Penny Dreadful Series Finale Review: The End, But At What Cost?

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After a strong three-season run, Penny Dreadful has finally come to an end. That was evident when the words “The End” flashed across the screen. Perhaps it was wishful thinking but I really thought that the show would continue on for a couple more seasons. I’m still not willing to accept that a show as good as this is finally over. But such is the case here. And if the finale is anything to go by, Penny Dreadful has decided to end on it’s own terms. It’s really Penny Dreadful at it’s most terrifying, most gory and most artsy. I’m not really sure they could have ended it better. Everything about it is just perfect from start to finish.

Finales are meant to provide closure for our characters. If the Penny Dreadful Finale is to be judged by the amount of closure it provides, then it fails spectacularly in that regard. What it actually does, is an ode to seasons past. That’s how I’ll describe it. It provides an end to Vanessa’s struggle all these years, an end to The Creature’s quest to find acceptance, an end to Victor’s notions about conquering life and death. Every character is given their due share. Everyone except Vanessa.

This season, The Creature was finally reunited with his family. Now, he’s literally left in pieces when his son dies. His wife wants him to go to Frankenstein and ask him to resurrect his son. But The Creature’s suffered enough and doesn’t want the same to happen to his son. Here is the wife that’s the only person in the world willing to accept him and here she asks him something that he cannot do. It’s the final message that the creature will never find acceptance in this cruel world.

Lily is a different matter. Her sob story manages to convince Frankenstein that she is who she is. He frees her but it’s already too late. Dorian has already killed Justine and ended her crusade. Dorian thinks that she’ll come back and he’ll be ‘waiting with the pictures’. Dorian Gray has been taken from ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’. Even though Dorian will never age, the Portraits will and they will record every sin that he commits. It’s the philosophical things that we’ve come to expect from Dorian and the show.

As for the main conflict, Catriona and Dr. Seward are heavily involved in it. After getting attacked by Renfield and successfully capturing him, they manage to track Dracula down. Ethan is technically supposed to be Dracula’s mortal enemy, thus the only one who can beat him. But as long as Vanessa is alive, Dracula is practically invincible. So, when Ethan does meet Vanessa, it’s evident that her struggle must end. So with a final prayer and a kiss, Ethan kills his beloved and ends Dracula’s reign.

Vanessa’s death causes the fog to lift. Everything’s back to normal except that Ethan’s lost the love of his life, Sir Malcolm’s lost a daughter and The Creature has lost a friend. In fact The Creature has lost the only friend he ever had. Maybe that’s why the last thing we see is him kneeling over Vanessa’s grave.

Obviously, there’s some loose ends here. What happened to Dracula? What about Lily and Dorian? What about the newly anointed Lord Hyde? Of course, where is Mr. Lyle? Will Catriona turn into a vampire hunter? I see the opportunity of a great spinoff so maybe all hope is not lost.


Penny Dreadful Series Finale Review


In the penultimate episode of Penny Dreadful, Vanessa’s struggle comes to an end at the cost of her life while each of our characters find closure one way or another.

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