Penny Dreadful Series Finale Review: Unhappily Ever After (PHOTO RECAP)

Penny Dreadful S03E08 / S03E09: "Perpetual Night" / "The Blessed Dark"

Much like Victorian London, the television industry is a dark, macabre game of shadows. Ghouls stalk its blood-stained streets and night creeps devour the innocent whole. Also sagas about strong-willed monster magnets sometimes get struck down too soon. Which is to say... Penny Dreadful is over.

Yes, just when Season 3 started to really heat up, it petered out in an almost astonishing fashion. This week Showtime aired the final two episodes back to back as if to say "Please get out of here, Eva" and even with a full 120 minutes to say farewell the entire thing felt rushed and anticlimactic and, if we're being quite honest, beneath these characters. Still, there were a number of amazing action sequences and eloquent turns of phrase (as always). But friends, I choose to embrace my bitterness with both hands. Penny Dreadful deserved better. Let's talk about these last two episodes!

The main thing you need to know is it all ended with this title card, so if there was any question as to whether this series would be coming back for a fourth season, this put that to bed immediately. Is it even worth lamenting why Showtime would seemingly cut the season short and then unceremoniously dump the series finale without advertising it as such? Was getting Ray Donovan back on the schedule such a huge priority? Grumble grumble, etc. Anyway! (Still grateful to Showtime for greenlighting this thing in the first place.)

The first half of our two-parter began with several shots of poisonous fog flooding London. As we later learned, it was literally toxic and had killed several thousand citizens already. So, Vanessa's (Eva Green) prophecies were true: Permanent night, air as pestilence, jerks eating live frogs in their boss' office:

Ugh, Renfield (Samuel Barnett) is disgusting. This was what Patti LuPone walked in on. Some weirdo listening to all her audiotapes and eating live frogs! That is grounds for firing in my opinion.

But then again, Renfield WAS doing her an act of kindness by helping get rid of these things. They were popping up from every drain pipe!

Honestly, the one flaw of Magnolia was that next to no characters ever picked up a frog and ate it. Hopefully the inevitable Magnolia reboot (original soundtrack by Ariana Grande) will address this.

So then the boys finally arrived back in London and they IMMEDIATELY missed America. Like, London was literally poisonous now, and a stampede of rats greeted their feet. The London tourism board was really going to have their work cut out for them.

When they all arrived back at Sir Malcolm's (Timothy Dalton) pad they were greeted with a number of annoyances. First of all, someone had hung a slaughtered wolf above Vanessa's bed. (Ugh, vampires love dumb symbolism apparently.)

Also, the house had been overrun by night creeps! Fortunately Catriona (Perdita Weeks) showed up and shot a lot of them. Who WAS this lady? She's a new character and instantly great, but whoops! The series is over now. We'll never learn more about her. (Frown.)

One of the vampire creeps managed to bite Sir Malcolm on the throat and he immediately was like, "Well, time for suicide." But Cat grabbed a fire poker and burned the vampirism out of him. It didn't feel great, but it did the trick. Sort of like a back-alley massage. I'm guessing.

Then things got sadder. John (Rory Kinnear) was trying to enjoy a nice meal of, like, a bean, with his poor family and every time he tried to make plans with his son to do fun stuff, the son just coughed blood everywhere. Kids never listen.

I liked a few episodes back when John started robbing rich old men in order to support his family, but we haven't seen him do that in a while. Maybe he lost his nerve, who knows. Either way, his son looked like sh*t and that is just bad parenting.

Now that Dorian (Reeve Carney) had fully sold Lily (Billie Piper) out to go get her brain damaged, he had no use for the whore-horde (whorde) hanging out in his dining room. He let them keep their frocks but he truly needed them to GTFO please.

But Justine (Jessica Barden) is a feisty one, so she went and playfully stabbed him. Dorian might be immortal, but he does not tend to love grievous bodily harm.

At this point Justine refused to leave, stating that she'd rather die here than have to go be a hooker again. (Were there only two options?) So Dorian kissed her and then snapped her neck, and it was sad and kind of pointless and it was the first time this season started to feel like it was just wasting opportunities that it had painstakingly set up. Rest in peace, babygirl.

So, now it was time for Victor (Harry Treadaway) to finally inject electric poison into Lily's brain so that she'll be his chill, mindless girlfriend again.

But that's when Lily decided to enlighten him on the time she used to have a daughter, and how one time a john knocked her unconscious and her baby froze to death in the night. It was not a very fun story, but it was enough to convince Victor that he had been truly a piece of garbage for this. He ended up unlocking her shackles, and she kissed him goodbye. So ended another in-retrospect pointless subplot.

Next: Page 2

This article originally appears on TV Guide.com.

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Dec 23, 2016
The season finale qualifies as the worst ending of a series in history. If this were Lord of the Rings, it would have ended by having Frodo leap off a cliff and killing himself as soon as they told him he had to take the ring to Mt. Doom. "Nah, I'm not up for that... think I'll just kill myself instead." Might as well have had Vanessa do that in the first episode... Would have saved everyone a lot of time and effort. Hard to believe Showtime 'suddenly' cancelled Penny Dreadful - it was a huge hit. This 'ending' looks like they just ran out of film one day and nobody had the money to buy some more.
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Jul 01, 2016
The Lily arc completely pointless.
The John arc completely pointless.
The Jekyl/Hyde arc completely pointless.
The Dracula arc ends with Vanessa dead and Dracula... going home, I guess?
Congratulations, Showtime:
finally there's a show finale that's even worse than Dexter...
In this case I even don't blame the writers for this colssal waste of time.
They suddenly had to deal with what Showtime gave them with the cancelling of the show.
And that claim that it always was meant to end after season 3?
Yeah, right, this is why you set up three story arcs and let them end complete pointless, why you introduce new characters in the last moment and completely leave out there back stories, right?
Seriously, no one believes that.
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Jul 02, 2016
Yeah, i kind of got that this was pretty much the moral of this episode - life is pointless, then you die.
Dorian to Lily: you are going to lead a long and pointless life because you can't die.
John to his wife: our son may as well stay dead, or he's just going to suffer more pointless life.
Vanessa to Ethan: it's pointless to still be alive and have to fight it off all the time, so it would be easier for everyone if i just die.

