Another week, another episode of Pennyworth. As you can tell from the title of the episode, an extremely important person is about to enter Alfred’s life that just might change it forever. The show has been light on connections to the overall DCU but Martha Kane’s entrance into the fold is an indicator of things to come. Let’s dive in, shall we?
“You tell him… the country will rise in my name.”
We begin this week’s episode of Pennyworth at the Tower of London where Lord Harwood is still being held prisoner. In last week’s episode, the Prime Minister ordered Harwood to be delivered to a man named the Barber, and this is where we find the man: strapped to a chair with the Barber sharpening his knife, bloody and twitching. Inspector Aziz is there, thanking him for his cooperation. Harwood, rather pathetically, decides now is the time for threats and asks Aziz to deliver the Prime Minister a message; that he will kill him and that he will be the new ruler of England. Aziz casually dismisses this threat by walking out, revealing the PM standing outside, basking in an aura of cigar smoke. Just then, the Barber goes to work on Harwood’s face, his screams filling the halls of the dark prison.
“A woman’s love is indeed the engine of our great salvation.”
It’s time for another flashback featuring Alfred and his war buddies! Alfred, Dave Boy, and Bazza are sneaking through the jungle when they hear the hum of a jeep’s engine. They are apprehensive and ready for anything, only for them to hear the sound of an English commander barking orders at some poor sod. They smile and approach the noise.
With that, the flashback ends and Alfred is beckoned by a servant to enter this very posh-looking club area. There he shakes hands with a man and sits with him; we come to learn that this man is Esme’s father, who remains unnamed. Alfred is there to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage, and they seem to be getting along nicely until the man mentions Esme’s lurid childhood fantasies, those involving darkness and murder and girls saved by heroes. He tells Alfred that if Esme truly loves him, then she only loves him for the animal inside him and nothing else. The man caps off this wonderful display of manners and respect by claiming that a marriage between a woman of a high class background and a man raised by servants will result in a disaster, and that he will disinherit Esme if they were to be married. With this, Alfred thanks the man for his time and storms off.
“Lulu? There’s no one here called Lulu.”
The Sykes sister knock on an old woman’s door and ask for someone named Lulu. The woman has no idea what they’re on about, then a man appearing to be her husband appears behind her and the sister nod towards him. The woman gives her husband, Lulu, an incredibly disgraced look.
“How can we get married? It wouldn’t be right. Not without your father’s blessing.”
Alfred is sitting sullen at a bar when Esme walks in; this is presumably the club that he is employed at. They get into a bit of a spat in this scene. Alfred asks Esme why she hasn’t told him that she’s an heiress, to which she responds she is her own woman and never relied on her father. She couldn’t care less about her father disinheriting her since she doesn’t rely on him anymore. Alfred seems strangely defensive about this whole matter, asking Esme to quiet down when she begins insulting her father. Alfred seems to agree with her father; a marriage between them might not be the smartest decision. It seems to me that Alfred is trying to keep Esme as safe as possible and by doing so he ends up alienating her. She curses her father as well as Alfred, and slams the wedding ring on the bar.
“Not hatched yet, darling. You’ll get there.”
A man exits a car and enters a barn. He spots a man sleeping on a bed and walks over to this strange gizmo with an orange core. The sleeping man wakes up and identifies the recently-entered gentleman as Ian. The sleepy fella, Sam, puts some clothes on and wanders over to Ian. Ian says he picked up some biscuits and Sam questions this, saying he could have gone to the store instead as he didn’t want Ian to be seen by anyone. They talk and Ian’s gizmo begins beeping and printing out a narrow sheet of paper. He yells in excitement about how he found pi to the tenth decimal place. Before he can explain the significance of this discovery, the police arrive and bang on the barn’s doors.
“I like you already, Mr. Pennyworth.”
Alfred is at Syd’s pub, looking as sullen as he was in his last scene. Esme is obviously still on his mind. Syd approaches Alfred and mentions that a woman came by asking for him, but he didn’t get her name. Just then, a woman walks in and introduces herself as Martha Kane to Alfred. She requires Alfred’s services as a security consultant, specifically as a driver to transport a man wanted for homosexuality to an airport. This is presumably either Ian or Sam from the previous scene. Martha is offering a lot of money for this job and Alfred accepts.
“This is a class job, needs a touch of grace.”
Alfred, Dave Boy, and Bazza are sitting at Alfred’s club and are discussing the Martha Kane job. Dave Boy is clearly drunk and volunteers for the job, saying that he needs the money more than Alfred does. Alfred turns him down and insists that he’ll be doing it. With that, Esme approaches the table and informs the group that her play is moving to a theatre called the Marlowe for a proper run, so she won’t be working at the club anymore. Alfred is happy for her and stops her as she walks away, only to wish her luck. Esme clearly expected a different reaction to her news and quickly walks away.
“They carry briefcases and act like assholes. I think I can pull that off.”
Alfred picks up Martha at the allotted time, and they drive off to where she needs to go. A flashback then begins, this time from the perspective of Dave Boy. He looks at the fatal wound of the soldier Alfred is carrying and wakes up in the club with a coughing fit. Bazza and some men are playing poker and Dave Boy drunkenly interrupts them. Bazza is clearly embarrassed by him as he sheds his stinking clothes off and lumbers off in his underwear to freshen up.
