While I adore many of the Penny Dreadful characters, (actually that’s not true Vanessa Ives and Mr Lyle are QUEENS and Sembene and Jekyll were the best but everyone else on the show I kind of just love to hate – LOOKIN AT YOU HOUSE FRANKENSTEIN) there is however a special place in my heart for Mr. Ethan Chandler.
See, It didn’t start out well. I really didn’t like Mr Chandler he just seemed like another typical male anti hero, oh look he’s good with guns and is introduced having casual sex with a lady to prove how cool he is (I have nothing against promiscuity on TV btw, I just hate how media seems to glorify this bro-ish style sex in which you treat your partner more like an object or a game to win). I distinctly remember my friend texting me when she started the show “Who is this guy and why should I care about him”, wait and see I told her, because I knew what was in store (sure enough she became a convert).
It must have been a gradual process. Sure he got a little more interesting when we discovered he wasn’t the all american straight white hero we’d been lead to believe after a night of passion with Dorian.
And then again after he gave the world’s best reaction to the line “She’s been possessed by the devil”
Oh and then he turned out to be a werewolf if you hadn’t already figured that out by the season one final from the show’s INCREDIBLY SUBTLE FORESHADOWING.
But I can pinpoint the exact episode I realised my love for Mr Chandler, and that’s season 2, episode 4 : Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places. In this episode Ethan Chandler, the closest thing this series has to an action hero does the following:
- When Ethan Chandler suspects a woman is a spy sent by his father, he’s sure to point out how pleased he is the Pinkerton agency is finally hiring women while accusing her of being a spy
- He thinks an insult is telling her, her shoes aren’t sensible
- Voluntarily does the dishes (and flirts with Sembene while doing them SHUT UP THAT IS DEFINITELY WHAT HAPPENED)
- Is befuddled by the concept of a buttercream torte
*This is also the episode where Vanessa Ives and Dr Frankenstein go shopping for dresses this episode is the best
I’m not sure how Ethan Chandler went from cocky dude with guns to dancing around in a fabulous sweater but I’m glad he did. In retrospect this is peppered throughout the first season. This is the guy who lives in the victorian era and is totally cool dating a sex worker. Hell he initially gets involved in the ‘Nightwork‘ of the first episode because he wants to buy her medicine even though he literally just meet her.
In Penny Dreadful’s three short seasons (which was an outrage don’t tell me you PLANNED to end it you clearly did not) Ethan Chandler would go on to do such amazing things as flirt with Mr Lyle
and continues to react to supernatural themed news in the best way.
Godspeed Mr Chandler