Vanessa became obsessed by the devil again, which led to revelations about her, as well as Ethan, in Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 7.
Join TV Fanatics Jim Garner, Henry A. Otero, Doug Wolfe and Michelle Carlbert as they discuss Sir Malcolm’s tough decision, Vanessa and Ethan’s connection, Victor’s shooting less, overall thoughts on the episode plus, predictions for the upcoming finale...
What did you think when Sir Malcolm asked Vanessa to reach out to Mina while she was in such a terrible state? A cruel act or a necessary one?
Jim: Both. It was a cruel request, but also one that I could see Malcolm making given his drive to find and recover Mina.
Doug: I'd say a desperate act. He's been searching for her for so long he treats every scene as an opportunity. Vanessa thought he was cruel - and he certainly is - but his one-track mind about his daughter is understandable.
Hank: I agree with Doug, he's just desperate to save Mina. The more he learns about the creature that has her, the more he loses hope I think. Somewhere in the back of his mind he must know she's lost. Any chance he gets to reach out to Mina he takes, regardless of Vanessa's state.
Michelle: I agree with Jim. I think it was a little bit of both. I’m sure somewhere deep down, he knew was he was doing was cruel, but he also knew it had to be done. I even think that if Vanessa could have somehow been asked beforehand, she would’ve told him to do it, as she wants to find Mina as much as he does.
Victor got some shooting lessons from Ethan. Is he ready to kill Caliban and rid the world of his original creation, or do you think he won’t have the heart for it?
Jim: I don't think he will have the aim for it, even if he works up the courage to pull the trigger. Of course, that would seriously gimp one of the story lines too, so I'm betting against it on two fronts.
Doug: I think that's exactly the reason he wanted the lessons, and I hope he carries through with his plan. However, series writers have disappointed me before - so there's a good chance he'll chicken out at the last minute. He shouldn't though. The monster has zero redeeming value.
Hank: I think killing Caliban is his plan, but doubt Victor will go through with it. There's just too much juicy storyline there you know?
Michelle: Since the shooting lesson came not long after Victor said they might have to put Vanessa out of her misery, I wondered if he was learning for that purpose. But no, I’m sure he is thinking of getting rid of Caliban. Though I too doubt he’ll be able to go through with it.
Vanessa said she knows where Mina is. Do you think they will find her in the next episode or could it be a running storyline throughout the entirety of the series?
Jim: If they don't find at least some resolution on the Mina story during the finale, I will be highly disappointed.
Doug: My guess is that they'll find her, but will discover there's nothing they can do to get to her. She'll be just out of reach.
Hank: Honestly, I hope they find Mina in the finale. That particular arc has run its course in my opinion. Even if they discover she's been turned, we need at least some resolution. I'd hate to see the gang still searching for her in Season 2.
Michelle: I’m beginning to think it’s possible that Mina will be found and her story concluded. Whether she’ll be left alive or dead in the end, I don’t know. But I also think they will find a new quest to take them into the next season.
What were your thoughts of Ethan and Vanessa’s connection throughout this episode? Did it change your opinion of either of them?
Jim: Parts were touching, but I don't speak Latin. I would love to know what he was chanting at the end.
Doug: I've been continually surprised by Ethan. He's been extraordinarily patient and kind to various characters all the way through. Maybe the exorcism scene goes a small way to explain why. Was he a former priest?
Hank: Ethan is a complete mystery to me. While all the clues point to him being a werewolf, he starts speaking Latin at the end of this episode and saves Vanessa... What?!? I honestly don't know what to make of their connection but "evil-Ethan" sure was fun to watch. Eva Green is the standout but Josh Hartnett has really surprised me in Penny Dreadful. He's proven to be a much better actor than I ever gave him credit for.
Michelle: I agree with Hank. I didn’t think much of Josh Hartnett being in this show when I first heard about it and I’m almost ashamed to admit that I thought he might be its weakest link. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how wrong I was and loved the depth he has brought to Ethan, especially in this episode.
We are just one episode away from the finale. Whose story (if any) do you think will have the most questions answered by the end?
Jim: Van Helsing's story (see what I did there?). If they started only giving answers, I don't think we could get all the answers we want in three episodes, much less one.
Doug: I honestly don't know. This series has been delightfully unpredictable from the get-go. I like that about it. I seriously hope the monster dies near the end. And I fully expect to see Brona pass away at the end. Maybe, if we're lucky, we'll get to see Ethan's full back story, including his status as a werewolf (or not).
Hank: Without a doubt, Vanessa. I feel like Season 1 has really been a showcase for the Vanessa Ives character. All the other characters simply revolve around her. I think if there's anyone we've come to know pretty well in Season 1 it's Ms. Ives.
Michelle: One part of me hopes we will finally have our biggest question about Ethan resolved in the finale, but the other part wants him to remain a mystery a while longer. I think if we tallied up questions answered by character, then Vanessa might indeed win. But since every question answered opens up a thousand more to ask, I think we still won’t be anywhere near close to understanding her completely.
What were your overall thoughts of the episode?
Jim: It was 'meh' overall. This is out second or third episode (I've lost count) that is dominated by Vanessa's affliction, yet we still have no information on Ethan's uniqueness. I like Eva Green as much as anyone, but unless this is show is changing its name to "Vanessa Dreadful" there needs to be some balance to the coverage of characters.
Doug: It's been a while since I last shouted at the TV set. When someone held up on the tarot cards and a spider suddenly crawled out, I freaked out. Here, the men had been trying to find logical scientific explanations for Vanessa's behaviour, and the army of spiders pretty much destroyed any hope of arriving at a rational conclusion.
I was surprised too that it took so long for them to realize that the answer to Vanessa's torment didn't lie in science, but in the religious world. When they finally agreed it was time to get a priest, I felt relief. Right up until Vanessa took a bite out of the priest.
Why didn't Ethan try to exorcise her himself? At one point he said he wished he believed in God. So we know there's a whole backstory that's at least as interesting as everything we've seen so far.
I'm impressed with this show.
Hank: Penny Dreadful continues to be unpredictable, complex and well written. Like Doug, I wondered why Ethan didn't simply step in and perform the exorcism himself. Vanessa went through such an insane ordeal and Ethan could have spared her all that pain. Of course, then the episode would have lasted five minutes. I have a feeling the finale is going to answer many of our questions while setting up a whole new mystery for Season 2.
Michelle: Though it only really concentrated on one, maybe two, characters I think this episode actually did a fine job at setting us up for the finale. We saw the horrible things Vanessa goes through to fight the beast from taking her over, but she needed to go to that place to get closer to Vanessa. The rest of the group became closer and learned to trust one another, while Ethan proved that he has skills beyond what they originally hired him for. All of them are going to be put to the test in the finale, I can feel it in my bones.
Your turn, fellow fanatics. What did you think of this episode of Penny Dreadful?