Posted by Katherine Recap | Hollywood, TV

[For Penny Dreadful “Good and Evil Braided Be” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

Showtime Summary:
Good and Evil Braided Be. Vanessa is confronted by a familiar, who reveals a clue to her past.

Penny Dreadful brings unique storytelling to TV and surprises its audience every week. So, in that spirit, we’re bringing a new, non-traditional style to our recaps of Penny Dreadful and will surprise you with a different way of doing it each week. For episode three, “Good and Evil Braided Be” we’re matching Penny Dreadful characters with amazing break up songs. They’ll run the gamut but we’ve got our musical predilections and limitations here at Fetchland. So, if you’ve got your own Penny Dreadful break up song pairings, please tweet them at us. Use #Pennybreakups and share your fantastic alternates. We’d love that!

We’re linking up breakup songs with the relationships in Penny Dreadful’s “Good and Evil Braided Be” and although some of them are platonic there’s always tension and emotion to spare with these characters. Penny Dreadful feels like a Gothic romance with its tone and time. So, if we had to pick a rock band to represent the show, we’d choose The Cure for their moody, Gothic sound and the otherworldly sadness of their look. That’s where we begin thus, with the dreamy timbre of Robert Smith.

vanessa&dracVanessa and Dracula: “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure
He’s finally ready to pursue a romance but now Vanessa’s afraid of endangering him. “This is too dangerous,” she says thinking it’s protecting him. Isn’t it ironic? Vanessa’s romantic inclinations are the stuff of heavenly dreams and she’s like an angel to have such faith in love even after living a nightmare for so long. Meanwhile Dracula pulls off one devious trick after another with her. So, The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” works as an ideal accompaniment for their particular brand of breakup with the opening line “show me show me show me how you do that trick”. It’s essentially a song about falling in delirious love, like falling asleep, only to then wake up and find it’s gone (“I opened up my eyes and found myself alone alone alone”). Vanessa thinks she’s saving a sweet zoologist from her dark influence and demons. Meanwhile he’s actually a demon himself, plotting her body and soul’s demise just down the street, where he keeps his fleshbots. Sounds like how most love affairs end. Difference is this one’s over before it even really became romantic. Vanessa tells him to think of her rejection as “something like love,” though. She’s a believer. This song is about a world where true blue lovers like Vanessa are “Strange as angels” same as she is in the world of Penny Dreadful.

Dr SewardDr. Seward and Vanessa: “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse
Vanessa rants angrily because Seward doesn’t believe her dark stories. She wants the doc to hypnotize her so she can return to the asylum and face “The Master” at last. But Seward worries about causing Vanessa further trauma with hypnosis. So, in retaliation, Vanessa clutches her wrist to read through Seward’s skin and bones and tell Seward about some of her own demons. Vanessa does and then says “Shall we walk together?” inviting her to face demons side by side with her. Vanessa is utterly unafraid of trauma – it’s her normal. She’s like Amy Winehouse in “Back to Black,” completely aware that, “So far removed from all that we went through/And I tread a troubled track/My odds are stacked/I’ll go back to black”. Dr. Seward speaks of Vanessa’s delusions but really she’s the one who’s kidding herself that Vanessa’s merely an ill patient. The song says, “I died a hundred times,” and what better describes Vanessa’s experiences? Vanessa’s life represents a chain of ruination and dark demise. Only Amy Winehouse could play the soundtrack to this particular therapeutic process.

yeahyeahyeahsRenfield and his fly: “Maps” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
While working in Dr. Seward’s waiting room, creepy Renfield chomps down his first fly. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ song “Maps” perfectly captures this man-transitioning-to-monster who desires a tasty bug morsel for an afternoon snack. Renfield’s also writing “Vanessa” over and over with a manic scrawl just like how the song croons “They don’t love you like I love you” in a smooth and creepy repetition that soothes even as it never seems to stop. This song looms in the mind with love lost and obsessive thoughts drowning within its wake. Also, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ guitarist could easily play Renfield.

malcolm&KaeMalcolm & Kaetenay: “Someone Like You” by Adele
Bromance blooms after Malcolm threatens the life of a bigot on their train who tries to make Kaetenay ride with the livestock. Also Malcolm and Kaetenay are “bound by the surprise of their glory days,” those days being their separate experiences with Ethan. We know Malcolm defeated many demons with Ethan fighting at his side, for instance. Thus, Adele’s “Someone Like You” is the best breakup song for this dynamic duo. It’s all about the one that got away and wanting the best for them. In fact, even while dying inside for their losses involving Ethan, these two both want what’s best for him. And here they are on Ethan’s territory “turning up out of the blue uninvited” because “they just couldn’t fight it,” and for them it isn’t over. Even the line “I’ll find someone like you,” fits this story because, indeed Kaetany represents one part of Ethan and Malcolm another. They are each someone like Ethan in their own way and, look at that, they found each other.

