Pennyworth Thoughts From Pilot Episode | SDCC 2019
When sitting down for Pennyworth, the only thought that went through my mind was that we are getting another story about periphery characters to Batman that aren’t as interesting or entertaining as the caped crusader. After watching the Pennyworth pilot, I was very, very wrong.
Chalk it up to an American not hearing British accents often or what have you, but everything about the entire cast was absolutely charming and they all sold their characters so well. The slower burn nature of the show provided an alluring edge-of-your seat tempo. The pilot combined action sequences and romantic scenes so seamlessly that the world of Pennyworth was built with absolute perfection.
While all characters really came to life, I have to give a shout out two stars, Jack Bannon (playing Alfred Pennyworth) and Emma Corrin (playing Esmé). Outside of their charming chemistry together, they are powerhouses each in their own rights. There are times where you hear those Alfred Pennyworth quirks from the times he’s been on the big screen come through in the dialogue throughout the episode. Contrasting his absolutely charming nature is his tragic backstory. The balance between the two pulls Alfred from being the wise butler we’ve known, to an incredibly well-rounded character. As for Esmé, she feels to be such a “Do what I have to do, to get to where I want to go character.” In this, I mean that in the pilot she is a dancer that is making money to put herself through acting school, yet when she needs to physically fight she does so. She’s clearly note a one-note character, and it appears she will perfectly ground Alfred.
Pennyworth has already proven, yes just with the Pilot, that this is far more than another show without the caped crusader. Its ability to avoid really getting too far into mentioning Batman due to the timeframe in which this is set will hopefully allow it to avoid the always awkward talking around Batman but not about Batman trap all similar shows fall into.
Pennyworth follows the young adult life of Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) before his butler days to the wealthy Wayne family. Set in 1960s London, Alfred Pennyworth is looking to make a name for himself and build his own security firm. After the war, Pennyworth and his buddies are struggling to reacclimate, but Alfred is determined to follow his dreams. Of course it doesn’t help that Alfred’s own parents don’t believe that his ambitions are worthwhile. They were raised to believe that a simple life of hard work, such as becoming a butler, is a worthy profession.
Alfred’s life really starts to take a turn when he meets Thomas Wayne. With how well known Alfred is in relation to Bruce Wayne aka Batman, I’m glad that the showrunners decided to make Thomas Wayne a mainstay from the beginning. Unfortunately for Alfred, Thomas Wayne brings nothing but trouble. Alfred helps out Wayne in the nightclub where he works and passes along one of his cards in case Thomas could use his security services. Little does he know that some bad people are after Thomas Wayne and stumble upon Alfred Pennyworth in the meantime.
Pennyworth is a bit of a slow burn, but the acting and setting is superb. Period pieces are always a challenge, but between the language, accents, and the scenery, 1960s London comes alive once again. There were a few times where I struggled to understand a couple of the characters, but that didn’t take away from both the drama as well as the wit and humor. The humor is something I didn’t anticipate from Pennyworth. It was a pleasant surprise, one that makes me want to see more from Alfred and friends.
Pennyworth airs on Epix on Sunday July 28th.