Previously on Penny Dreadful: Vanessa realised she was being stalked by Dracula and needed to outwit him, not realising that she was actually dating him; Ethan got to take a horrifying walk through family history; and Dorian and Lily began gathering an army of angry prostitutes.
We pick up just where we left off, with Talbot cocking his gun at Ethan. Ethan still refuses to repent for what he did. Before his dad can shoot, however, one of the men comes in and tells him someone’s there to see Talbot. Timing!
Talbot, Hecate, Malcolm and Ethan all gather in the foyer, where Rusk and the Marshal are waiting to place them all under arrest.
In London, Sweet asks Renfield for news. Renfield tells him that all of Vanessa’s protectors have abandoned her, which is good news, but the bad news is she knows Dracula’s name. Sweet doesn’t seem all that disturbed, figuring this means Vanessa will come to them soon. Renfield literally begs for some scraps and Sweet reassures Renfield that he’s Dracula’s chosen one. He sends him to feed on a fresh corpse that’s hanging up and Renfield eagerly does so.
Vanessa goes to see Lyle and notes that he seems to be packing up. He tells her he’s going to Egypt for a while—possibly a long while, because the Egyptians are a bit more accepting of Lyle’s ‘way of life’. If that’s true, times definitely have changed in that part of the world. It makes me sad to think that Lyle might be off the show, and apparently it does the same with Vanessa. She wishes him well, but before she goes she asks if he knows anyone else with expertise similar to his own. He writes down a name and urges her to take care of herself. They embrace warmly, and really sweetly, and she whispers to him that she will dance more often. Aww.
Victor and Jekyll create some drug that will be used to subdue Lily. Jekyll reassures Victor this could take down an elephant, so they should be good.
Justine and Lily have gone out and done some recruiting, and the ladies they’ve found make their way uncertainly to Dorian’s grand front door.
They’re brought inside so Lily can give them a demo on the many ways to cut a man’s throat. She uses Dorian as a guinea pig, though she doesn’t actually cut his throat, of course. He seems to be getting off just on the danger, and the power she currently has over him. She tells them they need to be quick and vicious. She goes on to tell them that they’re strong women who will not be degraded, and for that the world will condemn them.
Lily asks for a volunteer and Justine hops up and takes the knife. She gets a little too into it, though, and actually starts digging the end of the knife into Dorian’s neck, drawing blood. He warns her that she’s pushing her luck and she asks Lily if she’d like to see him drown in his own blood. Lily points out that would leave the others with no one to practice on, so Justine backs down.
Cal does a rather foolish thing and goes down to see and speak with his son while the boy’s mother is out. The poor child is in a very, very bad way, breathing with a rasping, whistling noise. He’s a little out of it, so he recognises his father’s voice but doesn’t entirely take in his appearance and thinks he’s some sort of angel ministering to him. Cal tells him he’s not an angel, but he is going to see that his boy gets the help he needs. He cradles the boy as he coughs and chokes and whimpers. As he sets him down on the pillow, the boy fully wakes up and starts to freak out at the sight of Cal. Cal flees as the boy screams. Outside, he sinks to his knees and begins to sob.
Vanessa goes to see a fencing match. Whoever choreographed this is kind of awesome. The combatant to our left wins by elbowing the opponent in the face, disorienting him long enough for Lefty to win. Righty’s not happy about that and calls Lefty a cheat, promising to have Lefty struck off the league. Lefty takes off the mask and reveals she’s a woman: Catriona Hartdigan, and therefore not on the league tables, because, you know, girls can’t fight or belong to things. Vanessa grins, watching her tell her opponent that she wasn’t cheating, she was just using her resources to ensure a victory, which is kind of the point.
Vanessa goes to see her in the dressing room and tells her that Lyle pointed her in Catriona’s direction. Cat, it turns out, studies death, and when she tells Vanessa that, she’s surprised Vanessa doesn’t panic and get lost, like most people do. Vanessa’s like, ‘yeah, it’ll take more than that to send me running.’
