Rob Bailey is one of my favourite directors, he directed 11 episodes of Gotham including the final ever episode. So seeing his name on the credits for directing this episode made me even more excited to see it. Bruno Heller has again written this episode. Depending how long a season is of a television show you often get a gear change around the fifth and seventh episode of where the characters and story arc is going. This is exactly what has happened in this episode of Pennyworth. This episode is definitely my favourite so far, as it’s revealing, great returning character and brutal.
With a definite somber tone to the opening episode Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith) walks with her sister Peggy (Polly Walker) and tells her what she saw the evening Esme was murdered. Bet genuinely loved Esme, she recalls seeing a man and lady enter Esme’s building so Bet stayed inside the telephone box and watched. I think it is unlikely that Bet is Esme’s murderer but Peggy is unsure of Bets story as she an she has told tall tales before.
The funeral itself is a tad on the strange side as a cellist plays as Esme is laid to rest. Alfred (Jack Bannon) has a lot of support from his parents and friends as he undoubtedly devastated. Martha Kane (Emma Paetz) and Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) are also at the funeral but stand together watching from afar. Martha is full of guilt as she knew Alfred didn’t want to leave Esme. Thomas does admit its an extremely sad affair as the police are calling it a robbery gone wrong. Thomas does surprise me how he doesn’t take Martha’s feelings seriously. The grief that Alfred shows is outstanding acting from Jack Bannon. His grief puts him in a comatose state where he has a conversation with his dead soldier friend Spanish (Ben Wiggins). Alfred blames himself for Esme’s death and even Mrs Darkness (Maggie Daniels) who Alfred accidentally shot in episode 4 made appearance in his conscience. Mr Pennyworth even shows compassion and empathy towards Alfred as he shaves him to keep him looking the best he can.
We get a time jump of a few months in this episode. Supporters of the No Name League and the Raven Society are going up against each other and the conflict is escalating. But before the time jump Bet recognises a homeless person chained up like a dog. She is genuinely horrified to see her ex boss Lord James Harwood (Jason Flemyng), (who has no memory of who is) in the state he has been left in. The artful dodger character who offered Harwood a shelter warns Bet off and she realises he is responsible for chaining him up. Bet reacts by using the pin on her brooch to scratch Harwood’s keepers face. Peggy completely confused at what is happening, Bet convinces Peggy to let her take Harwood to her home. James Harwood really doesn’t have any recollection of who he is so Bet decides to name him Ginger.
Bet shows a lot of compassion towards her former boss as she gets him a pair shoes that will help him walk as his feet have been maimed. Harwood is proud of his process and is starting to remember things especially Haddock.
Thomas Waynes presence has been requested by the leader of the No Name League. Blind folded and taken through halls playing classical music, Thomas looks uncomfortable with children present. The leader informs Thomas he must kill the leader of The Raven Society, Frances Gaunt (Anna Chancellor) as the No Name League is losing the war on the streets. The leader Julian Thwaite (Richard Lintern) and his wife Undine Thwaite (Sarah Alexander) ask Thomas to organise the meeting which makes him hesitant as he signed up for peace and freedom, but his hand is forced and does agree.
We also do get confirmation that Thomas Wayne does work for the CIA and the No Name League know he does. Alfred guessed this from the beginning and I think us as an audience did as well. The CIA encourage Thomas to organise the meeting and killing Frances Gaunt as the CIA want the No Name League to triumph over The Ravens.
Martha Kane is sat alone in her apartment with a lot of empty bottles of wine scattered around. The knock and the buzzer at her door does wake her. Thomas enters her apartment and a look of disapproval of the mess is evident. After making a joke about the maid having the day off, Thomas informs Martha they have a new job. Thomas does ask after Martha’s mental health as he felt she was in poor way last time they met. Martha is keen and ready to go on their next assignment, Thomas is not ready to reveal the details but does make clear they need Pennyworth. Martha instantly refuses to ask Alfred as she assumes that he won’t want to work for the No Name league again. Thomas can’t recruit Alfred as he believes Alfred doesn’t trust him but he trusts Martha. She becomes defensive when Thomas mentions that Alfred likes her, Martha doesn’t refuse to go The Pennyworth house.
The atmosphere is uncomfortable when Martha goes to visit Alfred, even though Alfred keeps his manners. Martha body language gives away how awkward she feels about visiting him. She explains that the league wants him to return to work, Alfred answers bluntly that Martha is still doing as she told. It’s a definite no from Alfred. Martha admits she is doing what she is told because she needs a reason to get up in the morning. Alfred feels the need to explain that he can’t do violence anymore, Martha understands and wishes Alfred well.
Alfred nightclub has changed over the months that have gone by. Thomas comments on this when Dave Boy (Ryan Fletcher) and Bazza (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) join him at his table. With Alfred refusing to work with Martha and Thomas, Thomas offer the job to Bazza and Dave Boy. They both guess right that it involves death, in which Bazza rejects even though the payment was £500 each. A fight has broken out in the ladies toilets, the club manager is eager for Dave Boy and Bazza to sort it. Only Bazza leaves and his hostility towards Thomas is very strong in this scene. Dave Boy is definitely considering doing the job as he will receive both payments.
