Penny Dreadful Pilot Episode : Night Work
June 25, 2014
So I started watching this awesome series from Showtime, Penny Dreadful. I was so excited to blog about it but I finished the first seven episodes of the season first. I rewatched the first episode a while ago as I wasn’t paying attention to the pilot for more than half of the episode. I will try to write my initial reactions as accurately as possible. It’s kind of hard because I am already biased for I’m almost done with this season. But then, here are my thoughts and first impressions. This is not exactly a coherent review (I tend to be so biased lol) but beware of major spoilers 🙂 You’ve been warned!
By the way, season finale is next week already! Can’t believe that it’s only eight episodes, it’s too short 🙁
This series is very dark. Literally. I did not bother to edit the screenshots posted here so you can actually see the *feel* of this series. I love old-looking shows and Penny Dreadful captured the 19th century beautifully. The costumes were well-made, as well as the set, the props, and pretty much everything else. The opening credits were pretty awesome too:
First shot of Eva Green. Every scene in this episode (spoiler : in every episode~) is screenshot-worthy! 🙂
And then there’s Josh Hartnett shooting guns :)) I kind of laughed when I first saw him with that hideous hair and mustache :)) Apparently it’s just part of his cowboy costume. He still has long hair though. He’s almost invisible from the limelight these past few years and this is his major comeback in acting. Good job, Sir. Never had a crush on him but I was familiar with his movies because before there’s Chris Evans or Ian Somerhalder or Chris Hemsworth… Well, there’s Josh Hartnett.
This remains a mystery to me even until now… I wonder where he’s from. I mean, he’s American, but what was he really doing there aside from shooting clay figures (and having sex with women he didn’t bother knowing the names)?
Here’s Ms. Vanessa Ives portrayed by the very beautiful Eva Green. I admit I haven’t watched ANY of her movies but she reminds me so much of Madeleine Stowe’s Victoria Grayson from Revenge. Heh. Anyway, in this scene, she asked Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) to accompany her for a “night work”. Ethan asked a lot of questions and when he was about to agree, he asked her to smile for him first. Ta-da~ Creepy.
And then they met Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) in a dark alley (hmmm…) and he told Ethan to shoot and don’t hesitate. It was revealed later on that a creature took Sir Malcom’s daughter, Mina, and that they have to save her.
FYI, I never liked random creatures popping out of nowhere. I don’t find them scary at all (but ghosts terrify me a lot, it gives me nightmares!) so when my brother and I first watched it, we were like, “Eh. Boring. All they do is talk.”. I watched Penny Dreadful because someone tweeted about it and how good the show is. There were screencaps of butchered body parts too so I was really excited! I LOVE slasher movies I’m so sorry :)) But then it turned out to be a show with a whole lot of talking and not much plot. Boy, I was wrong. And certainly, I wasn’t paying attention.
The trio went inside this dark place and then there’s these creatures who were supposedly the villains~ They talked gibberish and the next thing I know, there were shooting guns and slashing swords, and all that. It was kind of nice but it was so dark I barely see anything!
They *won* the batlle and looked for Mina but they can’t find her. Then the Master of the house appeared and attacked Ethan but surprisingly stopped when Ms. Ives confronted him (it!).
First look at the said creature and I rolled my eyes when I saw it. It was scary, but not my type of scary. And I don’t really understand what’s going on in the first place. I don’t know why he has Mina, what it is, his motives, etc. All I know is that he was the Master and there were lots of dead* girls with white hair and all-black eyes inside the house. When they realized that Mina wasn’t there, Sir Malcolm killed the monster with his sword.
After killing the monster, they went straight to a sassy Doctor / surgeon who refused to examine the body. He was so arrogant and dismissive but when he saw the body, he acted like he knew everything and spoke a lot of Doctor-ish stuff that I don’t understand more than half of. Heh.
Didn’t know how long it took him to realize that the dead body is not…human. So after further examination, he cut open the skin of the monster, and poof! Egyptian hieroglyphics! *rolls eyes once again* When will this end?!
Next scene would be of Ethan and Vanessa, talking AGAIN. I always watch TV Shows with subtitles so I can understand better (idk I just don’t understand anything by just listening to the characters talk, I HAVE TO read what they are talking about) but even with subs, I found it hard to understand. When I first watched it, I was playing with my phone, or eating, or just doing random things. All I know is that I didn’t concentrate at all and was so bored. I had high expectations like more fight scenes, or more scary stuff, but nothing happened and the episode is for almost an hour. It felt like forever, tbh.
Anyway, back to them, Vanessa asked Ethan to pick a card, not randomly but to look into her eyes and ~feel~ the card. He got the lovers card but 7 episodes later, I’m still not sure what it meant.
