Posts Tagged ‘Mina’

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from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot:  “Mourning and grief.  Sorrow and regret.  A psychological breakdown.  Feeling desolated.  Hitting an extreme low- but from here, things should get better.  Darker meaning: Anxieties about death. Coming to terms with a tragic event.”

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 1, episode 5). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_105_0418

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful, Closer than Sisters

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from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot: “Weighed down by too much work.  Being burdened by too many responsibilities.   Darker Meaning: Trying to do far more than you should.  Feeling burdened by your sins and misdemeanors.”

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Sembene from Penny Dreadful

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from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot: “Being thankful and happy about the simple pleasures in life.  Enjoying your family and domestic life.   Darker meaning: A dysfunctional family.  A claustrophobic, oppressive aspect to your family life.  A child (or inner child) that is not being well cared for, this could be physical or psychological.”

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Vanessa, Mina, and Peter as children with Sir Malcolm in Penny Dreadful

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from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot: “Prosperity. Feeling content on the whole, but there’s a hint of a feeling that you’ve missed out on some of the magic in life.  Choosing material comfort over more spiritual or mystical pursuits.  Darker meaning: Willing to steep low for some material gain.”

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Dorian Gray from Penny Dreadful

 

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grand guignol

Sitting at a parlor table, Vanessa tells Sir Malcolm that the images she has recently seen took place in the theater in which she watched a play.  “I believe Mina is trying to get out.”

To this, Sir Malcolm responds he hopes this time they might be lucky.

“And if we are not?”

Sir Malcolm promises to try to save Mina- if not, he will end her suffering.

Understandably, Vanessa doesn’t seem convinced that he will be able to kill his own daughter.

“And will that bring you peace?”

“Don’t be foolish.  It doesn’t suit you.”   He rises, and before leaving the room, informs her to call in the others.

So thus begins the season finale of Penny Dreadful

It is only fitting the last episode should culminate at the Grand Guignol- that famous theater of bloody delights.  Right, the Victorians were sooo prudish.  Can we finally dispose of that myth once and for all?

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Mr. Gray comes by to see Miss Ives.  As he notices her tarot cards, he asks if she might tell his future.

“I’m not sure if you have one.”

“Everyone has a future.”

“No not everyone.” She studies him carefully.  “Some only have a past.”

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Chandler holds Brona’s hand as he prays for her.  When he leaves her home, he is followed by two men.  One of whom is told to be patient, to enjoy the hunt…

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Sir Malcolm comes across Madam Kali while shopping.  She who seems very interested in how Vanessa is doing… Now, of course, this might be natural curiosity.  After all, it’s not every day you see a woman become possessed and spew out obscenities at a dinner party…yet I’d wager a bet there is more to just that behind her questioning.  And when Sir Malcolm says he hopes to see her again, she replies that she is sure that they will.

Innocent flirting, or is there something cryptic behind those words?

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Meanwhile, Caliban is watching his favorite actress practice a scene with her boyfriend.  When he has trouble with the props, Simon threatens not work there anymore as long as the monster is employed.  While his anger at being left hanging from the rafters is understandable, his insults border on the abusive, and when Maude returns to apologize for the oaf’s behavior- and kisses Caliban’s forehead- I was definitely wondering if that accident might plant a murderous seed inside of him.

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However, the moment he walked into Maude’s dressing room, I correctly began to fear for her life.

“You shouldn’t be in here.”

“Simon does.”

Oh, so that gives you the right?  Uh huh…

It’s pretty obvious what is about to ensue.  And yup, within the next few moments, Caliban’s near sexual assualt becomes almost a murder when he nearly chokes her to death.   Thankfully, he possesses at least a tiny morsel of morality- and stomps away.

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Vanessa meets Dorian Gray at their botanical garden where she confesses there is a connection between them but it is too dangerous.  “That very intimacy released something unhealthy in me.  Something I can not allow.”  Gray, thinking she is merely afraid of her sexual desires tries to ease her fears, but she tells him goodbye.  As she walks away, he wipes a tear, which he looks at in wonder.

Vanessa and Gray

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Caliban seeks refuge with Dr. Frankenstein who understandably refuses to forgive him for the murder of Van Helsing.  In a rare moment of self-reflection, Caliban notes his monstrosity has shifted from without to within.  “This shattered image only reflects the abomination that is my heart…I would rather be the corpse I was, than the man I am.”  He shuts his eyes, telling his father to pull the trigger which he cannot.

