Alfred turns down an offer from billionaire businessman Bruce Wayne and instead accepts an assignment that puts him in the crosshairs of one of East End’s most dastardly figures.
Danny Cannon and Bruno Heller are back in the Director and Writing chairs for the second episode. There is a huge step up in the feel of this episode as it’s a lot more violent, language and adult themes. You’ll also probably never eat kidney pie again!
“The Landlords Daughter” opens with a very eerie Victorian feel to the scene. A man is running away as figure in a top hat and black cloak steps out of a car. He asks the man to look at him, the man is terrified but does look at him “please Mr.Ripper.”
The nightlife in SoHo is in full swing. Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) is busy removing unwanted customers from the nightclub. Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) is at the bar and catches his attention. Alfred being polite greets Mr.Wayne but he insists he uses Thomas. Alfred is not sure why Thomas is in the nightclub as his sister Patrica isn’t there. Thomas is honest as he has come to see Alfred about needing his security services and today is that day. He offers Alfred a job but Alfred turns it down because he is busy. Thomas looks around the club and can see he is busy, Alfred makes it clear that he would rather take bad bands and drunks any day over secret wars. Thomas insists that the job he is offering is above board, even honourable with good pay. Alfred doesn’t want to hear the details. It isn’t that Alfred doesn’t trust Mr.Wayne but the company he keeps nearly got Esme (Emma Corrin) killed and also Alfred had to kill people. Thomas tries to persuade Alfred once more by saying he would be serving his Queen and country. Alfred reminds Thomas that he has been doing that since he was sixteen, now he only serves himself.
Torture at The Tower of London is very graphic in this episode. I have say I love that the creators of Pennyworth are using The Tower of London as a working prison. Lord Harwood (Jason Flemyng) is being tortured by a very gleeful lady for the name of the leader of The Raven Society. Tea is up as one of the beefeater guards wheels in a trolley. Harwood is still refusing to give up the name so his torture continues.
The guard wheels the teas trolley through the dark stone walls of the tower, into another area of cells. Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith) is being held prisoner, she isn’t impressed that she has fish paste sandwiches. Bet is going to be executed and asks for a mirror so she can check her appearance on the big day. The guard bluntly tells her “you’ll have a bag over your head.” Bet wants to look her best when she goes to heaven but the guard doubts Bet will go there. Bet believes she is innocent, but that’s not for the guard to decide. Bet is clever in keeping the guards attention and thanks him for talking with her as it can get boring waiting to die. By asking the guard to touch her hand through the bars Bet is manipulating him on her side. Bet makes a good point in the fact the guard can touch her when searching for weapons. This makes the guard think she has a weapon, Bet denies it as she wants someone kind to hold her hand before the hangman does.
Alfred has a flashback to when he was in combat, they are interrupted when Esme asks him for a penny for his thoughts. Esme can see that Alfred looks troubled. Alfred makes a joke as his thoughts were about putting the kettle on. For Esme it’s her big night, the opening of her play. She didn’t get much sleep as she kept dreaming about Bet Sykes. Alfred naturally concerned ensures Bet is at the tower and will stay there. The interesting part of this scene is that Alfred gives Esme all the confidence she needs for her opening night and assures Esme when she is a famous actress he won’t hold her back. Alfred is willing let Esme do what ever she needs to be a success but Esme sees this as Alfred maybe wanting to leave her. Alfred doesn’t want to lie as he feels that the failure of his business won’t keep Esme in the lifestyle that she wants. He is being realistic but Esme actually only cares that they love each other, Alfred then questions why he hasn’t met Esme’s father. Esme’s reaction and answer gives us an idea that she doesn’t have a good relationship with him.
