Penny Dreadful 1×07 ‘Possession’: What makes a mother?

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After this week’s episode of Penny Dreadful, I’m convinced that Eva Green must have experienced demonic possession at some point in her life. The narrative has barely moved since the first episode. It hardly seems like the penultimate episode of Penny Dreadful.  We might as well call it The Eva Green Show (which should really be a thing).

Source: Showtime

Source: Showtime

Strange that Vanessa Ives is such a dark character, but in terms of storytelling, she’s basically the Sun. All the plot, all the characters revolve around Vanessa. That is Eva Green’s cross to bear.

Watching Vanessa’s struggle is at once heartbreaking and terrifying. The demon in her is pretty cruel in like a Regina George way – preying on the worst they believe of themselves. It reveals that Victor Frankenstein is a virgin (though I’m not quite sure what’s so shameful about that, especially in Victorian times) and that Ethan Chandler is a bottom. Or maybe Dorian Gray is a power bottom. Unfortunately we may never find out.

Source: Showtime

Source: Showtime

Vanessa struggles for an indeterminate duration, allowing for all the characters to truly get to know each other – and us them. More is revealed about the circumstances of Peter’s death. Sir Malcolm pretty much wins Worst Dad Award, what with leaving his son to die and not even fulfilling his last wish. As he so succinctly put it, ‘I haven’t a shred of decency left.’ This is Sir Malcolm’s quest. This is his ghost. His determination in his search for Mina is not for her salvation, but his. There’s no doubt that he loves Mina of course, but this is a mission borne of guilt – as with his trip back to Africa for Peter’s remains.

Source; Showtime

Source; Showtime

We find out that Victor is a drug addict as he shoots up in front of Sir Malcom. The Malcolm Mansion is a judgement-free zone. We watch Victor watching Caliban watching him. It’s pretty dull on that front. Victor is still one of my favourite characters but I’m slightly disappointed at what’s been done to his character. The series’ only shortcoming are the characters’ lack of agency. In all 9 episodes of Penny Dreadful, so far we’ve mostly seen the characters reacting to situations instead of creating them. Victor was an early favourite because he was the only character who had agency. He had a cause and we were able to root for him as he tried to follow through. Since Proteus’ death, he’s lost a motive.

This goes for all the characters. Sir Malcolm may be looking for Mina, but he’s not actively looking for Mina. Mostly he just waited around for a psychic lightning bolt to hit Vanessa. As for Ethan…

Source: Showtime

Source: Showtime

I don’t know what’s going on with Ethan. Is he a werewolf or some kind of exorcist warrior? Well I’ll focus on what I do know. I think he and Victor are going to have some sexytimes. I mean, there was just way too much focus on Victor’s virginity in this episode for it to not mean anything. And when Ethan was teaching Victor how to shoot? Sure, you could call it brotherly love, but on Supernatural they call it sexual tension.

Sex was a huge issue back in Victorian England so it’s apt that having sex would trigger the demon in Vanessa Ives. Vanessa is apparently the fated Mother of Darkness – and what makes a mother? A child. The devil constantly wanting to bang Vanessa no doubt wants to get her pregnant so she can birth the Anti-christ or some other horror. Let it be known that I called it back in episode 3, ‘Resurrection‘.

What are your theories? What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments section below!

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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