Saturday, 11 October 2014

Penny Dreadful: Season One, Episode 4 (Demi-Monde)

"Is it poisonous?"

"Like all beautiful things, I hope so."

We begin with a mise-en-scene, Grand Guignol style, with Dorian Gray surrounded by naked beauties of both sexes. Yep; he's decadent, decidedly an aesthetic and portrayed as a combination of both his literary self and Oscar Wilde.

Vanessa, however, is infatuated with him, as a very flirty sequence illustrates; it seems the mysterious ice maiden is capable of melting. Victor is more interested in his scientific mentor, however; Abraham Van Helsing is portrayed with typical brilliance by David Warner, and seems to know a lot about the foe they face, considerably more than Sir Malcolm. 

Our tour of characters takes us next to Caliban, who seems quite the social Darwinian; like Herbert Spencer he believes in survival of the fittest, and sees himself as the first of a new master race. Hence the desire for a bride...

The wolf boy is still in Sir Malcolm's basement, needing blood; he seems to be something of a Renfield character. Next, Ethan takes Brona to see the Grand Guignol, with Dorian and Vanessa also watching and Caliban working backstage. It looks as though there's a real death on stage, but no one realises.

Our two couples meet, and Brona learns from Vanessa that Ethan lied to her about his job. She's upset, and dumps him- she's dying, in any case. We end up with a contrast between Brona, dying and now looking very ill, and Ethan, morose, being seduced by Dorian after an unpleasant afternoon's blood sports. We end on their kiss...

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