Last night saw Showtime’s so-called “psychosexual horror drama” Penny Dreadful concluding its third season with a shocking demise, but much moreso than one of the central characters. It seems Showtime has officially decided to end Penny Dreadful at Season 3, to which creator John Logan addresses fans and explains the reasoning behind Penny Dreadful‘s end.

You’re warned of full spoilers through the third season (and now series) finale of Penny Dreadful, but where many Sunday series have reveled in killing off major characters and stringing fans along for their salvation, Eva Green’s Vanessa Ives was never meant to return. As John Logan and Showtime boss David Nevins told The Hollywood Reporter, Logan realized in Season 2 the series would naturally end with Vanessa’s death, which itself would arrive with the climax of Season 3:

Logan: It was midway through season two, about two years ago when I was envisioning season three. I knew at end of season two that Vanessa Ives steps away from God and burns the crucifix and she’s left completely alone without the one thing that sustained her and the one source of strength she truly has — which is her faith. Since the show for me has always been about a woman grappling with God and faith, I thought the idea of her scratching her way back to God and finally achieving some some of apotheosis was the appropriate ending. As the season began to dance about in my head, I realized where it would it was going to have to go and have to end. I thought that was the right end and the graceful end for the character. I discussed it with Eva and then talked to David about where I felt the season was going.

Nevins: I spent a short amount of time trying to say, “Are you sure you want to do it? There’s all these other wonderful characters.” It became clear John was right and it needed Vanessa or it wasn’t smart to continue the show beyond Vanessa. I fairly quickly said yes. And then the question was how do we handle that information and position it? The traditional thing to do was announce this is the last season. It felt like that would give away the surprise and part of the pleasure of watching TV now is experiencing it for yourself and the emotions in an unspoiled, unmediated sort of way. The episode begins with not the usual main title and that signals something different is going on here and it ends with “The end.”

You can also check out Logan’s personal message to fans in the video above, but was Penny Dreadful right to end its story after three seasons? What might a fourth have looked like, even without Eva Green?

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