And i was totally expecting Catriona to be, I don't know, Guardian Angel or something, I mean christ sake, aside from the shooting and threatening Renfield, her occult knowledge and the way she threw those knives around, this is Victorian London, walking down the street wearing pants and knee high boots was a feat in itself for a woman. "I'm scottish, and my dad wanted a son", yeah that sufficiently explained your badassery. "We created this mysterious, badass, intelligent female character, because in the fight to come we need six people to fight for no apparent reason, five existing characters just wasn't enough to believably fight off a horde of Renfields. Six will do it though."

And Dracula got away.
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Jun 27, 2016
I'm upset because Vanessa's death seemed like her giving up... remember she begs to die in season 1 and Ethan saves her. didn't the show always tell us how strong she is, and what a fighter? Instead she practically commits suicide and leaves everyone who knew her to mourn for her.
I understand from the interview with the creator that it was meant to be a choice made from a position of power with her having control over her life, just not sure that rings true to me.
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Jun 27, 2016
darling... i think we know what went on here..
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Dec 23, 2016
Good for you... now... tell the rest of us.
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Jun 26, 2016
The claim that it was meant to end after 3 seasons is an obvious lie.

A guy that can write like Logan would have done a much better job coming up with a satisfying buildup to an ending & wouldn't have left so many loose ends.

For whatever reason, this show was simply abandoned.

I'd have been perfectly alright with a 3 season run if the story ended in a way that left me wanting more, but it doesn't...It leaves me with the feeling that it's better off dead.
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Jun 25, 2016
I cannot help but feel that this finale was awfully rushed. What a waste of a perfectly good show.
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Jun 25, 2016
Eva Green appeared less than 10 minutes in the final two hours of the show . All of Vanessa's character development through out the entire series was shuttered in that horrible scene with Ethan . Dracula ( worst Dracula ever by the way ) did literally nothing to stop Ethan . He couldn't even kill Frankenstein . What was the point of introducing Dr Jekyll ? What was the point of Dorian this season ? This was by far the worst episode of a fantastic show , it's a damn shame to see it go out like this . Something happened , something smells rotten like the infested streets of London . I don't know if there was some kind of tension between John Logan and the cast , or the problem was with Showtime , but to end things like this is disrespectful to the characters and to the fans . I am very disappointed because I considered this show the best horror show on tv but I guess show can't always end the way one wants them to
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Jun 25, 2016
I think we know this much about Lily. She walked out on Dorian and left him alone with his portraits. Pretty sure she went on to help the women she set out to help, since she had feelings, and emotions, and Dorian had no empathy what so ever, he was the opposite of her.
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Jun 25, 2016
Even though the showrunner said he "always planned three seasons", I think it was clear they had a setup going for season 4 -- Dr. Jekyll, for one, plus more to come on Victorian Lara Croft, AND they the little effete gentleman whose name I forget, was off to Egypt to see a friggin mummy.

OF COURSE they were planning a season 4. It's a shame we won't get it now.
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Jun 24, 2016
Thank you, you said all I was thinking! I just don't understand John Logan saying this was planned (really man, that's the best you could came up with?) How come such a great tv show, with an amazing season three end so 'empty'?

Cat and Dr Jekyll just didn't do anything ????? And she was so promising, I thought the whole point was Vanessa having a "light" friend, but they only had two scenes together ??

What was the end of Caliban and Victor? Just accepting they suck?

We all already notice how poorly Dorian storyline was used, but not even a glimpse at the portrait or a little about his story?

And Lily, I just don't get why she gave up? And where did she went in the end? Is she at peace or not, what is the prospect for her immortal life now?

Why did Dracula just let them go after Vanessa died?
What is the point of Ethan being a werewolf if he didn't use that to kill Vanessa nor Dracula?
How does killing Vanessa solves the problem if as we saw she is the reincarnation of the Mother of Evil? Won't all that happen again and again in other lives?

The show was all about the strangers, the "abnormal" people that don't fit in our society, then with this end we have a very conservative final message: if you subvert the norm you will die or end unhappy. I'm quite disappointed.

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Oct 20, 2016
I didn't get the impression that Lily gave up! She gave up on Dorian, but not on her cause. She just won't let Dorian join. And Dracula let them go because without Vanessa, he just saw no point anymore.
The point of Ehtan being a werewolf was probably so he would survive this far in the first place, to be able to shoot Vanessa with his revolver. Had he not been a werewolf he would have died long ago and never killed Vanessa. And yes, it will happen again and again, that's why it is important that Ethan survives and shoots her again and again...
The end of Caliban and Victor was accepting not so much that they suck but that life sucks. And, summarizing... the point of it all was that in life, there's a lot that happens that doesn't have a point at all.
Sigh.

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Jun 24, 2016
What the heck happened with this show? It was so promising in season 1, and then a so-so season 2, then this season 3?

The ending felt rushed and really anti climatic? Something must have happened. Season 3 only has 9 instead of 10 episodes. All of Dracula's vampires were not even as scary as the vampires in season 1.

Did the writers run out of ideas? Because I don't feel like the story is coming to an end. With all the new characters, and Vanessa became the mother of all evil was not even as scary as when she was possessed in season 1 episode 9. The show really has lost its touch.

The actors too expensive to pay? Creative differences? No budget? The writers don't know how to continue the story?

