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And so we meet the final episode with the finale, with "Grand Guignol". For those who have complained I prefer a strong storyline in previous episodes and that's expecting too much, don't be surprised that I expected it here, too. I don't mind the occasional non-chronological sidetrack ("Closer Than Sisters"), but this was supposed to be the big wrap-up to season 1. The finale, the bringing down of the curtain, the closer.

And... it was okay. The big story arc was the Mina/vampire piece. And it kind of ended on a mediocre note. First of all, one convenient vision from Vanessa and they found the vampires. Eh. It would have been nice for the vampires to somehow play into Caliban. Like him discovering that they were invading his domain, going after them, and finding himself fighting side-by-side with the League of Extraordinary Gentle Others (or LEGOs, as I like to call them). But really, it just ended up to be random chance that they ended up at the theater with no tie-in to anything else. They could have been hanging out at any random theater or warehouse in London.

So the bald vampire wasn't the Master, right? Despite the fact that Fenton called him Master back during the home invasion of Vanessa's room. And when Baldy died, all the female vampires died which suggests that he's their progenitor. But after Baldy is dead, Mina is still "alive" and says that the Master will still be around to make the LEGOs his vampiric spawn. So she was converted by the real Master, and Baldy was the mini-Master. Figuring that Fenton just didn't know better. That seems overly complicated, but okay. And the Master was originally described as a nobleman, not a near-naked bald cracked-face blood drinker



Top of the world, ma!

That leaves us with the wrap-up of the Malcolm-Vanessa-Mina triangle. Not surprisingly, Malcolm chooses Vanessa over Mina when he realizes that he can't save his daughter. Not that he seemed to make much of an attempt. What happened to Victor trying to find a transfusion cure? Sure, Mina was holding Vanessa by the throat and it was do-or-kill time. Still, it seemed odd that the main reason that they brought Victor in—to find a cure for vampirism—never really played out.



Honey, you got real ugly

Also the fact that these were Egyptian vampires and tied into Amun-Ra never seemed to amount to anything, either. It was basically just a clue to finding them on the Egyptian ship.

Okay, so Mina's dead, the Master is still apparently out there somewhere, and Storyline A is temporarily resolved. What else happened?

Quite a bit, and that's where John Logan comes into his own. For the first time in a while, this episode was an ensemble episode. As I've noted in the past, yes, Eva Green is a great actress but she does get a little tiring in her Tim Burton fashion stylings. So it's nice to see Treadway, Kinnear, and even Hartnett and Dalton get some more screen time and plot development.



Helena Bonham Carter, eat your heart out

So thankfully, we get a lot of Rory Kinnear this episode. Even if the character is somewhat inconsistent, breaking necks one minute, pining for love from the equally inconsistent Maude the next (weren't she and Simon laughing at Caliban a couple of weeks ago?), and then almost-raping her. But Mr. Kinnear's performance manages to make all of that almost believable, up to and including the scene where he throws himself on Victor's mercy.



No Means No, Part Uno

So Victor steps up to fatherhood and grows a pair. By offing Brona and taking her corpse back to his attic for some reanimation work. We also get a payoff on the Chekov's Gun from last week, twice, as Victor puts his training under Ethan to use by first preparing to kill Victor, and then later shooting it out with the Brides of Baldy in the basement.

Ethan doesn't have a whole lot to do except mourn Brona, share a cigarette or marijuana with Vanessa, and act as straight man to the overacting Stephen Lord (Rumplestiltskin's father on Once Upon a Time), as Mr. Roper, a Pinkerton agent with a British accent rather than John Ritter's apartment manager. Everyone's favorite Latin-spouting exorcist/Wild West gunman finally has enough of the two oafs sent to find him and goes back to where he lives. So Mr. Kidd didn't really have to do much to track him. And then Ethan blows his cover by wolfing out and killing them along with presumably everyone else hanging out at the Mariner's Inn where he lives.

Malcolm remains a SOB but gets redemption of a sort by choosing Vanessa over Mina. Not that it was really much of a choice since he wasn't going to get Mina back even if he spared her. Still, he and Vanessa share a nice bonding moment at the end talking about a Christmas tree.

What about Dorian? He... really doesn't do much of anything. No explanation of his back story or his mysterious scratch-healing portrait. No follow-up with his session with Ethan. Vanessa does reject him and he has to deal with that. Sorta. Dorian really seems to be on the show to have sex with half the cast including both the females. Three down and four to go for next year, Dorian.



No Means No, Part Deux

There's also an odd appearance by Madame Kali, who seems to be a member of the British version of the NRA. She flirts with Malcolm over her pocket pistol *ahem*, he flirts back, and he goes on his way. Presumably this is a prelude to next season, as it doesn't do anything more than consume screen time in this episode.

Oh, and Billie Piper is dying, plays dead, and gets another long-distance "could be anybody's face" nude shot. Hopefully she has more to do next year as the Bride of Caliban. Which is an obvious payoff to her story arc. Just as Ethan being a wolfman was the obvious payoff to his story arc. Logan went with the obvious routes here, and presented the reveals in a straightforward manner.



I'm still not quite dead yet
And that leaves the final scenes. The surprisingly jovial priest offers to perform an exorcism for Vanessa but wonders if she wants to be normal instead of enjoying the "backhand of God." And a closing montage of scenes that didn't show Sembene. I was hoping for a scene of him celebrating a normal Christmas with his wife and 12 kids in London. Or strangling a cat and hanging it on a Christmas tree. Or hanging shrunken heads on a Christmas tree.

So what does season 2 hold? Caliban and Brona together for the first time. Ethan dealing with his father. Backstory on Sembene! No more theater shenanigans? Something with Madame Kali if the hints dropped this episode are any indication. Back to the Egyptian apocalypse. And the return of the real Master we've never seen.

But it's a fun eight episodes. Sometimes puzzling but always entertaining, and a bit heavy on Eva Green. Catch you all in 48 weeks or so.
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