Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review: Penny Dreadful's Closer Than Sisters


I enjoy candy. Sometimes I want something sweet, something sour, chocolate, vanilla. Candy is delicious and it's the type of food where it always makes you want more. You don't just grab the little bag at the checkout line of your favorite brand, you find the candy isle and pick up several pounds of it. And it's good, at first. We get exactly what we want, and then we have some more, and it's still good, some more, and we should put the bag down, but we don't. Eventually, we become sick of the stuff. Penny Dreadful's candy addiction is the Gothic, and I think it's beginning to upset my stomach.

Vanessa Ives' says, "How dare you presume to speak to me of death." and I think that's a fair question the audience should ask, because we haven't heard the end of it since the show began. I get it, I understand it's the Gothic, that's the bread and butter, the blood and death. As from my review of the first half of the season, I blame this problem on the writing. The repetition of grandiose monologues on life and death, and the reservation of monsters hidden away is becoming tiring. A much bigger issue the show must now face is the beginning of closure of the plot when the first half did little of setting up the game.

As I mentioned in my season-half impressions, the show is damned good outside of the plot, and this is exemplified again by Eva Green's portrayal of Vanessa Ives. Here in Closer Than Sisters, Eva Green is a force of nature. I'm not lying when I say this episode should win her an award. Closer Than Sisters is so far the strongest episode in total. The writing is top notch (Until that really dumb line Vanessa says), it gives a clearer indication of where this series is going, acting is phenomenal, pacing is perfect. This episode effectively stops anyone from quitting on quality alone. I don't like it, I love it.

All adoration aside, this episode does show a fundamental problem in this season's structure. Beginning to end, the entire episode is a flashback. A catch-22 situation, as the audience we get a detailed look of what's been going on behind the scenes (remember all those half-sentences I talked about?), but at the price of stalled action. Most of the characters we've been introduced to: Frankenstein, Chandler, Gray; have not moved, and the already slow story has not really budged for our cast.

Take it as you will, is this a necessary measure to give us all these fine character moments, or is this an inevitable flaw from all the writing coming from one source? I'd like to leave this question out for others to decide. Right now, I'm along for the ride that no where else presents. See you all next episode.