3   +   4   =  

‘What Death Can Join Together’ 

Given that last week’s episode, Closer Than Sisters, devoted its entire time towards a period of Vanessa’s dark past, episode 6 returns to where we left off a couple of weeks ago in Demimonde. Not much ground is covered this week, but it’s clear things will soon come to a head as – at only two episodes from the end of the season – every tangent of the story is involved in a pursuit of some kind.

Dorian continues to court Vanessa, Malcolm enlists Ethan’s help on another expedition to find his daughter, and Victor is enlightened with new knowledge that brings him closer to uncovering the secrets of the London underworld and, specifically, the vampires within it. I say vampire because these monsters are finally identified as such – the ‘V’word has been avoided up to this point. Even Caliban takes matters into his own hands with regard to his corpse bride to be, misinterpreting advances by Maud, the theatre actress he has been infatuated with.
penny-dreadful-episode-6-02Malcolm implores that Vanessa persists in using her physic abilities to carry on searching for Mina. Now that she’s aware an evil force hinted to be the devil is hunting her, Vanessa obliges and looks to her trusty deck of cards for some assistance. After turning over a Five of Cups, which means nothing unless you’re a medium yourself but apparently connotes loss or bereavement, Vanessa gets a calling from a painting depicting sinking ships, indicating that perhaps Mina is held somewhere on a boat.

Soon after Malcolm is informed, Dorian comes calling by and wants to take Vanessa out on another “adventure” with clear intentions to wrap up some unfinished business, or pleasure I should say. The chemistry between these two is as obvious as Victor’s attraction to his own scientific research.

Speaking of Dr Frankenstein, just as Dorian gets closer to Vanessa, Victor also closes in on the truth about his own exploration into the mysterious blood samples he and Van Helsing are testing. The professor confides in Victor the truth about his wife’s death, graphically explaining how he had to drive a stake into her heart and decapitate her. Before the shocked doctor has a chance to respond, Van Helsing then proceeds to show Victor a specific Penny Dreadful entitled ‘Varney the Vampire’, the famous Victorian horror story that influenced many of the vampire fictions we have today.

Caliban soon enters the scene and things get fatal, as he loses his patience once again over his maker not yet having started on his new project. The monster seems particularly unhappy this time. Though he’s found a new friend in Maud, his affection was not reciprocated in the way he had hoped. But Caliban does seem to be the sort who gets what he wants and right now I feel slightly worried about what will happen with the stage actress in the remaining two episodes to come.
penny-dreadful-episode-6-01While Victor is occupied and Vanessa has gone off with Dorian, Malcolm acts on Vanessa’s lead and is helped by Ethan on a mission to the docks where they encounter a quarantined ship. On board is a nest of sleeping bloodsuckers who all awaken for a midnight snack. Ethan, however, is too quick to draw his weapon and after a ton of gunpowder and bloodcurdling vampire screams, they narrowly escape the burning ship, seemingly leaving Mina in there with it. Or did they? As we’ve previously learnt, you can’t ever be sure of what’s real and what’s a trick of the mind envisioned by the characters.

Straight from the fiery ship, we’re thrown into the middle of another hot scene where Mr Grey and Miss Ives finally get intimate. A few thrusts later and Vanessa makes a swift exit as she senses her inner demon start to unleash again, pretty much confirming last week’s idea that sex or intimacy initiates her possession.

What Death Can Join Together goes out with a bang, quite literally. Although the story doesn’t progress perhaps as much as it should, given that last week was a complete retelling of past events, the episode does set up the foundation on which all the anticipated set-pieces – Vanessa’s re-possession, Dorian’s painting, Ethan’s werewolf side, Caliban’s corpse companion, and of course Mina’s rescue – can come together to make one dramatic finale.

★★★★

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