In Review: Penny Dreadful – The Day Tennyson Died

In this episode of 'Penny Dreadful' A shattered and broken Vanessa seeks treatment from an unorthodox therapist

Synopsis: In this episode of ‘Penny Dreadful’ A shattered and broken Vanessa seeks treatment from an unorthodox therapist, but is soon forced to battle a new evil from the shadows.

Review: The episode starts with a recap from last season in which we see Malcolm, John Clare (The Frankenstein Monster) and Ethan go their separate ways, which leaves Vanessa on her own.

The story picks up with Vanessa Ives who is struggling with depression and has let the home go to wreck and ruin. Her solitude is interrupted by a kindly visit from Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale) who sets her up with psychiatrist Dr. Seward (Patti LuPone).

The action then switches location to Ethan who is on a train with Rusk and an army of law men. In a seperate compartment of the train the witch Hecate Poole is tailing and so is a gang, which sets into action to break Ethan out of the secured carriage and take him to New Mexico where he is to meet his father.

In Africa Malcolm has finished burying his friend and logs a diary entry about no longer being in love with the African continent. When leaving a bar he gets propositioned by a prostitute, but he politely declines when suddenly a gang of men attempts to knife him. A fight breaks out and as Malcolm’s days look to be numbered a mysterious stranger intervenes and helps Malcolm defeat the gang.

After the fight Malcolm and the stranger enjoy a drink and the stranger reveals that he has been tracking Malcolm for some time. When Malcolm questions the man. He introduces himself as Kaetenay and says he is an Apache Indian and needs Malcolm’s help to fight the evil. Whether or not it is the same evil that we have seen in previous seasons of ‘Penny Dreadful’ as yet remains to be seen.

In the Antarctic John Clare is trapped aboard a ship which is stranded in ice. The crew around him is shivering and struggling to survive. Probably fighting hypothermia. Clare however does not appear overly concerned with the cold, but does try to offer comfort to dying young boy. While singing a lullaby to the dying boy Claire has some kind of flashback of a young young boy being sang to by his father. This prompts John to leave the stranded ship and start the long walk home, but he puts the young boy out of his misery first given that he literally only has a couple of days left.

Back in London Miss Ives visits the Doctor and connects her to the Witch that trained her and taught her how to use her powers. The Doctor gets a little uncomfortable when Vanessa mentions her family name. The Doctor tells her to come again at 10 am and tells her to do something she hasn’t done before and report back.

Following her Doctor’s instructions Vanessa finds herself at the natural history museum and is looking at various spiders and scorpions when she is interrupted by the owner a Mr Sweet who proceeds to tell her everything he knows about Scorpion’s and sells her on the merits of his museum. Their conversation is interrupted however by a nervous man who needs Mr Sweet to attend to something.

We then cut to a street scene in London where we see the nervous man pick up a prostitute and proceed to do his business, which is rudely interrupted when the working lady is thrown clear of him and smashes into a wall. She dies instantly. The man finds himself speeded away to a hive of very pale looking individuals who show fascination in the pinkness of his skin and his blood. As they are about to try and feed a noise disturbs them and they make a rapid exit.

The nervous man all alone in a big strange room is filled with dread and the penny drops and he realizes he is in the company of an ancient evil. A horrific strange voice booms asking the man his name. He shuffles and nervously answers Renfield. The evil voice proceeds to tell Renfeild that he is to follow Vanessa Ives and tell him about her every move. The voice then introduces himself as the scene cuts to darkness. He says, “I am Dracula”. Roll end credits.

There is no doubt about it. ‘Penny Dreadful’ is well and truly back, but nothing to much happened in this episode other than setting up things to come.

Eva Green puts in a fantastic performance as Ives, which is to be expected given that the role is practically written for her, given that the actress excels and oozes mystery in pretty much most of her roles. 

Malcolm’s meeting with Kaetenay is pretty intriguing and it will be interested to see how this plays out in the weeks to come. Especially if Malcolm follows Kaetenay to New Mexico where they hope to regroup with Ethan who Kaetenay says is like a son to him.

If last seasons ‘Penny Dreadful’ is anything to go by. This years series will have a lot of work to do in order to top what we seen in season two, but there are some new characters that will likely gain momentum as the series progresses.

We see Dr. Jekyll introduced and we witness the institutionalised racism of the era as a women throws a bucket of piss at him and proceeds to verbally abuse him with some racial slurs. Jekyll is visiting to meet up with his old medical school friend Dr. Frankenstein who is a shell of a man after his creation Lilly spurred him and broke his heart. Jekyll offers to use his knowledge in chemistry to change her nature back to what it was before she went off the rails.

This was a pretty slow episode of ‘Penny Dreadful’, but managed to be slow while keeping my interest and setting things up for the ride to come. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the coming weeks and knowing what we do about Miss Ives. It will likely be both frightening and emotionally charged as the forces of good and evil dance once again.


Penny Dreadful - The Day Tennyson Died
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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