Dave Boy ( Ryan Fletcher) is discussing a security job with Alfred in their local pub. The job has fallen through but Dave Boy is a believer that Alfred is going to be a big man in his new business. The landlord asks if they want another round of drinks and will bring them to the table. The Landlord becomes nervous when a group of lads arrive. The supposed leader is called Jason (Freddy Carter) and he wants to know where his girl is? He calls Sandra’s name as he believes she pours the best bitter. Sandra (Harriet Slater) serves Jason but she appears sad to him, Jason seems to have the impression that someone has upset her and in a very obsessive way assures Sandra that he will go mental if they have. Sandra forcing a smile on her face to show Jason she is happy, Jason compliments her smile. The scene has a double feel of danger and creepiness as Jason wants Sandra to move closer over the bar towards him. Jason tone changes to a sinister tone “everyone thinks you are a good girl but I know what you are” Sandra’s eyes widen with horror with these words. Jason takes a sip of his bitter then leaves the pub. Sid Onslow (Simon Paisley Day) the Landlord waits until they leave before he takes Alfred’s and Dave Boy drinks over to their table. Curious to know what had just happened Sid tells Alfred that his daughter Sandra smiled at Jason and now won’t leave her alone. Sid isn’t happy with Jason being infatuated with his daughter as Sid believes he isn’t a good person. Alfred can’t understand why Sid doesn’t stop him from entering the pub, the reason is Jason’s mum sister is married to the man from White Chapel. By the look of understanding on Alfred’s face you know whoever the man is from White Chapel it can’t be good. Dave Boy asks who the man is from White Chapel, Sid explains that they never mention his name. Dave Boy offers Pennyworth Security to sort Jason out. Sid is desperate and will pay anything to get Jason away from his daughter. Alfred is hesitant as Sid regrets to letting Sandra be friendly to the punters. Sids last words concern Alfred as if anything happens to his daughter he will top himself.
Dave Boy can’t understand why Alfred didn’t take the job that The Landlord offered. Alfred sees it a suicide mission and they are not part of Alfreds plans. Dave Boy thinks Alfred has forgotten who he is and reminds him is he SAS and is in disbelief that Alfred is afraid to say a mans name. Dave Boy leaves the pub as Alfred watches Sid the Landlord comfort his daughter Sandra.
Bet is playing cards with the guard in her cell. George (the guard) wins the round and asks for his winnings which is a kiss on the cheek. Bet is embarrassed or is she and warns George no hanky-panky. She thanks George for being a good friend to her as Bet is very grateful, George has enjoyed getting to know Bet. Whatever Bet is up too she certainly has got George on her side and to make sure she kisses him on the lips.
Esme’s opening night of her play is a success. Alfred is there to support her he would not be able to tell you if the play was any good but Alfred believes Esme was. Detective Inspector Aziz (Ramon Tikaram) who we saw briefly in lasts weeks episode, waits for Alfred outside the theatre. Aziz has a question for Alfred. In a hostile tone Alfred reminds him he answered a load of questions about Lord Harwood already. A very obvious question wasn’t asked “they didn’t ask if Lord Harwood named any other conspirators.” This is because they didn’t want to know, but Detective Inspector Aziz does. Alfred takes the opportunity to find out what happened to Bet Sykes, Aziz tells Alfred she doesn’t exist anymore so he doesn’t have to worry. Off the record Aziz tells Alfred that Bet is due to hang. With one last warning for Alfred, Aziz warns him that he might get approached by some shady characters. First contact will be a nice man someone Alfred knows and trusts, Alfred’s mind flashes to an image of Thomas Wayne. Aziz wants to know when Alfred receives contact from him as he is willing to share information about the organisation he belongs to. Their conversation soon ends as Esme comes looking for Alfred.
Bet and George’s relationship is now sexual. We finally get to know Bet is using George and is willing to blackmail him. Bet hands George some letters she has written. George refuses at first but Bet has a lot more on George that would get him fired or even worse. George reluctantly takes the letters to post them. Looks like Bet has a plan to try and get her out of her execution.
I really like how they are showing us how paralysing Alfred’s flashbacks of his time in the military are. He is stood frozen at the bottom of his staircase. Voices of Mrs Pennyworth and Esme can be heard in the kitchen. Esme is learning how to make bread, Alfred thinks there is perfectly decent bread from the corner shop. Mrs Pennyworth thinks every young woman needs to know, but she does hint at marriage. In a quick change in subject, Esme wants Alfred to attend her play again. It is a very funny moment when Alfred exclaims “Again” but he is busy, then shares he has his first proper job. Esme instantly shows her concern that it could be dangerous, Alfred convincingly tells her it’s not. But Esme does expect Alfred to attend her after show party.
