Series: Penny Dreadful

"Do you believe there is a demimonde, Mr. Chandler? A half-world, between what we know and what we fear? A place in the shadows, rarely seen but deeply felt? That's where we were last night, where some unfortunate souls are cursed to live always... if you believe in curses, that is."
Vanessa Ives, to Ethan Chandler, "Night Work"

Penny Dreadful is a Gothic Horror series on Showtime in the US and Sky Atlantic in Britain (the series is a co-production between the two). Taking place in 1891 Victorian Britain, the series weaves together various characters from classic horror literature in a story about the supernatural. Stars Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett, Billie Piper, and a slew of other familiar faces.

See here for a recap page that Needs Wiki Magic Love.


Penny Dreadful includes examples of:

  • Adaptation Decay: The show plays pretty fast and loose with the details of the various characters it borrows from. Some aspects verge on Twice Told Tale.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Frankenstein is rather hostile, isolated and seemingly estranged from his family, as opposed to the book version, who has friends and a family and is engaged to be married.
    • While Dorian is a jaded pleasure-seeker, he is also earnest and intelligent, seeks enlightenment, and has a deep appreciation for beauty in all its forms. In the book, his condition quickly makes him debauched, cruel and shallow. "Memento Mori" reveals that while he may not be superficial in the series, he's in no way incapable of murder.
    • Mina Murray/Harker. In this telling, it turns out that she probably chose to become a vampire, for the purpose of trapping and destroying Vanessa.
  • Adults Are Useless: The Iveses not only failed to do anything useful during Vanessa's possession, but also turned her over to a Bedlam House. Furthermore, the Iveses were Catholic. The fact that Mr. and Mrs. Ives went for a medical explanation for Vanessa's possession - which isn't precisely a *normal* occurrence - is extremely progressive for the time period. Unfortunately, they might have been saved a lot of trouble if they had turned to the Church.
    • Malcolm rarely saw either of his children until they were young adults. Then he let Peter accompany him on a trip to Africa and abandoned him despite knowing Peter was dying of dysentery to continue exploring.
  • The Ageless:
    • Caliban states that he is immortal. Since he seems to believe that a shot to the head would kill him ("Grand Guignol"), he clearly fits this trope better than Complete Immortality.
    • Series creator John Logan has stated that Dorian is old enough to have seen "the fall of civilizations," rather than the couple of decades past his apparent age in the books.
    • What Evelyn is, after a Deal with the Devil.
    • The Cut-Wife isn't completely immortal, but considering she knew Oliver Cromwell, she's quite long-lived.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Despite the fact that Fenton works for the Master and screams about wanting to eat bats, he comes across as rather pathetic (especially to Ethan), and his ending is more pitiful than glorious.
  • All Myths Are True: In season one, we've got Dracula, Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, ancient Egyptian gods, Christian saints, and as of the finale, the Wolf Man. Season two throws witches into the mix.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Vanessa, Brona, Claire, Hecate, and Evelyn all prove it.
  • Alternate Identity Amnesia:
    • In the beginning of “Seance”, Ethan wakes up under the docks with no idea how he got there, or why his hands are all cut up. This is because he's a werewolf.
    • Vanessa storms out of Lyle’s house, still possessed, has sex with a young man in an alleyway, then somehow gets herself back to Sir Malcolm’s to fall asleep in her bed. In "Possession", she claims to "go away" and not remember her experiences at such times.
    • Played with when it comes to Brona/Lily. When confronted with people or places she knew in her previous life, she doesn’t appear to recall them until her 'outing' with Dorian in Little Scorpion seems to knock something loose... prompting her to murder a (by all appearances) perfectly innocent man for the crime of picking her up in a bar. Then in the following episode she reveals to the Creature that she remembers a lot and is just pretending. How long she has been doing so is unrevealed.
  • Altum Videtur: As all good Catholics of the day would have done, Vanessa prays the Hail Mary and the Our Father in Latin.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The scene in "Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places" where Dorian and Angelique go on a wild adventure of... ping-pong playing. Victorian London was actually taken by storm with the game in the late 1800's, and it was very fashionable to go to a ping-pong parlour.
  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Played straight inProteus' case; eventually averted in Lily's, who takes a murderous turn after an initial child-like phase.
  • Anti-Hero: All of the main characters, save for Brona though not her new persona, Lily and (so far) Sembene, are at least morally grey.
    • Sir Malcolm put himself ahead of his family, cheated on his wife, and admits to not caring who suffers if it means achieving his goal. He also spent untold years committing rape, genocide, and who-knows-what else in Africa, allowing his son to die along the way.
    • Ethan seems to be a friendly sort but it's revealed that he's a werewolf who's responsible for the rash of murders around London. He's also fleeing some bloody business in America, and took part in at least one genocidal attack during the Indian Wars.
    • Victor Frankenstein is a junkie who abandoned his first creation and made no attempt to rediscover him. He also murders a woman to create a "bride" for Caliban, resurrects her, and then becomes extremely desirous of her.
    • Vanessa seduced the fiance of her best friend, after allowing herself to become possessed by a demon.
    • Caliban kills two innocent people to punish Frankenstein. He also assaults a woman who spurns his advances.
    • Dorian Grey is a jaded pleasure seeker, though an Adaptation Personality Change has kept him more sympathetic than his book version. At least, until he murders Angelique to protect his secret.
  • Anyone Can Die: Seriously. So far, the most notable characters who have bitten it are Proteus, Van Helsing, Fenton, Claire Ives, Mina Murray, the Cut-Wife, Gladys Murray, Angelique, Roper, and Brona Croft (well, until she gets resurrected).
  • Anything That Moves: Reeve Carney describes his character, Dorian Gray, as being 'omnisexual' and open to everyone and everything. Dorian is seen hosting bisexual orgies and is strangely aroused by Brona's tuberculosis.
  • Arbitrary Scepticism: Victor's declaration that "I believe in everything but God" and his dismissal of Ethan's suggestion to call a priest for Vanessa's possession. It gets called out by Ethan and Malcolm in season two when he professes skepticism at the existence of witches, when he's fought things like ghouls and vampires and regularly (though unknown to them) brings people back to life.
  • Artificial Zombie:
    • Proteus, who seems to be made of only one person’s reanimated tissue instead of a patchwork of dead bodies. It’s still Victor’s science-y meddling that’s brought him to life.
    • Caliban, Victor’s first Creature, who shows up at the end of “Seance” is also this. Brona was his next project, and she was resurrected in a different manner than both Proteus and Caliban.
    • The elaborate tattooing and leathery, frequently cracked skin of the vampires suggests an artificial process requiring maintenance.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Dorian Gray boasts a haircut that would be far more suited to the 2010s than 1891, as well as sporting plenty of open necked jewel tone shirts.
    • Sir Malcolm still seems interested in locating the source of the Nile, which was actually identified back in 1875.
    • Lampshaded with Dorian's notice of Vanessa's frequent lack of gloves, in a society where it was required for both men and women to wear them in public.
  • Asshole Victim: The bounty hunters chasing Ethan in "Grand Guignol" really are asking for it when he turns into a werewolf and mauls them, killing one and disfiguring the other.
  • The Atoner: Ethan, Sir Malcolm, Vanessa, and Victor all to a certain extent.
  • Badass Bookworm: Victor takes the prize, once he levels up in badass in "Possession" and "Grand Guignol", but Sir Malcolm (who wrote many studies of Africa, speaks at least three languages, and can passably chart a nautical and/or land course) should also be mentioned.
  • Badass Gay: Well, badass bisexual: Ethan has slept with at least one man and still serves as the group's muscle.
  • Badass Longcoat: Malcolm, Ethan, and Sembene all have them.
  • Badass Normal: Sembene, who seems to be nothing more than a Battle Butler (and former hunter). Malcolm, who holds his own with the assorted werewolves, witches, and psychics around.
  • Bad Boss: Evelyn casually slits one underling's throat, then tells the others, "Take that bitch out."
  • Bait and Switch:
    • Throughout the first two episodes, one is led to believe that Proteus is Frankenstein's first attempt at bringing the dead to life. We discover at the conclusion of "Seance" that he's actually his second attempt, but arguably his first true success, as his first creation is a murderous and bitter man.
    • "Seance" gave the initial impression that Peter died as a young teen, not a grown man, because Vanessa's vocal pitch makes him sound very young. It also gave viewers the impression that it's Mina whom young Vanessa saw Sir Malcolm having sex with, not Vanessa's mother.
    • The beginning of "Demimonde" shows Vanessa and Dorian flirting, but he winds up sharing an intimate moment with Ethan instead in the end.
    • It's repeatedly hinted that the Bride that The Creature is considering is the actress at the Grand Guignol. The finale then reveals a recently-euthanized Brona as Victor's choice.
    • The promos for season 2's first episode had fans thinking that the scarred, naked female figure seen charging down a hallway was re-animated Brona. It's actually one of the witches.
    • In "Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places", Victor invites Vanessa to tea with Lily, unaware that Vanessa had already met Brona and was aware that she had died. It was assumed that Vanessa would recognise Lily in the next episode, but come the meeting over tea and Vanessa didn't seem to recognise her at all.
  • The Baroness: Evelyn, what with her coldness and her viciousness, is a Sexpot version.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The fight with the vampire nest aboard the plague ship in "What Death Can Join Together" briefly becomes one of these, as a lit lantern gets knocked over and lights the place aflame.
  • Battle Butler: Sembene, for Sir Malcolm. Notable in that Sir Malcolm is perfectly capable of defending himself, and that Sembene may potentially have supernatural powers.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Dorian, whose Healing Factor keeps him without injury.
