“Alma Coogan” proved to be another strong episode, with a healthy balance of action, political turmoil and conspiracy.
This recap of Pennyworth Season 1, Episode 9, “Alma Coogan”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Pennyworth Episode 9 finds Alfred (Jack Bannon) still in police custody after his unlawful execution of Captain Curzon (Charlie Woodward) last week. Inspector Aziz (Ramon Tikaram) wants him to give up his accomplice, but like any true Cockney Herbert, Alfie won’t grass anyone up — even if it is the psychotic Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith).
As a result, Alfred says goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth (Ian Puleston-Davies and Dorothy Atkinson) and gets sentenced to seven years in Newgate Prison. Within about five minutes he runs the place.
The general public is still in the midst of political chaos. Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) and Martha Kane (Emma Paetz) debate the country’s leadership in “Alma Coogan”, but keep coming back to the obvious conclusion that there’s no system of governance that uniformly benefits all the people it ostensibly governs. Every party has its strings pulled by various puppeteers, such as the CIA, whom by Thomas’s own admission don’t care who runs the country unless they somehow serve American interests. And on and on it goes. Martha, though, wants to help Thomas help the CIA help the No-Name League since it aligns better with her values of social justice. Whatever makes you feel better, I suppose.
Sandra (Harriet Slater) visits Alfie in Newgate with a message from Bazza (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) and Dave Boy (Ryan Fletcher) telling him to remember Rangoon. It’s code for a planned escape attempt, but tells them to forget about it — and Sandra to forget about him. She’s better than the kind of man he is, so he insists, but one gets the sense that poor Sandra doesn’t much care.
As it turns out, Alfie doesn’t need anyone to break him out, since Aziz is willing to set him free just so long as he agrees to kill Lord Harwood (Jason Flemyng). And he does, of course, because why not? He’s basically a cartoon villain at this point anyway.
Still, actually pulling the job off is easier said than done. For one thing, Alfie is dealing with the revelation that his father has terminal lung cancer. For another, Thomas and Martha are his additional targets at the meeting he, Dave Boy and Bazza are surveilling from a nearby hillock, and as a matter of principle he won’t kill people he knows and likes, even if he’s only known them for five minutes and doesn’t actually like them very much. At least he warns his compatriots that they won’t enjoy what he does next, which is to use his expert marksmanship to facilitate Thomas and Martha’s escape.
The obvious downside of this is that it also facilitates Lord Harwood’s escape. In one of the closing scenes of “Alma Coogan”, he’s seen schmoozing military chaps who won’t agree to fight for anyone but the crown; luckily, according to Harwood, the queen is on his side. And she just might be, since we then see Bet and Peggy (Polly Walker) kidnap her majesty (Jessica Ellerby).
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.