This series contains some of literature's most terrifying characters, Vanessa Ives (an enigmatic, composed, driven heroine who ignores zeitgeist and proves herself a force to be reckoned with.) and Sir Malcolm Murray (a hardened explorer of the African continent, on a deeply personal quest to find his kidnapped daughter Mina.) form a deeper bond as the group, including Ethan Chandler (a charming, brash, daring American man of action with uncanny marksmanship, who detests violence and is more complicated than he likes to admit.), Victor Frankenstein (an arrogant young man whose whole life revolves around his research.), and Sembene (a long-time ally of Sir Malcolm with a mysterious persona.), unite together to find Sir Malcolm Murray's missing daughter and banish the evil forces that threaten to destroy them. Meanwhile, Dorian Gray (a confident, entrancing, yet lonely, self-isolating man who cannot die.), the Creature (a reanimated corpse brought to life and abandoned by Frankenstein who tracks down his creator and demands that Frankenstein create a mate for him.) and Brona Croft (an Irish immigrant seeking to escape her brutal past.) hover on the periphery of the core group. Penny Dreadful is a frightening psychological thriller that weaves together these classic horror origin stories into a new adult drama.
In Victorian England on September 22, 1891 with the brutal abduction of a woman and her daughter who are later found mutilated and dismembered. Meanwhile, the enigmatic Vanessa Ives enlists the skilled marksman/con man Ethan Chandler to do some "night work". She introduces him to Sir Malcolm Murray, father of the recently abducted Mina Harker. The trio infiltrate a vampire nest in search of Mina. They find and kill a vicious vampire, later enlisting Victor Frankenstein to examine it. The autopsy reveals hieroglyphs etched beneath its skin, which are later found to be from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Ethan, overwhelmed by the new world opening before him, takes his payment and leaves Vanessa and Malcolm's service, but is later tempted to return. In his laboratory, Frankenstein brings life to a dead body.
Sir Malcolm offers his assistance with the "Ripper" case, proclaiming that they should be looking for a beast, not a man. Ethan befriends Brona Croft, a sickly prostitute, who later has an erotic encounter with the seductive and charming Dorian Gray. Vanessa and Malcolm attend Ferdinand Lyle's party. There, Vanessa meets Dorian, and the two are deeply drawn to one another. The guests take part in a séance, where Vanessa is possessed by evil spirits, who accuse Malcolm of leaving his son to die. The next day, Ferdinand studies the other photographed hieroglyphics and discovers that they are a resurrection spell invoking Amunet and Amun-Ra, who will bring about the apocalypse if united. He concludes that Vanessa is being hunted by them. Victor's newly animated creation chooses a name – Proteus. They become close friends, but their time together is cut short when Proteus is murdered by Victor's "firstborn", an earlier creation.
Written by: John Logan Directed by: Dearbhla Walsh
May 25, 2014
Victor is forced to listen to the story of his first creation. He was abandoned by Victor after his creation, and wandered the streets until an actor took pity on him and gave him a job in the Grand Guignol theatre. Lonely, the creature demands that Victor give him a mate. Ethan joins Vanessa and Malcolm's company once again. Vanessa's visions of Mina lead the group to the London Zoo, where they encounter and capture Fenton, a vampire thrall. Malcolm reveals his suspicion that Mina is being used as bait to lure a greater prize—Vanessa.
Written by: John Logan Directed by: Dearbhla Walsh
June 1, 2014
Vanessa grows increasingly infatuated with Dorian. Victor and Professor Van Helsing study Fenton's blood, hoping to manufacture a cure. Malcolm and Victor come face to face with a vampire; Fenton is killed in the ensuing conflict. Concluding that he allowed himself to be captured, Malcolm and Vanessa discuss the probability that Mina is too far gone to save. Brona ends her relationship with Ethan, citing her terminal illness. Heartbroken, Ethan drowns his sorrows with Dorian, culminating in a sexual encounter.
Vanessa, through a letter to Mina, relates their backstory. The Ives and Murray families were neighbors and friends, to the point where Vanessa and Mina were considered closer than sisters, and it was accepted as a foregone conclusion that Vanessa would marry Mina's frail brother Peter. As a young girl, Vanessa caught Malcolm and her mother having an affair. Although she kept it a secret, she says the experience led her to embrace her dark side, culminating in seducing Mina's fiancé the night before their wedding. The families severed ties after this, the strain of which caused Vanessa's clairvoyance and mediumship to manifest. She was committed to an asylum, an experience which left her mostly catatonic. Vanessa recovered with the assistance of an evil spirit that took Malcolm's form. Some time later, Vanessa encountered Mina, who forgave her for her transgression, but revealed that she had already been kidnapped by the master vampire. This inspired Vanessa to seek out Malcolm and begin their search.
Malcolm, Ethan and Sembene track the vampires to a quarantined ship and learn that Mina is closer than they thought. Not trusting Vanessa, Malcolm encourages her to spend the evening with Dorian, but she cuts it short when the spirit haunting her rears its head. Brona reconciles with Ethan, but her condition worsens. Van Helsing attempts to pass on to Frankenstein what he knows of vampires, but is murdered by Caliban, who intends to continue killing those close to his creator.
Vanessa's evening with Dorian allows a demon to possess her. Sir Malcolm engages the help of Ethan, Victor and Sembene to restrain her, but her condition worsens as time passes. Sir Malcolm finally allows a Catholic priest into the house to administer last rites, but when Vanessa attacks the priest as he begins, Ethan manages to perform an exorcism on Vanessa by himself. Vanessa collapses, but emerges from her room later. She informs Sir Malcolm that she now knows where Mina is.
Vanessa rejects Dorian's further advances, noting that he is not good for her. Caliban's first love ends poorly, and he is forced to leave the theatre, returning to Victor's lodgings. Victor initially tries to kill his creation, but takes pity on him instead. Brona's consumption nears its end. Unbeknownst to Ethan, Victor smothers her and uses her body to create a mate for Caliban. When Malcolm's team finds Mina in the Grand Guignol theatre, she captures Vanessa, intending to make Vanessa her master's bride. Malcolm kills Mina to save Vanessa. While mourning over Brona's death, Ethan is approached by two Pinkerton detectives determined to return him to America and to his father. He transforms into a werewolf and kills them. Vanessa requests an exorcism from a priest, who asks her if she truly wants to be normal.