By Brian Ives
Can one event forever change someone’s life, and put them on a path from which there is no return, and no redemption? Can you lose your soul through one (arguably) terrible act?
Or, are all events in a lifetime—even the traumatic ones—different stops on a long road, a road that represents the complex evolution of a human being?
The tension in those complex questions were at the turbulent core of tonight’s episode of Penny Dreadful, titled “Little Scorpion.” That name, of course, was how the Cut-Wife referred to Miss Vanessa Ives.
Mr. Ethan Chandler, for example, shoulders all the guilt for the things he’s done, even those things that maybe weren’t his fault: namely, the lives he’s ended while in wolf form. Of course, he’s killed in human form as well; we know he helped to decimate a tribe of Native Americans. As he said to Miss Ives in episode 5, “I believe we make ourselves who we are. The blood’s on our hands, not God’s.” Mr. Chandler is complex: does he feel that his actions while in wolf form are his fault? On the other hand, can there be any redemption for the massacre he took part in?
Sembene sees things differently. “Things become other things.” Mr. Chandler trusted him to watch his full-moon metamorphosis last episode, They’re still in the cellar as this episode begins. Sembene believes if a crocodile eats a leopard that ate a monkey, it becomes a composite of all three.