REVIEW: Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep5 – Children of the Royal Sun

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep5 - Children of the Royal Sun

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels continues to paint a confusing picture of Tiago as his worlds collide and he is forced to toe the line between his loyalty to his family, his newfound love, and his chosen profession.

This internal conflict has the potential to be a compelling one but the way the show portray Tiago does not quite do justice to the supposed warring forces in his life. At one point in the episode, Lewis even tells him: “I don’t know who the fuck you are today.” Because Tiago keeps making questionable decisions even in the midst of the growing chaos in the city. The murder of Reilly sparks a city-wide controversy, the Hazlett murder case has not been making any progress, Lewis is off investigating a Nazi conspiracy, and Tiago still continues his ill-advised affair with Sister Molly. It’s like we are trying to root for him since he has been built up as one of the main protagonists of the show but even the mark of Santa Muerte on his chest has not fully been explained and his connection to her seems tenuous at best.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep5 - Children of the Royal SunSister Molly proves to be more duplicitous than expected. It’s interesting that she shared different versions of the same story with both Tiago and Josefina. Her story to Tiago was a sanitized version, almost a parable, and a memory she at least pretended to remember with fondness, only endearing her to Tiago more. But there was something shady about the story of supposedly kind men helping a mother and young daughter.

The sordid truth does come out when Josefina visits Molly and she tries to comfort the girl with her own gruesome experience of the cruelty of men. The growing solidarity between the two women is heartening to see, even if Molly is less than trustworthy, because she does genuinely seem committed to helping the young girl. And it’s just a balm to see Josefina able to process what happened to her in a way that will help her overcome it.

It was interesting to see Molly’s reaction to the revelation that Josefina was Tiago’s sister. The evangelist is shrewd enough to file that information away for some useful purpose later on.

As far as Magda’s continued exploits, her manipulation of both Townsend and Craft are still the most mundane parts of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. Townsend indulges in a little private dancing while he gets a visit from his lover. But Alex is carefully watching him and making sure he stays within her control. It’s indicative of Magda’s power when Townsend does not even remember when he met his secretary but just feels that she has been around forever.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep5 - Children of the Royal SunMagda as Elsa entraps and murders a misogynist and then calls Dr. Craft for help. The man abandons his family to come to her aid and as he buries a man in the woods, they consummate their affair on the actual grave. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels is certainly following its predecessor in terms of disturbing and macabre sex scenes. But there’s still nothing really that compels us to care about this subplot.

Magda as Rio has been more influential and at least has a role more connected to the main plot. As Mateo recovers from killing Reilly last week, Rio consoles him and properly initiates him into the Pachuco group by also linking their movement to the ancient religion of their native ancestors, leading to the title of the episode. Encouraged by this greater sense of destiny and mythological significance, Mateo comes to accept his gruesome crime and is further initiated by Rio through sex. And later on, Fly Rico even joins the fun.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep5 - Children of the Royal SunThe conflict between Mateo and Tiago does come to a head in this episode since Tiago actually does some investigation into Reilly’s murder along with Lewis. Determined to prove his mettle as a detective, Tiago exerts a lot of effort and sometimes even veers towards very problematic behavior. He and Lewis interrogate several people connected to Fly Rico and Tiago, very chillingly, goes so far as to threaten a young mother with deportation just to get some vital information. Even Lewis calls him out for crossing a line.

And that’s after Lewis sung praises of Tiago to Maria when they visited the younger detective’s family home. The older detective’s conversation with the Vega matriarch was an interesting and touching moment and it was also a bit amusing for the Jew to be presented with an altar to Santa Muerte. But he even accepts a small figurine of the deity that Maria gives him for protection.

When the two detectives eventually find the Pachuco’s hideout, Tiago chases his brother into an alleyway. Mateo is defiant though it is a bit strange that he didn’t explain his motive for killing the cop which surely his brother would have then understood. But this time, torn as he is about hurting another brother, Tiago lets him escape, and the consequences of this fateful choice will surely haunt the detective in the episodes to come.

Check out the trailer for the next episode of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels below: