It’s Ryne from The Moon is a Dead World, back with another edition of DEADtime TV that is, again, really short. We’ve got Salem, which continues to plug along toward its season finale, and Shawn’s Penny Dreadful is well into its first season now.
Salem: “Departures” – Sunday, June 8 at 10 PM
I was incorrect last week. Stephen Lang adds a great deal of excitement to Salem, mostly because he’s around to blow shit up in Salem. Not in the literal sense, but in the Survivor way – take everyone’s secrets, make them public, and just fuck around with the calm that has settled over the witch hunts so far.
To live up to that, Lang’s forced to be a huge prick as Increase Mather, and he gets right down to work the moment he gets back to Salem. First and foremost, he’s got to hunt out those witches, so he goes to the whorehouse first – clearly, he says, you can smell the sin. He sets his sights on the owner, who really is a witch; perhaps Increase is like a bloodhound, able to sniff out the real from the proposed. But that’s not quite true, because his drowning tactics only get a fake confession from the witch, who throws out Gloriana’s name.
This is the woman that Cotton Mather has been sleeping with; in fact, he cares for her a great deal and was even caught by Increase in her room. While this puts a lot of stress on Cotton to get his woman out of harm’s way, it also adds much-needed characterization to Increase – “Departures” doesn’t fall into the same problem that the show has had with Mary Sibley, because it immediately juxtaposes Increase’s prickish personality with his ability to do good by his own son, even if he is not proud of his immoral ways.
But most of “Departures” is a witch hunt, and things really hit the fan when George Sibley, while being transported to Boston to hospital, is able to remove the toad from his stomach that has kept him in liege to Mary. He’s no longer a slave, but he is in serious danger of dying; Tituba attempts to intercept him by spelling him, but Increase is right behind her and it doesn’t look good for her. There are suspicions afoot, and Tituba is right in the crossfire.
The new blood is a much-needed addition to Salem‘s plot, and Lang does a great job as Increase. This is going to add a lot of drama to the proceedings as we move into the final episodes of the season, and for the first time I find myself excited at the prospect of the witch hunts. Before, they were all accused by people who knew that what they were doing was evil; this time, Increase is just a man attempting to do right by his townsfolk and making huge mistakes in the process. There’s more at stake, and more bloodshed to come.
Penny Dreadful: “Closer Than Sisters” – Sunday, June 8 at 10 PM
This week’s Penny Dreadful seems to focus almost entirely on Vanessa’s back story. Which means, for the most part, another slow episode of Penny Dreadful is to be had. I will not deny the quality of this show, but at the same time, I’m really growing quite annoyed with it. At least when I was covering The Walking Dead or From Dusk Till Dawn for DEADtime TV, even the slow episodes were somewhat exciting. I realize we’re building a much bigger story than just this week’s episode, but have a little mercy. I have never simultaneously liked and dreaded a show, quite as much as Penny Dreadful. Perhaps it’s all in the name, after all. I think maybe I need to start watching this show on the night it airs, and writing it up right afterwards, because the current formula I have is not working. Here we are, Tuesday again, and I’m just now getting this post that is supposed to go up on Sundays live. A lot of that is due to the business of life, but some of it is because, when it comes to things I am not looking forward to, I am the world’s largest procrastinator. I’m afraid, unless Penny Dreadful starts to pick up sometime soon, this will be the case every week, and I can see this turning off some of the more casual viewers. You goofy asses think The Walking Dead is slow? Try Penny Dreadful on for size.
This week on the show, as I mentioned before, the story focuses almost entirely on the childhood, teenage years, and lustful desires of Vanessa Ives. The connection she shares to Sir Malcolm, and the trauma she experienced as a young woman, some form of possession, as well as a stint in the insane asylum, complete with water hose treatments, ice water baths and drills to the cranium. Sir Malcolm is the father of Vanessa’s childhood love interest, and just as she is in the worst shape, he comes to see her before he heads off to Africa with his father. Vanessa makes physical contact him in the form of a kiss, and apparently has a premonition, realizing that he will never return from Africa. Vanessa’s childhood friend, and daughter of Sir Malcolm has also gone missing(As we well know at this point) so the pair team up to bring her home.
I see where the story is going, and I see the need for a somewhat slow build, but I just can’t help but feel like it has been a little too slow. Perhaps this type of thing just isn’t for me? I find that hard to believe, though, because I love the set design, I love the special effects, I love the writing, I love the characters and I love the acting. I just wish things would start heating up a little bit. It’s not like the entirety of this episode was spent on exposition and character development, but the bulk of it was. There was some loudness and shocking quick scenes, but nothing one could even remotely consider as action. Hopefully, with not many episodes left in the season, things begin to pick up the pace, and I’ll be back here next week to hopefully report that tonal shift to all of you. Until next time, thanks for tuning into DEADtime TV.
Two weeks marks the beginning of a new arc for DEADtime TV. Dominion starts next this Friday and The Last Ship and Under the Dome will be covered in a couple! Stay tuned.