The two part season finale had some awesome confrontations taking place between all our major characters. Most especially the highly anticipated blow up between Evelyn Poole and Vanessa.
The least interesting portion of the show was Dorian and Lilly, so let’s get that out of the way. I really like Reeve Carney and I love Billie Piper but I’m not feeling the enthusiasm. Also, I saw that sexing coming a mile away, even though I could’ve done without the ear biting. I’m probably not attached to them because I don’t know where John Logan is taking this particular plot and Lilly’s Dr. Evil mindset seemed to come out of nowhere.
At any rate, Lilly sold Dorian the same bill of goods about immortality and ruling the world, that she fed to John/Caliban.Dorian seems to be buying it, but I wonder when he’s going to get bored with her, too. I guess one of tonight’s revelations is that he does remember Brona. I can’t wait to see what happens when Ethan finally meets her but knowing John Logan, he’ll probably make the whole thing as anti-climatic as possible.
John Clare gets suckered into trusting that sweet, little blind girl routine and is now trapped in the basement of the museum, to be used as a sideshow attraction. He looks more upset about her betrayal than he does about his entrapment. I don’t expect him to remain there for long anyway, if he’s as strong as Lilly. When he killed Victors first creation, he did it with one punch, so yeah.
So, how many of you want to see the Putneys get broken? Show of hands!
The next most interesting relationship is between Ethan and Vanessa. The bounty hunter, Roper, confronts the two of them at the cabin. He spends some amount of time threatening Vanessa, after which she and Ethan take turns whoopin’ his ass, until he’s dead. After burying the body, Victor shows up to let Vanesssa know that Malcolm is in trouble. He is such a strange bird that he doesn’t blink an eye at their disheveled appearance or even ask what they’re burying.
When they get back to town, Rusk confronts Ethan with his real name – Talbot. Oh, How very Lon Chaney of Mr. Logan. I still would love very much for Rusk to meet Ethan’s bad side, up close and personal-like. Even more, I’d love for Ethan’s father to show up at some point. That meeting would be epic.
After that reveal, we get Lyle turning traitor on Evelyn. I knew he cared about this crew and I wondered when he’d realize where his real loyalties were. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see his actual confession, which would’ve been nice to watch. He does look suitably contrite afterwards, though, and is willing to go into the lion’s den to save Malcolm, even if he’s only carrying a tiny gun. I still think his crush on Ethan may have played at least a small part in his change of heart.
While waiting for nightfall, Hecate confronts Ethan by simply walking through his room mirror. Yet another indictment against the ownership of large mirrors. She is trying to hook up with what she thinks is a good deal, with Ethan. I think she believes Ethan is the Anti-Christ. Judging by his reaction, so does Ethan. But in fact, he’s probably the Lupus Dei that Lyle spoke of, at the beginning of the season.
Lyle’s studies of the Verbis Diablo said that the Lupus Dei, The Hound of God, is actually the Protector of Lucifer’ favorite, so I don’t think Hecate is going to get whatever she thinks she’s going to get out of their relationship.
Everyone advises Vanessa to wait until the next day to rescue Malcolm, which is a complete waste of breath as she just sneaks her hard-headed ass, right over to the witches home that night. The time when the Nightcomers powers are at their strongest.
So, now the rest of the group, Victor, Lyle, Sembene and Ethan have to go rescue Vanessa and Ethan is naturally reluctant because he knows his change is coming on that night. He and Sembene have a very touching bff moment. I like these two, so much. They just seem like they should be natural friends.
We also get some backstory that Sembene used to be a slave trader, but this doesn’t actually make me like him any less because I love a good atonement story.
They arrive at the haunted house where Lyle pauses to say Kaddish, after which Victor becomes trapped in the same cursed room with Malcolm, beset with all of his worse secrets, while Lyle is trapped outside, being accosted by Hecate, who is still desperately trying to make her subplot stick.
Ethan and Sembene get trapped in a hallway when Ethan’s change comes on and he attacks Sembene. I won’t believe Sembene is dead until there’s a funeral so…
So, the Hound of God is at large, Victor and Malcolm are trapped by the memories of their ghosts and Vanessa and Evelyn engage in a bit of verbal jousting before Evelyn introduces her to Doll-Vanessa. I do recall my exact thought upon seeing that doll, was that if its eyes open, I’m gonna totally freak out.
I only shrieked a tiny bit.
