‘Penny Dreadful’: We Proceed As One

Published 11 months ago by

Young Frankenstein Flashback Penny Dreadful Episode 3.jpg ‘Penny Dreadful’: We Proceed As One

[This is a review of Penny Dreadful season 1, episode 3. There will be SPOILERS.] 


Night Work’ and ‘Séance’ were enough to get you on board and interested in more, but ‘Resurrection’ marks the first sign of binge-watch tendencies. Late night, work obligations or other pressing commitments? Forget about them. Had there been access to ‘Demimonde’ right now, Penny Dreadful would have been the priority.

The show’s already achieved quite a bit in terms of building characters and this world thus far, and that’s as evident as ever in the success of this episode. Dr. Frankenstein and Caliban’s (Rory Kinnear) situation should have been a difficult storyline to pair with the continued search for Mina (Olivia Llewellyn), but seamless transitions, a strong foundation and a stunningly subtle union at the end of the episode make both highly engaging on their own yet feel like natural components of the same world.

Without a disturbingly convincing mid-séance meltdown to contend with, Harry Treadaway and Dr. Frankenstein’s situation have no trouble stealing this part of the show. In just two episodes, we’ve been afforded an incredible amount of access to the character, but the glimpse into his past and what inspires him to become a doctor adds yet another layer to everything he experiences, and that has a great impact on Caliban’s flashback.

Harry Treadaway Penny Dreadful Episode 3.jpg ‘Penny Dreadful’: We Proceed As One

Even though that string of scenes serves as an introduction to Caliban as expressed by Caliban himself, by beginning the episode with a young Victor, we also experience his story through Victor, too. Kinnear does a beautiful job solidifying Caliban as one who must be feared while also using his unfortunate upbringing to conjure empathy. The resulting juxtaposition is extremely captivating, but the pre-established relationship with Victor makes his involvement (even when it’s not direct) something to be considered as well.

Even while you’re feeling for Caliban as he’s forgotten and ridiculed, curiosity regarding Victor’s assessment of the situation is ever-present. Caliban is upset, but also quite violent. How far will that violence go? Victor was wrong, but he’s changed since abandoning his first-born. Will he feel compelled to right his wrong? Having a connection to two characters with such strong convictions in a high stakes conflict makes this one of the most engaging elements of the episode.

And it’s a good thing the situation between Victor and Caliban serves as such a strong anchor because for the rest of the gang, ‘Resurrection’ is more of a stepping-stone. There were no big discoveries, battles or bloodbaths, but rather more minimal events and realizations that seem to be building towards something much larger. Mina is communicating with Vanessa, but her messages aren’t as informative as one might hope. Sir Malcolm clearly knows more than he’s telling anyone. The introduction of Fenton (Olly Alexander) raises more questions regarding what’s really going on. And then there’s Ethan who now confirmed he has a connection to wolves, but has yet to reveal if he’s a werewolf himself.

Timothy Dalton Eva Green Harry Treadaway Josh Hartnett Penny Dreadful Episode 3 ‘Penny Dreadful’: We Proceed As One

It’s strange that Ethan would be surprised by anything that happens while with Vanessa and Sir Malcolm if he really is a supernatural creature. However, at this point, Penny Dreadful has offered more than enough hints that there’s much more to him than he lets on. His intense reaction to Fenton’s torture could suggest he’s experienced something similar in the past. If he really is a werewolf, perhaps this father that he speaks of didn’t approve and admonished him for it.

Another big question you’re left with at the end of the episode is, will this pact change the group dynamic? Sir Malcolm, Ethan, and Victor at least are all harboring secrets. Will their sworn loyalty to one another necessitate a change in that? It’s likely Ethan will eventually come clean and that Caliban will have an effect on the mission, but regardless, the promise that the group is coming together at all is the top thrill of the episode. Now that we’ve spent the time coming to know and like the characters, seeing them come together to fight for a common cause is a major reason anticipation for the next episode is higher than ever.


Penny Dreadful continues next Sunday with ‘Demimonde’ @ 10pm on Showtime.

Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.

Follow Perri Nemiroff on Twitter @PNemiroff
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  1. Outstanding. This show is woven together so incredibly well.

    The cast and director are making magic. I can’t wait for the next episode!

