White Clothes, Take Warning: Penny Dreadful Season Finale

Warnings: spoilers and episodic rant, as usual

The title is a parody of a TV trope “Red Eyes, Take Warning.”

In a gothic horror series whose setting is in never-have-a-sunny-day London and characters’ wardrobe consisting mainly of dark clothes, when the light is bright and our beloved characters dress in white (all white, no less) you immediately know something’s definitely NOT alright. And indeed, ‘bad’ is a massive understatement.

In Round 1 we have Vanessa VS the Devil aka Lucifer, who just has to possess a ventriloquist doll that looks like Vanessa and speaks with her voice. Really, Lucifer? He’s the Fallen Angel, he’s powerful and he wants to eradicate humankind and God – couldn’t he have chosen a more formidable vessel to speak to his intended? Couldn’t he masquerade as Sir Malcolm or Ethan like he did in season 1? That worked just fine. But no, Luci wants something new because playing the same trick again is lame. So he presented himself in a (clay? Porcelain? Plastic?) doll whose face is smashed by Vanessa (I was very tempted to say “In your face, Luci!”). Guess his ‘bride’ is neither impressed nor pleased seeing him as a dummy, right? Bad choice is just… bad.

Capture

So they engage in a verbal fight – seriously they yell at each other in un-subtitled Verbis Diablo for a few minutes, leaving us totally baffled as to what they are saying – and Vanessa emerges victorious, but that’s only after Lucifer has tempted her with a vision that is basically the ultimate dream of any Vanethan (Vanessa x Ethan) shipper: she is married to Ethan and they live in a luxurious house with two lovely kids all in white – a scene taken right from a fluffy alternate universe fanfiction. So, I’ve finally had the honor to see the renowned ‘Claire Chandler’, the ‘daughter’ of Vanessa and Ethan Vanethan shipper keep ranting about; too bad so far she only exists in a tempted vision Vanessa has promptly rejected. Here the question that concludes season 1 comes around: “Do you want to be normal?” and this time we get to hear Vanessa’s answer.

wrx

Vanessa is very wise to reject Lucifer’s offer, despite how peaceful and loving it may be to her (and to shippers). Sure the Devil can give her a dreamy family like that, no doubt it’s within his power, but there’s no way the Ethan in that vision is the real Ethan: the real Ethan is full of guilt and pain for what he’s done and will probably continue doing every full moon – didn’t he just kill his friend, Sembene? In order for him to become the ‘perfect’ husband in that dream Lucifer has to 1. brainwash him completely or 2. replace him completely. Can Vanessa find peace and happiness with an empty shell like that? Sorry Luci, your ‘bride’ is too smart a woman and your bait only succeeds in catching the Vanethan shippers. Good luck next time!

Vanessa: 10          Lucifer: 0

We have just reveled in Vanessa’s victory and are extremely eager to watch Round 2 – Vanessa VS Evelyn Poole, the witch who has shown her cunningness and viciousness throughout the season, who has been successfully built up to be a formidable foe (forgive the alliteration) for our heroine. Deep down we all knew before it even starts that Evelyn would undoubtedly lose the battle; we only wait for how awesome it would be. But no, Vanessa has just crushed the Devil and she is in need of a break so tada~ here comes Ethan, all furry and bloody (with Sembene’s blood). It’s pretty a curb-stomp battle as Evelyn isn’t able to utter a single word of Verbis Diablo before Ethan claws her throat out. See the fatal weakness of witches? They are fundamentally very powerful; however, their powers come from time-consuming, complicated rituals that never, ever serve well in a one-on-one battle. All it takes is an element of surprise, a traitorous daughter and a really sharp claw and take that, bitch!!

Ethan: 10          Evelyn: 0

Hecate: 10          Evelyn: 0

Round 0.1  –  Sir Malcolm/Victor VS Evelyn’s illusions & Prof. Lyle VS unnamed witch

Meanwhile, the rest of the band are still battling their own demons – Sir Malcolm with his dead family and Victor with his three children and things aren’t faring well for them. While Sir Malcolm has managed to survive the psychological torture almost a day, albeit cornered and trembling, it only takes some minutes for Victor to pull out his syringe, ready for a shot of toxin instead of his usual morphine. This mental battle has proven that Victor is the most mentally weak in the team – probably due to years of morphine abuse – and his mind is very, very fragile. That may serve as an explanation for his later action.

ds

Sir Malcolm/ Victor: 0          Evelyn’s illusions: 10

On the other side of the door, Prof. Lyle surprisingly turns the table with two well-aimed bullets. In defense of the unnamed witch – since many believe that she’s too stupid to keep hissing instead of finishing him off – she probably hasn’t received Evelyn’s direction and hence she’s quite confused as to what to do with him since Lyle is still technically Evelyn’s lackey. Evelyn is one heartless, scary bitchy witch and not every young witch dare challenge her like Hecate.

