‘Penny Dreadful’: ‘Perpetual Night’ Is Decently Dark Time


The first part in an epic two-part finale, Showtime’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ begins to end its third season with an outing, that while featuring fluff, really works when it works.

The following review of Perpetual Night contains minor spoilers. You’ll be fine to check it out before you head to London. Just watch out for fog people.


Now here’s  a prime reason why character-driven storytelling truly doesn’t work.

It is not a fog Mr.Chandler. It’s a plague.-Catriona Hartdegen

If you’ve been following my reviews of Penny Dreadful, you’ll indeed know how much I despise the parts of Showtime’s Gothic drama which are in service of character and not plot. Basically, the only plot points of Dreadful are ones which involve Ives, Dracula, and Ethan Chandler. Dracula’s rise to the top is the plot of Penny Dreadful’s third season.

With Perpetual Night, the eighth episode of Dreadful’s current season, we get a John Logan offering that is both fast and slow, effective and ineffective, in its attempt to entertain.

Perpetual Nights opens with an amazing cold open (in service of the Dracula thread), then leads with Ethan Chandler and gang arriving in London. The next scene also involves them, and is epic and action pact.

Then Dreadful goes back to servicing characters that ultimately no one cares about (The Monster and arguably Frankenstein) and kills all of its plot momentum. Which is sad because it kills momentum that was working very well, and is arguably the best Penny Dreadful’s ever been; The moments involving Ives/Dracula are truly the only thing that works in Perpetual Night.

Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm Murray ‘Penny Dreadful’-Courtesy of Showtime

Moreover, like the patrons of a posh wine and cheese party, Perpetual Night is directed with style and class. Directed by Damon Thomas , Perpetual Night features some of the best direction in the entire third season, only being bested by Toa Fraser stellar A Blade of Grass.

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The great direction of the first of Sunday’s two episodes includes, but certainly isn’t limited too, great composition in Nights’ highly-effective cold open, an awesome ceiling shot featuring Sir Malcolm Murray as his wound is cauterized, a great pull-back shot with a wolf head being reveal as Ethan Chandler enters a room, a nice establishing shot before an amazing confrontation involving Gray (even if it doesn’t involve the Ives plot). In fact, there is great composition and camera movement though out the entire 44 minute running time.

The acting is decent, and while the plot (in the Ives-inspired scenes) moves too fast to have a lot of great acting, it’s still strong in Perpetual Night. Josh Hartnett, Christian Camargo, and Reeve Carney all stand out.

Next: ‘Penny Dreadful’ Actors Unravel Gothic Goodness In Videos

So, will Ethan stop Dracula before all of London is lost? Will Dorian Gray finally regain order in his life? Will Ives forever be captive by Dr. Sweet? You’ll have to head over to Showtime to find out.


Damon Thomas’ Perpetual Night is a freaking amazing episode of Penny Dreadful–when it works. Night often cuts its momentum trying to wrap up characters which have be devoid of the Gothic drama’s main plot. This truly hurts what could have been an even more epic first piece of the two-part finale. But when the Ives/Dracula/Chandler stuff is involved, the show works on a stupendous level. Dreadful fans will be pleased.


Check out a preview, and don’t forget to come back tomorrow for my coverage of,

Penny Dreadful’s

second part of the epic two-part finale,

The Blessed Dark

, courtesy of Showtime:

Love Penny Dreadful? Did or didn’t enjoy what Perpetual Night had to offer? Don’t forget to let us know in the comment section below and remember to tune into Penny Dreadful, every Sunday at 10 pm ET/PT, only on Showtime.