Penny Dreadful S02 E04: Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places and S02 E05: Above the Vaulted Sky

Since Episode 3 was a Vanessa Spotlight, it makes sense that the next two episodes would both be Ensemble Hangouts. Of the two, “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places” does a masterful job of reconnecting us to the ongoing story and being a solid episode. “Above the Vaulted Sky” includes some disappointments, but also some good setup for the future. Both episodes keep the show’s second season decidedly more woman-centric than the first season, which works to this season’s benefit (even as the first season remains one of the best first seasons of a TV show).

This is also a good place to acknowledge the great work of Genevieve Valentine, who recapped the first two seasons of this show for Io9 (with bonus posts on her blog) and is an all-around smart person. I followed along the first time I watched Penny Dreadful, which undoubtedly shaped my perspective. Out of respect for her work, I try to steer my analysis into some of the places hers didn’t have the space to get to, but there’s no question she’s been an influence on my thinking, especially when it comes to the rest of this season.


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Penny Dreadful S02 E03: The Nightcomers

As I’ve been making my way through Penny Dreadful, I’ve noticed that my ability to write meaningfully about an episode dips is less connected to the episode’s quality than I’d assumed would be the case. Acknowledging that even the “worst” episodes of this show are still very good, I’ve certainly been able to pull lots of analysis out of episodes that are basically just moving characters around to set up future events.

And then there are truly great episodes like “The Nightcomers,” where I find myself struggling with what to write because they’re operating at a level of quality I find hard to dissect. Still, I shall endeavor to do my best!


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Penny Dreadful S02 E01: Fresh Hell and S02 E02: Verbis Diablo

Season 2 kicks off with a couple Ensemble Hangouts setting up our new antagonists for the season. Rather than do a straight up recap, let’s jump straight to talking about witches! (Okay, one quick note: This season has the delightful distinction of having Simon Russel Beale’s Mr. Lyle as a series regular, which more shows should really do.)


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