Vanessa Ives may have surrendered herself into the great beyond—taking Penny Dreadful with her too—but it seems that the show will still go on.
The Showtime series announced Monday, via Twitter, that it would return in the form of a comic, set six months after the show’s series finale.
Had Penny Dreadful returned for a fourth season, it would have looked as new as one of Victor Frankenstein’s creations.
Showtime’s Gothic horror series surprised fans when its season 3 finale ended with the death of Eva Green’s Vanessa Ives — and an ominous title card reading, “The End.” The unexpected series finale originated with creator John Logan, who, according to Showtime programming president Gary Levine, “didn’t want to cast a pall on the final season.”
August brings the every-four-years spectacle of the Summer Olympics. For some, the drama of extraordinary athletes sweating for bling and country is thrilling theater, full of high-stakes tension and sentimental tales about the triumph of the human spirit, protein shakes, and this thing called “working out” that people keep telling me about. For others, the Olympics is all “Ugh, sports. What else can I watch?” If you’re in the latter camp, YOU’RE A TERRIBLE AMERICAN.
Like Dracula’s army of vampires, Penny Dreadful backed into the shadows on Sunday night with a season 3 finale that doubled as the series’ end.
And so season 3 of Penny Dreadful goes out with a bang — and a whimper. The final two episodes of the season, which aired back to back to give us all twice as many opportunities to cry, delivered enough “random gunplay” to satisfy even Dr. Seward, but the shot that mattered most rang out in silence. It was an apocalyptic battle that ended with a prayer. So was Vanessa’s life.
Warning: This story contains spoilers from Penny Dreadful’s season 3 finale.
The end of Vanessa Ives’ story will also serve as the end of Penny Dreadful.
At a turning point in tonight’s Penny Dreadful, Dorian subjects Lily to a speech that gives the hour its title, warning, “We’re at the ebb tide, my darling.” Has anyone ever taught him how tides work? Lily’s mission — like this season of Penny Dreadful — is anything but on the ebb. What we’re moving toward feels more like high tide. Change is coming in waves, and it’s fitting that for a season so focused on mental health and memory, the action here is rooted in what people know. Vanessa, for instance, knows that Sweet is Dracula. FINALLY.
Let’s say you’re an ancient, bloodsucking fiend. Say you’ve got a reputation. If you’re smart, you use it — you play against type. History reports that you strike when your victims are isolated, so you become someone your prey can trust. When she hears that you’ll seek her out when she’s alone, she protects herself from you by running right to you.
Penny Dreadful is trading the confines of Vanessa’s padded cell for the expanse of the American Southwest this week, but it doesn’t feel any less claustrophobic. The New Mexico desert cares about as much for Ethan as Dr. Banning did for Vanessa, and for all of the ground Ethan and Hecate cover in their travels, they never see anything new. The real difference between Ethan’s prison and Vanessa’s is found in the person they share it with: While Vanessa opened her companion’s eyes, Hecate corrupts hers.
One of the most refreshing things about Penny Dreadful is how patiently it structures every season. There’s no rush to get every series regular into every hour. There isn’t even a rush to make Vanessa leave her chair. The plot moves, but it looks in all directions at once, dealing in flashback and fallout as much as it does in present-day action, because it’s as interested in its characters’ internal lives as it is in the way they present themselves. What’s happening now is only part of the story.
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