After last week’s Tour de Force from Eva Green, we’re now following up on a few of the other characters this week on Penny Dreadful – especially Ethan Chandler, who’s battling the pull of the dark side
Last week was all about Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and only two other people were in the episode: The Creature (Rory Kinnear), who we found out was previously The Orderly, and Dr. Seward (Patti LuPone). You can check out the recap of last week’s amazing episode here, and rest assured that this week you didn’t miss anything new on Miss Ives’ story, since we focused solely on the storylines of Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway).
Ethan is still in New Mexico, where he and Hecate (Sarah Greene) are battling both the harsh elements and being hunted down by both bounty hunters and sheriffs. Even the horses are beginning to give up and all the while, Hecate is working primarily on getting Ethan to join her on the dark side. You’d think Hecate was some terrible person, who we all hate more with each episode, but they’re managing to turn her into someone you empathize with instead. First, she is very caring towards the horses, which Ethan comments on since he didn’t think she was an animal lover. She responds that she loves animals as the innocent beings they are. It’s human beings she can’t stand! Second, she never had a choice in doing the devil’s work, since her dear mother gave her soul to Lucifer when Hecate was just five years old. Third, she’s willing to die for or with Ethan, because she truly believes he is the one who could bring this world into darkness and she wants to rule with him.
She’s not the only one who believes this, since that’s the exact same reason Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) and Kaetenay (Wes Studi) are trying their best to catch up to Ethan before he goes to the dark side. Finally, we also get the story of why Ethan wants to kill Kaetenay, and in a beautiful piece of storytelling, we get the story told from both Ethan and Kaetenay’s side simultaniously. For once, it seems there is only one side to this story and it doesn’t look good for Kaetenay.
Ethan joined the army to fight against the Apache. He did this to make his dad proud, but after having been part of slaughtering a village and watching his own army buddy laugh as he killed yet another while bragging that they would get medals for doing this, Ethan snaps and kills the soldier before riding into the nearest Apache village. He then asks them to punish and kill him for what he’s done. Instead, they take him in and he then kills the white man instead. It is – as history has told us – a loosing battle, but it comes dangerously natural for him to kill. When the Apache’s are just about to be wiped out, Ethan suggests that they go to his family’s farm for food and weapons. He knows how they can get in without being noticed, or having to kill anyone, and shares this information. However, they use it to kill everyone instead and that’s when Ethan looses his new family and starts hating his Apache father, Kaetenay.
After telling this story, Hecate tries – once again – to talk to Ethan about how he did what he had to do, and to not feel guilty. He finally states that he doesn’t repent and that he’s in Hell where he belongs. Then he surrenders completely to Hecate, and their relationship turns sexual – and a lot deeper emotionally, since he is clearly going over to the dark side.
Hecate also shows Ethan a bit of her powers this episode as she summons snakes – with the help of Ethan’s blood – to attack the group following them. Unfortunately, the most adamant of all those hunting him – Bartholomew Rusk, who caught him in London last season and was transporting him back to America, and the Marshall Franklin Ostow – are on the lookout a bit away from the group and isn’t affected by the snakes. Someone else is, however, as Sir Malcolm and Kaetaney are also right by the group. Kaetenay have sneaked up on the sleeping group and have started killing them in their sleep, just as the snakes attack. One of them manages to get Kaetenay, who is in pretty bad shape by the end of the episode.
We arrive at Ethan’s family’s farm where Ethan’s father, Jared Talbot (Brian Cox), is waiting for him. Sir Malcolm and Jared Talbot talk and while they respect one another, they definitely don’t see eye to eye on much. However, Jared makes it clear that Sir Malcolm is not to come between him and his son, which is something he can respect. Or at least, so it seems!
Ethan and his father then start talking and Jared is quick to get any doubt out of the way; He knows Ethan can never forgive him, but he can never forgive his son either. Jared then insists that it’s time Ethan sees what happened on the night when the Apache attacked his own family’s farm. Ethan was getting the guns that night and never saw what was done to his family. Good thing his father decided to leave everything the way it was, so when they get to the chapel, he can see the dried blood of his mother, brother and sister.
Jared tells his son exactly what happened. First his brother was speared to death, then mother was scalped and his little sister had both her tongue and eyes cut out, while their father was forced to watch. I am so happy they got Brian Cox for the role of Jared, because when he’s telling Ethan this, you find yourself completely immersed in the story. Also, Josh Hartnett is delivering a stellar performance reacting to hearing all this.
After Jared is done telling Ethan all this, he insists that his son get’s down on his knees and begs forgiveness, but Ethan repeats the line he gave Hecate earlier in the episode: He is done repenting! The scene ends with Ethan’s father putting a gun to Ethan’s head.
Okay, I know, I said we also followed up on Victor Frankenstein this week, but really, the episode was 90% Ethan Chandler’s story, so I just saved the other storyline for last.
Victor Frankenstein is being amazingly arrogant in his newfound partnership with his friend Dr. Jekyll. I mean, this is white privilege as it would’ve looked in the 1890’s London from someone who believes himself to be amazingly progressive. Thankfully, Dr. Jekyll also has a Mr. Hyde right under the surface and is good at telling Dr. Frankenstein that even though he might feel the two share the title of being “outsiders” they’re still on very different levels.
However, we can’t deny that Frankenstein knows how to use electricity, and he manages to purify and electrify Jekyll’s potion and test it on the same patient they’ve been working on so far. The new method seems to be a success as the new and improved good state of the patient is now permanent, which means he’s ready to test it on Lily.
Dr. Jekyll asks his friend if he’s sure he wants to do that, but Victor tells him he has only known happiness briefly in his life and it was just when Lily had been made and was good and pure. There was no Lily or Dorian Gray in this episode, but that just means we can look forward to a lot more from these characters in the next episode.
This was the official plot description of this Penny Dreadful episode:
Hecate and Ethan struggle to survive the harsh wasteland of the New Mexico desert. Kaetenay reveals to Sir Malcolm the truth behind his connection to Ethan. Back in London, Frankenstein’s addition to Jekyll’s formula is a success.
We’ll be back next time with a recap for Penny Dreadful episode 6, which you can watch the promo for right here:
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