Showtime did quite the service in creating the awesomely gothic and haunting supernatural series, Penny Dreadful, which made its Season 1 premiere back in May 2014. Now that the show’s sophomore season will premiere Sunday, May 3 at 10 p.m., it’s only right to prepare you all for what’s to come.
Since there is so much to dig into before “Dreadfuls” (as the fandom is called) can once again prop up a seat in front the screen, I thought it best to give a breakdown of what’s happened with each character, what the Season 2 trailer reveals will happen in the future, and hopefully what would happen if I had my way. This, of course, would be a ginormous feat of literature to read in just one take, so I will be dropping these Dreadful tidbits in parts:
Part 1: Who Are the Players and Where Did They Leave Us in Season 1
Part 2: Season 2 Trailer Breakdown and Season 2 Spoilery Goodness
Let’s begin, shall we?
Who Are the Players and What do We Know About Them?
Setting the stage for this Victorian drama are these key players:
Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), the orphaned young woman with a damned soul and the ability to drift between worlds. Here’s what we know about Vanessa:
- From an early age, she’s been able to hear/see things that are well, supernatural in nature.
- She was once best friends with Mina Harker see Murray (of Dracula) and in love with Mina’s brother, Peter Murray.
- She predicted Peter’s death in Africa and later told him that he would die.
- As a child, Vanessa learned that her mother and Mina’s father, Sir Malcolm Murray, were having an affair.
- She slept with Mina’s fiancé, causing Mina to leave her home, find Jonathan Harker, and subsequently become captured by a vampire aka “The Creature.”
- Vanessa was sent to a mental institution and after being released home, she had sex (in the creepiest of ways) with the demon that had been following her all her life. After this, she essentially damned her soul.
- After this, Vanessa went to Sir Malcolm to help him find Mina, but admits to herself that she would kill Mina, who she knows has since transformed into something like “The Creature.”
- She has the capacity to possessed by the living and the dead and is possessed during a seance led by the “mystic” Madame Kali. In this possession, Vanessa is at first taken by the spirit of deceased Peter, then by Mina. Both children use Vanessa as a means to remind their father of his guilt for failing them.
- “The Creature” is after her and it’s revealed she maybe the companion of, well, The Devil.
- She forms an attraction to Dorian Gray and there is a flirtation between them.
- When Vanessa and Dorian made their flirtation sexual, Vanessa was visited by the demon that’s seeking her out and she runs out on Dorian.
- The demon within Vanessa yearns to come out, and after a demonic episode, Ethan Chandler was able to help ease the demon back inside. Vanessa goes back to being normal.
- Vanessa was able to find Mina and with the group they go after her. Mina, however, reveals that she was sent to bring Vanessa to “The Master.” When Mina reveals this, Sir Malcolm kills Mina.
- Vanessa rejects Dorian and tells him that their romance can not carry on since it affects her too much.
- Vanessa also reconciles with Sir Malcolm, who finally forgives her for her part in Mina’s death.
Where does that leave Vanessa? By the end of Season 1, Vanessa seeks out council at a Catholic Church. She asks for an exorcism to remove the gift/curse, but is questioned if she really wants to take away the part of her that makes her extraordinary or “touched by the backhand of God.” The series ends before Vanessa can answer.
Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), the rich adventurer whose son, Peter, died during one of his trips and whose daughter, Mina Harker (of Dracula), has gone missing. Here’s what we know about Sir Malcolm:
- He’s a rich man and an explorer who does a lot of traveling to Africa.
- He cheated on his wife with Vanessa’s mother, as well as other women along his travels.
- He was never really proud of his son, Peter, who he pressured into engaging in sexual acts with the native women of Africa during their travel to Africa together.
- When Peter died in Africa, he left his son’s body there.
- He had a disdain for Vanessa after she slept with Mina’s fiancé, and admittedly wishes he had killed her sometimes.
- Sir Malcolm learns that Vanessa is possibly being sought out by the Devil, but he doesn’t care and he continues to use her to find Mina despite the danger it would put Vanessa in.
- At some point, Sir Malcolm grows attached to young Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who reminds him of his son Peter. He offers Victor the opportunity to travel to Africa with him out of guilt for his son.
- When Vanessa is being possessed by the demon festering inside of her, Sir Malcolm continues to push in order to find Mina; the rest of the group stops him from doing so and force him to realize that Vanessa’s the only family he has left.
- Sir Malcolm eventually finds Mina with Vanessa’s help, but kills her when Mina reveals that “The Master” sent her to find Vanessa and bring Vanessa to him.
- Sir Malcolm finally reconciles with his guilt for failing as a father to Mina and Peter and later accepts that Vanessa is thing close to a daughter that he has.
Where does that leave Sir. Malcolm? Throughout the season, Sir Malcolm talked of taking one last trip back to Africa to bring Peter’s body home. As he heads into a gun shop, he bumps into Ms. Evelyn Poole, the “mystic” Madame Kali whose seancé caused trouble for Vanessa the night of the dinner party. The two have a mild flirtation that ends in the possibility of them getting to know each other further.
Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), a young, wealthy man with an interest in Vanessa Ives. Here’s what we know about Dorian:
- After meeting Vanessa at a party/seance, he’s intrigued by her — and after witnessing Vanessa become possessed at said seance, he’s remarkably unafraid.
- He’s into experimentation and likes to have sex parties, orgies, etc.
- Dorian has no fear of death and after having the tuberculosis-ridden prostitute Brona Croft take nude polaroids for him, he has sex with her — even after she coughs up blood in his face.
- Dorian is not only to form attachments — after having sex with Brona, he sees her at a play, and regards her as though nothing happened.
- Dorian meets Ethan Chandler and is fascinated by him… and brings him back to his home to have sex.
- Dorian likes to flirt with Vanessa, and after much teasing the two have dinner where her talks about all his travels, experiences with multiple religions, and theories on life.
- He and Vanessa eventually have sex, during which she cuts him with a knife.
- Dorian keeps his portrait hidden away in his house and uses its power to restore himself back to perfect shape (which happened after his romp with Vanessa)
- He is later rejected by Vanessa, whom he seems to really like and the reality of it all makes him cry.
Where does that leave Dorian? At the end of Season 1, Dorian’s rejection at the hands of Vanessa stirs something inside him — enough to make him cry. He seems shocked by the fact that he’s able to feel such emotion, which may mean that he either will work harder to be emotionless or more humane.
Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), the American drifter with a past clouded in secrets. Here’s what we know about Ethan:
- He’s the only member of the group that is American.
- Ethan’s running away from home, where he has a father that is worried about him
- Ethan may have come from money of some sort.
- He knows a lot about mysticisms and the ways of Native Americans in North America.
- He’s a gunslinger and has no problem with being a hired hand, for which he was hired by Sir Malcolm and Vanessa.
- He has a way with animals and was able to keep a pack of wolves from attacking the group during a mission.
- He often wakes up alone at the docks, looking dazed and confused.
- Ethan meets Brona and they instantly have chemistry. They have sex often and eventually, it becomes a romance.
- After working with Sir Malcolm and Vanessa, Ethan becomes very compassionate towards Vanessa, who senses an other-worldly charm about him.
- Ethan falls for Brona, but after she dismisses him for caring too much about her (since she’s dying of tuberculosis), he has a night of passionate sex with Dorian.
- Ethan and Brona reconcile as she’s about to die. Brona gives him a pendant of a saint for protection.
- He’s being followed by two men — one white, one Apache — from America. They are sent under orders from Ethan’s father to bring him back home. Ethan tells them no.
- Ethan isn’t very trusting of Sir Malcolm, and when he learns that Sir Malcolm will exploit Vanessa’s “gifts” to no ends to save Mina, Ethan forces Malcolm to accept that Vanessa is all Sir Malcolm has left.
- Ethan uses Brona’s pendant in prayer to save Vanessa from the demon inside of her.
- When Brona dies, Ethan mourns her death.
- After the trackers approach Ethan again, he reveals that he’s a werewolf and slaughters them.
Where does that leave Ethan? By the end of the Season, Ethan is back to feeling alone, yet again, and wakes up by the docks as he’s accustomed. He’s lost his only girlfriend, but still has a companion in Vanessa, who at one point, tells Ethan that in another time, she could’ve loved him. He’s unofficially taken up a role as her protector and it appears that Ethan will continue to foster a relationship with Vanessa, who is much like him: an outcast or drifter between two worlds.
Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), a young doctor and scientist who has found the secret to resurrection. Here’s what we know about Victor:
- He was once a happy child, who loved poetry. He became heavily interested in death and science after the death of his mother.
- Victor is a loner with only poetry as his companion.
- He spends his time working on the dead at a morgue and was giving the dead body of a vampire aka “Creature” by Sir Malcolm to study. He reveals that beneath the creature’s skin, there are hieroglyphs (which are later deciphered and detail the Devil’s plan for death and destruction).
- He is enlisted by Sir Malcolm to work for him as his on-call doctor and scientist.
- spent his time creating a man, Proteus, who he treated much like a child until his first creation, Caliban, kills Proteus.
- Victor is being haunted by Caliban, who he tossed aside, and is essentially being blackmailed into creating a bride for Caliban.
- Victor is frightened of Caliban and wants to kill him.
- Victor is called to see yet another vampire, and deduces — with the help of Professor Van Helsing — that the group is dealing with vampires.
- Victor grows tired of Caliban’s threats and after Caliban kills Van Helsing, Victor asks Ethan to teach him how to shoot.
- It’s revealed that he’s also a drug addict, with his choice of drug being morphine.
- During one of Vanessa’s possessions, it’s also learned that Victor is a virgin and thinks sex is dirty.
- When Victor gets the chance to kill Caliban, he finds compassion for him and decides he will make him a bride.
- Ethan calls Victor to help ease Brona’s pain, and when Victor arrives he propositions Brona with a life beyond death. When she accepts, he suffocates her, lies about the nature of her death to Ethan, and takes her body to experiment.
