Previously on Penny Dreadful: Kali lured Malcolm to Coven Castle, and Vanessa, being suddenly a bit stupid, decided to go after him on her own, at night, during a full moon. Naturally, the rest of the Scooby crew went after her, and while Victor got caught in the Guilt Room with Malcolm, Ethan wolfed out and attacked Sembene. Meanwhile, Lily apparently remembers everything about her previous life and is now out for some revenge. She finds her perfect partner in Dorian. And Cal’s been trapped by the Putneys so he can be the centerpiece of their new freak exhibition.
‘We were born innocent. You made us into monsters.’
‘Beloved, know your master.’
Ethan finishes killing Sembene and hurls himself against the door trapping him in the stairwell. Hecate listens for a moment, then goes downstairs to secretly watch Vanessa talk to a creepy marionette doll that looks just like her and speaks with her voice. This thing is actually the devil, it seems, and he’s ready to start tempting her, because what’s more tempting than a nightmare fuel doll of yourself that calls you a murderer in your own voice?
Vanessa notes that the devil can’t take her soul, it must be given, and that’s confirmed. She turns to Kali and asks how she can believe the father of lies, and Kali retorts that Vanessa’s the liar here, since she claims to be on the side of the angels but her actions say otherwise. The doll picks up on that theme and tells Vanessa that her life is one of depravity, betrayal and homicide. They both tell Vanessa that the moment she spoke the Verbis Diablo and used magic to kill another she was basically making out with the devil. The doll urges her to kiss it now, and end her pain. Vanessa refuses to give up so easily. Kali says she’s being offered a sweet deal here, because Vanessa will rule for all eternity with one who will love her forever. Still no go.
While one of the witches holds Lyle at bay, Malcolm and Victor are trapped in separate fantasies, being hideously guilt tripped by dead family (Malcolm) and both living and dead creations (Victor). As both men are pushed closer to the brink, they’re offered peace and escape in the form of a gun (Malcolm) and a needle (Victor). The tormenters turn almost gentle as they urge the men to end things.
Vanessa, meanwhile, is informing the devil that she can’t be tempted. The devil finds it hard to believe that there’s not one thing that Vanessa wants. He knows what it is, in fact, and offers to show her what her life could be.
Suddenly, Vanessa finds herself dressed in white and lace, in a pretty drawing room, with a pair of cute moppets and Ethan for a husband. It’s all quite lovely and charming, and apparently Mina’s alive too, because the devil can do whatever, even bring back the dead.
The vision fades and we come back to Vanessa, tearful, looking at the doll. She accuses it of being cruel and the devil says this is kindness, because it’s what she truly wants, isn’t it?
Back with Malcolm and Victor, both men are about to take their visions’ advice and end things.
The devil promises to give Vanessa a lifetime of happiness with the man she loves, and when she dies her spirit will take its place at the side of the devil, to rule for all eternity. Vanessa asks about her friends and is told that they’ll be released and left to live freely. Might want to get that in writing, Van. She asks what’ll become of her god and is told that a better god will replace him. The doll urges Vanessa to kiss it, and she leans in to do just that, but at the last second growls that she has no desire for a normal life. ‘I know what I am. Do you?’ she asks. She then begins to growl animalistically and speaks fluently in the Verbis Diablo. The doll begins speaking back to her and now it’s a Verbis-off. The room begins to shake and the dolls fall and shatter. Kali clutches her head and looks around fearfully as her toys tumble. Vanessa puts her hand on the doll’s face and the devil begins screaming in pain as the doll crumbles and scorpions pour out of the broken head. ‘Beloved, know your master,’ she snarls. So, Vanessa’s more powerful than the devil? How is that possible?
[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]What’s more tempting than a nightmare fuel doll of yourself that calls you a murderer in your own voice?[/cryout-pullquote]Kali begins to wail in fear and horror, and Hecate, who looks like she saw all this coming, finally releases Ethan, who comes rushing out in full wolf form and takes a swipe at Kali’s throat that nearly takes her head right off. Farewell, Kali. Helen McCrory had such a deliciously fun time with you. He then advances on Vanessa, but suddenly seems to recognize her and backs off, calms down, and runs away.
Lyle finally just shoots that witch who’s been menacing him. ‘Never underestimate the power of a queen with lovely hair, my dear,’ he says. Hee! If there’s another season, can he be a major part of it?
