[For Penny Dreadful “Finale” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

Showtime Summary:
Finale. It’s the end.

Coming into the season three and series finale of Penny Dreadful nobody knew that this is where the story would end. Nobody except Vanessa Ives. As everything in the story swirls from one stabby, blood-soaked scene to another it all spirals to the final apocalyptic battle between good and evil. Of course, it’s not as if we weren’t warned. They’ve been spelling it out for us for three whole seasons and Vanessa Ives most of all. Every other word out of her mouth, it seems, was about the “end of days” and the final showdown between dark and light… and she really did mean final, it turns out.

Fetchland didn’t get ANY of our wishes with this finale and we’re not ashamed to say that the whole thing made us pretty damn sad to boot. Justine took a knife in the gut from remorseless, arrogant Dorian and all the lady warriors left soon after to avoid the same fate. Meanwhile Lily escaped Dr. Frankenstein’s needle with the heartbreaking story of her baby daughter’s death. She then returned to Dorian only to turn right back around and leave him forever with his words, “You’ll be back,” trailing after her. At least Lily got away. Of course, she’s devastated at the loss of Justine, “another dead child,” but she leaves as unscathed as an immortal with a broken heart and soul can possibly be.

The Creature’s not quite so lucky. Not only does his beloved son, Jack, die but then his wife Marge demands that he take the boy’s body to Dr. Frankenstein to be revived as he was. If he doesn’t do this, Marge declares that she never wants to see him again. This ultimatum certainly won’t do for the one man in the world who truly knows the torment of this “revival” she demands. He takes the boy’s body to the sea and floats him away on a watery grave of tears and The River Thames. Sadness reigns.

So, at this point we have two main characters sad and alone along with a destroyed city where the air has become poison, killing tens of thousands overnight while night creatures run the show. Frogs crawl out of air ducts in offices by the hundreds, vampires wander the streets, and all the innocent humans are dying in droves. It doesn’t bode well for the world of Penny Dreadful. They cap off the Dr. Jekyll character by securing his future as an aristocratic Lord with the death of his father and we never get to see the beast Hyde. It’s disappointing to say the least. Perhaps we’re meant to ponder how there are hidden monsters inside men even at the highest class ranks but we were already well aware of that; those of us who keep our eyes open and read the newspaper once in awhile, anyway. On the other hand, in a much less disappointing character arc, Catriona saves the day and Ethan’s life when the mighty trio return from the American West to save Vanessa and encounter a vampire instead. She explains that it’s the “end of days” and secures her position in Fetchland’s opinion as the perfect new James Bond. Her character has everything Bond needs to find a bigger audience and freshen that jaded brand. Catriona fights with a clever ferocity that squashes any man’s attempt to outdo her… plus she’s British with rad fencing skills.

But let’s get back to this desperately sad finale. Next Dr. Seward also helps the trio find Vanessa using Renfield under hypnosis as their guide. During their journey to Dracula, Renfield mentions that he believes if he’d had a friend like Seward in his life before maybe he wouldn’t have fallen into Dracula’s clutches. This reminds us of how Penny Dreadful often meditates upon the healing power of friendship. It’s one of the lasting and profound themes that remains an intrinsic message of this story even in this weeptacular finale. Actually this is the very idea we’re left with at the end of the show in the graveyard scene where these same characters congregate.

Kaetany and Ethan fight side by side as werewolves during the search for Vanessa and then Ethan finds out Kaetany was his “maker” but there’s really no time to get pissy about it. The world needs saving and Ethan’s the only man/wolf for the job. He does have his friends at his side, though, for the final showdown; Catriona, Malcolm, Drs. Frankenstein & Seward, along with Kaetany. At first, Dracula gives them a chance to retreat because Vanessa “wants them to live” but they say, “Fuck no,” and wage battle anyway. Silver bullets fly hither and fro while Catriona impresses with mighty hand-to-hand combat, stabby warfare, and acrobatics. We absolutely adore her. Next Ethan slips away from the gunfight and finds Vanessa at the end of a long hallway full of lit candles. Vanessa tells Ethan it’s all her fault. Turns out she’s the mother of all evil. So sad, so lost, so alone. It’s over for her and for the world unless he takes her out. She has to be the martyr to save the world. He kisses her and, reluctantly, kills her. As Vanessa dies she says she sees the Lord and looks happy at last. But we’re bereft and feeling pretty stabby ourselves. Martyrdom is the worst! We hate it. Fight, fight, fight, we always say. Never give up!… and whatnot.

The friends all hate it too. But then Dracula disappears, the sun comes back out, and the world is saved. Vanessa died so that the world could go on. We get it but we’re still bereft. In the final scene the friends go to Vanessa’s grave. The Creature waits until they all leave and then visits the grave as well and although we’re sadder than sad we also hear him recite the most beautiful funeral soliloquy. It’s from William Wordsworth’s, Ode to Immortality and, because we’re jaded old sods, we can’t remember the last time a poem actually made us cry. But this one does and we remember once again the sublime art of perfectly crafted verse and how it feels to be moved by the purity of words. Thank you for that, Penny Dreadful. You touched us with your gorgeous story and true artistry even while you took it all away from us forever.

–Katherine Recap

[For Penny Dreadful “Ebb Tide” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

Showtime Summary:
Ebb Tide. Kaetenay has a vision of impending doom; Vanessa discovers an awful truth.

“Ebb Tide” feels the way it sounds, the show is pulling away from us even as we cling to it with a needy ferocity. Just like with a wave against the shore, we can’t make season three of Penny Dreadful last forever. This is one of those episodes where you’ll keep wondering what the hell these characters are doing. The questions Why? Why? Why? will race upon the hamster wheels of your grey matter. There is one bright star of hope, though, and it arises in the most unexpected place. Our beloved Creature finally finally gets a little love in his life at last and it almost makes up for all the rest of it… but not really. It’s par for the course with Penny, we suppose and the episode does grant us the favor of mucho information. Catriona provides an encyclopedic truckload of facts about Dracula, including that, in his human form, he can be killed like any other man. But it’s not that part which piques the interest of Vanessa. She realizes when Cat tells her Dracula is known for “dwelling in what’s called The House of Night Creatures,” that her beloved Dr. Sweet is the dragon Dracula. Only after this revelation does the part about being able to kill him in human form seem significant to her.

There’s a touching scene between Vanessa and The Creature, whom she knows as John Clare, where she tells him people are better than you think and he looks at her a bit sideways in reply asking, “Do you believe that?” to which Vanessa says, “Almost,” thus perfectly summing up their conundrum. All these two characters really want is to be loved. Thus they decide together to dare to believe they deserve love. Mainly they make this choice because, hey, can they be any lonelier than they already are? Unlikely. It works out for “Mr. Clare” at least. He goes to his wife, Margery and tells her his whole dang story for real – the truth. Funny thing about it is how he describes Dr. Frankenstein, making the mad scientist sound like the ultimate bad parent, “He created life but had no care for its nurturing,” which is both fitting and ironic. We all know such parents walk among us in everyday life but never would have thought to relate them to Victor Frankenstein before The Creature points out this apt similarity. In the end, our Creature finds warmth and welcome with Margery and his son, Jack. Finally, he’s home, accepted, and loved. We’re happy for him and would be satisfied with this as the end to his Penny Dreadful character arc. Please no more pain for our beloved Creature. Thank you.

It’s Dorian who mentions the “Ebb Tide” of the title within a shockingly unexpected scene. He’s just finished telling Lily how terrifically BORING he finds her army of prostitutes. They are such a clatter in his ears with all their cutting off bad men’s hands then clamoring and clawing at each other to mess up his grand estate. Oh dear, aren’t women with power so tiresome? Clearly they must be tamed – drugged even. So, that’s exactly what Dorian does. After his lecture series on how tedious he finds Lily’s vengeful revolution, that “owed” favor he warned Victor Frankenstein about springs into action. Right there on the moonlit cobblestone street, Frankenstein and Jekyll suddenly sweep Lily into a carriage headed straight for Bedlam. She’s to be drowned in “proper lady” drugs until she behaves her damn self. But we hope Lily escapes instead and then takes her dual betrayers down hardcore. Dorian and Victor deserve her vicious wrath. In fact, we hope Justine finds the way to finally kill Dorian and meows all the while, clawing his gorgeous movie star eyes out for good measure. Jekyll, on the other hand deserves more story. We hardly got to see him this season, so let him live… for now.

The episode opener for “Ebb Tide” gave us a glimpse into Brona’s past as she visits the grave of her daughter. So, now we know her agony runs deeper than just the “bad” men who abused and used her. She’s been broken a long long time. There at the gravesite, Brona makes a promise to another mother of a dead child. It sounds eerily similar to her rants and raves with the prostitute army and we realize that Brona has always been this way deep down, desperately seeking vengeance. It wasn’t her death that did it. Like Vanessa, Brona has a lengthy past of heartbreak and anguish.

