Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Recap/Review: Penny Dreadful's 3x08 & 3x09: Perpetual Night & The Blessed Dark

It's a double bill series finale and it's a singular review as I look into the final two episodes of the show ever.

Written by John Logan
Directed by Damon Thomas and Paco Cabezas

The End: The last two episodes of this season and the show in general has always been the battle for Vanessa's soul but oddly enough for this series finale, the character only appears in two scenes altogether. The first scene where it looked like she completely embraced her darkness and succumbed totally to Dracula while the second one was more emotionally charged. It was a scene where Vanessa and Ethan were reunited after a season apart from each other, only for Ethan to kill Vanessa in order to 'save' her. I can see why many fans were disappointed by this and while I kind of was too, this show was never going to end in Vanessa remaining alive. I wish it had but kudos to both Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in those moments as Vanessa's storyline came to as dramatic end as it had begun. I did have a little tear during her burial scene, especially as Caliban watched from afar. One of the most compelling heroines on television. It's been a pleasure knowing you, little Scorpion.

The Count Lives On: Another extraordinary thing about this episode was that Dracula actually survived the whole thing. Aside from making London into a ghost town and baiting both Ethan and Malcolm over Vanessa and Mina, we actually saw a lot less of Dracula than expected. He had only one scene with Vanessa and when he realised that Ethan had killed her, he just left, which makes him an ongoing problem than we'll never see taken care of. This of course is something of a theme within the last two episodes as a series of not resolved plotlines linger about.

To Lose Yourself Or Die: Last time we left her, Lily was stuck in Bedlam and about to conditioned into being the perfect woman for Victor. Of course, seeing as no-one wanted this to actually happen, Lily was able to get Victor to change his mind but it took some doing. Actually it took telling Victor about her infant daughter dying while she was out whoring one night for him to feel for Lily and ultimately change his mind, which actually enraged Henry more than it should've done Dorian. Speaking of Henry, his father finally died and now he's Lord Hyde but that's it really. On the other hand, Dorian kicked out Lily's feminist allies, killed Justine (after breaking her spirit) but then got somewhat dumped by Lily who decided to make her own way after all.

We Merry Few: While there was a lot of unresolved stuff in these last two episodes, I did like seeing people coming together to save Vanessa. Seeing Dr Seward outwit Renfield (the least intimidating would be vampire ever) and then banding together with Malcolm and Catriona was absolutely glorious. It was even more glorious when she literally said 'Fuck him' about Dracula while Catriona played off Malcolm extremely well and certainly knew how to handle Renfield as well while both Malcolm and Ethan later bonded some more over their loss of Vanessa while Victor stepped in to help the gang once more during their confrontation with Dracula. I'm really going to miss this band of misfits.

History Not Repeating Itself: Breaking up the bigger plots of the last two episodes, it seems that John Clare's hope for a happy family came to a miserable end. His son unfortunately died and his wife made it abundantly clear not to return unless Caliban got Victor to bring back their son from the dead. Caliban on the other hand, did the wiser thing by not turning to Victor but instead laying his son to rest in the waters instead. While the other plots were more commanding, this was a nice enough subplot and I did feel bad for Caliban both here and when he hid from afar to mourn Vanessa as well.

Oh and did everyone notice the new title sequence for the second hour of this double bill series finale along with 'The End' title card. Goodbye show, it's been an interesting three seasons.

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