With three episodes left in its third season, Showtime’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ offers an episode that is as slow as it is fast. It’s time to ride the ‘Ebb TIde’
The following review of Ebb Tide is spoiler free. You be fine to turn down the lights and read before seeing the latest outing.
Oh Penny Dreadful, your third season is coming to an end soon. You’ve given us great narrative fruits , and you’ve given us salty snacks of storytelling this season. With Ebb Tide, the seventh episode of the Gothic series’ current season, we get a little bit of both to visually chew on.
People are better than we think-Vanessa Ives
What doesn’t work, unless character-driven storytelling is your thing, is all the hoping from one character to the next, each with their almost separate story line. The Monster does meet up with Vanessa, which flirts with the plot-driven aspects of Dreadful, but the rest of his journey in Ebb Tide is in service of character. We also get more of Dorian Grey’s situation. In fact, basically every character in the Penny Dreadful universe is getting some serious time here.[/pullquote]
So, with some many different stories going on a once, what does Ebb Tide do right? I’m glad you asked.
What works really well in Dreadful’s newest episode is its insistence on connecting story threads to each other. This takes character-driven stuff and causes it to be plot-driven. The Chandler, Ives, and Dr.Sweet stories begin to mold together, and through this, we get some story suspense and momentum. The excitement has never been higher for this season because of this, and Fright Fans, it’s going to be epic.
Josh Hartnett and Wes Studi in ‘Penny Dreadful’-Courtesy of Showtime
The same with the Grey, Hyde, and Frankenstein stories as well. These threads are more connected than ever, and this helps to eliminate clutter from the story and become more focused.
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The acting is also great, as has come to be expected, in Penny Dreadful’s latest. While many performers stand out, Reeve Carney, who plays Dorian Gray, steals Ebb Tide with a scene that is both chilling and entertaining. While Gray’s story has been one of the least interesting threads this season, Ebb Tide really ups the Gray Factor. Call it 50 Shades of Gray…yeah I went there.
As for the direction, we get some visual delights in in Ebb Tide. Directed by Paco Cabezas, who also led Penny Dreadful’s last two outings, This World Is Our Hell and No Beast So Fierce, really brings the cinematic goods with his most recent outing.
The great direction in Ebb Tide includes, but isn’t limited to: an amazing establishing shot that is above the standard , great camera work in first Ethan scene (after great establishing shot), and an awesome pull back featuring Dorian Gray at the head of the table where the legion of “self-imposed” man haters now sit. I’m sure there’re a few other examples, but I was tired when watching so I may have slipped. Sorry Fright Fans.
So, Will Dracula finally make his play for Ives’ heart and obedience? Will Ethan Chandler help and be of service after the death of his father? Will Dorian Grey take back control of his situation? You’ll have to head over to Showtime to find out Soldiers of Springwood.
Paco Cabezas’ Ebb Tide is a solid episode of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. In the midst of closing out its third season, Ebb Tide ultimately tightens the narrative while letting a lot of characters get their just do. If you’re a fan of Dreadful, this will be one of your favorite episodes this season. Now go catch it, before it gets dark.
THE GRADE: A-
Check out a preview of next week’s episode, Perpetual Night, courtesy of Showtime:
Love Penny Dreadful? Did or didn’t enjoy what Ebb Tide 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.