Meanwhile Ethan, Kaetenay, and Malcolm head back to London as fast as they can on a mission to save Vanessa and thus the world from the End of Days that will follow if Vanessa succumbs to Dracula. Ethan’s doing it for love and Malcolm for the sake of duty. Kaetenay, though, has a vivid vision of the horror overtaking Vanessa and subsequently the world. He’s the real hero of this story; the world’s iconoclast and visionary. The one who sees it all but remains fearless and true.

In the final scene Vanessa confronts Dracula and he admits the truth. In fact Dracula claims he’s always told the truth and certainly, in his own eyes, that’s the case. She says he’s twisted and that she won’t serve him. Then Dracula calls her the Mother of Evil and says he wants to serve Vanessa, not the other way around. All he wants is her. In this world, they’re both different, ugly, exceptional creatures and will never be accepted and loved by others. Dracula says he doesn’t want to make Vanessa good or normal. He loves her for who she truly is. Now it’s time for her to stop trying to be what everybody else wants her to be, he says. Just be yourself and be with me. You will never be alone again, he says. Dracula asks if she accepts him and she says, “I accept myself,” so, then he bites her neck and the episode ends as Vanessa’s voiceover tells us about the end of days and the night creatures emerging, the air will be pestilence, such is our kingdom, etc. She’s succumbed, it seems. But there is the whole business Catriona brought up about Vanessa needing to be a spy. So, maybe she’s playing double agent. Vanessa has certainly played that game before. It’s a little telling that he asks if she accepts him and her only reply is about herself. Perhaps she is just spying… unless Vanessa really is the Mother of all Evil. That detail has always been up for debate.

Next Sunday night, June 19th, is the two hour finale and we’re set up for a radical showdown on all sides. Ethan, Kaetenay, and Malcolm will fight Dracula while Brona deals with her duo of betrayers. We have compiled a fetchland fantasy for the season three throw down that follows. First and foremost, Dorian reaps the mighty ass kicking that finally kills him doornail dead. It would be best if Justine dished it out. Secondly, we really must see Dr. Jekyll turn into Mr. Hyde. How have we sat through an entire season with this classic character and not witnessed this wonder yet? It’s an outrage. Lastly, please grant us a grandiose, macho, swordfight, beatdown between Ethan and Dracula over Vanessa’s heart. She’ll be devastated no matter who wins but we know at this point she’s still pissy with Ethan for abandoning her so will likely be rooting for Drac at least initially. The real riddle, though, remains who Vanessa kisses after the dust settles and if that’s the one she would have chosen to win. The coolest ending would leave the climactic death blow Vanessa’s choice. We’d like that best. Funny thing is, both guys are hellbent so she’s pretty screwed either way – typical Penny Dreadful style.

–Katherine Recap

[For Penny Dreadful “No Beast So Fierce” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

Showtime Summary:
No Beast So Fierce. When Vanessa turns to an old friend for help she is introduced to a new ally.

The upheaval, sexytime, and tumult of episode six for Penny Dreadful this season revolves around the seven sins. Vanessa gives in to Lust and The Creature’s Pride takes a bitter, gut-busting hit. Hecate, Rusk, Ethan’s father, and The Marshal all succumb to vengeful Wrath. While Victor Frankenstein and Dorian struggle with the push and pull between Envy and Greed. Then, although not Sloth in the traditional sense, Dr. Seward and an enchanting new character, Catriona give Vanessa the same lazy ass “friendly” advice. It’s not their fault, really and they mean well. But when it comes to sins, intentions aren’t what counts. Fact is, their advice reeks of careless words wrapped in a papery thin guise of friendship.

Luckily, there’s a bright side to sintown. We get to hear the best line of the season thus far when Malcolm finally sees Kaetany is alive after all, “I knew you were too mean to die,” Murray says. There are many more memorable and even funny lines in “No Beat So Fierce”. It’s one of those episodes where if you’re not careful you may find yourself talking to the screen. One moment you could cheer Lily’s half/feminist and half/fucked up tirade about vengeance and violence against women. The next you’re gasping “No, you’re not. You never are,” to the oblivious Vanessa describing herself to Lyle as, “quite safe”. Nothing is ever safe on this show and the characters are all so preoccupied with sinning that, although they mean well, their “assistance” just makes things worse. The seven deadly sins get in the way of progress or healing, just like in real life. Because the “No Beast So Fierce,” scenes resound with so much power, we’re dividing this recap by scenes rather than roles.


Gluttony – Renfield Feeds

The episode opens with a brief glimpse into Renfield’s Gluttony. After he gives Dracula the news about Vanessa’s latest She knows your name, Master. She called you Dracula. Renfield gets his unquenchable bloodlust temporarily sated when Drac offers him a “fat and juicy” fresh victim hanging from a meat hook. While he’s munching away, we wonder if Dr. Seward will see any difference in Renfield soon. She’s brilliant, after all, and her entire job revolves around observing human behavior. When will she see that he’s becoming less and less human?


Sloth – Drinks with Dr. Seward and Catriona

Speaking of Dr. Seward’s observations, one of the inherent limitations every therapist faces is the myopia of their patients. Seward can only know what Vanessa tells her. So, when they share a drink together and Dr. Seward explains how she killed her abusive husband and stood trial in NYC. Although shocking, it’s not wholly surprising to Vanessa because she saw this scene from Dr. Seward’s past in the asylum episode. Vanessa just didn’t know it was her husband she’d killed. Speaking of just not knowing, this is a scene where Dr Seward unknowingly gives Vanessa horrendously lazy advice. It’s the kind of Sloth that’s unavoidable. She means well but advises Vanessa to “go and have drink with that handsome doctor from the museum,” because Vanessa must learn some people are trustworthy. She gets the same well-meaning advice from her newfound friend, the death-obsessed and exceptional fencer, Catriona, who advises Vanessa to seek out those she loves as protection from the notorious Dracula. Too bad neither of them know that the only “love” Vanessa has right now is Drac himself.


Pride – Creature & Son Bond & Break

At first it feels like a celebration of love, seeing The Creature clutch his invalid son tight to rock him back and forth with comforting words and promises of medicine. Then it gets a little darker as his son whispers that he knew his father “the angel” would come to him as he died. A child dying is a bit of a downer, especially given the wretched existence of our beloved Creature. Can’t the guy get even a few minutes of happiness and love in this lifetime? Well, no. Because when the boy finally opens his eyes and sees The Creature’s face after only having heard the voice of his father coming from this person. He screams in horror. This, of course, is a crushing blow to our beloved Creature. He’s bereft because it’s not just his Pride that’s broken but also his heart.


Wrath – Massacre at Talbot Ranch

The biggest and baddest scenes of the episode are the two bloodbaths at Talbot Ranch. Penny Dreadful loses four major characters to Wrath: Hecate, Rusk, The Marshal, and Ethan’s father – Dickhead Talbot, as we like to call him. It’s almost overkill the way bullets blaze across the Talbot Ranch dinner table and one wonders how this could’ve been avoided. The simple answer is that it couldn’t. Ethan’s father hated the Apaches and had everything to do with their destruction, literally murdering his way into owning all the land he nows claims as Talbot Ranch. So, of course Kaetany comes for revenge and blasts into the house taking down ranchers galore. Soon after most of the others also bite the dust. Dickhead Talbot kills The Marshal and then Hecate takes a bullet to the heart from Rusk while defending Ethan. As she dies Hecate tells Ethan Hell awaits them both before drifting there herself. Interestingly, she exited this mortal coil in naked demon form but Ethan kissed her scary-ass face goodbye anyway, sad but unafraid. Soon after we have the final Talbot massacre. All that’s left are some ranchers and Dickhead Talbot hiding in the ranch chapel. The trio Ethan, Malcolm and Kateany find them quickly and when the bombastic Mr. Talbot berates Ethan, he can’t bring himself to shoot his father. But Dickhead gets a bullet between the eyes anyway, care of Malcolm’s Wrath. In the end this mighty trio of men are the only one’s left alive. Malcolm Murray and Kaetany saved their son from his own father. Irony’s the real winner tonight.


Lust – Vanessa and Dracula Do the Deed

Vanessa falls under the Lustful spell of Dracula’s Dr. Sweet facade. It’s noteworthy that he doesn’t really lie to her. Yes, his vague banter with promises to never leave her side and love her forever lack clarification. But that’s just because he neglects to mention that he is, in fact, Dracula. Other than that small detail, the guy’s totally on the up and up. They have sex right there on the taxidermy room floor with the stuffed wolf watching (clearly not a coincidence) and Vanessa takes cowgirl position, her skirt spread over them for the sake of Victorian sensibilities. So, yes, sex. But no, not sexy. Afterward Vanessa cries and Dracula wipes away her tears. All we can think is that there are more where those came from and likely falling in torrents real soon.