Lyle: 10          Unnamed witch: 0

Speaking of Hecate, she’s gained a major victory in this season – her ‘mother’ who has been suppressing her is dead and though her sisters are also dead and their castle is burnt to the ground, she’s able to walk away with her mother’s treasured tools. Guess we’ll see more of her in the next season. Sarah Greene is pretty and it’s certainly not a burden to see her face on the screen. I’m curious as to what she’s gonna do next. To Ethan’s rescue??

Before we move on to Round 4, R.I.P. Sembene and Evelyn Poole.

The Devil defeated (for now), the witch coven destroyed, but the night is far from over yet. On one hand we still have The Creature locked behind bars, waiting to be in the limelight of a near-future freak show. But not for long; in this episode we also learn that he’s not only strong (like a bit stronger than an average strong man), he’s super-strong. The Putneys’ nightmare comes to reality when The Creature grips the iron bars and breaks them, then breaks the wife’s neck and the husband’s skull. Cornered animals are dangerous indeed.

The Creature/ John Clare: 10          The Putneys: 0

Am I the only one who feels a tiny bit sorry for Lavinia, who discovers her parents’ corpses and screams. Sure the girl is a bitch in sheep clothing but still…

…On the other hand, while mayhem is going elsewhere in London, in Dorian’s house it’s party time. No, not the kind of all-you-can-fuck orgy he usually hosts, this is an elegant ball for two, with a myriad of candles and some opera (probably Wagner, please excuse my poor knowledge of opera) playing on the gramophone. I have to seriously wonder if the two have just wedded (both wearing white and sporting new hairstyle) and now they are officially man and wife and celebrating.

Unfortunately, their evening is ruined by the presence of an uninvited guest, who’s probably suffering morphine withdrawal, witch’s curse after-effect and holding a fully loaded gun (Ethan forgot to take back the gun, unfortunately). Undaunted by the gun, they taunt him – Lily does most of the job while Dorian’s sheer presence is taunting to Victor, who doesn’t take it too well and ‘bang’, a bullet pierces Lily’s chest, soon followed by another which drills a hole in Dorian’s. Did Victor just do what I think he shouldn’t do? Yes, yes, he did. He just murdered two people, one of whom he claimed to love. Really, Victor? He was overwhelmed by emotions and shot Lily, yeah, but his reason for him shooting Dorian might not be emotional. Dorian discovered his secret, which is resurrecting dead people – any man with a decent IQ could put 2 and 2 together based on what Lily said – and so Victor tries to silence him. In that particular way isn’t he very similar to Dorian?

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Some people just don’t die when they are killed, said a certain redheaded Seigi no Mikata (Ally of Justice).

Victor’s attempt to kill two immortals isn’t his wisest action of the year: shot through the chest and bleeding, still, Lily and Dorian keep smiling while horror dawns on Victor’s face. I am to believe that if they had chosen to eliminate him right on the spot, Victor wouldn’t have noticed: all his life he has been looking for a way to defeat death, going so far as to reanimating corpses, now he just discovered that someone (Dorian) had long been enjoying immortality without Victor’s grubby hand. Despaired, he seeks release in morphine (let’s hope he still possesses enough sense not to commit suicide) while Dorian and Lily continues their waltz, painting the floor red with their own blood (Just how much blood do they have?).

Dorian & Lily: 10          Victor: 0

Bet the servants wouldn’t be too pleased having to clean up this glorious bloody mess.

01

Maybe it’s a minor detail but it keeps bugging me: doesn’t Dorian’s house have a lock? How come Victor just walked in the gallery like this is some sort of public house anyone can enter? Moreover, doesn’t Dorian have servants? He must have some, right? I can’t imagine him with broom and mop to clean up the mess after his orgy parties? Seems to me his servants just miraculously appear when there’s something needs cleaning and then miraculously disappear? If he does have servants, shouldn’t he be a bit more discreet about his supernatural stuff? I mean, painting the floor with blood is hardly the best way of protecting his secret, isn’t it?

This bloody waltz is one of many reasons I adore Penny Dreadful. It’s macabre and beautiful at the same time – like beauty in death. Vampirism tells us that there is sensuality in blood and the spilling of it, and this is exactly what the scene brings to audience. I once told my friend that Penny Dreadful is not something everyone can digest: to many it’s nauseating with all the bloody, bizarre (amazing) things the crew have come up with, to others it’s an exquisite feast that they can never get enough.

