Penny Dreadful: City of Angels season 1, episode 9 recap – “Sing, Sing, Sing”

June 22, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 1
TV, TV Recaps


“Sing, Sing, Sing” brings the entire Vega family together to work through their differences, but a dark tragedy is never far away.

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“Sing, Sing, Sing” brings the entire Vega family together to work through their differences, but a dark tragedy is never far away.

This recap of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels season 1, episode 9, “Sing, Sing, Sing”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels episode 9 opens right after the shootout that capped off the previous episode, with Tiago and Lewis in a pool of shattered glass wondering who might have reason to unload Tommy guns on them. There are plenty of candidates, in part because of how needlessly complex this narrative has become, but Lewis is pretty confident that the Nazis are to blame. I mean, why not, at this point?

“Sing, Sing, Sing” finds Townsend in a bit of a funk — “I’m a fat, hateful man, and nobody will ever love me, ever.” Indeed! And all throughout this rant, he keeps spewing racial epithets, so it isn’t much of a surprise really, is it? Alex is there for him all the same, giving him the nudge he needs to keep going.

Speaking of funks, Craft is in one too, and it takes Elsa to bring him out of his with the suggestion of a trip to the movies. Magda’s puppets aren’t toeing the line as they’re supposed to, and she’s having to work double-time just to keep them going, but she still finds time to torment Maria and make ominous veiled threats.

Lewis’s first move post-shooting is to go and see Goss at a swanky exclusive bar, accusing him outright of trying to kill him and laying his own pistol out on the table so he can do the job himself. Lewis lays out that he knows what Goss is up to, but Goss counters that he knows he has Brian hidden — sooner or later, he’ll find him and get whatever’s in his head. This is made a much more credible threat when Goss starts laying out lots of deeply personal information about Lewis, including that he’s going to be a grandfather again — “Congratulations,” he smugly says.

Things are going smoother for Tiago, at least, who’s taking a romantic stroll along the beach with Molly and explaining how he’s due a citation for “solving” the Hazlett murders. Molly is sick of keeping their relationship on the down-low and wants to just have fun for one night. Typically of Tiago, who never seems to make smart decisions ever, he knows just the place.

Townsend, on Alex’s advice, goes to see his father, and it’s immediately obvious why he has ended up the way he has. Dad’s nakedly awful, but Townsend needs his influence now more than ever. We get a very ungainly exposition dump here explaining how Townsend Senior made his fortune in controlling L.A.’s roads, but he now — rightly — believes that the future is in aviation, hence why the company, “can’t spend too much worrying about your little road.” He also calls his son a “fat ugly queer,” and considers him weak. And he never backs a losing horse.

Did you think your relationship with your father was strained? I hope you feel better about it now.

Next on Lewis’s agenda is Benny Berman — nice to see him again. Lewis needs his help, but Benny wants him to shake on the fact that if he makes him a friend, it’s going to be for life. And we know what that means when it comes to gangsters. Either way, Lewis shakes, and Benny is “all ears.”

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels episode 9 finds Raul feeling as though he has some kind of purpose, but can’t quite put his finger on what it is. Maria wants him to take her out, in part to give him something to do, but mainly because she spends all day in a “cursed” house with a “German witch”, so she deserves it. This is difficult to argue with.

As Lewis is handed the responsibility of supervising the transfer of Diego, “Sing, Sing, Sing” heads to the Crimson Cat, where Raul has taken Maria. She immediately starts throwing out some shapes, and they’re happy to run into Josefina. Before long, Mateo has arrived with Fly Rico and Rio, but Maria isn’t pleased to see any of them, for obvious reasons. Neither is Raul, for that matter. Mateo makes a strong case for having found his pride, though, which compels a tearful Maria to “be his mama, just for one night,” at his request.

It’s a shame to leave the Crimson Cat, but we do briefly, to check in on Brian and Dottie — the former is apparently “working on something else now. Something much bigger.” Outside, Kurt looms with a silenced pistol. It’s time to move the kid, as Benny arrives to chaperone, so Kurt is left out in the cold. Close call.

In heaving L.A. traffic, Peter and Elsa are taking the kids for movie night. The car is barely moving so Peter tells the kids a story of his first time seeing “the world”; Penny Dreadful: City of Angels season 1, episode 9 even deploys melancholy music for this sad tale. Tiago and Molly walk down the road in the opposite direction, and guess where they’re going? The Crimson Cat, of course, which despite the implausibility of the entire Vega family being present is nonetheless welcome since it’s so full of genuine energy and dance numbers. Molly wants to meet Maria, and it goes swimmingly at first until Maria recognizes her and goes berserk. Mateo, Raul, and Josefina quickly get involved, and suddenly everyone’s at each other’s throats. It’s Tiago who eventually shuts everyone up by proudly declaring his love for Molly, and saying, in no uncertain terms, that they can like it or lump it. Somehow, this brings everyone around. It’s actually quite touching, if I’m being honest, even if the tone is admittedly all over the place and the sentimentality is laid on pretty thick. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a family make-up. Everyone gets up and dances, finally united.

As this is happening, we see Lewis get ambushed by the other cops and handcuffed to the truck, as Diego is pulled outside. As the Vegas dance the night away, the cops lynch Diego as Lewis looks helplessly on, all to the upbeat tune of dance music.

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1 thought on “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels season 1, episode 9 recap – “Sing, Sing, Sing”

  • September 14, 2020 at 12:21 am

    The scene in the nightclub with the whole family is beautifully written – it’s like a string quartet, even though it’s more than four voices obviously.

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