‘Penny Dreadful’ season 3, episode 4 review: Satan, Dracula fight for Vanessa’s love

Penny DreadfulDracula is getting closer to making Vanessa his own on “Penny Dreadful”, but is she going to figure out his plan before it’s too late? We just saw her push him away in the last episode after being approached by one of his vampires and she is now digging into her subconscious for their first meeting years back.

While Vanessa is under hypnosis, she remembers her interaction with her orderly (John) at the asylum, saying that he was the only person she remembers coming into her room and that she would see him every day when he brought her food. He would beg her to eat, but she wanted to die and was trying to starve herself. Eventually, she was force fed food to keep her alive (a brutal scene that we will have a hard time unseeing) and to add to the brutality we also had to watch her endure a “treatment” that involved chilling water. We saw how kind John was to her, giving her a blanket even though he wasn’t supposed to, trying to encourage her to eat, brushing her hair and reading her poetry as he tries to remind her that life is worth living and that he cares what happens to her. He begs her to start showing improvement, because if she doesn’t they will perform a surgery on her that will change her forever. She tries her best to pretend, but after she is asked about her faith, they schedule her for surgery.

We see John and Vanessa open up to each other as he tells her about his sick son, and she tells him about her experience with Satan and how no one believes her. He tells her that he believes her as his eyes turn dark, and clearly the dark one is there in the room with her. Satan asks for her love, claiming that he loves her and wants her soul for his own, but he is not the only one… Satan’s brother Dracula is there as well, also wanting her love. Dracula wants her blood and flesh, while Satan wants her soul, but she tells them that both her body and soul belongs to God and forces them to leave her.

This is easily our favorite episode of “Penny Dreadful” from the whole series to date. Whenever Eva Green has a scene on this show it’s always incredible, but seeing a whole episode solely focused on Vanessa in one room was an experience we won’t soon forget.  There is something so powerful about Vanessa’s inner struggle and it’s something that is very relatable to just about everyone. She may be battling a real inner demon with Dracula/Satan, but we all have our inner demons that we struggle to keep at bay every day. Episode grade: A+

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