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Penny Dreadful recap: Above the Vaulted Sky

A stormy night takes relationships to the next level.

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Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME

Penny Dreadful

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton
Showtime Networks Inc.
Suspense, Thriller, Drama

The opening minutes of “Above the Vaulted Sky” caught us up to speed by setting last week’s comedic scenes to serious music, because the fun is over, kids. Now back to voodoo puppets. The Nightcomers’ siege was a wake-up call—but if it proved that disaster is coming, at least it persuaded everyone to face the darkness together.

There’s a sense of real camaraderie as the team pulls a Home Alone (but not alone!) and readies the house for battle with rituals and incantations, not to mention “sturdy locks and a sh–load of weapons.” Where do they find a metal door on such short notice? Unclear. But all of this open communication is a welcome change from the way Vanessa used to keep to herself, convinced that this fight was hers alone. Chalk that up to Ethan’s influence.

Ethan gives Vanessa a space to be vulnerable without letting it change the way he sees her. She runs to him after the witches stare her down during her prayersunless they’re in her head. It’s so hard to be sureand he doesn’t judge her for being afraid of the dark. He’s been there. Ethan lets Vanessa sleep in his room, and she calls him out for praying when no one else is around. What is Ethan’s relationship with religion? The only thing he’ll admit to believing is that he gave up his shot at redemption when he picked up a gun. “I believe we make ourselves who we are,” Ethan says. “The blood’s on our hands, not God’s.”

For a man so focused on getting Vanessa to open up, Ethan plays his own problems close to his chestbut they’re catching up to him. Inspector Rusk knows that Ethan lived at the Mariner’s Inn and and that London’s problems only started after he arrived. The inspector is open to the idea that the Mariner’s Inn massacre might have a supernatural element; does he already suspect that Ethan is a werewolf? When Rusk brings in Ethan for questioning, he pulls a leaf from some kind of plant and drops it on the ground as a protective measure. He has an idea that there’s more to this American than meets the eye.

Ethan keeps his answers vague and makes it through the interrogation. He also makes it back home after Rusk sends some men after himthey’ll have to work harder if they expect to lay a trap for a cowboy with wolf senses. But while Ethan manages to outsmart Rusk’s men, he can’t shake his one surviving victim, who watches as Sembene lets Ethan inside. Back at Sir Malcolm’s, Lyle is still trying to decrypt the Verbis Diablo. He’s found one phrase that keeps repeating in different languages: “lupus dei.” Ethan translates it as “hound of God.” His identity is spread all over that table “like a poem waiting to be rhymed.” It’s just a matter of time now.

The more connected these people become, the harder it is to keep secrets. Vanessa is gradually working her way into Victor, Lily, and the Creature’s lives, all without realizing their relationship to each other. She meets up with Victor and Lily for coffee—not recognizing Lily as Brona, though they didn’t meet for long—and Lily tries her best to present herself as a member of society. (“The weather is challenging, but the excitement is palpable.”) Vanessa doesn’t care about Lily’s social graces; she’s more interested in the way Victor’s face lights up when Lily touches his hand.

NEXT: Love is a battlefield