‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels‘ is a spin-off to the popular supernatural television series, ‘Penny Dreadful‘ that offers a less-seen view into the history of Los Angeles: one which has nothing to do with Hollywood. Like its parent show, ‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels’ incorporates a healthy dose of supernatural elements. These combine with various historically true events to tell a compelling murder mystery story.
The first episode of ‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels’ sets up the premise of the entire series by depicting the protagonist, Tiago’s first day as an LAPD detective during which a Caucasian family is murdered, and their faces painted white with red smile scars. Tiago’s brother protests the construction of the Arroyo-Seco Parkway as it would result in the demolition of their community. Tiago is forced to shoot him when he starts shooting police officers under a supernatural being, Magda’s influence.
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Episode 2 Recap:
The second episode of ‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels’ begins right after the events of the first episode. Raul is in the hospital with Maria praying for him. Tiago accompanies Lewis to the hospital even though the latter advises him to stay away from the police officers. One of the police officers spits at Tiago on the way in. Lewis tells his superior that he does not know who shot him in order to save Raul and Tiago.
When Tiago visits Raul, Mateo tells him that he won’t be a part of the Vega family if Raul dies. Lewis and Tiago’s superior, Vanderhoff, urges the detective duo to close the Hazlet case even if they cannot solve it. He does not want the city to descend into chaos and wants them to frame a Mexican for the murder if they can’t find the real killer. Since Hazlet was a choir regular, Lewis and Tiago head to the radio evangelist, Sister Molly’s church, to investigate. Lewis distracts Sister Molly’s mother, Miss Adelaide, so that Tiago can investigate. Tiago gets charmed when he watches Sister Molly’s performance.
Meanwhile, Magda and her “son” are at the beach and meet Dr. Craft there. Magda continues to try and seduce Dr. Craft there while she makes her “son” play with Dr. Craft’s sons. Later, Dr. Craft imagines having sex with Magda. In reality, he is having sex with his wife. Magda’s other alter ego convinces Townsend to use the death of four police officers as leverage to continue work on the Arroyo-Seco Parkway.
Tiago goes back to the church to talk to Sister Molly. The two have a rather long conversation and seem to hit it off even though she slips up slightly while talking about the Hazlet case. She tells him that her mother pushed her into radio evangelism. Their conversation is cut short when Sister Molly’s mother interrupts them, asking Tiago to speak to her daughter through their lawyer. In the hospital, Mateo gets bullied by several police officers. One of them threatens to take his eye out because one of the officers got shot in the eye. Luckily, a Pachuco named Fly Rico calmly threatens the officers with a switchblade and saves Mateo. He invites the youngest Vega boy to a club.
Then, the episode introduces viewers to a few of Lewis’ colleagues who apparently assist him in tracking down Nazis in the United States. Lewis and Dottie follow a Cal Tech student to a place with explosive materials. Two of Lewis’ colleagues follow Goss and his henchman, Kurt. Kurt stops his car and shoots the two officers. Maria prays to Santa Muerte. The deity does get summoned, but Maria does not see her. Instead, she finds Raul having disappeared from his bed when she opens her eyes. When she walks around the hospital room to find him, he suddenly appears in front of her, looking menacing.
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Episode 2 Review:
While the first episode of ‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels’ manages to present its premise compellingly, the second episode makes the storyline seem extremely muddled. It is almost as if there is too much happening, with nothing too exciting in particular. The protagonist, Tiago, spends most of the episode talking to Sister Molly. While the two certainly have chemistry, their conversation turns out to be too elongated. Moreover, it is tough to convincingly understand why Tiago would get mesmerized by her at such a time when she is a suspect.
Apart from a single jumpscare towards the ending, there is not much supernatural going on in the second episode. This is the reason the episode feels confused. The mystery element of the Hazlet case does not seem to be intriguing enough yet. The Nazi threat feels incredibly cliched and not particularly dystopian. Meanwhile, the supernatural elements lack horror. Moreover, viewers would also find themselves not empathizing with the characters, unlike the first episode. All of these combine to strip ‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels’ of the promise the show displays in the opening episode.