12 Penny Dreadful Season Finale Predictions

With Penny Dreadful set to close the coffin on its first season, we throw out our best guesses about what to expect...

This Sunday, Penny Dreadful will end its first season after only eight episodes, and it feels as sudden as the pain Victor experienced when Proteus was ripped away in the second hour.

Certainly an ambitious show with more British literary references than the Hammer assembly line oeuvre, it seems that the series only really started hitting its stride in the fifth episode, “Closer Than Sisters.” The Avengers (or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) hook of seeing all these 19th century icons share the screen has given way in the last three episodes to glimpses into the depths of who they really are. Alas then that now we must let them go for almost a year before their potential might be fully animated, particularly after last Sunday’s devilishly intense showstopper.

Still, there is one hour left of the hit Showtime series, and we figure that it’s time to put our severed limbs on the table and place our wagers on what to expect from Penny Dreadful’s freshman bow. And yes, we’re betting on red.

David Crow’s Predictions

Brona Becomes A Bride

The first prediction is probably the most obvious at this point, so let’s get it out of the way: Brona is going to be Caliban’s mate. At least, that is what Victor and Caliban might suspect.

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Played with a general sense of sadness and doomed misery by Billie Piper, Brona Croft is the sort of tragic heroine one might find in dime novels about the Western frontier on the American continent. Except, this is a “penny dreadful,” and we don’t need lost loves; we need blood and flesh, and all around barbarity. Also, since the other characters are preoccupied with vampires, demons, Egyptian prophecies, and reanimated corpses, there is something too generic about this prostitute with a heart of gold. But what if that heart stops and is replaced with material from a freshly robbed grave? Now, we’re talking!

Ever since Caliban commanded that Victor Frankenstein fashion him a mate, an original conceit from Mary Shelley that birthed the best Frankenstein movie ever made, Bride of Frankenstein (1935), it’s felt inevitable that Caliban will have his wedding day. When we last saw Brona in “What Death Can Join Together,” she appeared to be a death’s door. Perhaps after she steps over the boundary, Caliban will insist that Victor and Ethan Chandler allow him to bring her back through. Of course, if Elsa Lanchester’s influence is any indication, just because she will literally be tailor-made for Caliban does not mean she will welcome the arranged union. And seeing both characters react to a life beyond that initial rejection could be one of Season 2’s strongest starting points.

Dorian Gray Really Is A Devil

Reeve Carney has been a lot of fun as Dorian Gray. The perpetually 20-year-old youth is as entertaining to watch as the character is dully debauched in his existential rut. This whole season, Dorian Gray seems to have been searching for a purpose in life to justify his eternity, which apparently can be filled with only so much meaningless sex with both genders until it cracks. That’s why his finale needs to be about more than painting appraisal.

To be sure, we are definitely going to see Dorian’s hidden picture, however we might finally get to see the real Dorian too. Despite all his flatteries about simple-minded pleasures with Ethan, Vanessa, and probably anything else on two legs, there is more to his twisted and dying soul than a search for beauty. He wants to feel something. Anything. And the time he appeared most alive was when he literally got to bang death’s wheezing face in the blood drenched arms of a coughing Brona. The second time he seemed that alive was when he realized that Vanessa had also been touched by the supernatural in “Séance” since she began communing with the dead and summoning demonic forces (and a libidinous appetite). Dorian Gray has played the role of the dangerous suitor to Vanessa, but we predict that it is not just because she could be a curious companion for him. As Brona says, “he’s the devil that one.”

The event that caused Vanessa’s trip into demonic nightmares for the series’ best episode, “Possession,” was her sexual encounter with Dorian Gray. And while the Victorian taboo of sex being the greatest sin is on display since it is what first drew Vanessa to the powers of Hell when she saw Sir Malcolm Murray with her father as a child, and again when she seduced Mina’s fiancé, we also saw her have random sex with some lucky bloke in “Séance” with no long-lasting ramifications. This is because the encounter was not meant to awaken something truly sinister like when Dorian Gray had Vanessa taste his blood during coitus, an action that any Dracula fan knows has dire implications.

