Penny Dreadful Review: “Little Scorpion”

In which Vanessa and Ethan play house.

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Did you think that just because I was leaving The Mary Sue I was going to abandon you in the middle of a season of Penny Dreadful? Well think again, because someone has to call out Nice Guy John Clare on the internet, and that person is darn well going to be me.

I’m a hard-core shipper – I have sailed many a ship in my fandom lifetime, and as a result, I’ve read a heck of a lot of fanfiction. This episode of Penny Dreadful was literally F/M fanfic at its best: a will-they-or-won’t-they couple has to run away from their daily lives into forced seclusion for days or weeks, during which they laugh and play and dance. The man is sexy and wears sexy sweaters and sexily chops down trees. One night during a storm while they’re in close contact, a door blows open in the wind and they furiously make out in the rain. Seriously, I think I’ve written that fanfic. “Little Scorpion” delivered for the Ethan/Vanessa shippers this week, and for that, I thank them.

Of course, it’s still Penny Dreadful, so we couldn’t end on an excited Author’s Note. Instead, we’ve got Ethan (and the audience) disappointed in Vanessa for opening the devil book, sundering her soul for vengeance that Patti LuPwn certainly would not have wanted her to take (not at this price, anyways). I’m sure they’ll get over it (after all, Ethan is a murderous wolf-man), but it was a real bummer way to end that flawless fic. I don’t blame her for not hittin’ it though; the last time Vanessa had weird sex she was possessed by the devil, so it’s probably not worth it.

I feel so badly for Vanessa in all of this because she is such a sweet cinnamon roll, and when she’s not being pursued by Satan she’s just being awesome and kind and nice to everyone. That’s a bit frustrating in some instances, however; like when Malcolm accuses her of suffering from hysteria (THAT’S NOT A REAL DISEASE MALCOLM GET IT TOGETHER), or when she clearly should just be telling Victor to stop banging his shut-in cousin for like, eighteen different reasons.

Sembene continues his radical streak by basically telling Ethan to chill the heck out because he’s a good guy even if he sometimes turns into a wolf and eats people. Lily also continues to quickly become my favorite character by fully Black Widowing a dude after her date with Dorian.

And, one last thing: can I just tell you how much Vanessa’s story about her fear of childhood dolls resonated with me? Here is, no lie, my grandmother’s house:

Don’t even get me started on staying there as a kid, but even today, as an adult, I have to stuff every single one of those dolls into a closet and then put a chair in front of the closet door in order to fall asleep. Dolls are serious business and Vanessa is right to be afraid.

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Author
Sam Maggs
Sam Maggs is a writer and televisioner, currently hailing from the Kingdom of the North (Toronto). Her first book, THE FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY will be out soon from Quirk Books. Sam’s parents saw Star Wars: A New Hope 24 times when it first came out, so none of this is really her fault.