In this episode we try to talk Fandome 2, but get wildly off-topic talking Batwoman, the CW Universe, how industries need to adapt, and one of us gushes about the new Robin hardcover, but we do kinda cover most of it at the same time, so put it in your ears and enjoy!! (we do have some audio difficulties this week, the trials of recording across continents!)
Martha: So when the shit hits the fan, what should I do?
Alfie: Switch off the fan I suppose or stand behind something shit proof.
Wow. Wow. Wow. What an episode. I have enjoyed each episode but ‘Lady Penelope’ just kicks it up a notch- great plot, some funny one liners and shock value!
It starts with a heavy Batman vibe- a man and a woman walking down the alley with a child. Maybe a hint at what is to come or simply to show Lord Harwood’s current predicament. We can clearly see the effects of his torture, and later on in the episode, we can see that perhaps death would have been kinder. Pennyworth certainly isn’t for the faint hearted!
The episode has two main plot lines and a little nods to other characters to make sure that we are seeing their development in the background! We see Martha and Thomas finally meeting, although they both know each other. There is no hint to what they will become, just very business like, and straight to the point. The aim of their ‘mission’ this time is to get the name of the new leader of the Raven Society. After a failed meet with an informant Martha and Alfie find themselves in a quaint little village to follow their clue about ‘The Darkness’. A little darjeeling and crumpet breakfast goes extremely downhill and Martha and Alfie find themselves on the run. Being injured Martha visits the local doctors/hospital giving her alias as Margo Kean. After fainting Martha wakes up to find things aren’t quite what they seem. The doctor, is in fact the new leader of the Raven Society and is aware of why Martha and Alfie’s are in the village. Alfie ends up in her presence as well, and they both manage to escape, task completed and relatively unscathed! They share a few drinks later and get to know each other a little more, especial more about the others morals and a little family background from Martha. Throughout the episode we see a growing tension between Martha and Alfie, which culminates in them kissing. I am unsure where this goes, as they do say goodbye to one another- in a ‘this is final’ sense-does that mean that they wont work together any more? I would like this to continue as I do like the chemistry between them, and would like to see Thomas’s involvement as well.
The episode has a few more expositional parts including Bet and her sister. Here we see Bet getting more frustrated and eventually has had enough and starts to make her way back down to London. I suspect more hijinks from her also- I doubt we will have to wait long to see.
There is also a theme throughout the episode of being tied up/chained up- we see men in the stalks several times throughout the episode, and I believe it was to lead up to Lord Harwood’s being shown as a animal in chains and caged- for entertainment? Sport? Who knows…
The ‘second’ plot line is centred around Esme. Increasingly becoming more paranoid and feeling more “cowardly”, Esme takes up Alfie’s offer and stays with his parents while Alfie is out working. After knowing that Esme has been disinherited from her own father, it was nice to see the relationship with Alfie’s parents blossom. There is a lot of wedding chatter which helps to soften Alfie’s Dad a little, and perhaps bring the three of them closer together. However, this storyline has definitely came to an abrupt end. Perhaps things were going to well for Esme. We firstly see Alfie’s betrayal by kissing Martha, but perhaps the first major shock (but not really) of the series comes from Esme being murdered. This, I feel, with make or break Alfie and will definitely shake things up! There are so many potential ways Alfie could go- breakdown? Revenge? I doubt we will have to wait long to see!
A few important things happen in this episode, which at first it does not seem like it is connected but over the course of the hour, we can see why they are there. The opening torture scene provides us with the reminder of how high tensions are between the Raven Society and the No Name League. The army flashbacks I originally thought to be shaping more of Alfie’s background. However it becomes apparent it is to further develop Dave Boy character.
We meet Esme’s Dad for the first time and he is everything she described him to be and more. With refusing to give Alfie his blessing, threatening disinheritance and his reasons why, Alfie and Esme split up. He preys on Alfie’s worries and concerns for himself i.e. that he’s not good enough, that he cannot provide for Esme as he wishes and this in turn causes Alfie to sabotage the relationship by just accepting it. Esme isn’t a major player in this episode, only popping in a few times personally, but as shown in previous episodes, a lot of Alfie’s actions are done with Esme in mind. The ending of this little storyline makes me smile- simply as I like them as a couple. Within the three episodes shown and a relatively short time frame, they have been through a lot and although I hope there will be no more bumps in the road, well that wouldn’t make for a good story now would it?
The main storyline for this episode features Martha Kane and a man named Thurso. Although just starting as a simple driving job, in true Pennyworth style, the plot thickens and well, everything is just a tad more complicated than driving someone from A-B. Thurso, with a warrant after him, is developing a computer (was Turing the inspiration?) but people are after him for different reasons. Alfie helps Thurso to escape on the plane with his computer (and his partner) and it is here we see again how quick thinking and resourceful Alfie is!
Although the show has a modern feel to it, these storylines are a reminder of the time it took place in. Martha is a good character, although not dishonest, she doesn’t quite tell the full story. I hope to see more of her in the episodes to come, especially with her ties to the No Name League.
Another important part of the episode I’ve mentioned is Dave Boy. Although he is painted as a joker- full of humour, drink and not much else, we see a different side to him. The PTSD is abundantly clear, and is handled simply and effectively. The shooting at the card game shows this side clearly. I also hope the show develops more of Dave Boy and Bazza’s characters- as it really does paint the picture of life after the army, and the horrors they’ve seen and a glimpse to why they may act the way they do and the choices they all make.
Towards the end we have a brief scene with Bet and Peggy- just to remind us she is there, and that she has an increasing obsession with Esme. They also mention that a month has passed since their escape, and are bored with hiding- so I have no doubts that there will be more mischief with these two!
So with more of a feel for the type of show this is, I am excited to get into episode 2. I feel the same way with Pennyworth as I did with Gotham, and to me, that’s a good thing. I do like the recaps at the start of shows- mainly because my memory is horrific but also just to get me in the mood for the show again.
‘Mr Ripper…please’. The start doesn’t give away too much, we can tell Mr Ripper will be an important character, but takes a while to show exactly how (more on that later). Almost instantly there is a massive change in scenery- loud, light and jovial. Alfred is back in the club where he first met Thomas Wayne and this time Wayne has a business proposition for him. There is a scene later that ties in with this but overall I wasn’t getting a sense of who Wayne is i.e. who is he looking out for.
The episode has two stand out storylines- both very important to the show:
- The first one is the story of Bet Sykes. Bet is currently in prison- all identity wiped and ready for a public hanging! We see her manipulative side just continue to shine with one of the guards. At first we know something is amiss but throughout the episode her plot line just unfolds beautifully. We are introduced to her sister Peggy, we are reminded of her ruthlessness and also of her intelligence. Without giving much away, although it is predictable, she comes out on top and well, lives to see another day.
- The second is the story of Ripper. We are first introduced to Jason Ripper- a creepy young man, no, boy who pretends he is a hard-man. In reality, he isn’t- he just has good connections! His connections come in the form of his uncle, who Alfred makes a deal with or as his Scottish friend calls is a ‘Pact with Satan’.
Both of these storylines are so important but also I feel it shows similarities between the two characters Bet and Alfred. Both have amazing foresight and think of the longer term consequences of a plan. The differences are to explored further as we will hopefully see more of Bet’s back story as well as more of an insight to Alfred’s mind. Through flashbacks we can see that he has been affected by his time in service, but how much shaped him today? We don’t know how much for sure- how far will he go? The two storylines also show the good balance the writers have on ensuring both short term and longer terms plots just work. Every scene has a place, whether or not it is apparent at the moment.
The scenes between Alfred and Esme are lovely. Nice to have some lighter scenes within such a show so it is not as dark. Definitely a personal preference, but I enjoy these lighter scenes as much as the action. It pieces together more of Alfred’s ‘why’, especially when he justifies his actions as he is ‘building a life for them both’. I also very much enjoyed Sandra (played by Harriet Slater) singing As long as he needs me. Absolutely beautiful and not out of place!
There is little of the Raven Society and No Name League in this episode asides a couple of short scenes with Lord Harwood. These set up both names and plots for future episodes as well as to show there is almost a shift in power throughout this episode.
All in all a very good, strong episode making it 2 for 2. Long may it continue!
To be honest I haven’t seen or heard much about the series asides it is about Alfred Pennyworth i.e. the very well known butler of the Wayne family. My knowledge of Alfred’s background is very limited, only really what I have seen on screen so when I heard there was going to be a series about him, I was excited. The pilot episode is 1 hour 11 mins long so get comfy and enjoy!
The opening sets the tone very well- a bunch of hounds ripping apart a fox- very apt to the episode. We are introduced to Lord Longbrass and Bet Sykes (played by Paloma Faith) and the Raven emblem- all very important throughout the episode.
The title sequence I like a lot- the aesthetic is great. Reminds me of a Bond and Sherlock mixture which is what I am hoping for this series (not sure if many would agree with me though…) I am not familiar with many of the actors named but I am assuming I will recognise some of their faces!
We are introduced to ‘Alfie’. He is handsome, well put together and equipped with that East End accent we all know and love. Alfred is with his friends, ‘Bazza’ and ‘Dave Boy’- good chemistry between the three, and looking at the circumstances we know they served together. I get vibes of loyalty and deep respect between them. They both say that Alfred is too kind hearted to be successful in the Security business.
Side Note: I do cringe at Daves accent but its a smiley cringe- being Glaswegian and that. I did look up the actor, Ryan Fletcher, up on IMDb and found out he is from a neighbouring village from me!
The scenes inside and out of the club starts to show us what kind of man Alfred is. He is capable, he is quick thinking, he is morally ambiguous and he is a charmer. So far I like this Alfred. We are introduced to two important characters- the dancer (soon to be girlfriend) Esme and Thomas Wayne.
We cut to the Prime Minister ‘explaining’ what is going on in simple terms. Reminds me a little of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Hermoine is explaining to Krum how to pronounce her name- obviously put in for the viewers. We are introduced to the Raven Society (they want to overthrow the government and create a fascist utopia) and the No Name League (they want to overthrow the government and create a socialist utopia). There seems to be an understanding that they can continue to run, if kept quiet, however the Prime Minister notes, they are now making a lot of noise! So lets expect unrest! Dark wheels are turning’.
So up until now it has been fairly full of introductions and set ups across seemingly different stories, but then it changes with the kidnapping of Esme. The deal is Esme for Thomas Wayne (despite limited interaction between Alfred and Wayne so far)- So we are dealing with the Raven Society as can be seen through headed notepaper. From this we have more Alfred/Wayne interaction. There is a mutual respect, I believe, from the beginning. They may not know each other motives or intention but there is just something. I’ll not go into too much detail but eventually Esme is free, as is Wayne. The part where they are leaving the mansion, the police rock up and say a line which I though would be great for the title of the episode ‘Spot of bother?’
The final scenes with Mum and Dad Pennyworth also give a glimpse to Alfred character. He has previously mentioned he is NOT his family but they are a part of them, and this scene shows just how similar they are when united under loyalty. Sykes is a cracking character as well- not sure what her motives are but I was suprised how much I liked her!