I suppose it takes a lot of looking inward, before you can finally let go of the past. Moving toward the future, Season 2 of Pennyworth did a whole lot of that.
From the season premiere, the EPIX TV show kept building onto what came from the previous year’s events. And then the James Bond-type stories became the envy of heist films’ past. As Alfred was careening toward self-destruction, there were never any easy decisions to be made.
At the conclusion of the season finale, “The Lion and Lamb,” just as the British civil war between the Raven Society and the No Name League seemed to have finally ended, a flash forward reveals the New Raven Alliance’s final battle has all been assured before a sci-fi conclusion that’s more Mr. Freeze than anything else, which raised some eyebrows. Then Martha Wayne delivers a girl and all bets are off. Just when a few Easter Eggs hinted this series was finally headed toward its original source-material roots, there’s simply no telling what’s next for the show.
Assuming Pennyworth receives the greenlight for Season 3, there seem to be a whole lot of changes in store, although saving the world never gets old for this crew. Nothing seems to ever stand in Alfred’s way. Whether it’s Project Stormcloud, the terror bomb McGuffin of the season, the ghosts of Alfie’s past that are haunting him or the political gamesmanship played by the government organizations — which group is actually the terrorists, by the way?
En route to America, Alfie’s change of heart is yet another assist to Her Majesty’s royal court. Amid the civil unrest in England, Martha and Thomas have finally married, Dr. Lucius Fox makes a grand entrance and hints about Thomas Wayne becoming a doctor are made. For all of that which was good for fanboys to recognize, there was much more to complain about. Main characters are frequently killed off as let-downs to the ongoing storyline. I don’t like how far Alfred’s fallen to become a thief on a crime spree. His wishy-washy morals don’t quite fit in with the Batman comics, further proved via an unnecessary affair with his former commanding officer’s wife, leading to Alfie’s never-ending need to seeking something more, even though he already had a lot.
Spots of black magic and a never-ending game of revenge fill out the season, along with Alfie’s famous last words: “I’m not ever coming to work for you… not you or anyone else.”
I’m not gonna lie. I really lost interest toward the beginning of Season 2. There’s absolutely zero sympathetic characters promoting the militia group. Treachery is contagious, but it’s not enough to hold my attention. While I did enjoy another great Amy Winehouse number, Alfred’s dialogue quoting Elvis Costello felt like too much breaking of a fourth-wall to be believable.
This is the hand the characters have been dealt (as well as us, the viewers). With every one step forward moving these characters to Gotham City, they take three steps back, completely falling into the plot holes laid by the show’s writers. And the characters can’t seem to get out of their own way.
“There’s something about trouble that you like…”
I don’t need Alfred to be a superhero. I don’t want the character to be an anti-hero. I do want some semblance of his comic book character to be present within this show. After two seasons, it seems like that scenario may never appear in this series. The Problem With Pennyworth is a complicated matter.
I want to love this show. But as it’s currently presented, I only mildly enjoy it, tolerating it from time to time. I was really hoping Season 3 would finally wrap up this endless warfare and transfer our main characters stateside, bringing the full spotlight to these characters’ origin stories. It’s still possible for DC Comics to creep into the main storyline, but it looks like this is the Batman Universe in name only, and that is a shame.