'Pennyworth': S01.E08. "Sandie Shaw"

by Shain Thomas 8 months ago in tv review

Alfred Pennyworth continues his quest to avenge Esme’s murder.

'Pennyworth': S01.E08. "Sandie Shaw"

The latest episode of Bruno Heller’s Batman prequel period drama Pennyworth picks up the story the following morning.

In the previous episode, the Clare Kilner directed "Julie Christie," we saw Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) go after the man that killed Esme Winikus (Emma Corrin), but he finds he’s not the only one that has a vendetta against Captain Curzon (Charlie Woodward). Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith), an individual Alfred thought executed, was there to kill Curzon for what he did to the woman she loved.

The Jon East directed Sandie Shaw opens with a scene set in a coffee shop. Alfred and Bet are seated opposite each other. Whilst drinking coffee, Alfred asks Bet how she can still be alive. Not wanting to implicate her sister, Peggy Sykes (Polly Walker), Bet refuses to answer the question.

Bet, even though she hardly knew Esme, insists that she loved her. That’s why she was there when Alfred arrived. When Alfred told Bet the reason for Curzon killing Esme, it didn’t completely surprise her. Because she wants to make Curzon pay for what he did to Esme, Bet is adamant Alfred let he be part of taking the captain down.

Initially, Alfred isn’t interested in anything Bet has to say, but as he walks away, she tells him what she saw. There was a woman with Curzon the night he killed Esme. Even though she didn’t get a proper look at the woman, Bet does a good job describing Curzon’s nanny/housekeeper.

When Bet mentions that the Curzon let himself in, Alfred realises that they must have had keys to the building. Bet correctly surmises that her mentioning the keys gave Alfred a clue. When Alfred refuses to explain himself, Bet insists that she accompany him on his investigation because she’s not going to let it go until Curzon has paid for Esme’s death.

Screen Capture: Paloma Faith, Jack Bannon, and Chamat Arambewela as Bet Sykes, Alfred Pennyworth, and the Real Estate Agent, respectively, in Pennyworth

Alfred and Bet pay a visit to the real estate company responsible for the flats where Alfred was set to move into. As they enter the real estate office, on the opposite side of the street, two men are putting up a poster advertising a speech Dr. Frances Gaunt (Anna Chancellor) will be giving for the Raven Society.

Meanwhile, because Bet has little patience for fools and liars, the real estate agent staggers from the building. Screaming in pain, the man is clearly is some distress. With broach in hand, Bet comes out of the doorway. Alfred suggests to Bet that she walk away so that he can talk to the man.

As Alfred and Bet leave the scene, she asks him about their next moves. Alfred doesn’t want Bet involves in what he’s got planned because he doesn’t trust her. After telling her that they’ll never see each other again, he runs to catch the bus and hops on board.

Screen Capture: Richard Clothier as the Prime Minister in Pennyworth

Elsewhere in London, at Buckingham Palace, the British Prime Minister (Richard Clothier) is speaking with the Queen (Jessica Ellerby) about the Raven Society and its plans to stage a rally in the park. The PM, having shown the Queen a poster advertising the event, doesn’t see the big picture. The Raven Society clearly has something planned, but the PM doesn’t understand what the organisation hopes to accomplish. Is it possible that the mob will call for a general election?

The Queen ponders over what the Raven Society could possibly want from this very public demonstration. The PM sees the Raven Society as nothing more than fascists who what to destroy the half of the country they disagree with so that they can get what they want.

The PM warns the Queen, if she doesn’t toe the line with the Raven Society, it might force her to abdicate the throne and install the Duke of Windermere (Rufus Wright) as monarch. Even though the Queen believes the people would never stand for such a move, she clearly doesn’t understand the resolve Lord James Harwood (Jason Flemyng) in getting what he desires.

Screen Capture: Danny Webb and Sarah Alexander as John Ripper and Undine Thwaite, respectively, in Pennyworth

Undine Thwaite (Sarah Alexander) isn’t happy with Frances because she sees this rally as breaking their pact. John Ripper (Danny Webb) wonders what’s so important that Francis needs to say it in a public rally. Does Francis not understand that there is a very real risk of her being arrested? John, even though it doesn’t look like he believes it himself, tells Undine she should be happy that Francis is giving this public speech because she’s making a huge mistake.

In response to Francis’ rally, Undine wants to stage a counter-protest so that the people will not see the No-Name League as being weak. John suggests to her that she hold off on any such plans to stage a similar event because the police will handle Francis and the Raven Society. Why get your hands dirty when you can rely on the police to do the job for you?

