Just when I was starting to think that Jekyll and Hyde was never going to get going the way I wanted it to, failing to live up to last episode’s opening scenes, and disjointedly hobbling around like the unnatural Harbinger man-beast who deserves to be heavily sedated until science can fix his all-kinds-of-freaky, “The Calyx” delivers a thumping adventure story. It plays out like a B-movie you might have found whilst channel flicking late at night and stayed up to watch the end of, even when you should really have known better. This week, it was totally worth it.
I should preface that by adding: unless you’re averse to seeing attempts at rope-bound human sacrifice, although it’s with an entirely petrified Utterson (Christian McKay), so maybe it’s not such a bad thing that he has found his Fay Wray place in the story. Oh, and the toad. The Seeing Toad. The toad that’s screwed into the eye cavity of an underling like a particularly difficult light bulb, except naturally, this slimy oculus grants some kind of mystical second sight. Of course, you don’t see this magical surgery, but you do see hear the screams and croaks and evil laughs. Something you do see though, is Captain Dance (Enzo Cilenti) turning a dead lackey into a Ventala. At one point, it’s all you can see (unless you close your eyes), as the camera’s in close up when the body gasps, gurgles, and jolts, with the face transmogrifying into something unnatural and terrifying and screaming straight into your face.
Also, now that the basic color-coded premise of how the Jekyll to Hyde transformation works is out of the way — the damp squib of Ceylon with it’s exotic fool’s gold promises of intrigue have been vanquished to the saffron-scented bins of history — and the MIO and Tenebrae are finally in a position to start courting and corralling the young doctor, the story offers what it should have done from the first episode: real motivation. Jekyll’s (Tom Bateman) journey to London was a means to an end; a thinly veiled metaphor for his own physical and mental shift, but now we know why Robert is the bull’s-eye of everyone’s attentions.
Opening with an inspired flashback of the Tenebrae Headquarters — which looks like a combination of the Modernist house atop Mount Rushmore from North by Northwest, and the Guggenheim Museum if it was operated by a shadowy sect with an Andy Warhol fetish uniform policy — the interior’s wooden walls, embedded with Greco-Roman figures, are witness to the handing over of an ancient clay calyx from a beguiling, silver-threaded priestess to a smirking Captain Dance…
The full 2,400 word version of this review is published at PopMatters.com, where you can read the rest of the article for free.