“Sandie Shaw” was a great episode full of drama, political intrigue, and refreshingly little satanism.
This recap of Pennyworth Season 1, Episode 8, “Sandie Shaw”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking the words.
Having formed a reluctant short-term partnership, Alfred (Jack Bannon) and Bet (Paloma Faith) enjoy a cup of tea and try to figure some things out in “Sandie Shaw”, chief among them how she’s alive and why Esme (Emma Corrin) is dead. Bet reveals a few things about the second matter that Alfie wasn’t aware of. The first is that Curzon (Charlie Woodward) wasn’t alone on the night of Esme’s murder; he had a female companion, and they let themselves in with a big ring of keys. The police also covered up the details and buried the case. Thinking the description sounds like Mrs. Pike (Victoria Willing), Alfie goes to the boozer to task Bazza (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) and Dave Boy (Ryan Fletcher) with finding her while he goes to see a policeman.
The policeman he goes to see is, predictably, Detective Inspector Aziz (Ramon Tikaram), who admits that Esme’s murder was covered up because Curzon is the ******* son of a wealthy lord. But that isn’t good enough for Alfie, who gives him 24 hours to deliver Curzon before he starts causing a great deal of trouble. Aziz goes straight to the Prime Minister (Richard Clothier), who uses his leverage in the situation to ensure political support from Curzon’s father if Alfie is dealt with.
The Prime Minister has plenty of political maneuvering to busy himself with in Pennyworth Episode 8. He and Queen Elizabeth II (Jessica Ellerby) are fretting over the Raven Society holding a public rally, and fear they’re pushing for a hung parliament; the PM wants the most violent police response possible, complete with rubber bullets and water hoses and snipers, but the Queen isn’t having any of that — a decision that’ll come to haunt her by the end of “Sandie Shaw”.
Doctor Gaunt (Anna Chancellor), to her credit, is skeptical of Lord Harwood’s (Jason Flemyng) radical plans to seize power for the Raven Society, especially when it comes to using the Duke and Duchess (Helena Blackman) of Windermere as a threat to the Queen. But as Pennyworth Episode 8 goes on to prove, Harwood is a compelling anti-establishment figure and as is always the case in public uprisings, that means he’ll probably win.
In a brief scene of little consequence, Martha (Emma Paetz) goes to visit Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) to let him know that she still wants to work for him despite his affiliation with the CIA; there’s a brief bit of business about what he really saw at Crowley’s manor, but little is made of it, and that’s perhaps for the best — “Sandie Shaw” was much improved for having no associations with the satanic.
Besides, there was plenty more to deal with. Alfie receives a call from Aziz informing him that Curzon has been gift-wrapped for him — which is half true. He and his elderly associate are present, but it’s a sting that Alfie immediately sniffs out. This whole standoff sequence proved a clear highlight of Pennyworth Episode 8, with Alfie trying to call Aziz’s bluff, and Aziz trying to talk Alfie down. Eventually, and surprisingly, Bet intervenes, holding a knife to Aziz’s throat and forcing his men to put down their weapons. She wants to torture Curzon, but Alfie executes them both. The best she’s able to get is smashing in his post-mortem head while Aziz, still tied up, looks on in horror.
Gaunt attends the Raven Society rally and gives another nutcase right-wing speech for which Mr. Pennyworth (Ian Puleston-Davies) is once again in attendance. The big reveal of Lord Harwood in “Sandie Shaw” proves another highlight, as the baying mob is thrilled to see him take to the stage with his metal nose and his promises to undermine the current government; the Prime Minister watching on in horror at the TV is great fun, too. The best he can do is deploy the riot police, whose beatings and arrests only incense the mob further. Alfie’s dad also gets a clout, which he later plays off an accident in front of Alfie.
Pennyworth Season 1, Episode 8 delivers a couple of last-minute turns to keep us guessing until next week. In the first, Lord Harwood presents the Duke and Duchess of Windermere for the next stage in his plan, despite the protestations of Doctor Gaunt. In the second, Alfie goes to visit Esme’s grave and is promptly surrounded by armed police.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.