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Will the doctor come to rue this decision?

Before we can muse further upon this, Chandler arrives to say he needs his help and brings him to the dying Brona. As she admits her fears, the Doctor tries to reassure her that she’s only going to walk through a different door.  That there is a place between heaven and earth, a place of salvation but if she wants to go there, there is a price.  And as she stares at him in confusion, he lifts a pillow and smothers her breath.

“I’m sorry,” he says when Chandler returns to the room.  “It is over.”  And as Chandler breaks into sobs, he promises to take care of the body.

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Poor Chandler doesn’t have much time to mourn before his hunters meet up with him at a tavern, announcing that his father misses him.

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While Chandler escapes from their clutches, he has no time to rest as he meets with Sir Malcolm, Sambene, and Vanessa.  Together, the group head to the theater.

Inside they are attacked by more of those blonde vampiresses who vanish when a male vamp is killed by Sir Malcolm.

“Vanessa.”

They turn as Mina comes out from hiding.

“Mina.”

The best friends embrace, but the joyous moment is short-lived.  Mina’s eyes darken and she twists Vanessa around.  “You’ve brought her to me.  Good job, father.”

When Chandler makes a move, she warns him not to try anything.  “You don’t have a role in this play.”

Sir Malcolm begs his daughter to remember who she is, but she insists this is who she was meant to be.  “You will understand when you join the Master.  When you all join him.  And now that he has his bride, they will sire generations.”

In a moment which shocks Vanessa, Sir Malcolm chooses her, after all.  Shooting Mina dead, he announces he already has a daughter.

Mina shot

Meanwhile, father Frankenstein brings Brona’s corpse to Caliban…

While Chandler unleashes his hidden self…

And Vanessa enters a church, seeking an exorcism.

final thoughts:

Much played out as I expected, which is fine. Just entertain me. I don’t need twists for the sake of twists. Surprises are fun, but let them be organic, not put into a script just to say, “gotya.”

And entertain, Penny Dreadful did.

Was this season all it could be? No, as mentioned, at times it did feel a bit too restrained, a bit too afraid to put that heart on the sleeve. But the acting, scripts, direction, and art direction was all top-notch and the show definitely captured the feeling of a Victorian Gothic.

– am disappointed to see Mina killed off so quickly. Definitely wanted to see more of her storyline. Seems a waste to end it so abruptly. But I suppose there’s always a chance she could be brought back, and the Master is still out there…

This week’s ep begins shortly after the final events of “What Death Can Join Together”. And just as that episode ended with Miss Ives levitating toward the ceiling- this is indeed a Vanessa-cenric episode.

She lies resting upon Sir Malcom’s sofa. “To be beautiful is to be almost dead.” She muses of how women are portrayed- pale and ethereal in the throes of death. “Men circulate such pictures and pleasure themselves.”

Sir Malcolm, understandably uncomfortable with such subject matter, interupts to ask if she remembers anything. She doesn’t, but is more concerned about who dressed her. It was he, Sir Malcolm admits. “Just like when I was a little girl.” She beams and for one moment a childlike joy sweeps over her face; but just as quickly it is painted over by a new darkness. “But you didn’t dress me as a little girl. So silly of me. You weren’t there to dress me. You were away on some trek.”

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“Mina?” He leans forward.

She sits up. “Somewhat.” And as she sips the tea at her side, she berates him on  how he treated her mother. “You could have at least attended her funeral for decency’s sake.” And then as he listens in horror, she spits out how he was too busy going from village to village taking women and convincing himself that they wanted him. If this is true, and there’s no reason to believe it is not as all her demonic outbursts have hit bulls-eye, then this reveals a much, much uglier truth about the African explorer.

As “Mina” continues to hurl revelations toward him, the room becomes an inferno of flying papers, utenils, dishes, furniture… which is only stopped when Sembene rushes in and slaps her unconscious.

Locked in her room she is visited by Dr. Frankenstein who wishes to examine her. “May I listen to your heart?”

“Such as it is.”

“Your hands are trembling. Are you afraid?”

“Yes, but not of you.”

