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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Born to be wild

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

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

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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

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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

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Cold we’re so cold

We are

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

  • Ethan’s ‘We walk alone’

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There’s an ocean between us.

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

Remember that You Will Die: Penny Dreadful 2×08

Warnings: spoilers and inappropriate comments alerts!!

Sembene being Team Mom is cute *heart-shaped eyes*
I’ve been debating with myself since forever whether to write something for Penny Dreadful Episode 2×08: Memento Mori since I’m too late for an update of my Why Won’t You Die? (a AU fanfic feature Dracula from NBC’s Dracula and Dorian Gray from Penny Dreadful). But finally the side of me that wants to share my thought to whom it may concern won and here’s another rant about this mind-boggling episode.

The title links back to an old tale Evelyn Poole told her witch daughters in 2×01: Fresh Hell. “Look behind you. Remember that you are a man. Remember that you will die.” These lines, delivered in Evelyn’s languid tone, are particular haunting when you recall the fact that the Penny Dreadful cast are about 80% males and if they are some sort of a foreshadow than we should be worried for our characters, even though some of them (most of them actually) are monsters, d-bags or a funny combination of both. Moreover, these lines could be an echo of Game of Throne’s infamous motto: “Valar Morghulis”, translated into English as “All Men Must Die”. Oh well, if that turns out to be the case then the women will run the show (and the world too, if they feel like it), right?

I am probably the only one who doesn’t really mind the absence of Vanessa and Ethan in this episode – they had the last episode dedicated for them, didn’t they? And as I said in my previous post, I don’t ship them despise their blatant, intense chemistry (as some fans claim) so their lack of moments do not pose a problem to my enjoyment. Similarly I am probably the only one who wants to pat Inspector Bartholomew Rusk on the shoulder and tell him “Good job”. In a world full of vampires, witches, devils, monsters and all sorts of crazy things, this man is still able to precisely figures out the culprit behind bizarre murder cases. Even better, he has the guts to track down the murderer and confront him – this takes serious balls because you know, the murderer singlehandedly massacred an entire inn and what could guarantee he wouldn’t rip the one-armed inspector apart? Inspector Rusk should pack up his things and move to a new show, where his investigation skills may sight and there’s less chance he would get killed off in some brutal, magical way.

Anyway, I’m gonna skip past Sir Malcolm’s coming back to his old, angry, d-baggery but cool self (sans the beard), Sembene’s awesome yell of magic and Sir Malcolm’s suicidal brave quest of vengeance on the Satanic coven to talk about three significance revelations in this episode.

I. “Lucifer isn’t the only child.”

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Dear Luci isn’t the only fallen angel to be thrown down to Earth (guess we already knew that from the use of “we” in the narrative, eh?) – he has a little brother whose-name-is-not-known-yet-some-fans-insist-it-be-‘Dracula’ (seriously who said anything about Dracula being in this show?). And guess what, the two brothers are competing for the affection of one woman by the name of Vanessa Ives. Sounds familiar to you, this kind of me-and-my-brother-in-love-with-one-girl drama? The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, anyone? Sooooo, after all the mysteries shrouding the artefacts and the “memoir of the Devil”, it turns out to be a love-rectangular (for a lack of better world) that involves Vanessa, Lucifer and his bro, and Lupus Dei aka The Hound/Wolf/Dog of God. You’ve got to be kidding right?

Speaking of Lupus Dei, shouldn’t God send someone with more power down to battle Apocalypse? Someone like Archangel Michael or Gabriel or Raphael. Hello, one Lucifer is bad enough and now he has a brother while we have one Wolf? Ooookay, as a human I serious fear for the fate of humankind in this Penny Dreadful universe.

On a side note, the reference to Lucifer reminds me of the Lucifer that I’ve created first for a series of Mcfassy fanfics but then managed to invade even my original stories too.

(Feel free to unread the above sentence – just me rambling)

II. “Never again will I kneel to any man.”

So, in a span of about ten minutes or more, Lily/Brona goes on a rollercoaster of moods, dragging us pitiful viewers with her. Sure Billie Piper’s delivery of the shattering speech is impressive; still, the fact that Lily goes full-blown take-over-the-world mode isn’t. Talking about women sufferings? Cool and touching. It’s one hell less cool and touching when she offers to take a dozen women for John Clare and “we’ll fuck ‘em together”. Haha, talking like a devout feminist in one minute and the next turning into a misogynist who wants to use women like sex toys. Very funny indeed.

