The first part of the Penny Dreadful finale featured more of Brona’s story as Frankenstein finds himself at a crossroads. Also, Ethan and Sir Malcolm finally return to London.
Vanessa Ives gave into her dark side and accepted Dracula’s bite on last week’s episode of Penny Dreadful, while Dorian Gray betrayed Lily and handed her over to Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll. Ethan, Sir Malcolm and Kaetenay are on their way back to London, but transportation wasn’t exactly a swift operation back in the 1890s. And The Creature is finally reunited with the family he had before he died.
First up is Lily (Billie Piper), who tries to convince Dorian (Reeve Carney) to give her one last kiss before leaving, but he just smirks and takes off. For me, as I probably made clear in last week’s recap, Dorian is actually the very worst of them; No heart, no love for anyone or anything. He might be immortal, but he is already completely dead inside.
After Dorian leaves, Lily moves on to Victor (Harry Treadaway). She’s trying her best to get him to see some reason. She is obviously getting ready to try something when she asks to be alone with him. Dr. Jekyll (Shazad Latiff) reluctantly leaves, when Frankenstein insists that he has everything under control. Lily asks for a glass of water and speaks to the goodness in Dr. Frankenstein with this simple request. It works, of course, but he is clearly frightened of her and Lily ends up knocking the glass out of his hands and falls to the floor screaming with desperation and anger.
This is where we pick up on the story of Brona Croft’s daughter, Sarah, who we came to know just last week, when Lily went to the grave of Sarah Croft. Lily begs Victor not to go through with this, by telling him the story of Sarah. Brona was alone with the girl, and had to continue working, so she left the girl in their drafty apartment. She always placed her next to the fire and stacked up the coals, but on one particular cold night, she remember Sarah was crying in a different way; Not from teething or hunger, but from loneliness. Still, Brona had to work, so she went out and on this night, she was struck down by a customer – who also refused to pay – and couldn’t get up. She clearly blames herself for not having the strength to get up, and Billie Piper is tearing her own heart while doing this scene. Truly heartbreaking.
Lily explains that when she (or Brona, as it were) woke up in the street, the sun was up and it had been snowing. She ran home, but the fire had gone out and Sarah was completely cold. She had died alone, in the cold and dark. Lily pleads with Victor to not take Sarah away from her again, as she already lost her when she was Brona, and she can’t bear to lose the memory of her daughter as Lily as well. Victor finally realizes that he is the monster in this story and releases Lily of her shackles. Lily is quick to grab him by the neck – pure instinct on her part – but releases her grip again and leaves.
Dorian returns to his mansion and asks all the girls to leave. They can keep what they’re wearing and take whatever they want, but they are to leave immediately. Only Justine (Jessica Barden) insists on wanting to know more about her beloved Lily. Dorian is calm and collected, as always, as he tells Justine that simple medicine overcame her heroine. Refusing to believe anything this man says, she stabs him, but of course, that hardly does anything to Dorian Gray.
Upon seeing this, all the girls leave quickly. Except for Justine. She states that she would rather die standing on her feet right then and there, than go back to living on her knees. Dorian seems oddly impressed and asks if he means it. She insists she does and he calmly snaps her neck, which she accepts without any fight. Dying on her own two feet, as she wished.
The Creature (Rory Kinnear) is enjoying a meal with his wife and son. They’re making plans and talking about leaving London, since the fog is making the breathing even worse for the young boy. While dining, the boy starts coughing and blood keeps coming out of his mouth. Within a minute, he looks like a vampire more than a boy; Pale and with blood all around his mouth. The Creature helps his son to bed and keeps telling him of all the things they’ll experience, when things are better.
Doctor Seward (Patti LuPone) arrives at her office to hear the voice of Vanessa Ives. Not that she’s there, of course, but Renfield is. He’s listening to the old recordings of Vanessa’s sessions and trying to find more clues about Ethan to bring back to Dracula. Dr. Seward doesn’t seem scared of Renfield and asks him to leave immediately. That’s when she sees him holding a frog on her desk, and Renfield tells her that his master sends them to him, so he can feed. This is when Dr. Seward asks if his master is Dracula and Renfield confirms this before biting into the frog and stating that the good doctor should probably take this as his resignation.