We predict that Dorian intended to wake up the demon inside Vanessa and that he is not going to join Malcolm Murray’s merry band of vampire hunters. No, he is in league with the forces of evil, be they the Devil or Amun-Ra, and will find his purpose as a series villain in seasons to come.

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The Master Is Not Dracula, But The Count Will Become Known

Ever since Malcolm Murray revealed that he had a “taken” daughter named “Mina” in the series premiere, the given assumption is that Dracula has her. When her first appearance on the show includes red eyes and fangs, there is probably more wrong than the need for an optometrist.

Add in a few more sprinkles like Mina married a man named Jonathan Harker and that she is the victim of her “Master,” and we of course assume the big guy above is the creature that all men must fear. Yet, after seven episodes of the “D” word not being mentioned, the likelihood that this beast is Dracula appears to be increasingly remote.

Personally, the concept of going back toward a demonic and bestial form for Bram Stoker’s monster (one that is not unlike Max Schreck in Nosferatu) is welcome. Yet, Dracula should also be more than just crimson eyes and gnarly teeth. In other words, one of literature’s best villains should not solely be a make-up special effect, which the Master has been up to this point.

We suspect that the Cairo subplot has been a misnomer: this monster might be related to Amun-Ra, but he is not Dracula. Thus we predict that John Logan is saving the Count (and Jonathan Harker) to be a fully developed character in Season 2. This would mean the Season 1 finale is the perfect time to introduce the concept of Dracula. We suspect there to be some complete finality to the missing Mina subplot that wraps up what will become of Malcolm’s daughter and ends with the fiend that took her being returned to the earth from which he rose for good and all. But not before it reveals another master, or at least monstrous colleague. We could even see a ship called the Demeter reaching port in the finale. He is coming, and we do hope he is closer to Mina’s Master than Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Nevertheless, a fully credited actor getting to play with Stoker’s vision of the Anti-Christ might be a lot of fun for next season. One that can schmooze with Dorian Gray and perhaps be more tactful in his approach to Vanessa Ives. Just no reincarnated lost loves, please!

Malcolm Murray Stakes His Claim On Mina

The Mina Harker storyline will likely be given some real finality in the last episode of this year’s Penny Dreadful, and we have a premonition that it will not be with a happy ending.

As revealed in the final seconds of “Possession,” Vanessa has realized with one hell of a coincidence that “the Master” is hiding beneath the Grand Guignol alongside Mina. This means one more vampire hunting expedition that will hopefully be as percussive and fun as the one from “What Death Can Join Together.” Except this time, Sir Malcolm Murray will have to fulfill the role of a Stoker suitor when, through an act of love, he cleanses his daughter’s soul from the venal impurities of the Undead.

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The action has been obviously telegraphed with Vanessa Ives saying that “I love you enough to kill you” in “Close Than Sisters.” Also in a previous episode, Sembene broke his silence to chastise Malcolm’s inability to realize Mina cannot be saved. Yet, it will still be Malcolm’s hand that stakes Mina for several reasons: first, despite her name, Mina is this story’s Lucy Westenra in many respects. A company of men have banded together to save this woman, and for their union to be truly tied, they must fail, making the next potential victim all the more precious. Secondly, Vanessa Ives is this narrative’s Mina Harker in the literary sense. She is the one that survives and becomes the coveted prize of Dracula, and the one that all the men seem to love enough to fight for, as witnessed in the harrowing “Possession.” Plus, as nice as Olivia Llewellyn is in the limited role of Mina, this is obviously Eva Green’s show.

So, the band of brothers shall be cemented when the stake is driven into Mina’s heart. And make no mistake, Vanessa is every bit a member of this group that will be forever bound to one another with the deed, meaning that her importance to even Malcolm Murray—who will be freshly absent one daughter—shall prove insurmountable.

Vanessa Ives Confronts Her Demons

We may humbly suggest that Mina will not be saved and that Dracula is not accounted for in the upcoming finale, but Vanessa’s battle with the beast within shall at least reach a détente in the finale. Especially if it takes some literal form with the Master.

