WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Episode 3, “Wicked Old World.”
The Vega family has been at the heart of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll be in for a happy ending. After their patriarch was killed years ago by the demonic Magda (Natalie Dormer) to show her sister, Santa Muerte (Lorenza Izzo), what true power was, evil forces are once again plaguing them.
Maria (Adriana Barraza), keeps praying to Santa Muerte after the deity seemingly marked her cop son, Tiago (Daniel Zovatto), in that incident but since then, he’s had to shoot his brother, Raul (Adam Rodriguez), in the line of duty. Now, courtesy of “Wicked Old World,” things have taken an even more sinister turn as part of some supernatural game.
Tiago shot Raul to ensure his brother wouldn’t kill his partner, Lewis (Nathan Lane). Cop-killer just isn’t a good look for the family, especially as there’s a race war happening with white supremacists leading the charge. Raul had a bullet lodged in his brain and has since been in a coma, only to come out at the end of the last episode. His mom kept praying and in the shadows of the LA hospital, he suddenly arose, shocking her like a ghost in the night. He didn’t seem human, though, with zombie-like eyes and a facial expression that left fans wondering if he was possessed.
This episode confirms Raul’s healed, although there isn’t a reunion between him and Tiago. Instead, the younger brother Mateo (Johnathan Nieves) reveals what happened to Raul, which causes a disagreement. Mateo’s pissed off and wants to kill Tiago, but Raul talks sense into him, revealing how he understands his choice. He says Tiago’s caught in between a rock and a hard place and that Mateo can’t let that upset the plan which is to protect their home from white land developers. Many believe these words are genuine but it could be that Magda brought Raul back and is now using him as a puppet. That’s because sowing this discord here seems to push Mateo into visiting the Pachuco gang.
Mateo was saved by one of the gang’s leaders, Fly Rico (Sebastian Chacon), from racist cops at the hospital and an invitation was extended to join. Seeing as he thinks Raul’s gone soft and Tiago’s disloyal, Mateo embraces the gang and parties with them all night long. It culminates in a zoot suit riot when the same cops try to shut the party down. However, the riot was instigated by another Pachuco leader, Rio, who’s actually Magda in disguise. It further plays into the theory she’s manipulating the entire Vega family, probably to get back at Santa Muerte.
It’s not the smartest move by Mateo, admittedly, because the cops already don’t like his family and will be marking them even more. On top of that, he’s intoxicated with Rio and ends the episode by taking the gang’s iconic tattoo, meaning the only way out is in a box. Between this and the possibility Raul’s not even human anymore, Tiago is in for a lot of heartbreak. Most of all, Maria is poised to feel a deep sense of betrayal because Santa Muerte has stopped speaking to her, either out of fear of Magda or because she doesn’t want to play a part in the upcoming war of souls. It’s unfortunate because Maria is such a devout follower and all she gets is her sons being used as pawns.
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 takes another sinister turn with Tiago's loved ones as Santa Muerte continues to ignore the plight of the Vega family.