The Horror Honeys: Penny Dreadful: Season 2, Episode 3 ~ The Nightcomers

Penny Dreadful: Season 2, Episode 3 ~ The Nightcomers

A Horror TV Honey Episode Recap by Lisa

Thanks to Mr. Chandler, we get to learn why it is that Ms. Ives drew a scorpion with her blood while defending herself from the Nightcomers. Backstory?! Well, this TV Baby loves a good backstory and this one definitely delivered. 

The Cut Wife is the first witch Ms. Ives ever met and you know she is fierce because she is played by the indisputable Patti LuPone. Realizing that she is afflicted with something out of the ordinary, Vanessa travels to see the witch in an effort to learn more about herself and, indeed, she does. Initially, the Cut-Wife assumes that Vanessa has appeared on her doorstep because she needs to have a baby removed from her body, hence, the lovely name. Or perhaps she requires a love potion or various other things that only women would go to a witch for. By forcing Vanessa to psychically reveal where the Cut-Wife got the scar on her back, Vanessa proves that she is strong, like a scorpion, and she tells the truth when she proclaims, I am like no others. That is why Im here.

Not a woman to be trifled with, the Cut-Wife teaches Vanessa how to read tarot cards and helps her harness all of her other powers. The slightly antagonistic relationship that develops between the two women is a delight to watch and the reveal that Madame Kali is the Cut-Wifes sister and the one who branded her was a nice shock. Also, learning that Madame Kali has been coveting Ms. Ives for so very long helps to explain not only why she is so hellbent on killing her, but it also escalated their inevitable battle to an 11. Vanessa Ives is the one that the master seeks above all. 

This stand alone episode focusing on Vanessa Ives was a really great showcase of the various reasons that Penny Dreadful is fantastic television. The women on this show are powerful; they never feel bad about it and the men around them never make them feel bad about it. Despite taking place during a time when women were marginalized, the women of Penny Dreadful are anything but. To further show off their abilities, the writers have created characters that are interesting enough to spend an entire episode with and never start missing all of the other characters. I adore The Walking Dead, but those Governor centric episodes became extremely taxing. Penny Dreadful and its inhabitants do not suffer this same malady. Rather than detracting from the viewing enjoyment, backstory episodes greatly enhance our experience and endear us to the characters even more. 

Unfortunately, no time period in human history has been accepting of witches and the Cut-Wife will be subjected to an exceptionally brutal and public death. Being the strong woman that she is, the Cut-Wife insists on standing on her feet when she confronts the mob that has come to throw stones, cover her in tar and set her on fire. Her last words to Vanessa are, When Lucifer fell, he did not fall alone. They will hunt you until the end of days. Be true. My name is Joan Clayton.” 

Joan would prefer for Vanessa to stay in her house and continue her work, but Vanessa is compelled to save Mina. She packs up what looks like the Necronomicon from Evil Dead and heads out. 

  • The shot of Joan opening her eyes through the black tar was perfection.
  • I still need one of those rings that Madame has.
  • SHUT UP PATTI LUPONE, I yelled when she commanded Ms. Ives to break the rabbits neck.
  • Joan Clayton sounds eerily familiar to John Clare-the name Caliban gave Ms. Ives when they met.
  • Yes, this episode was very Luke and Yoda, but it was still fantastic.