It was always safe to assume that Penny Dreadful was going to end on one hell of a downer and the series did not disappoint. When the end finally came, after Showtime slapped the last two episodes together for the grand finale, it was a crescendo of depression all around. The characters, the viewers and the storyline all bypassed melancholia completely.
Eva Green as Vanessa Ives looked one step from dead this season; signposting that things were not going to end well for her and they did not.
The last two episodes, “Perpetual Night” and and “The Blessed Dark” both took place back in London. Chandler, Sir Malcolm and Kataenay all arrive at the docks to find them swarming with rats. Heading to the mansion they find Vanessa gone and the building full of vampires.
There is a desperate fight and things look pretty bad for the trio until Catriona Hartdegen (Perdita Weeks) wielding a pistol and a knife. After the battle, she cauterizes the bite on Sir Malcolm’s neck and introduces herself to Ethan.
Cat tells the men of the killing fog and the darkness. She also explains that finding Vanessa is high on her list of priorities as well.
Chandler goes to find Victor Frankenstein, to treat Sir Malcolm, and at the lab, the doctor (Harry Treadaway) interacts with Lily (Billie Piper) and it does not go well. John Clare (Rory Kinnear) enjoys his family while his son is dying. The youngster coughs up great gouts of blood and soon dies.
Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) tells all the prostitutes to leave as Lily is gone. Justine (Jessica Barden) shoves a knife in Dorian’s chest with no effect. The women all leave in a panic except for the tiny prostitute. She refuses to return to the old life of “being on her knees” and Gray breaks her neck.
Ethan goes to Victor’s flat and a little boy vampire tells offers to lead him to the doctor. Malcolm and Catriona do a little verbal sparring. Dr. Seward arrives and joins the “Save Vanessa Ives Party.”
Lily reveals the death of her baby and this sad tale prompts Frankenstein to release the object of his desire.Ethan is lead into a trap. Dracula speaks with Chandler (repeated the “creatures of the night” line) and the lead vampire threatens Ethan with death.
Dr. Seward takes Malcolm and Cat to question Renfield (Samuel Barnett) and later Seward “regresses” her former secretary to learn where Vanessa is being held.
Vampires surround Ethan and he battles the ever increasing horde. Morphing into a werewolf Chandler begins killing the things. Kaetenay arrives and changing into a werewolf also helps his “son” wreak havoc on the fanged creatures.
In “The Blessed Dark: the Penny Dreadful gang are reunited after Chandler and Kaetenay defeat the vampires. The boy vampire reports to Dracula on the two men’s victory over the vampires he opts to wait on their arrival.
Ethan learns from Kaetenay that the old Apache made him a werewolf and after a short and bitter argument, Chandler accepts his fate and swears to save Vanessa. Seward walks with Renfield in his mind and Lily returns to Dorian to find Justine dead and the prostitutes gone.
Lily learns from Gray that immortality means loneliness and a lack of passion. She leaves. Victor and Jekyll have words and the Bedlam doctor tells Victor that his father has died and he is now Lord Hyde.
Frankenstein joins forces with Malcolm, Seward and Cat to save Vanessa.
After John Clare’s son dies, he is horrified to learn that his wife wants to have the boy resurrected by Dr. Frankenstein.
Sir Malcolm, Seward, Chandler, Frankenstein, Hartdegen and Kaetenay converge on the slaughter house. Ethan and Kaetenay enter via another entrance and the rest find a room full of rats and eviscerated corpses hanging from the ceiling. The group find Dracula and are surrounded by vampires.
Asking Dracula about his daughter Mina, Sir Malcolm learns she was only a pawn. He tells the rest of the group that they should leave and they refuse. Telling his colleagues that he would proudly die alongside of them, Sir Malcolm starts the battle.
In the sewers, Ethan and Kaetenay fight their way to the main group. The two parties join and they clear the room of vampires. Dracula begins battling the rescuers. Chandler breaks away and finds Vanessa. The two talk and she explains that it is too late.
Ethan fulfills the prophecy and saves Vanessa by killing her. Dracula, sensing Vanessa’s death, flees. The fog departs and the sky clears, the “end of days” has finished. John Clare buries his son in the sea and then goes to visit Vanessa’s grave.
Penny Dreadful delivered a splendid, if ultimately depressing, end to its three season run. A far ranging tale that included so many icons in the world of classic horror. The British specialize in this type of costumed horror. (Anyone who doubts this should look at old Hammer films as proof of their expertise.)
The final fights were brilliantly choreographed and quickly paced. Short and impressive, these were the highlight of the last show in the season. Ultimately however it was heart breaking that Vanessa Ives had to die. (Although Eva Green must have been relieved to get out of that corpse-like makeup.)
Showtime have wrapped up Penny Dreadful with a funereal tone that feels spot on for the story and its characters. If you have not seen the finale, stop reading this and head over right now to see the end of this fantastic three season run.
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