Sunday, May 31, 2020

REVIEW: 'Penny Dreadful: City of Angels' - Tiago and Lewis Are Torn While Interrogating Diego in 'How It Is With Brothers'

Showtime's Penny Dreadful: City of Angels - Episode 1.06 "How It Is With Brothers"

Tiago and Lewis interrogate Diego, seeking a confession, while Lewis senses Tiago is hiding something from him. Adelaide warns Molly about her personal desires jeopardizing the Temple's future. Townsend learns of Kurt's surprising past. Peter Craft makes a dramatic decision about his marriage with Linda. Maria tracks down Mateo and pleads with him to come home.

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.

"How It Is With Brothers" was written by Vinnie Wilhelm and directed by Roxann Dawson

This drama has a sprawling narrative. That's not unlike the original series. However, it's lacking that central element that was easy to invest it. As such, there is less tolerance for the more glacially paced and annoying stories happening here. This episode has more focus than any previous hour. It's what the show needed at this precise moment in time. It needed to present a reason why the audience should care about these characters and the agonizing choices they are making. If those moral dilemmas are still a little flimsy, then the viewer can at least respect the performances that Daniel Zovatto and Nathan Lane deliver here. The main thrust of this episode follows Tiago and Lewis interrogating Diego and hoping to get him to confess to several crimes even though he is innocent. It's sickening to watch because of just how abusive the police are in this world. They coerce confessions. That's good enough for them to succeed as police officers. They cut each other down. And yet, they celebrate each other when they go along with the status quo of simply framing a person of color for every problem currently happening in the city. It's horrifying. But it's also positioned around the idea of family. Tiago stands by his choice to shoot Raul. Raul has forgiven him for that action as well. However, Tiago still feels remorse and anger. He views it as being directly responsible for Mateo joining Fly Rico and Rio in their gang. Mateo never would have killed Reilly if he wasn't angered by what happened during the riot. That isn't true at all. Mateo has gone on his own journey. Sure, he was reacting to events that happened to others in his family. His choices were much more radical. As such, they are more dangerous and carry more consequences to them. It's unclear how Maria tracks him down. But it's still important that she pleads with him to return to their family. If he comes back home, then they can survive whatever he may have done during this time of turmoil. He turns her down. He is too enthralled by Rio and Fly Rico. That connection is too tantalizing for him to break now. The world is compromising their values in order to protect him though. He is the one who killed Reilly. Diego, Rio and Fly Rico were there and took part in the assault. That makes them all guilty too. However, Tiago feels the need to protect his brother. He is doing what he couldn't do for Raul earlier. He feels torn because his two worlds are tearing him apart. He continues to feel the anguish of being confused about his core identity. He is a police officer of Mexican heritage. He feels a connection to Diego that he can hopefully exploit. And yet, he is just as prone to violence as his fellow officers. He teases Diego with easy access to his weapon. He just uses that as an excuse to hurt him in the only way he believes he can maintain this delicate house of cards he has built for himself. He pulls Lewis into that despair as well. Lewis is upset that his partner kept secrets from him. He feels he has shown himself to be a trustworthy partner. That perception of being an ally may take more. It's not incumbent on Tiago to immediately trust his partner on the force. He can do the job without having to open up about his personal life. He is keeping many secrets. They are destroying him though. He needs to let them out in a way that allows him to grow moving forward. Sister Molly may be too caught up in her own existential crisis. It's harrowing to watch her perform because her song is full of sadness. Her performance remains powerful to a crowd but the isolation just lurks behind her eyes. Her devotion to the cause is in question which her mother can't tolerate at all. Meanwhile, Lewis has to come in with the acceptable resolution to the despair happening in the city. He doesn't like it. He is still comfortable doing it though. He crafts the perfect narrative of Diego being propped up as a hero in his community. He will live on in infamy. He will be protected in prison because of this reputation as a killer of five. It exists to hopefully ease tensions. Peace may finally come. It's still a lie though. Personal emotions are involved which require sacrifices to be made. That shouldn't be acceptable from public officials. It's the natural state of the world though. It doesn't take much for this turmoil to amplify. In fact, it may only be growing more personal. That increases the betrayals that will be felt. This season has seen a lot of rising action. The tension was escalating in the hopes of something dramatic coming later on. The focus here allows that to be felt on a visceral level. There are still stories searching for a purpose. That isn't lost entirely here either. However, this hour presents a direction that could actually provide the show a reason to exist. That's a wonderful step in the right direction despite the pain it causes for Tiago and Lewis to be celebrated for framing someone for multiple murders.