What. Really. Happened?
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Jul 02, 2016
I don't think those were vampires actually, just servants. In the original Dracula there were vampires and servants like Renfield, the servants didn't get the vampiric superpowers (traditionally shapeshifting, immortality, healing, hypnotism, the whole aversion to sunlight thing), they just went weird and obsessive, picked up mental orders from their master and ate live things.
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Jun 24, 2016
BigSigh this is why I said spoiler alert, before, so people would stop reading. I'm not that kind of person.
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Oct 20, 2016
People who can read fluently usually see the following words against their will. There was no way NOT seeing "Glenn survives" RIGHT after spoiler alert. Fluent readers do not read letter by letter, they read half sentence by half sentence.
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Jun 24, 2016
If Logan all along always meant to end the series with Vanessa, why the heck didn't he end it with Vanessa over coming the darkness? So Ethan was never suppose to save her?? Just bring about her death. Everyone but her survived, I don't know what kind of message he was going for, but I'm not surprised people are not loving the finale, they could have, if not for that. In the TV landscape where (spoiler alert) Glenn survives, Jon Snow doesn't die, The hound survives, Elizabeth Keen, not dead. For such a great show, to end with the main character dying so tragically. It doesn't make sense after she fought back so long, to just give up. Also, to go in and face Dracula alone, with no help. Catriona tells Vanessa, she must do it alone without her help, she's done fighting, but then later goes to her aide with the others to find Vanessa? Another great plot device I guess. Sorry for the vent, but after first posting, and hearing he wanted to finish the show, wouldn't she won, and kept on fighting the forces of evil, have been a better ending.
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Jun 24, 2016
There was no reason for you to spoil so many other shows, no reason at all.

One or two I sort of get, as you want to make a point, but so many other good shows on here have the same fanbase as PD, it's cruel.
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Jun 23, 2016
I was completely disappointed. What a letdown. As I said on another forum, Vanessa spent three seasons....THREE, being chased by "The Master", tormented and driven almost to the point of insanity, and John decided to wrap it up with the most anticlimactic finale I've EVER seen. All this "Wolf of God" hype, and he shot her, after a few words, and a recitation of the Lord's Prayer. Wait...what? I coulda done that. I wanted an epic showdown, ESPECIALLY if it was all going to end. I didn't get it. Dracula? He just walked off...after all that frontin'. Wow.

There were waaaay too many loose ends. I guess it was always supposed to be only three seasons? Okay, well why have all these extra characters, if you were going to leave their stories half told? I was mad when they killed Sembene...still one of my favorite characters, without us knowing much of anything about him. What was the point?

I wanted to know what happened to John/Caliban/The Creature, before VIctor got to him? How did he die? I don't know, because nobody thought it was important enough to tell me.





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Jun 23, 2016
It's like this: If you look back at season 3 and look at it as a show that was writing with the plans for a fourth season, it makes sense. If, however, you know that Logan called the end of the show MID SEASON 2 and wrote season 3 TO BE THE END - as he revealed in interviews after this ep aired, then season 3 was a complete and utter gong show of FAIL. A million new subplots and plot threads and NOTHING from ANY of the 3 seasons resolved. And I could not agree more - What the actual fuck with KILLING Vanessa in the manner they did in a way that was completely against everything her character was. I would have liked her to live, but at the least couldn't she have died taking out Dracula, or have actually been in the last two eps for more than 7 minutes and had some sort of character arc that EXPLAINED this outcome?

Everything was working out fine until the last ten minutes hit and then the "The End" card followed by the powers that be revealing "We knew it was the end the whole time, but we didn't want to tell you! Tee hee!" In every possible way the series just pulled down its pants and took a big shit on itself in those last ten minutes, but really, on the entire season when you know IT WAS PLANNED TO BE THE END FROM THE START. No one can write a bloody ending! It's really not that hard folks. I was so completely crushed by this ending, and yelled, "I can do better than this!" and so, I AM. I spent four sleepless nights doing massive research on mythology trying to figure out what the HELL was with the show's odd mix of mythologies that was never really explained and what in the hell Vanessa was, and I was able to come up with something brilliant, and I am not Logan, who before those last few minutes had demonstrated himself to be a brilliant and talented writer. Give me those last minutes of the finale and four more eps, and I could wrap this all up (thank you fan fiction - thank you). I encourage all to write their own or look for others if/as they come out because the second I altered that final scene between Ethan and Vanessa, I stopped having rage and hating the show I had loved so dearly. It's good therapy for this shit ending. Dreadfuls, Penny Dreadful, and all these characters deserved so much better than this.
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Jun 23, 2016
Oh, I also have complete and utter rage about the lack of Eva Green in those last two eps. I mean, seriously WTF!?
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Jun 22, 2016
First up, let me say that I'm not usually a fan of this genre.

However, from the glorious opening credits, to a stellar cast, some phenomenal lines, to a lot of jump out of your seat scares, this was one of the best TV series I've ever watched.

As Price said in his fine review above, this finale was a pitiful end for this wonderfully erudite series and John Logan should hang his head in shame.
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Jun 26, 2016
Personally, I can't bring myself to believe that Logan should hang his head in shame, I do believe that speaking for myself, I'm far less willing to give his next TV show an honest shot.

The Dude knows how to make a great movie. The Last Samurai for example is on the list as one of the top five favorite movies I've ever seen in my lifetime, now that I'm forced to see PD as a prematurely completed self-contained story on the whole as opposed to the ongoing story striving for the goal of completion that it led me to have faith in, What I have to deal with is an incomplete story alongside claims akin to, "I meant to do that"

I don't like to be pissed on & being told that it's the rain.

