The Assassination of Vanessa Ives by the coward John Logan (and probably David Nevins).
First I’ll say PD has been my favorite show for the past 3 years. In a time where all my friends and people can’t get enough of Game of Thrones, I couldn’t get enough of Penny Dreadful. The characters, the dialogue, the darkness, the strangeness, the cinematography, the performances, there was so much to adore. I started watching when it originally aired and been with it since, drawn in originally by it’s amazing cast.
Right of the bat this whole situation smelled fishy. Who doesn’t announce a final season? Why was so many things left up in the air? Enter David Nevins. President of Showtime. My theory and it’s starting to catch on with others is that the show was cancelled halfway through production, thus Logan and co. had to makeshift a finale. Just look how rushed these last two episodes felt, as if they threw out S3′s original trajectory and had to cram in a contrived finale. Logan was trapped in a corner. I’ve read their post show interviews and they come off really strange, and I called bullshit. Logan seems to be saving face when he said this was the plan all along, if it was then why was it so rushed and unsatisfying? Logan has proved with the first 2 ½ seasons that he’s a great writer, letting things build slowly and naturally. Not so much for the two parter. Seriously though, if you watch The day Tennyson died and then watch Blessed Dark the trajectory is so off!! He brought in new characters that added to nothing when in the past new characters always got more meaningful screentime. Characters that ended up leaving no impact. For example, Jekyll looked to be fully fleshed out in the first 3 episodes only to become Victor’s 2nd fiddle waiting for his dad to die so he can be Mr. Hyde!! What!? This is what I believe to be tampering of sorts by Showtime. If this is true about a rush to the end, it’s yet another thing that makes no sense!! In a world full of streaming services and cancelled show pickups, I don’t get why they didn’t stay the course and hope for a season 4 pickup on Netflix, which already has a bunch of Showtime shows by the way. Again this whole bts drama with Showtime is just speculation by myself and some others I’ve seen online, but seems completely plausible.
Ok now, the episodes. Even if the mid production cancellation conspiracy is true, it doesn’t explain the mess it ended up being. Though feeling rushed I liked Perpetual Night!! Catriona fucking up vamps, kaetenay’s unnerving werewolf reveal, Billie Piper killing it again with another epic Lily monologue etc. I was like alright we’re building to something great!! Then The Blessed Dark happens. Most everything and everyone is left up in the air, which for a series finale is the opposite of what you want. The opening title sequence was haunting, but I thought, ‘oh fuck this is probably the end!!’ Getting cancelled etc. Again why would you blindside your fan base with that!? It was one of the many reasons I couldn’t fully get into the episode, I was instantly bummed by the probable end. We have some great scenes sprinkled throughout with the supporting cast, but the problem everything was so conveniently solved. Having been released by Victor, Lily’s story is easily dropped, her girls are gone, and Justine is suddenly dead. Her wrath isn’t unleashed on Dorian. She kind of accepts it and Dorian monologues in what I feel could work as a proper ending for him. Jekyll takes off saying I have land and money now bye Vic, uh ok. John Clare is forced into a ultimatum after having basically one scene of happiness. And man, the series big bad, Dracula was wasted and just vanished after everything. Uh one of main reasons for the conflict and torment of Vanessa is just gone!! Hey Logan, the villain is still alive and we never got our Wolf of God vs. Dracula!! The show leaves everyone in basically worst shape than when the show started, they all have unnecessarily depressing endgames. Everything rushed, most everything unanswered, and nothing cathartic about any of it.
