Penny Dreadful Season Three: Ebb Tide – The Story So Far


So far in season three of “Penny Dreadful,” not only has Tennyson died but so do a whole slew of other, less  well known, folks. The story leading up to “Ebb Tide”  had Ethan Chandler  in America, a train full of dead people,  Kaetenay and Sir Malcolm teamed up to  save Ethan and Vanessa Ives facing her past demons and a new one, in the guise of Dracula.


Eva Green – Vanessa Ives

Timothy Dalton – Sir Malcolm Murray

Rory Kinnear – John Clare (Frankenstein’s monster(

Patty LuPone – Dr. Seward

Wes Studi – Kaetenay

Josh Hartnett – Ethan Chandler

Christian Camargo – Dr. Sweet (Dracula)

Billie Piper – Lily

Ethan gets away from his father’s men with the help of Hecate and the two escape into the desert.  Rusk joins forces with the US Marshall and the men to recapture Ethan.  Hecate  joins forces with Chandler and Vanessa meets with Dr. Sweet again.

Dr. Seward reluctantly hypnotizes Ives to learn more about her past and the name of her vampire stalker. We get a glimpse into the backstory of Frankenstein’s monster,  aka John Clare, who also had a connection with Ives before he became the “creature.”

Lily, Victor Frankenstein’s other reanimation project, turns into a very deadly suffragette  and her new league of “ladies” are all ready to take out any bloke they meet.  Ethan gets revenge against his father (played by Brian Cox) and Hecate (Sarah Greene), helps once more but  dies in the process. Sir Malcolm (who puts a bullet in Jared Talbot’s brain) and Kaetenay also help Ethan finish things up. 

Rusk dies.

Vanessa falls for Dr.Sweet, who is actually Dracula, although she enlists the help of another to help her  recognize the vampire when she meets him. She and the doctor have passionate sex in his office.

In “Ebb Tide” the story continues after Ethan finishes his family business, Kaetenay has a vision of Vanessa and the “End of Days.” His spiritual self visits Miss Ives and learns that she is half Dracula’s already and he warns that they must hurry in order to save her and the world.


The three men rush, via ship, to return to London in time to save Vanessa. Meanwhile Lily, who feels more empowered than ever before, leaves Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) bored, bemused and angry when she sends her ladies of the night out on a murderous rampage.  Gray colludes with Victor and she is taken back to Bedlam for treatment. 

John Clare is reunited with his family and Vanessa learns that Dracula, in his human form can be killed with a “bullet or a blade.”

Before the end credits roll, Vanessa gives her blood to Dracula and the air begins to change as she recites, in her head, the consequences of her surrender to the vampire.

One thing is certain in this series. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) comes across as the world’s biggest stalker and obsessed lover all rolled into one. Dr. Jekyll (Shazad Latif) is  Victor’s right-hand man and when Gray joins forces, it is clear that if Lily gets loose before treatment, all three men will be royally screwed…and not in a good way. 

Although Lily (Piper) may have to fight off Justine (Jessica Barden) to get at Gray.

“Penny Dreadful” is Victoriana horror  of the finest sort. There are a few things that the program makers have overlooked however. For one thing, the “depraved whores” (as Gray calls them) are far too clean and educated. Another issue is that Renfield, the original sycophant, eats far too few flies and spiders.

One gets the impression that Seward is doomed and it will be surprising if Jekyll, Frankenstein or Gray live much longer than another episode, or two.

Standout Moments:

That massive dining table with its pile of severed right hands.

The confrontation between Dorian and Justine.

The spirit visit between Kaetenay and Vanessa.

John Clare reuniting with his family.

Final Thoughts:

This is brilliant stuff.  It will be a long wait to see how the treatment goes with Lily and her three fellas.  Will Vanessa get help from her new ally Cat or will she stop things before it is too late. The suspense is almost too much.

“Penny Dreadful” airs Sundays on Showtime. Do not miss this one, no one does costume Victoriana  horror/drama like the British.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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