Warnings: spoilers and inappropriate comments alerts!!
I’ve been debating with myself since forever whether to write something for Penny Dreadful Episode 2×08: Memento Mori since I’m too late for an update of my Why Won’t You Die? (a AU fanfic feature Dracula from NBC’s Dracula and Dorian Gray from Penny Dreadful). But finally the side of me that wants to share my thought to whom it may concern won and here’s another rant about this mind-boggling episode.
The title links back to an old tale Evelyn Poole told her witch daughters in 2×01: Fresh Hell. “Look behind you. Remember that you are a man. Remember that you will die.” These lines, delivered in Evelyn’s languid tone, are particular haunting when you recall the fact that the Penny Dreadful cast are about 80% males and if they are some sort of a foreshadow than we should be worried for our characters, even though some of them (most of them actually) are monsters, d-bags or a funny combination of both. Moreover, these lines could be an echo of Game of Throne’s infamous motto: “Valar Morghulis”, translated into English as “All Men Must Die”. Oh well, if that turns out to be the case then the women will run the show (and the world too, if they feel like it), right?
I am probably the only one who doesn’t really mind the absence of Vanessa and Ethan in this episode – they had the last episode dedicated for them, didn’t they? And as I said in my previous post, I don’t ship them despise their blatant, intense chemistry (as some fans claim) so their lack of moments do not pose a problem to my enjoyment. Similarly I am probably the only one who wants to pat Inspector Bartholomew Rusk on the shoulder and tell him “Good job”. In a world full of vampires, witches, devils, monsters and all sorts of crazy things, this man is still able to precisely figures out the culprit behind bizarre murder cases. Even better, he has the guts to track down the murderer and confront him – this takes serious balls because you know, the murderer singlehandedly massacred an entire inn and what could guarantee he wouldn’t rip the one-armed inspector apart? Inspector Rusk should pack up his things and move to a new show, where his investigation skills may sight and there’s less chance he would get killed off in some brutal, magical way.
Anyway, I’m gonna skip past Sir Malcolm’s coming back to his old, angry, d-baggery but cool self (sans the beard), Sembene’s awesome yell of magic and Sir Malcolm’s suicidal brave quest of vengeance on the Satanic coven to talk about three significance revelations in this episode.
I. “Lucifer isn’t the only child.”
Dear Luci isn’t the only fallen angel to be thrown down to Earth (guess we already knew that from the use of “we” in the narrative, eh?) – he has a little brother whose-name-is-not-known-yet-some-fans-insist-it-be-‘Dracula’ (seriously who said anything about Dracula being in this show?). And guess what, the two brothers are competing for the affection of one woman by the name of Vanessa Ives. Sounds familiar to you, this kind of me-and-my-brother-in-love-with-one-girl drama? The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, anyone? Sooooo, after all the mysteries shrouding the artefacts and the “memoir of the Devil”, it turns out to be a love-rectangular (for a lack of better world) that involves Vanessa, Lucifer and his bro, and Lupus Dei aka The Hound/Wolf/Dog of God. You’ve got to be kidding right?
Speaking of Lupus Dei, shouldn’t God send someone with more power down to battle Apocalypse? Someone like Archangel Michael or Gabriel or Raphael. Hello, one Lucifer is bad enough and now he has a brother while we have one Wolf? Ooookay, as a human I serious fear for the fate of humankind in this Penny Dreadful universe.
On a side note, the reference to Lucifer reminds me of the Lucifer that I’ve created first for a series of Mcfassy fanfics but then managed to invade even my original stories too.
(Feel free to unread the above sentence – just me rambling)
II. “Never again will I kneel to any man.”
So, in a span of about ten minutes or more, Lily/Brona goes on a rollercoaster of moods, dragging us pitiful viewers with her. Sure Billie Piper’s delivery of the shattering speech is impressive; still, the fact that Lily goes full-blown take-over-the-world mode isn’t. Talking about women sufferings? Cool and touching. It’s one hell less cool and touching when she offers to take a dozen women for John Clare and “we’ll fuck ‘em together”. Haha, talking like a devout feminist in one minute and the next turning into a misogynist who wants to use women like sex toys. Very funny indeed.
Her rapid changes in moods make me wonder if she’s somehow suffering MPD (multi-personalities disorder).
