Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Children of the Royal Sun


I have to admit that I probably wouldn’t have predicted any of the significant developments on Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1 Episode 5 but probably should’ve.

In a script that seemed to throw a hodge-podge of elements together, the theme seems to be a fracturing of strong bonds.

The Vega family is splintering with Mateo giving in to the allure of the Pachucos, and Josefina driven to Sister Molly’s temple for solace.

Lewis and Tiago’s partnership is showing some wear for the first time due to both of their extracurricular activities.

And Townsend and Craft both find themselves sinking into relationships that may destroy their lives.

She doesn’t know who she’s messing with. I’m goddamn King Kong today.


Of everything that conspired, I have to admit my favorite part was Dottie’s chat with Brian Koenig in the automat.

First of all, the automat restaurant was AWESOME. I’ve always wanted to try something like that.

Secondly, Dottie’s even more interesting than just being Lewis’s friend. Bomb-making in the Haymarket Days? Hell, I want her prequel series greenlit.

Love that she proclaims herself Koenig’s “guardian angel” while calling him “angel face.” Way to up the angel stats in one line.

Lastly, the fact that Kurt’s keeping an eye on Koenig (when he’s not schtupping Townsend for the greater evil) means that Dottie’s on his radar, and I cannot imagine how Lewis will react to having his last good friend endangered by this investigation.

Dottie: So this is the idea, huh? Blow up the world? You and your rockets?
Koenig: I do theory, not practical application.
Dottie: Isn’t that convenient? Unfortunately, your Nazi friends do a lot of practical application.

While Dottie’s all straight-from-the-hip old-world wisdom with young Koenig, Magda’s busy building her men up and schtupping them, too.

Mateo’s final initiation into the Pachucos is one part history lesson, one part uniform fitting, and a whole lot of body parts as his world gets rocked by both Rio and Rico.

We are the sons and daughters of Tenochtitlan. We sacrificed human hearts to the sun to quench the thirst of the sky. Unconquerable for a thousand years. And then, another world — in floating mountains from Spain, with thunder in their gospels and hot slaughter in their cannons — arrived on our shores. And the two worlds of the world met. Red and white. Aztec and European. Hummingbird wizard and Jesus. Malinche and the Virgin Mary. And they begat the children of the royal sun. Whose manifestation is the royal Pachuco. Whose coat of arms, whose profane declaration, whose poem to the ancestors, are the holy drapes, the warrior’s armor.


And for his day to start with that experience and end with his brother holding a gun on him, that boy’s got to be messed up emotionally.

And as I watch Mateo looking to the Pachucos for belonging and pride, Josefina needing Molly comfort and advice, and Tiago asserting that his job comes before cultural loyalty, I am sad for Maria.

This series opened with their family gathered around a table. The last time they were all at a table on Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1 Episode 4, Josefina had just been violated, Mateo’s tattoo was discovered, and Tiago threatened to arrest him.

Maria’s prayers to Santa Muerte are for the well-being of her children. And now, one by one, they’ve been pulled away from her.

Is it any wonder that she presses a talisman of protection on Lewis in hopes of protecting Tiago?

Lewis and Maria are an interesting pairing. Both have deep faith in their beliefs and an awareness of the evil at work in the world. Furthermore, they both have a deep affection and great hopes for Tiago.

You raised an honest man. Ain’t nothing harder to find.


So when Lewis has to confront Tiago about his erratic behavior and secrets, it’s clear that not trusting him is a foreign and uncomfortable feeling.

One, I don’t know who the fuck you are today. Two, I know you’re hiding something about last night. Three, you’ve been up and down like a fucking yoyo and that makes me nervous because four, I don’t feel like stepping into a dangerous situation with an unstable, armed yoyo at my side.


Not that it’s ever been a buddy sort of show, but Lewis and Tiago seemed to rise above the morass of melodrama singularly.

But with Tiago’s entanglement with Molly and Lewis’s off-the-books Nazi-hunting, it’s not like they’ve been completely open with each other even before Tiago let his cop-killing brother escape.

Townsend’s situation is very much like the adage about boiling a frog. Frogs jump out if you throw them in hot water just as Townsend jumped ship when Goss showed his fangs on Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1 Episode 3.

However, by insinuating Kurt into his life, his affections, and his bed, Alex can turn up the temperature slowly while Townsend is happily paddling around, enjoying the view.

Life isn’t all about work and stress and strategy. Sometimes, life is surprising. All at once, okay, when you don’t expect it, it’s like the fog lifts and you’re face to face with a vista you couldn’t have dreamed. All yours to explore. If you’re brave enough.


Nice dancing, by the way. Man’s pretty light on his feet. The things the glory of love inspires, right?

The outlier for me remains Dr. Peter Craft. We are past the halfway point in the season, and I have no idea how he factors into anything.

Is he just a Magda side-gig? Will his loyalty mean something she can leverage later?

Is he just a way to get to Linda and the boys? I sense that Tom is important somehow, but it’s not clear nor obvious.

Despite Linda being pretty awful every time we’ve seen her, it seemed like she was trying to create some family-based positivity when they were playing the Sorry boardgame.

So for Craft to just up and leave when Elsa called ruined it for her, and she didn’t bother to hide from the boys.

Yeah, she’s still pretty awful, but Craft has now disposed of a body and had sex on the grave, so Linda’s looking like the better parent in comparison.

People should die with dignity if that’s how they lived.


Raul’s suddenly becoming quite interesting.

There was that comment about dying with dignity about Reilly’s body being dumped so unceremoniously on the street outside the station.

And then Maria’s comment about how he’s the only one of her children to believe in Santa Muerte caught my attention as Raul doesn’t strike me as overtly spiritual.

We never saw what happened after Maria’s supernatural moment in the hospital.

Also, there was no real explanation for Raul’s recovery, especially since Santa Muerte was very much in the house/hospital, so one would assume she was there to collect his soul.

When he got shot at the end of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Season 1 Episode 1 but was credited for the whole season, I’d speculated wildly that he would become a go-between for Santa Muerte and Maria. Who knows?

I know what you think of her. Dragon Mother. But there are times, like that night, when you are alone and poor and you are small and weak and you are grateful for the dragon’s roar.


It’s funny that Lewis compares Tiago to Jekyll and Hyde when Molly is the one who continues to show that she compulsively presents a front to whomever she happens to be with.

That is starting to trigger alarm bells in an “All About Eve” way. Especially with Miss Adelaide’s ominous portent to Randolph.

Maybe Molly did kill Hazlett and his family, after all? The obvious suspects are Adelaide and Randolph, so we might reason that they’re red herrings.

And that would put Josefina is some danger too. Sheesh.

So, while you watch Penny Dreadful: City of Angels online, just try to keep track of the secrets everyone’s hiding.

With possibly the exception of Maria (and I’m guessing she’s not an exception), everyone’s got something.

Whose secret do you think gets outed first?

Who are you looking at for the Hazlett killer?

How will Santa Muerte’s protection manifest for Lewis and Tiago?

Comment below with your hottest takes on how things played out here!

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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