I love this show for how it handles being human. It’s honest, painful and beautiful while also giving hope to its audience. In a way it helps us accept suffering and see beauty in darkness. We feel less alone knowing our deepest fears are shared by others. That’s why Penny Dreadful’s a special show. It will continue to have a place in our hearts with its many moments, with every feeling the characters shared with us: their shame, guilt, loneliness, anything that makes them and us feel monstrous. When Vanessa tells Victor he can be loved she’s also speaking to us. When Ferdinand Lyle is threatened and afraid to be who he is in a society which would reject him, we all know know how afraid he is. When Malcolm fights for his life even after all the people he’s lost, we learn from him. When Ethan runs away from home to give himself a chance for another life, he gives us hope. When Caliban thinks of himself as an ugly monster and yearns for love, we see ourselves in him and all the ways we think we are unlovable. When Lily is angry at the world for taking her whole life from her, we find solace in her struggle. When Dorian says he would rather feel ordinary than alone he becomes more human than he could ever be. When Victor feels so lonely he makes undead friends in his basement, we watch him like we’re watching a child misbehave. When we witness Vanessa hoping for happiness, we want to reach into the screen to give her that life because we know she deserves it no matter what she’s done in the past. Maybe that means something bigger for us.
All these moments when the characters show who they really are, they move us. We hope for their happiness, we want them to be accepted and loved. We wait to hear the next words that will bring them relief. We keep watching to see how they will save themselves because all those things we can’t speak out loud are the things Penny Dreadful whispers or sings or screams in our place. As long as we find ourselves in these characters, the show makes its point: We’re all monsters. Beautiful, ugly, human monsters looking for love and acceptance. This is our story.
So the journey has been shorter than most of us have imagined or wanted it to be, let’s see if the finale was as beautiful as the rest of the show.
Previously on Penny Dreadful:
Remember Vanessa let Dracula bite her and told him she accepted herself? That means the darkness will take over the world now.
Let’s see how that goes.
The episode begins with a lady singing this haunting lullably.
When I was young and scared of the world my mother would sing me a song
A tune that I keep in a sacred place because I know that my life won’t be long
It tells of the place where you go when your time here on earth is through
A beautiful place we call heaven, is it true please God I pray that it’s true
‘Cause once this land was heaven on earth, green hills were all you could see
But now it’s soot and steel and brick, so it looks more like hell to me
And each day brings more and more suffering
And each night is silence and fear
And I wake to the sound of your voice but you’re not here
Why aren’t you here?
So now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Please let me die before I wake
So the Lord my soul, can take
Then maybe I’ll finally find you
‘Midst the beauty of paradise
And you’ll sing not of dying but living
Wouldn’t that be nice?
Wouldn’t that be nice?
Then we see Caliban’s son die.
We saw it coming but it was still sad.
Later cute vampire kid spoke to our Sweet Dracula.
She feels something’s upsetting Dracula.
He just wants some affection but Vanessa doesn’t feel the same.
Ethan confronts Kaetenay.
He tells Ethan there’s a reason for the curse.
Later Dr. Seward gets Renfield to tell them where Vanessa is.
Lily comes home.
It’s sad because this is the second child Lily found dead.
Dorian tells her this is what immortality is all about, you stay the same when everyone dies.
Honestly, this guy.
In the meantime, Henry’s upset with Victor because he let Lily go.
Henry tells Victor he finally has the respect and the title he deserves because his father’s dead.
Good for him, I guess.
Victor sees Malcolm.
In the meantime John tries to console his wife.
She wants him to take their son to Victor so he can be revived, telling John not to come back otherwise. *sigh*
The gang finally gets together to save Vanessa.
Sure you can!
Catriona’s the only one who’s been trained to kill beasts but okay.
Ethan totally escapes the situation and finds Vanessa.
She’s dressed in all white for him but it’s a bit too much eye makeup.
You might expect her to fight him or something but this is what happens:
She asks him a favor.
Exactly. Three seasons of struggle and hope.
The hell, is correct. Actually, I’d be like “Excuse you, I think you’ve been hanging out with these pasty losers for too long. Please chill.”
*waves at John Logan*
Tell her, Ethan.
What? Are you accepting her suggestion, Ethan?
This is getting uncomfortable.
WHAT? And more importantly (let me use my Mindy Lahiri voice here as I ask) how dare you?
Vanessa: This is what I am. And this is what I’ve done. Brought this terrible darkness to the world.
Ethan: Vanessa. Please. Vanessa.
Vanessa: And where is she? When did we lose her, Ethan? She was standing in a quiet room, gazing up at a cross. She reached out, took it from the wall and put it in the fire. And then she was lost. And so alone.
Ethan: You are not alone. You never were. I have stood at the very edge. I have looked into the abyss. If I’d taken one more step, I would have fallen. But no matter how far I ran away from God, he was still waiting ahead.
Vanessa: Not for me.
Ethan: For us all.
Vanessa: My battle must end. You know that. Or there will never be peace on Earth. Let it end.
Ethan: Don’t ask it.
Vanessa: I don’t have to. You know you have a destiny. It’s why we first met. It’s why you’re here now. You must help me defeat the forces of darkness and deny them their prize for all time.
Then they kiss and pray together and boom, she’s dead.
Let me get this logic first, so Vanessa rejected God and accepted herself as Amunet, letting Dracula bite her. Then the darkness came as promised and Vanessa regretted accepting herself because her nature is what it is. She’s the mother of evil. So there was never any hope for her. She was tired of fighting and she gave in. Then, she let Ethan kill her because it’s his destiny.
Okay. ( said she but didn’t mean it.)
In the meantime, the worst husband/father of evil was busy not killing Malcolm. Honestly, why would you conveniently waste time not killing someone when there’s a werewolf trying to “save” your wifey?
You’re surprised? Imagine us.
Maybe, just maybe this was the wrong choice, Ethan.
But then, some kind of confirmation came from up above.
Seriously? I wish the sky kept being dark and Dracula was like “All you had to do was kill me, doofus.”
But suddenly the gang’s back home, having a sad chat by the fire.
Yes, she was the best.
Victor leaves, showing Malcolm some support.
Ethan and Victor hug and it’s great to see their bond.
Ethan goes to Vanessa’s room. Seeing her empty room is devastating.
Malcolm joins him, saying he’ll have to figure out who he is after Vanessa. Yup, no more storylines.
The funeral goes like:
What’s the rush? I think it’s partly the guilt caused by her death but still, John got more quality time with her than them.
Hear, hear, John. (Not you, Logan.)
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,The earth, and every common sight,To me did seemApparelled in celestial light,The glory and the freshness of a dream.It is not now as it hath been of yore”Turn wheresoe’er I may,By night or day.The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
”But there’s a Tree, of many, one,A single field which I have looked upon,Both of them speak of something that is gone;The Pansy at my feetDoth the same tale repeat:Whither is fled the visionary gleam?Where is it now, the glory and the dream?