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Penny Dreadful - What Death Can Join Together

episode 1.6

Ireland / UK / USA 2014
produced by
James Flynn, Morgan O'Sullivan, Pippa Harris (executive), John Logan (executive), Sam Mendes (executive), Chris W. King (supervising) for Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions/Showtime, Sky, Netflix
directed by Coky Giedroyc
starring Reeve Carney, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Billie Piper, Josh Hartnett, Harry Treadaway, Rory Kinnear, Danny Sapani, David Warner, Olly Alexander, Olivia Llewellyn, Hannah Tointon, Joe McAvera, Gavin Fowler, Robert Nairne
written and created by John Logan, Frankenstein created by Mary W. Shelley, Dorian Gray created by Oscar Wilde, Van Helsing created by Bram Stoker, music by Abel Korzeniowski, special effects by Team FX, visual effects by Take 5 Productions, Mr. X

Penny Dreadful (TV-series), Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, Van Helsing

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Frankenstein's (Harry Treadaway) creature (Rory Kinnear) develops soft feelings for an actress at the theatre he works at but is ultimately scorned, which only makes him want a companion of his own all the more.

Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) is asked out by Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), and Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) her companion, gives his consent all too easily - and soon enough, Vanessa and Dorian end up in bed together - until she hears a mysterious voice (from the netherworld?) that makes her leave rather aprubtly.

After the big row they had two episodes ago that ended with prostitute Brona (Billie Piper) breaking down on her own in the streets to die, she and her boyfriend, sharpshooter Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) are only too eager to make up again (leaving this narrative thread without any consequence whatsoever) when Ethan's called away to Sir Malcolm.

Sir Malcolm has heard about a "plague ship" that has only just come into harbour, and for some reason he suspects his daughter Mina (Olivia Llewellyn) on her, which is why he wants to board the ship with Ethan and his right hand man Sembene (Danny Sapani). Why he was so eager though to not include Vanessa, who has a psychich link to Mina, in the expedition is never explained. On the ship, our heroes are attacked by vampires but come away unharmed. But upon their retreat, Murray catches a glimpse of Mina being dragged away by the head vampire ...

In the meantime, Frankenstein meets up with Van Helsing (David Warner) who tells him a bit about the creatures they're up against (basically that they're vampires), but before he can give him any clues how to fight vampires, he's brutally slaughtered by Frankenstein's creature, venting his frustration about Frankenstein failing to build him a mate.


There are some good parts in this episode, especially our heroes' battle on the plague ship is tense and exciting, and the entirety of David Warner's scenes are fascinating - but especially after last episode's coherent story, this one feels awfully disjointed, especially since some narrative threads (like the one with Brona and Ethan) have little narrative relevance, or (like the date between Vanessa and Dorian Gray) are so terribly mundane (especially since we're dealing with one of the most extravagant characters of Victorian literature) that one at points really asks oneself if the good parts of the episode are really that good to sit through all that tosh. The answer is of course, they do for now, but patience starts to run thin ...


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD