Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Penny Dreadful Season 2 News & Updates

The second season of Penny Dreadful has been postponed a week--no reason provided--the debut of the first episode moved from April 26 to Sunday, May 3. There are some interesting notes that have been revealed including the "Master," the vampire Mina was serving and wanted to deliver Vanessa to, is still alive. According to the film makers, Season 2 will see a deeper development of their Dracula theme (will we meet Jonathan Hawker, Mina's famous husband? If you haven't read Bram Stoker's incredible book, please download it for free here from Amazon.com). "What this series is about," said John Logan, one of the creators, "is the monster in all of us." Given that, Ethan Chandler will have quite a season ahead of him as his bond with Vanessa grows deeper and stronger.
One of the few stills released for Season 2; Ferdinand Lyle, whom we briefly met in two episodes of Season 1, has a better fate (at least, at this point) than poor Van Helsing who was killed by Caliban, he will become a deep, intricate part of Madame Kali/Evelyn Poole's plot, the likes of which threatens to destroy each member of the group. The image above is well-organized, literally, because it's so organized, and "organized" is a detailed way of understanding the Victorians. There is the large map of Africa on the back wall, the mapping of the "Dark Continent," the land of mystery and unknowing which must be brutally subjected to intricate examination, mapping and publicity, and which consumes Malcolm and finding the source of the Nile. The books are in bookcases, not laid out, or even just on shelves, but put away. Everything, in a word, is orderly in the library, the"archive" of knowledge, except for the people in the library, who are all total messes, each with a kind of expertise in some dark, occult knowledge and secrets. Please note how Ferdinand Lyle's posture, the placing of his hands, mirrors Vanessa's; this will be an important detail. Also note how Frankenstein and Ethan cross their legs differently, illustrating their different approaches to life. Sir Malcolm, with his legs spread apart, looking like he is ready to leap, reminds me of F. Murray Abraham in Inside Llewellyn Davis: ready to mate with anything that moves. 
It has been revealed that, even though Sir Malcolm and Vanessa bonded and became closer in Season 1, as Malcolm becomes closer to Evelyn Poole, aka Madame Kali, the bond between "father and daughter" will be strained. Hecate, Evelyn's daughter, will play a powerful role in the film so it's possible Hecate will be pitted against Vanessa, since the two are "daughters" fighting for their respective parents. Which leads  us back around to Ethan.
There are a couple of things about this image from Season 1 that will serve to help us understand the character in Season 2. First, the cigarette he smokes is just like the one we see Evelyn Poole smoke at the shop where she runs into Sir Malcolm in Episode 8; why is this important? Like Bilbo and Gandalf smoking their pipes, smoking symbolizes how we "take in something," we need the breath of life to survive, and what we smoke symbolizes the manner in which  we choose externals to be our symbolic breath of life. For example, after Brona's death, and before they are getting ready to go into the theater, Vanessa smokes and offers it to Ethan, who doesn't want to take it, but does; the sharing of a smoke between them, but sucking on the same cigarette, is a sign that, somehow, they both seek their breath of life from the same source, though that hasn't yet been revealed. We can say the same for Lyle and Poole, they have made themselves allies, whether because of their occult leanings or they have more earthly concerns in common. Please note also the two-toned hair of Lyle: brassy blonde and gray. We have seen this before in President Coin (Julianne Moore) in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It means that Lyle is of "two minds" because hair symbolizes our thoughts: he is probably sympathetic to Malcolm--he wanted his autograph when they first met--but he is under the power of Poole. 
Ethan is the son of Jared Chandler, a "titan of industry" who is a "monstrous man and treated his son cruelly." The essence of their relationship is "dissatisfaction," whether with their own self, each other, their relationship or all of the above, a question that will be posed about Ethan is, "Was he born a werewolf or was he made into one through being bitten?" There has also been talk about the possibility of Ethan having been a priest in the past. But that "past" also brings up Brona. The big issue with her, of course, is not just that Ethan's prostitute girlfriend is now resurrected as the bride of Caliban, but also that Frankenstein murdered her to get her corpse. Then there is Dorian, which leads us to an interesting motiff they are introducing, but we haven't really had a chance to discuss.
"Miss Ives, Miss Ives, speaking to demons and touching lives. What games we'll have, Miss Ives and I, where one will live and one will die. My dear friend, we've just begun. Soon we shall unleash glorious horrors." Poole feels Vanessa's threat on two fronts: first, Vanessa showed her up at the seance at Lyle's salon, when a much older demon  channeled Vanessa, not Poole; then, in the last episode, Poole asked Malcolm about Vanessa, probably because Vanessa is younger and a sexual challenge whereas Poole is older. IF Malcolm becomes a tug-of-war between the two women, Poole will want him for personal, and possibly nefarious reasons, whereas Vanessa will probably feel more of a since of loyalty to protecting Malcolm, even if it comes to a point that he thinks he doesn't want to be protected.  
Dancing.
Anyone who has read a Jane Austen novel knows that dancing is a form of mating, and the choosing of a dance partner is a mating ritual, just as it is in the wild.The music and dance has been specifically chosen for the characters at the point of their story where they require this kind of commentary. Now, this is interesting, because we have all ready seen multiple poems and even Shakespearean plays used to delve deeper into the nature of our "monsters" on the series, so now the art form of dancing and music will be invoked, but for what monsters specifically?
Witches.
Creator John Logan said of Poole, "She sees herself being on the side of the angels, but she serves the devil" This is immensely revealing about the series: how many people today would even admit the devil exists, or that a character they have created serves the devil? What is perhaps even more important, in the rapid spreading of Wicca, she's a witch serving the devil, and that's not going to be hidden. 
It might be a reference to the TV series SALEM, which revolves around witches, but in Season 2 of Penny Dreadful, we will discover the kind of witch Madame Kali is, and other witches, who are seeking to destroy the band of characters we know: Frankenstein, Ethan Chandler, Sir Malcolm, Vanessa. We can't really call them heroes, can we? We have some emotional, even artistic investment in their characters (will we ever seen the portrait of Dorian Gray? Creators have promised that, "at some point," we will) but more than anything, at least for myself, they represent lessons in morality: with their sins piled upon their shoulders, they each keep making the decisions that drag them deeper into hell, and offer compelling evidence why the real Victorians were against the comitting of so many sins.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner