Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Frankenstein Chronicles: Season 2, Episode 6: Bride of Frankenstein

Marlott is captured and chained up and Esther is dead in the process of becoming not dead. Dippel is being super creepy with Esther. Harvey is being super creepy with Marlott. Everyone’s trying to out creepy everyone else and they’re all going for gold

Esther is resurrected - but that whole weird creepy beach vision which I thought was Marlott’s hallucination? Well it turns out like all the surreal moody visions, they’re actually real. This beach seems to represent… limbo? Maybe? ANyway this is why our not-entirely-dead people keep going there (because the land is life and the sea is death so the beach is sort of in between. Nice metaphor. Also points for moodiness. And making sure there are no seagulls. I feel seagulls would ruin this). And Esther, on her way back from death, is in the sea and drowning… until Marlott wades in and pulls her out

Which is nice but why does Esther need a helping hand back to the land of the living?

This also gives Marlot chance to tell Harvey what a terrible person he is killing his wife - he protests he didn’t but Marlot claims she set the fire that killed her because it was the only way to escape him. Because, yes, those creepy visions were real and were her ghost

While Dippel embraces Marlot as a sibling because they’re both not!dead people. He’s also passionate in his belief there is no god, this allows you to do anything but also is why he doesn’t want to die because it’s the end of everything. This from a man who literally sees a vision of life death and limbo AND sees ghosts. At least point being rather certain that there’s no afterlife seems… not the workings of a rational mind. “There is no afterlife now I’m going to lure this woman into following me into eternal life with the ghost of her son!”

I feel the writers may need a slap upside the head from an atheist

Harvey and Dippel are also working together - Harvey is really impressed with Dippel’s dad’s work - Dippel is really impressed that Harvey can replicate it but they both kind of need each other: Dippel is holding on to the formula for the catalyst while Dippel seems to be running out of the stuff and possibly unable to recreate it without Harvey’s genius.

But I’m getting ahead of myself - because while, as I said last episode, everyone on team bad guy knows each other and is working together, they’re all also all sharpening their knives for more quality back stabbing than a Tory Party conference.

The Dean is duly concerned that the current king is days away from dropping dead and Prince William the heir is Not a Fan and all those pesky murders. So when Renquist turns to him asking if the Dean will protect him the Dean happily says “god will protect you”. Which is religious talk for “you’re screwed”.

Renquist responds to this by going to Boz the journalist and exposing the Dean as the murderer trying to make lots of money out of Pyre Street. He also orders the Parish Watch to arrest Dippel for the murders just so he can have a scapegoat

Queenie, Dippel’s maid, does some of her own sleuthing in Dippel’s murder rooms and finds Nightingale’s keepsake. A token mothers left with their babies at the foundling home where she and Nightingale grew up so, if matters changed, the mother could prove which child was there’s by describing this unique token. She has proof Nightingale was there and takes it to the Inspector, threatening to take it to the Parish watch if he won’t act

Yes that’s the watch and the police after Dippel now.

Which is why, with Esther newly awakened and screaming, the police arrive. Dippel and Harvey promptly turn on each other, fighting over Dippel’s dad’s catalyst and the formula: Harvey breaks the bottle which leaves Dippel distraught and all but licking it from the floor. This is why I think Dippel is incapable of recreating it - which is why he needs Hervey, I guess.

I wonder if Esther and Marlott will need that catalyst as well?

Dippel escapes and Harvey is dragged into custody because he’s in a room full of body parts. All the preserved human hearts they’ve been cutting out and other disturbing things makes Lord Harvey look awwwwfullly guilty.

Marlott appeals to Dippel to take him because there’s no way rich guy Dippel can navigate the rookeries and not get caught by the police and the watch (and the watch are following the Inspector’s lead - so that’s another conflict resolved). He does help them evade capture.

They shelter in a church and Dippel starts to talk about why Esther is his and why he needs her (basically, lonely immortal is lonely) until Esther gets really annoyed by all this and clubs him with a metal bar

Esther is her own woman, she belongs to no-one and she is not going to have Dippel referring to her as property. That leaves Marlot and her free to make their own escape. That escape involves revisiting her home looking for the ghost of Sam her child. Marlott makes a bitter realisation - yes they can see ghosts but for some perverse reason they can’t see the ghosts of their own family: hence why he can’t see his wife and child and while he can see Sam, Esther cannot. Ouch

Esther and Matlott go on with the theological debate and nature of god which has been rumbling throughout this series: she realises how much she had been living in her grief, how she’d come to almost haunt her own home and even theorises she trapped Sam as a ghost because of her inability to let him go and move on. She wants to make a new beginning and when Marlott continues to lament the loss of god but her fresh start includes god: She’s not going to let any rules, god man or otherwise, define her. Including the memory of the dead

Surprisingly she and Marlott go their separate ways - she joins Mrs. Wild’s caravan but Marlott has some epic questing and moping to do. She’s still followed by the ghost of her son and they do plan to meet again. Esther has definitely had a transformation - next season she’s going to be much more interesting than Marlot. Marlott is a box of angst and woe, while she has completely transformed who she is and what she’s doing.

As for all the bad guys - well Lord Harvey’s nasty experimenting books have been found along with all the bodies. Also he’s started rambling about Marlott being still alive. Sir Pool visits him to say how this is most unfortunate that all the serial killing plus the seeing dead man makes him sort of delusional. But hey, he’s booked a very nice room in Bethlem for him.

While the Dean of Westminster isn’t super doomed, old King George finally drops dead and his brother Prince William becomes king William. And literally the first thing he does upon becoming king is look at all these personally enriching royal warrants ol’Georgy had been giving him and assure the Dean they will be Talking About This. At length. So the Dean is about to find things awkward. He starts tying up loose ends - which means Renquist gets repeatedly stabbed. Bye Renquist

His own revenge against the Dean doesn’t go so well - sure Boz writes a damning story - but his editor refuses to print it. Causing Boz to quit and take his work elsewhere. At least with Harvey now pegged as the murderer, the Irish giant member of Mrs. Wild’s group is released. In extra threads left dangling - Dippel is still alive

It’s interesting how this season ended - by both finishing everything off (the series could end here and still be finished satisfactorily) but still leaving enough hooks and potential expansions for the show to continue. And I think there are definite hooks for that - the ongoing story of Merlott and especially Esther, the opening of the world to possibly bringing in more obscure myths and legends - even Mrs. Wild’s travelling caravan all have plots galore. We know Harvey has managed to secrete a little of the catalyst. That gives us the scope for at least 4 characters to actually extend their lives enough to be present in any era from them

What frustrates me is that part of the reason why these series has so much potential to go on is because it’s so damn short but also because it drops hooks and intriguing characters both historical and otherwise without actually doing anything. Like Mary Shelley and Ada Byron - these iconic, fascinating women do little more than a bit part. And this definitely applies to the POC as well - I mean, points for including POC when so many historical dramas rather ahistorically assume an all White Regency England - but Nightingale had so much potential as a character and to be involved in the plot rather than being a… not even a quasi antagonist since that would involve him being more involved. Or Mrs. Wild - why introduce this fascinating character with her unique opinions and potential and then so underuse her.

The whole show feels… curtailed. Like they had a full series worth of plot and then were forced to cut vast chunks of it to squeeze it into a 6 episode miniseries. Which in turn makes me less appreciative of the epic atmospheric and thematic style of the show. Which is truly excellent - the feel of the show, the acting, the cinematography all create a really excellent eerie, bleak atmosphere which really works with all the considerations about god and where they stand and life and death et al. Which would be lovely. In a 12 or 20 episode season. In 6 episodes there’s no room for this!