    • After getting pummeled in the ratting-den, Ethan cleans himself up in Dorian's bathroom... and looks completely uninjured. This is presumably because he is a werewolf.
    • Averted completely by Vanessa. When she is hurt/possessed, you know it, and the effects are visible after the incident.
  • Bedlam House: Vanessa was sent to one in an attempt to cure her mysterious illness.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: In season one, we have The Master vampire, Frankenstein's Creature, Mina Murray, and whatever the hell is possessing Vanessa. Season Two introduces Evelyn Poole's coven of witches.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Ethan, for Victor and (to some extent, in addition to more romantic feelings he may be harboring) to Vanessa.
  • Big Fancy House: Malcolm's, Dorian's, and Lyle's. Evelyn's puts them all to shame, being a freaking castle.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Sir Malcolm and the lead vampire mook have an entire untranslated conversation in Arabic in "Night Work."
    • Vanessa - or Amunet possessing Vanessa - has an untranslated speech in what is presumably Egyptian in "Seance."
    • Malcolm and Sembene have a short exchange in Swahili in "Closer than Sisters".
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Evelyn Poole.
  • Bi the Way: Apparently Ethan also likes men (or at least Dorian), as well as women.
  • Black and Gray Morality: None of our protagonists could ever really be called a "good" person (the closest is probably Brona, and even she is thoroughly cynical and jaded about the world around her), but the forces they oppose are undeniably pure evil (with the possible exception of The Creature, who is still a much darker character than the protagonists).
  • Black Eyes of Evil: What the demon who's plaguing Vanessa flashes to prove he isn't actually whomever he's taken the form of.
    • Sir Malcolm sports these briefly in Memento Mori while being possessed.
  • Black Magic: What Evelyn Poole and her coven practice. Vanessa's mentor in witchcraft, the Cut-Wife, entrusts her with a book of this while on her deathbed, with a warning that opening it will forever cut Vanessa off from God.
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Lyle will be Evelyn's double agent, and she won't tell the British Museum about those nasty photos of Lyle with another man.
  • Black Speech: The Verbis Diablo
  • Blood Bath: Evelyn takes one in "Fresh Hell."
  • Blood from the Mouth: Brona, thanks to her tuberculosis. At one point, she hocks up a faceful of blood on Dorian Gray - while they are having sex. He doesn't seem to mind in the least.
  • Blood Magic: Practiced by the witches. Even Vanessa uses it on a smaller scale for protection purposes.
  • Bloody Horror:
    • In the water closet, the opium den, and the morgue in "Night Work".
    • When Proteus is killed by a hand through the torso in "Seance".
    • In a flashback to his childhood, Frankenstein's mother suddenly coughs up a whole lot of blood onto his face.
    • Malcolm killing Fenton by shoving his head into a shard of broken glass.
  • Body Horror:
    • Most notably with The Creature and Proteus, but also aspects of it with Vanessa's possession and the vampires being more insect-like than human.
    • Vanessa's trepanation at the asylum is pretty disturbing to watch, It's even something that really did happen to people.
    • The witches' brand-marks, when they're in Full-Frontal Assault mode, approach this trope if you consider how painful it must've been to acquire them.
  • Bondage Is Bad: It's safe to say that Evelyn's probably not aware of the concept of safe words, considering her usage of a riding crop to her late husband in "The Nightcomers".
  • Book Case Passage:
    • Victor has a false bookcase that actually functions as a door leading to his laboratory,
    • Dorian, appropriately enough, has the painting variant to disguise the passageway leading to his real portrait.
  • Boom, Headshot: Seems to work pretty well on vampires. Ethan dispatches two of them like this in the pilot, and later, Ethan and Malcolm dispatch more.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Most of the firearms used are Revolvers capable of holding 6 rounds. Characters regularly fire far more than this, without stopping to reload.
  • Brainwashed: What Evelyn does to Malcolm, with a combination of Black Magic and Compelling Voice.
  • Burn the Witch!: Evelyn Poole manipulates the people of Devon to ensure the Cut-Wife's demise via this trope. Unlike most examples, they don't burn Vanessa's mentor at the stake, but suspend her from chains and drench her in tar before setting her alight.
  • But Not Too Gay: While the show depicts several heterosexual couplings and (briefly) one between women, the encounter between Dorian and Ethan Chandler gets a sexy discretion shot. In fairness, this may be to to avoid a minor Reveal in an a later episode, when possessed!Vanessa asks, "Did you fuck him, or did he fuck you? He fucked you, didn't he?"
    • Completely averted in the second season, in regards to Dorian and Angelique's relationship.
  • Byronic Hero:
    • Ethan Chandler seems to be one, as he's attractive and charismatic, with a hinted-at dark side, and extremely cynical.
    • Victor Frankenstein is one, passionate about his research and beliefs in science, extremely introspective and isolated, with a potentially dark past.
    • Alternately, almost all of the main characters fit the attractive, intelligent, passionate, brooding, damaged, living-outside-society's-norms Byronic Hero mold.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • In "Seance", Peter Murray's spirit glares in hatred at Malcolm, as he condemns him for leaving his only son behind to die.
    • Vanessa has a version in "Closer than Sisters", as she lays into Malcolm for how hypocritical he is, claiming she doesn't understand blood and evil when she's been possessed by a demon and thrown into an asylum, and that her darkness isn't going to leave when they find Mina.
    • Ethan gets one in "What Death Can Join Together" and then another in "Possession", telling off Malcolm for his Manipulative Bastard actions. Things have gotten so drastic, even Victor joins in on the calling-out.
    • Practically everything Caliban says to Victor in his first few episodes is this trope, chewing his "father" out for abandoning him and saddling him with a grotesque appearance.
  • Came Back Wrong: While Brona was jaded and cynical about what was left of her life, she was still probably the most 'heroic' member of the main cast. Lily, meanwhile, through a combination of unpleasant memories from being a prostitute and possibly some part of the resurrection process, is determined to crush mankind under her heel.
  • Camp Gay: The Egyptologist Lyle is a closeted gay man, as eventually revealed in "Verbis Diablo," though it's hardly a surprise. He has an extremely foppish manner and outrageous fashion. Even before it's officially confirmed, he flirts shamelessly with Ethan, who doesn't seem put off by it.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Brona's St. Jude medallion that she gives Ethan in "What Death Can Join Together" is used in "Possession" when Ethan uses it, along with a prayer to St. Jude and his own faith in Vanessa to exorcise her.
    • The werewolf play at the Grand Guignol in "Demimonde" returns as a Meaningful Echo in "Possession" when Vanessa dreams of Mina repeating the phrase "for claw will slash and tooth will rend/there cannot be a happy end", realizing Mina is at the theatre. It's also a hint that there actually is a werewolf in this universe — Ethan.
    • The trapdoor used during the same play is later triggered by the second vampire to dump Ethan into the sub-level where the vampiresses are waiting.
  • Chest Burster: The scene where Victor’s first Creature kills Proteus is staged to resemble this trope, as Caliban punches right through his "younger brother" from behind.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Ethan has sex with at least three near or complete strangers in the first season alone, but he's perfectly honest about the fact that his "peripatetic" lifestyle keeps him from settling down, and he goes out of his way to be nice to women who need help.
    • Dorian even more so, being a hedonist he'll happily sleep with anyone, male or female if the opportunity presents himself, but he's always polite, respectful and makes sure to gain consent before going any further than flirting. Likewise when he's in an actual relationship with others, he's always the perfect gentleman.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Whatever it is that's possessing Vanessa, it's got quite a potty mouth, particularly in a Country Matters-laden moment when she accuses Sir Malcolm of having illicit sex that Vanessa spied on.
    • Lily out-swears even Amunet when she breaks her "amnesiac" facade in her confrontation with the Creature.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus:
    • Vanessa and a stranger have sex in a public alleyway, and don't seem bothered by the guy watching them.
    • Later, Dorian pays Brona Croft to participate in a risqué photography shoot, which escalates to sex in front of the camera crew.
    • Vanessa gets caught having sex with Mina's fiance, but Vanessa just stares at her as she continues.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • When young Victor's mother is alive, he is a bright, curious, poetical boy in all white. When she dies, he wears all-black and tosses aside his writings for texts on human biology and anatomy.
    • When they are children, Mina and Vanessa are seen in white and pale colors. After Vanessa's possession and Mina's abduction, Mina continues to wear white, but Vanessa wears black from that moment on.
  • Compelling Voice: Evelyn has one.
  • Con Man: Ethan Chandler, who would have been a small boy when Custer was battling the Sioux. Vanessa calls him on it.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: All of the rich characters wear sumptuous clothes (especially Vanessa and Dorian) and live in mansions, even if living alone. Lyle takes the cake in this department, though, as even Dorian makes fun of his tacky decor.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Inverted. In an era where they are almost mandatory for women and men alike, Vanessa never wears gloves. Dorian specifically remarks upon this as an aspect of her character.
  • Contralto of Danger: Vanessa's voice, especially when possessed by whatever looks down on Amunet at the seance. By contrast, when possessed by a human spirit, her voice tends to jump in pitch.
    • In Season Two, our first clue that Evelyn Poole and the other witches are evil are their lower pitched voices and guttural Verbis Diablo speech.
  • Corpse Land: The opium den that Sir Malcolm, Ethan and Vanessa visit - the floor is covered with bodies.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: Hecate's plucky American adventuress disguise in "Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places" would work on anyone but Ethan Chandler. Even discounting his werewolf senses and his distrust of strangers (as they tend to be agents sent by his father), she makes a number of errors that no true American would make: someone from Maine wouldn't sound as if they were out of the Midwest, and Northwestern University is in Illinois, not Indiana.
