I know I supposed to be able to take everything that happens and relate it to some other aspect of the greater story arc, but I just cannot. SO much is going on in these last two episodes, that I had to pool them together and just … let all my feels out before the extra long finale on Sunday night. Because I don’t think I’m ready.
The Creature Kills Me
His gentle reinsertion into his former life has been so precarious. And the ultimate rejection – his ailing son screaming. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This show rarely hits me right in the grief bone and makes me cry, but that did it. And so did his wife’s acceptance. Again, gentle, precarious and unassuming John Clare makes himself known, opens himself up and she EMBRACES him. Flipping the script on his pain has been the best catharsis of the season.
Someone Please Take Justine Seriously
When Justine was first introduced this season I thought that she would be an archetype of the Marquis de Sade’s Justine … the young woman who continually searches for virtue even after being submitted to all manner of abuse from the age of 12. No matter how hard she tries to live a holy life, de Sade’s Justine is essentially passed around from sadist to sadist. Sounds familiar right? Except de Sade’s Justine never relents, and certainly doesn’t become a murderous misandrist with a penchant for crazy eyes.
But now we have two episodes of Justine taking Lily’s orders under more than just advisement. Holding a knife to Dorian’s throat, practically begging to slit Victor’s, and certainly willing to go the distance on a murderous spree, I have a feeling someone needs to take her seriously. She’s the definition of loose canon.
Thank You, Dorian
… for finally showing up and be the kickass narcissist that you are. In No Beast So Fierce, I was afraid that Dorian’s days were numbered. Lily doesn’t look at all opposed to disposing of her demonstration dummy. Does he even remember her as Brona? She’s certainly shared the story of the photographs with Justine – but is she harboring that grudge, holding that secret to use against Dorian eventually?
It almost doesn’t matter because finally ennui sets in for Dorian. A house full of giggling whores bent on mutilation games and lesbian sex holds zero interest for him. He finally give Justine the dressing down she’s been needing. He’s BORED. Heck yes, that’s Dorian Gray.
But I Need Lily to Come Out on Top
She’s had her crazy moments this season, but Lily was perfection in Ebb Tide … a creature so feminist that she made ME want to go out and take some hands. As much as I loved Dorian taking his erstwhile manhood back from Justine, I don’t want it at the expense of losing Power Lily. The Lily who empowers a grieving mother with the promise of a better future for all our daughters.
Her speech to Dorian about Brona’s shame and debasement was a commitment to the women, and not just to herself. She’s become a feminist hero this season, not just out for herself, but for them all. Granting mercy to Victor is the perfect culmination of this. It’s what makes Dorian and Victor’s betrayal so heart breaking: this is not the Lily that deserves it.
But I Was Super Glad to See Hecate Go
And not because I think she held a real obstacle between Ethan finding his way back to Vanessa, but because I am happy to see the last vestiges of the witch plotline from last season go.
The Boys are Back
The rest of the most awkward dinner of all time felt like a season finale … the marshall, dead. Rusk, dead. Bunch of Talbot boys, dead. Kaetenay, back from the dead to save the day. Malcolm standing up for Ethan, basically being super pater. And the chapel shoot out reminding us all that Sharp Shooter Ethan is how this whole thing got started.
Malcolm ending not only Talbot’s life, but also his berating of Ethan was the perfect solidification of their relationship. He protected Ethan from having to make that call, take that life. And now the three of them: Ethan, Malcolm and Kaetenay embark on the mission to save Vanessa – or in Kaetenay’s case, the mission to save Ethan from darkness. Heck yes get a move on.
Finding Her Family
“Only one defense against isolation: be with those you love.”
The theme of Vanessa’s loneliness this season starts to resolve itself in these episodes. She says goodbye to Mr Lyle, who was the only one left to pull her out of her funk, but he introduces her to Catriona, whose strength and individuality give Vanessa a may pole to twist her thoughts and theories about Dracula around. I find Catriona a bit unbelievable in this world: too independent, too shocking, too smart. But I’m interested to see how her role plays out. Her revelations about Dracula weren’t life-changing enough for them to be something that Mr. Lyle couldn’t have told Vanessa, so I have to believe that she has a greater purpose than just info dumping.
And it seems that Dr. Seward is no longer simply just a therapist for Vanessa, but a true friend, trading whisky and cigarettes and sex advice. Vanessa’s love for John Clare, another ally, another friend, another bit of family. Will these connections be enough to bring her back from the brink without Ethan and Malcolm?
Because Vanessa Has Gloriously Given In
…. and I’m not gonna lie. I’m into it. When she goes to Dr. Sweet with her truth and he loves her through it, well. I was NOT screaming at her to run. Her tears at the end of the their love scene: believing she’s found someone apart from her darkness, someone wholly “too good” overwhelms her … and it’s SO horrible and sad and strangely HOT???? What are my emotions doing when I’m into this pairing? Is this too much Twilight influence?
Because she goes BACK … because she knows who he is and he STILL accepts her, gives her a choice, to be herself, to embrace her darkness instead of continually and futilely fighting and I’m awash with YES OTP FEELS. Ethan tells Kaetenay that Vanessa’s strong, but in pain and cursed. What could undo that pain, that curse? Capitulation. Could it be that dark Vanessa is what we’ve been waiting for and needing this entire time?
What can we expect in the extra-long finale of Penny Dreadful this Sunday night? Will Ethan save Vanessa from darkness, from Dracula? Or will we go into a new season with Vanessa at her most powerful: the full and complete opposite of what we saw in the beginning of this season – a broken and impotent Vanessa. Here for it.