Night Work is the series premiere of Showtime's Penny Dreadful and the first episode of the series overall.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

London 1891. As the police investigate a series of gruesome murders, renowned explorer Sir Malcolm Murray and the strangely beautiful Vanessa Ives know there's something darker at play. In search of someone close to them who has been lost, they recruit American sharp-shooter Ethan Chandler and Dr. Victor Frankenstein to help them on their journey.

Plot[edit | edit source]

A mother is going to the bathroom in the middle of the night only to be ripped through a window, by an unseen creature. Her young daughter wakes up and leaves the bedroom only to find something horrific in the hall. Later we learn that the woman had been ripped to shreds and dismembered. Another young woman by the name Vanessa Ives is seen praying in Latin. She then looks to become possessed before the scene cuts away. Vanessa is next seen at a Wild West show featuring Ethan Chandler, an American showman who knows how to use a gun and woo the ladies. Vanessa finds Ethan at the bar and calls him on his ‘tall tales’ in the show. She is looking for someone not afraid of danger and who is good with a gun. She then makes some deductions about Chandler, that steer true, and out of curiosity of Vanessa, Chandler accepts the night work without knowing what it is. Vanessa and Chandler enter an opium den where they meet with Sir Malcolm Murray. Murray warns Chandler to not be amazed by anything he sees and to not hesitate to use his weapons.

They enter a basement in search of someone who was taken from Murray. He confronts a vampire while Vanessa follows the cries of a girl further into the darkness. Chandler joins the fray by shooting the attacking vampires. They do not find the girl they are looking for, but they do find a creature that seems to be transfixed by Vanessa, before being stabbed from behind by Murray. The events angrily confuse Ethan, and who is invited to Murray's home to collect his pay tomorrow, before Ethan leaves them. The rest of them take the creature’s corpse to the resurrection men. They meet an originally unwilling man who is engaged in research and does not wish to help with the necropsy. Once he sees the corpse, however, he becomes very interested. Under the corpse’s skin is a hard shell etched with Egyptian symbols. Chandler visits Sir Malcolm’s home the following day. Vanessa tells him about the demi-monde, a half world between what they know and what they fear, a place in the shadows rarely seen but deeply felt. Vanessa tries to warn Chandler off, but he is curious about the situation. Vanessa tells him about Sir Malcolm’s daughter being kidnapped by a creature but refuses to talk about her involvement. She is incredibly mysterious and speaks of curses. Before he leaves, she asks him to pick a tarot card. He flips the lovers. She makes no comment but you get the feeling this pleased her immensely.

Sir Malcolm and Vanessa visit an Egyptologist, Ferdinand Lyle, to inquire about the hieroglyphics on the creature. He looks at the first image and says that it means blood curse. When he looks at the second image he stops and stalls. He invites Vanessa and Sir Malcolm to a dinner party at his house. Before they leave he tells them the writing is from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Sir Malcolm invites the young man, who did the necropsy for him, to the Explorer’s Club. We don’t know his name at this point and that becomes very relevant later. The man seems fixated on studying the boundary between life and death. Sir Malcolm is focused on finding a cure and asks the man to join him because he wasn’t afraid. Sir Malcolm returns home and the setting is quite eerie. The lights begin to flicker and the sounds of a crying girl fill the room. Malcolm calls out for Mina. She is in the room crying one second and the next she is screeching, causing the lights to flick and explode.

Malcolm is shaken and talks about the incident with Vanessa. They are unsure why Mina would show herself like she did. Vanessa says it is all her fault because of her transgression. Vanessa goes to pray on the matter, but her cross flips upside down and spiders fill the wall. The young doctor returns to his flat where it seems he has been keeping a secret. In his secret lab the doctor has been experimenting with electricity and reanimation. The power surges and Victor successfully achieves his goal to reanimate a man. The monster and Victor are then seen standing in the lamp-light and Victor introducing himself as Victor Frankenstein.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Starring[edit | edit source]

Guest Starring[edit | edit source]

Co-Starring[edit | edit source]

  • Aoife Byrne as Mother
  • Karla Lyons as 7 Year Old Girl
  • Owen Roe as Colonel Brewster
  • Alison McGirr as Beautiful Young Woman
  • Fady Elsayed as Lead Familiar
  • Robert Nairne as Master Vampire
  • Pat McGrath as Mortuary Boss
  • Mary Murray as Woman #1
  • Helen Norton as Woman #2
  • Alvaro Lucchesi as Police Photographer
  • Dylan McDonough as Constable
  • Gary Fox as Felix
  • Darragh O'Connor as Audience member (uncredited)
  • Graeme Redmond as Nobleman (uncredited)
  • David Walsh as Poor Boy (uncredited)
  • Olivia Fahy as Cowgirl (uncredited)
  • Peter Robbie as Gentleman (uncredited)

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Arc Significance[edit | edit source]

  • The hunt for Mina begins.
  • Part of Vanessa's true nature is teased when the Vampire backs away from her after she confronts it, this also foreshadows both Mina's and Dracula's plans for her.
  • Victor's second creation awakens.
  • Mr. Lyle makes his first appearance in this episode. Though somewhat standoffish to Malcolm here, he will become a trusted ally of the main group and a main character in Season 2.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Images[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

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