  • Creating Life Is Unforeseen: Played with in Proteus's case: while Victor evidently did intend to bring him to life, it's a storm-triggered malfunction of his lab equipment that animates his stitched-up body before Victor can throw the switch.
  • Creepy Doll: Evelyn's collection of victims.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: This show seems to like this trope:
    • Proteus is ripped apart by The Creature's bare hands, along his chest seam, into two pieces.
    • Fenton is impaled by a shard of glass through the back of his head due to a fight with Sir Malcolm.
    • The Cut-Wife is hung from chains by her wrists, drenched with oil, and set on fire by the villagers.
  • Cultured Badass: Sir Malcolm. Respected scholar, famous explorer, big game hunter, vampire killer.
  • Damsel in Distress: Saving Mina from the Master is the A plot of Season One. Subverted when it turns out's she's really a Decoy Damsel.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Most of "Resurrection" is dedicated to The Creature's interactions with Frankenstein, as well as both of their backstories.
    • "Closer Than Sisters" is entirely centered on Vanessa, and her relationship to the Murrays.
    • "The Nightcomers" is about the time Vanessa spent between the asylum and showing up at Sir Malcolm's, studying witchcraft with a woman named "The Cut-Wife".
  • Dark Is Not Evil: True of most of the main cast. Some of them are indeed very dark, but they're on the side of Saving the World. Mostly.
  • Deal with the Devil: Where Evelyn got her powers - and her looks - from. She doesn't age, or at least, Joan claims she hasn't aged since the mid-1600's.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Victor Frankenstein.
    Well, it would appear you have an Egyptian man of no particular age, who, at some point in his indeterminate lifespan decided to sharpen his teeth, cover himself in hieroglyphics, and grow an exoskeleton. Or you have something else altogether.
    • Brona Croft, at least when she's alone with Ethan.
  • Death by Sex: A twist, as the person who dies when Vanessa has sex with a demon is her mother, who dies of shock from seeing it.
  • Decoy Antagonist: The second episode introduces Proteus in a manner that deliberately fools the audience into believing that he's Victor Frankenstein's famous Creature, and that his cordial relationship with Victor will inevitably give way to hostility. Nope. We learn that he isn't Frankenstein's first creation when The Creature—the real Creature—shows up and brutally murders Proteus at the conclusion of the second episode.
    • The "master" vampire featured throughout the series, despite controlling a small army of Brides and Renfields, is just a powerful mook. The true Master, implied to be Dracula, has yet to make an appearance.
  • Demonic Possession: What's happening to Vanessa, with a snarling disembodied voice saying "soon" and "hungry" while she's praying.
    • Confirmed in “Seance”, at least. Kali calls up Amunet (an Egyptian goddess), but the entity already possessing Vanessa calls itself "much older".
    • Depicted in flashback in "Closer than Sisters", and finally is incited by Vanessa having sex with Dorian in the present-day at the end of "What Death Can Join Together".
    • "Possession" does Exactly What It Says on the Tin - depicts Vanessa in the throes of a full-scale possession.
  • Different World, Different Movies: Vanessa name-drops Percy Bysshe Shelley when quoting one of his poems. Shelley's wife Mary wrote Frankenstein, which is real in this universe.
  • Dirty Business: Ethan feels great distress at the gang's treatment of Fenton.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The woman in the opening scene of "Seance". Averted with Brona, who receives a personal, sympathetic treatment.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Attempted, in an amusingly Victorian way, by Vanessa. When Victor shows up to re-examine the vampire body, Sir Malcolm orders her to unbutton the top of her dress to expose more of her neck. Not her cleavage, just her neck. Subverted in that it doesn't seem to work.
  • Does Not Like Men: Amunet seems to regard "you man" as an insult, judging by how she berates Sir Malcolm in "Seance" and her caregivers in "Possession".
  • Downer Ending: The first season ends with the deaths of both a a main and a recurring character and a romantic break-up.
  • Driven to Suicide: Sir Malcolm's wife, in a Murder the Hypotenuse gambit by Evelyn Poole.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Both Proteus and Van Helsing are unceremoniously killed by The Creature, both times being to send Frankenstein a message.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Angelique identifies as female, though she is completely male biologically. This is treated as a reveal at the end of her first episode.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Vanessa is pursued by witches, vampires, devils, and ghosts; has lost almost everyone she knew as a child; and suffers from such a morbid fear of sex that when she finally has really satisfying sex, it opens a psychological pathway for a demon that wants to possess her. Malcolm abandoned his family for most of his life, "waded through blood with every step" and raped his way across the Congo during his adventures in Africa, and winds up killing his own daughter, who has become The Dragon for a vampire. Ethan struggles to keep ahead of the consequences of his lycanthropy, meaning that he needs to constantly move from place to place even though he experiences strong attachments to people he's barely met. Dorian has become so bored with life that he unsuccessfully tries to stimulate emotion with rat-baiting and orgies; Brona was an abused wife who turned to prostitution and can't accept love from the only person who cares about her; Victor is a necrophiliac and a morphine addict who abandoned his first Creature; and the Creature is obsessed with being "given" his own bride and doesn't draw much of a distinction between stalking and affection.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Vanessa.
  • Egyptian Mythology: A large facet of this universe.
    • In “Night Work”, the vampire is revealed to be of Egyptian origin, utilizing spells carved in hieroglyphics on his chest.
    • In “Seance”, the goddess Amunet possesses Vanessa. Mr. Lyle the Egyptologist reveals the meaning of the hieroglyphs on the vampire corpse - they’re a resurrection spell, invoking Amunet and her counterpart Amun-Ra. If they ever came together, it would bring about the end of the world, and Amunet’s spirit has chosen Vanessa.
  • Electromagnetic Ghosts: The classic "lights-dimming" example, though interestingly enough, the manifestation of Mina Murray also causes this. Whether that manifestation is a ghost or a vampire is unknown.
    • Though since most of the indoor lights seen so far are gas lamps, "Windy Ghosts" would perhaps be more accurate.
  • Emotional Bruiser: Despite his work as a hired gun, Ethan is much more emotionally open than most of the other characters. Caliban is also super-strong and rather mopey, although it doesn't seem to make him any nicer.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Josh Hartnett has indicated that he regards the moment when Ethan (who's in a ridiculous costume for a Wild West show) pulls off one mustache to reveal another mustache is this for his character.
    • In Dorian's first scene, he shows that he's the kind of guy who holds porn shoots in his home... and proceeds to get really bored until his model hacks up a bunch of tuberculosis-ridden blood. Then he propositions her, because "I've never fucked a dying creature before." It also establishes that he is strangely charming, greeting his prostitute/model as "Miss Croft," thanking her for attending, and inspiring real (if puzzled) reciprocal attraction during their encounter.
    • Vanessa's is her Sherlock Scan of Ethan in the bar, showing her mysteriousness, intelligence, perceptiveness, and blunt nature.
    • Malcolm is introduced in the opium den as a man on a mission - to save his daughter - who cares very little for anyone and everyone in his way.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Dorian, as shown in "Demimonde".
  • Everyone Meets Everyone
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Implied to be the source of both Vanessa's supernatural powers and Malcolm's missing daughter.
    Vanessa: Was I not responsible? But for my transgression, would any of this have occurred?
    • "Closer Than Sisters" reveals that her "transgression" was giving into the temptations of whatever it is possessing her, leading to her sleeping with Mina's fiance, which drove Mina away and presumably into the clutches of the master vampire.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: "Soon, child, soon."
  • Evolving Credits: Season 1 delayed showing Caliban's face or his actor's name until The Reveal that he existed. Season 2's montage replaces a clip of vampire-lackey Fenton with one of the scarred-up witches, as the series' primary antagonists have changed.
  • Fan Disservice: A lot of the show's viewers were eagerly awaiting a nude scene with Eva Green. When it finally happens... it's utterly terrifying.
  • Fanservice Extra: Dorian hosts an orgy with attractive naked people wandering around his gallery, although their charms don't seem to be working on him.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: Dorian admits he's not human to Ethan, who doesn't evince any surprise or concern over the revelation.
  • Fantastic Catholicism: In "Possession", a priest is brought in to exorcise Vanessa. The priest refuses, because it's serious business, so eventually Ethan must do it using Latin prayers and the image of a Catholic saint.
  • Femme Fatale:
    • Vanessa subverts the trope. Although she initially appears as a mysterious, black-lace-clad woman hiring a gunslinger, she doesn't use sex to manipulate and has more agency than most Femmes Fatale.
    • Evelyn Poole is definitely one of these. She's a mysterious widow who wears a fascinator, has a scandalous job as a spiritualist, an affinity for guns, and oh yes, she's a Satan-worshipping witch. She uses her feminine charms (and her Compelling Voice) to manipulate Malcolm.
    • Evelyn's daughter Hecate may be shaping up to be one as well, considering she's sent by her mother to occupy Ethan while they target Vanessa.
  • First Episode Spoiler: Sir Malcolm’s missing daughter is named Mina, that nice young man at the mortuary is Dr. Victor Frankenstein, and Vanessa is possessed by something demonic.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foreshadowing/Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Sir Malcolm's letter to Frankenstein reveals his last name (Murray) before The Reveal.
    • A newspaper has an advertisement for Dr. Jekyll.
    • Ethan's ability to seemingly control wolves hints at the reveal in the first season finale: he's a werewolf.
    • The play's line "for claw will slash and tooth will rend/there cannot be a happy end". The season finale features were-Ethan slashing his father's thugs, vampiresses chomping on Ethan, Sembene and Victor, and Sir Malcolm gunning down Mina when he realizes she's willingly become a monster and lured Vanessa into the Master's trap. Oh, and Brona is euthanized by Victor.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The entity that possesses Vanessa first appears to her in the guise of Sir Malcolm, and again as Ethan.
