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Penny Dreadful - No Beast So Fierce - Review +POLL

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After two brilliant episodes focusing primarily on Ms. Ives a couple of weeks ago, and Ethan last week, Penny Dreadful brings the other characters into the fold in 'No Beast So Fierce.'

There is clearly a lot of thought put into the pacing of this season. 'The World is Our Hell,' as well as 'A Blade of Grass' especially, were much more scaled back featuring plenty of profound introspection and a deep exploration of Ms. Ives and Ethan Chandler, respectively. This week the action and intensity picked up heavily with nary a time to slow down, in particular that rousing ending, which saw the death of a couple of strong, but expendable secondary characters.

First off, it was great to see Lyle Ferdinand again. His humour and colourful language adds much needed lightheartedness to the sometimes too often dreary world of Penny Dreadful. His scene with Ms. Ives, similar to their interaction in the premiere, was very tender and heartfelt. If Sir Malcolm is a surrogate father to her, then Ferdinand is like her uncle. The Egyptologist has certainly grown into quite an important role on a more emotional level. Unfortunately, it seems he will be taking another extended leave.

Thanks to Ferdinand Ms. Ives is connected to Catriona Hartdegan, who has a wealth of knowledge on Dracula and many other lore. She is introduced as being fiercely independent and is so far a welcome addition to the cast. However, while one woman joins the cast, another woman is lost in Hectate. This was heartbreaking as actress Sarah Greene did a devilishly masterful job as the young witch goading Ethan to embrace his sins. In fact, her death did feel quite abrupt; however, with Ethan most likely reuniting with Ms. Ives in these last few episodes of the season, there wasn't much for her character, she had served her purpose.

This last part of the Ethan story, set mainly around the dinner table, was fabulous. There was this animosity hovering over the table with the host and his guests all with their personal agendas. The best part of it all was the relationship between Sir Malcolm and Mr. Talbot, with the latter insisting that Malcolm is just like him. The only difference is that he still has unresolved business to attend to regarding a loved one in Ethan. Who is to say Sir Malcolm wouldn't do the same in Mr. Talbot's shoes when pushed to the brink of vengeance. We already saw a hint of how heartless Sir Malcolm can be in season one during his search for Mina.

All this animosity culminated in a shoot out that saw the death of Hectate, sniff sniff, as well as Bartholomew and at the end, Ethan's father. It was quite surprising to see Ethan kill Bartholomew with such little hesitation. The inspector was not really a bad guy, just a man caught up in a situation he didn't understand and seeking what he thought was justice. Even though Ethan is our main protagonist and we are supposed to sympathize with him, there is a darkness about him and he does have blood on his hands, which makes him such a compelling character. This underlying theme of good vs. evil applies as much, if not more, to the inner turmoil of our main protagonists as much as literal forces of evil vs. forces of good.

The last sequence, which saw Sir Malcolm pull the trigger on Ethan's dad, was shocking and, to a certain extent, gleeful, but it was also very revealing. There's this sense that deep down inside, Malcolm agrees with Mr. Talbot and he truly does see a version of himself, thus killing him out of the hate of seeing what he could become or what he was. Or maybe Sir Malcolm is just simply protecting his surrogate son and I am reading too far into it.

This inner turmoil between good and evil plays out with Dorian Grey also, but to a lesser extent. He seems to have growing doubt about what he is doing brought on by the emergence of Justine who has replaced him on the pecking order. Meanwhile, Lily has fully embraced all that makes her evil - she has accepted the hate and anger, evident in that beautiful monologue she gave, and is letting it motivate her. This storyline still feels irrelevant, but the captivating screen presence of Billie Piper as Lily helps make each scene she is in thoroughly engaging.

Elsewhere is Caliban. His child not recognizing him and being afraid of him was absolutely tragic, it'll be interesting to see how that changes him. It would be awesome to see him finally join Ms. Ives in the fight against Dracula and I was hoping he would be the friend that Ms. Ives turns to, but alas, it is Dr. Seward Vanessa seeks solace in. The beauty of how this storyline played out this week is in the fact that this trust Ms. Ives has in Dr. Seward will unintentionally be her fall from grace, as their talk led her to seek out Dr. Sweet aka Dracula, culminating in them making love! Things have surely taken a dramatic turn of events.

Overall, 'No Beast So Fierce' furthered along all of the storylines at a steady pace. I wasn't as emotionally invested to this episode as the past couple of episodes, but its intensity, especially in the scenes out west, and consistent strong writing made this week's episode as engaging as any.


About the Author - Kollin Lore
Kollin is an entertainment writer and a film and television, in particular genre TV, freak having grown up during the 90s and early 2000s a dedicated fan of Buffy and Angel. Current shows like Person of Interest, Supernatural, Ripper Street, Penny Dreadful, Grimm, The Blacklist, Game of Thrones, and dozens of other shows are currently occupying Kollin’s nightly hours.
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