Envy & Greed – Dorian, Dr. F & Warrior Girls

Justine may not be immortal but she’s certainly enthralling, a sociopath – sure, but we’ve all got our flaws. She could have her own show and Lily would be its biggest fan. Her taunting and teasing make Dorian, Envious because Lily likes it a little too much. So, Dorian confronts Lily saying HE’s the one who belongs beside her. Dorian expects Lily to fall into his handsome, immortal arms and declare her undying devotion but instead she defends Justine saying Justine’s more her match than Dorian could ever be. This doesn’t sit well with him and we predict a showdown between he and Justine in the weeks ahead. If anybody can figure out how to destroy Dorian Grey, it’s that furious little minx, Justine. She’s Greedy for a kill with Dr. Frankenstein too. He shows up to kidnap Lily and gets caught in a deadly Warrior Girl spiderweb. Lily has already begun assembling her ex-prostitute army and they’ve battened the hatches, easily taking him down with a knife to the throat. Greed is the only reason they let him live because he could potentially help their army. Dr. Frankenstein can make people immortal, after all. Who better to wage war against sadistic men than an army of gorgeous sex mavens that can’t be killed? At least that appears to be what Lily’s got brewing in the back of her mind when she lets him live…

“No Beast So Fierce” feels like a dream while at the same time awakening us to what’s really happening on Penny Dreadful. So beautifully written while the acting and orchestration work together like art, it’s breathtaking how easy they make it look when this is all unbelievably difficult to pull off. The writers manage to pack complex and relevant information into every onscreen second and at the same time make us feel a thousand emotions while sitting on the edge of our seats. We’re still poised there, in fact, because in the preview scenes for next week we see that Vanessa and Ethan will reunite soon. Dracula against Ethan represents the swordfight to end all swordfights and who will Vanessa want to win? It’s an amazing testament to the show that we even wonder.

–Katherine Recap

[For Penny Dreadful “This World is Our Hell” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

Showtime Summary:
This World is Our Hell. Hecate and Ethan struggle; Kaetany reveals a truth to Malcolm; Frankenstein succeeds with Hyde’s formula.

Penny-Dreadful- HellTwo themes run through in this episode which works especially well because one of those themes is partners/duos. The other theme, wholly more Penny Dreadful, illustrates that monsters spawn monsters: violence breeds violence, and hatred can only make more hatred. This cycle continues to infinity if not for a break in the pattern and a brand of pattern interrupt this powerful can only be made by a saintly soul, a martyr to the tune of Joan of Arc (for instance) sacrificed for the sake of others. An ideal this pure can’t live in this episode because as the title states, we’re in Hell here. The characters are all flanked by thirsty demons crawling though the desert. In fact many of our heroes are thirsty demons themselves and we can hardly tell the difference anymore. Thus we find this episode teeming with said monsters, they’re paired up and ready to die for the sake of revenge – not a single one afraid of the Hell that awaits because they each believe their hellish mission can’t possibly get any worse. “This World is Our Hell” feels like the hilarious Far Side comic pictured here. They’re in Hell anyway… so, might as well make the most of it and take down their enemies. Difference is, the episode seriously lacks jocularity. Lucky for you, Fetchland doesn’t.

Frankenstein-HydeFrankenstein and Hyde – Lennon and McCartney

Innovators with a long history of working both together and apart, these two are mixologists with science and medicine the same way Lennon and McCartney made music. At the top of their field but always striving anyway to improve, they’re dead set on the impossible tasks of healing themselves through the process of creation. This duo struggles with inner demons and expresses their feelings in their work to benefit others in the hope of somehow fixing themselves. Meanwhile the impact they have on people with their work doesn’t just transform their human guinea pigs, it changes them too – forever. Lennon and McCartney created wondrous songs that forever changed the musical landscape of the world. Their songwriting blended Lennon’s poignance and rebellion with McCartney’s cheerful ingenuity making all that once seemed simple, even common somehow fresh and new. Our two medical marvels share similar traits. Frankenstein models Lennon to the core: moody and deep with major issues but obviously a genius who means well, he’s met his match with Hyde. Henry Hyde has that handsome directness and solid skill that matches his partner at every turn. They match up and are even stronger together. As the music of the Beatles unleashed a whole new world of sound, these two doctors break through the boundaries between life and death, good and evil, love and hate. Speaking of love, it seems inevitable that a woman will come between them exactly as history tells the story of The Beatles breakup.

Hecate-EthanHecate and Ethan – Kermit and Piggy

Hecate’s relentless pursuit of Ethan, a creature quite different from herself, mirrors the indomitable adoration Miss Piggy has for her sweet froggy. Piggy basically wears Kermit’s resistance down over the years with constant pursuit; much like Hecate with Ethan. Kermit barely pays attention her for the longest time but eventually starts to see her charm and ends up falling for Piggy, even with all of her flaws clearly. This is the attraction trajectory for Ethan in this episode. Completely aware Hecate’s a demon witch with a mission to take him to Hell, he falls for her anyway. She asks, “Shall we unleash demons, thee and me?” and then at last Hecate gets the answer she’s been craving along with some hot-but-also-severely-dehydrated desert sex. Hecate and Ethan are both animals in their own way and mis-matched while also somehow perfect for each other just like Piggy and Kermit. For all of Miss Piggy’s vanity and diva violence, her charisma always shines through. She’s exciting and her confidence entices much like that political pork loin named Trump. Nobody can squelch Piggy’s self esteem and don’t we all wish we had just a strip of that bacony belief in ourselves? Humble and nervous Kermit certainly does and much like Ethan, he struggles to be his fullest self but this lady beside him helps with self-acceptance for she’s the Platonic ideal of such. Thanks to Hecate’s influence, Ethan is finally ready to face his furious father and just in time too because it’s goin’ down NOW.

Malcolm-Murray-KaetanyMalcolm and Kaetany – Thelma and Louise

Just like Thelma and Louise, these two pursue an impossible mission. It’s suicide, really, to overcome a demon power much greater than themselves and all the while they maintain deeply ingrained personal vendettas mixed with painful memories and road trip challenges. As Thelma and Louise illustrates the struggle of women in society through an arduous road trip on the run, Malcolm and Kaetany enlighten the Penny Dreadful narrative with insight into the Apache struggle of the early American West with their hardship. Murray and Kaetany reek of emotional wreckage as they share their struggle stories. Malcolm feels guilty for all his trespasses against people of color against the backdrop of Kaetany’s tragic loss – the entire Apache nation. His people are gone. It turned us into monsters, he explains to Malcolm. The US Army sent five thousand soldiers to kill the last thirty nine Apache, overkill doesn’t even begin to describe this kind of cruelty. We see how this played out in the final scene as Ethan’s father replays the night the Apaches came and destroyed his family, one innocent victim at a time. In fact, the only family member they left alive was Ethan’s father, now filled with hatred and vengeance – a monster in his own right. He says looking at Malcolm is like “looking in the mirror” and can’t understand how Murray can ride next to Kaetany who he calls “an animal”. But what about Kaetany? That snakebite Hecate unleashed was a killer, no? It doesn’t seem so from the preview clips for next week where we see Kaetany kicking ass once again. He’s magical, that man. And, not to get too technical, but we’re all animals, Mr. Talbot – you included. So, this duo haven’t driven off the cliff Thelma and Louise style quite yet but it seems inevitable at the rate they’re going.


Bartholomew Rusk and The Marshal – Benson and Stabler

The two detectives, the New Mexico Marshal and Rusk, the Scotland Yard investogator who took Ethan to New Mexico for “justice”, have finally proven themselves worthy of recapping in their own right, old school Law and Order SVU style. In this episode Rusk finally talks about his own history rather than just Ethan, Ethan, Ethan and capturing Ethan. Thus he’s finally a character unto himself. It is their unified goal to locate Ethan and bring him to justice but they’re also increasingly aware more is going on than just simple criminality. In the last episode Scotland Yard asked The Marshal if he knew anything of the occult. When The Marshal replied no Rusk suggests he look into it… Now in this hellish episode the desert is getting to everyone and Rusk disavows the oath to follow the law and says he’ll shoot Ethan in the back and butcher all of his kind. This guy’s goin’ rogue and, of course, it’s just when we’re starting to like him. He’s the Stabler of the duo, full of rage and defiance, while The Marshal is Benson, all empathy and reason. These are the two most typical reactions people have to horrific crimes and simply summarize why the Benson and Stabler dynamic worked so well for those first twelve seasons of SVU. We see how chasing a monster has turned Rusk into his own version of a monster and how all those in pursuit of Ethan begin to share his qualities. It’s as if merely seeking him out arouses the demon inside them, implying that maybe to catch a monster one must become one, even if temporarily. The only exception to this is, of course, the glorious Olivia Benson an no mere mortal can live up to that ideal, except maybe taylor Swift’s cat.

