This week’s episode of Pennyworth is a bit of a wild one, and I had a blast watching it. Alfred continues his hunt for Esme’s killer while Thomas is dealing with a bit of a moral conundrum. Let’s dive in.
“My name is James Harwood.”
The Sykes and Harwood are sitting at home and watching the news reporting the surge of riots and chaos following the death of Julian Thwaite, the leader of the No Name League who was killed by Alfred in last week’s episode. His wife, Undine, ordered his death through her lover John Ripper who recruited Alfred with the promise of revealing who killed his fiancé Esme. The Prime Minister appears on the telly and this joggles Harwood’s memory, which has been in tatters since Bet Sykes found him. With a little encouragement from Bet, he remembers that the Prime Minister tortured him and ruined his life. He slowly recalls his name and his title, and says that the Prime Minister needs to die for what he did to him.
“You ask a lot of questions, Mr. Wayne. Are you sure you want the answers?”
At Sid’s pub, Sid rants to Alfred and a still wounded Davey Boy about the state of England and the riots and assassinations that are taking place. Just then, Thomas Wayne walks in and approaches Davey Boy. He has been trying to find the man for two days, and he asks him what went wrong with the mission he assigned him, which was to kill Frances Gaunt. Davey Boy laments that it was just one of those things, and he apologises for cocking things up. Thomas mentions that there was a mystery man who killed Thwaite and saved Davey Boy, but he had a mask on so Davey Boy didn’t recognise him. This is a lie, of course, as Alfred was there and removed his mask to reveal his identity. Thomas has been ignoring Alfred this entire time, but now chooses to involve him in the conversation. He has a theory that since he and John Ripper have been close as of late, Ripper asked Alfred to kill Thwaite. Thomas hasn’t put all the pieces together yet but he’s pretty spot-on with his theory, though he hasn’t considered the death of Esme as a source of motivation for Alfred. After some veiled threats against each other, Thomas makes his exit.
Sandra, Sid’s daughter, approaches the two and asks them if they need anything. She and Alfred hooked up in the last episode and since Alfred was in deep thought and not acknowledging her, she took it as a slight against her and calls him a bastard under her breath. Davey Boy questions this and Alfred realises what he did.
“Serenity is the best revenge.”
Alfred enters John Ripper’s morgue, and spots him cooking some food in an oven where I must assume corpses are cremated, which is hilarious. He reminds Ripper that he did the job that was requested of him, and he wants to know the name of Esme’s killer. Ripper tells him to go see Baroness Ortsey at the Bethlehem Royal Hospital, who has the answers he seeks.
“You’re a fortune teller, aren’t you?”
Alfred arrives at the hospital and speaks to the receptionist who dons possibly the most ridiculous hat this humble writer has ever seen. Alfred asks to speak to Ortsey but is told to fill out an application with a response to arrive in the post; he says he was sent by John Ripper and is immediately escorted to Ortsey, who is enclosed in a nicely furnished glass cell, with a fluffy cat as a companion. Ortsey tells Alfred that she’s a witch, and Alfred expresses a lot of doubt and cynicism at this point. It’s hard to blame him through, this Ortsey is a strange fellow. Alfred is nearly out of the room when Ortsey asks about “the other woman.” This stops Alfred dead in his tracks. The other woman is Martha Kane, who Alfred had drinks with and kissed on the night Esme was murdered. He asks Ortsey to go on but she denies to help him further because he doesn’t really believe in her. She then tells him that if Alfred brings her a red rose and the left hand of a murderer during a full moon, then she’ll tell him everything he needs to know. He blows up at her and leaves, but she says to herself that he will be back.
“If she refuses, she has to go.”
Thomas is at the American embassy, talking to the CIA chief that he met with in the last episode. He wants an explanation for the botched assassination of Gaunt, and Thomas confronts him with information that he thinks he should have had before making the kill. Thomas theorises, and has been doing a lot of that so far, that Undine had her husband Julian killed and that the American government had a hand in this. The chief confirms this, that the Americans have someone close to Undine. Thomas says that it’s John Ripper, but the chief cannot confirm or deny that claim. The chief says that American congressional elections are coming up and the government needs six months of peace in Europe, for whatever reason. I fail to see how a truce between the Raven Society and the No Name League would result in peace over the ENTIRE continent of Europe for six months, but that’s the plan nonetheless. The chief tells Thomas that within the next few days, Undine Thwaite will organise another meeting with Gaunt and offer a truce. If the truce works out then no more bled with be shed, but if Gaunt declines then Thomas will have to kill her personally.