Where does that leave Victor? At the close of the season, Victor and Caliban were both surrounding the tub which held Brona’s body. After sometime, Brona sticks her hand out of the water and grabs the tub, meaning that he’s brought her back to life. While this may seem great, as with Victor’s second child, memories of the past may resurface for Brona, which can mean trouble for Victor’s relationship with Ethan. Similarly, Victor has to live with the guilt that he killed his colleague’s girlfriend to provide a wife for his child (monster).
Sembene (Danny Sapani), Sir Malcolm’s African servant. Here’s what we know about Sembene:
- He met Sir Malcolm during one of the latter’s travels in Africa.
- He knows how to fight, wield knives, and kill.
- He often plays a protector role to Sir Malcolm as well as Vanessa.
- He lives with Sir Malcolm.
- He was against Sir Malcolm trying to save Mina
- He’s pretty mysterious.
Where does that leave Sembene? There isn’t much known about Sembene’s origin. By the end of Season 1, he’s back to living his life with Vanessa and Sir Malcolm. Hopefully his character will be expounded in Season 2.
Brona Croft (Billie Piper), a prostitute dying of tuberculosis. Here’s what we know about Brona:
- She is very flirty, and meets Ethan by taking the drink he paid for.
- Brona has sex with Ethan after their first meeting, when they realize they live in the same apartment building.
- Brona reveals she wasn’t always a prostitute — she used to work in the factories as well, until manual labor became replaced by machines.
- She goes on a job for Dorian Gray and poses nude for his polaroids. Dorian engages her in sex, and when she starts to cough up blood (in his face, too), he continues to have sex with her.
- Brona and Ethan grow closer as they continue to have sex. She tells Ethan she was married to an abusive man and when her family told her to go back home to her husband, she started turning tricks to survive on her own.
- Ethan takes Brona on a date to the theater, and she’s excited at the prospect of being treated like a lady.
- Brona bumps into Dorian at the theater, and becomes embarrassed, despite Dorian disregarding their romp. When Ethan runs after her, she breaks up with him and tells him to stop sleeping with a skeleton — or pay like everyone else.
- Brona’s health gets worse and she eventually apologizes to Ethan for her behavior. They express their love for each other.
- She warns Ethan to stay away now that she’s nearing death, but he won’t. She gives him her pendant when he goes on a mission with the group.
- As Brona nears death, Victor is summoned by Ethan. Victor tells Brona that he can offer her something beyond death, but she’ll have to embrace dying first. Brona readies herself and Victor smothers her with her pillow. Victor then lies to Ethan and takes her body.
Where does that leave Brona? Brona officially becomes Victor’s third creation — which is funny since she met his second child, Proteus, earlier in the show. Though Brona is meant to be Caliban’s bride, it’s not sure whether she’ll agree to it, since she may still retain her memories from her past life, which include Ethan.
Caliban aka “Victor’s Creature” (Rory Kinnear), Frankenstein’s first monster. Here’s what we know about Caliban:
- Caliban has very little recollection about his former life.
- He was Victor’s first creation, created on a bloody table, screaming and yelling.
- Victor abandoned him and he found refuge in the attic of the building Victor abandoned him in.
- After much reading, he became very smart, capable of speech, and thought.
- He was often disregarded for his hideous looks.
- Finally, an actor took pity on him and gave him the name Caliban and a job working as a stagehand in the theater at the Grand Guignol.
- Caliban finds Victor and kills Victor’s second creation, Proteus, in retaliation for abandoning him and demands that Victor hurt for the pain he caused him.
- Caliban grew feelings for an actress, Maude, who showed him kindness as he reminded her of her brother, Lucifer.
- Caliban gives Maude a book and spies on her in her dressing room. Maude is engaged, and disregards Caliban as a stagehand she pities.
- Caliban tells Victor that he wants a bride and that he’ll continue to harass Victor until he gets what he wants.
- Caliban’s relationship with Maude grows, though he’s shy. He has romantic feelings for her and longs to be with her.
- Caliban haunts Victor and stalks Victor while Victor is out with Van Helsing. To prove how severe he is about wanting his bride, Caliban kills Van Helsing and promises to kill anyone associated with Victor until he gets his bride.
- Finally Caliban confronts Maude about his feelings for her after putting on makeup to look more handsome. When Maude laughs him off, he gets violent with her and is fired from the theater.
- Caliban then grows sorrowful and in his last visit to Victor, he reveals that he knows Victor plans to kill him. He tells Victor that he accepts his fate to die because he doesn’t want to live alone.
- Victor, feeling remorseful, promises to give Caliban a bride.
Where does that leave Caliban? As was mentioned earlier, when the season ends, Victor and Caliban are present when Brona is revived to serve as Caliban’s companion. It’s not clear whether or not Brona will be the bride that he wants, neither is it clear if Victor will remain in Caliban’s life after accomplishing the task asked of him.
Now that you’re all caught up with Penny Dreadful Season 1, it’s time to see what’s in store for Season 2 with Part 2 of this post. And you’ll definitely not want to miss it as it comes with an amazing Penny Dreadful Giveaway!