Much of the episode revolves around the dry expanse of desert where Ethan and Hecate struggle to survive as the other two duos, Malcolm & Kaetany and Rusk & The Marshal hunt for them. There’s a brief stint in the bowels of Bedlam as Frankenstein and Hyde discover that electricity really is the missing ingredient for relieving inner demons but even that feels like a dry run. For both Ethan and Malcolm the episode ends in confrontations with Ethan’s actual father while Hecate tries to sleep in a bed surrounded by terrifying antique dolls. Even a demon can get creeped out with those glass-eyed monstrosities haunting their dreams. Just like Miss Piggy would struggle to sleep with a pea under her mattress, Hecate lies awake and bothered. She needs Kermit and we can tell that this demon doesn’t like feeling needy. Not one bit.


–Katherine Recap

[For Penny Dreadful “A Blade of Grass” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

Showtime Summary:
A Blade of Grass. Vanessa convinces Dr. Seward to use hypnosis to take her back in time.

Penny Dreadful brings unique storytelling to TV and surprises the audience every week. So, in that spirit, we’re bringing a new, non-traditional style to our Penny Dreadful recaps and will surprise you with a different way of doing it each week. The fourth week’s episode brought a surprisingly simple ensemble of only five Penny Dreadful characters. Although simple in terms of players, the episode “A Blade of Grass” was particularly deep and beautiful with some remarkable revelations. So, we here at fetchland chose the most superficial, gaudy, and shallow parallel we can think of… in fact, why not sexualize this party to the max while we’re at it? We say why ask why if it works? And it does. Dr. Seward brings Vanessa back in time through hypnosis and we too are taking you back. But in our case, to the time of Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes, Charlotte York, and Samantha Jones. It’s Sex and the City, baby.


Vanessa Ives – Charlotte York: traditional, true believer, idealist, naive, angelic, rule follower

Vanessa Ives – Charlotte York.
Charlotte, much like Vanessa, seems to be from a different time and place, perhaps even Victorian England. She clings tightly to her beliefs and just when you start to think she’s just typically prissy and uptight Charlotte throws you for a loop and does something unexpected or brilliant. Vanessa holds her faith in God as her top priority just as Charlotte holds her blueblood rulebook sacred. But when the chips are down and they’re tested these characters surprise us. There are two instances of this in the “A Blade of Grass”. First when The Orderly takes away the shivering cold Vanessa’s blanket and she attacks in retaliation. Vanessa comes out of her demure shell here just like when innocent, naive Charlotte fights like hell in her divorce proceedings with Trey. Later in the Penny Dreadful episode Vanessa speaks in her demon tongue with such ferocity she manages to scare away the predatory pair, Lucifer AND Dracula. She’s fierce and shocking, as well as completely obsessed with this idea of herself as a saint; specifically Joan of Arc singing on her funeral pyre. Charlotte has the same sort of obsessions and channels them into maintaining a perfect appearance and composure – always wearing and doing the right thing while following the rules perfectly. But these women aren’t saints no matter how much they yearn to be like them. Both want only to be the most sanctified versions of themselves but ultimately they’re human and stuck in a world that doesn’t understand or accept them as they are. Both Vanessa and Charlotte spend all their time listening to “Why can’t you just be like the rest of us?” and “Nobody else believes in all these ideas that you hold so dear,” so it must be very lonely up in their ivory towers. Indeed, Vanessa Ives may be the loneliest character on television today.

Penny-Dreadful-Dr. Seward

Dr. Seward – Carrie Bradshaw: curious, questioning, searching for meaning, solving mysteries of human interaction

Dr. Seward – Carrie Bradshaw. All Carrie really does on the show is ask penetrating questions and then observe as the answers play out before her. Even in her own story, Carrie works merely a vessel for the narrative rather than an active participant. Yes, she does things but the story is driven forward by Carrie’s stories and friends more than her actions. Like most writers/therapists, the key to her role and impact lies in her observations of others and the way she tells us about them. In this episode Dr. Seward is so detached from herself she even refers to herself as Joan Clayton in order to help Vanessa, asking what Joan would say to help her. Vanessa says Joan would say, “Be true,” and thus, this is what Dr. Seward says. It’s the most humble way of helping possible and shows that Dr. Seward truly does this work for the help it gives. Much like Carrie is all about her friends, Dr. Seward is all about her patients and will do anything to help them.


Dracula – Samantha Jones: flesh-obsessed, sexy, corrupt and utterly tempting

Dracula – Samantha Jones. Dracula appeals to Vanessa’s lusty appetites and says he doesn’t need her soul. This is just like Samantha with all of her no-strings, unemotional sex. Dracula’s motivation in bedding Vanessa is to turn day into eternal darkness – a world made for vampires. “The very air will become pestilence to mankind and then our brethren, the night creatures will emerge and feed. Such is our power,” that’s SO Samantha! When Dracula first appears in “A Blade of Grass” it’s striking how different his voice sounds, coming out of that same Orderly and Lucifer body. It’s depth and sensuality completely change the body that stands before Vanessa. He suddenly becomes enticing simply through confidence and timbre. Samantha also maintains a legendary confidence and timbre. She’s all about projecting an aura of boldness and animal magnetism. When Dracula first appears Lucifer introduces him to Vanessa as the “Father of Beasts” and speaks of his animalistic urges. There’s no better iconic example of a “Queen of animalistic urges” in TV history than Samantha Jones.


Lucifer – Miranda Hobbes: Jaded, sarcastic, critical, righteous, judgmental

Lucifer – Miranda Hobbes. Lucifer moans like a bitterly scorned lover who seeks Vanessa’s love in reunion of their relationship from before time. The spurned and fallen angel who yearns for Vanessa’s love, desperate and lonely. He lives in the dark netherworld of Hell and believes being with Vanessa will release him back to Heaven. The twin brother of earth-bound Dracula, he scorns and judges the lusty appetites of his sibling just as Miranda judges Samantha, though they are truly two sides of the same bitter crone coin. He’s all about her spirit and soul while Dracula wants Vanessa’s body and blood. Lucifer’s role in “A Blade of Grass” reveals many important elements of the story in the same way Miranda’s character illuminated the plight of the modern woman as a theme in Sex and the City.  All Lucifer wants is entry back into those heavenly gates and he believes Vanessa is his ticket to ride. If only she would love him. If only she knew how much he loved her. He whines and moan and complains but doesn’t he know that’s not how you land a lady? No. Not even in Victorian times was neediness and desperation attractive. This is definitely something Miranda would say.


The Orderly – Stanford Blatch: kind and simple, outsider point of view, helpful demeanor

The Orderly – Standford Blatch. Stanford is the iconic “gay friend” and often referred to as “the fifth lady” on Sex and the City. The Orderly (formerly and henceforth, The Creature) in this episode finds himself changed by Vanessa Ives. Just knowing her leads him to quit a job he desperately needs even with no other job lined up. A humble man, he thinks little of himself, just like Stanford. Both of them speak of themselves in dismissive terms and frequently it’s when they’re being most helpful and kind to others. The orderly says, “I’m a stupid man. But I’m here now and I’ll listen,” this is totally something Stanford would say to Carrie, but instead of stupid he would say “ghastly” or some other reference to his looks. These men are both incredibly kind and good to the women in their lives. The Orderly speaks highly of his wife and develops a kind demeanor toward Vanessa once he realizes that “just doing his job” is cruel in her case.

The ladies of Sex and the City taught us many things even if every story seemed merely a superficial dalliance or literal prance through the park. Under the guise of shoe-shopping their struggle was real as they looked for happiness, love, and peace in a world gone mad. This too is the story of Vanessa Ives. Deep down she’s a women who just wants to find happiness, love, and peace in a world gone mad. No, she’s not lucky enough to do it while nibbling cupcakes and dating movie stars… but she comes close. Josh Hartnett certainly fits the bill as a hot ticket, even as a werewolf with demon baggage. The thing that separates Vanessa Ives from the SATC ladies and really from all other TV characters is the scale of her struggle and it took this glorious hour in a white room with the Devil and Dracula to show us precisely how vast her challenges really are. She’s locked in the war to end all wars – a saint with demonic powers, trapped inside a gorgeous woman’s body battling against two powerful demons who will do anything for her. It’s a fantasy much like Carrie Bradshaw’s life, except Carrie’s is less probable. There’s no way a freelance writer of a sex column could afford that apartment in the West Village or a single pair of those shoes she wore in every episode. Lucifer actually trying to get back to Heaven by marrying a saint is substantially more plausible.

