I’ve seen things in “The Fortune of War”; things that are now seared into my retinas and playing with my optic nerves like a string accompaniment at a baroque ball. Or, more accurately, like cacophonous bells at my own rain-sodden funeral, with myself being buried alive, scratching at the coffin lid from underneath; because the gothic images on display in this week’s The Frankenstein Chronicles are what you get when you stare into the darkness and the expelled afterbirth of humanity oozes back at you.
As I’ve said before, the show unsettles through period atmosphere and character intrigue, but there are at least two scenes in this week’s episode that were visually affecting to the point of staying with me well beyond what I would call a comfortable amount of time. I applaud the show for pushing itself further into disturbing gothic territory.
Retrospectively, it actually feels like the first half of the season was almost a leisurely preamble, a tasting plate of sorts, designed to attune the viewer to the grim baseline reality of bleak Georgian life, before plunging deeper and further into the sewers, both hands out, and squelching sludge (or what you hope is sludge) in your fists.
The episode literally opens with a journey into the fetid tunnels of London, which ended with me being mildly traumatized and astounded by how, in what could have easily been a throwaway scene, brilliantly the scene was handled. The underbelly’s metallic oxidized-green patina is hauntingly infused with the flickering orange hue of Marlott’s (Sean Bean) lamp. There are rats, and there are shadows, and there’s a stench, which belongs to the leather-masked criminals that emanate from the waste, putting a knife to the adventurer’s throat, and demanding immediate satisfaction…
The full 2,200 word version of this review is published at PopMatters.com, where you can read the rest of the article for free.