthe. Ethan was dating Brona, the dying prostitute, who told him she was too lost a cause and he should just eff off already. Caliban wanted a girlfriend and threatened to take out anyone Victor passes the time of day with if he didn’t produce a girl immediately, and Malcolm lost his best link to the creature that has Mina.

In the immediate aftermath of the events from two weeks ago, Vanessa and Malcolm discuss the appearance of the creature and Fenton’s death. She refuses to stay in the room and he asks if she sensed anything the night before. She did not, because she can’t just summon these things at will. She can’t? She seemed pretty possessed of her abilities in the premiere. He accuses her of having forgotten Mina and why they’re doing this and reminds her that he lost his family. Speaking of, whatever happened to his wife? She just disappeared without an explanation. Same with Vanessa’s dad. She snaps that she lost her family as well and he backs down. She frowns beautifully and promises to try harder. Can anyone glower as glamorously as Eva Green?

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Penny Dreadful: Possession

Vanessa_Penny_Dreadful_Episode_5Previously on Penny Dreadful: Vanessa did something to Mina before Mina disappeared. And it’s caused a bit of tension between her and Malcolm. Also, Malcolm had a son who died.

Vanessa sits down and starts writing a letter to Mina, explaining that she started writing these letters when she recovered from her ‘illness’ and they’ve been getting gradually more frequent.

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Penny Dreadful: The Role of a Lifetime

penny4Previously on Penny Dreadful: Vanessa got flirty with Dorian Gray at a party, Ethan started sleeping with Brona, Caliban demanded a girlfriend from his maker, and the crew captured a crazy vampire named Fenton.

We open on the most laid-back, opera-laced orgy ever. It’s being held at Dorian’s, in his portrait gallery, and it seems like most of the action consists of naked people sitting around and posing fairly artistically. Some are taking opium, which explains the mood. Dorian looks bored and starts looking around at some of the portraits on the walls. Later, when everyone’s gone, he wanders through the now darkened room, still looking bored and empty. He takes a candelabra, goes through a secret door, down a hallway lined with mirrors, and into another room, where stands an enormous painting, covered in a curtain. He pulls the curtain off and blinks at the painting for a few moments, then sits down to stare at it. Sadly, we do not get to see his infamous portrait ourselves.

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