Demimonde is the fourth episode of the first season of Showtime's Penny Dreadful and the fourth episode overall.


Vanessa's infatuation with Dorian Gray continues to grow. Professor Abraham Van Helsing is hired to work with Dr. Frankenstein. And Fenton draws his master to Sir Malcolm's mansion.


An orgy of people are writhing about in Dorian’s grand hall. Afterwards, Dorian goes through a secret passageway leading to his infamous portrait, the one which disfigures and ages as Dorian himself sins and remains young however we do not see it. Vanessa is seated outside a church when she meets a little girl named Lucy. Lucy makes a few keen and vaguely creepy observations on Vanessa wants to go into churches but won't (or can’t), Lucy tells Vanessa that her nanny is a "beast" and her dead mother isn't going to stay in the ground for long. Lucy is eventually called away. Vanessa spies Dorian nearby and trails him to a greenhouse, where their conversation is full of sexual innuendo. Vanessa mistakes deadly nightshade to be just a harmless and sensual flower, which fits in with the overlying theme of nothing being what it seems and everything having a dark and deadly side.

Victor Frankenstein consults with a hematologist named Professor Van Helsing, (vampire hunter of Dracula fame). Using a solution called Hannah’s Wink, he identifies the blood sample Victor gives him as having no coagulation, which would make it ideal for creatures who drink blood. The Professor goes on to say that Malcolm is looking for a cure for something he doesn't understand, but that Helsing knows intimately. Victor leaves the building when he notices his “monster,” Caliban, lurking outside. Caliban again threatens Victor if he doesn’t make a bride for him soon. Victor tests his blood transfusion theory out on Fenton, using Malcolm’s blood instead of Ethan’s because Ethan refuses to.

While they wait for Fenton to wake up, Malcolm and Victor discuss the recent mother-child murder case that has the police stumped. Ethan continues to make it really obvious something’s up with him when he reacts violently to their speculation that the murderer might be human. Vanessa arrives at the house just after an argument between Ethan and Victor ends in Malcolm asking Ethan to go on a trip with him to Africa. Ethan then leaves to met with Brona. When Fenton wakes, it becomes apparent the treatment did not work, Malcolm and Victor are too busy to notice Fenton is escaping. Later, as Malcolm and Victor continue to research a cure for Fenton’s blood-eating, Malcolm confesses that he lost a son in Africa, and he only invited Ethan for protection, not because he cares about him. "Mr. Chandler means nothing to me, he’s a finger on a trigger. You are not." They eventually notice something’s amiss when there are sounds coming from Vanessa’s room upstairs. Investigating gets them attacked by Fenton and a horrifying looking vampire but they manage to fight Fenton off, killing him in the process. Possible-Dracula escapes. When Vanessa returns home, Malcolm tells her the creature was after her, and that Mina might possibly be manipulating them.

Brona opens up to Ethan about her past and how she had been engaged to an abusive man before she ran away and became a prostitute. Ethan comforts her, then asks Brona out on an official date to the theater. The date goes swimmingly at first; Brona shows childlike enchantment over the play, which is called “The Transformed Beast,” being performed by Maud. During intermission, the pair run into Vanessa and Dorian in the lobby who were gazing at each other from across the room earlier. Remembering her encounter with Dorian, Brona feels out of place amongst Ethan’s upper class friends, leaving the theater and telling Ethan to leave her alone unless he pays her for sex. She ends up collapsing on the street and coughing up blood after running away. Ethan’s left on the street staring dejectedly after Brona. Dorian meets up with Ethan and decides to leave Vanessa at the theater. When he laments to Dorian about wishing he was someone else, Dorian whisks him away to a gambling ring where dogs maul and devour rats, of all things. Ethan is overwhelmed by the sight of animals ripping other animals apart and people around him enjoying it all, and ends up in a bar fight. Dorian takes Ethan home, offers him absinthe and music, and watches as Ethan falls apart remembering – among other things – Brona’s recent rejection, the string of recent murders, the wolves at the zoo, and waking up with claw marks pressed in his palm. Ethan strides up and angrily grabs Dorian’s throat, which then turns into angrily kissing Dorian, which then becomes oddly tender kissing of Dorian.



Guest StarringEdit


  • Robert Nairne as Master Vampire
  • Gavin Fowler as Simon
  • Hayley Canhan as Lucy
  • George Hanover as Nanny
  • Martin Phillips as Stage Manager
  • Stephen Bradley as Gentleman
  • Frank Prendergast as Other Gentleman
  • Sandra Huzuneanu as Beautiful Woman (uncredited)
  • Bobby Aherne as Theatre Heckler (uncredited)
  • Peter Robbie as Gentleman (uncredited)






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