While the Master probably isn’t Dracula, his point of origin is clearly Egyptian. Thus when Ferdinand Lyle’s superstitious warnings about Egyptian prophecy are concerned, it means this narrative thread will come to a head when Vanessa meets the monster that covets her so greatly that he would take Mina as a bargaining chip. We predict that the voice we heard in “What Death Can Join Together” will be revealed in this episode. It might be Dracula, but it also might be the Master himself. Either way, it will take on a personification when Vanessa confronts the evil beneath the theatre, allowing her a momentary victory in the finale.

The Series Premiere Murders Will Be Solved

One story thread that has been left dangling like a sharp pendulum since “Night Work” has been who killed that mother and daughter in such a grisly fashion during the show’s first cold open? Was it the Master that holds Mina so close? Caliban in another temper tantrum about his latest girl problems? Or could it be the Dracula we haven’t seen?

Well, there will be a definite answer given, and we stand by the assertion that it is…

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Ethan Chandler: The Werewolf

Oh sure, “Possession” ended on that awesome cliffhanger where it’s revealed Ethan Chandler knows how to perform Catholic rights, successful exorcisms, and speak in Latin. How did that happen?!

Well, as nifty as the twist about Ethan is, it does not change the fact that he is still in our eyes a werewolf. Then again, this has been so heavily hinted at that it could easily be a red herring with the real revelation being what we got in “Possession”—something to do with a rejected past in the cloth and papacy.

However, in our educated guess, this is just another misdirection on John Logan’s part as we go headlong into the final reveal about Ethan’s hairy heritage. We’re definitely getting a great deal of dirt on Ethan’s dirty past in Sunday’s “Grand Guignol,” but first let’s examine the evidence as to why Ethan is every bit as supernatural as the monster they hunt.

1)   He seems rather unfazed at discovering such a thing as vampires exist in “Night Work.” Nor does Vanessa’s suggestions of the supernatural cause him to raise an eyebrow. It’s easier to believe if this isn’t his first rodeo. In fact, the only thing that did shake him was…

2)   In the same pilot, he stood outside the home of the slaughtered family from the cold open with so much shame and guilt on his face that Josh Hartnett could be accused of doing a Lon Chaney Jr. impersonation. It becomes especially thick when he overhears a pair of gossiping neighbors mutter about the heinous fiend that is responsible.

3)   When the vampire hunters enter the London zoo in “Resurrection,” Ethan does not mind the vampire-summoned wolves. He even communes with them, proving that he is the alpha beast when he sticks his hand in one’s mouth while never breaking eye contact.

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4)   Ethan seems rather compassionate for Brona while she dies of consumption. Why would he go after a “lost cause,” as Vanessa notes, when he sees off the bat that there is no future in it? He even kisses a nice juicy cough of red in “What Death Can Join Together” when Brona warns that they shouldn’t make contact anymore. While he comes from a place of warmth, as opposed to coldness, he might be like Dorian Gray: cursed to live forever, so tuberculosis frightens him none.

5)    “I’ll rip your throat out.”

6)   When Ethan takes Brona to the Grand Guignol during “Demimonde,” he looks mighty uncomfortable during the werewolf play performed before them. The play also accounts to Logan drawing immediate attention to the lack of a werewolf being present in the series.

The reason Logan can break that fourth wall question wide open is because there is no definitive “werewolf” story, particularly in 19th century English literature. The closest thing to one is Universal Pictures’ The Wolf Man (1941), and that film cannot be adapted by Showtime for obvious reasons. So, Logan has the freedom to create his own werewolf character that much like the two most famous werewolf movies, The Wolf Man and An American Werewolf in London (1981), features a cocky, self-assured American in a foreign land. Also like those characters, Ethan Chandler is entirely sympathetic with his good-hearted nature and his compassion for everyone he meets, including the afflicted Vanessa Ives, the terminal Brona Croft, and the damned Fenton.

Yet, how does this square with the revelation in “Possession” about his priestly background? Well, in our purely speculative guess, something of severe consequence happened to Ethan when he went west with the U.S. Army during the “Indian Wars.” It is not unimaginable that he was actually a priest or some kind of religious figure within his own regiment before he lost his faith at the sight of the horrors inflicted upon Native Americans. Or perhaps a horror was inflicted upon him—one involving fangs, fur, and freaky curses? This would explain even more his loss of faith and ability to kill people who he deemed deserving of it…as well as his rather earnest love for anyone he deems good, like Vanessa and Brona.

