|Photo courtesy of Showtime|
(***WARNING*** This is a recap for an ADULT show. Be prepared for cursing, explicit material, and possible sex, violence, gore and horror discussions! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!)
Before I begin this recap, I’m going to tell you guys something. I love horror flicks. No, I mean I LOVE horror flicks. I’m that person in the theater who’s laughing her ass off during the Saw movies. The scarier it is, the more I giggle. Let me tell you, I get some strange looks from people when I’m cackling with glee as some poor dude is getting his head chopped off. So while you might be used to the sweet (hahahahaha!), sensitive Christina who usually covers shows like Reign, OUAT and Doctor Who, let me assure you that Penny Dreadful is right up my alley. My recaps will still be “me”, although probably slightly less humorous and slightly more toned down. Okay? Okay!
Now, let’s get to my recap of the Penny Dreadful pilot!
The show opens with a mother and young daughter lying in bed. Mom gets up to pee, and, OH MY GOD DID YOU SEE THAT?! HAHAHHA, THAT WAS AWESOME! I jumped at least three feet into the air! We’re not even three minutes in and I’m already jumping! This is a good sign!
The little girl wakes, finds mom missing and goes searching. She opens the bathroom door and screams…
Man, that a great cold opening! I’m impressed!
So the credits are, um…yeah, pretty much creepy as hell. Holy.
In a bare room, a woman is on her knees, praying to a crucifix hanging on the wall. A spider (spiders. WHY did it have to be spiders?!) crawls over the crucifix, and then over the woman’s arm. I’ll tell you the truth, I didn't really watch this bit. I really, really hate spiders. I peeked through my fingers. Decapitation with tons of gore? No problem. Spiders? No can do.
Praying-Lady starts convulsing a bit. And possibly hearing voices. I’m not sure. That bit was really unclear.
Aaaand, we’re suddenly at a Wild West show in London, 1891. There’s a shooting guy, and…oh, that’s weird. Praying-Lady is watching in the audience. She shows up at shooting-guy’s drinking hole, and pulls some cool Sherlock-esque deductions on him. Prayer-Lady hires him for a job. What the job is, we know not! Mysterious! I’d also really like to know their names now. Calling them, “Prayer-Lady” and “Shooting-Guy” is getting annoying.
Later that night, Lady and--aha! Chandler! Shooting-Guy is Chandler!—Lady brings Chandler to an opium den. They’re met by Timothy Dalton, who warns Chandler to keep his eyes open. They’re looking for…someone. Curiouser and curiouser!
The three go into a creepy, and really big, basement-place. They meet up with three…men, I guess? Really pale men. Possibly vampires. Or zombies. I guess we’ll find out if we keep watching, huh?
So creepy-guy number 1 starts talking to Timothy Dalton in not-English. Meanwhile, creepy-guys 2 and 3 are circling around, honing in on Chandler. Creepy-guys attack and there’s a fight. The guys get the upper hand, and DID YOU SEE THAT CREEPY THING GET UP LIKE THAT?! HAHAHA, THAT WAS AWESOME.
While the men fight, Lady is following the sound of a female crying. She comes across a…wow. That’s disgusting. A room full of bodies and body parts and blood. It’s a killing room or something. Gross. Also, disturbing. Lady spots a girl on the floor and notices that there are bite marks in the girl’s neck. Ugh, wait. There’s also a dead baby.
Chandler and Timothy Dalton arrive and shoot the last vampire, but not before he tells Lady that the “Master” is closer than they think.
And then I scream really loud because a creature pops out of a pile of bodies. And then he flings Chandler around like he’s a rag-doll. But it’s okay because Lady distracts the vampire and Dalton kills him from behind. But the girl they’re looking for isn't there, and so there must be another creature. I guess. Or something. Oh, and Chandler is pretty freaked out about the whole vampire thing.
The next stop is…the resurrection men? Oh, man that doesn't sound good! The trio brings the body of the creature to the resurrection men, and one preforms an autopsy. It’s really gross, and really cool. They find Egyptian hieroglyphics underneath the creature’s exoskeleton. Yep, you heard me right. It has an exoskeleton.
We go back to the mother/daughter from the beginning, where the police are now surveying a blood-covered room. The scene is horrifying. There are body parts and innards EVERYWHERE. It’s disgusting! Shout-out to the makeup and prop designers out there! Y’all do good work!
