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S01.E04: Demimonde 2014.06.01

Dorian's scenes this episode -- particularly the ones featuring D/V and D/E -- gave me the confidence to posit a theory I've been germinating:

 

Does anyone else think that Dorian may be a human manifestation of that soul-sucking Egyptian god Sir Ferdinand told Sir Malcolm about in "Seance"?

 

"Demimonde"'s Dorian/Vanessa scenes really (for me, anyway) locked in the idea that she's his goddess in human form. Or, at least, he thinks she is. I think the Dracula/Vanessa connection is a red herring. Dorian is the vampire to watch out for.

Oooh. That's an interesting theory. And it gives more credence to his magnetic effect on Vanessa. Wouldn't it be cool if they reveal the painting and it's actually an image of the apocalyptic hieroglyphs of Amun-Ra and Amunet together?

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Oooh. That's an interesting theory. And it gives more credence to his magnetic effect on Vanessa. Wouldn't it be cool if they reveal the painting and it's actually an image of the apocalyptic hieroglyphs of Amun-Ra and Amunet together?

If any show could pull that off, it's this one.

 

And speaking of the portrait, I wonder how effective its revelation will be. The scene in the old '40s movie in which it's revealed in its full, hideous glory has always worked for me. It must have really shocked audiences at the time. PD has already given us so many disturbing visuals -- how will they do it?

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I was on the fence about this show until this episode but I'm all in now and apparently so is Chandler. That ending, oh my!

 

I agree wth everyone else that Brona will probably become the bride, which sucks because her Irish accent is really horrible. I literally cringe everytime she talks. It's frustrating because I think Bille Piper's real life accent would have been perfect for this part. Hopefully, when Dr. Frankenstein turns her into the Bride he cuts out her vocal cords.

Edited by Anarres.
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I was hoping if Brona is indeed the bride, that means she'll be a blank slate and mimic the British accents of her teachers; like how Proteus sound like Victor and not like Ethan. I love Irish accents, but many people think a British accent is more posh and building the perfect beautiful bride means posh.

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Technically Brona's Belfast accent is British - Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain. What you mean is an English accent as opposed to a northern Irish one.

 

I too believe that Brona will become the bride and following that train of thought; as Victor has a connection with Ethan, perhaps ultimately Ethan will find out what becomes of Brona and there will be a monster showdown between him and Caliban? Ethan blatantly is an American werewolf in London imo.

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Spaceghostess, interesting theory about Dorian as Vanessa's 'vampire' -- I do think there is something else going on there that we're not aware of yet, and for me it's specifically because of the way Eva Green plays Vanessa whenever she is around Dorian. She appears drugged when she's around Dorian, and it seems to me to be a very specific and careful performance choice. In almost every scene with him, she zones out in this drugged or drunken way that is very different from her usual wary listening quality. And then she'll kind of shake her head and wake up. So for me there's definitely something Dorian is doing to Vanessa, I'm just not sure if it's a side effect of who he is (perhaps she's psychically picking up on the 'portrait' side of him) or if it's something he's doing to her with conscious intent.

 

The odd thing is, so far I don't get an evil vibe off Dorian so much as an amoral one. There's something about him -- his raw honesty -- that I really like, despite the decadence. I'm hoping he's a grayscale character and not the villain of Wilde's story -- for instance, when he saw Vanessa in the alleyway in the rain, his expression seemed to be one of real pity. Same with his expressions as he watched Ethan in this episode. But then again, his "favorite picture" is the portrait of his depravity that we don't see... hmm.  (For me, I almost hope they never show us the portrait. I always think nothing can really live up to the mind's vision of it.)

 

I really hope Caliban becomes more complex and that his arc doesn't fall into predictability (I want a beautiful wife! She doesn't want me! Hulk smash!). I still resent him because of poor sweet Mr. Proteus.

 

Last but not least -- Yay! Penny Dreadful has been renewed for season 2 (ten episodes)!

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Frankenstein vs. the Wolfman was the model, so it seems inevitable to me that it's going to finish with Ethan vs. Caliban. I'm not at all sure Dracula isn't waiting for next season. 

 

My guess we will never see Ethan and Dorian alone together in another scene. 

 

This isn't the 1890s any more. Having Dorian Gray turn into a monster in his portrait because of sexual immorality would be pretty lame. If the portrait revealed a hermaphrodite it could still be sexually transgressive. But, this Dorian is being played as very old (a la Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger.) So if there's a reveal of the portrait could just show someone old? Or, since our awareness of mortality is so deeply part of our identity, someone non-human? A dark angel of sorts?

 

PS Took the trouble to google...It's really Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. My bad.

Edited by sjohnson.
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I fully expect his photo to look old. Dorian stopped aging but his photo kept going. I always assumed that was part of the old trope.

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I just marathoned the first four episodes.  I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.  To be fair, I watched it to get it out of the way for Game of Thrones - which is brutal competition.

