As I said in my reviews of Season 1 and Season 2 of Penny Dreadful, I really enjoy it… That is, until Season 3. There is really no way to review this season properly without giving away some spoilers, so be warned.
What is Penny Dreadful Season 3 About?
This season begins with basically all the characters spread all over the world. Their mission and bond as a group were left shattered after events in the previous season, and everyone is attempting to pick up the pieces one way or another. Our sharpshooter with the heart of gold heads back to America to face his past, with and unexpected acolyte in tow. We get to see new characters in the form of an alienist who is helping Vanessa. Dr. Frankenstein finds an ally in another literary doc, Henry Jekyll. And the threat of vampires resurfaces even after they thought they’d put it to rest in Season 1.
What I thought of Penny Dreadful Season 3
It was nice to see them bring back some more of the literary references that Season 2 lacked. Their spin on both Dr. Jekyll and Dracula felt fresh, and their presence added a lot of intrigue to the plot. That is basically the nicest thing I can say about this season, though.
[Begin SPOILERs] One of the things I loved about this series was to see so many complex female characters. By the end of the show, this has been totally tossed out the window. For instance, someone who was a major threat and nigh unstoppable in the previous season is easily brought down. I felt like the writers made odd but convenient choices in order to quick finish up the cancelled show, and sacrificed all the women in their rush.
I found the ending itself to be utterly unsatisfying. A person they’ve spent the entire show protecting not only succumbs to the evil forces, but then doesn’t even put up a decent fight. The showrunners say this was always the way they intended to end things for this person. I don’t know if this is because it is consistent with penny dreadfuls as a literary genre or for some other reason. But I was definitely left with a sense of “THAT’S IT?!” as the credits rolled. I think I actually would have been happier if I didn’t watch this season at all, because it undid a lot of the wonderful things the first two seasons accomplished.