REVIEW: Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep8 – Hide and Seek

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep8 - Hide and Seek

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels keeps Lewis and Tiago on the case while Magda plays her cards but to different results.

Detectives Vega and Michener are putting their idle time to good use as they continue their investigation into the growing Nazi conspiracy. As they split up to interview two of the main accomplices, some secrets are revealed while Michener falls into Magda’s web of lies.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep8 - Hide and SeekTiago goes to speak to the “dragon mother” about her association with Nazi businessman Richard Goss who she insists is simply a generous donor to the Temple. She had been unaware of his political affiliations because she was only concerned with the state of his soul. Adelaide plays the innocent blatantly, even thanking Tiago for catching the (supposed) murderer of the Hazletts. Tiago doesn’t buy her act though he plays along for a while but Adelaide’s real attack comes when she shows him Sister Molly baptizing new converts, one of whom coincidentally happens to be Josefina.

The timing is a bit too convenient but the effect is immediate. Adelaide creates a rift between the two young lovers and Tiago angrily questions what other secrets Molly might be keeping from him. When he angrily confronts her about this, she argues that she could not betray his sister’s confidence. She doesn’t mention that she has helped dye Josefina’s hair red, like the “sunrise”, surely a service she doesn’t provide to all converts. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels keeps its secrets even until now and I’m certain that there are still some Molly hasn’t shown us.

But puzzlingly, the quarrel is short-lived and despite his misgivings, Tiago cannot seem to resist Molly’s charms or her seemingly sincere hopes for a future for them. They reconcile almost instantly and are later discovered by Michener. The older detective expresses his disappointment with his young partner but being the world-weary pragmatist that he is, he accepts the complex situation for what it is and is still fairly sympathetic.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep8 - Hide and SeekEarlier in the episode, Michener paid a visit to Councilor Townsend’s office to question the official. Townsend was in a foul mood, having just been threatened by Councilwoman Beck. He refuses to answer any of Michener’s questions about Goss but Alex follows the detective outside and presents herself as a secret ally.

Magda expertly switches character, finding Michener’s weak spot, and acting like a Jew hiding her true identity (calling herself Malone instead of Mahler). She vows to help in any way that she can and easily answers Michener in Yiddish when he tests her. He doesn’t seem fully convinced by her but he also seems relieved to have found a potential supporter. Poor Lewis doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.

Mateo is racked with guilt over Diego’s taking the fall for him but when he tries to turn himself in, Rio stops him. With her silvery tongue, Magda convinces the young man that he is somehow meant to lead the Pachucos in their revolution and after a few more encouraging words about a great destiny, Mateo relents and remains under her spell.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep8 - Hide and SeekTownsend and Kurt enjoy a night out as the former brings his lover to a secret club where homosexual couples can freely interact. It’s a romantic scene and as the couple dances, it almost seems like there is genuine affection between them. Even when Townsend tries to recruit Kurt to murder Councilwoman Beck, the young man simply brushes this aside and discourages him from becoming a murderer. Neither are sympathetic characters but there was still a certain comfort to seeing them simply enjoy their limited time together. And seeing same-sex couples dance gracefully in such a glamorous setting was also pretty great.

Patti Lupone makes a surprising but fabulous cameo as the club singer, giving a wonderful rendition of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust.” (I seriously need the Penny Dreadful: City of Angels soundtrack.) Lupone previously appeared on the original Penny Dreadful series, first as the Cut-Wife in season two and then as Dr. Seward in the third and final season.

This was an amazing cameo for the legendary Broadway actress and hearing her version of “Stardust” was a real treat, not to mention her quick line to the dancers about there being a false alarm about the vice squad. This short appearance was already way more entertaining than Lupone’s entire turn on Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, S1 Ep8 - Hide and SeekMaria has the most compelling arc this episode as her loyalty to the Craft family is severely tested. She reassures young Tom that she believes him when he tells her of Frank’s demonic powers but she wisely advises him to keep this to himself. She is later tormented by Frank himself when he shows her his mouth gaping wide, as if in a scream. Bloody dishwater leads the brave woman to a frightening tour of the house, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels showing some proper horror elements. She has a chilling vision of her late husband but she recognizes the beast’s disguise and she bravely stands her ground.

This is also the most interesting the Craft family has been all season. Peter visits Linda in an asylum and his former wife is at her strongest despite her circumstances. She calmly threatens to ruin his life as soon as her family frees her from her prison and she sends her philandering husband away squirming. It’s a triumphant moment and one enjoyable to watch because Linda deserves more agency and Peter deserves a dressing down.

But even Peter shows some spine in this episode. In a meeting of the German-American Bund, he insists that they need to behave in a more civilized way, emphasizing their strong principles instead of simply falling in line with the Fuehrer’s agenda. Elsa briefly stands up for him in the meeting but in the private conversation afterwards, she expresses her disappointment in his seeming lack of conviction. She wants a strong man to lead their people against the races they deplore.

It is then that Craft reveals the dark secret of his past, his name is actually Krupp, and his family has been responsible for manufacturing the weapons for the German Army. As a medic during the Great War, he witnessed firsthand the destruction his family’s legacy brought about and he refuses to be a part of it. His family name was clearly why Magda chose him but even she seems to have miscalculated. (Townsend is similarly reluctant to be associated with a clearly illustrious family probably because of some homophobic treatment.) When Elsa and Frank try to get Maria sent away, with the young boy pretending to get burned because of Maria’s negligence, Peter surprisingly stands his ground again, even against the woman he seemed to be so smitten with.

Instead of firing Maria, he says he will give her a raise. When Elsa looks at him questioningly, he answers: “You want Peter Krupp? You got him,” with firm conviction that we have not seen from him all season. There’s hope for him yet.

The episode ends with Tiago and Lewis being shot at by an unseen adversary. Their enemies are on to them now and the detectives will need to tread more carefully as they draw closer to the dark truth.

Check out the trailer for the next episode below: