Pennyworth So Far
Name is Pennyworth, Alfred Pennyworth, and he finds himself surrounded by trouble. Money, as well as the very life he has built for himself, has been weighing on Alfred Pennyworth as the Ravens close in. Truth of the matter is that Alfred doesn’t know the half of it as the Ravens now have chemical weapons. Unknown to the Raven Society, however, is that new recruit Bet Sykes has had a crisis of conscience and helped a seemingly innocent prisoner escape from custody.
The balance in Alfred’s life is off before this episode even starts. His victory in the last episode seems like a faded memory in the face of this episode’s obstacles. Loose ends like Salt just get deadlier, and allies like Thomas Wayne inadvertently set up dominoes that could topple all the characters. The conflict only gets more dire when you add the connections these are building up with each other and new characters, like Alfred’s singer girlfriend and Bet Sykes helping the prisoner.
The English League is the biggest blind spot in Alfred Pennyworth’s life. The season starts off amicably between the League and Thomas’ bosses. The season takes a turn for the League when Thomas finds himself ordered to sabotage them. Skipping ahead a bit, we meet Thomas in Alfred’s nightclub hiring an assassin different from the ones he deals with usually. A killer of character instead of a traditional mercenary; you can feel Thomas’ disdain for this Faustian bargain.
Thomas Wayne’s (Ben Aldridge) ambiguous loyalty stems from him still not knowing who shot him last season. London, and the characters he has met there, have changed him, especially when it comes to Martha Kane who we know will become pregnant with the future Dark Knight of Gotham City depending on how faithful they are to the comics. His motive may remain a mystery, but we know he cares for Martha. Season 2 has already done a lot to show what is going on inside Batman’s future father’s head.
It will be interesting to see how what Thomas sets in motion affects that, especially since he has compromised one of the heads of The English League when they are already at their weakest point. Identity and loyalty are not themes isolated only to Thomas’ storyline as Alfred is questioning his situation now. Effectively, Alfred is the cause of the loss of his parents now that his mother blames him for his father’s death.
The adult-oriented tone of this show allows the characters to have definitive conversations about the baggage they carry about. The care the actors put into these characters helps move this show above many of the modern superhero shows on air. This show is one that I can recommend to my dad. The highlight in the cast, especially in this episode, is Paloma Faith’s Bet Sykes as a Raven.
That she is able to get viewers to empathize with a Raven Society member is something worth applauding. This series may get attention for starring Batman’s future father figure, but it’s Bet that draws me in especially now that she’s a wildcard. The mistakes of her past are coming back to haunt her now that she’s helping one of the Raven’s prisoners escape.
Given the fires being set around him, his issues with mom will have to wait. The première set up this new deranged world that this episode is having fun with causing all sorts of mischief. The wait for next week’s two episode showing will be arduous after all the chaos that characters sowed this episode, intentionally or otherwise.
Alfred’s buddies on the England League are in for a rude awakening now that one of their heads finds themselves compromised by Thomas’ machinations. Associates like Martha Wayne are all having trouble adjusting to the new world order, which is going to bite them in the ass sooner than later it seems.
Episodes of Pennyworth drop on Sundays, on EPIX
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