  • For Want of a Nail: Vanessa's entire life was ruined essentially due to the absence of two locked doors- one in the Murray household, and one in her own.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: An example of the actual creature. We see Victor skulking around a secret passage in his house, and later see what he's been working on - a very human stitched-together corpse he's been keeping hooked up to a generator and cooling in ice. Notable in that it subverts many of the traditional accompanying tropes - Victor is not shown Grave Robbing, the Creature itself is not "monster-looking", no bolts on the neck, no Igor or shrieks of "It's ALIIIIIIIIVE", and the lightning is a simple storm outside, not powering the generator. Further scenes with the Creature show his childlike wonder at discovering/remembering new words and objects.
    • However, The Creature, Victor's first creation who murders his "brother", demonstrates the more monstrous side of the trope, with his yellow eyes and inhuman reaction to the death. He also has a more terrifying appearance.
    • Notably Proteus does not seem to be an attempt to create new life, as in Shelley's novel, but bring someone back to life. He's one whole body, and distinctly starts to remember his past life before death, something that excites Victor. The Creature seems to be closer to the book's version, where it's a brand new being, sans any past memories.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The witches in Season Two who attack Ethan and Vanessa in the carriage.
  • Functional Addict: Victor, who was given cocaine to control his childhood asthma and moved on to morphine as an adult.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: Essential to the setting.
  • Genius Bruiser: Ethan's knack for bar fighting and sharpshooting leads Malcolm to regard him as nothing but "a finger on a trigger". It turns out that he has some knowledge of, among other things, Latin, Catholic saints and theology, colognes, and, in Dorian's estimation, opera.
  • Girly Skirt Twirl: Vanessa, in 1x06, when she shows off her theatre dress for Malcolm.
  • Gone Horribly Right: When Victor actually succeeded in reanimating a patchwork corpse, the sight terrified him to immediate flight.
  • Good Bad Girl: Both Vanessa and Brona enjoy premarital sex and are as close to "good guys" as anyone on the show.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars:
    • Sembene has ritual scarring on his face, marking him as a warrior.
    • Proteus has a few noticeable scars on the back of his head, keeping his face normal and innocent-looking.
    • Caliban has huge jagged scars along one side of his face, giving him a monstrous appearance.
    • The witches' true forms have ritual scars in various shapes carved into their flesh.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Mostly for Vanessa, since she can afford it, even though she's in half-mourning. Evelyn and Hecate Poole, as befitting their wealthy status, also wear them. Angelique wears them. Other women tend to wear more reserved, neutral-toned outfits.
  • Gothic Horror: The show's bread and butter.
  • Great White Hunter: A staple of the period, Sir Malcolm is this, having spent years in Africa and having encountered many fantastic creatures.
  • The Grotesque: Caliban. His skin is deathly pale and his facial scars are rather hideous. Despite his rather brutal murders of Proteus and Van Helsing, it's clear that he very much wishes to be normal and he has been more often a victim than a victimizer.
  • The Gunslinger: Ethan Chandler, who is introduced showcasing his skills as part of a traveling Wild West show.
  • Hall of Mirrors: Dorian Gray has one leading up to the hidden chamber where he keeps his portrait.
  • Haunted Heroine: Vanessa Ives has ghosts, demons, sexual issues, and, at least in the flashbacks, a lot of people who didn't believe a word she said.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Vanessa and Malcolm will kill every vampire in the world if that's what it takes to save Mina. Cemented as of the season two premiere.
    • Ethan, when Brona dies, supposedly of consumption.
  • Hero of Another Story: Van Helsing makes an appearance, but his exploits in Dracula never happen, as he is murdered by Caliban. He does serve as Victor's consulting expert on vampires until his death, having lost his wife to one and developed a chemical that can help distinguish vampire blood from human.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Both Sir Malcolm and Ethan Chandler, for different reasons.
    • Sir Malcolm has taken the loss of his daughter personally, and wants to hunt down every vampire or supernatural creature he can lay his hands on.
    • Ethan has "sins at his back" and doesn't seem to be opposed to killing for money. As of his werewolf reveal, it's likely he's been forced to kill in the past and considers muscle-for-hire a pragmatic gain.
  • Hemo Erotic: When Brona coughs up blood during sex with Dorian, he smiles and laps it up.
    • During a sex scene between Vanessa and Dorian, he gives her a knife. She lacerates his torso and licks the blood.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • In 'Seance,' the grief and Tranquil Fury in the aftermath of Vanessa's multiple possessions leaves Sir Malcolm sitting furiously at the table, even after others have left.
    • Frankenstein has one when Caliban rips Proteus apart, covered in blood and unable to move.
    • He has another one when Caliban snaps Van Helsing's neck.
    • Ethan, Malcolm, and Victor all have one long, extended one throughout the week they spend trying to care for the possessed Vanessa, unsure of if she'll survive.
    • Vanessa has one in "Fresh Hell" when the witches attack her and Ethan. We eventually learn that Vanessa has prior experience with this coven and is terrified they'll kill her at last.
  • Hidden Depths: We eventually learn that Sir Malcolm, for all his faults, works in a shelter for people who suffer from cholera whenever he can and provides them with funds.
  • High-Pressure Blood: The climax of the Grand Guignol werewolf skit.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold:
    • Brona Croft's history as a prostitute doesn't keep her from being a sympathetic and generally kind person.
    • Angelique may be this trope. She's quite charming, shows a lot of interest in Dorian, and doesn't seem to let her profession bother her.
  • Hookers and Blow: Or, as Dorian calls them, daily life.
  • Humans Are Bastards: "And Hell Itself My Only Foe" has Oscar Putney deliver this explanation to Caliban as to why no one will help him:
    "Scream your lungs out, if you like. No one will hear you. And even if they could, who would care? You know Londoners, what care they for the sufferings of malformed brutes. They will look, and they will point, and they will pay."
  • The Hunter: Malcolm Murray is one. Ethan Chandler is about to become one.
  • I Am a Monster: Malcolm delivers a speech on this while talking with Victor in "Possession."
    "No, Doctor, I haven't a shred of decency left."
  • I Have No Son: In Sir Malcolm's case, daughter. Seeing what Mina had become forced him to kill his own daughter, but also saving Vanessa's life, proving to her that he was her father figure and to him, his real daughter.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Malcolm allowed his son Peter to die in Africa. Notably, this action does not spur him to become more heroic, but more villainous.
  • Ill Girl: Brona suffers from tuberculosis. Notably, and unlike the stereotype, she doesn't seem to have become a paragon of virtue as a result— while a decent person, she resents her misfortune and, in "Demimonde," her frustration induces a fit of unjustified anger toward her doting boyfriend Ethan.
  • Immortality Bisexuality: Dorian.
  • Important Haircut: In "Verbis Diablo", Victor performs one of these on a recently revived Brona/Lily, ostensibly to alter her appearance enough that no one in her previous life will recognise her from a distance...but also, possibly, to shape her further into his ideal woman...]
  • Improbable Aiming Skills:
    • Ethan, who has an entire sharpshooting act built from this. (Werewolf reflexes and perceptual improvements may help.)
    • Evelyn, who can not only manage six straight bulls-eyes with a revolver on a shooting range, but master Malcolm's new automatic Mauser on the first try, and make a few more bulls-eyes (one of which, she does with one eye open). Of course, she is an immortal Satan-worshipping witch, and it's probably not all natural ability.
  • Incest Is Relative: Evelyn is a big proponent of this one, with both her daughter Hecate and her sister Joan.
    • The terms 'sister' and 'daughter' could refer more to the coven being a sisterhood (with Evelyn as the head mother-like figure) rather than literal familial lines but because those terms are used, the imagery is incestuous all the same.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Brona has consumption; heavy coughs that bring up blood, and which everyone views as incurable, are kind of a given.
  • I Never Told You My Name: In the fifth episode, Doctor Banning is visibly startled and summons security when Vanessa uses his full name...which she has no way of knowing.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted repeatedly: A girl of around six dies in the very first scene of "Night Work"; Sembene wrings a cat's neck in "Demimonde"; and Hecate kills an actual baby in "Verbis Diablo" for Evelyn to use in her black magic.
  • Instant Marksman Just Squeeze Trigger:
    • Played straight in the scene where Ethan teaches Victor how to shoot. He manages to hit a bottle on his third try, and just a day or so later, is able to shoot three of the "Brides" during the battle at the Grand Guignol.
      • Victor is, however, a surgeon - a profession where having very steady hands is a job prerequisite. Not to mention, Victor experiments with things like lightning rods and reanimated corpses without blinking... his unflappability is proven well before the Grand Guignol.
    • Averted with Malcolm's new automatic pistol in "Grand Guignol" - it's so new that virtually no one has experience with it, and his first attempts with the thing ricochet everywhere. He eventually figures it out.
    • Played straight again with Vanessa in "Little Scorpion" when Ethan teaches her to shoot, its even acknowledged she's naturally good at this, which Ethan doesn't find surprising.
  • Instant Seduction: Ethan impresses an audience member with his sharpshooting skills, then has sex with her in his next scene. He also has sex with Brona on their first date.
    • Vanessa walks up to a guy in the street and licks his face. Next thing you know, they're having sex against the wall of a building.
    • Dorian seduces Brona in one meeting, despite the fact that she's presumably only getting paid for the modeling.
