IR TV Review: PENNY DREADFUL – CITY OF ANGELS – EPISODE 3 (“Wicked Old World”) [Showtime]

The aspect of Los Angeles is bounded by the corners of its darkness and the pinnacles of its light. The key is finding those crevices within the human experience. Episode 3 of “Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels” revels in this perception. Gone more is the Santa Muerte in its importance and more revels in the demon that threatens to create the powder keg of chaos. Natalie Dormer has been playing the yin within the yang and back very subtly in one character for a few episodes. The secondary influence was hidden and now seen. But the third is dynamic as hell. This the time we see her venerate possibilities. It is shown to a T as Rio in a large scale sequence that is not so much scale as it is feel. That is wherein her acting chops really come to bare. It is a revelatory performance depending where it goes.

Creator John Logan shows his love of period but plays it in the cool way that say “West Side Story” would have done. it is about perspective and finding the right approach. Meanwhile a different kind of balance is in the light between Santiago and Molly is highlighted in a great old world progression on the Santa Monica Pier. “City Of Angels” is as much as ode to old LA as it is about the underhanded dealings that move any major metropolitan area especially in times of massive success or utter upheaval. The political etchings are perhaps the most plain of the progressions but again it all reflects back to human nature. But the necessity of LA as a spark point especially on the cusp of war as Germany parades across Europe is of course the flash of the series.

Into its 3rd episode, the idea of what the series needs to be is fanning the pace..and is almost where it needs to be. It is based in mythology in a trinity of characters where Dormer is the key but that leaves an interesting messiah complex in play. It depends where the grounded element of the series will go or if it builds to a different extreme. The genre underpinnings just seem to act as a spine and not the catalyst though the different forces seems to push back and forth. However it could be spoken that this is the catalyst of any upheaval or revolution as it were.


By Tim Wassberg

Posted on May 10, 2020, in Television Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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