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.