Penny Dreadful Review: Voices of the Dead

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The shocks came fast and furiously on Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 2.

I remember calling the premiere episode of this series frightening and sorrowful. Well, now I can add shocking as well.

Madame Kali

There were so many unbelievably outrageous moments in this episode that it’s almost hard to know where to begin or even how to decide which was more scandalous than the last. Perhaps I’ll just start with the ending and go from there.

In order to talk about the ending, though, I must discuss what came before. Once again, I found myself entranced with Frankenstein and Porteus. I felt drawn into Porteus’ eyes and the innocence behind them.

Victor, what am I?


In other depictions of the story, Frankenstein’s creation is always portrayed as a monster, but I couldn’t get over how sweet Porteus was. Surely, they were going with a completely different portrayal in this series.

Or, maybe not.

In the last minute, poor Porteus was ripped literally in half by another monster. A monster that called himself Frankenstein’s “firstborn.” With that, it appeared we had met the real Frankenstein’s monster of this series.

Another shock (or rather, a bunch of shocks) came from the seance. Vanessa was skeptical about the whole thing, but something tells me she wasn’t after it was all over. Voices came out of her that I hope do not visit my dreams tonight or I fear I will never sleep again.

Galsworthy: They're not for the faint hearted.
Sir Malcolm: My heart has never fainted.

I thought her speaking as Sir Malcolm’s dead son was bad enough, but then a Greek goddess has her way with Vanessa and suddenly the show is introducing a pretty heavy duty myth arc. It involves powerful gods and a spell that will bring a beast and the end of the world.

So much for a simple, if frightening, show depicting characters from classic horror stories in a new light. Now there’s an apocalypse brewing and that always makes for a good show.

You see, you're hunting for a man. You need to start hunting for a beast.

Sir Malcolm

More shocking moments came from the introduction of a couple of new characters, including Dorian Gray and the hooker with a heart of gold known as Brona. When you’ve got a series on Showtime, you know you’re going to see some serious sex scenes, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one involving a guy who got turned on by doing it up against a wall with a woman specifically because she was dying of a horrible disease.

This second episode definitely brought the series to an entirely new place for me. While I was interested after the premiere, I am starting to feel an obsession coming on for this show.

Ethan: Brona?
Brona: It's Gaelic.
Ethan: What does it mean?
Brona: Sadness

Considering the frightening theme of this series, I have decided to list out the episode’s freakiest bits in lieu of my favorite bits. Feel free to share you favorite or freakiest bits in the comments below. I love hearing from you guys!

Freakiest bits:

  • The metal clanging that came down the darkened street.
  • The lamp-lighter’s fire falling in the fog.
  • The dark figure coming out of the fog.
  • The arm and the apple. That is all.
  • Dorian licking the blood off of Brona’s lips. Creepy.
  • Dorian remarking that he’d never screwed a dying creature before. Just, wow.
  • Brona spitting blood all over Dorian.
  • Madame Kali’s voice whispering, then snarling, then speaking in tongues.
  • The voices that came out of Vanessa during the seance. Especially the song. Oh my god, that song.
  • Vanessa hissing like a snake and everything she (it??) said after that.
  • The hands coming out of Proteus and tearing him in half!?!?!

What scene did you find the most shocking in this episode?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (27 Votes)

Just no one does completely OTT while looking utterly gorgeous all the time quite like Eva Greene! That seance scene was terrific and set the plotline for the whole series. She's being hunted by Satan. Yup. Sounds like a season 2 to me. And poor Porteus at the end. He was so sweet. The memories of his wife by the harbour. But the firstborn looks like being a fun edition to the show. All in all, a sure start to a great looking series. It just needs to make sure it doesn't use the same scenes as 'Dracula' when it films. I was sure I was getting deja vu a couple of times.

Amy jackey

I think this show is better than Salem.


HOLY MOLLY !!!!!!! What the heck did I just watch !! I loved it ! The pilot was exciting, but this episode was on a totally different level !
I'm like WHAAAAAAT !!!!! Michelle, the freaky moments you listed were accurate ! I'll add the discovery made by that crazy man about the Egyptian gods (not Greek btw), Vanessa screwing that guy in the streets, just like that, Proteus getting his memories back including the singing and the reading (good freaky). I want more of this show !!! The monster finally appears. So sad for Proteus though...
Am I the only one who thinks that Vanessa is very powerful ? Everytime she prayed it would turn out quite freaky, she also stopped the vampire in its track and was possessed in a very strong way. It seems that she has a powerful connection to the other world...


I agree totally!! The premier got me hooked but this episode was again amazing. I decided to watch because I love Eva Green but everyone else is fantastic as well. I really liked Porteus. the ending had me yelling at the tv in shock, anger, and because I was scared.


I totally agree with you Michelle the premiere made me curious, but now I'm officially hooked. Penny Dreadful is probably the creepiest/goriest series I've seen in a long time that is also unique and well written. Brilliant horror? Who the heck's ever heard of such a thing? Wish this was Netflix though, I'd have binge-watched all 8 episodes by now!

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Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

Ethan: Brona?
Brona: It's Gaelic.
Ethan: What does it mean?
Brona: Sadness

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My mother taught me many things. Among the most useful is that one must always have Shakespeare at hand.