They go to have a drink together and Vanessa asks what she knows about Dracula. Catriona knows the legend of an ancient creature who was believed to be a vampire and went around provoking massive bloodbath wars. She goes on to say that he’s eternally youthful and changes his identity and guise as the centuries pass. Vanessa tells Catriona that she believes she’s being hunted by him, that he wants her to submit to him. She invites Catriona to help her out in her attempts to destroy him and Catriona agrees to look more deeply into the history. She also urges Vanessa to look out for herself and surround herself with people who will defend her. Vanessa tells her that they’re all gone, but there is one person she may be able to turn to.
Victor goes to Dorian’s and decides the best way to go about this is to pick the lock and stroll right through the front door. Oh, Victor. May I just say: you are terribly misnamed.
Inside, the prostitutes are all sitting around the ballroom watching Justine and Lily dance a sexy tango. Dorian tries to cut in, but Lily tells him he can have the next one. He pouts, stops the music, and clears the room. Once they’re alone, he tells Lily he thinks Justine is getting a bit above herself. He thinks that he and Lily are equals, being immortals, but the others are beneath them. Lily tells him that Justine has the very heart and the anger and hate of who Lily was. Basically, she gets Lily, and they have a deep connection rooted in their shared traumatic pasts. Dorian can never really understand that. He reluctantly accepts that she’s committed to Justine and the other women. They embrace tenderly, and then Justine and the others come in with Victor held at knifepoint. Oh, Victor.
Vanessa goes to see Seward, and the two relax by the fire with drinks and cigarettes. Vanessa admits she hadn’t realised how much she needed Malcolm and Ethan: her new family. Seward tells her that, once, she thought she needed her husband, but he was a bastard and she killed him for beating and trying to kill her, and she’s learned not to rely on anyone since then. Vanessa’s not so sure she’s willing to go it alone just yet. Seward urges her to go after that handsome doctor from the museum, then, but Vanessa thinks it’s too dangerous to entangle him in all this. Seward tells her she needs to trust people, and let them make decisions for themselves.
Lily laughs at Victor’s utter ineptitude, but then things get pretty sinister as Justine gleefully asks if she can go ahead and cut his throat. Dorian, a little alarmed, tells her no, so she asks mummy’s permission. Lily tells her not yet. Victor tells them he intended to heal Lily. She says she’s not ill. He says he has a serum that can take away all her anger and rage and make her whole and human, unblemished by sadness. She says her sadness is her own, and she’s happy to own it. He offers to make her who she was but she points out that wouldn’t really be a kindness, because that was all a show. She wasn’t happy—only he was. Justine gets ready to kill him, simply for the sin of being a man, but Dorian desperately says it’s senseless to kill him. The other ladies look on calmly. Dorian appeals to Lily, who thinks long and hard, then tells Justine to let him go. She’s a bit sentimental about him, and besides, they may need his unique services someday. She warns him, however, to just move on already, because if she sees him lurking around again, he will die, at Lily’s hand.
Dorian sees him out and reminds Victor that Victor’s now in his debt and Dorian will call that debt in someday.
At the Talbot ranch, everyone sits down to dinner, which is pretty awkward. Rusk is pretty much the only one who seems at ease. Before they can dig in to those massive steaks, though, Talbot orders Ethan to say grace. Malcolm quickly jumps in and offers to do it, but Talbot won’t hear of it. Malcolm quietly begs Talbot not to do this, not to bait his son and torture him with guilt, because it’ll only end in misery and heartbreak.
Talbot tells Malcolm that Ethan murdered his own brother and sister, which is a bit of an exaggeration, and also news to Malcolm. Rusk asks for details and Talbot says he did it like a coward, not face-to-face, sending others to do his dirty work. Hecate, meanwhile, whispers to Ethan to just give the word, and she’ll do her thing. Ethan snaps at his father to shut up, then starts saying the Lord’s Prayer, but, as you can imagine, not the traditional telling. It’s the Lord’s Prayer inverted, basically. Hecate’s delighted. They start digging into their steaks.