 

I don't find Caliban sympathetic.  I find him unlikeable and extremely whiny.  He seems to have a pretty good time working at the theatre.  I would imagine his personality, rather than  looks, drives the women away.  I have no idea why Victor doesn't just kill him and move on to Proteus 2.

 

I'm incredibly confused about Vanessa.  It's driving me crazy that I don't know her connection to Sir Malcolm.  In Victorian times, there's no way a woman lived with a man who wasn't her husband or close family member.  I'm also confused because when compared to the Dracula novel, Vanessa seems to be the Mina character, and Mina seems like the Lucy character.  Then they threw in a little girl named Lucy, and I really got confused.

 

I don't get the impression that Dorian Gray is a villain.  He seems like a true hedonist.  He's young (eternally?), rich, handsome, and bored.  He does what all men of his class did - smoke, drink, have sex, gamble, and hang out at his club.  I find him very appealing, but in his scenes with Vanessa, she looks old enough to be his mother.  That really distracts me.

 

I don't understand the appeal of the women.  I don't get the allure of Brona - a self-described walking skeleton who hacks blood on her partners mid-sex.  I realize Vanessa is supposed to be alluring, but they make her up to look like an uptight spinster.  It makes it hard for me to buy the pull with Dorian.  It's also hard to buy it because they seem to be implying that Mina and Vanessa had a sexual relationship.  Maybe Ethan and Dorian aren't the only bisexuals on the show.

 

I was surprised to see the man who plays the old actor.  He's the original Monsieur Thenardier from Les Miserables.

 

I don't understand that even after realizing the Master is after Vanessa, she stays in the house and seems to be completely unguarded.

 

Jun 3 2014. 4:27 am

 

I had no idea watching dogs kill rat and betting on the numbers was a thing. That was more disturbing than all the supernatural stuff combined.

 

 

Bored men with more money than soul have fought just about everything and gambled on the result.  Roosters, dog vs. dog, dog vs. bear, etc.  My eyes were covered the entire time.  It's disgusting.

Edited by RedheadZombie.
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I have no idea why Victor doesn't just kill him and move on to Proteus 2.

Isn't the creature supposed to be unkillable? Don't ask me how that makes any sense, it's just that I remember his unkillability (is that a word?) being mentioned in the show. Or maybe they only said "undying", which would mean he wouldn't die on his own from sickness and old age, but you can kill him.

 

Hmm… hold on. Proteus was killable, so Caliban should be killable as well.

 

Now there's just the problem of Victor being a tiny little guy with no fighting skills whatsoever. If I were him I would try to come up with some clever way to kill him with science without having to fight him. Maybe that's why Victor seems to be stalling for time? Because his excuse to Caliban was that his lab is in shambles so he needs money to fix stuff. But last time we saw it, it looked fine to me.

 

I hope Victor is up to something because it's just weak if he's straight up going to follow orders and make a bride for Caliban.

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Yes that's a good point; why does he think he is 'invincible' or whatever word it is he has used? I would imagine if he was decapitated he wouldn't be of too much use!

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Caliban's talk about him overshadowing humanity, is similar to basements dudes claim that the "night" is gonna rule over. It is an interesting parallel that you have physical monsters: Caliban, basement dude and werewolf and the monsters that are hidden behind human niceties and clothes: Vanessa, Dorian, Victor Sir Malcolm and betting gang. I love that Victor was almost frothing at the mouth to do experiments on basement dude. At least the first own what they are. 

 

I almost feel that Josh Hartness character despite all his flaws, is probably the most moral character on the show. At least he is willing to check the others, when they start doing crazy stuff.  I still love Caliban and would his immortal bride if I could.

Edited by BollywoodLover.
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Just re-watched this after seeing ep.4 in that "if I knew then what I know now" way and I have to give major ups to the storytelling--little grace notes are big backstories are planted very skillfully throughout.

But what was up with that green water? That was some lame-ass bullshit "absinthe." No louche, no cloudy opacity, no viscosity on the sides of the glasses; the liquid levels in the glasses didn't even rise after the ice water was added. Pffft, I say. Pfft!

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I only just started watching the show and just finished episode 4.

 

I'm still not sure what I think, I like Vanessa and mostly Ethan, I don't know if I like Victor but then I've never really be interested in the Frankenstein story. 

 

I also wondered whether the Lucy character had anything to do with Lucy Westenra but I'm guessing it was a coincidence? 

 

Also, is/was Fenton meant to be Renfield from Dracula? I haven't been able to find any references to the name Fenton when looking up Renfield but the character did seem to be similar.

 

I'm not sure about the Ethan as werewolf (although I assume now everyone else know :D) but it does explain the wolf part of episode 3.

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Wow, this show is just getting better.  The acting is really good.  Bet roles for Dalton and Hartnett ever.

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I may have let out a audible "aw..." when Brona was cooing over how actress onstage looked so pretty and Ethan says "so are you" behind her so quietly she doesn't even notice and just looks at her adoringly. I didn't even notice he said it until i read the captions. 

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