hecate&ethan
Hecate and Ethan: “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt
He’s clearly not over Vanessa and Hecate is mad for him, seemingly even in love, though Ethan hates her and declares it to her face. Being an irrepressible demon, though, Hecate won’t let that stop her mission. In fact, she kills a few innocent people just to make him hate her even more. When she sees his disgust Hecate says that she’s no more a monster than he just because she kills with free will and he does it as a thoughtless animal. So, it turns out Hecate sees things quite clearly. She knows who she is and where she stands, just like in Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” a true torch song from the days of yore. Even as Ethan declares his hatred for her, Hecate has declarations of her own. She’ll be there for him regardless and fight by his side, all the way to hell. Her eyes are wide open about this relationship. She can’t make him love her and she will, “lay down her heart because she feels the power… but he won’t,” and thus they continue forth side by side, an impeccable portrait of unrequited love.

thecreatureThe Creature: “Portions for Foxes” by Rilo Kiley
He glimpses his past life for the first time since becoming the Creature as it appears in fragments that include a sick son and sad wife. He cries for that human life he left behind when he died. The Creature had connections with people, family even. Still, he’s dead now, those people are gone, and it turns out there’s more to the story of his life than he’s aware. Rilo Kiley’s “Portions for Foxes” suits The Creature for these reasons. It’s a song about death – a time when we all become “Portions for Foxes,” and also about regret. The repeat of “I’m bad news, bad news, bad news”  works for The Creature especially given the end of the episode, when we find out he was “The Master” posing as an orderly delivering Vanessa’s food tray in the institution. Baby I’m bad news, indeed.

Jekyll&FrankensteinJekyll and Frankenstein: “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes
The doctors philosophize and look hot in the Bedlam basement discussing the good and evil braided inside and between themselves. When Jekyll came back into Frankenstein’s life we noticed a tension between them that felt like ex-lovers. Jekyll spoke of how Frankenstein’s lack of contact over the years caused him “no small amount of pain,” and seems more than a tad contemptuous of Frank’s intense love for Lily. But more than anything homoerotic, these two are bound by the fact that they’re both broken men. This is why the break up tune “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes fits the doctoral duo. Not only are they both attempting to stitch each other back together with medical expertise, they’re also working on a way to “keep it together” inside. Both are in the process of “reaping what they sowed and then seeing red on their own,” just like in the song. There are also individual lines that fit Frankenstein such as,  “Bring me back to life,” and “You watch me bleed until I can’t breathe,” describing exactly what he did to Lily. While “shaking body onto my knees,” along with “tripping over myself,” seem to aptly describe Jekyll’s struggles with his inner demon. Thus the doctors represent each side of this song, the destroyer and the destroyed.

lily&justine
Lily and Justine: “Alive” by Sia
Sia’s “Alive” begins with the lyrics “I was born in a thunderstorm/I grew up overnight/I played alone/I played on my own/I survived,” and it then continues to tell their shared story. These two women are the ultimate survivors, each lucky to be alive in their own particular ways. There’s an irony to it as well because Justine is truly alive, while Lily merely plays at life and uses Lily’s actual life as a pawn so she can play at living. It wasn’t love that destroyed Lily and Justine and thus it won’t be love that gets them revenge. Just like the little ninja in Sia’s video, they’re fighters and, as Lily declares in the episode, “This is war,” and like the refrain of the chorus repeats, “I’m still breathing,” as long as these two femme fatales are still breathing, the war wages.

dorianDorian, Lily and Justine: “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Conner
In this third episode of the third season we find  the most unique of relationships in a trio and not just because of the whole immortality thing. Nothing can compare to the bloodthirsty threesome they engage after Justine kills her tormentor. Thus, Sinead O’Conner’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,”  applies best to this relationship. Certainly nothing could ever compare to their sexy bloodbath. The song revels in the freedom of singledom while at the same time it mourns lost love. This parallels the way Dorian and Lily revel in their immortality while at the same time long for the humanity that Justine represents. Her life has so much more meaning simply because it has an ending and this is something they’ll never have again. It’s all dead to them now, that meaning. This is symbolized by the flowers planted by the lover in the song, “they all died when you went away,” just as the meaning of Lily and Dorian’s lives died along with them. They’re working to create meaning with their revolution, a war on male tormentors using disenfranchised women like Justine as their warriors. The song pleads to “give it another try” and this is their way of doing so. No matter what the outcome of their second chance at life, though, we’re willing to bet it too will be incomparable

–Katherine Recap

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