  • Ironic Echo: In the third episode, Frankenstein calls his first Creature a demon. A few minutes later, the insult is flung right back at him.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The song The Unquiet Grave shows up numerous times in the series:
    • It first appears in "Seance", sung by the possessed Vanessa at the seance.
    • It comes back in "Closer than Sisters", sung by young Vanessa and later older Vanessa, both times while walking the hedge maze.
    • In "Fresh Hell", it's our introduction to Evelyn Poole, who is singing it while bathing in a bathtub of blood.
  • Jack the Ripper: A killer is dismembering people around London, and people are asking, "Is Jack Back?" It's implied that the killer is Ethan in werewolf form.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Caliban really didn't need to kill Proteus, but he has every right to be furious at Frankenstein for the way he treated him.
    • Amunet may be a bitch, but many of her vicious chastisements of Sir Malcolm are well-deserved.
  • Jump Scare: Constantly.
  • Keystone Army: In "Grand Guignol", the vampire 'brides' collapse the moment Malcolm kills the head vampire—-with the exception of Mina, indicating that there were something different about her, perhaps it being that she is a bride of the Master she indicates is still 'alive'..
  • Knight Templar Parent: Malcolm likes to think of himself as one for Mina - see, for example his "to save her, I would murder the world" speech - but in all actuality, he abandoned both his biological children, and values Vanessa over them.
  • Kukris Are Kool: Sembene carries them.
  • Lady and Knight: Vanessa and Ethan's relationship has this dynamic. Specially in the second season.
  • Large Ham: Everyone who works at the Grand Guignol. With Vincent and Caliban, this carries over into their offstage lives.
  • Light Feminine Dark Feminine: An interesting variation - Vanessa is one of our heroes, but is virtually always seen in dark colors, whereas Mina (and the Brides) wear all white, and are serving evil. It’s most striking in Vanessa’s beach vision, where Mina and her blonde hair are all in white, and Vanessa herself wears a hooded black cloak and dress.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Caliban, Proteus, and Brona all come to life on dark and stormy nights. "Fresh Hell" makes clear that Frankenstein needs the lightning to reanimate corpses.
  • Literary Allusion Title: A "penny dreadful" was a serialized fiction story appearing in Victorian newspapers. They were frequently filled with lurid, sensationalized content - sex, death, the supernatural.
  • Living Bodysuit: In “Seance”, Vanessa is possessed by - in order - younger and older versions of Sir Malcolm's son Peter Murray, Amunet, Mina Murray, and finally the demon that's already possessing her.
  • Looks Like Orlok: The leader vampires seen in season one. It's unclear if the vampire that dominates Mina is one of this type or a superior breed.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Vanessa has shown interest in both Dorian and Ethan, the latter has in turn slept with the former and Brona, who modeled in a raunchy photoshoot for Dorian (which ended in sex). Vanessa also had sex with a demonic entity in the form of Sir Malcolm, so it's possible there's some Unresolved Sexual Tension between them as well. Vanessa and Dorian have sex in episode six.
    • Season Two continues this with Ethan and Vanessa growing closer, Victor developing sexual feelings for Brona and fondling her dead body as well as romantic feelings for her undead-personality Lily, Hecate being tasked with seducing Ethan, and Malcolm beginning a relationship with Evelyn, who is playing him in order to get to Vanessa. Dorian, meanwhile, looks to be striking up an interesting new relationship with Angelique, a transsexual prostitute.
  • Mad Scientist: The most famous in all literature, Mary Shelley's Victor Frankenstein.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Includes characters from Dracula, Frankenstein and The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as archetypes from Victorian horror literature.
  • Male Frontal Nudity:
    • Proteus, in "Night Work".
    • Angelique in "Verbis Diablo".
  • Manipulative Bastard: Malcolm. He pressured Peter into having sex with prostitutes to suit Victorian ideas of masculinity; doesn't tell Vanessa about Lyle's interpretation of the prophecy until too late; and apparently wants Vanessa's demon to keep her on the brink of death until she contacts Mina's spirit.
    • Evelyn's manipulation of the people of Devon in "The Nightcomers" to rouse them against the Cut-Wife rates as this, though she takes a level in "Above the Vaulted Sky" when she drives Gladys Murray insane, sending her visions of her dead children rising from their graves, so that Gladys will kill herself and Evelyn can have Malcolm all to herself. Of course, her prior manipulations of Lyle and Malcolm were pretty big hints at what she could do.
  • Marionette Motion: The vampires seem to move like this, especially the one Ethan gives a failed Boom, Headshot to.
  • Mauve Shirt: A couple of apparently-significant, meaningful, well-developed characters get the abrupt dispatch, in both cases at the hands of Caliban.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • The Vomiting Cop,
    • Proteus disappearing from the operating table behind Victor. Subverted twice beforehand.
    • Sir Malcolm walking right past his possibly-vampiric daughter Mina in the hallway
    • A cloaked figure that may have been spying on Victor.
  • Meaningful Echo: Three in "Closer than Sisters":
    • "Something spoke. I listened." Explanation 
    • "You have to name a thing to bring it to life." Explanation 
    • "The mirrors behind the glass eyes." Explanation 
  • Meaningful Name:
    • 'Miss Ives' can be read as 'missives', an archaic term for messages. Vanessa is possessed, and frequently conveys prophecies and missives from another world.
    • Brona lampshades hers - Gaelic for “sadness”.
    • Madame Kali has a particularly interesting name for a spiritualist; Kali is a Hindu goddess associated with destruction and change. Her given name, Evelyn, is of French origin, ironically meaning "life".
    • Proteus is, of course, the name of one of the titular "Two Gentlemen of Verona" (the more cowardly and naive one, it should be noted), but it is also the name of a sea-god of Greek mythology, fitting for a former man of the sea.
    • The Creature, Frankenstein's first creation is named Caliban by the theatre director who takes him in - a character who, in The Tempest, is depicted as a misshapen monster.
    • Evelyn's daughter Hecate is, of course, a witch.
    • The Cut-Wife meets the same fate as her namesake.
    • Inspector Rusk's name is very similar to that of George Aken Lusk, head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. The Real Life Lusk led this neighborhood-watch group during Jack the Ripper's murder spree; it was to him that the infamous "From hell" letter was addressed.
  • Meat Puppet: Vanessa in "Possession".
  • Medical Horror: The asylum scenes in "Closer than Sisters", which are Truth in Television.
  • Medicate The Medium: The flashbacks in "Closer Than Sisters" show Vanessa "treated" with "hydrotherapy," hypothermia, and surgery (possibly a lobotomy, but more likely a "just" a trepanation, given that her personality and talents don't appear to change).
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard:
    • Victor's mentor Van Helsing is murdered by the Creature in a temper-tantrum because Victor isn't paying attention to him.
    • Vanessa's mentor, The Cut-Wife, is burnt alive by a mob incited by her sister, Evelyn.
  • Mercy Kill: Arguably the case when Victor smothers Brona, but since he lies about it and then takes the body to make The Creature's Bride, it's more morally ambiguous.
    • Just to add an extra fillip if he hadn't, Victor and Brona would have presumably both been on the premises when night fell, and Ethan performed the Mariner's Inn Massacre - his Wolf-Man form can certainly climb stairs.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Vincent, especially when on stage.
  • Monster Mash: Vampires, Frankenstein's Monster, spirits of the dead, demonic possession, Dorian Gray, and a werewolf.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In one of the series' genuinely touching moments, Proteus returns with Frankenstein to the doctor's flat after a successful venture out into the city, where he shows great aptitude for interacting with others and even remembering flashes from his life before he died. By the time he gets home, he's genuinely overjoyed at the prospect of making friends. And then Frankenstein's first creation emerges from a dark stairwell immediately behind Proteus, murdering him by punching straight through him, then ripping him in half and stands over his horrified creator with a cold Death Glare.
    • The Creature is great at this, dispatching Van Helsing with a snapped neck after the kindly professor bonded with Victor and told him that he wished him a long life.
    • In "Above the Vaulted Sky", the various scenes of Dorian/Angelique and Evelyn/Malcolm having sex, as well as Ethan/Vanessa's intense flirtation are horrifying when cut with the scenes of Gladys Murray being haunted by visions of her dead children, then slitting her own throat.
  • More Than Mind Control: Vanessa's demons may use brute force at times, but they can also seduce people by simply speaking truth, lies, or poetry by Keats.
  • Mr. Fanservice: While other attractive men also appear shirtless or nude in the series, Dorian spends a disproportionate amount of his time naked. Unsurprising, given the source material.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Victor suggests "Adam," Mary Shelley's name for Frankenstein's Creature, as a possible name for Proteus. He quickly dismisses the idea though.
    • When first introduced, Victor asks Ethan what he knows of Galvanism, the process of using electricity to reanimate flesh. In Shelley's novel, Galvanism is the one hint to the commonly held belief that the Creature was created through lightning. It also points to the novel's early 19th-century setting; by 1891, the idea of Galvanism would be roughly 100 years old.
    • Dorian Grey is introduced gazing at a portrait gallery.
    • Sembene wields a kukri knife, Jonathan Harker's weapon of choice in Dracula. Harker himself is namedropped earlier in the fourth episode.
    • Frankenstein is a fan of Romantic literature and poetry, referencing the era Frankenstein the novel was set in.
    • The Creature references Percy Bysshe Shelley's poetry while berating Frankenstein. Shelley, of course, was married to Frankenstein's author. Victor later quotes a line of Shelley's "Adonais" to Van Helsing, also a Title Drop for the episode it takes place in: "No more let Life divide what Death can join together".
    • The little girl outside the church that Vanessa speaks to in "Demimonde" is named "Lucy", as in Lucy Westenra, Dracula's victim in the original Stoker novel.