–Katherine Recap

[For Penny Dreadful “Good and Evil Braided Be” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

Showtime Summary:
Good and Evil Braided Be. Vanessa is confronted by a familiar, who reveals a clue to her past.

Penny Dreadful brings unique storytelling to TV and surprises its audience every week. So, in that spirit, we’re bringing a new, non-traditional style to our recaps of Penny Dreadful and will surprise you with a different way of doing it each week. For episode three, “Good and Evil Braided Be” we’re matching Penny Dreadful characters with amazing break up songs. They’ll run the gamut but we’ve got our musical predilections and limitations here at Fetchland. So, if you’ve got your own Penny Dreadful break up song pairings, please tweet them at us. Use #Pennybreakups and share your fantastic alternates. We’d love that!

We’re linking up breakup songs with the relationships in Penny Dreadful’s “Good and Evil Braided Be” and although some of them are platonic there’s always tension and emotion to spare with these characters. Penny Dreadful feels like a Gothic romance with its tone and time. So, if we had to pick a rock band to represent the show, we’d choose The Cure for their moody, Gothic sound and the otherworldly sadness of their look. That’s where we begin thus, with the dreamy timbre of Robert Smith.

vanessa&dracVanessa and Dracula: “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure
He’s finally ready to pursue a romance but now Vanessa’s afraid of endangering him. “This is too dangerous,” she says thinking it’s protecting him. Isn’t it ironic? Vanessa’s romantic inclinations are the stuff of heavenly dreams and she’s like an angel to have such faith in love even after living a nightmare for so long. Meanwhile Dracula pulls off one devious trick after another with her. So, The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” works as an ideal accompaniment for their particular brand of breakup with the opening line “show me show me show me how you do that trick”. It’s essentially a song about falling in delirious love, like falling asleep, only to then wake up and find it’s gone (“I opened up my eyes and found myself alone alone alone”). Vanessa thinks she’s saving a sweet zoologist from her dark influence and demons. Meanwhile he’s actually a demon himself, plotting her body and soul’s demise just down the street, where he keeps his fleshbots. Sounds like how most love affairs end. Difference is this one’s over before it even really became romantic. Vanessa tells him to think of her rejection as “something like love,” though. She’s a believer. This song is about a world where true blue lovers like Vanessa are “Strange as angels” same as she is in the world of Penny Dreadful.

Dr SewardDr. Seward and Vanessa: “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse
Vanessa rants angrily because Seward doesn’t believe her dark stories. She wants the doc to hypnotize her so she can return to the asylum and face “The Master” at last. But Seward worries about causing Vanessa further trauma with hypnosis. So, in retaliation, Vanessa clutches her wrist to read through Seward’s skin and bones and tell Seward about some of her own demons. Vanessa does and then says “Shall we walk together?” inviting her to face demons side by side with her. Vanessa is utterly unafraid of trauma – it’s her normal. She’s like Amy Winehouse in “Back to Black,” completely aware that, “So far removed from all that we went through/And I tread a troubled track/My odds are stacked/I’ll go back to black”. Dr. Seward speaks of Vanessa’s delusions but really she’s the one who’s kidding herself that Vanessa’s merely an ill patient. The song says, “I died a hundred times,” and what better describes Vanessa’s experiences? Vanessa’s life represents a chain of ruination and dark demise. Only Amy Winehouse could play the soundtrack to this particular therapeutic process.

yeahyeahyeahsRenfield and his fly: “Maps” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
While working in Dr. Seward’s waiting room, creepy Renfield chomps down his first fly. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ song “Maps” perfectly captures this man-transitioning-to-monster who desires a tasty bug morsel for an afternoon snack. Renfield’s also writing “Vanessa” over and over with a manic scrawl just like how the song croons “They don’t love you like I love you” in a smooth and creepy repetition that soothes even as it never seems to stop. This song looms in the mind with love lost and obsessive thoughts drowning within its wake. Also, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ guitarist could easily play Renfield.

malcolm&KaeMalcolm & Kaetenay: “Someone Like You” by Adele
Bromance blooms after Malcolm threatens the life of a bigot on their train who tries to make Kaetenay ride with the livestock. Also Malcolm and Kaetenay are “bound by the surprise of their glory days,” those days being their separate experiences with Ethan. We know Malcolm defeated many demons with Ethan fighting at his side, for instance. Thus, Adele’s “Someone Like You” is the best breakup song for this dynamic duo. It’s all about the one that got away and wanting the best for them. In fact, even while dying inside for their losses involving Ethan, these two both want what’s best for him. And here they are on Ethan’s territory “turning up out of the blue uninvited” because “they just couldn’t fight it,” and for them it isn’t over. Even the line “I’ll find someone like you,” fits this story because, indeed Kaetany represents one part of Ethan and Malcolm another. They are each someone like Ethan in their own way and, look at that, they found each other.

Hecate and Ethan: “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt
He’s clearly not over Vanessa and Hecate is mad for him, seemingly even in love, though Ethan hates her and declares it to her face. Being an irrepressible demon, though, Hecate won’t let that stop her mission. In fact, she kills a few innocent people just to make him hate her even more. When she sees his disgust Hecate says that she’s no more a monster than he just because she kills with free will and he does it as a thoughtless animal. So, it turns out Hecate sees things quite clearly. She knows who she is and where she stands, just like in Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” a true torch song from the days of yore. Even as Ethan declares his hatred for her, Hecate has declarations of her own. She’ll be there for him regardless and fight by his side, all the way to hell. Her eyes are wide open about this relationship. She can’t make him love her and she will, “lay down her heart because she feels the power… but he won’t,” and thus they continue forth side by side, an impeccable portrait of unrequited love.

thecreatureThe Creature: “Portions for Foxes” by Rilo Kiley
He glimpses his past life for the first time since becoming the Creature as it appears in fragments that include a sick son and sad wife. He cries for that human life he left behind when he died. The Creature had connections with people, family even. Still, he’s dead now, those people are gone, and it turns out there’s more to the story of his life than he’s aware. Rilo Kiley’s “Portions for Foxes” suits The Creature for these reasons. It’s a song about death – a time when we all become “Portions for Foxes,” and also about regret. The repeat of “I’m bad news, bad news, bad news”  works for The Creature especially given the end of the episode, when we find out he was “The Master” posing as an orderly delivering Vanessa’s food tray in the institution. Baby I’m bad news, indeed.

Jekyll&FrankensteinJekyll and Frankenstein: “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes
The doctors philosophize and look hot in the Bedlam basement discussing the good and evil braided inside and between themselves. When Jekyll came back into Frankenstein’s life we noticed a tension between them that felt like ex-lovers. Jekyll spoke of how Frankenstein’s lack of contact over the years caused him “no small amount of pain,” and seems more than a tad contemptuous of Frank’s intense love for Lily. But more than anything homoerotic, these two are bound by the fact that they’re both broken men. This is why the break up tune “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes fits the doctoral duo. Not only are they both attempting to stitch each other back together with medical expertise, they’re also working on a way to “keep it together” inside. Both are in the process of “reaping what they sowed and then seeing red on their own,” just like in the song. There are also individual lines that fit Frankenstein such as,  “Bring me back to life,” and “You watch me bleed until I can’t breathe,” describing exactly what he did to Lily. While “shaking body onto my knees,” along with “tripping over myself,” seem to aptly describe Jekyll’s struggles with his inner demon. Thus the doctors represent each side of this song, the destroyer and the destroyed.

