Synopsis: When Alfred Pennyworth is hired to find a missing young woman and reunite her with her family it gradually uncovers a CIA scheme that involves mind control, which involves the Wayne family.
Alfred Pennyworth returns and a couple of years have passed since the events seen in season 2. Alfred continues his work in private security with Dave Boy but now has Bet Sykes in his employ, which is something that comes with its own set of complications given that Bet is still searching for Colonel John Salt and anyone connected with the old Raven society. However, for Alfred, the more immediate issue is a case that sees him having to find a young woman called Jessica Thistle who has run away from her well to do parents and joined a hippie commune that is led by Sister Susie. But finding and retrieving Jessica and reuniting her with her folks proves to be full of complications. Especially when her parents are murdered and Jessica turns up on Alfie’s doorstep covered in blood.
As the story unfolds. We learn that the CIA has been working on a new drug that enables them to control minds and it turns out that young Jessica was a guinea pig for this program and sister Susie’s commune was a CIA front. Added to this is the involvement of Thomas Wayne’s father who is being coerced by a CIA operative who is trying to find the scientist that developed the drug and is hoping to use Martha to help her find him.
Added to all of this is the UK’s new program of agents that have artificial enhancements. Thanks to the work of a certain Lucious Fox. Referred to as PWE’s, which is short for Person with enhancements. The enhancements range from a full-on robot suit to an artificial arm made of steel. These PWE’s seem to be more trouble than help given that the remaining human has a will of its own and does not take kindly to being isolated when not being used for missions. One such case is Captain Gulliver Troy who escapes in episode three and has to be retrieved by Alfie as Gully is looking to travel to America to find his wife.
Jack Bannon continues to do a great job of carrying this series as the titular character. Much like in the previous two seasons Alfred is very much the man about town and full of self-confidence. The opening minutes of the first episode see Alfred, Dave Boy and Bet having to retrieve a PWE for Martha and MI5. This scene does a great job of establishing that certain things haven’t changed. Namely Alfred’s street smarts.
Ben Aldridge continues to be solid as Thomas Wayne and the ideal marriage of him and Martha (Emma Paetz) runs into issues with the arrival of Thomas’s father Patrick who knows about a few secrets that Martha has been keeping from Thomas. This is something that unsettles their relationship, which up until that point has been fairly stable.
In short, the acting throughout is top-notch.
These opening three episodes of season three do a brilliant job of setting up the story arc for this season. Although it gets off to a slow and steady start in Well To Do. The action and the reveals soon start to happen in episodes two and three. Added to this the theme of mind-altering drugs and mind-controlling drugs feels very 1960s and fits in with this world brilliant. The addition of Patrick Wayne to the series has opened up all sorts of possibilities on both the level of family as well as added fuel for the plot. Furthermore, including Patrick Wayne also allows the series to continue to draw themes and storylines from the DC comics from which these characters and stories are riffing off.
Overall. This is a brilliant start for Pennyworth that has me looking forward to seeing what we’ll see happen in next week’s episode. As the third episode ends on a brilliant cliffhanger. It is also a slight rebrand given that the series is now shown on HBO and is now called Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler. Personally, I preferred the shorter title.
- CGI & Stunts9.5
- Incidental Music10