Sunday, May 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'Penny Dreadful: City of Angels' - Tiago Gets Closer to Sister Molly as He Mourns Raul in 'Dead People Lie Down'

Showtime's Penny Dreadful: City of Angels - Episode 1.02 "Dead People Lie Down"

Raul lies on the brink of death as Mateo meets the charismatic Fly Rico. Tiago and Lewis' investigation leads them to the temple of the radio evangelist, Sister Molly and her formidable mother, Miss Adelaide. Councilman Townsend and his cunning assistant Alex capitalize on the discord in the city to further their political goals. Lewis and his friends investigate clandestine Third Reich activities.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Showtime's Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.

"Dead People Lie Down" was written by John Logan and directed by Paco Cabezas

Magda stirred racial tensions in Los Angeles until it ended in multiple vicious deaths on both sides of the conflict. It was her fulfilling her prophecy of turning brother against brother. The premiere ended with Tiago killing his brother Raul because he was on a shooting rampage taking down as many police officers as he could. That was the dynamic beat the premiere concluded on that set the stage for the drama to happen next. It gets a little more murky in the second episode though. Raul isn't actually dead yet. He is actually kept alive on a respirator. The family gathers around his bed at the hospital praying for a miracle. Maria doesn't lift herself off the floor until she gets a message from the great beyond about what her prayers have returned to her. In that regard, it may only be monstrous. She prays for salvation. She prays for protection over her children. But the deities she prays to may only lurk as the monsters in the shadows. They may only return Raul as the shocking figure in the dark who will scare even his own mother. Attempts at peace and grace are found here. Tiago understands that there is nothing more the doctors can do to save Raul's life. The bullet was essentially fatal. Mateo knows that Tiago fired the shot that led to all this grief. He refuses to see Tiago as a member of the family anymore. But it's still a traumatic time for Tiago as well. He was forced to pick sides. He couldn't stand on the sidelines of this conflict. He had to step up and try his best to avoid all the destruction. That wasn't good enough. The tensions still simmered over because Magda's influence was simply too strong. That makes the audience very concerned about what she could do next since she is planting her hooks deep into Councilman Townsend and Dr. Peter Craft. With Townsend, it's clear why she wants that influence. She wants him to continue using fear to motivate people into even further hatred. He has great empathy for the police officers who were killed in action. He sees the Mexicans in the neighborhood protecting their homes as monsters who deserve to be beaten down and stricken from this land no matter what. Magda allows him to operate in that way with such confidence. Those emotions and beliefs always existed. Magda simply allows him to better channel them so that he is more successful with his ultimate goals. With Craft, it's clear that Magda is just starting her influence. She is getting into his head as an object of his desire. She wants him to see her as a kindred spirit. One who survived the same world as he did. That may allow her to pivot his beliefs to something more advantageous for her ultimate goals. He stands firm in what he believes. He stands proudly in the city. But this attraction may be consuming his entire world at the moment which absolutely has consequences for his family. However, that is a more tangential story here. There is a lot going on. The narrative still asserts that death and chaos surrounds these characters no matter where they go. Lewis is devoted to the murder investigation as well as uncovering the clandestine operations of secret Nazi officials. He loses even more friends by the end of this hour. He sees that the Mexican community may be being framed for murder with the central case. That may not be where his passion is though. Tiago finds a connection in Sister Molly because she talks about how free she is when she is simply washing dishes. In that moment, Tiago can see the woman behind the singing voice and religious experience. She is a human being who tries to offer clarity but may only bring about more chaos. She isn't as strict as her mother and the organization they serve within. That may prove that she too operates in this world with no true agency. Everyone has to battle that natural instinct to let others morph one's beliefs and coping mechanisms. That common cause can be unifying. But it takes a special spirit to stand up for what's right no matter what. It's just unfortunate that there is so much rampant corruption in this world that allows the worst impulses to happen in any given moment through only small amounts of effort on the antagonists' part. That's the scary and daunting reality of this story. It's so easy to fall into temptation. Prayer may only be so good. It may not offer the salvation that many hope it will. Evil forces exist and corrupt. Attempts at the right actions don't always ensure the right outcomes occur. It's messy and complicated while potentially changing the makeup of the world too.