Victor and Malcolm’s enchantments have broken at just the right time. They gather themselves and Lyle comes in to collect them. On their way to find Vanessa, another witch comes after them, but Malcolm shoots her and kills her.
Vanessa looks around at the wreckage of the spell room. One of the scorpions crawls over her shoulder and she takes it in her hand. When she stares intently at it, it melts right into her flesh, leaving a scorpion impression for a bit, then disappearing. She heads out, looking kind of exhausted, but stops at the doorway to give the room one last, contemptuous look.
The boys finally find her, with Sembene’s body in the stairwell. They ask after Ethan and Vanessa just says that he’s safe. She confirms that Kali’s dead. ‘It’s done,’ she whispers. Malcolm closes Sembene’s eyes. What a night.
Over at the Putney House of Horrors, Cal’s refusing to have anything to do with the poetry book in his cell. He’s also uninterested in the food Mrs P’s prepared, which Mr P freely tells him is crap anyway. Mrs P notes that Cal hasn’t screamed yet and he tells her that he wasn’t made to scream. Also, they told him it would be pointless, so why waste the effort? Putney sits down outside the cell to play Let’s Make a Deal with Cal. Putney knows the freak show he has planned is going to be super popular, and if Cal’s willing to help them out by breaking the other freaks in and making sure they stay in line, the Putneys will give him a cut of the profits. I’m sure that’ll be really helpful to him in a jail cell in a basement, Putney. To sweeten the deal, Mrs P offers him a blanket. Cal asks for more books as well and they’re cool with that. If he plays nicely for a while, they may even allow him out now and again.
Cal grasps the bars of the door as he listens, then rips the door right off the hinges, breaks Mrs P’s neck, and bashes Putney’s head against the wall until he’s dead. Woah. Immediately after the carnage, Lavinia comes down, looking for her parents, and takes the opportunity to call Cal a grotesque animal, just because. Cal just shakes his head and leaves. As he walks away from the place, you can just hear Lavinia’s screams as she discovers the bodies.
Hecate prepares to leave Coven Castle, singing The Unquiet Grave, the same song Kali was singing when we first met her this season. She seems unconcerned by the body of her mother, just gathers up her equipment from the spell room, then burns the whole place to the ground as she calmly walks away. Seems like kind of a waste of a perfectly good evil castle.
Lyle gives Victor a lift home, admitting along the way that he’s a little horrified at what he did that night, with such relish, too. He asks Victor not to tell anyone he’s Jewish, and then offers a ready ear, if Victor ever wants to talk.
Inside, Victor immediately starts to get anxious, searching around for Lily. He then spots the flowers Dorian sent and goes over to glare at them, like he thinks he can melt them with his gaze.
He rushes to Dorian’s, where Lily and Dorian are waltzing around the gallery, both dressed entirely in white (on a side note: I’m pretty sure the music they’re dancing to is Chopin’s waltz No 7, Op 64, No 2 in C sharp minor and featured heavily in The Paradise. It definitely sounds familiar.). They both greet him cheerfully, but when Victor orders Lily to return home with him they turn into the meanest kids on the playground and begin teasing him. Victor produces a gun, which just makes them laugh. He again asks Lily to come home, telling her that he loves her. She sneers at him, telling Dorian how awkward and terrified he was the night she first slept with him. ‘Like a grubby little boy cramming his hand into the sweet jar,’ she sniffs. He shoots her, and though she apparently bleeds and therefore, presumably, needs blood to live, I guess she’s some kind of blood-making machine, because it doesn’t even faze her. She tells him he made her too well for that and he’s shocked to realize she knows that she was created. She tells him she’s known all along, which makes me wonder why she went through that whole, long pretense of being all sweet and innocent. Just for fun? To see what she could learn in the meantime?
Just because he’s creepy, I guess, Dorian dips his finger in her wound and then licks it. So, Victor shoots him, probably feeling that it’s about time we removed this nutso from the gene pool. Alas, ‘tis not to be. ‘You’ll have to do better than that, sport,’ Dorian tells him. Lily wonders if they should kill Victor, but then decides he might be useful. She and Dorian talk about how awesome it feels to be entirely superior to another person and how soon everyone will kneel to them. Guess now we know what series 3 is going to be about, if there is one (ooh, apparently there is!). Lily orders Victor to go away and live with the knowledge of the horror he’s spawned. He obeys, and she and Dorian go back to their dance, both of them still bleeding heavily, she leaving a trail of blood across the floor. I’d say that’ll be hard to explain to the housekeeper in the morning, but I’ll bet that’s the least any servant’s seen at Dorian’s house.
