In the previous Pennyworth episode, instead of Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith) being hung and sliced open, an unnamed woman is executed in her place. No one suspected it was not bet because all prisoners were hooded when executed. The closing scene saw Bet driven away from London by her sister Peggy (Polly Walker).
SPOILER ALERT: If you have yet to watch the third episode, stop reading. There are spoilers ahead.
The third episode opens with Lord James Harwood (Jason Flemyng) in the clutches of the Barber. While many barbers are people one confines in, this is not that kind of individual. In the room is Detective Inspector Aziz (Ramon Tikaram). Is he working with British Prime Minister Aide (Richard Clothier) to take down The Raven Society?
“The country will rise in my name,” Lord Harwood shouts as the detective inspector leaves the room.
Meanwhile, across town, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) meets with Esmé Winikus’ (Emma Corrin) father at a private gentleman’s club. The club, reminiscent of The Reform Club, caters to the aristocracy. You will not find working-class people enjoying the refinements this club offers patrons. Alfred is there to request permission to marry Esmé.
Evelyn Winikus (Jasper Jacob), Esmé’s father, enjoys a cup of ‘orange pekoe’ in the afternoon as he relaxes at the gentleman’s club (the tea industry uses the term ‘orange pekoe’ to describe a basic, medium-grade black tea consisting of many whole tea leaves of a specific size).
“A woman’s love is the great engine of our salvation,” Winikus tells Alfred. “The mirror of his grace.”
Even in the 1960s, certain people were adamant the British social class structure must remain intact. Because Alfred “is the child of servants without means or education,” Winikus threatens to disinherit his daughter if they were to marry.
Winikus is the Dean of Salisbury and subsequently has a certain social standing within the community within which he lives. It would therefore not do for his daughter to associate herself with a commoner. Cue opening titles…
As the opening titles end, we find Bet and Peggy Sykes arriving at a council house somewhere in the London suburbs. It’s the Spicer residence. When Peggy asks Mrs Spicer to tell Lulu she is at the front door, she does not recognise the name. Spicer soon discovers Lulu is her husband.
Elsewhere, staring into the bottom of a teacup, Alfred is at the night club where he works. Based on the expression on Alfred’s face, Esmé correctly ascertains his meeting with her father did not go well.
In a rage, Esmé removes the engagement ring Alfred gave her, places it on the bar and promptly walks out.
Because the play in which Esmé appears is moving to the Marlowe Theatre for a proper run, she will be leaving her position at the night club. If this is a reference to Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre, it’s almost two decades too early, because the theatre did not open until 1984.
A Country Farm…
Look at the computer technology seen in this episode. With what is available to people in the early 21st century, one would hardly recognise it as being a computer. There it is, as large as life, operating in the barn of a country farm. Considering how much space the computer requires, there is little wonder as to why it is in the barn because this device predates the existence of the microchip.
As the computer calculates pi to the tenth decimal place, and he kisses his boyfriend, the local police arrive at the barn.
At the Pub…
As Alfred continues to ponder his troubles, photojournalist Martha Kane (Emma Paetz) enters the pub looking for him. Martha, the future Mrs Wayne and mother to Bruce Wayne / Batman, hire Alfred for a simple retrieval job. Martha tells Alfred ‘the name Pennyworth seems trustworthy to her.’
While £5 per hour plus expenses was unheard of during the 1960s, that is what Martha is willing to pay Alfred to get the job done. The job is to transport a gay man to an airport.
During the 1960s, being homosexual was a crime punishable by castration and or a lengthy prison sentence. With the passage of the Sexual Offences Act through Parliament in 1967, the decriminalisation of homosexual acts between two consenting adults no younger than 21 became a reality. The act only applied to England and Wales because Scotland has its own legal system. In Scotland, homosexuality did not become decriminalised until 1981. It took a further year for Northern Ireland to catch up with the United Kingdom.
On the Job…
Alfred drives Martha to a police station out in the country where they find the man they need to take to the airport under arrest for being a homosexual. Martha represents herself as Ian Thurso’s (Sam Hoare) lawyer so that she can retrieve him from the police station. Alfred questions Martha’s ability to impersonate a lawyer.
“They carry briefcases and act live a**h*les,” Martha tells Alfred. “I think I can pull that off.”
When a large robust man enters the police station interview room, he identifies himself as Chief Constable Wilkes (Nigel Betts). The chief constable questions whether she is a lawyer because of her age. Martha quickly takes Wilkes down a peg or two when she informs him ‘her company does not send silks (barristers) to rural police stations.’
