Pennyworth Recap: Every Witch Way Into the Woods

August 26, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

Satanists, witches, and a sharp change in tone made “Cilla Black” the weirdest episode of Pennyworth thus far.

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3.5

Summary

Satanists, witches, and a sharp change in tone made “Cilla Black” the weirdest episode of Pennyworth thus far.

This recap of Pennyworth Season 1, Episode 6, “Cilla Black”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


“Cilla Black” was a lot weirder than usual but as compelling as ever; a clear example of Epix’s Pennyworth fully embracing its adjacency to comic book storytelling for the first time. There were witches, satanist shindigs, telling hallucinations, and a bit more besides, but the show’s essential quality shone through nonetheless.

First, Lord Harwood (Jason Flemyng). Still under the care of Northern nuisances Bet (Paloma Faith) and Peggy Sykes (Polly Walker), he’s boasting a new plastic nose and a rejuvenated memory. He knows who he is and that the Prime Minister (Richard Clothier) tortured him. By the end of Pennyworth Episode 6, he has resolved to return to London and reclaim his position, with both of the Sykes sisters in tow.

The fate of the noseless amnesiac living with a couple of nutcase sisters and their cuck-couple house-servants was easily the most normal plot in “Cilla Black”, which is saying an awful lot. The weirdness begins when John Ripper (Danny Webb), as payment for Alfie (Jack Bannon) blowing off the head of the No-Name League’s leader last week, recommends the clairvoyant services of Baroness Ortsey (Felicity Kendal), a woman who lives in the basement of a hospital and claims to be a witch. She also claims that if Alfie — cynical, as ever — delivers a red rose and the left hand of a murderer, she’ll be able to identify Esme’s (Emma Corrin) killer.

If you say so. It seems unlikely right up until it isn’t. An altercation at the club with a rowdy patron results in Alfie cleaving off his hand with a machete, and it happens to fall alongside a convenient rose. Taking the grim items back to Ortsey, Alfie is offered a cup of spiked tea and led via hallucinatory pathways to the presumed culprit: His old Army Captain Curzon (Charlie Woodward). Rounding up Bazza (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) and Dave Boy (Ryan Fletcher), the Pennyworth Security trio head out to their former Captain’s sprawling country manse and discover a note informing Alfie that he knows the truth.

This would be a weird plotline at the best of times, but “Cilla Black” has some competition for it. Because he’s busy with CIA-sanctioned skullduggery, Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) has no choice but to deposit his drug-addled sister Patricia (Salóme Gunnarsdóttir) with Martha Kane (Emma Paetz). The babysitting duties go a bit awry when Pat drags Martha along to a sexy satanist party presided over by the King Creep Aleister Crowley (Jonjo O’Neill). The party goes exactly how you expect a party amongst devil-worshippers might go. But Martha’s fate remains a bit nebulous. At the end of Pennyworth Episode 6, she wakes up naked in the gnarled roots of an evil-looking tree, as London’s smog-choked industrial skyline looms over the background.


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