Jason and his gang have arrived back at the pub. Sid the Landlord looks nervous but remains confident when Jason asks for Sandra. A pint of best is served by Sandra but she says no words to Jason. This irritates Jason as he actually asks Sandra if she is sacred of him, she shakes her head. Jason believes she is sacred of him and finds this sexy. Alfred arrives and orders a pint, Jason wants to know his name. Alfred playing ‘oh you are talking to me’ card, gladly tells Jason his name. Jason thinks by telling Alfred his surname ‘Ripper’ will make him fear him. When Jason doesn’t get the response he thought he would he asks Alfred if he’s local, which Alfred is. Pushing the point to Alfred that he doesn’t know who he is, which Alfred does, because Jason, Jason Ripper has just told him. Gasping for his pint Alfred asks Sandra again. Jason has a question for Alfred, it’s an inappropriate question about Alfred’s mother. Keeping his cool Alfred admits it’s a funny question, Jason asks again then revealing his knifes he has under his jacket. Not giving Jason an answer, Alfred isn’t really interested in his private problems. He throws the pint in Jason’s face and runs out the pub, enraged Jason sends his gang after him. Running through the streets of London as fast as he can Alfred is being chased by Jason’s gang. Jason manages to get ahead of Alfred who is now in the middle. Alfred does warn Jason that this isn’t going to end well for him. Getting straight to the point Alfred asks Jason to leave Sandra alone and he will let Jason walk away. With his blade pointed at Alfred, Jason is so angry and thinks Alfred is mental. Dave Boy and Dezza ( Hainsley Lloyd Bennett ) turn up to help Alfred take out the gang. Jason gets up and warns Alfred is he dead.
In a room of calmness music plays, an autopsy is being performed on a body laid on a table. A man picks up a glass of red wine, smells the aroma and knows someone is there as he admits it’s a good trick. Alfred is stood in the shadows. He is asked by the man who he is and how did he get in? Alfred knows this is Mr Ripper and comments on how a man of his stature has poor security. Alfred introduces himself as he has known who Mr Ripper since he was a baby. He holds out a business card for Mr Ripper to read and asks if his visit is some kind of promotional stunt. Alfred sees it as a good gesture of good will and respect.
Jason Ripper is blindfolded and tied to a chair, Dave Boy and Dezza take in turns to beat him up. Dezza asks for his name, in Jason replies “Jason.” Dezza disagrees and sniffs him as he smells terror, Jason repeats his name. Unless he gives his name Dezza promises he will break like a twig, Jason remains quiet then promises he will leave Sandra alone. Dezza informs Jason that they don’t care about Sandra and Dave Boy will start by breaking his toes.
Esme is enjoying the company of her cast friends at the after show party, but she sits alone with a glass of wine hoping Alfred will be there. An older gentleman congratulates Esme on her performance. As Jeremy introduces himself Esme tells him she is waiting for her boyfriend. Jeremy wants to know if he is an actor too? Esme gives the best answer and my favourite line in the episode “No. He creeps up on people in the night and kills them.”
Back to the torture of Jason, Dezza gives him one last chance to give his real name. Jason stutters weasel and confirms he from Whitechapel. He works for his uncle John who can’t help him. Dezza and Dave Boy don’t care about Jason and are willing to let him live if he tells them about his Uncle John. They want to know everything, Jason agrees to set himself free, Alfred’s voice can be heard saying “that will do.” Dave Boy turns on the light and removes the blind fold as Jason’s uncle is stood watching and is disappointed that his own flesh and blood would reveal all. John Ripper would skin Jason alive but it would break his sisters heart and she has already seen too many horrors. John tells Jason to leave London and never come back, if he does he will cut his face off.
Esme arrives home checking her post. A familiar looking envelope is amongst the pile. Esme opens it and we hear Bet Sykes voice reading the letter. Bet is writing to Esme to tell her how she enjoyed their time together because she thinks of Esme as a beautiful special person. Bet feels if she were to be free they would be friends as she believes in forgive and forget. Esme screws up the letter and throws it on the floor.
