Pennyworth Recap: The Premiere Wasn’t A Fluke — This Show Is Really Good Ripper Street

August 5, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps
4

Summary

“The Landlord’s Daughter” provides another strong standalone episode while patiently developing the season’s overarching narrative.

4

Summary

“The Landlord’s Daughter” provides another strong standalone episode while patiently developing the season’s overarching narrative.

This recap of Pennyworth Season 1, Episode 2, “The Landlord’s Daughter”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


It wasn’t a fluke! “The Landlord’s Daughter” proves that Epix’s reimagining of Batman’s butler as an East End vigilante is not just its own thing but also a really good thing, deserving of your attention and respect. With virtually no associations with the broader mythos other than a brief exchange with Thomas Wayne, Pennyworth Episode 2 delivers again on its finely-balanced tone and competing micro and macro plotlines; this is really well-crafted television —  there’s no other way to put it.

Primarily a small-scale local crime story, “The Landlord’s Daughter” finds Alfred embroiled in the affairs of an East End criminal bigwig, John Ripper (Danny Webb), whose psychotic son Jason (Freddy Carter) has developed an unhealthy obsession with the local landlord’s pretty daughter. Pennyworth Episode 2 gives Alfred and his chums Bazza (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) and Dave Boy (Ryan Fletcher) an excuse to put their military skills to good use, but also to further their dynamic — the rapid unraveling of the latter remains something that I’m sure will have major consequences soon.

Meanwhile in “The Landlord’s Daughter”, Bet’s shenanigans in prison and her fake execution keep the show’s larger narrative ambitions ticking away. It’s difficult to find a balance between Cockney tough-guy theatrics and national conspiracies, but Pennyworth Season 1, Episode 2 is able to find it, just like the pilot episode. The Raven Society and its governmental connections provide an intriguing menace, but what really works about the show is its attention to characterization. Alfred’s relationship with Esme and with his war buddies is really at the heart of things, and that none of those characters has ever factored into Batman stories lends a looming dread to proceedings.

In the temporary absence of The Walking Dead and other Sunday night heavy-hitters, Pennyworth is well-positioned to find an eager audience. And it deserves one. Thus far this is a show doing almost everything right, and I’d be happy to see it continue and really carve out a niche for itself in Batman’s ever-present shadow.

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