Penny Dreadful S03E03 “Good And Evil Braided Be” REVIEW

Penny Dreadful S03E03 “Good And Evil Braided Be” REVIEW

0 comments 📅18 May 2016, 14:39

Penny Dreadful S03E03 “Good And Evil Braided Be” REVIEW

Vanessa and Sweet

stars 3

Airing in the UK on Tuesdays on Sky Atlantic 

Written by: John Logan
Director: Damon Thomas

Essential Plot Points:

  • Ethan wakes up in a barn after his rampage the night before and confronts Hecate, who tells him she’s followed him across an ocean because she wants to rule at his side. She calls him the “wolf of God”, which sounds ominous. He is not amused.
  • And indeed, Hecate proves to be a liability when, as she and Ethan make their way across the desert, she ruthlessly kills a family so they can steal their horses. Ethan is horrified, but is forced to go with her as they’re being hunted.
  • Rusk and the Marshall track them down and shoot at them (although why they don’t do it from a closer distance is a bit of a mystery – still, this gives things a bit of a Butch & Sundance vibe). Rusk mentions that he thinks Ethan has supernatural powers, but the rational Marshall – who doesn’t look like a man who’d even think twice about walking under a ladder – pooh-poohs him.
  • Vanessa, meanwhile, tries to convince Dr Seward that her supernatural stories of vampires and suchlike are true. The Doctor is unamused, although she looks genuinely shaken when Vanessa grabs her wrist and seems to perform some kind of psychic reading – has Seward murdered someone in her past?
  • John is back in London and on the hunt for the little boy he saw in his vision on the icy ship. It turns out that it really is his son – his memories are returning! He tracks the room from his memory to Chinatown, and then the family that used to live in it to the docks. There he finds his wife living in poverty and looking after their son, who seems to be dying from TB. Distraught at their fate, John mugs a wealthy gentleman and leaves the family money without being seen.
  • Victor and Henry agree to combine their expertise to make Henry’s serum work properly – the patient he calmed in last week’s episode doesn’t stay that way for long. With liberal use of electricity, Victor thinks he can fix that.
  • Justine is being indoctrinated into the twisted world of Lily and Dorian, who get her to kill her former pimp. She enjoys it so much they all have sex in the pimp’s blood. …More about this below.
  • Kaetenay and Malcolm are getting closer to Ethan, finding the bodies of the murdered farmer and his wife. They’re not too chuffed to discover he seems to be killing willy-nilly now, and Kaetenay is worried that Ethan will become a horrendous Beast and end the world. That would certainly be a bit of a downer.
  • Vanessa and Sweet/Dracula go on a date, but while lost in a Hall of Mirrors, Vanessa is confronted by one of Sweet/Dracula’s crazy followers – who tells her something happened to her in the “White Room” and she can’t remember it. (He’s referencing her stint in an asylum in the first season episode “Closer Than Sisters”.)
  • The encounter scares Vanessa so much, she dumps Sweet to keep him out of danger. (Oh, the irony.) He isn’t happy about this and commands his followers to kill and eat the offending vampire for overstepping his bounds.
  • Dr Seward hypnotises Vanessa, who is desperate to find out what happened in the White Room. And then… dun dun DAHHH… she recognises that one of her asylum guards was John, pre-resurrection!


Bloody orgy

So… what about that orgy, then? At some point in the writers’ room this season, someone asked: “Dorian and Lily have waltzed through a pool of blood – what can they do next?” Naturally, making the proverbial beast with three backs in several buckets of plasma was the obvious answer. And judging by the headlines on certain tabloid-y websites the morning after this aired in the US, this scene certainly caught a few eyes and got tongues wagging, and so it probably served its purpose of reminding people the show is still out there.

But for us, the fans… well, it’s just not actually that good, is it? We’re used to insane moments like this on Penny Dreadful; the nudity isn’t surprising any more, the fact it’s a threesome barely registers, and the blood isn’t that shocking when we’ve already seen so much of it. Really, the whole thing just looks daft. All you can think about is how long it took the actors to get painted, how many takes they had to do, how much of that fake blood got in their mouths and tasted gross… and that’s without considering that their characters are rolling around in the internal liquids of a greasy, nasty pimp who probably has every sexually transmitted disease on the loose in Victorian England. It’s not erotic when you consider that they’re basically romping around in syphilis, is it? This is why virgin blood is always the best option, guys!

Anyway, that rather silly moment aside, this is still a solid episode – lots of plot progression (especially for John), a jaw-dropping revelation for Vanessa (everything’s connected!) and some more lovely desert filming to spice up all the gloomy London scenes.

CGI chimneys

Incidentally, check out the CGI chimneys – rather good, aren’t they? A quick shout-out to the digital FX team who work on this series; the fact we often overlook moments like this shows how good their creations are.

Apart from the blood-orgy, the only downside of this episode is that Victor and Henry aren’t exactly setting their scenes on fire – although we suspect this is imminent, given Henry’s angry rant almost got out of hand (hilariously, Victor didn’t even bat an eyelid). Stop teasing us and unleash the Hyde!

The Good:

  • Dracula volunteering to go into a House of Mirrors? Subvert those clichés, writers! He’ll be eating garlic next, unless we already missed that at some point.


  • Love the reference to The Shining here with Renfield’s writing spree. All work and no play makes Dracula’s spy a dull boy…
  • Jessica Barden, who plays Justine, has such beautiful blue eyes we can’t help but mention them. She’d make a perfect Freman on the planet Arrakis. Remake of Dune, anyone?

The Bad:

  • John’s son is lying on his back, so why doesn’t he look up and see him staring down from the ceiling? We’ll charitably assume his eyesight is a bit knackered.
  • Vanessa smiling while she’s with Sweet is just so lovely. WE RESENT THAT HE’S A BADDIE. DAMN YOU, PENNY DREADFUL.

The Random:

Sun beams 3

  • This week’s episode was brought to you by the letter “S” for “sunbeam”.
  • Best Quote: Kaetenay, clearly feeling chirpy today: “If we cannot save our son, a terrible end awaits us. All of us. The Beast will feed. A terrible darkness will overcome the Earth and all our days will come to an end. Only Ethan can save us. He has been chosen.”

Review by Jayne Nelson

No Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first one to write a comment

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.