This amazing season is nearing its end, so huge things are happening left and right on Penny Dreadful this week. Vanessa is being drawn to Dracula while Lily is betrayed by Dorian Gray
On last week’s episode of Penny Dreadful we saw Ethan’s back story come to a close when his father died. Also, Vanessa gave herself to Dracula – not knowing he was Dracula, mind you – and Lily is proving to be quite capable on her own, which has poor old Dorian Gray bored and confused, because clearly they’re not the equals he thought they were. Or rather, she isn’t his arm candy and can function just fine without him, and in his book “equal” clearly meant “dependent and just shy of actually being as worthy of anything as himself”.
This episode opens with Lily (Billie Piper) at a sad looking cemetary. It’s extremely overcrowded with graves and not very well kept at all. Lily watches a woman burying a small coffin and goes to offer her some words of sympathy and encouragement. Also, we find out that Brona had a child, which is buried just near this new grave; A one-year old daughter named Sarah.
Back at Dorian Gray’s mansion, Lily’s army of “depraved whores” (that would be a term Dorian Gray uses in this episode) has grown in numbers. At a dinner party, Lily gives the kind of speech that would prepare any army to face any enemy. No matter how powerful or dangerous. Lily’s request of her army is very simply that they go out to their old places of work to find a man buying a woman. Then they are to cut off his right hand and bring it back to the dinner table. Not to eat, of course. Just to show a display of their collective power. Dorian (Reeve Carney) is not enjoying himself anymore, and Justine (Jessica Barden) continues to provoke him every chance she gets. This time, Dorian grabs Justine by the neck and tells her she needs to step up her game, if she wants to truly challenge him.
Look, I know people (as far as I’ve experienced, it’s mostly men or girls who swoon over Dorian) are having a hard time understanding where Lily is coming from. Is she out of control? Sure, she’s getting there. But is she more out of control than the men, who continue to beat and abuse the women she’s taking in to be part of her army? Not even close!
Also, we’re dealing with Dr. Frankenstein, whose ego makes him want to literally play God, and a Dr. Jekyll who’s doing the same, only he wants to divide everything into good and evil. Or the virgin and the whore, which is how Victor Frankenstein is viewing this. So no, Lily is far from being the worst one in this story. She wants to liberate those, who have been degraded, and yes, she wants to turn them into the masters. However, those in power now are willing to do anything to remain in power.
I’m hearing people say she should respect Dorian Gray for “taking her in”. Umm, you do realize that the character of Dorian Gray is perhaps the most depraved of all the characters on this show, and that he has killed for fun and pleasure for centuries, right?! He’s not some sweet young man, who’s just helping out poor Lily. They are in fact – in every way including being depraved and immortal – perfectly equal. Something she honors, but which he certainly does not!
That’s probably why he betrays her. While they’re out on a date, he confronts her about the fact that he’s now bored. He wants her to stop this nonsense she’s been preoccupying herself with, because he won’t continue on this path with her. This is when a carriage pulls up and out jumps Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) to cover her mouth with a cloth that we already know – from his pathetic attempt at a kidnapping last week – is meant to render her unconscious. It works and Dorian Gray, Victor Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll (Shazad Latif) drag her into the carriage.
When Lily Wakes up, she’s in Dr. Jekyll’s lab at Bedlam, where Victor continues his old routine of stating he wants her to come back to him and be happy. Dorian Gray is enjoying himself and just smiling at the whole thing. When Lily tries to escape, she realizes they’ve put a chain on her leg. Victor’s wish for Lily pretty much mirrors the exact statement Vanessa Ives made to The Orderly in the amazing episode, where she was in the insane asylum; They wanted her to be docile and submissive! Lily yet again reminds him that he was happy, while she was never happy with him. She was merely surviving and finding her place in this world. Again, just as Vanessa Ives continued to hold on to the truth at the hospital rather than simply say what they wanted to hear.
This is where we leave Lily and the three merry lunatics this episode, but Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) meanwhile is waking up after having slept wonderfully among the night creatures. Renfield (Samuel Barnett) is all over her, and just as he’s licking her neck, Dracula appears. I thought for sure he would kill Renfield, but he doesn’t – he just makes it very clear that touching Vanessa isn’t acceptable. He then wakes up Vanessa and suggests she might want to leave before the museum opens, but not to rush, so they can enjoy some tea first. It’s wonderful seeing Vanessa so relaxed and happy, but we all know it won’t last long.
Meanwhile, Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton), Kaetenay (Wes Studi) and Ethan (Josh Hartnett) are still in America, but heading home to London. Or actually, Kaetenay wants to stay and asks Ethan to stay as well, but then he has a vision of London and realizes they all need to go there. Later, when they’re on a ship across the Atlantic, Kaetenay asks Ethan if Vanessa has certain abillities. When Ethan confirms this, Kaetenay tries to get in touch with Vanessa’s spirit – just as he did with Ethan in a previous episode – and it works. However, in this conversation among spirits, Vanessa’s eyes suddenly turn red and she states that they’re too late. Kaetenay believes this to be true, but Ethan refuses and they get Sir Malcolm to talk to (or pay off) the Captain of the ship to go as fast as possible.
Catriona Hartdegen (Perdita Weeks) arrives at Vanessa’s doorstep and they begin to go over what they know about Dracula. Catriona begins by stating that all the usual tropes; no reflection in the mirror, unable to walk in sunlight, and an aversion to everything from garlic to crucifixes, are simply not true. When Dracula is in his human form, he can be killed by any weapon just like any other human being. Then Catriona goes on the speak of how Dracula would be hiding in plain sight, and would attempt to seduce rather than attack or force. Also, he’d be living among night creatures. All this combined makes the answer only too obvious to Vanessa and armed with a gun, she’s off to meet Dr. Alexander Sweet, who she now knows to be Dracula.
While Vanessa has every intention of killing him, she is very surprised when Dracula (Christian Camargo) makes it clear that he doesn’t want her to serve him. No, he wants to serve her. This was not the plan, he admits, but he has fallen in love with her. After centuries of being alone, he would rather die than be without her.
Basically, he is the exact opposite of Dorian Gray this episode. Both work with seduction as their weapon, but one has a heart and the other has only his disgustingly corrupted soul as his life force. In a moment, that I definitely did not see coming, Vanessa surrenders and Dracula sinks his teeth into her neck!
This was the official plot description of this Penny Dreadful episode:
Kaetenay has a vision of impending doom. Frankenstein and Jekyll get help from an unlikely foe. The Creature finally gains courage. And with the help of Catriona, Vanessa learns an awful truth.
We’ll be back next week with a recap of the Penny Dreadful season 3 finale, which will consist of two episodes airing back to back. Here’s the promo for the first of those episodes:
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