Penny Dreadful: Season 1, Episode 5

Closer Than Sisters (8 Jun. 2014)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Horror
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 939 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 10 critic

A flashback in the mysterious and dramatic life of Vanessa Ives reveals her bond with Mina Murray-Harker.



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Title: Closer Than Sisters (08 Jun 2014)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dorian Gray (credit only)
The Creature (credit only)
Brona Croft (credit only)
Dr. Victor Frankenstein (credit only)
Ethan Chandler (credit only)
Claire Ives
Graham Butler ...
Peter Murray
Frank McCusker ...
Dr. Christopher Banning
Lili Davies ...
Young Vanessa
Young Mina
Gladys Murray


Vanessa recalls her close friendship with Mina Harker. She remembers when Sir Malcolm returned from one of his many trips to Africa and regaled them with tales of cannibals and the like. One night after dinner while playing in the maze Vanessa saw her mother and Sir Malcolm making love. It was a changing point in her life. On the night before Mina's marriage to Captain Branson, she seduces him leading to a canceled wedding and the end of their friendship when Mina catches them in the act. Vanessa undergoes a lengthy period of madness and a horrific period in an insane asylum. An encounter with her enemy leads to the death of her mother and a visit from Mina - who desperately needs her help. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Horror


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Release Date:

8 June 2014 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Did You Know?


Anna Chancellor, who plays Vanessa's mother, had previously played Eva Green's mother in The Dreamers. See more »


Written by Abel Korzeniowski
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User Reviews

Brilliant display of acting, storytelling and overall direction; best episode of the season.

This episode was truly something else. I was enjoying "Penny Dreadful" very much even before watching this, and even thought "Seance" would stand as the season-high episode, but "Closer Than Sisters" takes it to a whole new level.

It's not easy to make a "flashback" episode, so choosing this to be one — more than that, to focus solely on a single character's past for it's entirety — was a bold move but that ultimately paid off.

If the screenplay was great, focusing on Vanessa and her complex personality and conflicts, I must say that a great part of this episode's success must be thanks to Eva Green's absolutely stunning performance. Giving life and depth to the character, she went through the most horrific, outright cruel and brutal moments (wich I won't spoil here for you) to the most tender and sad scenes. Everything was so raw, so natural that it seems she LIVED through those moments. This is an Emmy worth achievement and I'll be baffled if she isn't at least nominated.

The art direction on this episode also deserves mention. "Penny Dreadful" looks gorgeous and we all know it by now, but the landscapes, the long, haunting corridors and mansions and a particularly eerie maze... everything, the costumes, the atmosphere of dread, even when the characters were just talking — the feeling that something wrong was about to happen was palpable.

"Closer Than Sisters" reaches out for too much at some points, but it never seems gratuitous as everything is realized with such passion and commitment. To dive into Vanessa's back-story was a great move, as it fuels the season to new expectations and shines a light into the story. This is the best episode of the season for me and overall one of TV's best this season.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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