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‘Penny Dreadful’ Season 2 Episode 4 Recap: “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places”

penny dreadful evil spirits in heavenly places

At Ethan’s urging, Vanessa retells her story to the rest of the team: Sembene, Sir Malcolm, Victor, and Lyle. With the Nightcomers looming closer, it’s clear they need to decipher the Verbis Diablo as soon as possible — and on that front, Lyle has been hard at work, figuring out that the objects the monk scrawled on tell a story about the fall of Lucifer, “the memoirs of the Devil.”

Meanwhile the detective on the Mariner’s Inn Massacre case has discovered the bodies of the young couple Hecate murdered on the train. He’s confused at first on how the killer could have gotten in and out of the train car without being seen, and why the neatness of the wounds on these bodies don’t match the butchery seen at the Inn, but then he decides it must be magic. How much does this guy know, or is this just a detective’s pre-DNA evidence “gut instinct”?

At the hospital, the detective’s witness (one of the American bounty hunters Ethan’s father sent after him, and what bad luck it is for Ethan that this is the massacre’s lone survivor) has healed enough to speak to them, but denies knowing or remembering anything.

Over at Putney’s waxworks museum, Papa Putney has something nefarious up his sleeve to attract customers, while John Clare and Daughter Putney bond over her creations. Man, Caliban always gets the interesting existential conversations. It always makes me like his scenes even if I don’t particularly like him.

Outside the museum, Hecate and her sisters stage an accident with a horse carriage, knowing that Ethan will swoop in to the rescue. Hecate’s damsel in distress act is so over the top, it’s fantastic. They end up having tea together. Ethan once again proves himself to be no fool, as he points out the holes in Hecate’s “I’m a wide-eyed country girl traveling the world alone” backstory and leaves. Too bad he thinks she’s hired by his father, rather than the witch she actually is.

Evelyn is unhappy with Hecate’s performance, but moves on with her plan anyway, sending the other witches to “take care” of Ethan and the others as Evelyn prepares an enchantment for Vanessa.

dorian grey angelique

Dorian and Angelique go out on a date playing table tennis, where Angelique absolutely thrashes him 12-0.

Victor asks Vanessa for a favor, which turns out to be helping him buy a bunch of dresses for Victor’s “cousin” that’s coming to town. When Victor brings the outfits to Lily, she comments on corsets being physical and symbolic restrictions placed on women, while Victor stares at how pretty she looks in high heels. (Ok, so he does tell her he doesn’t want her to feel any pain and that she can take the corset off if she wants, but I am just so violently opposed to this dynamic that I spent this entire scene mumbling “no no no” at my screen.)

As the team continues to decipher the Verbis Diablo puzzle, Sir Malcolm confides in Lyle about courting Evelyn Poole. Lyle tries to warn him against her in his own way. On the other side of the room, Ethan tells Vanessa about his encounter with Hecate, and Vanessa correctly IDs her as a witch.

Malcolm and Lyle try to tell Vanessa that the Lucifer’s memoirs may actually be a prophecy foretelling Vanessa’s future, being hunted by the Devil, but she won’t hear it. Vanessa heads upstairs to sleep, not knowing that the Nightcomers have infiltrated the house. When the witches finally attack, we discover they’re there to get some of Vanessa’s hair, probably for that doll mask Evelyn made in episode two.


  • I was starting to get a little irritated at Victor always violently rejecting the possibility of the supernatural; I get that his brain is wired to think scientifically and “fancies” like religion and magic don’t vibe with him, but after all he’s seen and done, you’d think he’d be a little more open-minded. But then they threw in a scene where Victor realizes all that, so I’m not irritated anymore. Yay self-awareness!
  • Vanessa’s grin as Victor blusters his way through the dress shop scene made me so happy. More of this, please. Vanessa/Unadulterated Joy 2k15.
  • Dorian and Angelique’s scenes were cute, but we’re now four episodes into the season and they’re still so far removed from the rest of the plot that I wonder why Dorian’s even still around. WHY ARE YOU HERE DORIAN.
  • The minutes leading up to the Nightcomers’ attack were deliciously tense (and I’m very glad they didn’t go for a cheap jump scare), but as the season’s first big battle between good and evil it was kind of weak. All the witches did was shove people. Like, really?