With Martha identifying Alfred as her clerk, she directs him to hand the chief constable a writ of habeas corpus, Latin for ‘produce the body,’ on behalf of her client. Martha demands her client’s immediate release by the authority of the Court of Chancery.
The chief constable, at the mere mention of the Court of Chancery, immediately changes his posture. The involvement of the Court of Chancery clearly scares the chief constable as he is visibly shaking in his shoes. His facial expression indicates he knows exactly what the Court of Chancery is and he does not want to tangle which such a powerful organisation.
The Court of Chancery was a court of equity in England and Wales. It followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness (or ‘inequity’) of the common law.
When Wilkes asks why Chancery is involved, Martha tells him that ‘Thurso has powerful friends.’
Ian wants to speak to Samuel Shay (George R. Parker) before he goes anywhere with Martha and Alfred. Even though the chief constable is initially reluctant to say where Sam is, the threat of Chancery quickly changes his mind. Martha takes both Ian and Sam.
At the Airport…
Later, Alfred drives Martha, Ian and Samuel to the airport. Martha reveals to Alfred she is working for the No-Name League. They wait in an abandoned aeroplane hangar.
As a plane tries to land at the airport, a group from The Raven Society takes out the electrical transformers. The lights on the runway immediately go out.
Because Martha does not want to see Thurso or his work fall into the hands of evil people, she does not want to give into The Raven Society without a fight.
Alfred speaks with a representative of The Raven Society. After a brief conversation, Alfred returns to the airport aeroplane hangar to discuss a plan to keep Ian and the computer out of the enemies’ hands.
With Ian at his side, Alfred convinces The Raven Society people he will kill the computer inventor if they do not leave the airfield. They drive away, but Alfred is certain ‘they will be waiting to ambush the car a couple of miles down the road.’
In a scene reminiscent of ‘Die Hard 2: Die Harder,’ Alfred uses the fuel from a tanker to light up the runway so that the aircraft can safely land. It’s a risky move, but it works. With the aircraft safely on the ground, Ian says his goodbyes to Samuel, but before the plane taxis back onto the runway, Sam rushes to the plane and goes with Ian to America.
When Martha mentions the pay being good, it echoes something Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) said to Alfred in the previous Pennyworth episode. Does Martha know Thomas? When Alfred asked her if she knew him, she said she didn’t. Was she lying?
Even though Alfred understands Martha works for dishonest people, with money being money, he agrees to work with the American again.
In this episode, we discover Alfred is not the only one having troubling dreams about his time in the SAS. Dave Boy, as he slumbers on the night club sofa, is also experiencing similar disturbing dreams. The nightmares, Alfred and Dave Boy experience are frightening. It’s clear they are suffering from some form of PTSD. When Dave Boy awakens, it looks like the former SAS soldier does not know where he is.
Bazza is trying to enjoy a card game with friends when Dave Boy, in a drunken stupa, interrupts them. Because Dave Boy tells Bazza ‘Onslow got a hose in the beer cellar,’ we do not need further confirmation of Dave Boy not knowing where he is. Sid Onslow (Simon Paisley Day) is the landlord at the pub Alfred, Dave Boy and Bazza frequent.
Later, we see Dave Boy has run out of money and Bazza will not sub him a fiver. Dave Boy asks Bazza if he is ‘persona non grata,’ but he receives no response. ‘persona non grata’ is Latin for an unacceptable or unwelcome person.
One of the men, Phil (Anthony Cozens), at the table pulls a gun on Dave Boy when he becomes completely unhinged. Dave Boy takes the gun away from Phil but when the former SAS soldier tosses the weapon back to him, it accidentally discharges. Phil is dead.
Bazza gets a few of his mates to take the body away. Because Dave Boy is so drunk, he literally cannot walk, Bazza assists his friend.
At the Night Club…
Alfred tells Bazza and Dave Boy there will be more work from Martha coming their way. While Martha has already confirmed her links to the No-Name League, Pennyworth tells Bazza and Dave Boy he thinks she is also a CIA spook. Does Martha work for the CIA?
When is this episode set? There are questions which must be addressed because there are numerous obvious timeline errors in each episode. If homosexuality is illegal, it must be before 1967. The pilot episode opens with The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint it Black.’ If the series is historically accurate, the playing of ‘Paint it Black’ indicates the setting is after May 1966.
This third episode closes with a scene set to The Seeker’s cover version of ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!.’ This version of the song was recorded for the 1966 album ‘Come the Cay.’
What do you think of Pennyworth thus far? Does Pennyworth resonate with Americans? Do you think it will see a second season? Which direction do you feel the series should go? Please comment and tell us what you think about the series.