Penny Dreadful: City of Angels 1×10 Review – ‘Day of the Dead’

Day of the Dead Penny Dreadful episode 10 review
Santiago and Lewis in ‘Day of the Dead’ (Image: Screengrab)

‘Day of the Dead’ served a season one finale that felt less like an actual finale and more like it was created to set things up for season two. With how everything ended, I hope Penny Dreadful: City of Angels comes back for another season.

I’m going to begin by saying that I think this show ruined Molly as a character. Even though I wasn’t a fan of Molly, I still thought she had a lot of untapped potential. I watched the previous nine episodes hoping to see some kind of revelation about her character in the finale. Did her sermons allow her to have a link to demonic forces? Did she have a secret personality that did sinister things? There’s so much that could have been done with Molly. 

The revelation that it was Adelaide who killed the Hazlett family made me roll my eyes. The show explained that Adelaide always looked out for Molly and the entire Hazlett family had to die because James Hazlett was a risk to Sister Molly’s image. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but ‘Day of the Dead’ didn’t explain who helped Adelaide stage the Hazlett family murder in a matter that would blame the Latinx community, right? Also, who shot Lewis and Tiago? The current finale left me with a lot of questions.

Seeing Molly decide to end her life because she couldn’t be free from her mother was disappointing. Yes, Santa Muerte came to take Molly away, but the entire scene was ‘meh!’ to me. Again, there’s so much Molly’s character could have been used for.

As for Tiago, I liked it when he got hurt during the riot. Regardless of him being a detective, when it comes down to it, racist white people only see a Mexican-American. The entire season has shown, numerous times, how Tiago’s stuck between his loyalty to his community and the police force. In the previous episode, he gave a speech about wanting his family to accept him for who he was. I was expecting him to experience some kind of revelation in the finale, but it didn’t happen. Again, ‘Day of the Dead’ was setting things up for the next season.

Look! I’m all for planting seeds for future seasons. However, I think the writers should at least offer some kind of conclusion to the debut season. If Showtime doesn’t renew Penny Dreadful: City of Angels for another outing, fans basically got a cliffhanger ending and that’s just disappointing.

There were some strong scenes in the finale. The moment Brian began talking about building an atomic bomb, I knew he had to go. I understood Lewis’ decision to kill Brian. It was a decision he didn’t make easily, but it had to be done. Of course, when it comes to science, there’s a possibility of other researchers discovering or creating something Brian thought of. That’s just how it is. Numerous scientists work on the same thing around the world and it all comes down to who cracks the code first. So, even though Brian’s dead, someone else will create the atomic bomb.

As for Peter Craft, due to Tom getting hurt during the riot, he finally proclaimed himself as a Nazi. Now, I’m not sure if his heart is fully behind becoming a Nazi. So, it will be interesting to see how far he will go to protect his family. 

Talking about Nazis, it looks like Charlton Townsend is on his way to becoming one. Due to martial law in the city, the majority accepted Charlton’s plan of creating a motorway by destroying the Mexican community. In Charlton’s mind, if things continued to go as planned, he’s on his way to becoming Mayor. He’s willing to strike a partnership with Hitler as well as anyone around the world who believed in white supremacy. Uh-oh!

As someone who’s never been loved by his family and living in a world that hates the queer community, I can understand Charlton going crazy because of all the power he’s getting. He proclaimed to Alex (another version of Magda) that once he’s Mayor he will be able to sleep with as many Nazi men as he wanted. In Charton’s mind, if he wishes to be proud of his queerness and deal with how he was treated as a child by his family, he needs to be as powerful as possible. It’s kind of a ‘hurt-people-hurt-people’ thing with Charlton. However, I have a feeling Charlton’s very close to crossing a line after which it would be impossible to redeem his character. I hope he doesn’t cross that line.  

The shot of Charlton, his Nazi boyfriend Kurt, Alex, Adelaide, and Goss was really something. Tiago and Lewis need to be ready to fight an insanely powerful group of people. The bag guys have the supernatural Magda on their side. It’s time for Tiago to look into his connection with Santa Muerte and see if he can gain access to some kind of supernatural force, too.

day of the dead penny dreadful review
Alex, Charlton, Goss, Adeliade, and Kurt in ‘Day of the Dead’ (Image: Screengrab)

If you have been following my reviews, you would know I have been wondering why Magda doesn’t just kill humans who don’t fall under her power. ‘Day of the Dead’ gave me what I wanted. Magda (as Rio) killed Rico because she realized he wasn’t going along with her plans to begin a race war. With Rico gone, she made Mateo the leader of the Pachucos. Let’s see how much of an influence Rio will have on Mateo when things get really serious.

Coming to Raul and Josefina, I think they are just drifting as characters. I hope these two get more to do when (and if) this show returns.

Narrative wise, I appreciate this Penny Dreadful: City of Angels shining a light on racial issues that are still very relevant even though this story is set in 1938. The ending sequence talking about how white supremacists and nazis won’t rest until every minority is pushed down was quite impactful. I was just expecting something more from certain characters during the finale.

What did you think of ‘Day of the Dead’? Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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About the author

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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