Tony Sokol’s Predictions

While the Crow is right in so many ways, there are glaring discrepancies.

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Dorian Gray is a Critic

Penny Dreadful has been teasing us with the portrait of Dorian Gray since our first glimpse into his inner sanctum. We are teased as Dorian ponders it, the masterpiece or the nightmare, on an easel covered with cloth. Spilled oils or acrylics pushed around with a brush. The palette and the paint tube were both invented in the 1800s, but Dorian’s palette passed those innovations long ago. When Dorian commissions a painting, or the newly perfected photograph, the artist must render the soul. Dorian’s got a painting in the attic that’s going dry, but he hasn’t. Dorian isn’t the devil who wants Vanessa Ives to be the mother of darkness. He’s an art critic who knows he’s a better painter than the most acclaimed artists but he can’t go public.

I daresay Dorian doesn’t need a sponsor or he’d be on Sir Malcolm, but the spiritual residue that the beautiful and mysterious Miss Ives leaked on his canvass is pure tortured artist gold. Dorian believes the painting he is hiding is his masterpiece. His painting will be horrible, of course. Vanessa will say it’s interesting, to be polite, but most people will recoil from what is ultimately an exorcise of the most delightfully bad taste. This rejection of course will unleash the real Dorian Gray, who was merely a banker’s son that hated math and who spent a millennia as a clerk.

Ethan Chandler: The Midnight Cowboy

I predict that the newly sexually liberated Ethan will also liberate himself from the Penny Dreadful Monster Squad. Ethan’s fed up with their sinister shenanigans. He doesn’t like the way they treat Miss Ives and he is really getting antagonistic with wholly-shittier-than-thou Sir Malcolm. The next episode is entitled “Grand Guignol,” so I think it’s a safe bet that the league of dreadful penny anti-monsters will wind up at the theater. Seeing all the gore and supernatural suspense on the stage, Ethan will have an epiphany: He’s always wanted to dance.

Ethan is going to trade in the cash that Malcolm offered for the care of his tuberculosis queen and buy a local dive called the Chip and Fishtail Pub, which he will convert into an American style saloon. No more of this ghostbuster shit. Ethan’s not going to give up his Wild West ways though. Ethan will parlay his pistol-packing prowess into a peel show, and open London’s first saloon strip tease. Inspired by the Grand Guignol “Transformed Man” sketch: right before Ethan pulls the final six-shooter from his holster, he’ll turn into a wolf. He will call the new saloon, Chip and Tails.

Vanessa Ives Will Embrace Her Demons

Vanessa Ives will also opt out of the Penny Dreadful Dream Team. Vanessa got down with the devil in Dorian Gray last episode and mere mortal minglings just ain’t gonna’ cut it for her anymore. Once you go demon you never go back. Vanessa should take her rightful place as the mother of darkness. She should screw her way through the underworld like Gary Glitter tours Singapore’s Boystown. Vanessa should get out of dreary London and take the monster population to sunnier climes, like the French Riviera.

Sir Malcolm Finds His Soul Mate

Sir Malcolm will team up with the Master, who turns out to be Varney the Vampire. You didn’t expect Dracula himself, did you? Although the literary Dracula happens to be in London in the 1890s, now that that blowhard Van Helsing’s out of the way, he’s got better things to chew. Malcolm and Varney will explore Africa’s deepest darkest brothels, discover some ancient evil who will get Vanessa Ives pregnant, and she will give birth to H.P. Lovecraft who will invent Cthulu, which will break the laws of physics and predate everyone.

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Sembene’s Existence Will Actually Matter

Sembene says he has no story, so fuck him, right? Unlike the other main characters in Penny Dreadful, he is not from a well-known work of dark literature. Sembene is free to break through the fourth wall. He will then appear in living rooms across the country looking for an eyelash curler. No explanation will be given.

So, is Ethan the wolf in the Victorian hen house? Or does Tony have it right about his promising dance career? Let us know what you think and if you have any Penny Dreadful theories of your own about what to expect from Sunday’s episode!

Read all of our Penny Dreadful coverage right here. For just the reviews, go here!

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