Penny Dreadful – “What Death Can Join Together” Review. Unleashed.
Season 1, Episode 6
Air Date: Sunday, June 15, 2014, 10PM E/P on Showtime
“No more let life divide what death can join together...” – Victor
Control. We all think we have it in regards to ourselves. We control our urges, suppress dark desires, and even deny our deepest, primal instincts for fear of judgment and retribution. What happens when you give in, just a little, to those urges? What happens when you give up a bit of control and let the darkness in? For Vanessa (Eva Green), bad things happen when she lets her hair down, so to speak.
Penny Dreadful does it again with “What Death Can Join Together,” as we are taken on a journey down a dark lane full of malice, mayhem, and a dash of penitence. We get a little sampling from all the major players, Dorian (Reeve Carney), Ethan (Josh Hartnett), Brona (Billie Piper), Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), Sembene (Danny Sapani), Mina (Olivia Llewellyn), and of course, the mysterious Vanessa Ives.
While we don’t get to see anything in regards to what actually transpired between Dorian and Ethan, we do see Brona again. Her health is rapidly deteriorating and in spite of himself, Ethan continues to kiss her to show how much he cares for her. I’m a bit wary of them professing their love after such a short courtship, but love can be a mysterious thing. The sound department gets an A+ for making Brona’s coughing so realistic. You almost believe Piper has consumption the way she coughs so violently, her teeth stained with blood. I’ve a Wild Hair Theory about Brona and her fate. What if Brona can be cured using some of the blood they extracted from the creature’s corpse in “Night Work?” Of course, this would essentially be damning her to an eternal life of blood drinking, but at least she wouldn’t be completely dead. I originally thought Brona might become a project of Victor’s but now I’m not so sure. I also thought perhaps she could have a portrait made, similar to Dorian’s; a portrait that can absorb her ailments.
Sir Malcolm takes a bold step in venturing to the boat docks to investigate a “quarantined” ship from Cairo, Egypt. I knew he was going to find something but I didn’t expect it to be so profound. Taking Sembene and Ethan along for the ride is a smart move, but I am in agreement with Sembene’s earlier sentiments about if and when they find Mina. What if she cannot be saved as Sir Malcolm so wholeheartedly believes? At the end of “Closer Than Sisters,” Vanessa says something that strikes a chord –she loves Mina enough to kill her. I don’t think Sir Malcolm can. Speaking of Sir Malcolm, I must say how impressed I am with Dalton’s performance. He becomes Sir Malcolm, a tenebrous man, who has woven a web around us, encasing us with his distinguished brilliance in order to hide his darkest fears. Dalton commands the screen, and for a man who is 70 years old, he is still quite handsome.
Victor consults with his trusted friend and colleague Professor Van Helsing (David Warner) regarding the blood curse afflicting Mina. I love the relationship these two men have—the elder taking the younger under his wing like a father would his son, with a mutual respect for each other’s individuality and areas of expertise. Van Helsing reveals something to Victor about creatures known as “vampires” but it would seem Victor isn’t ready to share his story about his own creation at this juncture. Treadaway brilliantly portrays Victor’s internal conflict and anguish with such tenacity. You believe Treadaway harbors dark secrets, and has a creature terrorizing him. Speaking of said creature, Caliban (Rory Kinnear) is both monstrous and pitiful. One moment he weeps because the girl he fancies doesn’t see him as he sees her. Next, he becomes a ruthless killer, destroying another person in Victor’s life to prove he’s superior. Will Victor be able to create a female companion for Caliban or will the pain of losing another friend be too much?
Finally, the moment I’ve been waiting for since these two met in “Séance,” Dorian and Vanessa come together in a carnal way. Something about these two is electric. Carney is absolutely mesmerizing as Dorian. The way he walks, the way he smirks, and definitely the way he talks, all invoke something primal in me just watching him on screen. I want to unbutton my blouse, trail my finger down my neck… It seems the effect he has on Vanessa is similar but what happens when she lets her guard down is terrifying. Their passionate display of affection becomes marred when Vanessa hears a voice from her past. The ending of “What Death Can Join Together” leaves me in agony for the next episode.
The dark forces that so desperately want Vanessa are inching closer and closer. Will she be able to repel them long enough to save Mina, or will she make the ultimate sacrifice? And Dorian has a secret of his own. Remarkable how his wounds healed, isn’t it? Will we ever see what Dorian sees down in the mirrored room?
Let me know what you thought of “What Death Can Join Together.” Leave me a comment below or tweet me @judybopp. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Tune in to Penny Dreadful, Sundays at 10PM E/P, only on Showtime.