“I’m an undertaker. Nobody I meet is happy.”
Alfred confronts and accuses Ripper of having tricked him. He goes on about how he doesn’t believe in witches and Ripper calmly implores Alfred to give Ortsey a chance. Alfred expresses disappointment in Ripper since he believes he has been tricked, in that Ripper had him kill Julian Thwaite only to have to deal with a crazy woman believing that she’s a witch. Ripper walks away, leaving Alfred alone.
“I’m sorry I’ve been such a burden since… since Esme died.”
At the Pennyworth residence, Alfred is having dinner with his parents. They’re glad he’s finally out and about, but they notice he’s been angry. They say they don’t blame him, considering he’s been through hell recently. They do point out that they aren’t entirely happy with the company he’s been keeping, referring to John Ripper. Mr. Pennyworth claims that he’s a bad influence, but Alfred assures them that he’s perfectly aware of what Ripper is and that he’s done with his “dark shit.” His father reminds him that he has family that is looking after him, and he grabs Alfred’s hand. This is a pretty big moment; his father has been hesitant to show affection and always puts Alfred down because he has high expectations of him, but this moment between father and son was genuine and heartfelt. Alfred apologises for acting the way he has been and promises to put the past behind him and get his job started again.
“Do you like parties, Martha?”
Thomas is at home and receives a phone call. He answers that he is on the way, loads a gun, and burns a piece of paper that I assume is confidential. Just then, a series of loud and violent knocks burst at his door and he looks through the peephole, discovering that it’s his sister Patricia. You may remember her from the first episode, and she was the catalyst for the first meeting between Alfred and Thomas. She’s drunk, as she was in her first appearance, and quickly badgers Thomas for some money. He doesn’t want to give it to her since he thinks she’ll spend it on drugs. He’s late for a meeting, presumably the one where he’ll determine if he should kill Frances Gaunt or not. He takes her to Martha Kane’s house.
He asks Martha if he can keep Patricia there for a few hours while he attends to his business. She hesitantly agrees and the two of them concoct a story of them having been in a relationship previously, and that Martha dumped him. Once Thomas leaves, she and Patricia get to talking and they seem to like each other. Patricia rummages through her bag and finds a party invitation, and asks Martha if she’s interested.
“You’re worse than my fucking brother. Live a little.”
Martha and Patricia enter the party, all dressed up. Martha expresses some doubt when Patricia tells her that the person throwing the party is a Satanist, but she convinces Martha that everything is fine. They meet the man throwing the party, Aleistar Crowley, who tries to kiss Martha but is denied. He takes an instant liking to her. Patricia wants to go and mingle, leaving Martha alone.
“Are you clear on what’s to be done?”
Thomas and Undine, accompanied by security, arrive at the meeting point. She asks him if he’s up to the task of killing Gaunt, to which he affirms.
Back at the party, Patricia is dancing with someone while Crowley approaches Martha and asks her why she isn’t dancing. It’s not her thing, she says, and Crowley tells her of the way of the Satanist and how he believes in love. She thinks he’s putting up the Satanist act to try and seduce women, but Crowley throws that accusation back at her and claims it’s actually Martha trying to seduce him. He leaves Martha after telling her that he likes broken women and how they’re a weakness of his, that it’s easy to make them feel whole before breaking them again. Dude’s a creep, for sure. Martha clearly lets this affect her judging by her expression.
“The country is descending into barbarous, bloody depravity.”
Undine and Thomas meet with Gaunt, accompanied by her own security. Gaunt expresses genuine sympathy for the loss of her husband, and assures her that the Raven Society had nothing to do with his death. Undine thanks her for her words and says she doesn’t believe her, but accepts her apology. Gaunt asks Undine if she is extending a truce, to which Undine confirms. Undine wants the world to see what can happen when two women come and work together. Gaunt says she wants Undine to order her thugs off the streets, and she will do the same in return. They will release a brief joint statement to the media before working out the particulars of the deal later. Undine accepts and asks to hug Gaunt, which she allows. Thomas is satisfied he won’t have to kill the woman.
Martha is in the bathroom cooling off when Patricia walks in, wearing a toga-like outfit. Martha notices that she has been crying and decides they need to leave. As Martha drags Patricia through the party, Crowley notices their departure. Martha opens the exit door only to find that they have somehow circled back to the party, but this time an orgy is underway. Men in pig masks and weird ladies surround her. All of a sudden, Patricia has vanished. She spots Crowley and in a fit of anxiety leaves the party. She heads to the exit door once again and finds herself back at the party, with everyone inside staring at her. She slowly walks through the room and finds herself staring at a giant man wearing a goat’s head with six eyes, which blink.