“Do you know a greater demon?” She teases. “Tell me about him. Or should I tell you?”

vanessa and frankenstein

Another man perturbed that she can see through him like glass, the Doctor rushes downstairs where he informs Sir Malcolm that he believes her troubles stem from sexual guilt. Before he can discuss possible treatments, he jumps back as bugs crawl all over the tarot deck she had left on the table. They stream across the shiny surface onto the floor- hundreds, countless numbers of them. . Chandler, who’d been invited over, arrives just then, and as Miss Ives lets out a blood curdling scream, the men rush upstairs to find her sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth, her wet hair lying lank against her gray cheeks.

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Vanessa awakens and is told by Chandler that she has been asleep for almost a week. She asks him for a sip of water, and as they are alone, promises that she will not hurt him.

“It gets pretty rough at itmes.” He admits the doctor wanted to restrain her.

“He would.” She sinks onto her pillow while sighing that he can’t understand what it’s like to have that thing inside of you. “…like an animal…scratching to get out.”

Oh, Vanessa…I think he can…

After admitting she might have been able to fall in love with him, she makes him promise to kill her if such a time should come. “I want you to look into my eyes and pull the trigger.”

The lady is just as philosophical about facing her own death as she is in Mina’s.  Just as she loves her old friend enough to kill her, she would want someone to set her free as well.

“So you can go to heaven.”

“If you beleive in it.”

“I do. But I believe in the other place more. Cause I know that place pretty well. You might say it was where I was fllung when your fucking cunt of a God kicked me out.” Now it is Vanessa’s turn to recoil in shock. And may I confess the writers got me here too.

“You don’t recognize your old friend, Vanessa?”

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She declares the day will never come that she will surrender to him. But ah, he has ways to convince her. After all, there’s a bunch of people downstairs to kill if she continues to rebuke his advances.

“What do you want from me?”

“I want you to be the mother fo all evil. I want you to rule the darkness with me.” Now this line could have been very cheesy, but delivered in quiet tones and a tender manner, Josh Hartnett elevates it to something much higher, and I’m becoming more and more impressed with his acting.

“And we will conquer God and throw him from his bloody throne.” He promises as they kiss.

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While Frankenstein is haunted by Caliban lurking outside, Chandler and Sir Malcolm argue over how to care for Vanessa. Ultimately a priest is called in, but it is Chandler who ends up saving Vanessa who awakens to reveal she knows exactly where to find Mina.

Bring on the finale!

final thoghts- As stated previously, I haven’t looked forward to what I feel will be an inevitable romantic pairing of Chandler and Vanessa as I’m utterly sick of this idea that main characters *must* end up together for no other reason than they are the leads. But in this ep, Josh and Eva showcased not only great acting together in their scenes, but that vital chemistry.

Even though it was The Devil disguised as Chandler, I’m still pretty certain that the mention of “scratching” and “animals” was another hint about the American gunslinger’s secret.

After Chandler reappears downstairs- is that truly him or still the Devil? It was difficult at times to tell as he conversed with the other players, confronting them on their pasts.  At whatever point he did become our Chandler again, wouldn’t he have realized he lost time?

How did Chandler learn to expunge the Devil from within a person? If he is a werewolf, did he learn the rite in hopes that it might cure him?

While he was always solid, I did feel Hartnett was the weak link in the cast at first.  Am very happy to see him proving me wrong.

Eva Green continues to amaze.

And the biggest question of the night:  Did Vanessa and the Devil have sex?

Ah! The episode I’ve been waiting for opens with Vanessa penning a letter to Mina. “I write in hope that one day things will be as they once were, though I know that can never be.”

She looks up and as her gaze turns faraway, we are taken back in time to a young Vanessa frolicking on the beach with Mina. The two girls hold hands, both dressed in angelic white, as their ribboned hair flows behind them. “I don’t remember any clouds when we were young. Were there any?” an adult Vanessa wonders as the scene plays out. “Were they on the horizon or was it all seashores and sandcastles? Such thoughts seem naive, but aren’t all memories?”

Later, the two friends are over at Mina’s house where they discuss the kind of men they wish to marry. Mina teases Vanessa that everyone expects her to marry her brother, Peter. The boy looks up and informs them both that he will be joining his and Mina’s father (Sir Malcolm) on his expeditions. That he won’t be spending his life stuffing monkeys and other animals as he is just then. Vanessa goes over to him and insists that he must name everything so they come alive. “Like a witch’s spell.”

