Penny Dreadful 1×04 ‘Demimonde’: Duplicity

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Penny Dreadful is just torturing me. We’re at the midpoint of the season because Showtime ordered (only) eight episodes and it’s just getting better and better. Penny Dreadful simply excels at pacing. It gives just enough information to whet our appetites. It gives just enough answers that lead to more questions and it gives us just enough clues to lead us in the wrong direction.

Source: Showtime

Source: Showtime

‘Demimonde’ was one of the most entertaining episodes of the series yet. Ethan Chandler was in the shadows for most of the season, and this episode was largely focused on him. This episode revealed plenty of evidence pointing to Ethan being some sort of werewolf type creature who is also responsible for the murders in London. Which kind of leads me to think it can’t be him. I mean, all the signs point to it, so that means it’s all a trick right? Has Hannibal ruined me for television? Will I ever be able to trust in television again?

Source: Showtime

Source: Showtime

Ethan refuses to share his blood, he is extremely disturbed by the Ripper headlines and the dog fight. Even the play he went to, The Transformed Beast, featured a werewolf. If that ain’t foreshadowing, I don’t know what is. Ethan almost loses control twice. The first instance lead to his brawl with some weirdy beardies. The second felt like he was going to go all Ripper on Dorian, but it suddenly turns into sexytime. Dorian just rolls with it. Classic Dorian. It felt rather like the writers wanted to fool the viewers, which is a pet peeve of mine. But in retrospect, there was quite a bit of build up to that moment. Ethan and Dorian went to the theatre together (sort of), Dorian brought Ethan to a dogfight, they talk about cologne and have drinks and music. They basically went on a date.

Source: Showtime

Source: Showtime

Billie Piper played Brona Croft magnificently – balancing her world-weariness with childlike delight. I’m fairly certain that she’ll die on the street and become Caliban’s new wife. Which, to be fair, isn’t the worst thing that could happen to her. When Brona enters the Grand Guignol, we can almost hear her thinking ‘If only I could stay here forever.’ Considering that her future husband works and lives in the theatre, it may very well happen. Be careful what you wish for, right?

Source: Showtime

Source: Showtime

There were a few light-hearted moments this episode, if dark humour can be called light-hearted? Caliban tells Victor to choose a ‘beautiful’ wife for him, to which the doctor replies ‘To match her mate?’ It’s kind of mean and I kind of love it. Once more, it brings up the question ‘Who is the monster and who is the man?’ And yes, I am quoting The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While Victor and Sir Malcolm are debating how to feed Fenton, Sembene calmly walks over with cat, promptly breaks its neck and walks away. Badum-tss. Dorian Gray looks spectacularly bored in leather pants at an orgy. I would totally watch a show featuring Dorian Gray looking bored at various events.

Source: Showtime

Source: Showtime

A little more of Vanessa and Sir Malcolm’s past is revealed. The main vampire made a quick appearance. It is clear that the fight has only just begun. ‘Demimonde’ also marks the end of Fenton, whose last word was ‘Mother’. Is he calling out for Vanessa or his real mother? All I know for sure is that calling someone who is not your mother, ‘Mother’, is basically the creepiest thing ever.

Which means I must start doing it.

Yeung Wing

is an aspiring TV critic, writer and editor. You can see her past work on her Tumblr!
She lives her life through escapism.

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