I was away, visiting family in sunny Napa California, when this episode aired. My sister doesn’t have cable, which was okay because I needed to be alone to savor the season finale and, the first thing I did after arriving home last night was to watch “Penny Dreadful.” On the last episode, all our friends faced certain death. Did the finale meet my expectations? Follow me, my little pennies, to Madame Kali’s castle to find out.
A wicked doll condemns Vanessa as a murderer as our trusted Sembene’s blood flows from his body onto a cold, damp floor. Sembene’s killer is a friend who is under the spell of a blood moon; a werewolf’s moon.
The doll that taunts Vanessa is inhabited by Satan. Did we forget that the devil had another name? Lucifer, the fallen one, wants Vanessa’s soul, but he can’t take it forcibly… no my little pennies… as frightening as the king of demons is, he is powerless against free will.
Satan can only tempt us and he cunningly does so by showing Vanessa what she will have if she gives in to him. I was so accustomed to seeing Eva Green dressed in black that it was quite a shock to see her in bright, white apparel. Vanessa in a normal life would live in a big, bright and lavish home. She would be a mother to two adorable children. She would be loved by her husband. In Vanessa’s normal life, she would be married to Ethan, the only man wild enough to be her match in passion… but… my dear pennies, normal was never an option for our dear Miss Ives.
This has been the theme for season two. Know yourself; Know who you are; know your destiny. We watch as Sir Malcolm learns of his lifelong foibles trapped inside a vision of his own making. His wife and children lay bare his whole life and then tell him to join him in death.
In the same room is Victor and he is also faced with the visions of his own makings. He has created three entities from the corpses of others and this act has placed them in limbo. Haunting the twilight, they are forced to live between both worlds; death and life. Caliban, Lily, and Proteus cajole Victor into taking his life. These two men have done so many people wrong and now their misdeeds stand before them.
Raised in the Catholic faith, we were taught that there existed between heaven and hell a special place where one went to atone for their sins. It was called purgatory and, the nuns spoke frequently of the place’s special torments. Sir Malcolm and Victor were definitely in a purgatory of their own making.
Now that I’m older and more inclined to think outside of the box, I think of purgatory as a decontamination area. Souls go there to review their life: what they’ve done; what they’ve failed to do; what they would do if given a second chance. Heaven is not for the weak. You have to own up to your screw ups. We must judge ourselves. While Sir Malcolm and Victor judge themselves, our scorpion is in a battle for her very soul.
If Satan thought our little scorpion weak, he was fooled as was his handmaiden Madam Kali. Using his own language against him, Vanessa out chants the trickster as she crushes the doll’s head. The little scorpion has beaten evil this time, but at what cost.
I really expected Lyle to be killed by one of the naked witches, but as Kali lay dying; so did her power. Lyle, who proved to be one of the good guys, had one of the best lines ever! “Never underestimate the power of a queen with lovely hair, my dear.”
Sembene is dead and I will truly miss this wise man. Danny Sapani portrayed his character as a wise and loyal friend and a saddened Sir Malcolm is taking his body home on a ship to Africa. Madame Kali has been slayed by Ethan while he was still in wolf form, but she would have died anyway. With the devil foiled, her real age returned with a vengeance. Hecate used the beast to be rid of her mother, then burns down the house before leaving.
Caliban had outsmarted the greedy and cruel Putney family. He would not be their king of freaks. His farewell to Vanessa was heartbreaking. Vanessa stated what we viewers have known since the very first season. Caliban was more human than the living. Did Vanessa know his secret? I would like to think so. Caliban is also on a ship, but his destination is to a frozen and barren place.
Victor goes searching for Lily, but she and Dorian, dressed in elegant finery, are waltzing the night away. Victor’s bullets cannot kill these two immortals. They have plans to destroy mankind. As Victor injects himself into a senseless oblivion, Lily and Dorian waltz through the pool of blood. Kudos to Billie Piper for one hell of a performance this past season.
I was hoping that the wolf and scorpion would be together at the end of this finale, but life and television series seem to have their own destination and we, my little pennies, are their captive travelers. Ethan did not take Vanessa’s offer to stay with her. He loves her of this we are positive, but his killing Sembene is too large a burden. There is a third ship on the high seas and this one is bearing our wolf and Inspector Rusk back to the states and to Ethan’s father.
I’m glad that I decided to watch this episode when I had returned from vacation. My vacation was about family, day trips and fun times. The second season finale of “Penny Dreadful” needed to be watched alone. The characters in this series are also like family, and as Vanessa put out the lights in Sir Malcolm’s home, I walked with her. As the solitary Vanessa placed the crucifix into the fire, I reminded her that, like her GOD, we viewers would not abandon her. See you next year, my little pennies.