The next day, Chandler (first name, Ethan!) goes to see Sir Malcolm (that’s Dalton’s character!) at his home. Vanessa Ives (and now we have all three names, hooray!) is also there.
As they wait for Sir Malcolm, Vanessa reads his tarot cards and explains what happened the night before. She finally explains that Sir Malcolm’s daughter was taken by one of the creatures, and that they’re searching for her.
Chandler declines her offer to be a hired gun, and Vanessa wishes him well.
So, I guess the show is over or….?
But WAIT! She asks Chandler to pick a card before he leaves. He does, and lo and behold, it’s ‘the lovers’ card. I have no idea what that means. This show is confusing. I need a nap.
After Chandler leaves, Sir Malcolm is staring at a creepy photo of his daughter, I guess? And some boy? He tells Vanessa that she’ll be needed in an hour because they’re going to see dead things or something. Yeah, that sounds like a great time!
Outside, the headlines of the papers are cool! “Is Jack Back? Family Ripped in East End Carnage!”
Sir Malcolm and Vanessa go to the British museum, to an Egyptian specialist. Hahaha, okay, I love this eccentric guy! Comic relief! He’s adorable! Aaaaaaand, more bugs. YUCK.
The specialist translates the first hieroglyphic to mean, ‘blood curse” or ‘blood cure’. The second, he’s much more mysterious about. He wants to see more of the glyphs, and he can’t do it at the museum. He invites them to a dinner party at his home in a week or so. Before they leave his office, he tells them that the hieroglyphic writing is from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Randomly, Chandler is at the scene of the crime, watching when the police remove the bodies of the slaughtered mother and daughter.
Also randomly, Sir Malcolm sends the autopsy doctor a jacket and tie and invites him to dinner at the Explorers’s Club. After a passionate speech from the doctor about life and death, Malcolm asks the doctor to be on his team, to help search for his daughter.
And yet again, randomly, Chandler is skulking in the shadows, watching Sir Malcom’s house as the man arrives home. Chandler is weird.
Sir Malcolm readies himself for bed and closes his window. Of course, that’s when you know something is in the house. The lights flicker, and Sir Malcolm crosses the room to check the switch. Then I said out loud, “AHHHH WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!”, because there’s a girl standing in the background, out of focus, which is REALLY creepy and fun!
The girl starts crying, and then ALL THE SCARES HAPPEN. A window blows open, the girl moves too fast to see and is suddenly standing right in front of her father with red eyes, and the lights shatter and go out, and the girl disappears.
Downstairs over a much-needed drink, Vanessa and Malcolm discuss guilt and whose fault it was that his daughter was taken and yadda yadda. You knew that was going to happen. It’s always someone’s fault. Someone has to be the guilty one.
In the rain, the doctor makes his way home. Out of focus (they like that out of focus technique!), we see someone following him. Also, the doctor lives in a really crappy building.
Again we see Vanessa praying in the bare room. This time there are candles that start to float and SO MANY BUGS crawling out from beneath the now-upside down crucifix!
Once home, the doctor goes into his sooper seekrit back room….where he has a naked dead guy hooked up to some electrical stuff? You guys, is this doctor Frankenstein?!
Then we get some deliciously intense moments when the doctor goes down to fix something and you expect dead naked guy to be gone, but isn’t. Then the doctor goes to fix it again, and you yell at the screen, “OH MY GOD HE’S GONNA BE GONE NOW BE PREPARED, HEART.”, but he isn't. And then, POOF, the light go out and you KNOW he’s going to be gone now…and he is! Yaaaay, we were totally right! …eventually.
Dead naked guy is alive (after a fun scene in the dark with noises!), but looks like hell. The doctor asks him if he can hear, and alive naked guy smiles. The doctor introduces himself, I CALLED IT RIGHT UP THERE I JUST DID BOOYEAH VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN! Er. Sorry.
And, the end!
So, wow! Creepy, mysterious, gory, fun, intriguing….It definitely kept my interest for the full hour. It was a bit all over the place, but I’m hoping it’ll come together as the season progresses. They have to fit a lot into a short pilot.
I’m very hopeful for what’s in store. I just really hope they keep the romance at bay, or at least make it subtle and not a major part of the story. I’d also like to see less dead penises because, ew. And I really, really hope it doesn't turn into just another creepy vampire story.
I’m really looking forward to meeting Billie Piper’s character. Hopefully she makes an appearance next week!
Until then, lock your windows and doors you guys! There are vampires about!