Mr Ripper is intrigued in what Alfred expects him to do next. Alfred thinks he might be angry as that would be natural. John knows Alfred is from a good regiment, Alfred agrees the catering core. John wants to know what Jason did to Alfred? Alfred explains he asked Jason to leave a girl alone but he wouldn’t. John sees this as Alfred being the hero after all his business card states no job to big or small. Mr Ripper invites Alfred to come closer and look at the marvel of the human body. John shows Alfred several different organs but he knows them of course being a cook, he is also curious what type of trouble Alfred is going to be. Alfred sees trouble come in all shapes and sizes as looking at it from the sunny side of the street Alfred has helped his client and John has got rid of a weak link. Apparently there is nothing better then kidney pie, John invites Alfred to sit as he carries one of the kidney’s from the body in parchment paper upstairs.
John Ripper wants to know how Alfred knew Jason was weak. Alfred could tell by just looking at him. Jason was a flincher and everyone knows Ripper’s don’t flinch. It’s a black mark against the west end and Alfred thought it was a chance to do a good turn for the governor. John again offers Alfred a seat as he admits that his business hasn’t taken flight and this job would be a gamble as he needed to do something to get the business of the ground. It’s a bold move as Alfred asks if he can put word around on Rippers patch. John talks in the third person as he calls Alfred a brave punter or is he brace or clever. John leans forward in his chair and Alfred falls through a trapdoor in the floor. Ripper asks Alfred again “stupid or clever.” Alfred thinks at this present time he is stupid after all you have got to back yourself.
Esme sits alone in the dark waiting for Alfred to come home. Bet Sykes letter has really spooked her. Alfred doesn’t come home until 5am and reads the letter. His instant concern for how Esme must be feeling is real and apologises for Bet Sykes and the dirty business that is going along with it. Esme knows it’s not Alfreds fault, she sees some stains on Alfred’s jacket which he claims is mud.
A lady with brunette coloured hair is cooking on the stove. A man in a gimp mask delivers it on a silver tray. The other letter from Bet has arrived to her sister Peggy. The letter opens with well wishes and a goodbye as Bet explains she will be executed at the Tower of London for something that she hasn’t done. Is Peggy (Polly Walker) the person Bet needs to get her out of the tower?
Sandra sings in the pub as her father looks on happy. Esme and Alfred sit by an open fire as Sid thanks Alfred. Esme sees Alfred as a famous figure in his local and can see that they adore him. Sid the Landlord pays Alfred and promises to keep quiet about what he did, but Alfred wants Sid to tell everyone what a satisfied customer he was. Dave Boy also gets part of the earnings and warns Alfred they are on a dark path now. With the man in Whitechapel agreeing Alfred is sure the business will take off like a rocket.
Lord Harwood is still hanging and being tortured in the Tower of London. He confesses that he is the leader of The Raven Society to the Prime Minister but suspicious that he is lying. The Prime Minister goes over how Harwood wanted to stage a coo and run the country. He orders the torture to continue on Harwood but only to break him not kill him.
Alfred wants to talk to Esme seriously about their future because it is unknown what lays ahead and that is part of the fun. He sees Esme as a princess and would slay a dragon for her (very romantic gentlemen please take note), protect her, respect and love Esme. Who knew this lead to a romantic proposal of marriage.
The day has arrived for Bet Sykes to hang. In a real twist in how London is in the DCU the executions are televised. Crowds cheer as the hangman encourages them. The Pennyworth’s watch in the safety of their home as each prisoner faces their death. Bet Sykes is hanged as Mrs Pennyworth puts the kettle on.
A clever swap happened at the tower Bet Sykes was recused by her sister Peggy. Bet being peckish is taken for a nice fry as the food wasn’t that great in the Tower of London.
Pennyworth is really finding its groove. I really like how we are seeing some incredibly dark moments and twists of 60’s London. Alfred is becoming even more charming, likeable and a character that I respect even more then before.
9/10 for “The Landlords Daughter”