If I were to make a religious comparison, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1 Episode 8 would be a moment of redemption in what has been a sinfully sordid mess of a narrative.
Despite being titled “Hide and Seek,” many characters come out in the open here, clarifying their motivations and airing some long-held secrets.
And while I’m pleased that Maria’s getting to dig her heels in and continues to defy Magda’s various threats and coercions, the most gratifying Hallelujah moment was Peter standing up to Elsa/Magda’s demand that he fire Maria.
A lot about Peter’s role in the conflict Magda’s been driving the good(?) people of Los Angeles toward made sense in light of his secret past and family.
And it’s such a relief to have him come out as anti-Hitler because I was getting a serious complex from all the sympathy I was feeling for a character who appeared to be a Nazi.
I mean, he still had his wife committed to an asylum so he could shack up with Elsa AND helped Elsa bury a body, but at least he’s not a Nazi, right?
And the fact that he is the only man to challenge Magda’s influence scores a lot of points directly.
Now, his interaction with Linda makes me wonder exactly how damaging his Krupp family name would actually be in 1938 (before WW2 begins), or could it be that Linda has something else to hit him with?
Dude has seriously bad luck with women.
But I love that he doesn’t allow his affection for Elsa to cloud his judgment when it comes to Maria and his sons.
Meanwhile, they do tend to heap the troubles onto Maria, don’t they?
First, her oldest son gets shot in the head.
Then, her youngest son joins a gang, and her only daughter joins a cult.
Now, the boys she has raised like her own have a literal demon for a step-brother.
So, yeah, it’s nice that she doesn’t have to deal with unemployment as well.
Maria has shown that she is not only resilient and reliable, but she is also smart and resourceful.
Knowing now that she wanted to be a nun as a young woman makes me wonder if that change in her path attracted the attention of the supernatural.
There’s also the odd dichotomy of that most Catholic of vocations and her kinship to Coyote and worship of Santa Muerte.
In fact, for the first time yet in this series, I see a similarity between the characters of Maria and Vanessa Ives from the original Penny Dreadful series.
Both have a strong affinity with the supernatural and an upbringing tied to the traditional Christian Church.
Where the Dark Forces attacked and coerced Vanessa directly, Magda — referred to here as “The Beast” — terrorizes and tempts Maria’s children instead.
Maybe she has to. Whenever Magda’s tried to fool with directly — both here and on Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1 Episode 7 — the wily Coyote has turned the tables on her.
If only Mateo had a bit more of his mother’s clear-sightedness and less personal insecurity.
Rio: Don’t you see, Mateo? Your pure heart, it can save us. Lead us out of poverty. Give us a voice. You were born for this and this alone.
Mateo: I don’t know what I’m doing.
Rio: You give them the words they need so they know what to believe. You give them a taste of power so they know what to want. You give them hope so they’ll die for you. And when they lose the will to fight, you make them look inside for strength so their fists come alive like pounding hearts.
Mateo: And then?
Rio: We walk in blood to your throne.
Rio’s been able to turn his head with big talk and grandiose promises every time he tries to find his way back to himself.
What throne exactly does he think he’ll ascend? He wants to be loyal to Diego but is fine with usurping Rico’s position?
Kid’s got a lot of growing to do, but who knows if he’ll get that chance?
And, honestly, Tiago’s not much better. He’s a sucker for Molly every time she turns up, even knowing that she kept Josefina’s conversion a secret from him.
(To be fair, if he visited home more, Raul could’ve probably filled him in on that whole thing.)
With everything going down, it’s hard to imagine Molly’s completely clueless on the Nazi funding her temple is accepting.
You think you’re in love with her but you’ve fallen in love with God’s whisper. And as I’ve said, she’s not perfect. Molly adores a thrill and that’s what you are.
Meanwhile, for whatever motivations, Adelaide is a master manipulator when it comes to planting those seeds of doubt in Tiago.
She may be doing it to keep Molly dependent on her. She may be doing it to preserve the Sister Molly image and keep the Temple’s revenue flow high and heavy.
And the possibility remains that she may be doing it to prevent Tiago from ending up like Hazlett.
We still don’t know who the real killer is, after all. I’d REALLY like them to actually give us an answer before this season wraps up. Seriously.
I need this to be real, Tiago. So I choose to believe it is.
Molly’s needs are complex, but her pastoral side does seem genuine.
Her conversation with Josefina indicated a desire to send the girl home to Tiago and Maria, but she let Josefina choose her own path.
This is likely out of an understanding of what it’s like to have your life dictated to you.
Lewis’ reaction to finding her in Tiago’s bed was classic. And funny. Say what I will about the bewildering nature of the narrative, the writers know how to break up the intensity.
Tiago: Fuckin’ Los Angeles. I don’t know that we can save her.
Lewis: Save her? Pal, we’re just trying to survive her.
Also, shooting at Lewis is NOT ALLOWED. Not cool. Not cool, at all.
The question remains as to who ordered the hit. It felt pretty gangster-esque, but my money’s on the Nazis.
With Alex planting herself into Lewis’ investigation with her BS story of losing her parents to Hitler’s forces, a complicated situation has become downright tangled.
I’d like to think that Lewis will check into her story rather than swallowing it whole. But that’s because Lewis is my hero.
Townsend: Whatever you have against me…
Beck: It’s not against you. It’s against the system that allows people like you to rise. You have no talent, no respect for governance, nor do you care about anyone but yourself.
Speaking of which, can we get a round of applause for Councilwoman Beverly Beck and her no-nonsense, kick-jerks-to-the-curb policies?
I’d hate to see her die. She’s got a recklessly confident way about her that’s a lot like Fly Rico if you think about it.
Things finally seem to be coming together, so when you watch Penny Dreadful: City of Angels online this week, it may be easier to formulate some theories on how the final two episodes will play out.
Will the Pachucos be willing to follow Mateo?
How will Josefina’s departure (and new hair color?) affect the Vega family?
What is Elsa’s next move? Frank’s? Alex’s?
Will love redeem Kurt and Townsend? (PFFFFFT to that…)
Let us know in the comment who you think will play the key role in the final showdown? Who is the true hero of this war?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.