Her rapid changes in moods make me wonder if she’s somehow suffering MPD (multi-personalities disorder).

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She also expresses her desire for a man who’s unlike all other men. Guess who’s that man “unlike all other men” that’s gonna bend his knees for her in the next episode? Someone whose name starts with a ‘D’? The brief sneak speak of what looks like a sex scene has Lily on top of her new lover (perhaps not so new) like they’re reversing the traditional roles of man and woman – it’s strangely reminiscent to an earlier scene in 2×07: Little Scorpion where an anonymous aged man climbed on top of Lily. Let’s hope she won’t feel the urge to strangle her partner afterwards.

III. “I don’t think you can.”

Fan reactions on Tumblr regarding this twist in Dorian’s tale have me puzzled: on one hand there’s fans who are seething about Dorian’s act while on the other hands, others cheer because this is probably the first in-character (with his book counterpart) thing Dorian’s ever done in the entire 16 episodes. Well, if you ask me, I will reply with Dorian’s quote: “I don’t know what I’m feeling.” Part of me likes him to go dark – nobody likes the goody two-shoes, right? Other parts kind of hope Dorian would stay remotely ‘clean’. I know I’ve theorized that he is Devil-incarnation so it looks like I’m contradicting myself here. To elaborate on this contradiction, I’ll say that I find the ‘lazy evil’ kind the most appealing kind of evil – like Dorian will play around and do absolutely nothing and is still evil and scary. Then I’m kindly reminded that Penny Dreadful is not a sitcom so it’s necessary for him to do evil in order to be evil. Got it.

Brief Guide to Dorian’s Behaviors: he’s all sweet and charming until you pry into his secret. Then he’ll give you poisoned champagne while smiling as you fall.

Still, I’m clinging on some hope that Angelique hasn’t died (which is unlikely); Dorian only gives her a brainwashing potion or something similar so that when she’s returned to the brothel, she won’t remember a thing about a man named Dorian Gray or his painting. But that’s just wishful thinking, right?

If it’s proven that Angelique is truly killed off, at least she died a swift, painless and clean death (with a dramatic glass-breaking and a dramatic collapsing to boot) as compared to Basil’s messy death in the novel and in the 2009 adaptation (which I recommend you to watch because of Prince Caspian Ben Barnes). Even I feel the chopping Basil’s body in the 2009 adaptation is a little gratuitous.

(To be fair, Dorian did warn her about the price of knowing his secret.)

Finally, after much waiting, Dorian’s infamous picture is shown. Some love it, praise it while others think it a disappointment. As for me, I have another theory about it which I am going to talk about in this post. The portrait doesn’t look like a painting to me at all; it’s more like prison cell where the deformed ‘creature’ is kept. See the chains? I think they can reveal much about the nature of the picture: the ‘creature’ is supposed to be Dorian Gray’s soul, isn’t it? I think it is; in fact, it is the soul of the true Dorian Gray, the one that was human, while the Dorian Gray we’ve been watching and adoring so far is only inhabiting the body, a ‘body-snatcher’. I personally don’t think the revelations about Lucifer’s brother on earth and Dorian’s portrait in the same episode is a mere coincidence. That the other brother “feeds on the blood of the living by night” may indicate that he is the Original Vampire  – The Great Master that controls all the (not-sparkling) vampires in season 1. But it can be misdirection too. Blood isn’t always necessarily the physical blood in the body – it is also a metaphor of life. What if the brother is some sort of a body-jumper – that he steals a human body he deems suitable and lives inside it until he gets bored and finds another? The body stealing act serves double purposes: one, he can walk under sunlight or into any religious places unharmed and two, he can slip past Vanessa’s radar (if she has any) and get close to her, seducing her to his side. All the while the true soul of the body is trapped inside the painting and has to suffer all the damages he acquires. This could be the case of Dorian Gray, right?

Suddenly the quote Dorian made in 1×06: What Death Can Join Together means a lot more than just a passing remark.

Of course the show can always prove my theory wrong and all I can do in the mean time is wait and maybe pray for Victor’s little life. I did say Victor should get his punishment for all the lies he heaped onto Lily/Brona but I’m never ready for the good, adorkable doctor’s neck to be snapped by his two ‘children’.

#pray-for-Victor#   #and-Dorians-neck-too#   #and for Sir Malcolm#   #pray-for-the-entire-cast-actually#