“The Bleeding Heart” sets Alfie on a dark path, as dissent bubbles within the Raven Union and Lucius Fox remains trapped behind enemy lines.
This recap of Pennyworth season 2, episode 5, “The Bleeding Heart”, contains spoilers.
Throughout its first season, it was easy to forget that Pennyworth was anything to do with the broader Batman mythology. But the fourth episode of the second season went some way towards rectifying that by introducing long-time stalwart Lucius Fox… and then the show went on hiatus for months and everyone forgot about him. A refresher, then: In this story, he’s a double agent embedded inside the Raven Union, and the Raven Union are resting all their hopes of ousting the English League and taking complete control of England on an experimental weapon dubbed “Stormcloud”, which is so devastating it’s giving even hard-line Ravens second thoughts. You’ll also recall that Alfred, having planned to escape to America with Dave Boy and Bazza, was left penniless and without one of his two besties, which is where “The Bleeding Heart” picks up.
Suddenly broke, arranging transport to Gotham is not going to be easy, even with Thomas Wayne and the CIA in his corner, and Alfie refuses to accept a loan and be indebted to the Agency. Out of ideas, he turns once again to Gully Troy, even though he still has a fractious relationship with his boys and planted a kiss on his wife the last time he saw her – something that earned him a slap, if not necessarily a convincing one.
Troy, naturally, has a scheme lined up: He and his hooligans plan to make off with the fortunes of a wrestling event’s organizer, which involves blowing open the safe when the event is underway and thousands of fans are packed into the venue, but the match finishing ahead of schedule scuppers the entire endeavor, leading to the death of several innocent people courtesy of one of Troy’s unhinged goons. The job’s a success, financially speaking, but it’s a disaster morally, and when it makes the papers, Alfie suddenly returning home flush with cash tips his mother off to what he’s been up to. With no better options, and his life in the balance anyway, he throws caution to the wind and beds Melanie, Troy’s wife.
This is one of two ill-advised relationships in Pennyworth season 2, episode 5. The other is between Bet Sykes and Katie, which comes out of nowhere and seems to be spurred on by Katie learning of not just Bet’s trauma but also some of the horrific things she’s done, as recounted to her by Peggy. This remains a weird subplot and it’s difficult to see where it’s going at present, but “The Bleeding Heart” won’t let us forget about these characters, so there’s a plan in place for them somewhere.
That’s not the only macro storytelling work underway here. A meeting between Frances Gaunt, who is suitably appalled by Stormcloud, and new Prime Minister Aziz, sets up some dissent among the Raven Union, especially once Lord Harwood figures out that his second has been cozying up to the enemy and discussing ceasefires. And with Lucius stuck behind enemy lines and requiring a rescue, an immediate question for the next episode to address is whether Wayne can get him out of there. The hiatus might have hurt the show’s momentum a little, but there’s still plenty of interesting things going on.