Penny Dreadful 2×03 ‘The Nightcomers’: I will meet them on my feet

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Back in the season premiere, Vanessa asked Sembene if the past can return. He replied that instead of returning, it never leaves us. ‘It is who we are.’ What, then, can we make of Vanessa when we find out more about her past in this flashback episode?

Being a flashback episode, not much storyline was developed here. But it was all the more satisfying, because questions that we’ve harbored since Season 1 are finally answered. I know that I’ve wondered if she jumped into the whole ‘Saving Mina’ thing blindly, and whether she bothered to find out anything about herself. It does seem as if this episode is a bit of a retcon. It appears that Vanessa is in fact trained (to some extent) in the mystical arts. Knowing this, I feel that the Vanessa of Season 1 could’ve been a bit more proactive. Nevertheless, it still works and could be played off that she was still new to the trade.

Source: Showtime

Source: Showtime

I think what this episode really showed us was why the Nightcomers should be feared. More than their witchy powers, it is their ability to manipulate people that is truly fearsome. Evelyn Poole swiftly transforms Sir Geoffrey into her slave, humiliating him with a riding crop. A little taste of Sir Malcolm’s future perhaps? She also manages to turn the one girl that the Cut-Wife helped against her. She is the first one to shout ‘burn the witch’, she is the first to light the fire. That is why we must fear the Nightcomers.

Source: Showtime

Source: Showtime

Patti LuPone killed it as the Cut-Wife. Brash, crude, elegant and steeped in despair. It’s a surprise how much we feel for her despite only knowing her for one episode. It’s clear why Patti LuPone was cast. We won’t be able to forget her, and nor shall Vanessa.

Honestly though, the best part of the episode was probably at the beginning when Ethan asked Vanessa about that scorpion business. My only issue with this show is that none of the characters seem curious about each other at all. Nobody’s asked Vanessa about the devil/demon possession. Victor knew that Ethan was staying at the Mariner’s Inn where the massacre happened but I guess it’s not surprising he made it out. It’s nice to see a little curiosity among the group, and look what it revealed to us! What are you most curious about? Leave me a comment!

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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