Lily and Justine: “Alive” by Sia
Sia’s “Alive” begins with the lyrics “I was born in a thunderstorm/I grew up overnight/I played alone/I played on my own/I survived,” and it then continues to tell their shared story. These two women are the ultimate survivors, each lucky to be alive in their own particular ways. There’s an irony to it as well because Justine is truly alive, while Lily merely plays at life and uses Lily’s actual life as a pawn so she can play at living. It wasn’t love that destroyed Lily and Justine and thus it won’t be love that gets them revenge. Just like the little ninja in Sia’s video, they’re fighters and, as Lily declares in the episode, “This is war,” and like the refrain of the chorus repeats, “I’m still breathing,” as long as these two femme fatales are still breathing, the war wages.

dorianDorian, Lily and Justine: “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Conner
In this third episode of the third season we find  the most unique of relationships in a trio and not just because of the whole immortality thing. Nothing can compare to the bloodthirsty threesome they engage after Justine kills her tormentor. Thus, Sinead O’Conner’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,”  applies best to this relationship. Certainly nothing could ever compare to their sexy bloodbath. The song revels in the freedom of singledom while at the same time it mourns lost love. This parallels the way Dorian and Lily revel in their immortality while at the same time long for the humanity that Justine represents. Her life has so much more meaning simply because it has an ending and this is something they’ll never have again. It’s all dead to them now, that meaning. This is symbolized by the flowers planted by the lover in the song, “they all died when you went away,” just as the meaning of Lily and Dorian’s lives died along with them. They’re working to create meaning with their revolution, a war on male tormentors using disenfranchised women like Justine as their warriors. The song pleads to “give it another try” and this is their way of doing so. No matter what the outcome of their second chance at life, though, we’re willing to bet it too will be incomparable

–Katherine Recap

[For Penny Dreadful “Predators Far and Near” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

Showtime Summary:
Predators Far and Near. Ethan gets help from Hecate; Evil forces track Vanessa’s every move.

Penny Dreadful brings unique storytelling to TV and surprises its audience every week. So, in that spirit, we’re bringing a new, non-traditional style to our recaps of Penny Dreadful and will surprise you with a different way of doing it each week. The second episode of the season “Predators Far and Near” brings a shocking revelation in the final frame and it’s done with mastery and thus inspired us to use masterpiece paintings for this week’s Penny Dreadful recap theme. Much of the art history analysis below draws from the insightful art historian, Sister Wendy, and her phenomenal book Sister Wendy’s 1000 Masterpieces. These Wendy-brand bits of acumen are italicized for your reference.

We begin with a brand new setting from this week’s Penny Dreadful. The workplace of our handsome and troubled new friend, Dr. Jekyll.

Penny-Dreadful-BedlamBedlam: Officially London’s Bethlem Hospital, it’s notoriety for inspiring “lunacy reform” in the psychiatric movement earned this institution the nickname Bedlam. What a perfect place for Dr. Jekyll to conduct his research – the corrupted bowels of a lunatic asylum. Although Bedlam was a real place, it certainly felt like hell to its many inhabitants and thus the painting by Hieronymous Bosch, “The Garden of Earthly Delights – Hell” portrays just the sort of pandemonium that the occupants of the infamous Bedlam experienced. A catastrophic scene of mayhem employed by the great master of macabre, “Hell” depicts every particular agony of the damned. From what we learn of Jekyll’s work in its basement, Bedlam too housed the damned. Bedlam inhabitants’ only hope lies in the twisted experiments of a mad scientist. Some of which cause them great agony indeed.

Penny-Dreadful-Jekyll-FrankensteinDr. Henry Jekyll  Henry obsesses over the duality in each person throughout “Predators Far and Near”. Jekyll is, of course, the main example of a predator lying “near” considering that his beastie lies within himself. Being both monster and man, he’s been the exemplary literary archetype of this precise duality for the past two centuries. Jekyll believes the pull between light and dark/angel and devil not only energizes us, it is the meaning of life itself. This is why “Gustave Courbet’s “The Wave” perfectly captures Dr. Jekyll. The painting conveys the mutual battle between the tossing emotion of the sea and the wild fury of the sky. Courbet also admires the dignity with which the water and air maintain their individuality. It’s perfectly parallel to Jekyll’s work. Especially in this episode where we see his use of the beast-taming antidote for the first time. The beastie and the man who remains after the injection are two separate entities locked in an eternal battle over their one body.

Penny-Dreadful-Kaetany-MalcolmKaetany & Sir Malcolm: Both of these men follow a higher calling as they engage with Ethan in what they believe is their duty to help him. They’re aware of his murderous rages but still, Kaetany also makes it clear in this episode that Ethan is just the Apache he needs. So, it’s an interdependent situation much like in Jean-Baptiste Oudrey’s painting “The Dead Wolf”. The two hounds represent Kaetany and Sir Malcolm, aware that they are in the presence of greatness next to the tremendous symbol of courage and violence beside them. While Ethan is, of course, the wolf. By all appearances this beast is down for the count – much like the perpetually handcuffed Ethan. So, why do the two hounds look so scared? Because you can never be too careful around the truly wild. Just when you begin to lament their death, the untamed rise again to fight the next battle with ferocious resilience. 


Ethan & Hecate In the previous episode, Hecate waited in the wings watching over Ethan with the stealth of a cat ready to strike. With “Predators Far and Near” her strategy finally pays off when she helps Ethan battle and overcome his father’s minions. He also knew this fight was coming, poised for it like a tiger hidden in the trees. In this episode we see the harnessed anger Ethan usually keeps hidden with vivid clarity. This is why the painting by Franz Marc, “The Tiger” works so well for Ethan. Marc presents this tiger with a pained admiration for animal beauty even while portraying it as a figure of menace. The main difference, Marc says in this painting, between man and beast is that man kills for sport while animals kill to survive. Ethan is only feeding his hunger for survival and thus he’s always primed for when he’ll need to defend himself, exactly like Marc’s gorgeous tiger – coiled and ready for action. .

Penny-Dreadful-VanessaVanessa & Dr. Seward In Vanessa’s second session with Dr. Seward she lets her freak flag fly at full mast. First Vanessa warns the doctor that if Seward believes what she says it’s likely she’s had her last restful night’s sleep. Then Vanessa plunges into the depths of her torturous past while Seward intently records the session. Edgar Degas’ “Melancholy” suits this part of the story with its classic repose of suffering and the feeling of inertia grief often brings. Vanessa has reached the depths of her despair in this scene. So, Dr. Seward recommends she go out and do something she believes will make her happy. This, of course, points Vanessa toward the charming Dr. Sweet.

Penny-Dreadful-DraculaDr.Sweet/Dracula  The title of this episode, “Predators Far and Near” forewarns that evil lurks all around, even in the most unexpected places. The most shocking and, admittedly kind of thrilling, part of this episode rolls out with a terrifying revelation at the end. After a delightful date with Vanessa, the modest and seemingly oblivious zoologist, Dr. Sweet, turns out to be Dracula himself. His whole dismissive-of-Vanessa-thing is an utter charade. Max Ernst’s “Celebes” portrays just this sort of alluring facade. Ernst presents a mechanical-pseudo elephant as a headless figure, eerily reminiscent of a mannequin, entices us to encounter the beast behind it. Nothing in this painting is at it seems. Dracula seduced Vanessa so easily with his apparent disinterest because up until now she’s been constantly harassed, stalked, and tormented. Thus Dr. Sweet seems like a refreshing change for the better. The man can’t even remember her name… little does Vanessa know he’s just more of that same old evil she can’t seem to shake off.

Penny-Dreadful-LilyLily The opening scene of this week’s episode holds us spellbound as Lily slits the throats around a circle of men with the finesse of a figure skater dancing on ice. She’s truly an out-of-this-world phenom, taking down the men who paid top dollar to watch a girl tortured to death. While Dorian does help Lily quite a bit, he shoots his gun from a distance in a matter of fact way. Lily’s grace and obvious delight in the more intimate process of cutting throats seems mystical in comparison, as if she’s found her calling. Paul Delvaux’s painting, “A Siren in Full Moonlight” portrays just this sort of vision Lilly now exemplifies – a woman, but no longer a woman. Delvaux depicts a siren in the secret world of her unknowable mysteries, woman as alien. She is distanced from us, seemingly with a mixture of fascination and fear.  Much like Lily, the siren’s also surrounded by symbols of luxury but looks only at her tail. Lily too, has no interest in opulence. Vengeance remains the only thing left that matters to her now.

Penny-Dreadful-JustineJustine: We’re introduced to a new character in “Predators Far and Near,” the incomparable Justine. Naked, bound, and facing imminent torture and death, she spits in the face of her executioner. No ordinary girl, she’s a perfect match to James Whistler’s portrait “Harmony in Grey and Green: Miss Cecily Alexander”.  Because Whistler made her stand for hours upon hours, Cecily has a rather disgruntled expression which reminds us of Justine’s testy reproach to her savior, Lily “You killed them!” she crankily accuses the morning after. But Lily’s resolute and bold reply shows us Justine’s vulnerability, her softer side. Whistler portrays this fragility of youth with the butterflies hovering above Cecily’s head. Justine is just a girl, after all, barely a woman. Although she’s no longer the chattel of men, Justine belongs to Lily now rather than to herself.