At Sid Onslow’s (Simon Day) pub, a Raven Society leader makes his presence felt by jumping on a table and giving an announcement speech of his own. Even though he feels his message is important, a football fan at a nearby table isn’t interested in what he’s got to say because there’s a game on television he and the lads are trying to watch. The football fans would rather watch the game than listen to some Raven Society speech.

Screen Capture: Ryan Fletcher as Wallace 'Dave Boy' MacDougal in Pennyworth

Wallace 'Dave Boy' MacDougal (Ryan Fletcher) and Deon 'Bazza' Bashford (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) are watching the drama unfold from a distance when Alfred joins them. While Alfred doesn’t go into any detail as to how he knows what he knows, he tells Dave Boy and Bazza that there was a woman with Curzon the night he killed Esme. From the description he was given, Alfred is sure the woman was Mrs Pike (Victoria Willing). Mrs Pike is Curzon’s nanny/housekeeper. Alfred wants them to track her down whilst he pays a visit to Detective Inspector Aziz (Ramon Tikaram). There was a coverup and Alfred wants answers.

Meanwhile, Francis is in her study working on the speech she’ll be giving at the rally. It doesn’t look like it’s going well. Harwood correctly observes Frances is nervous about something. He assures her that everything will be fine and that her speech will be marvellous.

Later, Alfred visits Aziz at the police station. Alfred warns Aziz that he can’t be responsible for his actions if he were to play dumb. It becomes clear to Aziz that Alfred knows the police covered up Curzon’s involvement in Esme’s death. This leaves Aziz in somewhat of a sticky situation. Alfred gives Aziz 24-hours and promptly leaves the office.

Elsewhere, the PM is discussing the Raven Society with likeminded individuals. While Sir Francis Tewkes (Nicholas Jones) hopes the PM will put a stop to the Raven Society, Lord William Smytth (Peter Woodward) has a very different view on the matter. Smytth speaks in favour of the Raven Society. He’d rather see the Raven Society victorious over the No-Name League because there is something about the society that resonates strongly with him. It is here that we discover Arthur Pennyworth (Ian Puleston-Davies) works for Tewkes as his butler. Arthur informs Tewkes there is a telephone call for the PM.

We can surmise from the tone of voice the PM takes, the telephone call he received came from Aziz. This is confirmed when we see Aziz meet with the PM and Smytth. When Smytth wants to know why the matter isn’t resolved, Aziz informs him that Alfred is a highly skilled combat veteran. Smytth, Curzon’s father, wants Alfred dealt with.

Elsewhere, in the park, police patrol the rally site. With television cameras there to broadcast the event live, people across the nation tune in to the event in anticipation of hearing the speech.

Screen Capture: Taken from Pennyworth

After Alfred receives a telephone call from Aziz, he makes his way to the Westdale pumping station. Alfred understands that there is the potential for a trap, but he goes anyway. When Alfred arrives at the pumping station, he finds Curzon and Pike are blindfolded.

Alfred’s suspicion of it being a trap was confirmed. Aziz and his men were at the pumping station. Curzon orders Aziz to shoot Alfred. The inspector ignores him. Aziz sees Curzon as a pathetic little man not worth his time.

Bet steps out of the shadows, places a knife to the inspector’s throat and orders the men to drop their guns. Alfred wasn’t aware Bet was there. She must have followed him to the pumping station.

Alfred, tired and unimpressed with everything, shoots Curzon and Pike.

Screen Capture: Anna Chancellor as Dr Frances Gaunt in Pennyworth

At the rally, the people wait for Frances to take the stage. A representative of the Raven Society introduces Francis to the crowd. Francis talks about the direction the country has been going in and how there is a moral decay taking hold of the nation. She goes onto speak of her predecessor and how the authorities tried him.

Screen Capture: Jason Flemyng as Lord James Harwood in Pennyworth

Considering the degree of detail Francis uses to describe Harwood’s treatment, the PM should have known that the former Raven Society leader was still alive. Francis resigns her position and introduces man that is to take her place. To everyone’s surprise, not least of all the PM, it’s Harwood. Arthur, standing in the front row, applauds vigorously.

The PM orders the police to take down the rally. In the confusion, to the PM’s annoyance, Harwood gets the police to stop their unwarranted assault on the rally.

Screen Capture: Taken from Pennyworth

The episode closes with Alfred leaving flowers on Esme’s grave. With Aziz watching, Alfred is surrounded by armed officers.

tv review
Shain Thomas
Shain Thomas
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Shain Thomas

I'm a freelance journalist. A member of both the NLGJA and SPJ, I currently write articles for Harsh Light News on Medium and HVY.Com. When I was a university student, I wrote articles for the NT Daily and TCU 360.

See all posts by Shain Thomas