Penny Dreadful (2014–2016)
3 user 24 critic

Closer Than Sisters 

Vanessa recalls her past and the events that ultimately lead to Mina's disappearance.


Coky Giedroyc


John Logan (creator), John Logan




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Reeve Carney ... Dorian Gray (credit only)
Timothy Dalton ... Sir Malcolm Murray
Eva Green ... Vanessa Ives
Rory Kinnear ... The Creature (credit only)
Billie Piper ... Brona Croft (credit only)
Danny Sapani ... Sembene
Harry Treadaway ... Dr. Victor Frankenstein (credit only)
Josh Hartnett ... Ethan Chandler (credit only)
Anna Chancellor ... Claire Ives
Olivia Llewellyn ... Mina Harker
Graham Butler Graham Butler ... Peter Murray
Frank McCusker ... Dr. Christopher Banning
Lili Davies Lili Davies ... Young Vanessa
Fern Deacon ... Young Mina
Noni Stapleton Noni Stapleton ... Gladys Murray


Vanessa recalls her close friendship with Mina Harker. She remembers when Sir Malcolm returned from one of his many trips to Africa and regaled them with tales of cannibals and the like. One night after dinner while playing in the maze Vanessa saw her mother and Sir Malcolm making love. It was a changing point in her life. On the night before Mina's marriage to Captain Branson, she seduces him leading to a canceled wedding and the end of their friendship when Mina catches them in the act. Vanessa undergoes a lengthy period of madness and a horrific period in an insane asylum. An encounter with her enemy leads to the death of her mother and a visit from Mina - who desperately needs her help. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy | Horror


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Did You Know?


This is the first time we flashback to Vanessa's time in the Banning Clinic. It is later revisited in the season three episode "A Blade of Grass." See more »


At dinner, Mr. Murray and his wife are sitting at opposite ends of the table. In proper etiquette of the time, he and his wife, as hosts, should be sitting in the center of the table, with the other guests gathered around them. See more »


[first lines]
Vanessa Ives: [Vanessa Ives writes her letter to Mina, narrating] My dearest Mina, my darling friend. I began these letters when I recovered from my illness. At first, I composed them perhaps every month. Then weekly and now daily. Soon I will no doubt give up all other occupation and simply write. The ending of one letter becoming and beginning with the next, an endless ribbon of words. I write in hope that one day you will answer me and that everything can again be like it was... Though I know ...
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Written by Abel Korzeniowski
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User Reviews

Brilliant display of acting, storytelling and overall direction; best episode of the season.
27 June 2014 | by arthurjf1211See all my reviews

This episode was truly something else. I was enjoying "Penny Dreadful" very much even before watching this, and even thought "Seance" would stand as the season-high episode, but "Closer Than Sisters" takes it to a whole new level.

It's not easy to make a "flashback" episode, so choosing this to be one — more than that, to focus solely on a single character's past for it's entirety — was a bold move but that ultimately paid off.

If the screenplay was great, focusing on Vanessa and her complex personality and conflicts, I must say that a great part of this episode's success must be thanks to Eva Green's absolutely stunning performance. Giving life and depth to the character, she went through the most horrific, outright cruel and brutal moments (wich I won't spoil here for you) to the most tender and sad scenes. Everything was so raw, so natural that it seems she LIVED through those moments. This is an Emmy worth achievement and I'll be baffled if she isn't at least nominated.

The art direction on this episode also deserves mention. "Penny Dreadful" looks gorgeous and we all know it by now, but the landscapes, the long, haunting corridors and mansions and a particularly eerie maze... everything, the costumes, the atmosphere of dread, even when the characters were just talking — the feeling that something wrong was about to happen was palpable.

"Closer Than Sisters" reaches out for too much at some points, but it never seems gratuitous as everything is realized with such passion and commitment. To dive into Vanessa's back-story was a great move, as it fuels the season to new expectations and shines a light into the story. This is the best episode of the season for me and overall one of TV's best this season.

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Release Date:

8 June 2014 (USA) See more »

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