    • Professor Abraham Van Helsing shows up later as the hematologist Sir Malcolm contracts to analyze Fenton's blood and develop a cure. He claims to know vampirism "intimately".
    • Flashbacks show that The Creature, unlike Proteus, was "born" covered in slime on a bloody table. In Shelley's novel the details of how the Creature was born are not shared, except that it emerged in a similar state.
    • "Closer Than Sisters" recounts Vanessa's backstory in the form of a letter to Mina Harker. Dracula itself is comprised of dozens of letters and journal entries, most of them written and/or transcribed by Mina Harker.
    • Vanessa's mother died of shock upon finding insane Vanessa having sex with an unseen demonic presence. In Dracula, Lucy Westenra's mother dies the same way when a wolf crashes through the window as part of Dracula's attack.
  • Neck Snap: How The Creature kills Van Helsing.
  • Nerves of Steel: Neither vampires nor seances nor Satan chasing her shall distract Vanessa from saving Mina.
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • Victor Frankenstein. When given the opportunity to dissect a vampire, he's downright excited about it. Not to mention that he feels up a corpse's breasts in "Fresh Hell."
    • Dorian Gray is turned on by tuberculosis. We should expect no less.
    • Vanessa really wants to do the right thing, but the devil's promise to make her the Mother of Evil and destroy the world turns her on anyway.
    • Evelyn Poole is very excited about skulls, blood, scarification, blood baths, child murder, and BDSM.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Vampires, demonic possession, hideously bloody murders, ghosts, very little seems to rattle Vanessa. Even Sir Malcolm loses his cool when his missing and turned vampiric daughter Mina shows up, but not Vanessa.
  • Non-Action Guy: Victor starts out as the Non-Action Guy and slowly develops into a Badass Bookworm. His place is then taken up by Lyle, who is great when you need ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics translated, but not so much when your home is being attacked by witches.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: When Victor shows up to re-examine the vampire body, Sir Malcolm orders Vanessa to unbutton the top of her dress to expose more of her neck. Doesn't really work on Victor.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Utilized in “Night Work” with the little girl finding out who or what has taken her mother - all we see is an otherwise calm house and the girl screaming.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Dorian comments that Ethan would pretend not to know Wagner's work if Dorian played it and goes on to accuse him of this trope. It continues in season two, where Ethan keeps Inspector Rusk at bay by pretending to be a simple American actor on holiday in London.
    Dorian: "You play your part to perfection, Mister Chandler. Rude, mechanical. Rugged Westerner. But this is not who you are."
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray has a bit of a hard time hiding his American accent.
    • Billie Piper’s Irish brogue is pretty good, but sometimes her English accent slips out.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Brona has a simple cotton and whalebone one in "Seance". Vanessa wears a gorgeous black one in "What Death Can Join Together". Evelyn wears them during sex in "The Nightcomers" and "Above the Vaulted Sky". Lily finds hers hard to breathe in and is given permission to take it off in "Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places", but wears one to the ball in "Glorious Horrors".
  • Oh, Crap: Malcolm's reaction shots to Vanessa's possession in both "Seance" and "What Death Can Join Together."
    • Ethan's response to Malcolm's assertion that Vanessa has been "possessed by the devil" in "Possession."
    • The crowner really has to go to Ethan's reaction shot to Vanessa speaking Verbis Diablo to frighten off the witches in "Fresh Hell".
  • Older Than They Look:
    • Dorian Grey. His statements concerning his life experiences imply that he's much older than his youthful appearance suggests. The character he's based on shares this trait.
    • Evelyn Poole. Apparently Blood Baths and Deals With the Devil can keep you young and beautiful for over 200 years.
  • Ominous Crack: In a supernatural variant, nearby mirrors tend to crack whenever a spell or possessing force clashes with another or is stymied.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: During both Vanessa's sex scene with Dorian Gray and her possession in the following episode.
    • And "Fresh Hell" introduces some Ominous Diabolic Latin Chanting, with the Verbis Diablo language.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Sembene doesn't often lose his composure, but when he does, it never means anything good.
  • Opium Den: Sir Malcolm and Vanessa track the vampires to the basement of one.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Can possess a willing host (i.e. Vanessa) and work magic of sorts through her. Can appear in human form and have incubus-like sex with their target.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The more powerful vampires' hide consists of an exoskeleton of sorts, with skin underneath that's covered in Egyptian hieroglyphics which possibly translates as "the blood curse". They are always seen naked. These vampires apparently lead lesser vampires, who are mostly human but must consume meat and blood. If the leader dies, its lesser vampires flee. Vampires can be killed with simple bullets, knives and other weapons. There exists at least one Master Vampire that holds dominion over the leader and lesser vampires, who is revealed in Memento Mori to be a Fallen Angel and brother to Lucifer himself.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The werewolf in the series seems to be like the 1941 film version, and is implied to be there to serve God's purpose as Vanessa's protector against Lucifer and Dracula.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank:
    • In "Night Work", the walls and floor of the basement of the opium den are covered in blood and ripped-apart bodies. Notably, none of our heroes' clothes get dirty.
    • Happens onstage in "What Death Can Join Together" when the Grand Guignol's stage rats overdo it on the blood pump.
    • Vanessa's hallucination at Dorian's ball in "Glorious Horrors" is of the ceiling suddenly starting to rain blood, drenching the string quartet, the guests, and her in blood.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • There are some oddly familial dynamics going on in "Demimonde", with Malcolm acting as a parental figure for Ethan and Victor. After Malcolm invites Ethan to Africa with him, Victor gets jealous, stammering that he wants to be valued and trusted. Malcolm tells him his deceased son Peter was very much like Victor.
    Malcolm: Mr. Chandler is nothing to me. He is a finger on a trigger. You are not.
    • Malcolm was one for Vanessa when she was a child. She certainly seems closer and more affectionate toward Malcolm (and the rest of the Murray family) than to her own mother and father.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Frankenstein's Creature.
  • Pinkerton Detective: Two are sent after Ethan by his father.
  • Plot Threads: The series has a lot of these. To wit:
    • Vanessa and Malcolm are searching for a) Mina and b) a cure for vampirism.
    • Vanessa also appears to be the host vessel for the ancient Egyptian goddess Amunet, who is searching for her mate Amun Ra with potentially world shattering consequences, while at the same time also being possessed by something else, which claims to be "much older" than Amunet.
    • Victor makes (and copes with) his various creations, and is being forced to make a bride for his original Creature.
    • Dorian Gray develops an interest in both Vanessa and Ethan and has a very large, very mysterious portrait in his home.
    • Ethan and Brona form a relationship while having to cope with the fact that she's dying.
    • Ethan's influential father seeks to persuade or force him to return to the States, where he's a suspect in an unknown number of bloody crimes.
    • On top of everything else, someone or something is going around London by night, messily murdering defenseless people. The Season One finale makes it a virtual certainty that it's Ethan, who is a Wolf Man, and in Season Two, Scotland Yard is put on the trail of the killings...
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Evelyn and Hecate's strange voodoo-like dolls appear to run on this; constructing one requires the heart from a baby.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss character from a story set in the 1810s, is reimagined as an Englishman in 1891. This does have precedent in previous adaptations, though, and it does keep him as a young man as in Shelley's book.
    • Professor Van Helsing is a Dutch doctor in Dracula, but he's changed to a native Englander for the show to avoid a distracting accent.
  • Pretty Boy: Dorian Gray. Lampshade when possessed!Vanessa calls him "the beautiful boy."
  • Primal Scene: Two in "Closer than Sisters". First, Vanessa catches her mother having sex with Sir Malcolm, and then years later, Mina catches Vanessa having sex with Mina's fiance.
  • Prophet Eyes: Vanessa has them when she's having possessed!sex with the demon she's summoned. The sight of them and what is happening causes her mother to die of shock.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Evelyn drives Gladys Murray to kill herself by driving her mad, sending her voodoo-doll-assisted pain and visions of her dead children rising from their graves.
  • Psychic Link: Appears to exist between the master vampires and their minions.
  • Psychic Powers: Vanessa, who can read Tarot, channel spirits, and seems to have a bit of precognition. How much is her and how much is the entity possessing her is up for debate, though "The Nightcomers" insinuates that while Vanessa was born with her powers, one can learn these skills.
  • Psycho Strings: Used nigh-constantly in the climax of "And Hell Itself My Only Foe", including an actual snippet of the famous Psycho Scare Chord when Victor hallucinates all three of his creatures visiting him.
  • Public Domain Character: About half the cast.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Brona despises God for inflicting her with an abusive fiancé, an unsupportive family, unemployment, and a terminal disease.
  • Really Gets Around: While Dorian's probably the reigning king of this trope, we know that Vanessa, Malcolm, Ethan, and Brona all have or have had sex with someone they had just met.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ethan and Victor deliver this to one another in "Demimonde," then jointly serve it up to Malcolm in "Possession." Although they'll probably never top the epic versions offered by possessed!Vanessa, with, again, the worst directed at Malcolm.
    • Even Gladys Murray gets in on telling Malcolm off in "Fresh Hell", standing in front of Mina's and Peter's graves and telling him they have "no more children for you to save. Or kill." and informing him their separation stands.
    • Lily gives a blistering one to Caliban before shifting gears and seducing him.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The vampires have solid red eyes.
  • Redhead In Green: Brona has red hair and usually wears green, possibly to emphasize her Irishness.
  • The Renfield: Fenton at least has the attitude traits, and is not "entirely preternatural," according to Victor.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Victor becomes one for Sir Malcolm, on account of how much he resembles Malcolm's late son, Peter.