The lesson I'm taking from this is that I can better trust Logan as a short-term storyteller for theatrical fare but not for the more long term televised stuff
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Jun 22, 2016
I will miss this show very much. Truly, its atmospheric beauty was unlike any other show that I've ever seen.
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Jun 21, 2016
I'm fucking pissed off!! Why the fuck would they end such a brilliant show!!! FUCK SHOWTIME!!!!!
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Jun 22, 2016
Showtime didn't cancel it. John Logan decided to end it while he was halfway through Season 2. Showtime wanted to keep it going. If you want to blame someone, blame Logan (and you should because the finale was fucking awful).
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Jun 22, 2016
Where do you get this information from?
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Jun 23, 2016
Logan has done a range of interviews that were released late Sunday night and early Monday to confirm this was planned since MID SEASON 2.
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Jun 24, 2016
For what I've read it was midseason 3 he realized the story came to an end. That's why the finale was so rushed and so many characters were undeveloped (Jekyll, Catriona), because Loganone day woke up and said: "I'm bored. I want to do another thing".
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Jun 22, 2016
Low rated? To make room for better? Because it ran its course?
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Jun 22, 2016
You're right Megan I'll I'll ignore him. It's like trying to argue with a door knob...a Canadian door knob ^_~
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Jun 22, 2016
Umm it got nominated for a damn Emmy! Plus it didn't run its course. Why the hell would they introduce Dr. Jackal and not Mr. Hyde? Plus introduce a bad ass character and not go into her background? They could've done a lot more with Dorian and could've brought in the invisible man Skinner. Ran its course?! I call bullshit on that one
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Jun 22, 2016
Ignore bigdreamz. He has been trolling the Penny Dreadful threads, stressing to people how happy he is it was canceled to make room for better shows and scolding people for using "foul language". He is either new to TV.com or Canadian... or both. bigdreamz, if you have so little concern for the show then why are you spending so much time commenting on threads about the show?
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Jun 22, 2016
"Umm" hmm LOL. An "Emmy", so what? I don't watch that either. Yes, shows introduce new characters. Most people don't write / say "I call bullshit", & most people are happy this cancellation makes room & budget for better shows.
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Jun 23, 2016
Nope, to all of the above.
But, the show's canceled, so you've won. Could you please go away now?
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Jun 21, 2016
I find it weird how it ended, and if you're going to introduce these women to Vanessa Ives who are all badasses, I'd love to see and learn more about them. I mean her psychiatrist seemed to grasp Vanessa wasn't crazy and adjusted to that reality rather quickly. There has to be a story behind that (maybe she's dealt with the supernatural herself). Cat can have a spinoff just based on her life that I would watch. I would also have loved for Ethan to run into the resurrected Lily at some point in this series.
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Jun 23, 2016
So many missed opportunities in this season. From now on I'll be thinking of the series as a two season only show to counteract the frustration and disappointment of this one.
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Jun 27, 2016
But that means you'll remember it as the group splitting up. Not sure that's how I would want to remember it either.
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Jun 21, 2016
It was a pile of crap that didn't make any sense and screw up what would have been a cult series. This season was being the best of the three until episode 7. Historic and expensive screw up, although i guess with the fog they saved quite a lot in landscaping. Yep, let me summarize the brilliant message: no hope for anyone, you better kill yourself now cause from here onwards it all goes down to shit and you only get to leave alone and on your knees. Sure. Let me find some poison, i'll be back in five.
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Jun 23, 2016
Yeah, when the theme of the show was always that monsters had a place and could be loved, but then they ended it with there's no place in this world for women who are different, and in fact, they all have to die to save the world? Because "A Blade of Grass" and Victor's behaviour this season was OBSESSED with women being "proper" and conforming, so it went beyond the monster message and suggested there's no place for women to be themselves in this world, so kill yourself. Whaaaaaaaaaaat? Logan drank himself some serious kool-aid this season with that finale.

What I loved about the show was the themes of redemption and a place for all the unloved creatures. The finale just spit in the face of that. Nope, sorry, if you feel like misfit or an outcast, kill yourself, because there's no place for you here.
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Jun 23, 2016
Exactly. You have to see that the people that created a show this beatiful would not give it such a bullshit ending on purpose. There's just no way. It is 2 episodes the filmed in case it wasn't renewed. One day we will know :-)
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Jun 21, 2016
Omg im going to miss this show SO MUCH.
I was also left unsatisified because I also thought she was going to be able to fight her demons and come out on top. And I also thought Ethan would be able to help save her, I thought that was the point of them connecting. I thought he was her saviour. I understand he did "save" her by killing her, but I just felt like REALLY? Thats the only solution? We watched her fight this war internally and externally for 3 seasons only for her to CAVE and then decide to die, leaving Dracula living?
I can only imagine it was this ending because the series was canceled and they needed to rush the ending but I was still disappointed.

But at the same I very much enjoyed it for what it was! So many great moments.
I cried like a little baby multiple times and I am still grieving this show. Definitely a show I will come back to you one day, to watch all over again. I miss these characters terribly .
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Jun 23, 2016
Agree wholeheartedly.
I had to go back and watch the brilliant cut wife episode from last season just to make myself feel better but after watching what was my favorite episode I felt even more frustrated because the show is/was capable of such brilliance...yet they gave us this?
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Jun 21, 2016
... Did you find the series finale satisfying?
I cried through most of it so... yes? For me, PD was never about the plot or the action, or really even the characters. It was a contemplation of humanity and the duality between a monster and man. All the characters were guilty of monstrous things in different ways, they looked for redemption in different places, and they had to come to terms with their nature and their place in the world. I'm not disappointed in this finale in the least because even though I would have liked to see Vanessa continue fighting, her acceptance of who she was and how life was never anything but torment for her was poignant.

It would have been fun to see Lily rip the three stooges to pieces, but ultimately it was more satisfying for her to make Victor understand he had become the monster he had created, while the monster overcame his nature and found humanity. Likewise, Dorian became his portrait, forever frozen in time. Likewise, Jekyll always was Hyde; his monstrosity needed no serums but it was always part of him. All the literary subplots really were about how people don't make monsters (through science or through magic), but they become monsters by their choices and their actions. And they can find salvation through the same.