Alfred and Martha arrive at their destination, the police station. The man Martha is trying to save has already been arrested, so Martha’s plan is to walk in there and pretend to be the accused’s lawyer. She manages to intimidate the constable to release Ian, and eventually Sam when Ian refused to leave. They all make their way to Ian’s barn where he kept his giant gizmo, which Martha reveals to Alfred is something called a “computer” and is the future, apparently. Personally, I don’t see anything in it and think it’s a waste of time. It’s better if they just abandoned the project. Honestly.
“A gunman are you, eh?”
Dave Boy continues his drunken harassment of Bazza and his poker mates. He enters a rage and annoys one of the men enough for him to pull a gun on Dave Boy. He calls the man’s bluff, this man Phil, and takes the gun away from him. Phil is embarrassed and sits back down; Dave Boy tosses his gun back at him, which he accidentally discharges into his head. He hits the table with a hole in his head. Dave Boy apologises to a furious Bazza.
“Those are evil people. They can’t have him.”
Alfred and the gang pull up into an abandoned American air force base. Alfred has had enough with the secrecy and demands to know who Martha is working for, and she reveals she works for the No-Name League. The Prime Minister revealed the existence of this organisation back in the first episode as a group of socialists who want to overthrow the government. Their plan is about to land, but not before the Raven Society destroys the generators and disabling the runway, forcing the plane to fly away. Martha insists that the Ravens cannot have Ian and his computer since the work is too important. Alfred heads out of the base to have a word with them.
“I don’t want to die. I’m just trying to pass the time.”
Bazza and Dave Boy are still at the club, staring at Phil’s dead body. Bazza starts yelling at him, saying that he has a drinking problem and that he needs help. Frustratingly, Dave Boy isn’t taking him seriously. Two friends of Bazza’s enter the room and take Phil’s body away. Bazza grabs Dave Boy by the collar and viciously implores him to die quickly so he doesn’t have to watch, and leaves. Dave Boy looks terrible and sad, rapidly contemplating his choices, which is when Bazza reenters and offers him help to leave.
“I’m coming with you.”
Alfred manages to pull a ruse and trick the Ravens into leaving them alone, although he tells Martha that they’ll be waiting up the road to ambush them. He’s got a plan, though: he pierces a hole in a nearby truck’s gas tank and drives around the runway, creating a path for the plane when Martha lights up the gas trail. Ian’s strange “computer” device is loaded onto the plane and Ian and Sam share a silent goodbye. Eventually, Sam can’t bring himself to see Ian go and boards the plane with him.
Back at Martha’s place, she hands Alfred his money and offers a more permanent position with her, to continue driving her around. He isn’t a fan of the people she works for but he accepts anyway because the money’s great. Alfred informs Dave Boy and Bazza of his new arrangement with Martha, with the bad news being that she works for the No-Name League. Bazza is slightly disheartened but it seems the money draws him in.
“We’ve fed ’em enough already, fat bastards.”
The Sykes sisters are sitting at home, eating breakfast with a male sub under the table and an old woman in her underwear washing some dishes. Bet has had enough of living in the shadows and wants to pay Esme a visit, as she genuinely believes they had a romantic connection. She’s clearly insane, but her sister Peggy manages to calm her down and insist that she come home with her.
“That’s her, boys.”
In a continuation of the episode’s first flashback, Alfred and his buddies have found an English encampment. The commander is a nervous wreck and is clearly having the time of his life giving this faux-inspirational speech, which is interrupted by Alfred and his friends. Alfred cracks a joke and has the entire group of soldiers laughing, greatly embarrassing the commander.
“I’m sorry, dad.”
Alfred makes his way home to his mum and dad, and his dad really hasn’t changed. They’re both happy for Alfred but for some reason his dad decides to bring Esme up and question if Alfred is trying to make himself better for her. They get into a bit of an argument which ventures into domestic abuse territory. Alfred sees that his mum is getting upset so he calms her down and apologises to his father. I wonder why Alfred hasn’t moved out now that he’s a more well-off?
“You had the courage to go your own way and trust yourself. I didn’t.”
Alfred finds Esme and asks her to take a bus ride with him. He takes her to this fancy looking apartment and says that he rented it, and paid for the first two years upfront. Esme says that they aren’t a couple anymore, that in essence he left her because he didn’t go after her when Esme gave his ring back. Which is a load of nonsense, but I digress. He wants to move in with her and become her fiancé again. We don’t get an answer from her but based on her smile, I’d bet things are looking good for Alfred again.
In the final scene of the episode, a van stops on an empty road. Two men exit the van and pull out a man from the back, throwing him onto the street. It’s Lord Harwood, beaten and shirtless and without a nose as a result of the Barber’s handiwork. He drags himself up, ending the episode.
This was another pretty good episode. Alfred is slowly building his company up and three episodes in, he’s made a lot of progress. He’s back together with Esme too, which is great because I like the two of them together.
Catch me here next week for my recap of the fourth episode of the series, “Lady Penelope.”