Dr. Seward watched as frogs are filling up the sink in her office. Then she shows her brave – and very brazen – side and grabs a letter opener, demanding to know where Vanessa Ives is. Renfield makes the huge mistake of thinking he knows the good doctor, as he states she could never kill anyone. We, of course, know that she already has killed someone, and she stabs him. Of course, he doesn’t go down that easily, so they start fighting, but she finally manages to knock him out.
Ethan, Sir Malcolm and Kaetenay finally arrive at the shores of London, but things are clearly not well. There’s a dense fog everywhere, and when they finally meet a man working at the docks, he tells them they should go back on board the ship and leave immediately. Nothing but death left in London! Next, they have hundreds of rats running in the opposite direction, which we all know is a sign you’re heading towards truly bad things.
Ethan, Kaetenay and Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) arrive at Sir Malcolm’s estate and, of course, there’s no Vanessa Ives there. Ethan goes to her bedroom, but all he finds is a wolf hung up at the foot of her bed, with blood dripping on the floor to add to the pool already there. That’s when the group is attacked by vampires, but just when everything is looking mighty bleak, Catriona Hartdegen (Perdita Weeks) shows up. And that girl can fight! A total badass in a simple human form armed with knives.
Unfortunately, Sir Malcolm doesn’t make it without being bitten vampire style in the neck, so when they’ve won over the vampires, he asks for his gun to end it. Catriona asks them to please calm down and let her handle it.
Then she retrieves a fire poker with a burning-hot end and asks Kaetenay and Ethan to hold Sir Malcolm, while offering the advice to not try and stay conscious. Then she burns the bite and it seems to work, since Sir Malcolm wakes up later, still looking good, but with a sore neck.
The group wonders who this amazing woman is, and Catriona explains she’s also there looking for Vanessa Ives. Of course, she knows a bit more about what’s going on – being the only one in the group, who has actually seen her this entire season (except for Kaetenay in that vision, of course). She tells them the dark story of how the city was overcome with this crazy fog, and then people started dying. First by the hundreds, then by the thousands. And then we get the clip from the season 3 trailer, where Catriona reveals that if they don’t get to Vanessa, this will indeed be the end of days.
Ethan is off to look for Frankenstein, who he thinks can help them find and help Vanessa. Kaetenay leaves as well, leaving Catriona to take care of Sir Malcolm. Soon there’s a knock at the door and yet another of Vanessa Ives’ friends show up. This time in the form of Doctor Seward (Patti LuPone), who we saw battle Renfield (Samuel Barnett) in her office, when she realized he was one of Dracula’s beasts – in fact, that’s probably also when she realized that Dracula was indeed real, and not just of Vanessa Ives’ imagination. Dr. Seward has Renfield locked up and a good idea of how to get the location of Dracula’s lair out of him. The same way she found the memory of Dracula in Vanessa’s mind: Hypnosis.
Ethan doesn’t find Frankenstein, but he does find a very pale looking boy, who offers to help him. Dracula soon finds them and basically tells them to forget about Vanessa, because she’s with him now (yeah right, as if we don’t know who’s really in charge in that so-called relationship). Ethan and Dracula start fighting, but Ethan doesn’t stand a chance in his human form. Dracula takes off and lets his army of vampires take over. Fortunately the fog lifts enough to reveal a full moon. Soon Ethan turns into the canine version of himself and the battle is a lot more fair. Still, it does seem to surprise him quite a bit, when a silver haired werewolf shows up to help while Kaetenay – who we saw earlier as his eyes changed at the sight of the full moon – is nowhere to be seen.
The two werewolves stand face to face – or snout to snout? – growling and this is were the first part of the “season” finale ends.
This was the official plot description of this Penny Dreadful episode:
Ethan, Sir Malcolm and Kaetenay return to London. Dr. Seward discovers Renfield’s secret. Meanwhile, Ethan heads out in search of Dr. Frankenstein. And Lily reveals a heartbreaking story from Brona Croft’s past.
Since this was only episode one of the two-episode finale, you can head right on over here to read our recap of the final episode! Oh, but first, here’s the promo for that last episode:
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