I cannot wait any longer for Season Three of Penny Dreadful, it plays on my mind relentlessly.
I really enjoyed the evolution of Penny Dreadful’s monsters last season, with the witches tying nicely to the vampires as evil cogs on the Devil’s wheel. Bodies throughout the series are refreshingly unique, as is the extend to which all bodies in the show are presented as transformable, corruptible, and monstrous to varying extents. Even human Sembene had striking ritual scarring on his face, his skin betraying his alleged history as a slave-trader, and thus signifying the permanence of a dark past. No bodies are sacred, quite literally, in Penny Dreadful.
The vampires drew together a mutated, animalistic, vampire body that is vaguely recognisable (visually akin to films like Priest 2011) and yet distinctive in the way in which their skin is etched, scarred and hairless. They are connected to a primal and much deeper mythology than European folktales, instead descending from the Egyptian undead, and therefore provide a distinct vampire body in contemporary television, than the glamourised humans in True Blood, and The Vampire Diaries, as examples. I particularly liked that Mina did not take on this body, although she too went through a transformation, instead her skin became a contagious surface- infecting her styling as her undead skin mirrored her spectral clothing to give her the appearance of a hybrid vampire-bride.
Witches were introduced in season 2, and these two did not have one true ‘form’ but rather existed in various states of transformation, masquerade, and monstrosity. Not only taking the form of ‘normal’ human women, they also have a body that asthetically seemed like an evil relation of the series’ vampires; a hairless, pale, atavistic form, except the witches blend into walls and seep through mirrors like liquid, not flesh. The lucidity of their bodies is a topic I plan to go into more detail on in a later post – so much to say on the unstable, abject witch!
Finally I’m excited to see how Lily and Dorian (the beautiful un-dead) far in the next season, and whether they once more test the limits of their immortal bodies. As the apparent ‘big-bad’s’ of the next Season I’m interested to see just how their ‘undead-army’ will be birthed… We have never seen a backstory for Dorian in the series – although we are aware of his literary origins, and of course Lily was made by Victor, but something tells me he won’t be wanting to rush back to his scalpel anytime soon!
So roll on 1st May and whatever the darkness has in-store for us this time…