I am surprised, though, that Vanessa featured so little in the final two episodes, and my only gripe is that this incredibly strong woman felt sidelined in her own story. I guess the point was to highlight how everyone tried to save her, but she understood that she should aim to save her soul instead. I just wish she would have featured more prominently in doing it.
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Jun 21, 2016
I... I... I don't know what to...
Of course it was great, some subplots were never planned to go anywhere, but...
All this time, I was hoping that they would find the friendship and HELP from Caliban, maybe even Lily to fight the goddamn prophecy, and in they end... they, well she just... gave in. I'm at loss at words, thoughts and periods.
At least 4 episodes short a legend.
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Jun 21, 2016
Hmm...it ended without any fight, fuss or drama...interesting. True love triumphant till the end.
Vanessa is the source, the mother of all electricity plants that generates evil nuclear fusion that Kim Jong un aka Dracula, uses to terrorise the world and we have the asset (Vanessa) totally unprotected whilst jolly Dracula plays pac man battle with everybody else that didn't matter. Some priority.

Ending was sweet, achingly painful but uneventful. Still, props to Eva Green-she rules! Alas, it's the end. Run along now creatures of the night, make way for The Preacher and Outcast, they are taking over. I see another over the near horizon, Midnight, Texas. Dun keep us waiting ya?
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Jun 21, 2016
Thank you for all of your recaps Price it was so great having an extra taste of Penny Dreadful after watching an ep! Unlike the ending of the show I was satisfied with your last recap, but was hoping for a slide of Dr Seward's "Fk Him", that was the best line!

I am so disappointed they didn't announce this was the last season when they found out. I wasn't mentally prepared watching the finale to be it's last, it was rushed and unsatisfying.

I don't mind that Vanessa died but I do mind that she was barely in the finale, was she busy filming something else or some other reason? It just didn't make sense to barely include the strongest character and actor in the most important part of the series! The whole plot leading up to her and Ethan's destinies seemed ruined by the rushed and poor ending, I thought she'd at least become evil and have a showdown with the gang before they converted her back or something.

I think the show and in particular Vanessa, Lily, and Ethan deserved a better written ending.

I loved Mr Lyle and am glad he made an appearance this season!

I liked the charming character of Dr Sweet but felt he was a rather emo and non-badass Dracula, and how he just kind of left at the end was lame.

Cat was a great character and I would of liked to see her story, I think her and Ethan (or Vanessa) would of hit it off.

Kaetenay and Dr Seward were great characters too. Renfield was an effin weirdo.

Mega disappointed Ethan and Lily never met!!!!

Dorian's character had so much potential to be evil and awesome but was pretty much a pointless character that kind of connected with everyone fleetingly but never really went anywhere and his portrait was so underwhelming.

Jekyll seemed like another nothing character unless we got to see Hyde.

I found John's character boring and annoying, I liked how he finally had a purpose as Vanessa's orderly but disliked everything else about him and his story. I was never really a big fan of Victor either.

I liked how close Sir Malcolm and Ethan got towards the end, but felt Ethan's brief encounter with his dark side and Hecate was very rushed. I also loved Sir Malcolm's good guyness this season.

I read an article saying that the writers planned for 3 seasons all along and didn't want to tell us so as not to ruin the (garbage) "surprise". After watching the show and reading all the comments from you guys I agree it doesn't make sense and is total insulting bs, but at least it got an ending I guess, albeit a terrible one. Many shows I love get cancelled after the first season so I am grateful I had 3 stunning seasons of PD.

RIP Penny Dreadful, you were taken from us much too soon, you will be missed. It pains me that your beauty will cease to continue yet some truly horrible shows get to live on well past their deserved time.
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Jun 21, 2016
... Did you find the series finale satisfying?
Yes, it was beautiful
... Did Vanessa deserve a more heroic death?
No. If she had to die, that was the way to go.
... Are you disappointed we never met a proper Mr. Hyde?
I would have loved to see the show continue.
... Will Ethan ever find love now?
He did. Twice.
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Jun 21, 2016
Well, as Dr. Who once said, I hate endings. I did not find the series finale satisfying, mainly because the season was rushed, and we never knew it was coming. Characters were introduced, Dr. Jekyll, and went no where. I Loved this show, and am glad we at least got three seasons, but to end it the way they did for Vanessa, so sad.

I liked that Frankenstein, grew a heart, and released Lily. Never understood why Brona never mentioned a child, to Ethan, but it was a plot device I guess, the real reason she did not want to forget who she once was. I expected Caliban's whole family to die, but his wife asking to resurrect their son, and his refusal, so heart breaking. The creature did become more human than his creator, in the end.

I also like that Lily did was not vengeful, when she returned to Dorian. Tired of being a monster, I think she realized Dorian was living in his own form of Hell. He told her that eventually she would have no more empathy, or emotions for anyone, once she'd lived as long as he did. Immortally was a curse. Dorian, was sad hollow shell. He could feel no more, and that is not who she wanted to be.

Poor Dr. Jekyll. I can't imagine the actor is not annoyed, he in the end written as another plot device to move Lily's forward. What a huge waste.

I loved, that the gang got together for the showdown, but no Wolf man/ Dracula fight? The worst is Miss Ives. Vanessa deserved better, she suffered so much. I wish she had been able to resist the forces of evil, and her and Ethan could have finally been together, sigh.

I guess the rest of the story will have to be fan fiction. There was so much more to tell. The talk of reincarnation by Malcom at the end had me thinking, Vanessa's true soul would be passed on to another. Eve Green, would play an entirely different woman, and Ethan would meet her. Why not, they did that with the Cut wife, and Brona. If only they could have ended it like that. Ms. Green was the heart of the show, but all because Vanessa died, didn't mean she couldn't have come back. Next season could have explored that, and the Mr. Hyde transformation, plus the Mummy would have been great, with Catriona, leading the gang. She reminded me of Rebecca Fog, from The Secret Adventure Of Jules Verne.

Thanks for doing the recaps, really enjoyed them.









