Previously on Penny Dreadful: Vanessa got back together with Sweet and slept with him, which I think we can all agree isn’t going to end well. Malcolm killed Ethan’s father; Cal revealed himself to his son, which also didn’t go well; and Victor’s attempted kidnap of Lily went predictably wrong and almost got him killed by Justine, who’s getting a little crazy.
Cold open: Lily watches from a little distance as a woman buries her child. After the burial, she approaches the woman and expresses her condolences, adding that the day a good woman will have to watch her child starve and freeze will be over soon. The woman looks a little creeped out.
Lily goes on to lay some flowers on a nearby grave—that of another little girl named Sarah, who died within a year of her birth and was apparently Brona’s daughter, in her pre-Lily days.
Vanessa lies asleep on the floor of the museum. That’ll be awkward for any early-arriving employees. Renfield scuttles up to her, creepily sniffing her and running his tongue up her neck, which for some reason doesn’t wake her. He’s caught by Sweet, who lifts him by his neck and firmly shakes his head no. Renfield hurries away and Sweet wakes Vanessa, all cute-morning-after.
She returns home and finds Cal waiting at her front door. He tells her he’s in need of a friend, so she brings him inside and he tells her he’s worried his family won’t accept him, disfigured as he is. She kindly tells him she sees a loving man and that people are better than one thinks and he should give his family a chance here. She takes his hand and asks if he remembers their history together at the clinic. He does not, of course. She tells him that he used to work there, and he was very kind to her. That’s how she knows he deserves to be loved. He asks if she’s found something like happiness and she chuckles and admits happiness is something she’s not terribly familiar with, and she’s still trying to work it out. She says they should both work on that, because they’ve been unhappy long enough. He worries about rejection, but she points out they can hardly be much lonelier than they are. He considers it, and agrees to give it all a go.
New Mexico. Ethan, Kaetenay and Malcolm have stopped in some town. Ethan asks Kaetenay what he plans to do. He’ll accompany Ethan, knowing that a great battle is impending. Ethan says he’s done with fighting, but I don’t think that’s going to be a choice he gets to make. He wants to go back to London, put this bloody past behind him, and try to make things right with Vanessa. Kaetenay accuses Ethan of turning his back on his tribe but Ethan says he’s going towards his tribe—his new tribe, that is. Katenay tells him there’s a darkness coming, and Ethan will be needed to save them all.
Malcolm rejoins them and says he’s bought them all tickets to New York, and once they get there Kaetenay can decide what to do. Just then, Kaetenay starts having a vision of Ethan walking towards Malcolm’s house and embracing Vanessa, telling her he never should have left. She tells him it’s too late, as the vampires start bursting through the windows.
Kaetenay comes back to himself and tells Ethan, vaguely, what he saw: a woman with dark hair and pale skin in danger.
Dorian’s starting to look like he’s not really enjoying life in the Hen House, surrounded by chattering, drinking women. Lily rings a little bell to get all of their attention, stands on the table and tells them all about the Irish women’s ritual of keening and how the Catholic Church put a stop to it by having the women who led the practice hanged. And even on the gallows, they keened. She grabs a glass of champagne from Dorian’s hand and tells the ladies they need to have the strength of those women. It’s time for them to prove themselves: she sends them out to the dark streets and find her a bad man and bring her his right hand. The ladies start shouting excitedly, whipped into bloodlust, while Dorian looks on, suddenly not so sure this was such a great idea.
Cal goes to the factory quarter and finds his wife, coming home from work. He calls to her from the shadows (her name’s Marjorie) and she stares at him in complete shock. He steps into the light and she nearly bursts into tears. He says he’s returned to her and she throws her arms around him. Aww!
The two sit down together and he tells her everything that happened to him. Well, all that he remembers, anyway. And she accepts it, because she’s really trusting, apparently. She doesn’t care about how he looks now, she’s just happy to have him back. Cal admits he’s done cruel things and hurt those who didn’t deserve it, due to a strange rage he couldn’t control. He says he can’t be the man he was. She says he was lost and now he’s home. Man, she’s super understanding. Good for her.