  • The Reveal:
    • Malcolm is Sir Malcolm Murray, father of Mina Murray from Dracula.
    • There is more than one "leader" vampire. The Murray reveal means that it's likely Dracula.
    • Proteus is not the first Creature Frankenstein created.
    • The Season 1 finale reveals that Ethan is a werewolf which, together with the glimpses of mutilation-victims during his flashback-montage from "Demimonde", confirms that he was responsible for the dismemberment killings in episodes 1 and 2.
    • "Memento Mori" has several:
      • Lily remembers her former life as Brona, knows exactly what she is now, and is far more ambitious and spiteful in her villainy than Caliban.
      • The Verbis Diablo fragments reveal that both Lucifer and the vampire Master are Fallen angels, estranged brothers competing to possess the "Mother of Evil", i.e. Vanessa.
      • Dorian Gray's portrait is finally shown and it's bound by chains, possibly because it can move.
  • Right Through His Pants: Played straight by Ethan and the groupie in "Night Work", Malcolm and Claire in "Closer Than Sisters", Vanessa and Branson in "Closer than Sisters", and Malcolm and Evelyn and Victor and Lily in "Above the Vaulted Sky". Averted by most of Dorian's sex scenes, particularly the ones with Vanessa in "What Death Can Join Together" and with Angelique in "Above the Vaulted Sky".
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Invoked by the wax museum's operator, who must have started crafting a scene based on Ethan's rampage at the riverside inn within hours of the story breaking in the newspapers.
  • Rousing Speech: Though it's not exactly intended to be one, so much as a manifesto of sorts. Victor gives one to Sir Malcolm at the Explorer’s Club, attempting to explain his devotion to scientific discovery, rather than exploring new lands:
    There is only one worthy goal for scientific exploration: piercing the tissue that separates life from death. Everything else, from the deep bottom of the sea to the top of the highest mountain on the farthest planet, is insignificant. Life and death, Sir Malcolm. The flicker that separates one from the other, fast as a bat’s wing, more beautiful than any sonnet. That is my river. That is my mountain. There I will plant my flag.
  • Rugged Scar: We have every reason to think that Sembene's scars mark him as a Badass.
  • Satan: What seems to be possessing Vanessa has long claimed to be the Fallen Angel himself. The witches worship him and seem to be doing his bidding in season two.
  • Sadistic Choice: Malcolm is given one in "Grand Guignol" - Mina has taken Vanessa hostage, revealing that she has manipulated them both for her "Master's" purposes. Either he can shoot Vanessa and attempt to "cure" Mina, or he can save Vanessa from Mina. Malcolm has promised Vanessa a number of times that he intends to sacrifice her if it means getting Mina back, but realizing that Mina has betrayed them both and Vanessa will surely be used by the Master to breed a new race of vampires, Malcolm shoots and kills Mina.
  • Screaming Woman: Eva Green’s and Helen McCrory’s screams in "Seance" could strip the paint off walls.
  • Safe, Sane and Consensual: While Dorian is quite creepy, he does make sure that Brona consents to their sexual encounter, and, given his Healing Factor, his promiscuity and masochism are a lot safer and saner than would otherwise be the case.
  • Savage Wolves: A pack of them at the London Zoo.
  • Seen It All: Dorian Gray. It's reached the point where orgies make him kick furniture from boredom.
  • Sex Montage: At the end of "Above the Vaulted Sky", with three different couples doing the dirty and one more pining at each other.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Between Ethan and Dorian.
  • Sherlock Scan: Vanessa pulls one on Ethan in "Night Work".
    Expensive watch, but threadbare jacket - you're sentimental about the money you used to have. Your eye is steady, but your left hand tremors, that's the drink, so you keep it below the table hoping I won't notice. You have a contusion healing on your other hand, the result of a recent brawl with a jealous husband, no doubt. Your boots are good quality leather, but have been re-soled more than once. I see a man who's been accustomed to wealth, but has given himself to excess and the unbridled pleasures of youth. A man much more complicated than he likes to appear.
    • Dorian makes a pretty good one of Vanessa herself in "Seance."
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: What Malcolm does in "Grand Guignol", astonishingly enough, considering said hostage taker is his daughter Mina, revealing herself as The Dragon and intending to kidnap Vanessa.
  • Shout-Out
    • An unmoving Vanessa in the crowd at Ethan’s shooting exhibition is one to Strangers on a Train.
    • An advertisement drops the name of Doctor Jekyll. It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll show up.
    • Vanessa’s Sherlock Scan of Ethan is nearly note-for-note the same cool assessment Eva Green as Vesper Lynd gave to James Bond in Casino Royale (2006).
    • The appearance of the leader vampire, with its lithe body, clawed fingers, and long middle teeth, seems to invoke Count Orlok.
    • The demonic entity possessing Vanessa, appearing in the guise of Sir Malcolm quotes John Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale".
    • While explaining Vampires to Doctor Frankenstein, Van Helsing shows him a copy of Varney the Vampire, an actual Penny Dreadful.
    • The resurrected Brona, who's betrothed to Frankenstein's Creature, is given the name Lily. Fitting, since Lily has the Bride's iconic white-streaked hair.
    • The Cut-Wife of Ballantree Moor, a very powerful white-witch, quotes another famous witch: "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."
    • Inspector Bartholomew Rusk, the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist of Season 2, has a wooden arm...just like Inspector Kemp in Young Frankenstein!
    • Ethan's real surname is Talbot, possibly making him an ancestor of Lawrence Talbot.
  • Shown Their Work: Much of the show is very faithful to the time period it depicts and the stories it’s referencing.
    • The carrion beetles cleaning a skull in Mr. Lyle’s office - an actual technique utilized to clean bones by many museums.
    • Throughout the series, adult Vanessa is always dressed in black, dark blue or red, and purple - Victorian mourning and half-mourning colors. This is because her mother is dead. This is referenced again in "Grand Guignol" when, after Malcolm kills Mina, both Malcolm and Vanessa are seen in traditional mourning clothing.
    • Yes, the acting in the Grand Guignol is rather hammy and over the top, but that was precisely how performances of this sort were staged back in the day. Apart from anything else, they needed to make sure the people sitting at the back of the theatre got their money's worth.
    • Vanessa's treatment in the asylum, while horrifying, is also completely accurate for how mental patients were treated in this period of history.
    • Several variants of Sembene's ritual scars appear in behind-the-scenes clips about the show's makeup effects, all of them culturally appropriate for a traditional Senegalese native of the era.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer:
    • The Creature was kept out of most of the early promotional material and trailers, so as to ensure it was all the more shocking when he finally makes his entrance. He only got his own poster and trailer once the third episode had aired.
    • And now the same thing has happened with Brona for season 2, presumably to keep her appearance a surprise, although she has shown up for a frame or two in the trailers.
  • Slasher Smile: Sir Malcolm's is pretty excellent, as it seems to be his only other expression during battle besides steely stoicism.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Especially when hundreds of them start pouring out from behind the crucifix on her wall, or thousands from her spread-out Tarot cards.
  • Spooky Seance: A major plot point in episode two. Initially, it seems that Madame Kali is going to use her potentially-genuine powers of mediumship to entertain the people at Mr. Lyle’s party, until Vanessa (along with Sir Malcolm and Dorian) are picked to sit at the table. Vanessa - or the demonic entity possessing Vanessa - don’t take kindly to the Egyptian goddess Kali calls up, and hijack the seance. Vanessa is also taken over by Peter Murray, who has a scathing condemnation of his father which involves his abandonment of him to go exploring in Africa, and his illicit sexual relationship with Vanessa's mother.
  • Staking the Loved One: What Van Helsing did to his beloved wife, Hannah.
    • Sir Malcolm shoots vampire-Mina when it becomes clear she's been willingly aiding the Master and will bite and infect Vanessa if he doesn't stop her.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The Creature, on Maude.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Vanessa does this to a full-fledged vampire in the first episode.
  • Starving Artist: Well, Starving Medical Assistant, and the Victorian version, but Victor Frankenstein’s got this in spades.
    Sir Malcolm: You have the soul of a poet, sir.
    Victor: And the bank account to match.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: Vanessa does this quite spectacularly in "Night Work" during the fight at the opium den, serene and focused while Ethan and Malcolm are battling for their lives against the vampires.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: The Creature, Victor’s first creation, has them. Notably, Proteus does not.
  • The Swarm: If you're seeing spiders, chances are whatever thing that is possessing Vanessa is near.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Proteus and Van Helsing are both killed suddenly by Caliban.
  • Sword Cane: Sir Malcolm carries one.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Despite the horrible things Caliban has done, Victor regrets abandoning him and goes through with the plan to make him a bride, even though Caliban himself now believes that such an effort is "futile."
  • Tall Tale: Ethan Chandler is the star of a traveling Wild West Show, so as expected, he spins some tall tales. He even gets called out on it. (His skill with a six-gun, however, is not exaggerated.)
    Vanessa Ives: You didn't tell the truth. By my reckoning, you were a boy when General Custer died and 'tis well known there were no survivors.
    Ethan Chandler: What we call a tall tale, darlin'.
    Vanessa: Exceedingly tall.
    Ethan: Vice of my nation. We're storytellers.
  • Tarot Motifs: Vanessa, as a fortuneteller, is adept at reading Tarot. Notably, the show subverts expectations twice in only the first episode - Vanessa lays the cards out in a traditional Celtic Cross pattern, not a 3-card, Past/Present/Future spread, and the card that Ethan draws is from the crown position (the guiding forces upon the situation), and it's The Lovers.
