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TV Review: Penny Dreadful - Season 2: Episode 10

07.06.2015by: Chris Bumbray

Season 2, Episode 10: And They Were Enemies

SUMMARY: Vanessa (Eva Green) comes face-to-face with her greatest adversary in order to save an imprisoned Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) and Victor (Harry Treadaway).

REVIEW: And so another episode of Penny Dreadful has come to an end. I had to keep reminding myself throughout the episode that this was only the season finale as so many plotlines are wrapped up over sixty minutes that you could be forgiven after watching this episode for assuming that Penny Dreadful was ending its run. Thankfully that's not the case, but honestly if it weren't for the plot-thread left dangling involving Dorian Grey (Reeve Carney) and Lily (Billie Piper) I would have thought no one was coming back next year.

Not that this is a negative. One thing that's been excellent about this season is how contained its been and it's nice that the finale really did have a sense of finality about it, with Helen McCrory's Mrs. Poole looking like she's definitively dead. Surprisingly, her defeat came really early in the episode, with last week's cliffhanger being totally resolved before we reached the halfway point. While Vanessa's showdown with Poole's demon master was over and done with rather quickly, it struck a nicely enigmatic note, where it was more about an intellectual/spiritual confrontation than a physical one. The only disappointing thing is that given some of the season's amazing horror imagery, such as the shower of blood and the first look at Poole's puppets, we're not sent off on a similarly disturbing note.

However, Eva Green's acting throughout the confrontation was nothing short of amazing. She's really a rare talent in that she seems really well-suited to the kind of larger-than-life performance a show like this requires, and its fitting that she was the one to vanquish Poole as this has always been her foe to face. The rest of the cast takes a bit of a backseat, although we learn that Sembene (Danny Sapani) is definitely dead, having been killed by a now guilt-ridden Ethan (Josh Hartnett) who ends the episode on a boat bound for America as a prisoner. I wonder how Vanessa will get him out of this jam?

In the end, it looks like Dorian Grey and Lily will be next season's big bads, although with Ethan bound for America and a grief stricken Sir Malcolm in Africa, Vanessa will likely have to fend for herself for awhile, with Victor now being a full-on junkie. My favorite part of the episode was Vanessa's final scene with Caliban (Rory Kinnear) who easily broke free from his trap set by the wax work owner, only to realize that his violent revenge was hollow to the point that he even spares their cruel blind daughter, choosing exile instead. It was a sad end but obviously he'll be back as will Ethan before long I'm sure.

Overall, this was a terrific season and I had a blast with it. No one can deny it was a major step-up over season one, and I'm confident season three will be even better. I can't wait!

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