At Dorian’s, there’s now a horrifying pile of men’s hands in the middle of the table and some of the ladies are chatting, some, like Justine, pawing each other. Dorian comes into the dining room and looks a little sickened. Justine asks him if he’ll dance, and when he demurs, she starts sneering at him for being so charming, but at some point charm won’t be enough for him. She adds that she’s what he wanted her to be: a killer. You can’t go back now. And how. He gets serious and says he can toss her out whenever he wants to, and honestly, none of her sadism shocks or particularly interests him. He grabs her by the throat and invites her to come and play with him, when she’s sharpened her claws.
He goes into the next room, where Lily’s comforting a woman who’s gotten really emotional. Lily explains that they need some girl time and sends Dorian on his way. He glances back into the dining room, realises he’s kind of alone here, and pouts a bit. He goes to head upstairs, but then thinks better of it, grabs his coat, and goes out.
Marjorie goes upstairs to try and smooth the way for Cal to see his son again. She warns the boy he needs to prepare for a shock, but something wonderful has happened and they’re all going to be VERY VERY happy. Cal slowly comes in and greets his son, who stares up at him, uncertain. Cal notes the boy’s building a model ship and kneels down to help with the rigging. Young Jack continues to stare at him, then glances at his mother, who smiles encouragingly. Jack starts to work on the rigging too, and Cal bursts into tears. The boy throws himself into his father’s arms and Cal hugs him and weeps.
Ethan and Co steam back towards London. At sea, Kaetenay smokes his pipe an asks Ethan to tell him about Vanessa while he tries to see more of the future. He begins to chant and sees himself walking towards Malcolm’s house, seeing Vanessa poring over books about Dracula, making notes. He appears before her in real time (I think) and tells her that he’s with her friends, Malcolm and Ethan, and that they’re coming to her. She tells him to hurry up, because He is very close. Kaetenay notes her research, which is all about death. He tells her she’s seriously magical and all the night creatures are gathering around her. He respects her for her power, and warns her not to be deceived by these creatures. He tells her she’s made for the day, not for the night. She says he’s wrong there, and her eyes suddenly glow red.
Kaetenay comes to on the ship and says that Vanessa is halfway His already. He tells Malcolm to go talk to the captain and do whatever he can to pour on the speed. He goes to lie down while Ethan cleans up the bones and stones and things Kaetenay uses in his ritual. They talk about Vanessa, and Kaetenay says he can see why Ethan loves her, but she’s a pretty dangerous creature.
Seward listens to Vanessa’s session tapes as Renfield steals up to the door, startling her. She totally breaks confidentiality and tells Renfield she’s pretty sure Vanessa’s a split personality, having manifested at least three people in one session. I’m guessing that’s a record. He asks, a little too eagerly, which people she manifested, and Seward seems to realise she shouldn’t be talking like this and tells him to go home. She also notes he’s kind of pale, and he jabbers oddly about how he’ll be just fine soon, just fine! And then he leaves.
Cat goes to see Vanessa and says she has some new information about their friend, the Dragon. Vanessa shows her the research she’s been working on but Cat says these are just myths and nonsense. She urges Vanessa to start with what she knows: he’s a fallen angel, assuming different identities over the years to protect himself, unnoticed until he strikes. And when that happens, it’ll basically be the End of Days.
Vanessa pours some drinks and wonders how she can defeat such a creature. Cat says he can be killed just like any human, when he’s in human form. When he’s not, though, it’s a different story. But that’ll be Vanessa’s problem. Vanessa asks how she’ll ever find him and Cat says he’s a strategist, so he’ll approach with stealth, and seduce her, rather than attacking. Cat goes on to say that, in his human form, Dracula is said to be unremarkable, is served by semi-human familiars, and dwells in the House of the Night Creatures. That last bit catches Vanessa’s attention and she starts to get an, ‘ooooh, shiiiiit,’ look on her face. She confirms that a blade or bullet will take him out in human form and Cat realises Vanessa knows who he is.