    • Vanessa does another reading in "What Death Can Join Together", presumably for herself. It is a 3-card Past/Present/Future, though we only see the first two cards. The Past card is the Five of Cups, near-total loss and grief, ignorance of important things one still has (alluding to the rift between the Murrays and Iveses, but that Mina is still alive). The Present card is The Moon, unknown forces working against the questioner, darkness and magic (alluding to Malcolm and the plague ship, Vanessa and whatever Dorian did to invoke the possession).
    • Victor turns over one of the cards in "Possession". It is, of course, the Death card - referring to Vanessa being near-death from the possession and the great, sweeping change that the entire ordeal will effect on everyone in the house.
    • The Cut-Wife teaches Vanessa how to read Tarot in "The Nightcomers", and Vanessa draws the Devil card. There is a point made that it's not simply evil, it's "the whisper of a dark lover, or something frightening inside yourself", a Call Back to Vanessa's ordeal with the possession and the asylum.
  • Title Drop:
    • In the second episode, a police inspector makes reference to "Newspapers and Penny Dreadfuls" sensationalizing the murders he's investigating.
    • Vincent tells Caliban that the play they're currently performing (a Sweeney Todd adaptation) comes from one.
    • One shows up in the sixth episode, Varney the Vampire, with Victor expressing shock that Van Helsing pays attention to penny dreadfuls.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Victor asks Ethan to teach him the use of firearms and, as a result, acquits himself quite well in the "Grand Guignol" fight sequence.
  • Transsexual: Angelique.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Vanessa received one during her stay in an asylum.
  • True Companions: Malcolm invokes this trope in the second episode. By the end of the first season, the main characters are clearly coming to think of one another as family.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: To avenge the Cut-Wife, Vanessa uses Black Magic to make Sir Geoffrey's own dogs turn upon and kill him.
  • Twice Told Tale: The twist about Frankenstein's first and second creations is clearly intended to mess with the expectations of audiences already familiar with the Frankenstein story.
  • Two First Names: Ethan Chandler and Malcolm Murray.
  • Unflinching Walk: Vanessa walks through a furious vampire fight without batting an eye.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Dorian Gray spends much of his introductory episode in a loose robe or incomplete formal wear. Brona may also fit this trope, at least in comparison to Vanessa.
  • The Unseen: Lyle's wife. She's also a Lady Drunk if Lyle is to be trusted.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Ethan seems to be the only one worried about the vampiric kid they're keeping chained up in Sir Malcolm's cellar and interrogating/experimenting upon/beating. Victor is looking at it from a scientific perspective, Malcolm admittedly wants vengeance and a cure for Mina, Sembene is a Noble Savage totally loyal to Malcolm, and Vanessa acknowledges to Ethan it's difficult, but they need their answers. It's implied that Ethan is a werewolf, and worried this could happen to him if the group found out.
  • Victorian London
  • Victorian Novel Disease:
    • Brona's consumption. One of the other characters lampshades this trope, pointing out, "Who doesn't love a lost cause?"
    • Frankenstein's mother died from the same thing.
  • Vomiting Cop: In the pilot, while the lead detective and the crime scene photographer hold a conversation at the scene of a mutilation killing, a constable is seen in the background puking into a wastebasket. You might be vomiting, too, if you were potentially faced with one of Jack the Ripper's murders.
  • Wall Bang Her: Ethan with a groupie; Dorian with Brona Croft; Sir Malcolm with Vanessa's mother and oral sex with Evelyn.
  • Weirdness Censor: Magical events occur on a regular basis in this version of London, yet most people continue to believe that there are perfectly mundane explanations for them. (Part of the trouble for the characters in Season 2 is that Inspector Rusk is a bit more open-minded.)
  • We Hardly Knew Ye:
    • Proteus.
    • Also Van Helsing.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Malcolm's son, Peter, was a sickly, bookish child rather than the tough, manly son his father wanted. He joined his father's expedition to Africa to prove himself and dies horribly of dysentery.
    • Victor has a case of this going on with both his own father (whom he disappointed, and it's implied his father preferred Victor's more athletic brothers) and Malcolm (whom he seems to regard as a second chance at not-disappointing a father).
  • Wham Episode: Every episode has an amazing moment or reveal that would, in any other series, be a Wham Episode. Here are the standouts.
    • "Seance", for the spectacular set-piece that is Vanessa Ives being possessed by four separate entities at Lyle's seance, and giving the world's most hellacious Calling the Old Man Out speech to Malcolm. Then, if that's not enough, Victor takes Proteus out for a day in the real world, they return home, only for Caliban to make his grand entrance, tear Proteus apart at his seams, and announce himself as Victor's firstborn.
    • "Grand Guignol". Malcolm shoots a vampiric Mina in the head rather than allow Vanessa to be harmed, Ethan is revealed to be a werewolf, and Victor euthanizes Brona and plans to turn her into Caliban's Bride.
    • "And Hell Itself My Only Foe". Vanessa goes to meet Evelyn alone and discovers the voodoo doll Evelyn made can talk. Victor hallucinates all three of his creations returning to him. Hecate aligns herself with Ethan and propositions him to be his most devoted follower. And during the invasion of Evelyn's castle, Ethan wolfs out and Sembene sacrifices himself to the werewolf so that the rest might survive.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Father mine, let me come with you..." ( Peter Murray possessing Vanessa, in "Seance")
    • "Your firstborn has returned, Father." (The Creature to Victor in "Seance")
    • "You have to name a thing to make it live, don't you?" ( The Demon, in the form of Malcolm to Vanessa in "Closer than Sisters")
    • "But I love you in a different way. I love you enough to kill you." (Vanessa to Mina in "Closer than Sisters")
    • "Course, I know that place pretty well. You might say it was where I was flung." ( The Demon, in the form of Ethan to Vanessa in "Possession")
    • "My monster. My beautiful corpse. How clever he's been, our creator ... but our little god has brought forth, not angels, but demons" ( Lily, revealing to the Creature that she knows exactly what they are, in "Memento Mori")]]
    • "Your children have returned, Father." ( Proteus, in Victor's hallucination in "And Hell Itself My Only Foe")
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the events of "Closer Than Sisters" tear the Murray and Ives families apart - Vanessa is institutionalized and then possessed, Claire dies of shock upon seeing her possessed daughter, Mina is held prisoner by Dracula, Peter dies in Africa, and Malcolm returns to London, not his country home - what happens to Gladys Murray and Mr. Ives?
    • We get an answer to the Gladys question in "Fresh Hell" - she's alive, has been separated from Malcolm since Peter's death, and has been living in their country home while Malcolm is in London. She coldly informs him in front of the graves of their children that this will not be changing anytime soon.
    • No word on what happened to Vincent, Maude, and the other theater people after the Grand Guignol was damaged by the big fight in the season 1 finale, likely putting them all out of work.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In "Demimonde", Ethan is quick to call out the others on torturing Fenton for information, and letting Frankenstein experiment on him in hopes of finding a cure for vampirism.
    • In "Possession", it's both Ethan and Victor who finally call out Malcolm on the dangerous extent he's gone to, manipulating Vanessa's demon in order to have a potential conduit to Mina.
    • In "Little Scorpion", Ethan gives Vanessa a pretty brutal one, on using black magic to murder Sir Geoffrey, out of revenge for what he did to the Cut-wife.
  • What You Are in the Dark: In "Possession", Malcolm nearly talks a dying and possessed Vanessa into contacting Mina, using her pain and suffering for his own personal gain. He's stopped by Ethan and Victor, but it's very clear it's only a matter of time until he tries again.
    • In "Grand Guignol", Victor takes a level in amorality when he murders the dying Brona and intends to use her body to create a Bride for his Creature. It might have been less sketchy if he used Brona's body after she died of natural causes, never mind that he lied to Ethan about it.
    • This is in general an important theme of the series, with its tag line being "there's something within us all."
  • Whole Episode Flashback:
    • "Closer Than Sisters" is dedicated entirely to Vanessa and Mina's backstory.
    • "The Nightcomers" deals with Vanessa's first encounter with the witch coven.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In "Little Scorpion", Vanessa tells Ethan she hates dolls. Guess what Evelyn uses to control her victims and what she's constructed of Vanessa?
  • The Wild West: In the first episode, Ethan is working as a sharpshooter in a traveling show that presents The Theme Park Version.
  • Willing Channeler: Madame Kali, for Amunet. Vanessa's case is more complex— sometimes she seems willing, at others not, and we don't know how many entities she may be channeling at a given time.
  • Wolf Man: As many fans guessed, Ethan's a werewolf.
  • Woman in White:
    • Mina, perhaps to heighten the weirdness of her scenes as a vampire.
    • Brona, after she's brought back as "Lily" by Frankenstein also frequently wears white.
  • World of Badass: With the possible exception of Brona, every main character is several times braver and tougher than your average person.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Hecate slaughters a family on a train so that Evelyn can use the baby in a ritual.
  • You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: When Sir Malcolm starts to succumb to possession in "Memento Mori", Sembene drops his servile mannerisms and calls him simply "Malcolm", because he's more concerned for his friend than for maintaining social proprieties.
  • You Monster!: Ethan is so furious with Malcolm's treatment of Vanessa in "Possession" that he threatens to kill him. Victor feels much the same way, asking Malcolm, "Have you not a shred of decency left?"
  • Your Cheating Heart: In "Closer than Sisters", it's revealed that Malcolm was cheating on his wife with Vanessa's mother, Claire, and Mina's fiancé sleeps with her friend Vanessa Ives.
  • You Have to Have Jews: Lyle reveals himself to be Jewish in Season 2, which is odd considering that he had very recently brandished a cross at a vampire while reciting some holy script. In 1891, Jews had only recently received all the rights of British citizens and started arriving in significant numbers.