Dawn comes to Malcolm’s house, and Malcolm lays out his plans to take Sembene back to Africa to be buried. He asks if Vanessa will be all right back in England and she reassures him she will be. He comments that Sembene was a proper man, and he’s known few of those. They share a sad smile, then she gets up and leaves him.
She goes upstairs and finds Ethan waiting for her. He asks if she knows what he is and she says she does, and yet, she’s still standing before him. She takes his face in her hands and says that Malcolm is leaving, so they can strike out and start a new life together. He’s plainly tempted but also knows that they’re both pretty damaged. She tells him that that puts them in a pretty good position to be useful to each other and he asks for some time to think about this. He goes to leave, then asks her to forgive him. She does, readily.
Ethan goes right over to Scotland Yard and bursts into Rusk’s office so he can confess to the Mariner’s Inn massacre. And the other awful murders in London. Rusk is pleased. Ethan asks only that his execution be quick, but Rusk informs him there won’t be an execution, because an order for extradition’s been sent through. Ethan’s going home.
Victor shoots up in his lab, and apparently this is not the first time today he’s done that, because his arm is a mess. He’s got to shoot up in his finger because that’s the only place he can find a vein.
Vanessa goes to the shelter where the soup kitchen usually operates and seeks out Cal, who’s taken refuge there. She tells him she needs a friend and he invites her to sit. She notes that he seems to be packing up and he says he’s leaving and leaving the rest of mankind behind. He admits he had this dream of finding kinship with others, but that dream is gone. She understands. He asks her what she’s up to and she says there’s no place far enough away for her to wander, because she’s thrown away the immortal part of herself. He takes her hand and says that no matter how far one has walked from God, he’s still waiting just ahead. She reminds him that he’s an atheist, and he’s like, ‘yes, but you’re not.’ He offers to take her with him, so they can find refuge together. So, I guess he hasn’t abandoned his dream entirely, then. She tearfully says that she only seems to bring pain to people and she doesn’t want to inflict that on him. She takes his face in her hands and tells him he’s the most human man she’s ever known. She kills him, then gets up and leaves. Aww, I hope he’s not actually gone from the show. I kind of want to see more of him and Vanessa pairing up to be awesome together.
Three ships. On the first, going to Africa, Malcolm sits in a cabin with Sembene’s coffin. The second, in the Antarctic or some other frozen wasteland, carries Cal. On the third, bound for America, Ethan sits in a cage, while Rusk sits on the stairs opposite, smoking and just watching him.
At some point before going to Scotland Yard, Ethan found time to write Vanessa a letter and slip it under her door. In it, he thanks her for her affection and understanding, neither of which are things that have featured heavily in his life. He goes on to say that he really should have been put down long ago, and he hopes that mistake will soon be rectified. He says that her road will be difficult, but his is doomed. ‘So we walk alone,’ he concludes.
As he voiceovers the letter, Vanessa goes around Malcolm’s now empty house, turning off all the lights. She lands in her bedroom and goes over to the crucifix on the wall. She takes it down and tosses it on the fire, walking away as it burns and looking out the window. ‘So we walk alone,’ she murmurs.
Well, that was fun. No, really, it was kind of fun. It was fun seeing the Scooby crew come together, and I’m so glad Lyle became part of the gang, because he was hilarious. Helen McCrory had a delightful time chewing the scenery as Kali, and hot damn, did Billie Piper bring it or what? As is typically the case with sophomore seasons, everyone’s much more comfortable and settled into their roles—Josh Hartnett especially. He was enjoying himself, and that made watching him enjoyable. It was also nice getting a bit of an explanation of just what the deal is with Vanessa and why everyone wants her. There were some weak points—Angelique, and I’d say the Putneys story didn’t really amount to much, other than to remind us (unnecessarily) of how much of an outcast Cal is. But these are minor quibbles.
Apparently there will be a third season, hurrah! And they’re introducing a new 19th century literary monster, and they’re being all hush-hush about it, but it’s gotta be Jekyll and Hyde, right? Who else is there? The giant squid? Hound of the Baskervilles? It’s fine, though. Jekyll and Hyde would fit right in with this show, with its exploration of our constant inner struggles with good and evil. So, we’ll be right back here next year!