While there is plenty of internal and interpersonal conflict in Penny Dreadful, the plot is driven by the clash of mortal values and supernatural desires. The group of characters that I refer to as generally “Pro-Human” (Sir Malcolm, Vanessa, Ethan, Victor, and Sembene, and Dorian Gray) have personal goals that vary widely but are not incompatible. They are united in the search for Sir Malcolm’s daughter Mina, who has been kidnapped by mysterious creatures. This is an example of a classic super-ordinate goal: mortals vs. evil non-humans, but this is only one layer of conflict woven throughout Penny Dreadful’s story. (Warning: there are more spoilers in this post than there are pale people in British period pieces).
Both True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse novels do a wonderful job of presenting very complicated moral situations. Just as in real life, there is no group that is all bad; but unlike real life, there is a group that eats other people. So I really am not sure whether mediation or facilitated negotiation will be enough to resolve the current conflict between vampires and humans. Continue reading