Now hitting a great grove in its third Season, Showtime’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ delivers an equally action-packed, but more focused, episode than last week’s opener in a solid outing in the ongoing Season.
This review contains minor spoilers. Don’t read if you want to experience ‘Predators Far and Near’ with complete unawareness. You won’t howl at the moon if you accidentally do though.
Last week in Penny Dreadful’s Season 3 opener, The Day Tennyson Died, the beautifully Gothic series began new threads while simultaneously continuing many others. There were so many stories going on that it often felt more stuffed than stay puff’s waistband. In Predators Far and Near, there’re many going on as well, but jumps around less frequently than Tennyson and stays with characters longer; a seemingly more cohesive experience is conceived as a result.
What’s Beyond Murder?-Dr. Seward
In a better written script than the Season opener, penned by series creator John Logan (who surprisingly writes every episode), Predators Far and Near simply does more with its allotted screen time than Dreadful’s previous effort. I’m not sure about you, but I felt a little too juggled in The Day Tennyson Dies.
Here, we get more expanded scenes with Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), with a certain blood sucker having his eyes on the damaged beauty, a more robust presence with Dr. Henry Jekyll ( Shazad Latif) and Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), and a more rounded path for Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett).
We stay with the these characters more, which makes the storytelling more effective, and the series benefits from the focus. Also, its help’s when Predators Far and Near begins with an amazing cold open, one that’s action packed and hits you with a jolt of adrenaline right out the Gothic gate.
Furthermore, just as we’ve been accustomed to in the previous two Season of the magnificently mythological Penny Dreadful, the acting is down right superb in Predators Far and Near. While there’re many scenes, a few truly stand out.
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Those scenes include, but are certainly not limited to, when Dr. Seward and Venessa Ives continue Ives’ therapy, a beautifully sad moment between Dr. Frankenstein and Lily, a confrontation between Ethan Chandler and Kaetenay and lastly, the final scene where it’s reveal exactly who Count Dracula is. These scenes really strengthen not only the current episode, but everything going forward in Penny Dreadful; the actors should all be proud to have these part of their respective resumes.
Dr. Sweet and Vanessa Ives from ‘Penny Dreadful’ Courtesy of Showtime
As for the direction, Predators Far and Near features better over all camerawork than The Day Tennyson Dies. Directed by Damon Thomas, who had control of the cinematic wheel with Penny Dreadful’s opener as well, really makes fine use of the camera.
The fine direction stands out in the following moments: a nicely slow rotating shot beginning on the left side of Ives’s face in her therapy session (and eventually exposing Dr. Seward), a great shot that opens the first scene with Timothy Dalton‘s Sir Malcolm Murray, some amazing Steadicam work in a long conversation between Ives and Dr. Sweet, and a great shot that slowly elevates, with its principles directly underneath, in the final moments of the episode (that involves Count Dracula)
So, will Vanessa Ives successfully get the proper treatment she desperately desires, and successfully get closer to Dr.Sweet? Will Ethan break from the chains that bind him and yet again become a free men? Will Count Dracula begin to expose his master plan by way of his newest servant Renfield? You’ll have to head over to London, and Showtime, to find out Creatures of the Night.
Predators Far and Near is ultimately a better episode than The Day Tennyson Died. It’s a more focused, better directed, and overall executed more proficiently than the Season 3 opener. Its an episode that truly sets up the Season to be one Penny Dreadful fans will likely not forget in the future. That is, of course, unless Dracula comes for that sweet warm bloody before then. See you in England.
THE GRADE: B+
Check out a preview of next week’s episode, Good and Evil Braided Be, courtesy of Showtime:
Love Penny Dreadful? Didn’t or did enjoy what Predators Far and Near had to offer? Don’t forget to let us know in the comment section below and remember to tune into Penny Dreadful, every Sunday at 10 pm ET/PT, only on Showtime.