Monday, June 2, 2014

Review: Penny Dreadful's Resurrection


We have hit the point where I no longer get to see these episodes ahead of time. It felt neat to see an episode and know that others will see it in a couple of days. I used to receive pre-screenings to movies several years back, and watched the blockbuster films two to three weeks before everyone else. You feel kinda cool, and then in hindsight, it's not so much.

Penny Dreadful is back after a rather shocking ending to episode two. No spoilers are here, because people do not seem able to compose themselves around fiction. Dr. Frankenstein receives the brunt of the attention of the first half, and while I do enjoy observing his history of becoming who he is, and his relationship with monsters, it was done primarily through flashbacks. I can't quite pinpoint my dislike with the flashbacks, because they were very good and displayed genuine emotion and depth, but they also stunted the pace. That's the thing with flashbacks, it has its advantageous and disadvantageous.

The second half also brought my disfavor with Sir Malcom and Vanessa. Not that Timothy Dalton or Eva Green did a bad job, on the contrary, like the previous episodes they're top notch. What ends up transpiring is heavy handed and overly-serious writing that kills the mood. Yes, you all have been brutalized by loss. This point has been hammered into my brain for all three episodes, and I don't think this show deals with anything that's not grave events.

I'm suspecting I feel this way because Ethan Chandler received the scrutiny of this monologue, and in this episode, he's one of the few characters who's doing something proactive for somebody else. In fact, Ethan, Frankenstein, and The Monster are the standouts because they are the only one acting to achieve a goal. The rest are either not shown much or are constantly being cryptic.

Resurrection is above the pilot, in terms of quality viewing throughout, but below Seance, we're still left lacking some monster mayhem. I don't mean action shooting either. Seance is a slow and character driven episode that is engrossing, while at the same time giving us enough scary things on screen. Resurrection keeps a bit too much in the shadows, and this is a show all about things hiding in the shadows. The show is keeping true to it's Gothic roots and there is a lot to respect about that choice.