By the way, I’m probably the only one who can still laugh after the screen turns dark. I’ve made myself clear in previous posts that I am never a Vanethan shipper so can’t say I’ll give a damn if this ship goes totally Titanic. At this point I’m not shipping any – let John Logan do the shipping and I’ll just see where those ships are heading – except Victorian (Victor x Dorian), which is kind of crack. One thing I’ve learnt the hard way while swimming in fandoms: canonical ships can go Titanic any minute should the creator feel the urge to break some fragile hearts but crack ships thrive forever; fanfiction writers are generally kinder than writers, that I can be quite sure.

Ethan’s turning himself to the cops and being taken back to America: 10          Vanethan shippers: 0

John Logan and crew: 10          Vanethan shippers: 0

Please tell me I’m not the only Tarot user to use her decks to predict events in TV series. I’m quite lucky to have two decks that indulge me; they answer most of my TV series-related question without (much) complaint. Their predictions about Dorian and Lily’s relationship turned out true so I wasn’t very surprised to see them end up together.

So I’ve asked them a few times who or what Dorian truly is and twice they gave me the ‘Death’ card, which is interesting. Does this indicate he is indeed the fallen Angel of Death who coupled with Lilith? You can almost draw a correlation between Lilith’s story to Penny Dreadful in a way that Lily is Lilith – she was created by God (Victor) because of Adam’s (The Creature) demand – she refused to be the submissive mate and turned to Samael (Dorian) and she gave birth to the vampire race, which is what Lily is intending to do (creating a race of superior dead people). If Dorian were Samael (and I also heard that Samael is another name for Lucifer), then what would be his role in the whole rectangular love drama between Vanessa/Amunet, the two Fallen Angels and Lupus Dei? Would he join the Devil’s force and oppose it? (Samael is evil but considers himself God’s servant).

Or the ‘Death’ card simply indicates his ability to cheat death as well as his fascination with death in the form of Lily? And speaking of death, I still have some hope that Angelique will be joining season 3. At this point I have come to accepted that Angelique is really killed off (my Tarot cards unfortunately agreed) but so far there’s no hint of what happened to her body; personally I don’t think Dorian could have done some grisly act (like he did in the novel and 2009 adaptation) to erase the evidence of his crime. This prompts to a subplot that could happen in season 3: supposed in one way or another Dorian managed to coax either Victor or Lily into resurrecting Angelique. Didn’t Lily say she wanted to create a new race? Let’s start with this beautiful, whole corpse that Dorian is conveniently preserving (there’s some kinds of poison that actually keep the body from decomposing). Once Angelique became a ‘monster’ just like Dorian himself, he wouldn’t have to worry about her divulging his secret. Angelique might experience some shock and denial at first but eventually she would come to accept this state. On the bright side, she would no longer have to concern with how people despise her and hopefully we will see Dorian’s having a harem (and please try to include Victor in that harem).

Excuse me, I have to go and write some fanfictions.

Before we bid this season farewell, here’s a summary of the season finale in songs:

  • The Devil aka Lucifer

Hello, is it me you’re looking for? (Hello – Lionel Richie)

Yeah, looking forward to punching your face. *Vanessa’s line probably*

  • Evelyn’s losing her youth

Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful? (Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey)

Sir Malcolm’s a few rooms away, please. And no, he won’t.

  • Ethan’s out!

Who let the dogs out? Woof woof. (Who Let the Dogs out? – Baha Men)

Hecate did.

  • Ethan K.O. Evelyn

xcw

Born to be wild

Born to be wild (Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf)

  • Victor’s being a green-eyed monster – El Tango De… Lily???

uet

Jealousy will drive you… MAD!!!

His eyes upon your face

His hand upon your hand

His lips caress your skin

It’s MORE than I can stand! (El Tango De RoxanneMoulin Rouge OST)

Victor dearest, Dorian probably won’t mind if you want to join.

  • Dorian & Lily’s Dancing with the Blood

sw

Say goodbye, as we dance with the devil tonight.

Don’t you dare look at him in the eye, as we dance with the devil tonight (Dance with the Devil – Breaking Benjamin)

If the Devil looks as good as Dorian, count me in.

  • Victor’s Getting High. Again

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All the drugs in this world

Can’t save her him from herself himself (Coma White – Marilyn Manson)

Baby, you’d better not overdose. We Victorian shipper still need you.

  • The Creature’s on board

17

Cold we’re so cold

We are

so cold we’re so cold (Cold – Static X)

  • Ethan’s ‘We walk alone’

97

There’s an ocean between us.

You know where to find me. (Only an Ocean Away – Sarah Brightman)

2 thoughts on “White Clothes, Take Warning: Penny Dreadful Season Finale

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