'Penny Dreadful: City of Angels': Race war expected in Season 2 as Tiago and Peter Craft succumb to darkness
The season ended on an uneasy note after creator John Logan lined up the chess pieces for a confrontation and a shock death. So what can we expect from Season 2 of the series?
Killing off a main character in the season finale is unprecedented. But it is exactly the last big move needed for creator John Logan to line up the chess pieces for the race war that will explode in season 2. After Sister Molly (Kerry Bishe) kills herself, both her mother, Miss Adelaide (Amy Madigan), and Tiago (Daniel Zovatto), are far more ruthless versions of themselves given that the love that Molly represented in their lives is gone.
Tiago is succumbing to the darkness, consumed by the hatred of those who made it impossible for him and Molly to be together. And this dark side of him will mean that he will stop being quiet and passive when faced with racism in season 2. Miss Adelaide, on the other hand, will probably use Molly's death to incite violence in her memory.
The last scene of the finale is the homes and shops in Tiago's Chicano neighborhood, Belvedere Heights, being razed to make way for the Arroyo-Seco highway -- the first freeway built in the United States. The scene is inspired by the very real history of Los Angeles that bulldozed through marginalized neighborhoods to build its roads.
As Tiago watches with his neighbors and family, he tells Lewis (Nathan Lane) that "they" are not building roads but walls to segregate or destroy the communities of the "Mexicans, the coloreds, the Jews, the Chinese". The "they" of course refers to the rich and racist Councilman Townsend (Michael Gladis) with ambitions to be the mayor with a little help from his Nazi friends.
Miss Adelaide is there too, her eyes cold with fury about her daughter's death. But there is a smile on her lips as she sees Tiago's neighborhood being pulled down, showing that she is glad that Tiago is paying the price for capturing Molly's attention and love. She will probably go after Tiago personally in season 2 with Richard Goss's (Thomas Kretschmann) help. Goss will support her wholeheartedly because Tiago is now siding with Lewis and Benny (Brad Garett), the Jewish gangster, in their fight against the Nazis.
Season 2 will also connect the race war between Mexican-Americans and Anglo-Americans in LA to the bigger race war brewing in Europe against Jews. By using the race riot in the streets of Los Angeles, Magda has already managed to sway Peter Craft (Rory Kinnear) from his vow to eschew his Krupp family's legacy of building war weapons for the Fatherland. But after violence finds his family, thanks to a little deft maneuvering by Magda, he has decided to pick up his family's legacy again. If Peter embraces his Krupp origins, he will get pulled into the orbit of Richard Goss, Hitler's man in LA.
One of the storylines this season had Goss's men murdering the Jewish gangster Benny's gang members to steal a smuggled consignment of guns and weapons. If he has Peter supplying his weapons directly, he will be a far more dangerous foe in season 2. We also had Lewis ally with gangster Benny in his fight against the Nazis. But Benny being on the wrong side of the law might mean trouble in season 2. If Councilman Townsend does become the mayor, he will have influence and clout in the police department. Enough clout to get them to go after Benny in season 2, in which case Tiago and Lewis will be forced to act against him.
It has been a delight to see Natalie Dormer's Magda in season 1 and hopefully when season 2 returns, we'll see a lot more of her and her sister Sante Muerte -- in short all the supernatural elements on the show, which was in short supply in season 1.
The 'Penny Dreadful: City of Angels' Season 1 finale aired on Showtime on June 28.