With the show now officially retired, fans of Penny Dreadful will have plenty of time to relive their favorite moments from Showtime’s 3-season, 27-episode gothic horror drama.
To celebrate one of the best horror television shows to ever grace cable television in this writer’s opinion, I have compiled a list of the Top 5 episodes from the series’ short-lived but oh so vicious run.
5. ‘The Blessed Dark’
directed by Paco Cabezas
Season 3, episode 9
The ultimate finale, as it served as both the season and – surprise! – the series finale. Vanessa Ives finally finds her salvation. Unfortunately it has to come in the form of a bullet shot by Ethan Chandler, the man who has loved her all along. Sir Malcolm and Ethan profess their adoptive love for one another. While the Dracula story line fizzled towards the end of this one, the heart-wrenching final scene of The Creature weeping at Vanessa’s grave made up for any earlier shortcomings in the episode.
4. ‘Grand Guignol’
directed by James Hawes
Season 1, episode 8
Death, ahoy! Sir Malcolm kills his daughter Mina in order to save Vanessa. Ethan transforms into a werewolf and massacres two detectives who are hot on his trail with the plan of taking him back to his father in America. Victor Frankenstein nearly kills The Creature before taking pity on him, only to offer his medical services to Ethan’s love interest Brona, who is dying of consumption, by – GASP! – smothering her with a pillow in order to make her The Creature’s bride!
3. ‘Night Work’
directed by J.A Bayona
Season 1, episode 1
This is how you start a series! Our beloved team comes together to save Sir Malcolm’s daughter, Mina, who has been kidnapped by a terrible monster. Ethan Chandler is enlisted to help fight the forces of evil that plague England. Frankenstein brings a corpse to life. I don’t know if I had more fun watching a series premiere than I did with this one.
2. ‘The Nightcomers’
directed by Brian Kirk
Season 2, episode 3
We learn of Vanessa’s early life with her fantastic skill set. Patti LuPone absolutely steals the show as a witch known as The Cut-Wife, actually named Joan Clayton. Vanessa meets the mysterious woman at her shack on the moors and hones her skills in the dark arts. The Cut-Wife ultimately meets a grisly ending but her mark on Vanessa is everlasting. A moving episode that sparkles from start to finish.
1. ‘A Blade of Grass’
directed by Toa Fraser
Season 3, episode 4
Arguably one of the best written episodes of the last five years of cable television. We meet the man who became The Creature, as he is the orderly who is assigned to supervise Vanessa during her stay at an asylum. Grab the tissues, as Rory Kinnear (as the orderly/The Creature) and Eva Green (Ives) share a crackling chemistry on screen. The orderly is very aware that a diabolical fate awaits Vanessa inside these padded walls and after showing her who she really is and doing all he can to make Vanessa feel like a person again, it all culminates in the most heartbreaking line of the entire series – “The last person you see before the surgery will be someone who loves you.”
Let’s hear it, Penny Dreadful fans. What episodes make your Top 5?