“How’d she do that?”
Alfred’s back at the club he used to work at, with his job back. He and Bazza are analysing the patrons and Bazza notes a table with some particularly rowdy individuals. Alfred says he hopes they cause trouble, and Bazza calms him down. Thomas Wayne walks in, clearly troubled and a bit shaky. He asks if Alfred has seen either his sister Patricia or Martha, who have been missing for two days. Alfred says he can’t help him, which annoys Thomas. He comes clean and tells Alfred that he’s a spy but he can be trusted, and leaves.
The rowdy table makes some noise and Alfred investigates. The head honcho refuses to pay his bill, which includes multiple bottles of champagne and a hundred oysters, and Alfred confronts him. He kicks the man out of the club and beats him up. He produces a machete from his coat and attacks Alfred, but is stopped. Alfred picks the machete up and, you guessed it, cuts the man’s left hand off when he tries attacking Alfred with a metal box.
Alfred is sitting outside the club when Bazza and Davey Boy approach him to see how he is. Alfred apologises for his behaviour but spots the man’s left hand on the ground in front of him, with a red rose next to it. The puddle of water that rests below them show the reflection of a full moon.
“Do people have good dreams?”
Alfred enters Ortsey’s cell and hands her the items she asked for. He makes them some tea and she asks for his hand, and for him to tell her his dreams. Alfred says he doesn’t have any, but he dreamt of marrying Esme. She clarifies she means sleeping dreams, to which he tells her he only remembers scraps of them after waking up. Ortsey asks him what he sees right now, and Alfred finds himself in the middle of a jungle. He’s wearing his suit and is bombarded with mortar fire. He enters a door and he’s now in Ortsey’s cell, but his mother is there. The women are drinking tea, and Ortsey asks Alfred to leave. He’s suddenly at the club with Bazza and Davey Boy, who say that Ortsey wasn’t much of a which. Spanish, Alfred’s dead war buddy, appears behind the bar and asks the boys if they need anything else. Alfred asks Spanish to leave him alone, who points to the stage behind Alfred. Sandra is there, singing. Then, Alfred is back in the jungle at a funeral. In front of him is the young captain that he embarrassed in a flashback a few episodes ago. Alfred is now back in the cell with Ortsey, who says that Alfred fell asleep for a moment. He comes to the realisation that there was something in the tea that induced his dream, and asks Ortsey if it was the captain that killed Esme. Ortsey asks him to leave, and Alfred see a bunch of those funny-hatted women outside the cell.
“I was out with the boys.”
Alfred arrives home and his mother asks where he was. She was extremely worried about him, and notices that he’s ice cold when she hugs him; she also notices he has a scratch on his wrist but he isn’t sure where he got that. He heads to the bathroom and upon removing his shirt, notices multiple scratch marks across his body.
“I’ll need friends that I love and trust.”
Bet Sykes is dressing up Harwood; he plans to make his way south and have his revenge upon the Prime Minister. Bet is asking Harwood to exercise caution since he isn’t at full strength yet, but he is determined and passionate. Peggy enters the room and Harwood humbly thanks her for her kindness. He asks her and Bet if they would be willing to join him on his trip to London, as he needs their support. Peggy doesn’t seem to keen on the idea but Bet accepts for both of them.
“No bloodshed. Please say yes.”
Alfred, Bazza, and Davey Boy are at Sid’s pub and Alfred is explaining to them why he thinks the captain killed Esme. He reminds them that he embarrassed him in front of his soldiers and that during Spanish’s funeral, he caught the captain giving him a murderous glance. Bazza is doubtful when he tells them he saw the man in a dream or vision. He remembers his name: Captain Curzon.
Alfred and the gang arrive at Curzon’s place. Bazza makes Alfred promise to not shed any blood because he doesn’t have any proof. Alfred agrees and they make their way to the front door, where they find a letter addressed to Alfred pinned to the door. The letter says that Alfred is too late and that he’s glad Alfred knows the truth now.
Meanwhile, Martha wakes up in the middle of a field, naked. In the distance are some factories and she’s next to this enormous, dead tree.
And that’s it for this week’s episode of Pennyworth. Alfred’s finally moving on from Esme’s death but in doing so he’s found himself in a weird mess. We’re nearing the end of the season with four episodes left, so catch me here next week for my recap of episode seven, “Julie Christie.”
Read my recap of the last episode, “Shirley Bassey,” right here.