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Penny Dreadful – The Day Tennyson Died – Advance Preview

I have mixed feelings regarding the season three premiere of Penny Dreadful. On one hand, I am delighted to be back after such a strong second season, and as “The Day Tennyson Died” will show, we are in for a third season full of mystery and intrigue. That being said, I feel as if some of the material seen in this premiere might have already been covered in past seasons. There are new characters (with familiar names) introduced and each succeeds in bringing a new facet of mystery and gothic drama to the table. However, some of the conflict may seem old hat to long time viewers.

Season two left us with our protagonists scattered to the four winds and “The Day Tennyson Died” shows us how each main character has fared in the interim. I found some glimpses into our characters’ fates more interesting than others, but I feel their reception might be a matter of personal preference. I’m much more interested in Frankenstein and Vanessa’s storylines than Caliban’s. Speaking of Vanessa, the driving force of Penny Dreadful has always been her struggle with that which lurks in the shadows and calls her name. Fans of Ms. Ives will not be disappointed as the budding storyline presented in “The Day Tennyson Died” surrounding the medium stands out the most among what this episode offered. One scene in particular captured my attention completely; an interaction between Vanessa and a new acquaintance, Dr. Seward. The more scenes we get between these two in season three, the better as their interaction is fascinating.

As always, Penny Dreadful is shot in a beautiful manner. The wider angles showcasing space, and in the case of the episode, absence of light were used to great effect, reminding us that the demimonde is always out there. It seems we’ll be splitting some of our time between England and America this season. I’m unsure of how well that will be received since so much of Penny Dreadful depends on its atmosphere. These aren’t simple ghost stories to be told around a campfire; they are dark tales spun like spider webs that hang in cold, abandoned gothic manors. Only time will tell how the change of scenery will affect the season.

Themes of home and what (or who) that means for our characters run strongly throughout this episode, perhaps pointing to the theme of the season. “Home” for our protagonists is very strongly attached to the few meaningful relationships they’ve managed to cultivate despite the darkness that resides within each of them. Penny Dreadful has been hinged so far on our characters embracing their own darkness, but now it seems that their goal will be to understand the darkness in their companions.

“The Day Tennyson Died” isn’t a bombastic season opener. Instead, it eases the viewer back in to the world of Penny Dreadful, almost like its throwing the shutters open for the viewer and reminding them of a familiar place they haven’t visited in a while. It’s a solid start to a season that hopefully will build more mysteries.

“The Day Tennyson Died” will be premiering Sunday, May 1st on Showtime.
It is currently available on Hulu.

About the Author – Ashley B
Ashley is as serious as a sleeping curse when she says television is her life. Professional event planner, avid movie viewer, convention enthusiast, and resident sass master, Ashley writes reviews for ABC's Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and Galavant, as well as Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. She looks forward each week to the weird and wonderful world her favorite television programs provide.
Recent Reviews by Ashley B (All Reviews)

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