After the exciting events of “Glorious Horrors,” Penny Dreadful has eased off the accelerator in “Little Scorpion.” It’s a slower and more contemplative episode, with a lot of farming, dancing and wood cutting. Okay, there’s also a pair of gruesome murders, but there’s always those on Penny Dreadful. The body count is kept down to two people and they are rather despicable people. By Penny Dreadful‘s standards, that’s practically family friendly.
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Vacation Time with Ethan and Vanessa
After recovering from her violent vision, Vanessa is taken back to the manor. She tells everyone she collapsed because she sensed danger all around her and it overwhelmed her. Malcolm tells her to stop faking it, but that might be/definitely is the curse talking. Vanessa tells everyone she wants to leave London because she’ll be safer. While Malcolm protests, everyone overrules him and Ethan promises to accompany her.
Together, the two go to the Cut Wife’s hut that was bequeathed to Vanessa after the former’s death. When they first get there, Vanessa goes upstairs. It’s there that she eyes the book of dark magic that the Cut Wife told her about — and henceforth we’ll call it Chekhov’s Book.
When night falls, Ethan locks himself out of the hut so he can turn into a werewolf away from Vanessa. He doesn’t tell her why he’s leaving or where he is going, but it is heavily implied that she suspects the truth or just downright knows it.
Mr. and Mrs. Chandler
The next morning, Ethan shows up unscathed and decides to teach Vanessa how to shoot a gun. It’s a skill that Vanessa picks up incredibly quick. In exchange for that lesson, Vanessa teaches Ethan in her area of expertise: social graces or, more specifically, dancing. An interminable period of time passes in a montage that’s filled with dancing, cooking and farming.
In short, Vanessa and Ethan build themselves a nice little life of domestic bliss. Their happiness is almost literally extinguished by a thunderstorm. The storm creates a fire inside the hut. Once they put out the flames, Vanessa and Ethan create a bit of heat of their own, sharing a passionate kiss. Before things go too far, Vanessa stops Ethan. She tells him they’re dangerous creatures — a statement that puts things extremely mildly.
Vanessa Meets an Old Enemy
Vanessa and Ethan take a walk in the woods the following day. She confesses to Ethan that she sometimes wishes to end it all. She’s thought of running and fighting. Ethan tells Vanessa that she’s stronger than that, that they’re both stronger than that. She accepts his words, but once again their happiness is short-lived.
The horribly sexist and terribly violent local lord who burned the Cut Wife at the stake runs into them in the woods. He threatens Vanessa and she silently stares back. When they return home, though, she darkly vows to take his life in vengeance for her murdered friend. Ethan is shocked and dismayed by this reaction. He argues with Vanessa to not kill the man and not flirt with the dangerous darkness inside of her. He storms out of the house over their disagreement.
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Lily Meets an Old Friend
Back in London, Dorian takes Lily to the exposition farm that is the wax museum and shows her their true crime exhibits. One exhibit details a story of two men that dug up a grave to give a body to a doctor so he could perform experiments on it. It’s unclear if this body eventually became John, but the doctor is no doubt Frankenstein himself. On some level, Lily (or maybe Brona) seems to recognize this new information.
Evidently, Ethan didn’t just leave in a fit of rage. When he stormed out of the hut, he planned to kill the lord himself. Ethan ends up in the lord’s courtyard. He goes to draw his gun, but unbeknownst to him, Vanessa has taken Chekhov’s Book off the shelf. Before Ethan can fire, Vanessa uses the dark magic to kill the lord. When Ethan comes back to the hut, he’s furious. He tells Vanessa that she has no idea what taking a life will do to her. He welcomes her to “the night.”
But that isn’t the only incident of a woman taking brutal revenge. After leaving Dorian’s company, Lily walks into a local bar. She picks up a man, and it appears that Brona’s personality has reasserted itself — until Lily does something Brona never did. While sleeping with the man, Lily flips over the old geezer and slowly chokes the life out of him.
Penny Dreadful airs Sundays at 10pm on Showtime.
(Image courtesy of Showtime)