in Television

‘Penny Dreadful’ Season 2 Episode 7 Recap: “Little Scorpion”

penny dreadful little scorpion

The morning after Ethan’s transformation, Sembene offers him some words of wisdom: “Is it a blessing, the purpose of which we cannot yet see? I say, this is what it is. For I know you, my friend, Ethan Chandler. I see inside you. Past the crocodile, and the leopard, and the monkey… and the wolf.” He also states that he has seen this kind of transformation before, using a term that translates to ‘the changing of one skin into another.’

Though the group is spooked by what happened to Vanessa at the party, Sir Malcolm — clearly still under the influence of Evelyn — attributes the incident to female ‘hysteria’. Vanessa and Ethan decide to leave London despite Sir Malcolm’s protests. At Lyle’s suggestion, Vanessa doesn’t tell anyone where she’s going — except for Victor, who is left with instructions to keep an eye on Sir Malcolm and contact Vanessa if anything happens.

Vanessa and Ethan end up at the Cut-Wife’s cottage, where they become closer as they spend time together. Vanessa expresses her insecurity over her place in Sir Malcolm’s life now that he’s fallen in love and seemingly let his grief and anger go. At night they tell each other stories of childhood fears — Vanessa was frightened of dolls, ironically enough — before Ethan is forced to leave the cottage as the full moon changes him into a wolf again. (Werewolf Ethan ends up slaughtering a few sheep, which will undoubtedly bring some irate pitchfork-wielding villagers to their doorstep.)

“All those things that mark you when you’re young, that make you who you are. You never escape them.”

The next morning Vanessa wakes up to Ethan chopping down the tree the villagers hung the Cut-Wife from. She asks him what happened. His response is to teach her how to shoot (Vanessa’s a natural, though, so the lessons are basically an excuse to have them stand way too close and stare fondly at each other. I loved it). He then offers advice on what to do when it comes to shooting a real live human being: don’t look into their eyes.

penny dreadful ethan vanessa

To repay him for the shooting lessons, Vanessa teaches Ethan how to dance (another excuse to stand close and stare! This episode is EVERYTHING to my Vanessa/Ethan shipper heart. It’s so great I’m starting to worry something bad is going to happen to Ethan at the end.) They get cute and domestic for the next few days (weeks? It’s hard to tell time through montages.)

Naturally, the good times can’t last. A raging storm somehow blasts all the doors and windows open and sets the cottage on fire. After putting the flames out, Ethan and Vanessa passionately kiss in the rain pouring through the roof, but Vanessa pushes Ethan away before it goes any further, saying “We are dangerous.”

Cut back to Victor and Lyle at the mansion, decrypting the Verbis Diablo. Lyle tells Victor about the Devil hunting Vanessa, but assures him that she’s protected by the “Hound of God,” which the Devil recognizes as a threat to himself.

“The demon, the hound, the scorpion, endlessly circling one another.”

The episode’s other B-story is surprisingly engaging: Lily goes on an outing with Dorian Gray (Victor makes a bunch of tortured facial expressions but “allows” her to go anyway), where they end up in the Waxworks Museum. There, she is unsettled by a display of a man exhuming a corpse for medical experimentation. John Clare spies her on the date and makes a few tortured expressions of his own. On the way home, Lily enters a bar where she’s propositioned by a man who ends up taking her home to have sex. In the middle of the act, Lily chokes him to death.

Later, a walk through the forest has Vanessa telling Ethan she sometimes considers giving in just to be rid of the torment. Ethan declares his undying love that he won’t let anything happen to her while he lives.

“We are not like others. We have claws for a reason.”

Then the Moor’s asshole landowner rides up to them in a scene much like his first encounter with Vanessa in the the flashback episode. He threatens to hang and burn her like he did with the Cut-Wife. Overcome with anger, Vanessa is determined to kill the lord, resorting to reading from the Evil Spellbook of Evil to get it done. Ethan initially refuses to have anything to do with this, but he ends up going to the lord’s mansion anyway to shoot him for Vanessa. Ethan watches in horror as the lord’s dogs, spurred on by Vanessa’s spell, tear the lord into pieces.

Ethan returns to the cottage, furious.

“Do you know what it is to walk with someone’s body tied around your neck for the rest of your goddamn life? Do you know what that is, little girl? …You’ll never get your soul back. Not ever. Do you understand that?

Welcome to the night, Vanessa.”

Here’s the preview for next week’s episode (we’re three away from the end of the season, folks!).