'Penny Dreadful: City of Angels' Episode 9 Review: The Vega family finds their way back home
Lewis Michener hits rock bottom in LA while a chance meeting brings the Vega family back together for the first time in a while
Spoilers for 'Penny Dreadful: City of Angels' Season 1, Episode 9 'Sing, Sing, Sing'
Magda (Natalie Dormer) has been spreading herself rather thin, splitting her focus among four entirely separate entities living full-time lives in an attempt to manipulate the city of Los Angeles towards war. She has embedded herself among all of LA's major factions, but the one foil in her path is a family that has managed to embed themselves just as deep into the city's many hearts. After a long time apart, the Vega family finally comes together — and it might just signal the end of Madga's plans.
While this is most definitely the Vega family episode, there are far too many storylines for the show to focus on just them entirely. The Nazis are closing in on Brian Koenig (Kyle McArthur) and doing all they can to intimidate Lewis Michener (Nathan Lane) in the meantime. Lewis has a tense confrontation with Richard Goss (Thomas Kretschmann) that, at the time, seems like Goss has Lewis well and truly cowed — but as Lewis himself says, he's a roach, and he's going to keep popping up no matter what.
Lewis is an uncomplicated hero in a very complicated city, and that city pushes Lewis to his limits this episode. First through intimidation, then through moral compromise with a return to Benny Burman's allyship (Brad Garrett), and finally through the heartbreaking and shocking lynching of Diego Lopez (Adan Rocha) - LA might have finally broken Lewis.
The Vega family, however, is stronger than ever. The episode gets to have some real fun as the family gathers together for a night of dancing, coalescing out of sheer coincidence. Seeing the Vegas come together as a family makes it clear that the show should have featured more of the family right from the start. They argue like a family does, but come together in the way that family does as well. It's becoming easier to understand just why Magda had the Vega family in her sights; the Vegas are a remarkably well connected family, who can be a force for real change once they manage to put their differences aside.
The scene in the swing club is one of the few moments of sheer fun that the series allows itself to have, taking full advantage of the setting to deliver a hall full of dancers in their 1930s best. The extravagance of the scene is just two steps away from becoming a full-blown musical, and with all the darkness and bleakness that permeates the series, it's a breath of fresh air to be able to just have some fun.
It is a drastic tonal shift, however, one that's not entirely consistent with the rest of the show. The bleakness isn't far behind, and the new episode will likely be a return to the show's status quo. For now, however, the Vega family gets a long-overdue moment of happiness, though their unification is sure to incur Madga's rage. The next episode of 'Penny Dreadful: City of Angels' airs on June 28 on Showtime.