Vanessa, then, has to fight her own doll for posession of her soul. It turns out that Lucifer requires her consent and either the doll speaks for Lucifer or is Lucifer, I’m not sure, but he and Evelyn spend some time trying to get Vanessa’s consent to sign over her soul, using the technique of convincing her she’s already corrupt and tempting her with the idea of living a normal life with Ethan. While this is one of Evelyn’s tactics that seem to be working on Malcolm and Victor, this doesn’t work with Vanessa.
This is a tactic that only works by inducing guilt about life choices in people who have lied to themselves about the decisions they’ve made. You can understand this in what the phantoms say to their victims. Malcolm’s ghosts keep hammering him with the knowledge that he is ultimately responsible for their deaths and Victor’s ghosts chastise him for his lack of humanity, which is why he can only ever create monsters. All this does is make me wonder if I would be susceptible to such a tactic. Since I have a nasty habit of being blunt, coupled with a complete inability to lie to myself, I try not to engage in behavior I’m going to need to run from, or lie about later.
Vanessa, though, is the type of person who does all manner of bad things but is perfectly okay with the decisions she makes. She doesn’t like the decisions she makes but she accepts that she made them, and she’s gonna live with them. It’s extremely difficult to shame somebody with things they are well aware of. Vanessa gives the devil the verbal smack down and cracks the doll open, releasing a flood of “little scorpions”, her namesake. Evelyn totally loses her shit but before she can attack Vanessa, WolfEthan shows up and rips her head off.
As uncontrollable as he is in that state, he has the presence of mind not to attack Vanessa, though. When Evelyn dies, all her spells die with her. It turns out that the witch attacking Lyle is not Hecate but one of the others. Lyle shoots her, and Malcolm, now free of Evelyn’s spell shoots the other. The only witch left is Hecate who burns her mother’s castle to the ground, on her way out the door.
The season ends on the saddest tones.
Sembene is actually dead but since this is a series featuring dead people walking around and talking, I’m not sure how to feel about the only Black guy on the show, getting fridged to aid Ethan’s storyline. Yeah, alright! I don’t like it. On the other hand, since the only Black guy on the show just died , the writers will have to fill that quota with his brother, uncle or an Asian or Native American next season. Remember people…there can be only one! Any more than that and White people will find it impossible to watch the show, I guess.
Well, at least we have Lyle, who gets one of the best lines in the entire series when he tells the witch, “Never underestimate a queen with lovely hair.” I now love Lyle, who is the only gay, Jewish, senior citizen, in a primetime television series.
Victor and Lily part ways, as she and Dorian go full on Doctor Evil. He shoots them both but that doesn’t kill them and they just go one dancing, as if he hadn’t interrupted them, at all. I can think of some pretty inventive deaths for them, though. They might not die but they’d be just as useless when I m done with both of them. They don’t even impress me as villains. Mostly they’re just deeply annoying, with their talk of “we’re superior beings, let’s take over the world” BS. What’s superior about that? Human beings already know how to be assholes to each other, without being immortal, so it’s not like they’d be teaching us anything new.
The most satisfying moment is the deaths of the Putneys, except for their blind daughter. I saw that coming a mile away. I knew that cell couldn’t hold John for long. And c’mon! They really were asking for it by taunting him relentlessly, about his looks, mostly. And the worst thing he could’ve done to little Miss Future Matchgirl, was let her live. In that particular era, and with no one to support her, she’s in for a short, brutal life of misery and I hope people are as kind to her as she was to John.
The most tearful moment is when John asks Vanessa to leave England with him and she kisses him goodbye.
Followed by Vanessa asking Ethan to come away with her and he leaves. She doesn’t get a kiss though.
Malcolm takes Sembene back to Africa. All he has left now is Vanessa. He is truly not a fortunate man, to have survived the deaths of all the people he loved.
I guess the death of Sembene was the last straw. Ethan turns himself over to Inspector Rusk and gets extradited to America.
Vanessa is all alone in Malcolm’s house. She burns that cross that was on the wall. The one she spent so much time praying in front of. That’s all over now, she thinks.
Only Lyle gets to ride off into the sunset.
With the witches dead and everyone scattered to the four winds, how will the next season set itself up, I wonder? Will everyone contrive to come back together? Will we get to meet Ethan’s father and is he cursed too? Will Victor resurrect yet another dead person, or has he learned his lesson yet? Will Dracula make an appearance this time? Will Lilly and Dorian try to take over the world, (I’ve decided I’m going to call them “Dilly”), or just be killed in some embarrassingly low key incident, like being run over by some horse drawn carriages? Will Malcolm bring back another Black guy to replace his dead butler?
Stay tuned for the next installment of Penny Dreadful, coming next year.