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Penny Dreadful Round Table: "Demimonde"

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The last few minutes of Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 4 delivered quite the surprise.

Join TV Fanatics Douglas Wolfe, Jim Garner, Carissa Pavlica and Michelle Carlbert as they discuss Dorian and Ethan’s relationship, Brona’s possible future and the appearance of Fenton’s dreaded Master.

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Okay, show of hands: Who was completely surprised by what happened between Ethan and Dorian at the end of this episode?

Doug: ME! I wasn't expecting that.

Carissa: Not me. Dorian appears to have that effect on people. It was kind of set up by the entire first scene. While it could have just been nudity and sex purely for salacious reasons, I hope they were setting it up for Ethan. Otherwise, what was the point?

Jim: Totally shocked the hell out of me. I've got no idea where they are going with these two.

Michelle: *Raises hand high* Up until about fifteen seconds before it happened, I had no clue that was where Dorian and Ethan were headed. I was enjoying their connection and I thought Dorian had found real insight into who Ethan was, but I hadn’t picked up anything sexual between them. Then Ethan grabbed Dorian’s throat and I knew exactly where they were headed.

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Was the kiss between Dorian and Ethan a one-time thing or do you think this will turn into an affair? 

Carissa: I don't think it really matters. I wouldn't be surprised to see them all covered in blood in one big orgy.

Doug: I really have no idea. Could be one time occurrence, or it could be an ongoing thing. Neither Dorian nor Ethan strikes me as monogamous. Except that Ethan was starting to have a thing for Brona.

Jim: Honestly, it would be one of the weirdest triangles ever. As I said above, I've got no idea where they are going with that plot.

Michelle: I think it will turn into an affair, but I can’t decide if that’s a good or a bad thing. Ethan seemed to feel very comfortable with Dorian and I think that could be good. But I also liked the way Ethan treated Brona and I had hoped those two would end up making a nice couple. As for Vanessa, I think we’re not just heading for a love triangle, but possibly a love quadrangle since she has shown an attraction to Dorian and Ethan.

Do you think that Brona could end up being Caliban’s bride?

Doug: I hope not, if only because that seems to be the most obvious outcome.

Carissa: I'm with Doug. I hope not. It is too easy, but something tells me that easy might be what they're going for. After the surprise death of Proteous, not much else has really shocked me.

Jim: TOTALLY. Great way to keep the actress on the show and tie into the TB she seems to be dying from.

Michelle: Yes. It’s the first thing I thought when I saw her lying in the street and coughing her lungs out. I also had a stray thought about maybe Ethan biting her (if he is a werewolf) and possibly saving her that way, but that seems a bit too convoluted. Who would’ve thought that the idea of her becoming Caliban’s bride would be a simpler solution?

Are you tired of waiting to find out exactly who/what Ethan is or are you enjoying the way his story is being drawn out?

Doug: Yes, but I'm also quite tired of the rest of the story lines too.

Carissa: I'm not tired of waiting, but I wish there was more going on. I don't feel invested in these people at the moment. They could take longer to draw things out if they were to make the trip worthwhile. So far, I'm not feeling it.

Jim: I'm pretty sure he's a werewolf, and I don't need to know everything, but a little forward progress wouldn't hurt.

Michelle: Yes! It’s been fun and all, but let’s find out already. I am dying to know what (or who) he really is. Even though it seems about 98% certain that he’s a werewolf, since they haven’t actually shown us that, it’s still a huge mystery.

What did you think of the appearance of Fenton’s master?

Doug: I wasn't all that impressed. Big deal. So we had a momentary glimpse of him and then he's gone? Not enough of an appearance to make me care.

Carissa: He made an appearance? It must have been so fleeting that I missed it through two sittings (never changed the channel). Go figure.

Jim: I was still trying to get over Sembene killing the cat and Fenton eating it. The master was as expected, compared to that.

Michelle: Honestly, I was a tad disappointed. From Fenton’s warnings, I was ready to be scared out of my wits but honestly Fenton scared me more in that sequence (sneaking up behind Victor and Sir Malcolm in the dark) than his Master did.

What were your overall thoughts about the episode?

Doug: I'm beginning to dislike the series because of episodes like this one. Lots of ominous music, lots of dark looks from character to character and close to zero forward momentum. I think we're done with the establishing of characters and mood and back stories. Let's see some actual plot. And by plot, I don't mean individual moments of craziness, like the séance scene from Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 2 or the feeding of the cat to Fenton.

Carissa: Hmmm. I was rather bored and put off by the killing of typical "go to" animals in Hollywood. Oh! Let's slaughter the rats, that will be fun. People hate cats; snap one's neck and fed it to Fenton. Ha ha ha that will be funny. No, it's not. It's cruel and predictable. I guess I'm wondering if the first two episodes were special and the others can't keep up the pace.

I'm still getting that X-Men vibe where we're just supposed to be wowed by the remarkableness off all of these characters without having any substance to them or plot to drive them there. I mean, really, who cares about Mina? If that's the driving force behind it all, we're in trouble. Steal Vanessa and that will mean something.

Jim: While the episode moved at a slower pace, it felt like all the pieces are beginning to move in harmony. We are starting to see how The Creature, Brona and Dorian Grey are tethered to each other and the overall plot. I'm intrigued to see where they are taking this.

Michelle: Overall I think this series is getting better with each episode and I really enjoyed the surprise of Ethan and Dorian’s kiss in this one and can’t wait to see how that plays out.

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Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

Vanessa: Is it poisonous?
Dorian: Like all beautiful things, I hope so.

Dorian: What does it say to you?
Vanessa: Touch me with your finger, softly.

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