As a horror fan, it was impossible for me not to love Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, the first season of which came to a hairy close on Sunday night. To love it as a television critic is shades more difficult, as this eight-episode season’s pacing was sometimes plodding and scenes were not always in service of the storyline. The finale was a perfect marriage of Penny Dreadful’s peaks and faults, and thankfully the majority of the parts I didn’t enjoy as much will seemingly pay off in a big way for Season 2. So, spoiler alert, here are five ways that Season 2 can improve to become an even better series when it returns next year. Maybe you’ll get your portrait on the wall when we’re done.

Give Sir Malcolm a Better Quest
Everything we know about Sir Malcolm Murray is that he wants his daughter Mina back. While he doesn’t come off as a selfish guy, everything he does is to further his own agenda, and he’s made it very clear on many different occasions that everything is worth sparing where getting Mina back is concerned. Anyone with their frontal lobes connected knew that her fate was going to be sided with the vampiric community. And so when she finally appeared near the end of this episode and threatened Vanessa’s life, something that Malcolm should have only the slightest problem with, he goes and kills her with nary a hesitant twitch.

And so…what? Many of Penny Dreadful’s most enjoyable scenes featured the growing bond between Malcolm and Vanessa, so it wasn’t really surprising that he chose to save her in some way. But it kind of makes the “Hunt for Mina” a MacGuffin, as the reunion was rushed and didn’t resonate afterward. Season 2 needs to give him a stickier plotline to adhere to. After all, he no longer needs to exploit Vanessa’s sixth sense communication skills. Or does he? Speaking of those skills…

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