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Jun 21, 2016
@pricepeterson
If you feel that the subplots were pointless, you've truly missed the point.
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Jun 21, 2016
Bravo!
Encore!
ENCORE!
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Jun 21, 2016
Nooo at least please make a spin off with Catriona please?
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Jun 22, 2016
I would love a show centred on either her or Lord Hyde!
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Jun 21, 2016
Yep, create a great character for 3 episodes, what a waste. Showtime are the worst at ending shows.
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Jun 23, 2016
There are so few series finales that are done well because everyone goes for the cheap and expended shock endings and the "let's kill everyone because we can!" options. It's so tired and LAZY. Put some damned effort in, writers!
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Jun 23, 2016
We were missing like 9 more episodes between episodes 7 and 8, Xena. At the pace that it was going and to make it justice. They got a money problem and patched it up.
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Jun 21, 2016
That ending was a smack in the face; Price's photo recap is phenominal (as always). This being a planned series finale is bogus. With all of the things done and characters introduced this season, story lines clumsily and abruptly tied up, no way was this planned from the start of the season.
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Jun 22, 2016
Everyone that worked on the show says it was planned. It was an awful and lazy plan but it was planned.
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Jun 22, 2016
No way on earth. They probably were all happy to know what they were going to do afterwards after the thing had been decided but a show that was going so well, so strucutred until episode 7 of this season, does not plan such a shitty ending. What they probably mean with 'planned' is that the shoot two endings in case it wasn't renewed. So they would not be totally lying, but it is still not true. They got cancelled and we got a patched end. Anyone knows this, and will know it forever when the show comes out on dvd with that crappy ending. It's insulting, really, that they think we are this stupid.
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Jun 23, 2016
No, Logan has said that he always intended the show to be a short run, this was always Vanessa's arc, and he decided mid season 2 season 3 would be the end. Which is why it's such a complete gong show since it was PLANNED to be THIS BADLY ended.
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Jun 23, 2016
And i'm sure he meant it to be shorter, but then they made it longer and got cut off from budget in the middle and cancelled unofficially, and then came out with this crap of a rushed ending and lied to us. One day the truth will come out!
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Jun 23, 2016
Forgive me but i still think they are lying. It is worse than bad, it is 2 pasted episodes at the end of a series, that have nothing to do with the rest of it, and then some creators telling us to 'let go'. Yeah, i let go fine, but you people from Penny Dreadful are lying to us.
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Jun 21, 2016
No way indeed. There's a whole season missing between episode 7 and the finale. Plus what kind of fucking message is this giving us?
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Jun 23, 2016
I agree completely on your points, and it's why I am so angry it WAS planned out so badly.
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Jun 22, 2016
A message that it's a great round of renewals & cancellations overall this year.
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Jun 21, 2016
I'm not going to say season three was bad. It was amazing, and to be honest, I thought it was being better than the previous ones.

But after episode 7, they obviously just got rushed to tie it up on a "end". Which ended up just being Vanessa's ending. Such a shame. I liked to see that Seward and Catriona had more to do this final episodes tho. And I loved Vanessa's morticia look.

But there's so many bad explained things...Dracula didn't reacted to his beloved's death? His conclusion was to...just, literally, get out of the front of the camera? We will never see his "inhuman form"...if he was "killable" on his human form, we could've at least see that hapening. Victor just joined the team out of nowhere? K

Well, such a shame. No matter how much they lie about "it was always planned to be 3 seasons", it's OBVIOUS that it wasn't. They obviously had more plans to characters like Jekyll. The conclusion also, was obviously rushed. But, I'll have to say: even if Penny had thousand seasons, I think Dorian would keep being useless and boring.

But, even with the most rushed and scooped writting, this finale had some great dialogue moments, because, you know, it's Penny Dreadful. And I kinda enjoyed Lily and Dorian's last conversation.

I think Vanessa surrending to evil because she was found alone without her friends was a tragic but brilliant end. But it should be better worked, with much more dialogues and blablabla's. The last scene being the creature alone above her grave, I think fits she show very well. In another circunstances, this could have been a really good end.
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Jun 21, 2016
I agree with you on everything except Vanessa would have been rescued from this situation and, if she needed to die, this was defenitely not the way.
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Jun 21, 2016
I was trying to figure out why Wes Studi's wolfman seemed wrong. Yeesh.

They really shortchanged a pile of fantastic actors to drag this to an abrupt close. There needed to be an end in sight but one more season would have done it. I really don't think there's anything else on Showtime I care to watch, now that Nurse Jackie is over (they brought that to an appropriate close without rushing it, why not this?). What a beautiful oddity it was. I guess we'll find out more of how this derailment came to be in the various post-mortems.

I'm glad that at least Victor grew the fuck up. I'm a sucker for a redemption story and loved seeing the fellas hugging toward the end. I was on the fence about Jekyll, but the "...Lord Hyde" bit was pretty lame and as Price says, beneath the show. If there's a spinoff, he's the last one I'd care to follow. I warmed up to Cat but she seemed like a bit of a one-note Powerful Woman who Eschews Gender Stereotypes. None of the final two felt as high quality as the series as a whole has been. But some great performances still came out of it (Renfield for one) and the chat between Malcolm and Ethan in Vanessa's room might as well have been us trying to work out how we were going to survive without Penny Dreadful.

Really hope we get to see some of these actors in something great again, maybe even some of them reunited. They all earned some serious street in this gorgeous crazy completely unique thing. Take chances, creators. Skip the formulas and forge your own path. Take a page from this terrible glorious book.
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Jun 21, 2016
I was trying to figure out why Wes Studi's wolfman seemed wrong. Yeesh.

it was trash. In a hammer's horror movie's way of trash. Funny in someway. So I don't know if I hated it or loved it.
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Jun 21, 2016
The thing is, everything about this episode screamed "series finale," but nothing else about this final season screamed "final season." The whole season felt like it was another chapter in the story, not the ending. Had I known it was the final season, I probably would have been a little more critical of how much time was spent on certain stories. It wasn't set up as the end until the final episode, and as a result...well....the result was rushed. Vanessa simply dying just feels way too fucking simple.

