We are already at the mid-season finale. What’s old Alfie and the gang up to this week? Spoilers and cliffhangers ahead.
1. Alfred pulls a job
Alfred and Dave Boy are left reeling from the death of Bazza last episode. Alfred immediately blames himself, but when Dave Boy agrees Alfred gets defensive about it. This then turns into another dream sequence with Bazza blaming Alfred as well. Alfred spends the episode spiraling. He’s become so desperate to escape England and come to America, but rather than working towards a goal, every move he makes brings him closer and closer to the bottom. Ready for a heroic revival and turn of course.
The pair join up with Troy’s gang to commit the robbery. Their mark: the mayor of London. Alfred in another sign of desperation starts beating on the mayor and threatens to kill him unless they get the money. It’s tough to watch and almost certainly something Alfred will regret. We get hints of his regret and possible PTSD when an explosion goes off making him thinking of Bazza’s death.
The group gets back together in Alfred’s office after the robbery and tensions are high. Alfred doesn’t like what he’s had to do, but he’s in too deep. Despite Dave Boy and Alfred being at odds with Troy’s group he agrees to do one more job. Side note here: “Tomorrow’s Dream” by Black Sabbath is playing at the club during this scene, which was released in 1972. Alfred ends the episode kissing Troy’s wife and getting slapped. She asks if he’s brave or stupid. Alfred and I reply “both.”
2. Sykes’ Pain Supplies
Our hero (checks notes: nope) Bet Sykes and her new friend Katie Browning make their way to London to find Bet’s sister Peg. They don’t have any luck at Peg’s address since London is a constantly under siege.
Throughout the few episodes, their relationship has grown and I daresay Browning actually trusts Bet now. After coming up short in their search for Peg, Browning suggests they split up. Her chance to be free of Bet it seems. But after Bet walks off broken hearted, Browning changes her mind. Bet robs the mayor of London who is still laying on the ground after being beaten to a pulp by Alfred.
In a phone booth, Bet sees a flyer for a business called “Skyes’ Pain Supplies” and immediately knows it’s her sister. Peg spent most of season one with someone in a gimp suit so running this little sex shop seems right down her alley. Peg doesn’t seem pleased to see Bet, and warns Browning she’s “mad as a hatter” but Browning doesn’t mind. I think these two are sweet on each other now.
3. The Naked Man
Thomas comes to Martha for help with his sister Patricia again. He needs Martha to come to a party to help split Patricia up with a new man she’s been seeing: Jacques Duval (deftly played by James Lance). Martha is still rightly angry with Wayne for his role in the death of the Archbishop and has no interest in even speaking to Thomas. After seeing Jacques in action though they hatch a honeytrap to split them up.
Fans of “How I Met Your Mother” will recognize The Naked Man move. When Martha leaves Jacques alone she returns to find him completely naked. This didn’t work in his favor as the minute she sees him she punches him and ties him up. When Patricia and Thomas arrive they find a naked, hog tied Jacques and send him off into the street.
This quickly reconciles Thomas and Martha who pick up where they left off at the end of season one. I was half expecting him to get shot again, but it seemed to work out for them this time. We knew the engagement and separation of these two wouldn’t last long.
The League holds elections for a new Prime Minister with each of the candidates giving a stump speech. John Ripper gets some criminals from a local prison and has them fight to the death for the crowd. His pitch? Release the murders from prison and have them fight the Raven Union. The war would be over before you know it. Pretty regressive view of crime, Mr. Ripper.Continued below
Aziz, on the other hand, has a much more measured approach. He admits they need to fight and that it will be ugly, but their liberal virtues of love and compassion will win the day. They reinforce here the League are the good guys fighting the good fight for freedom against fascists.
When Harwood hears Aziz has been elected he isn’t pleased. Aziz was involved in Harwood’s kidnapping and torture back at the start of season one. Gaunt thinks Aziz is someone that can be bargained with and might be a way to avoid further bloodshed.
Harwood looks sicker and sicker throughout the episode. The Raven Union’s failure to take Manchester doesn’t sit well and their only plans to take London will result in the destruction of the city. There is a hint here that rather than treating Harwood, Salt might be making him sicker. Possibly to advance his Stormcloud project without any pushback.
Gaunt is still strongly opposed to Stormcloud, especially after seeing the test at the end of the episode. She believes in their fascist anti-democratic cause, but this to her is evil. I believe we are meant to sympathize with her here since even to her this is a step too far, but she’s still a bad guy. Still waiting on her redemption arc.
5. Is “penguin suit” an easter egg?
The episode ends with a new character watching the Stormcloud test. Familiar to Batfans we have our first appearance of Lucius Fox. He’s working for the League and deep undercover with the Raven Union. The show doesn’t rely on nods and easter eggs to keep fans interested. They are telling their own story; removed from the Batmythos so when a moment like this happens I’m often surprised.
There were a few smaller easter eggs sprinkled throughout the episode. I know a tuxedo is often called a penguin suit, but when we are in Bruce Wayne’s world we know the writers are winking at us. The second was Peg Syke’s mention of being “mad as a hatter” which I’ll admit is a common phrase, but again Batman. Third, a blink and you’ll miss it “Sinestro” written on a box. Eagle-eyed viewers let us know if the comments if you noticed it. Finally, Wayne mentions the “Elliot heiresses” one of whom I imagine would be Thomas “Hush” Elliot’s mother.
We are left with Alfred ready to pull another job with a crew he doesn’t get along with, Thomas and Martha together, the Raven society ready to unleash chemical weapons on London, and a new spy. We’ve got a long winter ahead of us with no new Pennyworth episodes. It will return along with these thoughts in early March.