Lily and Dorian have apparently gotten a sitter and gone on a date. Dorian kind of spoils the mood by telling her he thinks she’s starting to seem like a ringleader at a circus. She takes that as a slam against women in general, that he’s just saying they’re uncontrollable, but he’s not—he’s just making the point that these women are like that. She accuses him of being jealous but he says he isn’t, he’s bored. He’s seen a lot of revolutions over the years, and they’re all the same. There’s a lot of noise and excitement at the beginning, but then it just gets dull. He tells her she’s disappointed him, just creating an army of depraved whores when they had a chance to really do something interesting. I can’t help but wonder what that something interesting actually was, because he seemed really behind this plan until recently. He thinks this is bound for ruin and says she needs to change her ways.
On cue, Victor emerges from a nearby carriage, grabs Lily and, with Dorian’s help, knocks her out and drags her inside.
To Bedlam they all go, where she’s strapped to the chair before she comes to. Victor reassures her she’s safe. Dorian greets her from the balcony, where he’s standing with Jekyll. She demands to know where she is and, when she hears she’s in Bedlam, she starts yelling at Dorian for having betrayed her. She lunges for Victor, but she’s been chained to the chair and can’t reach him. Victor ridiculously says that the chain is for her own protection but she knows it’s really for theirs. The three men tell her they’re going to make her better, as she was before, when she was happy. She tells Victor that only he was happy then, which is the point she made just last week, but apparently nobody was listening. Victor tells her they’re going to make her ‘into a proper woman’ which makes my blood boil, so I’m surprised her head doesn’t just explode right now. Also, I’m really hoping that Justine and the other ladies come riding to her rescue here, because that’s going to be epic.
On board ship, Ethan finds Malcolm standing by the rail. Ethan says he thinks he should thank Malcolm for killing his dad, since it was meant to be an act of mercy. Malcolm says it was. Ethan confesses he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger and Malcolm says that’s a good thing, because it means Ethan still has some kindness in him. He says that no man should have to murder a member of his own family. They reminisce about how they first met and Malcolm asks if Ethan wishes he could go back and do things differently, never know Malcolm or Vanessa. He would not. Of course not. Malcolm pats him on the shoulder and says good night.
Vanessa takes a small gun out of her desk and pockets it, takes a deep breath, and presses her hand to the wall where her crucifix used to hang.
She goes to the museum, hesitating outside just long enough to build up her nerve and rage. Inside, she walks amongst the darkened exhibits, and finds him upstairs. He knows that she knows. She accuses him of being cruel, for lying to her and breaking her heart. He says he’s never lied: he’s known tragedy, admires the wonders of the world, and loves her. She tearfully reminds him of everything he’s done, of stalking her and taking Mina. She says she’ll never be one of his little minions. He doesn’t want her to serve him, he wants to serve her, the mother of evil. She spits at him and stalks away. He says he’s gone for centuries, trying to obtain the one thing he cannot have, and begs her for mercy. Instead, she pulls the gun on him and says this is the only mercy she can offer. He urges her to pull the trigger, because he just can’t live without her. He tries to make a connection by reminding her of how similar they are: both lonely and shunned. Night creatures both, broken things, unloved. He says he loves her for who she really is. He doesn’t want to make her good, he wants her to be her true self.
She lowers the gun. Vanessa! What are you doing?
He continues, reminding her that she’s tried for so long to be what everyone else wanted her to be, the church and her family and the doctors. Why not just be what she is? Why not be herself? She’ll never be alone again, because he’ll love her to the end of time. That sounds good to her. She offers up her neck and he feeds. Great.
Overhead, a thick fog flows across the sky. It has begun.