I've really enjoyed this season, but I can't get behind this abrupt ending. All it really accomplished was ending Vanessa's story, and it didn't do a very good job of that. Like I said, just killing her is too easy. She wasn't even in the penultimate episode, and barely in the finale itself. What about the other characters? Why introduce characters like Henry Jekyll and Catriona Hartdegen (who I fucking loved) and establish them as characters who were clearly meant to go further and then just end the show?

So no, not happy with this. The show did grow on me. It went from a show I didn't care about and almost gave up on (season 1), to a show I really started to enjoy), to one of my favorite shows this year...until the ending.
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Jun 21, 2016
I was TREMENDOUSLY SADDENED by the series ending, but I DIDN'T HATE the finale.
Sure, if that were JUST A SEASON FINALE, they could have kept Vanessa alive and fighting demons, but since it was a SERIES FINALE, they needed to end it somehow, and poor Vanessa never got a break, so dead she ended up.
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So, nope, didn't hate the finale. It game closure.
Who I am really mad at is the show's "show runners" for treating this beautiful and brave series so badly.
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Jun 21, 2016
logan actually tried to write an ending that served his series well, and for that he should be applauded , as well as all the actors involved. for thinking we would swallow the kool aid about this was a planned 3 season show, he earns my disregard, wont watch his next show because he doesn't stand up for his creation(even victor did that much!) special thanks to abel korzeniowski for the haunting theme he wrote"let me die" near the end it reminded me of a lush Arvo Part requiem. simply beautiful and well placed. and thank you to Patti Lupone for her "fuck him" Another unsatisfying vampire tale, is that all this was worth, john logan,tsk tsk
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Jun 21, 2016

I hope that Netflix picks up this show and pretends that this Finale never happened, picking up right after the first part of it.
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Jun 21, 2016
Deadpool rewrote history to make itself possible, and that worked out pretty well.
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Jun 21, 2016
Now that it is all (uncerimoniously?) over - i might give it another shot

I watched the first half of the first season and gave up
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Jun 21, 2016
I was very disappointed with the finale. It just felt rushed in the end. I had loved Dorian & Lily's arc but it went no where. I was excited to learn more about Catriona, she had excellent potential but that will never be explored. I was less excited about Jekyll as he was a bit of a douche but it seems pointless to have brought him in at all now.

Most of all I'm disappointed that Vanessa felt she had no other choice but to die. I don't feel that a character as strong &stubborn as Vanessa Ives would have so easily gave in. I'm not saying it should have had one big happy ending - Penny Dreadful was never that type of show - I just feel it could have felt a bit more cathartic.
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Jun 21, 2016
The text recaps are up for Perpetual Night.

and The Blessed Dark.
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Jun 21, 2016
So, a critically acclaimed CBS run show that didn't make a ton of money for them is unceremoniously dumped. Hmm, that sounds really familiar to me.
Oh well, life goes on as they say. Just being introduced to Eva Green and being able to experience works of art like "Blade of Grass" is something I will always be grateful for, and makes the time I invested in the show more than worth it.
I won't go into all the flaws in the final episodes, since they have been covered nicely by the review and other posters, except to say that I agree that saying this had been planned all along is an insult to anyone with the intelligence required to enjoy a show like this in the first place.
If the truth behind all of this ever does come out, the thing I want to know the most is why Eva Green was used so sparingly in those final episodes. It's like you're saying that your grand design all along was to take the main character and best actor on your show and reduce their contribution in the final episodes to a few short scenes. Ummm, yea.
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Jun 21, 2016
I'm confused if the writers were actually aware that this was their final season or not because for a final season they sure were introducing a lot of new story-heavy characters and potential arcs.

Out of all the new characters introduced, in theory, the therapist was the only one whose back story could have been wrapped up in half an episode.

And they spent a lot of time riding around the desert and focusing on Ethan's own combat against evil and his girlfriend from the last season just to suddenly kill her off and have him be okay again.

Then there was Lilly and Dorian and I reckon that they could/should have been one of the big bads of the season. After all, two immortal creatures who are determined to cause chaos through the murdering of johns? That story has potential and could have held the audiences interest through the moral quandaries alone.

And Dr Jekyll? Why introduce so many potential antagonists and story lines in the last season?

Meanwhile Vanessa's story line seemed to value quantity over quality. As usual, she was given the most screen time but for what? She started off strong and then in one episode decided to become a vampire and then just died?!

I was kind of hoping for a happy end for her and Ethan but I guess you can't always get what you want.
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Jun 21, 2016
I think that, during the production of season 3, they just were alarmed by showtime that the show would must come to an end.

The audience wasn't great, but wasn't bad either I guess. But the budget was too high. So, it's clear that, till episode seven this season was following a organic pacing and setting things straight. It was working really well.

Last three episodes things just suddenly got very rushed.
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Jun 21, 2016
I don't believe for a minute that the plan was always to end it now, like this. Unless Logan is a distractible infant who loves things obsessively and then grows tired of it and discards it without a second thought.
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Jun 21, 2016
I HATED the finale, so much. Actually, the one thing I loved was the opening. The song was beautiful and the montage with scenes of previous episodes all in blue was so, so pretty. Considering I always skipped the opening because urgh spiders, I loved being able to watch this one.

I get the feeling they found out halfway through the season that they were not coming back because the pacing is all wonky in the end. There were a lot of stories/characters that meant nothing and that bothers me so much, in so many shows. I'd rather have only 4 characters in action but well-developed ones.

What saddens me the most is that we didn't get to see Mr. Lyle in Cairo or whatever. He was my favorite. The show could've go on for another season, just one more, and play out the Dracula thing as it was supposed to (not to mention the Jekyll thing, give more story to Catriona, keep Dr. Seward, etc).

