After reading the original movie script, I was struck by the original plan for the final scene, and I thought it was a pity it was cut from the finished movie. I wrote this to try and get the script version down in story form, as it's amazing the way they were going to film it. I know I use far too many impersonal pronouns ("he" and "she") but it fitted with the style I was going for. It did make writing the bit between Sweeney and Toby more difficult, but we must all suffer.
At the moment, rather than posting fanfics, I'm supposed to be working on things of a Higher Purpose – i.e. my maths GCSE retake at the beginning of next month. But who wants to simplify square roots in Surd form when there are fanfics to be written?!
According to my spellchecker, "immoralised" isn't a word, but making up words was good enough for Shakespeare, so sod you, spellchecker.
Disclaimer: Sweeney Todd & Co belong to whoever wrote The String of Pearls, and this version of the final scene belongs to John Logan – I only channelled it. The movie belongs to Dreamworks/Tim Burton/Aristotle/whoever.
She knows his words are a lie. He never, ever loved her, and he certainly won't now, not after everything that happened, but she can pretend that isn't true.
Whatever he means, he's telling her that he loves her, and if she gives in to the illusion she can have her shattered dream, for a few moments at least.
She steps into his arms. He holds her tight as they whirl round the bakehouse. Sweeney Todd and Eleanor Lovett – she can make-believe in this instant that it's all a mistake, that he loves her, that he always did. It's not true, but at least she gets her final waltz. As he sings to her the words she's always wanted to hear, she babbles out everything, wanting to get it all out.
"By the sea, Mr Todd, we'll be comfy-cosy. By the sea, Mr Todd, where there's no one nosy—"
He repeats her words to him, that she told him that day when happiness was within her grasp, and he would have been hers if it wasn't for that wretched sailor boy. Life is for the alive. But in a few minutes neither of them – for she can't imagine her barber surviving the night – will be alive, and life won't be for them. Not any more.
The roar of the oven is getting louder, and the heat increasing. She realises that this – drowning in flame – is where she's always been headed, every moment of her life. Every day was one more step to this, dancing through Hell with the only man she'd ever loved.
It's here. She won't resist. She won't ruin this by pulling away, even though tears are stinging her eyes as she understands that whatever she did, and however she'd tried to escape this, it had always been after her.
He hurls her into Hell, into her coffin – if it can be called a coffin, for there won't be anything left of her but ashes – and she screams. She knew it was coming, but the pain is tearing through her into her very soul. She bangs hopelessly on the doors, a weak hope in her that he'll let her out.
And so Eleanor Lovett dies.
There's too much noise. It's more than he can bear – Lovett's screams, her gradually weakening arms hammering on the doors, the music that will never, ever go away – but, after what seems like his whole life, they stop. He's alone with Lucy now.
Her head is in his arms. Her fair beauty is ruined now – her face is filthy and covered with sores, and her hair is tangled in a grubby mat. Like him, she was ruined over the long years. Time dragged its merciless fingers down their once beautiful faces.
They're hideous now, and mad from what happened to them.
What was the song he sang to the sailor boy, to explain what had happened so long ago?
"There was a barber and his wife…. and she was beautiful… A foolish barber and his wife… She was his reason and his life… And she was beautiful… And she was virtuous… And he was…"
He can't say the final word. There's only misery pouring out of his mouth now, and his sobs are the only thing he can hear, until a movement catches his eye.
He sees Toby standing before him. The boy was hiding in the sewers, but Toby has seen everything – Mrs Lovett's death, the dance from Hell – everything.
What does the boy think? he wonders. That is easy… Toby already hated him.
The boy pulls himself up from the floor, and Sweeney stares at Pirelli's one-time assistant as he himself gently sets Lucy down on the floor, and stares for a long moment at Toby. The child has a large razor in his hands – he intends to kill the man who murdered so many people, including Mrs Lovett, and Sweeney won't resist – he just unbuttons his collar and tips his head back, waiting for the blow to dispatch him to where he has already sent so many others.
The razor slices across his throat, the sharp pain coming far too late after Todd feels the cold bite of his silver sword.
He hears a sigh of air escaping from his windpipe – Toby severed it when he cut Sweeney's throat, and now Sweeney's head falls forward, staring at the floor, and his dead wife.
The blood appears at the bottom of his vision, but there's so much, and it takes over his sight, until all he can see is a pool of his own blood, with the furious glow of the huge industrial oven reflected in it.