Sir Malcolm arrives home and while lavishing much attention on his daughter, and also toward Vanessa whom he obviously also feels fatherly affections for, he offers little affection to his son, except to give him a present. As Peter watches the way his father interacts with the two girls, it leaves little wonder why it is so important for him to become an explorer like his father and join him on his adventures.

sir malcolm and teh girls

Years pass and Vanessa depicts the friendship between the two families, and the many dinners they spent together. Yet, “If I had been older I would have seen more beneath the laughter.”

After one such get-together, Vanessa strolls through a hedge maze upon the Murray’s estate. Certain she is going to come across Mina and her beau, she instead encounters her mother with Sir Malcolm. “More than the forbidden and the sinfulness, there was this…I enjoyed it. Something whispered. I listened.”

vanessa watching her mother
Vanessa runs to her room to pray. “Perhaps it had always been there. This thing, this demon inside me. Or behind my back waiting for me to turn around.” She swivels her head to glimpse her face in the mirror.

Jealous that her best friend is going to be married while Peter rejects her own advances as he is still determined to go away to Africa, she sneaks downstairs and meeting upon Mina’s fiance, comes on to the man, and they are soon all over each other. An almost hypnotized Vanessa (whether her eyes are glazed from sexual delight or from demonic possession or just shock at what she is doing is not quite clear) but she quickly sombers when Mina appears in view.

All goes to hell, and while Mina’s pareents attempt to console her, Vanessa tries to flee. She is stopped by her mohter who insists she goes back upstairs and try to make amends. Vanessa counters that her mother should go upstairs and beg her own husband’s forgiveness. Starteld that her daughter knew about the affair, Mrs Ives lets her daughter go. But Vanessa only runs so far before she falls hopelessly to the ground.

In an asylum, Vanessa suffers horrific “water treatments”, as well as having her hair shorn  before being forced to undergo brain surgery.

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Once released, the now almost camatose young woman is being tended to by her mother. Peter comes to say goodbye before leaving.  Vanessa wakes up as he leans over her. “You should have kissed me then. Kiss me now.” After he tenderly does so, she informs him he is going to die in Africa. The disturbed man quickly leaves, perhaps sensing his old friend is correct about his fate.

Once alone again, Vanessa gazes toward her mirror and this time sees the figure she always felt around her. “You are not Sir Malcolm,” she insists although the creature has taken his form. Realizing it is the devil, she tries to rebuke his advances but he assures her that she has always had choices and everything that has happened has been her doing.

“Darkling I listen; and, for many a time / I have been half in love with easeful Death / Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme, / To take into the air my quiet breath,” he recites from Keat’s “Ode to a Nightingale”.

Soon the two are enthroed in a passionate embrace.

Hearing noises coming from upstairs, Mrs. Ives hurries up to find her solo daughter, naked and writhering upon the bed, her eyes mad. Unable to take the shock, she dies of a heart attack.

A mournful Vanessa comes across Mina on the same beach they used to play together. Her best friend informs her that she has been forgiven because Mina realizes how much she has suffered.  Mina also goes on to say she is now married to a good man named Mr. Harker. But when she continues on, uttering things she could not possibly know, Vanessa realizes something is terribly wrong. As Mina’s face transforms to that of a vampire, she begs Vanessa to save her from the master.

Mina and Vanessa on beach

Determined to set things right, Vanessa goes to Sir Malcom’s and informs him they must save his daughter.

final thoughts: Definitely my fave episode thus far, and last week’s had already been an improvement. Everything which failed in the Frankenstein flashback, excelled here. Eva Green is always enchanting on the screen, but never moreso than when going feral. The interplay between she and Sir Malcolm, the history of how they have bonded together to save Mina despite the hurt they have caused each other is duly felt and understandable.

favorite line: “He loves you enough to save you. But I love you in a different way. I love you enough to kill you.”

“Your first born has returned, father.”

And so ended the second episode of Penny Dreadful.

penny dreadful victor and monster

Not suprisingly, we are now shown the flashback of how Doctor Frankenstein created his monster.

Unlike Mary’s Frankenstein whose wish to create life stemmed from scientific ambitions, this version of the doctor is driven by loss.