Now for our queen, our sweet Vanessa Ives. The phenomenal Eva Green was only in only 2 fucking scenes and the Mother of Evil amounted to nothing!! She got bit, causing the pestilence and then regretted it, I don’t get it!! She knew Ethan was on his way, why let herself get bit. In Ebb Tide I understood it, but after Blessed Dark it was cheap plot device. First she accepted herself, then basically instantly regretted it. Enter Ethan. Meant to be her lover (the lovers), her protector, and basically her soul mate in every sense of the word. It’s revealed that he’s supposed to give her peace by killing her!? Fuck that!! If that’s the case why not just kill her at the end of Possession!! What happened to 'you will not die while I’m here, you will not surrender while I live’. Vanessa was always a complex character, full life and fight regardless of her curses, vulnerable, kind, strong, and full of faith in God but more herself. The finale undermines all of that. She can’t take it anymore she wants to save everyone from harm, but would mean her death, which on paper kind of makes sense. But when this is all done abruptly and in one scene it’s more cheap and out of character. Logan says her dying is going back to the light. Um, how about fighting for herself and her family is going back to the light instead!? The best female lead in a genre show in recent memory is cut down by going the easy way out. Which once again was out of character. When Ethan started the prayer ala Possession I was so excited because I thought he was bringing her back so she could face Dracula, nope just a comfort before her unnecessary death. This character deserved real happiness with her family not with her God. She deserved life. Ethan and Vanessa deserved to be together, to rise together. And my prediction was Malcolm would sacrifice himself to ensure that, to save his daughter, like what he was too late to do for Mina, which was brought up with Dracula by the way. Wolf of God amounted to nothing, Mother of Evil amounted to nothing, and Ethan and Vanessa never got a real shot. Reminder this was their only real scene together this season!! She dies and Logan doesn’t pull a Buffy. She is at peace in the most unsatisfactory and typical way. Maybe she should have taken Lucifer’s offer at the end of S2. Ugh, Lucifer wanted to treat her better than what Logan did here.
Vanessa and all the characters were meant for so much more. There was so much potential for the future. Lyle setup S4 with the mummy, pre cancellation idea methinks. Nobody ever knew Victor was resurrecting people or knew about Brona/Lily which was rubbed in our face with an Ethan and Victor hug. Was Seward connected to the cut wife, was Catriona a time traveler, was Kaetenay the true Apache, where the fuck is Dracula?? Notice how these questions were for all the new characters? Why did every character have to have a depressing as shit ending? Most importantly why was Ethan the Lupus Dei and why was Vanessa so special to the fallen angels?? Never to be fully explained. Amun net?? Lilith?? We’ll angrily never know.
This was my favorite current show, I have the blurays, I have a t-shirt, and even have a sweet little Vanessa magnet on the fridge, and this surprise and rushed makeshift ending leaves a bitter taste, when a good dramatic finale should be bittersweet. The show featured some all-time great characters and interpretation of those characters, along with all-time great episodes. The ending is not what the characters or we fans deserved. I pictured adventures and mythological backstory in Egypt for S4 and Lucifer in his physical form bringing hell to earth for S5. Something that will never happen. Another great show cut down before it’s time. I have a ton more to say, but I’m tired and genuinely sad. Logan and Nevins fucked up when we needed them most.
The earth, and every common sight To me did seem Apparelled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. It is not now as it hath been of yore;— Turn wheresoe’er I may, By night or day, The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
—But there’s a tree, of many, one, A single field which I have look’d upon, Both of them speak of something that is gone: The pansy at my feet Doth the same tale repeat: Whither is fled the visionary gleam? Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
WHAT A HELL WAS PENNY DREADFUL’S 3x09 FINALE????????????
I CAN’T i just can’t, there’s so much more to explore?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!? YOU KNOW WHAT I WANTED AND NEEDED?!
•Dorian’s end (following Oscar Wilde steps) •John Clare in search of a meaning for his life •Lily’s journey to empower women
•Jekyll turning into Mr Hyde
•Vanessa and her DAMN AMAZING SQUAD (Ethan-Malcolm-Catriona-Victor- Dr Seward) in Egypt looking for all that Amonet stuff with the help of Mr Lyle.
•Catriona and Vanessa BFFS with a cool flitartionship
•Ethan and Vanessa finally together
•Victor learning how to be a seducer-alpha-man with Malcom •Victor and Dr Seward working together •Catriona and Malcolm in a Love-Hate relationship •Malcom and Dr Seward good partners and Vanessa’s mommy and daddy