The manipulations by Magda continue as the city reels from the violence. Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels Episode 2 shares the recipe for war.
Who’s good and who’s bad is a murky thing in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Episode 2 Dead People Lie Down. Good people make bad decisions out of fear. Tiago is no exception and he’s teetering on the edge. The only genuinely concrete figure is Magda, the shape-shifting demon with the face of an angel but the soul of the Devil. As Tiago Vega becomes more and more embroiled in the murder investigation and the highway protest, he will have to make choices. Some of those choices will have grave consequences putting him more in line with Magda than Santa Muerte even if he doesn’t mean to be.
The Germans are coming, and while everyone is worried about the Mexicans, the blond-haired Natzi’s are making plans. They are flanking “team righteous.” Dr. Peter Craft is an unhappy man primed for the picking. His wife is uninterested and cold in contrast to Elsa/Magda, who lays the perfect honey pot with her vulnerable woman routine. By acting like a victim, she sets up Dr. Craft as the ideal hero. Only the youngest of Dr. Craft’s sons seems to sense the evil lurking beneath the innocent visage. For now, the son appendage that creepily gets absorbed back into Elsa/Magda is put away.
On the second front, Alex/Magda, Councilmen Townsen’s assistant, is guiding the hapless politician into a full-on race war. His exploitive tribute to the dead policeman is an uncomfortable reminder that not much has changed with our politicians today. It’s not enough for Magda to create chaos; she wants death and destruction on a cosmic scale. As much as Santa Muerte says she feels nothing for her charges and doesn’t want to get involved, she does weep. Tiago’s Mother Maria has a direct line to the death angel. She needs to continue to try to lure the reluctant force to enter the fight.
Maria is struggling under the weight of grief and weariness. Her sons are literally on opposing sides. Magda wasn’t successful yet in forcing “brother to kill brother,” but that doesn’t mean she won’t soon be. Younger brother Mateo is angry and scared. He feels betrayed by Tiago, who shot Raul and is harassed by the police who are equally mad. The difference is these policemen choose to use their well-placed thumbs to enact biblical justice. Someone took their fellow officer’s eye so they will take Mateo’s. That perfectly paced segment was filled with suspense. At any moment, you expected to hear a wet pop as his eyeball burst. Moments like this rather than any obvious supernatural ones drive the overall tone of Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels. Coupled with the noir sensibilities of musical choices and Nathan Lane’s hardboiled detective and Penny Dreadful has a distinctive feel.
Maintaining that simmering aggression is the slickest of new characters Fly Rico. The local Pachuco legend slinks in in the coolest of suits to save Mateo and steal the scene. Sebastian Chacon(Rico) is as cool as they come and an absolute necessity moving forward. Whether he is a force for right or wrong, we don’t know. If I’m honest, the complete unruffled confidence he exudes is so fun to watch I don’t care whose side he is on. The stylish zoot suit-wearing gang member may be a criminal, but he is an extremely charismatic one.
Nathan Lane continues to be a solid presence reminding us all not all white people suck. The perfect foil for his no-nonsense Detective Michener is the imposing Miss Adelaide. The leader of a radio mega-church and mother to main attraction Sister Molly she has more than a few skeletons in her closets. Her church is big money and likely a feeder system for the German killers running wild all over the city. What that connection is we will find out along with Detective Michener and Tiago.
Detective Michener believes the church had something to do with Haslet’s death, and he’s willing to push to find out. Miss Adelaide, played by a steely lipped Amy Madigan, is calculated menace. Spitting lines like, “They are sanctified in the blood of the Lamb” is pure gold. Madigan has played this kind of pious role before in HBO’s brilliant but underappreciated Carnivale. She brings her talents to Miss Adelaide, and you almost forget who the demon really is.
In contrast, Sister Molly, the quintessential Aryan example, has the voice of an angel and possibly the soul of one too. She is the star of the church but doesn’t necessarily like being trotted out like a show pony each day. Kerry Bishe(Molly) is wide-eyed innocence. She seems to be an innocent bystander in her mother’s financial gain. Her Molly might very well be another soldier in the fight for good versus evil. A team-up of Santa Muerte and Sister Molly would be intriguing with the two women from such different spiritual walks of life.
Natalie Dormer as the shape-shifting Magda slides from one persona into another with as little effort as Clarke Kent removing his glasses and ripping his shirt. Magda revels in the chaos she has created. We are all pawns in her game. Tiago’s Mother is the best situated to apply roadblocks to Magda’s road to hell. Tiago is sitting on a powder keg and he cut tip things either direction. A man who doesn’t fit anywhere he needs to rely on the wisdom of his partner. Dead people may lie down but the living should stand up and fight before Magda’s whisperings consume them all.
With Death on the doorstep, chaos reigning, and demons knocking at the door, this isn’t the time to doubt. Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels Episode 2 proved the murders and the misery have just gotten started. Get caught up on all our coverage here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.