Werewolf Western…? Vampire Western? Witch Western? In Season 3 of HBO’s Penny Dreadful, the action follows wolfman Ethan (Josh Hartnett) home to the States and across the New Mexico territory. Ethan’s background has been teased before but until now has remained a mystery. Currently, he is a prisoner of Scotland Yard Inspector Rusk, on a train speeding through the desert of the American West, while stone-faced bandits sit conspicuously around them.
Hoping to rescue him, Sir Malcolm Murray and the Native American Kaetenay are hot on Ethan’s trail, with Timothy Dalton still doing his best to portray Murray as Richard Francis Burton, and Wes Studi doing his usual awesome job as the enigmatic Indian. Kaetenay and Ethan have a violent history together, soon to be revealed.
The witch Hecate has also followed Ethan to the New Mexico Territory. After an attempt to soften him up (“I didn’t chose the master I serve”), she is rebuffed. But soon Ethan reluctantly joins forces with Hecate to survive the harsh wasteland of the New Mexico desert. “Let me tell you about life out here. There is no mercy…anywhere,” he tells her. The pairing is soon to have deadly consequences. The two have a shaky reunion with Murray and Kaetenay, and all involved end up at the ranch of Ethan’s father Jared Talbot, where all hell breaks loose.
Shot in Almeria, Spain (home to several Sergio Leone, and many other, Spaghetti Westerns), these episodes do a great job of marrying the gothic horror and western genres, and the Gothic Western viewer is sorry to see them head back to London as the storyline ends. Penny Dreadful Season 3 is streaming on most platforms, or you can grab the DVD box set HERE.