Well, thank God for fanfiction, I guess.
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Jun 21, 2016
*shrug* The show seemed like "Yeah, we think we're going to get a fourth season. Let's set things up. Whoops, no we're not."

As such, Henry and Catriona were both pretty poorly served.

Lily and Dorian didn't really go anywhere. Their plot was pretty lame anyway: "We will create an army of 30 whores to cut off the right hand of johns in London." Ooh, scary, boys and girls." I mean yes, it would have been unpleasant and terrifying and resulted in hundreds of deaths. But it wasn't going to change the world or anything, was it?

Caliban spent pretty much the whole season doing jack-all as far as contributing to the overall plot. Which wouldn't have been so bad, except... he never really did. In season 1 they were killing vampires in Caliban's own theater, for pete's sake, and he was nowhere to be seen.
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Jun 21, 2016
"The main thing you need to know is it all ended with this title card, so if there was any question as to whether this series would be coming back for a fourth season, this put that to bed immediately."

Well, the show could come back for a 4th season. Money talks, nobody wtalks. I wouldn't mind seeing a new season with Seward ("Fuck him."), Catriona, Lord Hyde, and Kaetenay as a new team. John/Caliban, Lily, Dorian are still out there and there stories are mostly untold. Even if they dump Ethan, Malcolm, and Victor.
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Jun 21, 2016
Exactly! They could have made Dorian a traitor to the dark forces and then kill him for good, with Malcom, Ethan, Cat, Caliban and Lily, there was a chance to add someone new, have Nemo appear, either as a villain or a member of the group, or both, introduce new enemies from that period, Fu Manchu, Hecate coming back and Dracula and Lucifer still lurking in the background. IT LITERALLY WRITES ITSELF! lol
No seriously, I'm bummed.
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Jun 21, 2016
Resurrect Hecate and it would be great.
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Jun 21, 2016
They could also make Amun ressurect Vanessa.

"You thought commiting suicide would be enough to get rid of me? You stupid girl. They don't call me Mother of All Evil for nothing!"
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Jun 21, 2016
I'm truly baffled at how disappointing this finale was. This show was so gorgeous and special, it really is a shame that it ended so poorly :/
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Jun 21, 2016
Thank you so much for recapping the show, Price! It's been so much fun.
I didn't think this finale was satisfying at all. It was, as you said, still a Penny Dreadful episode with fantastic production value, poetry and class, but it frequently felt rushed (like two weeks some network executive told John Logan they were killing the show and they needed to wrap it up pronto). So many character decisions were random and spontaneous as opposed to thought out and elaborated such as Dorian's change of heart regarding Lily, Lily suddenly not wanting to kill Victor or Dorian anymore, Dorian just tagging along with Sir Malcolm and the others after he's not been involved with the main plot for ages. And most of all, Vanessa. Last episode, she was intent on bringing down Dracula, then changed her mind in the end and became the queen of evil. Now, in one instant she relishes being evil while in the next she trys to commit suicide by Wolfman.

So much of this is out of character not only for the characters, but for the show itself. Penny Dreadful was much slower than most shows out there, but you could also say it was simply meticulous. This finale wasn't meticulous. Moreover, it also ended unfinished. So many threads were left hanging in the air, from the newly introduced characters to the themes introduced in 'A Blade of Grass', the duality of Lucifer and Dracula and their contest over Vanessa chief among them.

However, I'll still look back on Penny Dreadful with a smile on my face. It was a great ride, all things considered! kthxbai
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Jun 21, 2016
"Dorian just tagging along with Sir Malcolm"

I think you mean Victor. If only Dorian had ever tagged along with anyone. Say what you will about League of Extraordinary Gentleman, but at least they gave Dorian Gray something useful to do without just turning him into Immortal Regenerator Guy.
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Jun 21, 2016
Right, of course. I liked Dorian's interactions with Vanessa but he's never really had a connection to the rest of the characters. His themes of immorality and societal rebellion against the Victorian class have always been quite disjunct from the good vs. evil theme Vanessa et al. have dealt with.
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Jun 21, 2016
"Say what you will about League of Extraordinary Gentleman,"

The movie, not the comic book.
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Jun 21, 2016
While I can understand a show ending without tying up every "loose end," this finale felt like it rushed ALL of the show's (very interesting) storylines to completion (you could also consider them just dropped instead of completed, because of how lousy they were handled) so certain characters could then be used in the attempt to rescue Ms. Ives.

That, to me, is what makes the news of this finale being planned from the start seem like a lie.
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Jun 21, 2016
Showtime - Big fat liers!
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Jun 21, 2016
Did you find the series finale satisfying?
- Nope, though being Penny Dreadful the episode was still good, not for a series finale-good but, good

Did Vanessa deserve a more heroic death?
- HELL YEAH!

Are you disappointed we never met a proper Mr. Hyde?
- Yeah, and i agree, what was the point of introducing the character in the first place? this was one of many reasons this finale seemed quite rushed. The creator of the show said that this was the way the show was going to end...yeah, right.

Will Ethan ever find love now?
- Sure, who doesn't like a werewolf, they're fun! =P
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Jun 21, 2016
I'm too emotional to talk about the finale right now. IT SUCKED.
So let me recite some poetry:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

It's part of a poem by Dylan Thomas. It's not exactly Victorian but it illustrates my feelings perfectly. WTF Showtime? WTF lying son of bitch John Logan? I wish there was still the WTF/FTW on Friday on this once blossoming site. I kind of miss it and we desperately need one this week. Penny Dreadful finale: WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF.

The End.



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Jun 21, 2016
Thumbs up for the Thomas poem.

And honestly, that's kind of what I thought the show was supposed to be about: Vanessa's (or all of the characters really) eternal/lifelong struggle not to give in to her evil impulses. The ending that we got makes it seem like she quit the fight, and that kind of destroys the message of the show (imo).
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Jun 21, 2016
I couldn't say it better myself.
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