Thus the plot thickens for many characters in Penny Dreadful. How is Ethan related to the Apache and what is Kaetany’s mission for him? When will Vanessa find out the truth about Dr. Sweet and can Dr. Seward help her? What lies in store for Justine now that she’s fully committed to Lily and Dorian? Speaking of Lily, we know Dr. Jekyll plans to inject her with the beastie-busting antidote but he’s unaware of her immortality and mission to kill. In other words, we’ll soon get a first look at Dr. Henry Jekyll’s beastie too. Can’t wait.

–Katherine Recap

[For Penny Dreadful “The Day Tennyson Died” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

Showtime Summary:
The Day Tennyson Died. With her friends scattered around the world, a despondent Vanessa seeks help to battle a new evil.

Penny Dreadful brings unique storytelling to TV and surprises its audience every week. So, in that spirit, we’re bringing a new, non-traditional style to our recaps of Penny Dreadful and will surprise you with a different way of doing it each week. For the first episode of the season we’re kicking it way old school and bringing you Penny Dreadful season three, episode one as a pack of tarot cards. We’re still delivering spoilers galore. But for this week’s recap imagine yourself in a carnival tent with a snarky psychic know-it-all because we’re reading the cards… and see a fantastic cast of archetypal Penny Dreadful characters.

the hermitVanessa Ives: Hermit, introspection, searching, guidance, solitude. Tarot cards sometimes work on a literal level, like here with Vanessa opening the episode in classic Hermit fashion. Vanessa has pulled the drapes closed and left piles of dirty dishes on every surface of her house, waking only to eat and ignore visitors. She’s the Rip Van Winkle of Penny Dreadful in “The Day Tennyson Died,” and deeply depressed too. Vanessa rises from a sleep of the ages to a state of semi-consciousness thank to Lyle at her front door. The Hermit card signifies solitude but also searching, which Vanessa begins anew in this episode. She seeks the guidance of Dr. Seward and, by the end of the episode, takes her advice. All this seems to point to the beginning of a new phase for Vanessa. She’s ready to come out from Hermit hiding now and into the sunlight.

hanged manSir Malcolm Murray: Hanged Man, reversal, suspension, sacrifice. Malcolm just buried Sembene in his homeland of Africa and now contrite, just wants to disappear and never face a demon again. Who can blame him? But The Hanged Man card instructs to turn back and face that which we’d rather ignore. In Malcolm’s case this means facing his destiny as a demon-hunter. It’s clearly a sacrifice for him to resume his Allan Quatermain lifestyle now just when Malcolm most wants to Netflix and chill. But Murray is, above all else, a man with a mission no matter how much he wants to deny it. This is why The Hanged Man card is perfect for him at the this juncture because it’s about putting self interest aside and following one’s “calling” which Kaetenay, a new friend, reminds Malcolm.

the starEthan Talbot: The Star, hope, inspiration, serenity (The Moon) illusion, imagination, shadows. Normally, Ethan would clearly be The Moon card. In fact, the actual card has wolves on it and is all about secret hidden selves, in other words – Ethan’s jam. But “The Day Tennyson Died” remarks on many new beginnings for characters and this is where Ethan finals begins to seem at peace. He’s accepted his situation and is finally ready to shine a light on his own personal truth. He’s finally facing his father and in the meantime everybody else is looking at him. This is The Star tarot card in a nutshell. He’s inspiring a whole new territory now, New Mexico and all the wonders of the American West. Ethan’s The Star of this show, with a group of hired bandits taking over an entire locomotive just to steal him away from Scotland Yard and return him to his father. Meanwhile Hecate isn’t letting Ethan out of her sight. So, he’s being watched from all sides. We’re certain he’ll be back to his hidden moon phase soon enough. The last words from him were wishing his captors luck at getting him “home” because though Ethan doesn’t know exactly what the wolf inside him will do, he knows it’s gonna be dangerous.

devilDr. Victor Frankenstein: Devil, bondage, obsession, addiction, materialism. We knew Victor was becoming a drug addict because he ended season two with a needle in his arm. So, when “The Day Tennyson Died” reveals that he’s descended fully now into narcotic oblivion we’re unsurprised. Victor’s obsession remains the same, his creation, Lily, and the drugs that help him forget her. Frankenstein enlists his old pal from medical school, the notorious Dr. Jekyll, to help him tame Lily. Or, if that doesn’t work, help him destroy her. The Devil Card arises at just these times, when addictions compel one to act in complete disdain of reason. Victor can no longer be reasonable. He’s wrapped up in his addiction to Lily and the fact that she’s actually a monster drives him drugs and becoming a madman himself. Of course, because he’s Victor Frankenstein, he thinks he can “tamper with the formula” of his creation and perhaps fix her. Little does Victor realize that his only fixable problems are his own. Victor would be best off hitting a twelve step program at this point but instead he’s riding The Devil train to his own destruction. More fun for us to watch, at least.

temperanceDr. Henry Jekyll: Temperance, balance, health, combining.
This is our first introduction to the Penny Dreadful version of Dr. Jekyll and we love what we see. Because he’s a chemist, Temperance is the perfect card for Hyde. It’s all about synthesis and equilibrium along with healing and moderation. These are exactly the forces Dr. Frankenstein needs in his life and here’s hottie, Dr. Henry Jekyll, an amalgam of just this particular mission in life. He’s a scientist in a constant battle to balance his inner monster and man, thus perfectly suited for the job of helping Dr. Frankenstein. Dr. Jekyll even suggests that perhaps his latest chemical concoction can tame Lily for Victor. It’s the very same antidote he currently uses on his own demon.

foolThe Creature: The Fool, beginnings, faith, folly. The Creature ended last season in “The Bell Jar” so, we imagine it’s all uphill from here. Yes, he starts season three in a starvation snow storm situation… but soon leaves it behind to start a new adventure. He’s The Fool because finally, after a veritable lifetime of anguish, The Creature has a twinkling of hope. A vision of himself in his former life, before he became The Creature, gives him a glimpse of the man he once was. He had a son and a home life, apparently. It’s a brief vision but enough for The Creature to shift into gear and ready himself for a new beginning. He declares that he’s going “home” to the ravenous men left behind on an the abandoned ship in the middle of an arctic nowhere-land. The Creature starts on the journey of The Fool the “zero” card because it signifies the fresh start of the whole archetypal story. He has no idea what lies ahead but still, he can’t wait to get there and find out. That is The Fool in a nutshell.

the magicianDr. Seward: The Magician, action, concentration, conscious awareness. Patti Lupone brought one of the most powerful characters to season two with the Cut Wife/Joan Clayton and she’s set up to be no less a master in season three. Dr. Seward personifies the Magician in her conscious awareness of how to help Vanessa. She jumps in and gets Vanessa focused on a small achievable goal for the day, “do something new,” and it has magical results. This is how the Magician works. It’s a card about creating change through conscious intervention. Dr. Seward energizes the bereft Vanessa into action when she least wants to do anything. Therapists really can help people this way but it’s gonna take a true Magician to face down Vanessa’s demons.

sunDr. Sweet: The Sun, vitality, enlightenment, greatness, assurance. Vanessa meets Dr. Sweet for the first time right after her first therapy session. He quickly wins her (and us) over with his sunny disposition in only one tiny scene. Like The Sun, Dr. Sweet is all about vitality and joy. He’s intrigued by the world of animals and can’t help but share his enthusiasm as he bubbles over with amazing facts from the animal kingdom. Dr. Sweet is delightful and inspiring, just the burst of charming sunshine Vanessa needs in her life right now.

the loversDorian & Lily: The Lovers, sex, love, passion. Admittedly, we don’t see Dorian and Lily in “The Day Tennyson Died” but we all know what’s going on with them offscreen. They’re doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well.

devilRenfield: Death, ending, transition, inexorable forces. The first time we meet Renfield in Penny Dreadful he’s a cheerful secretary in Dr. Seward’s office. But this disposition doesn’t last long. A sense of dread surrounds this character, just as it does with the Death tarot card. Though not an indicator of actual, physical death, this card signifies the end of an old way of life. It’s about an enormous, inevitable change much like the one Renfield goes through in this episode. After a momentary encounter with a woman in an alley Renfield encounters Dracula, the demon himself. Of course, all Dracula wants to talk about is Vanessa. Typical demon. But still, Renfield’s life is forever altered by the encounter and he’ll never be the same. Not only did Dracula bite him, he enlisted Renfield as his Vanessa connection… and we know what happens to them.

justiceHecate: Justice, responsibility, cause and effect, consequences. Speaking of Satan’s minions, this brings us to Hecate AKA hottie-from-the-coven. She’s the only character on the same mission this season as in season two. The girl is out to get Ethan no matter what it takes. The Justice card speaks to facing consequences and taking responsibility which Hecate wants Ethan to do for her. She sees him as the “Wolf of God” calling him “Lupus Dei” and thus, the key to getting Vanessa for her master. Hecate believes she’s a servant of Justice and seeks only to fulfill her servitude. She’ll keep her eye on Ethan and watch him like a cop sitting in wait at a roadside speed trap. The moment he’s vulnerable, she’ll strike with her sexy, naked Hecate brand of Justice and wrath.

