Can Vanessa Defeat 'Penny Dreadful' Witches? Here's What Would Have To Happen
Remember when Dracula was the baddest guy in town? The Season 2 premiere of Penny Dreadful made those days seem downright quaint with the introduction of a coven of freaking terrifying witches. These ladies were not of the "wicca good and love the Earth" variety. They are more of the speak the language of Satan, bathe in blood, and turn into creepy, naked, killing machines kind of witches. The most disturbing part was the way they frightened Vanessa. She has been possessed by Satan on multiple occasions, and as Ethan pointed out, she does not frighten easily. After the witches attacked the stagecoach she and Ethan were sharing, she was so petrified she wouldn't leave the house. Not a good sign.
In a twist we probably should have seen coming, Madame Kali (leader of that disastrous season 1 séance and friend of Malcolm) turned out to be the leader of the coven. She is not a benevolent leader either. Between her literal blood bath and the way she quickly dispatched one of her "daughters" for not correctly hearing what Vanessa said in the Devil's language, Madame Kali made it clear she will stop at nothing to please her dark master. She only has eyes for the Devil and he wants Vanessa to suffer.
Vanessa is a total badass. She has been subjected to suffering and loss since she was a child, but neither possession nor being institutionalized has broken her in the past. There have been moments when she wanted to give up. She was ready to end things during her month long possession before Ethan exorcised the Devil from her body. However, she tends to face her fate with a certain amount of stoicism. Clearly, her reaction to the witches indicates there is a part of her past she has not shared with anyone, including Malcolm.
When Madame Kali sent her minions to rip apart the stagecoach, Vanessa knew exactly what she was dealing with— her knowledge just did not seem to help her much. Aside from saying something in the Devil's language to ward the witches away, Vanessa was mostly paralyzed with fear for herself and everyone around her. When the end of the episode found her on her knees in prayer, chanting and drawing figures on the floor using her own blood, it looked very much like a spell. Perhaps, there is a chapter in Vanessa's life when she dabbled in witchcraft herself. That would explain the Latin and her interest in Tarot cards.
Only someone who has been inside the world of the witches could fully comprehend what they are capable of. This is not good news. If Vanessa sought help from a coven before and came away scarred, she might not be up to the task of taking out these Devil worshiping monsters— at least not on her own. Malcolm, Ethan, Sembene and Victor all rallied around Vanessa to offer their support, but their efforts only left her more afraid. She has already lost her best friend to the supernatural world, can Vanessa handle losing anyone else? Especially if their lives are on the line for her?
Penny Dreadful has put into a motion a storyline that will no doubt lead to a showdown between Vanessa and Madame Kali. Everything is at stake for Vanessa, including her friends and her soul. Last season ended with Vanessa coming to understand the hellish life she has led makes her special and powerful in ways she does not fully understand. If she wants to win this fight, she is going to have to get in touch with her powers, even if it means going to a dark place, in order to bring Madame Kali to her knees.
We have a long way to go before Vanessa reaches that point. Before she can fight back, she has to stop being afraid. Those witches are beyond scary, so it will be fully understandable if it takes Vanessa a few episodes to find her mojo. Casualties seem inevitable, but Madame Kali is definitely going down. She has the Devil himself on her side. Vanessa has something better— a proven determination to survive anything. Take those blood baths while you can, Madame Kali, because Vanessa is coming for you.
Images: Showtime; fypennydreadful/Tumblr (3)