Talbot notes that the Marshal is staring at him and asks what his problem is. The Marshal responds that the men Talbot had murdered on the train were his men, and there’ll be a reckoning for that. Talbot shrugs, ‘fair enough,’ and then shoots him dead right there at the table. I think Malcolm’s really starting to regret having cut his time in Africa short now.
Vanessa goes to the museum and finds Sweet working on an exhibit. She tells him that, if they’re to continue, he has to know how dangerous it is to be with her. She tells him she’s being hunted by a creature that wants to feed on her blood and make her his bride and bring terror to everyone she loves. He asks the creature’s name and she tells him it’s Dracula. She knows it sounds crazy but asks if he believes her. He does, because he knows that creatures which feed on blood exist in the real world. He doesn’t think they’re monsters, though, they’re just following their true natures. She asks if he’s really expecting her to feel sympathy for something hunting her. He says he feels sympathy for any shunned creature, but none for any that mean her harm. He assures her he stands at her side. She uncomfortably says she’s heard that before, from a man who left. He knows what it’s like to be heartbroken and knows that every instinct is to protect yourself after that, but he promises never to leave her. They kiss and she admits that every relationship she’s ever had has ended in catastrophe. He’s willing to risk it, telling her he loves her. She practically swallows his face, and then they have sex on the museum floor. This is going to be super awkward once she realises who he is.
Dinner at the Talbot ranch continues, with the dead Marshal just lying on the floor. Malcolm and Rusk don’t seem to have appetites. Malcolm notes that it’s pretty ballsy to give the prisoners/guests knives but Talbot says he favours his odds. Rusk tells him he doesn’t know exactly what he’s facing. He knows that Hecate summoned those snakes in the desert and says that she and Ethan are more well schooled in the art of slaughter than Talbot realises. Ethan agrees, and when his dad asks for an explanation, Ethan offers to show him.
Hecate immediately shifts to her witch skin, and she, Ethan, Rusk and Malcolm make short work of the guards closest to them. Talbot flees, and while Malcolm’s grappling with one guard, Rusk goes to shoot Ethan. Hecate leaps onto the table, ready to spring on him. With the gun pointed at Ethan, Rusk warns her to stay still, then asks Ethan what he is. Hecate tells him that they’re the death knell, and the end of days. A guard about to shoot Malcolm is, himself, shot, and while Rusk is momentarily distracted, Hecate springs. He shoots her and is then shot by Ethan. Did we just lose both Rusk and Hecate? I’m actually surprised by that, only, what, midway through the season? I’m also sort of disappointed, they were somewhat interesting characters to me. And I expected Rusk to have a longer arc, considering how badass he is.
Turns out Malcolm’s saviour is none other than Kaetenay, who’s made such a miraculous recovery from that snakebite he clearly has to be some sort of supernatural being himself.
Ethan hurries to Hecate, who tells him that hell awaits them both, then dies. Umm, yay? See you soon, honey?
So, now it’s Ethan, Malcolm and Kaetenay versus Talbot and his remaining men, who have, of course, holed up in the chapel. Ethan knows exactly how his father will have men deployed around the chapel and directs Malcolm accordingly. Ethan and Malcolm arrive at the chapel door and stand there, facing Talbot at the other end for the room, and after a few tense moments Kaetenay blasts through one of the walls, taking out a guard, and the gunslingin’ begins. Men are shot and killed, pews are riddled with holes. Malcolm covers Ethan as he makes his way to the front of the chapel, disarms his father, and holds a pistol to his head. Talbot notes that Ethan truly is his son and urges him to go ahead and gun him down in the house of God, because isn’t that the man he is now? Ethan can’t do it. He lowers the pistol. Talbot then starts taunting him for running away as he’s always done. He promises to keep hunting Ethan down, even from beyond the grave.
We’ll just see about that, because now Malcolm steps forward and shoots Talbot in the head. Yeah, I was getting kind of tired of this guy being a dick too. What a crap host.