Penny Dreadful: And They Were Enemies
July 6, 2015 5:18 AM - Season 2, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Sir Malcolm and Frankenstein confront ghosts from their past while Lyle helps to rescue his friends. Meanwhile, Ethan leaves a tragic trail of blood in his wake, the Creature tries to escape the Putneys and Vanessa must rely on her strength to defeat the Demon and face an uncertain future. (Season finale)
posted by oh yeah! (15 comments total)
posted by Jilder at 5:24 AM on July 6, 2015 [10 favorites]

I really liked this season - the shocking reveal of Lilly's subterfuge, that darkly brilliant take on Dorian's portrait, the amazing climax to Sir Malcolm's love potion befuddlement (more waltzes as climactic battles, please), the great dialogue every time the detective and Ethan sparred, the insanity of the witch's organ-filled dolls...the show was full of so many marvelously creepy and interesting moments, and the story moved along without dragging too much.

So I'm trying to figure out why the end of the season has me feeling unsatisfied. The AV Club review captures some of it - as with Ethan suddenly praying Vanessa's demon away to end her possession in Season One, the triumph over the witches felt rushed (loved the scenery-chewing devil doll duel, though).

But mainly I thought the setup of the finale was kinda lame. They couldn't find a better way to get the team at the witches' castle than having one, then another, of our heroes stupidly sneak out alone, after they all talked about how much stronger they were as a team? And then easily get split up? Felt really cheap, and a bit of a betrayal to the generally fun smarts of the show, which softened the power of the minor epiphanies like Lyle's fabulous murder line.

And Sembene? Just awful the way they completely failed to give their one person of color any kind of meaningful character arc over the course of two entire seasons. Astonishing, really. I'm holding out hope for a dark mystical resurrection of some sort, because Showtime owes us on that one.
posted by mediareport at 6:27 AM on July 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

Well, that was a ride and a half. Brilliant and problematic in equal measure.

Still not happy about Angelique and Sembene - I understand Danny Sapiani has been cast in another show, which might explain killing him off, and nobody's really gone forever in PD but still... :(

I can't work out if there's meant to be some tricksy metacommentary about Angelique and Sembene. That it's meant to make us feel outraged and care about them as viewers, which is meant to demonstrate how society has changed in its views (or not). But at the end of the day it's still two dead people from minorities. Ferdinand survives, but I had a growing feeling he would.

Then you have Vanessa dispatching two attempted rapists over the season and facing down Satan himself. 'KNOW YOUR MASTER!' A woman so strong-willed that she beats the Devil at his own game. (This was a fantastic scene and I completely believe Eva Green could face down the Devil in RL. She's 300% all in. She needs lots of awards.)

Has she embraced her identity as Amunet, realising that she is just as strong in her way as the other deities? The scorpion suggests that. Vanessa and God though - it's like a really bad break up. (I did like the scene with the Creature. I know Vanessa is unaware of what he's done, but they seem to work well together, and she does humanise him.)

There is more to write about the other characters, but not much time right now, so I'll just quickly add in that I thought Poole's death was a bit of an anticlimax but Helen McCrory was absolutely glorious. She needs an award too.

The music, the sets, the vfx were all amazing. It really was like being transported into another world.
posted by along came the crocodile at 11:51 AM on July 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

That was maybe the bleakest "good guys triumph over bad guys" I've ever seen.

I don't have much to add to the observations already here, but that scene of Lily and Dorian twirling around the ballroom floor in blood-stained white, leaving a blood trail behind them on the floor, was so twisted and yet so beautiful. That'll stick with me for a long time.

I'm really gonna miss Sembene though. Even after he was so clearly dead, I was sort of holding out a faint hope that Victor would say, "Hey you know what guys? Let me tell you about my other hobby..." But I expect he's gonna stay away from reanimating corpses for a while, the way things turned out.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:18 PM on July 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

It is interesting, and has to be intentional, that Vanessa brings out the best in all the other characters. For all her bride of evil destiny, I find most of the characters (except Ethan and Sembene) only really likable when interacting with her. I have sympathy and empathy for them some of the time, but only with her does their better natures emerge - father rather than grim tyrant, younger brother in love rather than feckless arrogance and abuse, good friend rather than possessiveness and rage, etc.

So I feel like season 3 will be her assembling them for some task, and I assume it will have something to do with Ethan's father as they have spent a considerable amount of time making him seem like a power in this world.
posted by humans are superior! at 9:47 PM on July 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

I can forgive this season for ending bleakly because it's obviously the middle bit of a trilogy. The middle bit always goes out of the way to be depressing.

I'm going to miss Sembene. His friendship with Ethan was so rewarding to watch, the two of them bonding in the kitchen doing the housework together. It was sweet.
posted by Jilder at 11:53 PM on July 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

I still don't believe Sembene is out for the count. Brona was brought back from the dead through medicine, Sembene could be brought back through magic. While I hope PD doesn't become a show where characters defy death regularly, I do dearly hope in this case Sembene returns.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:19 AM on July 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Random thoughts - I wonder if Vanessa is going to bring the Creature onto team notBad? I suspect Creature is not going to appreciate Dorian getting handsy with his beloved.

Also, from a meta point of view, the notBads probably need some powering-up if they're going to defeat a bunch of immortals - in that case, I can totally see a resurrected Sembene fitting into that picture.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:29 PM on July 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

I don't really see Brona and Dorian as much of a threat. I mean, Brona is strong, and Dorian is unkillable, but that's nothing a good dismemberment couldn't fix.

Vanessa's little band just literally killed the Devil. Malcolm can just blow Brona's head off with a blunderbus, and then everyone can just toddle off for tea and cake.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:24 PM on July 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

I don't really see Brona and Dorian as much of a threat.

I think you're underestimating them. Brona's proven to be smart and extremely manipulative, and Dorian has the best superpower. If they chose they could put together a small army pretty quickly, I imagine.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:28 AM on July 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

My friend described Lily as 'Undead Feminist Hitler', and I can sort of see why but I'm wary about the show making a possible implied link between justifiable anger about being abused and exploited, and a Master Race 'CRUSH ALL HUMANS' mode. It could read like Logan's saying 'Feminists, THIS is where your unbending rage will end up!'
posted by along came the crocodile at 10:04 AM on July 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

i loved lily and dorian dancing off into the bloody sunset and i hope they eat caliban's heart for tea
posted by poffin boffin at 9:04 PM on July 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just finished watching the season with my best friend and what an amazing show.
A bit disappointed to see it snubbed at the award season. :(

Here is to season 3!!!
posted by ResolutionRentals at 11:00 AM on July 20, 2015

I really enjoyed a lot of this show, but the timeline on this final episode was driving me crazy.

Sir Malcolm enters a room, and is confronted by images of the dead.

Meanwhile ... Dr. Frankenstein goes to the moors, brings back Vanessa and Ethan, everyone has a meeting, Vanessa takes off alone, the rest of the Scooby gang follows him, and ... and all the while the zombie/ghosts only take three more steps toward Malcolm.

Inside the castle, a witch demon lifts Lyle up and starts choking him.
Meanwhile: Vanessa fights down the devil, and the zombie ghosts drive both Malcolm and Dr. Frankenstein to the brink of madness and suicide.
The witch demon is still choking Lyle.
posted by kanewai at 12:41 PM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm trying to figure out why the end of the season has me feeling unsatisfied

I think, for me, it's because Ethan and Vanessa are so clearly endgame that I don't have patience for his tortured man feels taking him away from her. Captured, sure. But she is asking for his help and he is saying "no, my guilt is too important." How the fuck do you come back from that?
posted by corb at 12:40 PM on September 21, 2017

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