Pennyworth “The Landlord’s Daughter” Review
The first episode of Pennyworth did a great job of setting the groundwork for the greater plotline that would weave through season 1 with The Raven Society. Where the scope of episode 2, The Landlord’s Daughter, initially appears dwarfed by the previous episode, it actually does an even better job of relaying what is to come for the rest of the season and its titular character.
Alfred’s inability to get his company off the ground took an interesting step in The Landlord’s Daughter. When visiting a local pub, Dave Boy and Alfred get the first sightings of a new potential job. A local knob, whom we later find out is Jason Ripper (Freddy Carter), is overtly harassing Sandra, the daughter of the owner of the bar. Where he should have the power to make Jason leave the bar, he is fearful of revenge since the Rippers have a reputation as being especially violent. This hesitancy is also shown from Alfred. Earlier in the episode he actually turns down a “big job” from Thomas Wayne because he doesn’t want to put Esmé’s life in danger. Similarly, he is apprehensive because he doesn’t want any blow back to fall on those to which he is close. But, as much as we’ve learned that Alfred, Dave Boy and Bazza, can pull out the fisticuffs and hold their own, it’s Alfred’s ingenuity that turns Jason on his head, albeit Alfred does get himself into a pinch.
Not only does Alfred confront Jason, but he openly mocks him and leads them on a nice jaunt outside. Seemingly surrounded on all sides, it looks as if Alfred is going to have to fight the entire crew by himself. Of course, Alfred is far smarter than this and has Dave Boy and Bazza waiting around to get the drop on their crew. But, while they could strongarm him convincing him not to ever step foot in the pub again, instead they kidnap him. After some hilarious (and I know how weird this sounds) interrogation techniques, Bazza and Dave Boy get Jason singing and turning on his uncle, John Ripper (Danny Webb). Bingo. Alfred brought John down to hear it all and he forced Jason out of London himself, or he would skin his face off. Lovely.
The mind games between Alfred and Jason continue once they are discussing what Alfred wants out of doing all of this. The cat and mouse game is extraordinary and was one of the first times where we met someone that could really verbally spar with Alfred. It’s clear that John will play some sort of role moving forward, what exactly that is is a bit up in the air.
Contrasting the more in-your-face sequences of the show we, once again, have Esmé’s acting. This time, we get to see her first play. There is something so sweet, genuine and innocent about her acting scenes where she is either rehearsing with Alfred, or putting on a play that really softens the edge around the entire show. Really, Alfred and Esmé’s growing relationship continues to expand and develop right alongside the more violent threads of the show. This idea obviously shows the impact of Alfred’s two worlds crossing over and the inevitable danger of the two doing so.
Bet Sykes is currently being held in the Tower of London awaiting her execution, but someone like Bet doesn’t go out easily. She is able to charm a guard into companionship, enticing him with sex and leading him to do one final thing for her after she threatened to blackmail him by saving used condoms (ew). She just wanted two letters sent. One went to her sister and one to Esmé. As she was being led to be part of a live televised execution (yeah, it was as gruesome as you’d expect), she gets pulled out by some guards, and it is easy to see that this is a ruse. The last person being led to her execution is screaming and when she is executed, The Pennyworth’s and Esmé believe all is done. Alas, the note to her sister who seems to have a dom fantasy of sorts was able to sneak her out and, in turn, placed one of the guards under the hood for execution. As for the other letter, it previously went to Esmé explaining that she enjoyed their time together. Just another way to get into Esmé’s head and it worked. Although, it did lead to a big scene for Alfred and Esmé which catapults their relationship forward.