The first thirty minutes of “What Death Can Join Together” is a fairly predictable, often awkwardly delivered metaphor about transformation: characters are constantly speaking to each other about uncontrollable changes, be it physical, mental or spiritual. For the last fifteen or so, though, Penny Dreadful finally ratchets up the story to the batshit crazy levels I’d hoped for earlier on, with vampire mind-controlled witch-things, a further look into Dorian Gray’s mystery, and the possession of Vanessa Ives, which closes the episode on a high note. With two episodes left, it was high time for Penny Dreadful to get to the point – and “What Death Can Join Together” does, allowing the series to start delivering on the promising start of early episodes.
That the third – and best – act of the episode is catalyzed by the goofiest development (Frankenstein and Caliban) speaks to the place the show finds itself in after delaying things for five hours: with only two hours left to go, things need to start happening, logic be damned. Caliban’s murder of Professor Van Helsing only occurs after his attempts to woo the theater’s leading lady (obviously) fail, his anger and hurt teaching him how to cry, but apparently not how to exercise patience with something as difficult as resurrection.