There's a face in the blood. It belongs to an aristocratic man, a dandy, a real gentleman. This man sings – yes, sings to Sweeney as he dies.
"Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd. His skin was pale and his eye was odd."
Someone else, that he can't see, carries on this.
"He shaved the faces of gentlemen, who never thereafter were heard of again."
More people are emerging from the darkness that cloaks the bakehouse – or is it a special place in Hell? He can't remember now. He just knows that these ghosts who are telling him of what has happened since he arrived in London are the people he killed. They've followed him down, down, down…
It's Lucy now – Lucy the Beggar Woman, singing to him. You should be dead, he wants to tell her, but shouldn't they all?
"He kept a shop in London town, of fancy clients and good renown."
Good renown? He supposes so. The Beadle had seemed impressed, that day at the market when he'd beaten the foppish fake Italian. But he rather suspects that everyone – absolutely everyone – that he murdered is going to sing to him of what he did as he dies, and he's right. The next voice is one he'd hoped never to hear again.
"And what if none of their souls were saved? They went to their maker impeccably shaved."
That's right, my lord, he thinks viciously, as his sight fades and his body grows weaker. Your soul could never be saved… and neither can mine.
Pirelli – the first – and the Beadle – whose brains had spilled on the floor when he'd died – have joined this parade of ghosts, and they too have come to lend their voices to it. "Swing your razor wide, Sweeney! Hold it to the skies! Freely flows the blood of those who moralize!"
Freely flows the blood of anyone, morals or not. The Pope – who has apparently been shaved by that fake, Pirelli? He doesn't think so – could have died just as easily as the spawn of a maggot – Turpin? – if he'd wandered into Sweeney's shop.
He can't see them any more, but he can hear them, moving through the bakehouse, talking about him as if he isn't here. He can see their shadows, illuminated by the fiery glow, warped and long against the wall, reflected in his blood.
"The more he bleeds, the more he lives. He never forgets and never forgives."
Strange, then, that on this night where he'd killed at least four – and one of these murders turned out to be the greatest mistake of his life – he dies. He supposes that his life can have only been so long, a thin bloodstained thread that has now frayed, and broke.
There's too many words for him to make out properly. Too much pain, too, but he catches snatches of what they're saying – singing?
"No one can help, nothing can hide you – isn't that Sweeney there beside you?"
No, not any more. Don't they understand that he's dying? What's the point in warning people who can't hear them of a dead man?
"Sweeney wishes the world away, Sweeney's weeping for yesterday, is Sweeney! There he is, it's Sweeney! Sweeney! Sweeney!"
The music's getting louder, as it always did. For once, it's not from him, but from them – the ghosts.
"There! There! There! There! There! There! There!"
He's here. He's waiting.
He's standing opposite Mrs Lovett. He's facing her as she was just before her death – neither of them are dead yet. The ghosts strike up yet another chorus of voices, but this time it's a prelude for Mrs Lovett and him.
"Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd! He served a dark and a hungry god!" His god demanded sacrifices, and he'd thought he'd made enough, but it had never been enough. Here he stands, to say what he has to say to her.
"To seek revenge may lead to Hell," he tells her sharply.
She's just as cold with him, and she has an answer, the answer that should been his. "But everyone does it, if seldom as well—"
"—as Sweeney…" they say together, and it's true, he knows. How many people massacre over fifty people to satisfy their thirst for revenge? He doubts there will ever be anyone quite like him, and maybe there shouldn't.
The ghosts surrounding them finish their song. "As Sweeney Todd… The demon barber of Fleet…" They're moving away, disappearing into the shadows where they were hiding before – because they were here all the time, he knows. "… Street!" Their final word.
He's still standing opposite her, but she just gives him a grim smile, so slight he almost misses it, and disappears into the darkness with the rest of them.
He's utterly alone now, standing in his tomb.
There are pictures in his vision – he can see flashes of his life passing.
A ship – an alleyway – a shop – a broken doll—
He's smiling – standing, silent – yelling – slashing at air – striding urgently down a cobbled street—
The music reaches a dreadful crash, and the last thing he sees is himself, kneeling in a pool of blood that's taking over the filthy floor.
His legs betray him, and he falls down into the position he saw himself in.
The ghosts were always behind him, beside him, one step in front of him. He didn't see them until just then, but they were always there, their cold breath passing down his neck, standing there motionless. They've been chasing him for years. His companions on the burning path to here – in the centre of Hell, slumped over his wife, in his own blood.