Penny Dreadful Round Table: “Grand Guignol”

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The hunt for Mina came to a surprising conclusion on Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 8.

Join TV Fanatics Jim Garner, Henry A. Otero, Doug Wolfe and Michelle Carlbert as they discuss the Penny Dreadful Season 1 finale, including Caliban’s regret... Victor’s choice to give his son a bride... Evan’s secret finally being revealed... and Vanessa’s difficult choice.


Caliban expressed some real regret over the terrible things he’d done. Did this change your opinion of him at all? Also, did you think that he was going to kill Maud when he lost his temper?

Jim: Seeing Caliban vulnerable and Victor in a place of power changed my opinion some. It was good to see Father and Son back in their correct roles. And, no I didn't think he would, mainly because that's what we all expected.

Doug: No, it didn't change my opinion of him. I disliked the fact that this was so predictable - we saw Victor going for the gun, and we all knew he would chicken out because he got sucked in by yet another of Caliban's "poor misunderstood me" stories. If there was one character I wanted gone, it was Caliban - and if there was one character I knew would hang on like gum on your shoe, I knew it would be him.

Hank: Nope, though I loved Rory Kinnear as Caliban I don't think he's a character we'll ever really like. Yes, things played out a bit predictably in the finale but I knew if Brona became his bride there's plenty of story there. Especially when it comes to Ethan and Brona. I think it's going to make Season 2 interesting regardless of how I feel about the character. If he had killed Maud, he'd have even less sympathy from the audience.

Michelle: I definitely had a love/hate relationship with Caliban this season. I loved him when we first met him, but began to hate him for his cruelty. The finale made me feel sympathy for him again, but I’m certain he will do something in Season 2 to make me hate him again and strangely, I’m starting to enjoy the roller coaster ride he’s got me on.

Penny Dreadful Round Table 1-27-15

What did you think of Victor actually making the decision himself to give Caliban his bride?

Jim: Once it was more about Victor doing what he does best and not about being blackmailed, it was interesting to see how the gears in Victor's head started spinning.

Doug: You called it, Michelle. You said that Brona would die and become the bride of Frankenstein - and you were right. This again was predictable - and so now we're going to be stuck with a full storyline involving Caliban next season, as the conflict begins between the Bride and Caliban (I hope no one suspects that she'll fall for him automatically, just because she's another of Victor's creations).

Hank: I liked the way Victor came to his own conclusion rather than give in to Caliban's demands. It also seemed to me he's giving the creature what he wants knowing full well that love doesn't always work out. When Brona rejects Caliban, he's going to seriously spiral out of control. Don't worry Doug the character's doomed, he'll meet his fate they just need to tie up a few loose ends first.

Michelle: Victor deciding to put that gun down and take responsibility for his creation by helping him instead was fantastic. But like everyone else, I’m aware that his decision has opened up a whole new can of works and poor Victor may end up having to put Caliban down anyway. For I too suspect that Brona will reject Caliban, Ethan will lose it when he finds out what happened to his love and all hell will break loose with a very angry Caliban in the middle of it.

What was your reaction when Sir Malcolm killed Mina and declared Vanessa his daughter? Did you expect that at all?

Jim: Given his speech just a few minutes before about how he would sacrifice Vanessa, it was incredibly touching to see him realize that she was more of a daughter than Mina and that Mina was lost to him.

Doug: That was a bit of a surprise. Especially when he had just finished telling Vanessa that not only would he sacrifice her for Mina, but he rather hoped he did. I have no idea why he changed his mind so severely. It was nice to see, but it didn't make much sense.

Hank: I had a feeling Sir Malcolm would kill Mina in the end, but did not expect him to declare Vanessa his daughter. Guess there's nothing like a possession to bring family together. I'm glad they brought the Mina storyarc to a close, we needed that.

Michelle: If jaws could literally fall to the floor, mine would have been on the ground during that scene. I didn’t see that coming at all, which made it that much more satisfying to watch. They have become a pseudo-family, with “the boys” welcomed into that group as well. Frankly I was growing tired of the Mina story so it was nice to see that tied up nicely as well.

Were you satisfied with the way that Ethan’s werewolf status was finally revealed or were you expecting more/something else?

Jim: I liked it. I liked how he baited the two guys into a bar when he knew there was a full moon. I just wonder if anyone made it out of the bar at all.

Doug: I was glad to see him change, finally. If those two Pinkerton guys had showed up a week earlier, things would have gone much differently.

Hank: It was great to finally learn Ethan's a werewolf, though the clues were pretty obvious. I was expecting less "man-wolf" though and something much scarier. The scene worked for me because everything happens so quickly. However, I'm not too sure how the werewolf will work next season. Josh Hartnett was fantastic on this show though, I have a newfound respect for him. Jim, I don't think anyone made it out of that bar alive.

Michelle: I too was a tad disappointed with the actual look of the transformation and hoped the makeup would be better. But the way it came about was great and I thought it was the perfect way to handle the men that were after him. Honestly I never thought about the other people in the bar, but now that others have brought it up I realize he must have killed everyone and I think that will weigh on him heavily.