The return of John Ripper (Danny Webb) is a very welcome return. As he jogs down the street people quickly go back into their homes as he is genuinely feared. Mr Ripper has been meaning to come by and see Alfred for a while. Ripper tells Alfred he owes him a favour and is delighted when Alfred doesn’t refuse. John has a bag with him which has running gear inside of it, Alfred gets changed and meets John outside. Alfred going for a run with Ripper is a bit like a training montage, he can outrun Alfred out no problem. In moments Alfred pushes himself to beat Ripper on their run. Their run leads them to the graveyard where Esme is laid to rest with no headstone. John encourages Alfred to get one so he can finally move on. John lets Alfred know he can help find Esmé killer, but Alfred has to do a job for Ripper in return. Alfred accepts. Ripper asks Alfred an important question who hates Alfred so much that he wants to watch Alfred suffer?
Alfred is back in his sharp looking suit. Sid (Simon Day) the Landlord and his daughter Sandra ( Harriet Slater) comment on how smart he looks. Alfred asks Sid for his shotgun and if Dave Boy and Bazza have been in the pub. Sid places a bag on the bar with the collectors edition shotgun and barrels, Alfred promises to return it but Sid is happy for him to keep it. Sandra’s crush on Alfred is evident and before he leaves the pub he asks if there has been any word on Jason Ripper? There hasn’t apart from he is up north begging for scraps. This question leads to Alfred asking Sid if anyone else has been slagging him off. Sid finds it hard to believe that anyone would do that about Alfred as everyone likes him.
The manager of the club is delighted to see Alfred back as he is ashamed how run down it has become since Alfred stopped working there. Dave Boy doesn’t work there anymore and Bazza is in the dancers dressing getting high on drugs. Alfred confronts Bazza in where Dave Boy is. After gaining the information that he is a shooter for Thomas Wayne, again Alfred asks Bazza if he can think of anyone who hates him. Bazza can but Alfred means pure hatred.
John Ripper and Alfred Pennyworth sit in a car outside a building. Alfred asks about Ghosts and if they can come back and haunt him, Ripper isn’t a believer in ghosts. John does ask Alfred if he has seen a ghost, with hesitation Alfred denies it, now Ripper is questioning if Alfred is trustworthy. Ripper reminds Alfred he has to succeed in his mission trying his hardest won’t count.
A silver service dinner is being served in the restaurant where Mr and Mrs Thwaite leader of the No Name League bicker over how one is full of anxiety and the other is overly confident with smugness. Frances Gaunt arrives and greeted respectfully by the couple.
Dave Boy has disguised himself as kitchen staff, which doesn’t work as one of the chefs doesn’t recognise him. Dave Boy politeness in asking the chef to let him go doesn’t work as he ends up giving him a Glaswegian kiss (head butt) drawing his gun Dave Boy threatens the rest of the kitchen staff.
Gaunt and The Thwaite’s toast to new horizons. Frances is surprised they called her to have a meeting but Mr Thwaite is surprised that she is as they have a lot in common. Both parties love their country. Frances finds the term ‘love’ strange as she knows the No Name League have called a meeting with her because they have lost top comrades. Mr Thwaites sees Dave Boy coming out the kitchen and he shoots the waiting staff. The other diners get up and leave, as Dave Boy points the gun at Gaunt and asks her to close her eyes which she refuses and shoots him in the abdomen. Frances encourages Dave Boy to stay awake and demands one of the Thwaites to come and help. Alfred enters through the kitchens wearing a mask and confidently removes it when he sees Dave Boy laying on the floor in pain. Frances recognises Alfred and asks if the lady is with him. Alfred doesn’t answer and politely wishes the ladies a good evening and uses the shotgun to literally blow of the face of Mr Thwaite. His wife is in shock and quickly gets her handbag and leaves the restaurant. Alfred puts Dave Boy over his shoulder and they shoot some armed men that arrive at the restaurant.
Alfred returns to the pub where Sandra lets him in. Dave Boy is put down in one of the booths as Alfred gives the shotgun back to Sandra and tells her to put if somewhere safe. Dave Boy groans with the pain as Sandra brings Alfred a whiskey. The evenings events has Alfred even more all over the place as he ends up sleeping with Sandra.
Detective Inspector Aziz (Ramon Tikaram) arrives at the restaurant to inspect the carnage. He then goes to the Prime Minister and the Queen. They certainly think Frances Gaunt killed the leader of The No Name League. They are also now aware that Undine Thwaite is now the leader.
Undine Thwaite lays in bed, there is someone in the bathroom. She talks to this person admitting that she thought she would feel remorse, but Undine feels nothing. The other big shocker in this episode the person that comes out of the bathroom is John Ripper in his robe. John thinks she is in shock but why worry as England will be hers as they kiss.
A great solid episode that shows just how a tragic event can change the course your life. Alfred now knowing Esme was murdered, does John Ripper really know how to find that name?