Pennyworth Season 2 Not Worth a Dime

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Pennyworth SSN2

When I first heard that Gotham was going to be followed up by a series called

Pennyworth, I thought, "Okay, Gotham was a wee bit of a stretch, going back to a pre-Batman version of the setting, but going back to Alfred's younger days is probably beyond a capable grasp."

I believe I was correct in this assumption. Even with Bruno Heller attached, Pennyworth seems to very little connection to the Fox series.

In this second season, Alfred (Jack Bannon) is something of a war profiteer. He runs a night club catering to both sides of the war, and puts his former military skills to the test by taking on the odd mercenary job here and there. Some of these jobs are at the behest of CIA field agent Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), who enjoys a tenuous romantic relationship with resistance fighter, Martha Kane (Emma Paetz).

Yes, I've referenced a war and the specific players in it. But this isn't WW2. This is a civil war in England where the fascist Raven Union seeks to 'make England great again' by invading London and overthrowing the Queen and Prime Minister. The Raven Union is led, figuratively, by the mad Lord James Harwood (Jason Flemyng), but he's just a puppet whose strings are pulled by is underling, Colonel John Salt (Edward Hogg), while they test a chemical weapon that will destroy the entire population of London while leaving the infrastructure intact and the premises safe for habitation moments after the attack.

The only time the series remotely seems like it fits in Gotham's universe is at the close of the second season, and even then the events (and character introduction) seem more to make Pennyworth a show in the tradition of Sydney Newman's The Avengers, with the odd gadget, sixties panache, and Alfred tooling about in a black and red Buick Electra that's more than a little reminiscent of the Ford Futura model that would form the base of the George Barris Batmobile.

The simple plot is far too long in the telling. The Raven Union doesn't want to use their weapon, but Lord Harwood and John Salt very much do want to use it in their name. Alfred is just trying to save enough money to go to America, but decides in the end to stay and fight for England. And various parallel plots run about, intersecting only at the end for them to make any sense as to their connection to the overall story.

Unless you're a compulsive Batman completist, and even if you are, Pennyworth is hardly worth the effort of collecting.

2.5 / 5.0