So, Penny Dreadful is my favorite new show, primarily because I like the dark, sensuous layers that belong to each character, and I enjoy how each episode gives viewers just a little bit more of the mystery without divulging too much at once. I'm even in love with the theme song! My biggest complaint so far is that this season is a stingy 8 episodes, which is made more frustrating by the fact that next season is only slated for 10. Why do the really good shows get what amounts to a half season, but these lame reality shows seem to play on an endless loop of stupidity?
Anyway, last night was a bit of a downer for me because the entire episode was the backstory for Vanessa and Sir Malcolm, which was disturbing and masterfully told, but considering how previous week ended with Dorian Gray and Ethan I was expecting something else. The episode has Vanessa writing a letter to Mina and flashing back to the pivotal moments of their shared history, with the foreboding line of "Something whispered. I listened." as the beginning of her spiral into the realm of demons and madness, proving once more that Miss Ives has some issues. Some of the scenes were disturbing, most notably the asylum and Vanessa's lunatic ravings, but all demonstrated the complicated relationships between Sir Malcolm, Dracula, Mina, and Vanessa. It was a good episode, a necessary chapter in the storytelling of this world, just not the one I would have chosen to place immediately following an episode in which Dorian treats Ethan to spend some quality time with the Green Fairy. I'm sure I'm not the only one that shares this sentiment, and I can only hope that we will venture back into the seductive madness and surprising path of our favorite Mr. Gray as he seeks new and exciting pleasures and that Ethan might spill a few secrets of his own, since up to this point we can only speculate about his reaction during the dog fight.
The New York Times has a good, only mildly spoilerish, recap on their ArtsBeat blog that can be found here that asks essentially the same question that I do: Was an entire backstory episode necessary or do viewers want more from the other characters? Any thoughts? I'd love to hear what other fans of the show have to say. ~Anna