WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Episode 3, “Wicked Old World.”
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels has certainly provided fans of the franchise with a demigod of a villain. The demon known as Magda (Natalie Dormer) is wreaking havoc in 1938 Los Angeles, manipulating white supremacists into a race war with minorities, all to help the Nazis own the country.
She’s shape-shifting into many different characters to act as puppet master to key figures in her plan, and in the latest episode, “Wicked Old World,” she makes a surprising play by revealing one of her other personas is on the other side of the fence — a Mexican revolutionist named Rio.
Magda’s quite diabolical, playing an aide to a councilman by the name of Agnes, as well as the German housewife called Elsa. These characters are stirring up Nazi pride, with the former getting Hitler’s Third Reich much-needed roadway contracts and people that grant them political power. As for Magda, the dark lord herself is seen in snippets, with this episode showing her losing control when the Nazis don’t take kindly to her latest political shenanigans. She walks down the street clad in black, blowing up shops and their windows as she passes. Little does the audience know it’s all a setup for her anarchist persona.
When Tiago’s brother, Mateo, arrives to meet the Pachuco gang, he’s riled up. He hates the racist cops and with Fly Rico guiding him, a zoot suit party ensues. Mateo’s offered women, drinks and drugs, and he’s loving the non-stop jam. There, he meets Rio who it’s clear he’s smitten with as he hears her ideas as a social justice warrior. But it’s business first, and for the Pachucos, that means the dance floor. Still, when the witch is around, it’s easy to tell bad things will happen, and the cops quickly arrive to enforce a curfew.
Rio confronts them and throws the first blow, leading to a full-scale riot. She, Mateo and Fly Rico escape, though, and eventually they talk about that rebellion. Rico wants to lay low but Rio, thanks to her Seville blood, wants them to embrace their inner-Mexican warriors and rally all Pachuco thugs to make true change. This is their destiny according to Rio, as she’s pretending to be tired of all the discrimination and oppression. Her rousing speech convinces Rico on the cause and Mateo’s also wowed, so much so he takes the gang’s iconic tattoo to seal his indoctrination.
He’s looking at them like family because he doesn’t see a future with his poverty-stricken mom, Maria, who keeps praying to Santa Muerte, Magda’s sister. He also hates Tiago for putting their other brother, Raul, in hospital, but here, he feels like he’s accepted with these lost souls. Mateo now has an outlet to vent and after a taste of violence, he wants more blood. He believes it’ll toughen him up as the whites want to destroy his neighborhood. With Agnes’ leading a hate campaign, gaslighting LA against Mexicans, Mateo just isn’t prepared to back down. Rio also hints she has bigger plans and secret weapons so this is all part of her forming an army for the greater war. She’s pulling all their strings and when the dust settles, the Nazis will have a clear path to victory on the domestic front. All fans need to know now is why Magda picked Hitler’s side and who else she’ll use to achieve her goals.
Created, written and executive produced by John Logan, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels stars Daniel Zovatto, Natalie Dormer, Nathan Lane, Jessica Garza, Kerry Bishé, Ethan Peck, Adriana Barraza, Michael Gladis, Dominic Sherwood and Johnathan Nieves, as well as Piper Perabo, Amy Madigan, Brent Spiner, Lorenza Izzo, Lin Shaye and Adam Rodriguez in recurring roles. The series airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels introduced a deadly and very demonic anarchist who joins the race war involving Mexicans and Nazis.