She also expresses her desire for a man who’s unlike all other men. Guess who’s that man “unlike all other men” that’s gonna bend his knees for her in the next episode? Someone whose name starts with a ‘D’? The brief sneak speak of what looks like a sex scene has Lily on top of her new lover (perhaps not so new) like they’re reversing the traditional roles of man and woman – it’s strangely reminiscent to an earlier scene in 2×07: Little Scorpion where an anonymous aged man climbed on top of Lily. Let’s hope she won’t feel the urge to strangle her partner afterwards.
III. “I don’t think you can.”
Fan reactions on Tumblr regarding this twist in Dorian’s tale have me puzzled: on one hand there’s fans who are seething about Dorian’s act while on the other hands, others cheer because this is probably the first in-character (with his book counterpart) thing Dorian’s ever done in the entire 16 episodes. Well, if you ask me, I will reply with Dorian’s quote: “I don’t know what I’m feeling.” Part of me likes him to go dark – nobody likes the goody two-shoes, right? Other parts kind of hope Dorian would stay remotely ‘clean’. I know I’ve theorized that he is Devil-incarnation so it looks like I’m contradicting myself here. To elaborate on this contradiction, I’ll say that I find the ‘lazy evil’ kind the most appealing kind of evil – like Dorian will play around and do absolutely nothing and is still evil and scary. Then I’m kindly reminded that Penny Dreadful is not a sitcom so it’s necessary for him to do evil in order to be evil. Got it.
Brief Guide to Dorian’s Behaviors: he’s all sweet and charming until you pry into his secret. Then he’ll give you poisoned champagne while smiling as you fall.
Still, I’m clinging on some hope that Angelique hasn’t died (which is unlikely); Dorian only gives her a brainwashing potion or something similar so that when she’s returned to the brothel, she won’t remember a thing about a man named Dorian Gray or his painting. But that’s just wishful thinking, right?
If it’s proven that Angelique is truly killed off, at least she died a swift, painless and clean death (with a dramatic glass-breaking and a dramatic collapsing to boot) as compared to Basil’s messy death in the novel and in the 2009 adaptation (which I recommend you to watch because of Prince Caspian Ben Barnes). Even I feel the chopping Basil’s body in the 2009 adaptation is a little gratuitous.
(To be fair, Dorian did warn her about the price of knowing his secret.)
Finally, after much waiting, Dorian’s infamous picture is shown. Some love it, praise it while others think it a disappointment. As for me, I have another theory about it which I am going to talk about in this post. The portrait doesn’t look like a painting to me at all; it’s more like prison cell where the deformed ‘creature’ is kept. See the chains? I think they can reveal much about the nature of the picture: the ‘creature’ is supposed to be Dorian Gray’s soul, isn’t it? I think it is; in fact, it is the soul of the true Dorian Gray, the one that was human, while the Dorian Gray we’ve been watching and adoring so far is only inhabiting the body, a ‘body-snatcher’. I personally don’t think the revelations about Lucifer’s brother on earth and Dorian’s portrait in the same episode is a mere coincidence. That the other brother “feeds on the blood of the living by night” may indicate that he is the Original Vampire – The Great Master that controls all the (not-sparkling) vampires in season 1. But it can be misdirection too. Blood isn’t always necessarily the physical blood in the body – it is also a metaphor of life. What if the brother is some sort of a body-jumper – that he steals a human body he deems suitable and lives inside it until he gets bored and finds another? The body stealing act serves double purposes: one, he can walk under sunlight or into any religious places unharmed and two, he can slip past Vanessa’s radar (if she has any) and get close to her, seducing her to his side. All the while the true soul of the body is trapped inside the painting and has to suffer all the damages he acquires. This could be the case of Dorian Gray, right?
Suddenly the quote Dorian made in 1×06: What Death Can Join Together means a lot more than just a passing remark.
Of course the show can always prove my theory wrong and all I can do in the mean time is wait and maybe pray for Victor’s little life. I did say Victor should get his punishment for all the lies he heaped onto Lily/Brona but I’m never ready for the good, adorkable doctor’s neck to be snapped by his two ‘children’.
#pray-for-Victor# #and-Dorians-neck-too# #and for Sir Malcolm# #pray-for-the-entire-cast-actually#