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    Five Thoughts on Pennyworth‘s “Alma Cogan”

    By | September 24th, 2019
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    Pennyworth is back with its penultimate episode following our favorite future butler. Where does last week’s Raven Society rally leave London? How is Alfred going to get out of prison after being arrested for murder? Come along dear reader and find out, but beware the spoilers that follow!

    1. He’s Never Gonna Give Her Up

    The police are looking to bring in Bet as Alfred’s accomplice from last episode, but Alfred is unwilling to turn her in. I’m surprised that Alfred is being this loyal to Bet. She may have saved his life, but she did kidnap Esmé and is overall not one of the good guys here. Aziz is there too, specifically asking for a name. It doesn’t make sense he would do this since he knows exactly who Bet is from the very first episode.

    Alfred isn’t even shaken up by the several people hanging outside the window while he’s being interrogated. That would have rattled me up a bit. Even when told he isn’t going to get a trial-just thrown into the dungeon- he isn’t concerned.

    After saying goodbye to his parents he’s pronounced guilty and sent to prison for 7 years. Which seems like a short amount of time for two murders. First thing Alfred does as he walks in to the prison is ask who’s in charge. Sounds like he’s seen a few prison shows and knows how it works.

    2. The Prime Minister’s Speech

    The Prime Minister announces a new election that will allow both the No Names and the Ravens to participate. The show flips through most of our main cast watching the broadcast. Bet, her sister Peg, and Harwood are watching it in the car; which took me by surprise. I know it was probably technically possible to have television in a car back in the 60s, but I’d be surprised if it was something even the richest people had. Televisions were pretty large back then. The speech doesn’t give us any new information, it more sets up the final conflict of the series. Ravens, No Names, the government with Alfred right in the middle.

    Harwood, emboldened by the election news, returns to his home. After introducing his wife and staff to Bet and Peg there is a small moment with the butler implying something is going on. Is he sleeping with Harwood’s wife? Is he some kind of spy?

    The landlord’s daughter shows up to visit Alfred in prison. Half expected her to bake him a cake with a file in it. When she arrives, Alfred is looking pretty good. He’s all cleaned up, got a nice suit on, his own office. He hasn’t let jail time bring him down one bit. She wants to help get Alfred busted out of prison, but he refuses. Tells her to send the message to Dave Boy and Bazza to not interfere. He’ll think of something.

    3. Undine & Julia

    Undine Thwait makes like a socialist Julia Child in what appears to be a cooking show to get her message out to the people. Probably better than a fascist rally in the park.

    Harwood is of course unimpressed by Thwait’s appeal to the masses, but it does move Bet and Peg. Not sure if the show is trying to drop in some social commentary here. As if to say people don’t care about the issues or what candidates stand for, just that they are relatable. This forces Harwood to reconsider strategies and strike a deal with the rival No Name League. They can squeeze the current government out if they pool resources. Despite being opposite sides of the political spectrum they’ve both shown they are willing to bend on principles to gain power.

    As suspected earlier, there is something going on with the butler. He passes this information to Aziz which pushes the Prime Minister over the edge. He decides desperate measures must be taken. Those desperate measures are getting Alfred out of prison to assassinate Harwood. Alfred is no stranger to political assassinations and to him it is a small price to pay to get out of prison. It does make the whole arrest and incarceration pointless. He was in prison for half an episode.

    Continued below

    Alfred shows up at the bar whilst Dave Boy and Bazza are planning his jail break. The nice celebration at the bar ends with Alfred waking up in his little twin bed with the barkeep’s daughter again. I don’t trust Alfred to not lead that poor girl on.

    4. What year is this really?

    Alfred’s dad reads a bit in the newspaper about the American president wanting to send a man to the moon. This is played for laughs, but it brings up the real question of when this all happens. Kennedy’s famous speech when he talks about going to the moon is from 1961. They’ve made plenty of references of things both well before (Crowley) and after (music, episode names). They are playing pretty fast and loose with the timeline here.

    Alfred’s mom does not want him involved in whatever task the government has planned for him. She’s seen everything he’s been through this season and just wants her son to be safe. She confides in him that his father is dying of cancer which was hinted at earlier in the episode. It’s kind of a late in the season revelation, but it makes me fear that his father won’t make it out of season one alive.

    5. Like Rubbing Two Pieces of Cardboard Together

    Martha and Thomas head to meet with Harwood to start the negotiations. Meanwhile Alfred, his team, and the police are planning their assassination. The moment Aziz tells Alfred he’s to kill everyone involved the audience knows this isn’t going down as planned. No way will Alfred kill Thomas and Martha obviously. Alfred deliberately botches the assassination and then helps everyone escape the police.

    When Thomas and Martha arrive home safe they start what can only be described as flirting. We all knew this was bound to happen, but it doesn’t feel natural or charming. Thomas is still wooden and it’s not clear at all what Martha would see in him.

    The episode ends with Alfred needing to go on the lam and Peg kidnapping the queen, sure to set up a riveting finale. Same bat time, same bat channel?


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    Matthew Vincenty

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