I liked the relationship between Sir Malcolm and Vanessa though. Not much has been said about them but I see them as Father and Daughter. They live together anyway. I’m pretty sure there is a similar scene like this in one of the future episodes…
This scene focused on one of the most brutal murders in the area, the mother and her child (they were the same mother and daughter in the opening scene if I’m not mistaken) were killed. There was a lot of blood and body parts were everywhere. And then Ethan went to the crime scene and there was this lady who stared at him like he did the crime. I’m not sure what was happening here but maybe Ethan had something to do with the killings??? Also, people were talking about Jack the Ripper! I didn’t know he already existed during that time… LOL.
Sir Malcolm gave the Doctor a suit and had it delivered to his house. I squeed a little inside since I was used to seeing him in high-waist pants and suspenders so the Doctor in a suit is something I kind of looked forward to. He was invited to dinner by Malcolm who wanted to convince him to take part in this search for Mina.
Suits him well, right? 🙂 He looks like a little boy! But the actor, Harry Treadaway, is almost 30 years old already! Good to know 😛
There is only one worthy goal for scientific exploration: piercing the tissue that separates life from death. Everything else from the deep bottom of the sea, to the top of the highest mountain, on the farthest planet, i s i n s i g n i f i c a n t. Life and death, sir malcolm. the flicker that separates one from the other. Fast as a bat’s wing. More beautiful than any sonnet – that is my river. That is my mountain. There, i will plant my flag.
Aaaah, this guy is so poetic and I love it! I love his voice, how he talks, how he is the only thing that’s not putting me to sleep.
Love this, too:
Sir Malcolm: You have the soul of a poet, sir.
Doctor: And the bank account to match.
So yep, the doctor is in!!! 😀
There were so many shots of Ethan in a coat and hat staring into Sir Malcolm’s mansion. Maybe because he was interested on joining them, but can’t really decide until he gets answers.
As soon as Sir Malcolm is home, he went straight to his room and sensed something was wrong. We then caught a glimpse of Mina, her lost daughter. Of course there wouldn’t be a main plot anymore so in a split second, Mina transformed into some kind of a vampire-ish creature.
Sir Malcolm told Vanessa this and judging their expressions alone, something’s up. It’s frustrating how you want it the episode to end but you’re dying to at least get some answers!
And how can you explain all the spiders? There were several scenes in this particular episode where Vanessa was praying (in Latin?) and then all these spiders came out from who-knows-where. I thought there would be some kind of posession and exorcism, but nope, none.
Fast forward to my favorite character so far. Handsome (see? Biased.), poetic, young doctor. Thinking about it, I can’t believe how incredibly stupid I was!!! All the clues were there but I didn’t notice?! But well, it has its perks as the next scene almost made my heart stop.
*END OF EPISODE*
OF COURSE, the Doctor is Victor Frankenstein!! THE Frankenstein!!! Before this turn into random fangirly stuff, let me tell you that I HAD NO IDEA what Penny Dreadful is about! I didn’t even know what it meant and didn’t bother to look it up. Just wanted to surprise myself, I guess. So for almost the whole episode, I was like, “Blah blah blah, please end already” and then THIS scene happened! It was perfection. After he said that his name is Victor Frankenstein, *boom* blackout. Genius. That got me totally hooked and craved for more. I sort of actually squeaked, “Now THAT got my attention! Finally!“.
I’m not sure when I first fell in love with Frankenstein’s story… Maybe since I was a child and I learned that he’s not the monster but the doctor? I haven’t read the book but I loved the movie (don’t know which one, sadly. have to find it!) so I always correct people whenever they refer to the monster as Frankenstein. Heh. Anyway, how could I not notice?! Victorian Era, London, creatures, doctor, surgery, LIGHTNING?! What was I thinking! But it was so worth it! Gahd. I am so in love with that scene and Harry Treadaway’s acting is by far, the best in this episode. I don’t think I can watch another Frankenstein movie without comparing the actor to Treadaway, especially now that I already watched the next episodes.
Good thing I downloaded the first three episodes right away. The next day, I watched the second episode and I think it just keeps on getting better and better. It might’ve started too slow (especially for impatient people like me lol) but you won’t regret watching the next ones. I highly recommend this and is now my current favorite show. I am so obsessed with everything Penny Dreadful! I read lots of blogs and reviews about it and made one too. I just can’t contain my emotions since I have no one to talk to about it! I wonder if I can still convince my brother to watch the rest of the episodes…
Will re-watch episode 2 next, so stay tuned for more 😉