  2. Been watching this show. Not too bad so far, although there is room for improvement.

  3. Best new Show on TV in recent years ,and overall !
    This is really just amazing,hope the ratings are good enough for a second season,but I doubt it ! Anything good on TV gets normally axed these days !

    • And this is one reason why I don’t want to watch it. The other reason is that if is a success the will beat out stories till the audience flees and you won’t get a satisfying conclusion. 90% of the time American TV networks suck. I’ll download it when I know the show finishes for good that way I’ll know there should be a good satisfying storyline with a fitting conclusion like all stories should. Too many times I’ve started watching a serial only to be let down.

      • whatever you were smokin when you wrote this, i want a piece of it!

        • Why? It’s not like jem0013 doesn’t have a valid point. I know of a lot of people on this side of the pond who refuse to watch shows until the entire season is available, either on Netflix or other sites because they’re tired of investing time and interest in something only for it to be killed off by a US network before it’s had a fair chance. Almost Human was the last straw for a lot of people but others dropped off from watch US shows a long time before for the same reason.

      • And that is one of the worst Reasons to dont watch a new show. Imagine if all thought that then no new show would ever survive.
        Besides this show is on Showtime and the premiere episode beat Homelands first episode in viewers and ratings. So start watching this brilliant show

      • Just a horrible reason to not watch a new show. If everyone thought like you did then no new show would ever succeed. Besides this show is not on network tv where the cancel from left to right. It air on showtime and the first episode had higher viewers and ratings than Homelands first episode. So its doing quite well. So everyone should really start watching this gem

  4. Good episode, flashbacks are dicey sometimes in shows like this but they used it well to build the stories of Dr. Frakenstein and Caliban. I am surprised at how quickly they are setting up the classic stories associated with these characters within the framework of their own narrative.

    The vampire angle is well established along with the paranormal elements,and they eluded to a werewolf (or werewolves) and a bride for Caliban. They still have not gotten into Dorian Grey and there are a lot more characters they could bring in down the road.

  5. Just finished watching Night Work, so I’m all caught up now. I love this series.

    • You Mister got a real good taste !
      Cheers !

  6. Proteus should’ve been Caliban immortal mate.

    • ^THIS^

    • God no. Let’s keep political correctness and pandering out of this show.

      • Pfft…if Proteus becomes Caliban’s soul mate, then the cute fellow doesn’t have to die and no innocent woman will die as well in order for Victor to monsterfied. And everything will end in a happily ever after! :P

        • Pfft back at ya. It is clear that Caliban wants a female companion, so stop throwing out such bait. It’s not going to happen. Perhaps we’ll see another homosexual character at some point in the show, if that is so important to you.

        • Caliban called him his “little brother” so I do not think that is what he had in mind. That and he ripped him into two pieces out of spite.

  7. So far, I am liking the show a lot. The atmosphere and the music are top notch. I agree with the reviewer that the writing could have been a little more tighter in the group scenes. However, those of Caliban, Frankenstein and Fenton compesate the others.

  8. Only thing i dislike is no freakin dates given but at least we do have a somewhat of a timeline now. Dracula is already very active and sometime between mina and the hunt for her victor has created his monster. Love the show.

  9. Excellent show. Both Timothy Dalton and Eva Green are exceptional, but all of the actors are top notch, as are the set design and writing. Best new show to come along in awhile. Hope we get at least a few years out of it.

  10. So Ethan is so a werewolf or possibly penny dreadful’s version of Jekyll/Hyde. My theory is that if he is a version of J/H then maybe he inherited the condition from his father the original J/H who may have escaped London for America. Ethan was born with the condition due to Jekyll using his formula and it causing some sort of inheritable genetic deviation where any offspring’s “Hyde” side would come out without the need for a serum. Ethan grew up experiencing these blackouts and was possibly chained up by his father and beaten. Just a theory if he isn’t a werewolf.

    • Or Ethan was cursed to be a werewolf by Indians during his involvement in the Indian wars, and then his dad disowned him after finding out about his malignancy

  11. Eva Green has been awesome. I found the new/original frankestein creations backstory pretty interesting. I could do without the nudity. It seem like it just used as a fallback for all of the cable shows these days.