In the final episode, we’re treated to a vampire gunfight and some nonsensical storytelling.
Penny Dreadful ends its first season more as a lengthy prelude to Daddy Issues: A Novel than as a complete chapter in its own right. This season has struggled with balancing the individual backstories and narratives and the main ensemble narrative (reusing Mina). As a result, the season’s pacing has been wildly inconsistent, some of the mysteries seem largely forgotten (namely the Ripper murders that opened the season), and very little time has been spent searching for Mina. The season finale offers some closure, but suffers from many of the same pacing issues that have plagued the season as a whole.
The season finale offers some closure, but suffers from many of the same pacing issues that have plagued the season as a whole
Picking up where Possession left off, Malcolm and Vanessa discuss Mina’s likely whereabouts. Malcolm explicitly states that he’ll kill Mina himself if she cannot be saved and asks Vanessa to summon the others to the Grand Guignol after it closes that evening. Dorian comes calling for Vanessa now that she’s well again. He travelled to Italy because he couldn’t see her, as one does when the person they’re maybe dating is ill. Dorian doesn’t understand rejection and is adorably pathetic as Vanessa attempts to brush him off.
Malcom picks up a prototype gun for the big battle and runs into a woman who recognises him. He recognises the woman as Madame Kali even though she isn’t in her spiritualist drag. Her real name is Evelyn Paul (possibly the famed gothic artist, if they took liberties with the dates) and she and Malcolm flirt. She’ll be back next season (hopefully with Lyle). Back at the Murray residence, Vanessa confronts Malcolm and asks what he’s hiding from her. He admits that he would sacrifice her to save his daughter and that she’s invaluable until that happens. Apparently Vanessa was the only one who hadn’t realised this by now.
Caliban is mucking things up at the theatre and Maude comforts him after he’s humiliated by her boyfriend. She kisses him on the cheek and this can only end well. He puts on some ridiculous stage makeup and goes to visit her in her dressing room. He makes her uncomfortable and, after she realises he’s been watching her, she asks him to leave. He lives up to his namesake and assaults her. He’s fired from the theatre and goes to the only place he has left: Victor’s lab. While Caliban monologues about his hopeless existence, Victor pulls a gun on his back. Caliban asks to be killed and Victor picks the worst possible time to finally feel a bit of empathy for his first creation.
Victor helps Ethan take care of a body, which would seem unwise considering they literally met at a cadaver black market
Brona is still/finally dying (for real this time), so Ethan goes to get Victor to check on her (and is followed by two Pinkerton men in the process). While Ethan fetches water (which he doesn’t actually return with), Victor helps Brona along with a pillow and tells Ethan he’ll take care of the body, which would seem unwise considering they literally met at a cadaver black market. Ethan goes drinking to drown his grief and is confronted by the Pinkerton men his father sent to fetch him. A bar brawl ensues.
The gang meets at the theatre and it’s time for a vampire gunfight! Malcolm impales the master and the rest of the vampires collapse. Mina emerges from the shadows and, in an unsurprising twist, Mina is still happily a vampire and wants Vanessa for her master. Malcolm shoots Mina (which apparently kills them) to save Vanessa, who he realises is his surrogate daughter.
The season closes with the following character bits:
– Malcolm admits he was never going to go to Africa
– Victor and Caliban start work on Brona
– The Pinkerton men track down Ethan again but it’s a FULL MOON and he goes all Wolfman on them (which honestly didn’t seem all that different than the transformation on the new Beaty and the Beast).
– Vanessa goes to church to inquire about a more permanent form of exorcism. The Worst Priest Ever tells her that her possession makes her sacred, in a backhanded sense, and asks if she really wants to be normal.
– How will this impact Ethan and Victor’s bromance?
– How are they going to keep Dorian around? Will he picks things up with Ethan? Or start with Victor? His only connection to the ensemble is that he’s already bedded three of them…
– Will Sembene ever be developed as a character?
– Mina made it sound like her master (Dracula?) wants Vanessa to be his bride and sire generations. Is there an Amun-Ra connection? Everyone wants to make Vanessa a brood mare!
Read more: Don’t miss last week’s Penny Dreadful recap
All images: Showtime