Penny Dreadful Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: “The Day Tennyson Died”

We’re back to dirty old London “The Day Tennyson Died”, the first episode of Penny Dreadful season 3 and we couldn’t be happier.  I missed that troubled band of misfits battling the forces of evil on my TV every week.  Things are about as bad as you can expect in the first episode considering all hell broke loose by the end of the second season.  So, here’s what went down without all the verbosity of other long ass recaps.  You have kitten videos to watch, damn it!

Vanessa Ives is Going Through It…

Courtesy of Showtime

With Ethan (Josh Hartnett) all the way across the pond in the Wild West, Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) in Zanzibar after burying Sembene (Danny Sapani), and Victor (Harry Treadaway) dealing with his obsession with a living dead girl, Ms. Ives (Eva Green) has been living like a hermit.  Sir Malcolm’s house looks like it should be on an episode of Hoarders.  I was surprised the place wasn’t haunted, but I suspect not even the ghosts want to haunt the joint.  The fact is she’s really depressed, confused and hopeless.  Luckily, a visit from Ferdinand motivates her to seek help.  What I really loved about that scene was it showed how to approach a friend who’s depressed… With a hint of shade, of course.

Ethan Can’t Catch a Break

Courtesy of Showtime

Like I said before, Ethan’s all the way in the New Mexico territory being escorted by that annoying ass detective from last season.  There were so many shooters on the train with him, it made a John Wayne movie look like a Disney film.  The entire scene on the train as Ethan is being escorted to jail is fraught with tension, and Hecate (Sarah Greene) being one of the passengers doesn’t help either.  She loves her some Ethan though.  In a way, that’s a good thing.  Even though Ethan is kidnapped by the gang of murderous bandits, we know that Hecate will find a way to get to him, and help if necessary.

Sir Malcolm Goes From One Brown Guy to Another Brown Guy

Courtesy of Showtime

We’re still mourning the death of Sembene (and the writers’ failure to take the opportunity to develop a PoC character), but the show must go on.  Sir Malcolm is drinking his pain away and lamenting the effects of imperialism and colonization on the Africa he once knew in Zanzibar.  As he gets ready to leave, he’s attacked by a woman and her cohorts for money.  Just when it looks like Sir Malcolm is outnumbered, here comes Kaetanay (Wes Studi), a Native American gentleman who wants Sir Malcolm to travel to the States to help Ethan.  I’m all here for Kaetanay’s character, and I certainly hope he sticks around longer than Sembene was allowed to, but I can’t help but wonder, why bring in another person of color–one of several this season–if the previous PoC character’s potential and possibilities were wasted?  I guess we’ll all have to wait and see. (Note: If you’re wondering why she kept calling him John Bull while pointing the gun to his head, here’s the history behind the British version of America’s Uncle Sam.

Dracula and Friends Are Back… And They Brought Renfield

Courtesy of Showtime

Dracula shows up in the final few minutes of the episode, but his presence is so terrifying that he stole the show.  Renfield just so happens to be the receptionist at Vanessa’s doctor’s office and that means that he is an asset to Dracula.  While none of us see Dracula (he’s offscreen), his voice is commanding and quietly menacing.  I have to admit, I marked out a little bit.

Patti Lupone a.k.a. Sensei Returns to Help Vanessa

Courtesy of Showtime

Is it just me that wonders why no one has asked why Joan Clayton and Dr. Seward (both played by Patti Lupone) have American accents?  Anyway, last season Vanessa got close to Joan Clayton, an ancient witch who pretty much minded her business and kept her nose down.  She was harsh and curt at first, but she ended up being the Mr. Miyagi to Ives’ Karate Kid.  Clayton was hung and burned in front of Vanessa, but it seems that Clayton has returned as a tough as nails shrink that opts to treat Vanessa’s depression.  The mindblowing part?  Dr. Seward says that she is a descendant of Clayton.  I want to see where this goes.  Is it reincarnation?  Hmm…

Victor Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll Are F*cking Creepy!

Courtesy of Showtime

Not only do we discover that Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll are old classmates, but they are creeps too.  They plot and scheme to get Lily back into the clutches of Frankenstein, but reveal that while Frankenstein had his issues with death and mortality as a kid, Jekyll (Shazad Latif) had a major inferiority complex which will undoubtedly lead to the appearance of a certain Mr. Hyde (if he hasn’t shown up already).

How Did You Get Here?  Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here…

Courtesy of Showtime

Even though we ship VanEthan (or should we go with ChIves?) all day, he’s out of the picture for the foreseeable future.  Vanessa’s heart desperately needs some TLC so I’m not mad that she seems just as taken with Penny Dreadful newbie Dr. Alexander Sweet (Christian Camargo), the head honcho at the museum she goes to visit after her first consultation with Dr. Seward.  He seems normal yet refined, something Vanessa desperately needs.  Let’s hope he’s not some supernatural freak hiding his true intentions from her.

And as for that last heading… Here’s what I mean:

Those are the most important details from the Penny Dreadful season 3 premiere.  What did you think of the first episode?  Follow us on Twitter for our weekly Penny Dreadful live-tweet.  We retweet the best tweets and always have a blast!