‘Pennyworth’ Season 1, Episode 8 ‘Sandie Shaw’ Review: Retaliation
BY Daniel Rayner
Published 4 years ago
Everyone in Pennyworth seems to be more than what they seem. In this chapter, cruel justice grasps on one desperate to flee. No amount of political power can keep one from a former SAS Operative’s fury. Also, The Raven Society decides that it is time to break a truce. Despite how risky such an endeavor is, the Ravens decide to announce their next move publicly. In a spectacle of ruthlessness and violence, the events in this interlude begin a dark chapter for all.
On Sunday’s episode of Pennyworth, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) and Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith) finally faces Captain Curzon (Charlie Woodward). Meanwhile, Martha Kane (Emma Paetz) visits Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), still shaken by the trip to Aleister Crowley’s (Jonjo O’Neill) mansion. Much to everyone’s surprise, The Raven Society leader Frances Gaunt (Anna Chancellor) steps down, publicly paving the way for Lord James Harwood’s (Jason Flemyng) return.
Thomas’ encounter with Aleister left him in a not-so optimal condition. Presumably, Patricia Wayne (Salóme Gunnarsdótti) went back to America, since Thomas was alone in his apartment. Were it not for Martha’s visit, Thomas may have stayed in bed all day, drenched in pills and alcohol. Indeed, Thomas is in no shape to continue his work, yet he remained in England. Martha, on the other hand, is intent on keeping their partnership. However, Thomas is in no mood to converse about such things, so Martha offers him her companionship.
Initially, the show pushed for a romance between Alfred and Martha. Now, it seems, they are starting to shift that towards Thomas and Martha instead. The pace at which this possible romance is taking begins quite slowly, as it should. The experience at Crowley’s residence brought them together, but a relationship springing from that does not quite seem right. Perhaps, in the next few episodes, Thomas and Martha would have a substantial plot that cements their future as Bruce Wayne’s parents.
Alfred’s ingenuity led him to know the truth about Esmé Winikus’ (Emma Corrin) death. After a sit down with Bet, Alfred realized that the police covered the case up. Curzon, Esmé’s killer, is the bastard son of Lord William Smytth (Peter Woodward). Also, Curzon has a mental health issue, hence his odd grudge against Alfred lasting for years. The fool needed a nanny to take care of him despite his age, too. Regardless, none of those things stopped Alfred from killing him. Sure, Curzon is a worthless man, but Alfred needed revenge.
At this point, Alfred let the darkness fully consume him. He acted as if he had nothing to lose, focused on one goal alone. All the politics, the side-choosing, the loyalties did not matter to him anymore. Alfred wished to honor Esmé’s memory, and nothing that stood in his way remained. Now that this part of his life is over, he has to face reality once more. Detective Inspector Aziz (Ramon Tikaram) and his officers arrested him as he visited Esmé’s grave. With that, his fate now remains uncertain. Sure, he will probably escape or perhaps make a deal, but that would bring him back to a life he wished to leave behind.
Time in England ceased to move as Lord Harwood took to the stage. No one expected him to return. The Prime Minister (Richard Clothier) took the heat after Harwood’s spectacular performance. The No-Name League’s counterparts, John Ripper (Danny Webb) and Undine Thwaite (Sarah Alexander), equally surprised at Harwood’s return. The Raven Society crowd, notably Mr. Pennyworth (Ian Puleston-Davies), cheered on and stayed even after the police tried to disperse the crowd violently. Such a move orchestrated by the government made Harwood look even better in the public eye.
Harwood’s return marks the beginning of a civil war. We can expect nothing less from him, given what he experienced in captivity. At first, his character seemed hastily killed off. Now, however, we can see why such things had to happen. Harwood’s survival made his character stronger, both in a physical and political sense. Before, he had the air of a rich, ambitious man, looking to usurp power. After surviving torture and regaining a sense of himself, Harwood now exudes charisma. The Prime minister may have damned the entire country because of unintentionally building Harwood as he did.
‘Pennyworth’ Season 1, Episode 8 ‘Sandie Shaw’ Final Verdict
As the season approaches its end, Pennyworth captures the audience with what it does best: complicated political plots tinged with a mix of unfiltered gore. Alfred’s political alignment may shift towards the Raven Society, given that Bet helped him and that his father is a Raven Society member. Also, the current government did not work with fairness. The No-Name League, on the other hand, remains a reminder of Esmé’s tragic fate. Thomas’ involvement with them became the reason for Esmé’s kidnapping. Still, Alfred has to survive (if not escape) prison. His experience there may define his final path for the season.
Pennyworth continues Sunday, September 22nd with ‘Alma Cogan’ at 9/8c on Epix.