What's Worth Watching: Penny Dreadful, Humans and Poldark for Sunday, July 5

Matt Roush
Jonathan Hession/Showtime

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives and Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler in Penny Dreadful (season 2, episode 7). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_207_0148

Penny Dreadful, "And They Were Enemies" (Sunday, July 5, 10/9c, Showtime)

A horror show that's poetic without being pretentious (take that, True Detective), as terrifying in its emotional gravity as in its bloodily graphic melodramatics, Penny Dreadful finishes out a splendid second season with a non-stop thrill ride. Center stage as usual is the embattled sorceress Vanessa (the brilliant Eva Green), who comes face to face with a Demon Doll—think Lucifer meets Chuckie—that looks deep into her soul and finds the series' universal theme: "a deep longing … to be loved simply for who you are. Is that not the engine of all human creatures, to be normal?"

Normalcy is a rare commodity in the Gothic nightmare-scape of Penny Dreadful, as Vanessa's colleagues, Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) and Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), are beset by ill-intentioned ghosts from their past, while Frankenstein's soulful Creature (the heartbreaking Rory Kinnear) is entrapped in his worst nightmare of a freak show. No victory in this series comes without a price, and as the season ends with new Big Bads established for the next year, many of the characters are left on solitary journeys into their separate hearts of darkness. Their reunion can't come quickly enough.

Also Tonight

Humans 9/8c, AMC

Laura begins to feel threatened by her family’s robot helper, Anita—and it’s not just because she makes a killer
noodle casserole.

Poldark 9/8c, PBS

Poldark and Demelza decide to add some truth to the rumors that they are lovers.