StrengthLyle: Strength, patience, compassion, resilience, persuasion. We’ve always seen Lyle as the sort of Oscar Wilde of Egyptogolists but now, with season three, we also get to see his softer side. The Strength card does this as well, it shows a lion to signify inner strength but there’s also an angel on the card because it’s really a card about compassion and composure. Much like Lyle, the Strength card cares deeply. He wants to help Vanessa out of her funk and so he tells her how Dr. Seward guided him out of his own similar depression years before. This persuades Vanessa to get help. Lyle’s inner fortitude, his resilience, enable him to be such an incredible friend that he’s like Vanessa’s guardian angel. The Strength card has the lion beside the angel to remind us that one has to be strong as a lion inside to behave like an angel in this world.

Our favorite part of the season three opening episode was a bit Dr. Sweet said, “If only we would stop and look, wonder and wonder…” as he spoke with effervescence about the natural world. He easily fits into the cast of Penny Dreadful characters; where it’s commonplace for people to serve an ultimate purpose on the scale of finally balancing out the laws of heaven and hell, for instance. It’s a place of destiny and callings. A place where, just when Vanessa is most in the dark, a glorious light appears. That light is The Sun shining through Dr. Sweet and his deep love and enthusiasm for the natural world. It’s just the refreshment Vanessa needs after losing herself in the darkness of the supernatural world. She’s grounding herself in the natural world now before the next, seemingly inevitable, supernatural battle.

–Katherine Recap

[For Penny Dreadful or any other refreshers on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

Imagine living in a city so romantic that when a poet dies everybody goes into mourning. That’s the world of Penny Dreadful – Victorian England, where the bell tolls all day and the city weeps because Lord Tennyson died. Victorian Gothic literature resonates throughout Penny Dreadful. But before you eschew the whole idea of a Victorian Gothic Horror show on your Sunday night, keep in mind that without this genre we would have no Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, or Edgar Allen Poe. Which brings up yet another reason to love Penny Dreadful; although it’s mostly twisted and gory, there’s sex and fun sprinkled in like mischievous little sugar bits.

Still, this most literary of horror shows is also the bleakest. The story of Penny Dreadful even as its most complex is fundamentally about a fallen angel. The Devil himself, in fact. Throughout season one and two we learn that the narrative action revolves around Lucifer’s longing to rise back into the heavens. For some reason Satan needs to take Vanessa Ive’s soul to accomplish this otherworldy return. In season one he used vampires as minions while season two brought Satan’s coven of witches. Now, with season three the vampires return again but this time with celebrity fangster, Dracula at the helm.

Speaking of exquisite and unforgettable characters, Penny Dreadful delivers an amazing assemblage. As complicated as they are fantastic looking, you’ll never tire of watching them fall in love, betray, murder, and avenge each other.

DorianReeve Carney as Dorian Gray, immortal thanks to his painting. Gorgeous, monstrous, and fearless, Dorian takes narcissism to a new level. He teams up with Lily Frankenstein at the end of season two – a terrifying duo of bloodlust who literally can’t be killed.

Dorian’s always been largely motivated by lust, given his multiple lovers, including Vanessa. But she remains the only one who ever rejected him. He murdered one such lover after showing them his painting.  But with Lily by his side, more murders definitely lie ahead.

MalcolmMurrayTimothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm Murray, a hardened explorer of the African continent, in previous seasons on a deeply personal quest to save and protect his family. Now they’re all dead so he’s enlisted to help Ethan overcome his troubles in America.

The one exception is Vanessa who may be his daughter. Malcolm had an affair with her mother and once referred to Vanessa as his daughter.


VanessaEva Green is Vanessa Ives, an enigmatic heroine. Her history’s fraught with fighting demons, mainly because Satan himself believes she’s the only way he can return to heaven.

Vanessa’s in The Bell Jar as season three opens because her beloved Ethan left for America. Also, the whole lifelong-battle-with-Lucifer thing really gets a girl down.


The CreatureRory Kinnear plays The Creature, a creation Frankenstein abandoned. Not given a name, he uses the alias John Clare. Mr. Clare spent seasons one and two seeking love only to experience cruelty and betrayal at every turn.

He fled London at the end of season two with Vanessa as his only friend and little hope for happiness.


LilyBillie Piper as Brona Croft/Lily Frankenstein, as Brona she was an Irish immigrant escaping a brutal past but after dying of consumption she becomes Lily Frankenstein, out for revenge.

Ethan fell in love with Brona before she died and Victor Frankenstein followed suit after bringing her back to life as Lily. But she’s only into power now, not love.


Doc FrankensteinHarry Treadaway as Dr. Victor Frankenstein, an arrogant young doctor obsessed with transcending death. Victor brings three corpses to life before realizing he’s actually the monster. He becomes an intravenous drug abuser after losing his beloved Lily Frankenstein; and hopes his friend Dr. Hyde can help him recover.


EthanJosh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler (real name Ethan Talbot), a charming, brash and daring American man with uncanny marksmanship, a pacifist ideal, and a secret wolf inside that comes out with the full moon.

Ethan spends all of seasons one and two on the run from his father’s minions and now it’s finally time  for them to meet face-to-face.


LyleSimon Russell Beale as Ferdinand Lyle, an eccentric Egyptologist. Often the source of information and amusement, he’s the most human character on Penny Dreadful. Because he helped the witches coven a bit in season two, Lyle feels tremendous guilt and thus always attempts to help out Vanessa as penance.

As season three begins Lyle refers Vanessa to Dr. Seward after she slips into an overwhelming depression from missing her beloved Ethan.


Dr. Seward


Patti LuPone plays Dr. Seward, an Alienist (therapist) treating Vanessa. LuPone previously guest-starred as Joan Clayton/The Cut Wife in the second season. Vanessa brings up the resemblance to Clayton in her first session and Dr Seward admits she’s a descendant.



Wes Studi as Kaetenay, a Native American with a deep connection to Ethan who becomes an ally to Sir Malcolm. He speaks of Sir Malcolm and himself as “fathers” to Ethan.

Because of Kaetenay, Malcolm leaves Africa for America with the promise of an incredible story that will explain why they must help Ethan.


KaetenayShazad Latif is Dr. Henry Jekyll, the notorious master chemist we’ve all heard about from the Robert Louis Stevenson.story. A friend of Dr. Victor Frankenstein from medical school, he plays confidante to Frankenstein’s “dreadful gorgeous secrets” and promises to “tame” Lily with the chemistry he’s developing as antidote to his own beast. But mostly he’s concerned about Victor’s drug problem.


HecateSarah Greene plays Hecate Poole, high profile member of the witches coven. She’s obsessed with Ethan, calling him “the wolf of God” and not just because he’s beautiful. Last season Hecate made several seductive attempts at landing Ethan’s soul for Satan, her master, and it appears she’s one of those types who never give up.

Last season Ethan knew she was after him but assumed she worked as minion for his father. Little does he know that the Devil’s after him too. She’s following him all the way to his father’s house and Hecate, a demon herself, has no fear of the wolf inside Ethan.


Dr. SweetChristian Camargo is Dr. Alexander Sweet, a zoologist who becomes friends with Vanessa. She meets him on her first therapeutic venture and he greatly lifts her sad sack spirits.

In fact, Season three seems to revolve quite a lot around an animal theme. The characters in Penny Dreadful have always been compared to animals but in this season they seem obsessed with them too.



Speaking of a mania for animals, another new character this season, Renfield, played by Samuel Barnett, famously obsesses about them, especially insects. But you’d never know this from his day job as Dr. Seward’s secretary. Yes, that’s right, Renfield from Bram Stoker’s novel and his master, Dracula are paying Penny Dreadful a visit in season three. Dracula’s after Vanessa, of course. Because everybody’s doing it, so why can’t he?


The most tormented soul on TV by far, Vanessa Ives, entering therapy works on many levels – including comedic. Mainly, though, we’re thrilled to see Patti Lupone, a master of her craft, return to the show. Can therapy save Ms. Ives from Satan’s wrath? Watch season three to find out. But there are so many more reasons to watch. Penny Dreadful has an inventive brilliance for taking familiar characters from fiction and making them real. Without this show we wouldn’t feel, as we do now, that we know Dorian Grey and Victor Frankenstein as people/monsters. So, the real question for the new season: will we come to know Dracula in a new way as well? It’s complicated because he’s not really a person. He’s 100% monster. Or is he?

–Katherine Recap