Review: PENNYWORTH 1×06 – “CILLA BLACK”
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Bill Eagles
Writer: Bruno Heller
Starring: Jack Bannon, Emma Paetz, Ben Aldridge, Ryan Fletcher, Salóme Gunnarsdóttir, Hainsley Lloyd Bennett, Polly Walker, Dorothy Atkinson, Ian Puleston-Davies, Paloma Faith, and Jason Flemyng.
Reviewed by: Tony Farina
This week on Pennyworth, we find Alfred still reeling from the death of Esme and hell bent on revenge. He shows up to John Ripper’s place to collect on his promise. Instead of giving him straight answers, Ripper sends Alfred to a mystic who is in mental hospital run by nuns. She says she will only help Alfred if he brings her the left hand of a murderer and a red rose on the night of the next full moon. So, there is that.
Meanwhile, Thomas has been told that he needs the truce between the No Name League and the Raven Society to happen at all costs. Since Dave Boy didn’t come through with his end of the deal by killing Dr. Gaunt, it falls to Thomas. Before he can go, his drug addled sister, Patrica, shows up again and asks for money. Instead of giving her cash, he drops her off at Martha’s house. Martha, who still blames herself for Esme’s death, is not on her game. Patrica convinces her to go to a party hosted by Aleister Crowley. Totally normal.
Finally, Lord Harwood remembers who he is and decides it is time to go back to London. He asks Peg and Bet to come along and of course, Bet is always game.
Pennyworth has a new gem. Salóme Gunnarsdóttir’s turn as Patricia Wayne is inspired. She steals pretty much ever scene she is in. Her timing is perfect. She has excellent chemistry with both Emma Paetz and Ben Aldridge. That is good because they don’t really have any and we know their characters need to end up together. Maybe this is the way forward.
We see a lot more of Alfred this week than we did last week and that is always good. Each week Jack Bannon sticks the landing. Even in the face of absurdity, he is a cool customer. If I needed a security detail, I would hire Pennyworth Security. We also see a bit more of Alfred’s mum played wonderfully by Dorothy Atkinson. The relationship she and Alfred has is touching and lovely. Alfred needs a bit of grounding and it is good to know that his mum is there. We see where he gets his nerves of steel and strong resolve. Not from his hot headed father for sure.
In the world of the big Bat, there is always a bit of magic. The League of Assassins is pretty much predicated on skill and magic. So, to see a bit of hocus pocus in a Bat prequel is not a huge deal, but this episode of Pennyworth went a bit off the rails. Not only was Alfred forced to deal with a mystic, Patrica and Martha end up at a Satanists party that has all kinds of mystical things going on. To be fair, all of the crazy things that happen could easily be drug induced. Alfred drank some spiked tea. Martha drank whatever Crowley was serving so it could just be that they were drugged. Because it was not totally clear, it made things feel a bit off. The universe in which this show takes place is already crazy with no clear time frame, technology or pop culture references. Adding magic into it might just take it down a road where it can not course correct.
This stepped back up after last week’s fall off. However, this might end up suffering by having just too much. There are four episodes left to get all the stories back on the same track. Pennyworth is on it’s game when it has a focus. Too many moving parts might be a problem. Still, I am intrigued and I want to see how it ends and you should too.