Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 4 “Demimonde” begins with Dorian Gray at a big sex party orgy with both women and men. Once the party is over, Dorian Gray enters a secret room in his mansion where a large painting lives. He sits and stares at The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Vanessa Ives and Dorian Grey run into each other at a botanical greenhouse garden. Their meeting is very sexually charged and flirtatious. They speak of what the flowers say to them, and Vanessa describes a particular flower as saying lovely, inviting words to her. Dorian then tells her that same flower is the poisonous and deadly nightshade. This could be a reference to how Vanessa is naturally drawn to darkness, or how darkness is drawn to Vanessa.
Meanwhile, Dr Victor Frankenstein brings the blood sample of the vampire corpse to hematologist Van Helsing. Van Helsing says that a property in the blood prevents coagulation, which then assists with hematophagy, or the eating of blood. It is clear that Van Helsing is “intimately” familiar with Sir Malcolm’s quest to find the cure to this vampire disease.
Caliban, Victor’s first subject, is waiting for him outside Van Helsing’s home. He is adamant in his wish for Victor to create him a bride. Caliban threatens Dr Victor Frankenstein and warns him about what will happen to his frail body if he does not follow through.
Ethan and Brona’s relationship continues to escalate in Penny Dreadful episode 4. As they lay in bed together, Brona tells Ethan of her past abusive relationship and how she had to run away from the marriage. Ethan is obviously falling for her, and wishes only to make her happy. So he brings her to the theater on a date that evening.
Victor and Malcolm have a vampire monster held hostage in the basement so that they can experiment on his body. Fenton, he hostage, keeps screaming and hissing frantically asking, “Where is Vanessa? I want my mother!” Victor wants to begin with a blood transfusion in attempts to cure Fenton, but when Ethan is asked to donate his blood he says, “That’s not a good idea – trust me”. It is left unclear what Ethan meant be this, but Sir Malcolm Murray offers to use his own blood before any questions can be answered. It is becoming more and more likely that Ethan Chandler might be a werewolf, which could be the reason why he does not want to give his blood. It could also explain his frantic reaction to Victor and Malcolm’s discussion about the reoccurring killings, burning the newspaper and yelling, “Christ you’re both morbid fucks!” Maybe the werewolves are involved with the murders.
Vanessa arrives at the scene, and Fenton awakes from his sleep. When he sees Vanessa he screams, “I need blood, you fucking devil whore!” Apparently the transfusion did not cure Fenton, so they feed him a cat.
Everyone is at the theater that night – Ethan, Brona, Vanessa, and Dorian. During intermission they all run into each other. Brona is very uncomfortable being there with both Ethan and Dorian. She runs out of the theater, crying that she and Ethan are kidding themselves with all this romance. She ends their romance by saying that they will no longer have sex until after Ethan has paid. Brona then has a coughing attack and passes out in the street.
Ethan leaves with Dorian Grey, who brings him to a place where they make bets on how many rats a dog can kill. Ethan does not respond well to the situation and ends up in a fight with some of the people there. Dorian brings Ethan back to his mansion to clean him up after his fight. They drink absinthe together and end up making out and taking each other’s clothes off.
Meanwhile, Fenton’s master arrives and frees him from the basement. The master goes to Vanessa’s room but she is not there. Victor and Sir Malcolm hear a noise, and go to Vanessa’s room to investigate. The master jumps out of the window after looking at the cross on Vanessa’s wall. Fenton attacks Sir Malcolm, but it does not end well for Fenton. Fenton dies as he is thrown against a broken window, uttering his last word, “Mother?”