Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Frankenstein Chronicles, Season 1, Episode 4: The Fortune of War

So, after entering the tunnels last week, there is absolutely no way that they can’t avoid the plot for once.

In the tunnels they find a criminal gang with lots of bodies and Marlotte and Pritty (the grave robber) pose as a necrophiliac looking to acquire a fresh victim. They solicit the gang to murder someone for them and, in doing so, hope to follow them to their lair and find the people who have been killing people (and kids) to make the Frankenstein monster, as Sir Peel first asked Marlotte back in episode 1 between his bouts of hallucinations and angsty memories.

The trap is set –they just need a lot of money and a girl to play bait. Pritty, always reluctant, has the money. And Flora is back

Flora has had a not-convincing-anyone miscarriage which everyone delicately calls a miscarried, including Lord and Lady Harvey (along with realistic, yet condescending talk of just how terrible her life would be with an illegitimate child). She now wants to return to Marlotte where she feels safe. For some reason.

Especially since Billie the Fagin stereotype drops in to be a bit more menacing.

The only person who doubts Flora’s convenient miscarriage is Nightengale – which is unfortunate because he’s also the only one who actually cares about her as a person and not as a tool or bait and now that one person who cares about her is equally invested in condemning her actions. She does strike back firmly at the idea that the baby could have been just like her – because she’s not sure if being aborted wouldn’t have been better for her than the life she lived, which goes some way to deflating his outrage.

Of course, Marlotte doesn’t care seeing both Nightengale and Flora as disposable tools (at least he seems to see Pritty the same way – though Pritty is a grave robbing criminal) so is happy to use Flora as bait despite all the risks to her.

What is interesting is how even Nightenagle, in his caring for Flora, is still looking down on her. He’s eager to protect them but doesn’t overly listen to what she actually has to say.

After much action, following, fighting, struggling, Nightengale being a bit too good for this world and Marlotte happily shooting people because he certainly isn’t too good for this world, they manage to arrest Billie and a criminal family known as the Bishops

Yet, not all is well. Sure they’re murderers, and they’ve certainly being murdering people to sell to the surgeons… but they all adamantly deny murdering kids even though they’re all going to hang anyway. While Billie may know more, I’m pretty sure the Bishop murderer certainly isn’t

Of course he’s stopped a murderer ring, that’s good right? Yeaaaah not for Sir Peel. See, he’s not trying to stop murders because murder bad. He’s trying to stop the medical profession being slandered so he can pass his let’s cut up the bodies of poor people act. Exposing a murder ring of people who are actually killing people to provide cadavers with the tacit knowledge and support of the surgeons is… not achieving that goal. He wants a cover up, not an exposure.


Marlotte insists Nightengale stays with flora – who is comatose – so when she wakes up he can question her. Nightengale agrees – bitterly clearly angered by Marlotte not actually caring about Flora’s well being or health.

And to make everything worse – Boz has gone around asking questions and finally found out about the Frankenstein corpse and is now reporting it in the newspapers. Oops. This is also not a cover up. Sir Peel is Not. Amused.

This episode was a very nice plot focused episode – and it’s about damn time. Along the way Marlotte has a few more hallucinations. We also get the idea that his wife committed suicide after his baby was died from his syphilis just to really screw up that angst. He’s also getting treatment from Lord Harvey for his syphilis (thank you time travelling cures!)

And we get the first hints of actual supernatural – Mary Shelley goes off to the countryside to a house full of people who are also not fans of hers. It seems pretty universal. She goes into an old lab of some mysterious “James” who she wanted to honour in her books – and we see a table with straps on it. Yes it looks like someone has tried to create Frankenstein.