Were you disappointed that Dorian didn’t have a bigger role in the finale? Do you have any theories about what will happen with him in Season 2?

Jim: I'm still not sure what to make of Dorian, he's not on the "A-Team" looking for vampires, so he's kind of unneeded really.

Doug: We never got to see him deal with this new emotion of rejection. He's pretty much had his way for who knows how many years - and now he has to deal with the one thing in his life that he can't have. That's novel - I'll be interested to see what happens in the next season. The suspicion here is that he will delve deeper into his debauchery in order to forget Vanessa - but it won't work. This dynamic may spell his doom.

Hank: If there's one thing that disappointed me this season it's Dorian Gray. Reeve Carney was so hypnotic as Dorian, but like Jim says the character just never fit in with the bigger picture. While I rather enjoyed his scenes, I had a feeling we would not get much in the way of character development this season. His role was basically to seduce and distract our other characters. Not even a peek at the portrait either, hopefully next season.

Michelle: I was very disappointed we didn’t get to see more of him in the finale. But like others have said, he didn’t have much to do in the whole “let’s rescue Mina” storyline. I really hope he finds a bigger part to play in Season 2 as I, like most of the characters on the show, am quite taken with him.

Do you think Vanessa will attempt to be exorcised or do you think she’ll say “no” to being normal?

Jim: I don't she will give an answer directly, (or we won't see it), I think we will learn the long way what she decided.

Doug: I like how the show ended, with her taking a breath before providing the answer to that question. I suspect she'll want to be exorcised - but with Vanessa you just never know.

Hank: I believe though she wants to be normal, Vanessa will realize her "condition" is vital to the team's success. Something will happen early in Season 2 that will make Vanessa hold off on any exorcism.

Michelle: I think she’ll want to be exorcised but that it might end up taking so long that we will watch the process throughout the next season. But I also agree with Hank that something is probably going to happen early in the season that will either put a stop to it, or force her to put it off for a while. I’m just curious to see where they will be in the process when that happens and if it will leave her stuck in any sort of limbo.

What were your overall thoughts of the finale?

Jim: I enjoyed it. I was happy that it wrapped up many of the on-going stories and that it teased at a few new ones for next season. Great way to get us back without being a full blown "cliffhanger"

Doug: It was a fitting end, and it at least tied up the Mina storyline. I was glad to see that.

Hank: My initial thoughts were the finale wrapped things up almost too neatly. It was definitely predictable, but I enjoyed watching the events unfold. The setup for next season was great and again I agree with Doug the Mina storyline needed closure. Sir Malcolm will now seek vengeance for Mina, so maybe next season we'll actually meet Dracula.

Michelle: While many of our predictions came true, they did so in such ways that I was still drawn into every scene of the episode. And the ending was simply perfect, leaving me holding my breath and wanting more.

What were your overall thoughts of the entire first season?

Jim: Was really slow getting started, but it very well written and each episode enticed me to watch the next.

Doug: Much of the season moved too slowly for me. I understand it though - the series was like a good book. A good THICK book, with lots of background information being provided to bolster the narrative. Once it got going, I found myself engaged again, and enjoying it.

Hank: I absolutely loved Season 1, regardless of my issues with the finale. The writing blew my mind, I think John Logan did an exceptional job. There are moments where the dialogue is pure poetry. The cast was fantastic and of course Eva Green is in a class all her own.

Michelle: I wasn’t sure about this show when I first heard about it, but boy, did it ever win me over. I didn’t expect the emotions it brought out in me nor did I expect to fall in love with so many of the characters. The writing was superb and pulled me into the entire storyline so that I was completely entangled by the time it was all over.

Whose story are you most looking forward to seeing fleshed out further in Season 2?

Jim: Brona's rebirth. I really am curious how this is going to play out.

Doug: I want to know much more about Ethan, and what makes him tick. What exactly did he do, such that Pinkerton had to come after him? Why is being hunted? He seems filled with a lot of angst, so there's something weighing on him.

On the other hand, I could care less about Caliban and I hope he meets his end early in the season.

Hank: I'm going to go with Dorian, because for me he was the least fleshed out. Sure I'm curious about Ethan and Brona as well, but I think Reeve is just so good on this show that he deserves more time to shine. I hope Dorian is a bigger part of Season 2's overall storyline.

Michelle: That’s a tough question as I am dying to see how the Brona storyline plays out, but I’m also really looking forward to seeing Dorian’s character fleshed-out in Season 2. If I had to choose one though, it would be Brona. I saw her future in an early moment of the series, but only so far as actually becoming the Bride. I cannot wait to see what happens after she opens her eyes again.

Your turn, fanatics. What did you think of the Penny Dreadful Season 1 finale and do you have any predictions for Season 2?

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Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

Caliban: I’m sorry Vincent.
Vincent: No, pet. Show business. All bitches.

I left my son to suffer without me. I’ll not do the same to my daughter.

Sir Malcolm