A young boy, his beloved dog has recently died, and his mother is painfully (and bloodily) wasting away from tuberculosis. The distraught Victor wonders why dying is not beautiful as it is in the world of the Romantic poets.

“Death is not serene,” he later says at his mother’s funeral.

Back to present time, the monster reels off about hs birth and immediate desertion. “Was every newborn abandoned at birth? Is this what life was?” And so goes his memories of learning about people by staring out the little window, and reading  his father’s books.  Wherefore, he scoffs at Victor’s romantic sensibilities. “We live in a time of steam ships. Did you really think I’d see eternity in daffodils?”

Spurred to join the world that he’d only glimpsed at, the monster left his safe haven and traveled.  Whereby, he was met with cruelty and abuse until befriended by an aging actor who secured him a job working behind the stage at the Grand Guignol. The monster, now called Caliban, muses of how night after night the actors died, only to be reborn the next.

Caliban found some level of friendship and acceptance in the world of theater, yet coveted the one thing he knew would always be unattainable.

“I want an immortal mate,” he now tells Victor.

Meanwhile, Sir Malcolm, perturbed from the incidents from Seance, is met by Vanessa who infroms him that they must find Mina after she sees a vision of the girl.

“You must save me.”

Mina and Vanessa

The pair are joined by Chandler who needs a job in order to purchase medicine for Brona’s worsening illness.

Off they go to the zoo where instead of finding Mina, they manage to capture another poor soul who has become a slave to the “master”.

penny dreadful zoo

Sir Malcolm calls upon Victor to see about finding a cure for the young man (to hopefully be used on his daughter one day). The doctor is none too pleased, warning that when you create a life, or a new version of life, you are responsible for it.

final thoughts: Due to the lack of immediacy, it is difficult, by nature, to make flashbacks exciting. Yet, they can be a great technique in revealing character’s histories and motivations. Unfortunately, for most of this episode, it felt like the writers merely wanted to bring the viewers quickly up to speed so they could turn the page onto the next episode. While the acting continues to impress, the writing was akin to, “and this happend. And then this happened.”

While I commend the writers for being confident and taking their time with the storytelling, it is imperative not to forget the importance of emotionally bonding your audience.

Episode two had more of the heart I felt missing in the premiere.  Let’s hope this was a mere slip.  Bring on episode four!

nitpick: The teasing of the probably inevitalbe romance between Vanessa and Chandler.  *yawn*.  Perhaps this is subjective, for I really like his relationship with Brona.  They come from similar worlds, they understand each other, have a friendly, easy rapport, and respect for each other.  In real life, that’s what tends to make lasting relationships.  However in Hollywood, such realism is too often shoved out the door for forced upon romances of opposites.

Not that people from different backgrounds and/or contrasting personalities, can’t and don’t find true love with each other in real life, but too often in films it is just a lazy trope of sorts.  And really, the main male and main female don’t always have to get together.  Seriously.

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Netflix has come to Germany, and with it a show I’ve been eager to dive into.

How could i not be excited to watch a show whose name is adopted from the lurid pulp fiction serials so popular amongst the sensation-hungry Victorians?

Gothic Horror, Victoriana, silks and lace….I’m there!

And a grimly lit macabre opening propels us right into this world.

Next day, American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, is offered a job by the mysterious Vanessa Ives.  “Do you believe there is a Demimonde, Mr. Chandler?  A half world between what we know and what we fear?” she asks him.

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It turns out that she (a devoutly religious tarot reading woman who might not be fully human) and her partner, Sir Malcom Murray, an African Explorer need help in finding his missing daughter, Mina. Through a funereal opium house they search, coming not upon his daughter, but monsters stemming from the darkest of nightmares.

While it is unclear how long Ives and Murray have been aware of these creatures haunting London, it is evident they definitely know more people are needed in the fight against them. Thus, soon into their fold, the remarkably bold and innovative, Victor Frankenstein, is invited.

The pilot episode is superbly shot, as darly delicous as any Victorian Gothic should be. Boasting divine set designs and costumes, as well as a top-notch cast, it is a welcome beginning.

Yet while all the main ingredients were present, a certain soul or heart was missing. In short, the opener was like a sundae missing the whipped cream and cherry on top. So while I can’t bestow the highest lavish praise upon it, I look forward to what the show can become.

Episode 101