Pennyworth season 2, episode 7 recap – “The Bloody Mary”

March 22, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Epix, Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

Alfie gets his Rachel from Friends moment in “The Bloody Mary”, but there’s plenty waiting for him off the plane that might make him regret the decision.

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3.5

Summary

Alfie gets his Rachel from Friends moment in “The Bloody Mary”, but there’s plenty waiting for him off the plane that might make him regret the decision.

This recap of Pennyworth season 2, episode 7, “The Bloody Mary”, contains spoilers.


“The Bloody Mary” is a classic will-they-won’t-they episode, but not about a relationship – not entirely, anyway. The question is really whether Alfie, his mother, Dave Boy, and eventually Melanie Troy will get on a plane to Gotham and leave all their problems behind. Of course, there wouldn’t be much of a show if the titular character did a runner halfway through the season, but there’s much more to the decision on a character level. Plus, the episode also gives us the death of a major antagonist and some high-level politicking between England and America in the midst of the on-going war for London between the Raven Union and the English League, so it’s covering as many bases as possible.

Alfie’s arc throughout this second season has been drumming up the cash for the trip, which he was able to do, albeit at the cost of some personal morals and in part his relationship with his mother.  “The Bloody Mary” finds him on the eve of departure, and the ticking clock throughout the episode’s early portions is whether Gully Troy has figured out that Alfie has been doing the no-pants-dance with his missus. (Remember, Aziz and the Queen threatened to expose it, so someone has been talking.) Troy approaches Alfie under the guise of hiring him for another lucrative job, and then acts particularly offended when Alfie turns it down. Later, he suggests to Melanie that Alfie’s fear during the interaction tipped him off to their affair, at which point she admits it. It still isn’t clear to the audience whether he knew because he was told by someone else, or whether he really was just guessing, but either way, he brutally beats Melanie until she’s able to stab him repeatedly (though not fatally) with a broken bottle.

It’s worth noting that Pennyworth season 2, episode 7 lingers on this interaction for a good long while, one assumes to really create the desired effect of a man – a trained SAS man, no less – physically assaulting a woman. Perhaps that point could have been made in a shorter, tighter scene, but I can see the logic either way.

Of course, this leads Melanie to Alfie, who offers to take her with him to America, much to the consternation of his mother. This whole sequence is played for laughs, in a lot of ways, with Mary throwing Melanie a load of withering looks and making very thinly-veiled comments about her being “well-traveled”. On the airport’s tarmac, Alfie suddenly decides against leaving, realizing he’s running away from his home, which receives some mixed reactions. Mary is thrilled and thought it was inevitable anyway (I liked this as a subtle way of showing that mum always knows best). Dave Boy is frustrated but ultimately agrees to stay with him, teeing up what I’m assuming will be his impactful death later in the season. And Melanie boards the plane, which only makes sense – keeping her around would have seemed too much like a contrivance, reducing her to a token to be fought over or a way to drum up cheap peril. It’s also funny that Thomas Wayne’s sister goes with her – a match made in heaven, I’m sure.

Speaking of which, Thomas and Lucius Fox were both supposed to leave London on the same plane, under explicit orders from the CIA to just let the war run its course and keep their hands clean. Of course, this is morally objectionable to a cartoonish extent (though perhaps not given the CIA’s history) and both Lucius and Thomas refuse to go along with it, instead letting Aziz and Martha know all about the potential dangers of Project Stormcloud.

Stormcloud forms a pretty big part of Colonel Salt’s plans for the Union, and he’s hoping to scapegoat Lord Harwood for its use, which is why the latter is being kept on house arrest at his country estate. That makes him relatively local to Bet and Peggy Sykes, who hilariously storm the property and dispatch with a whole bunch of pimply squaddies to free him. But the Union forces are too numerous for them all to escape, so Harwood cooks up a scheme to surrender himself so they can escape and hook up with Frances Gaunt. Harwood might be bonkers, but he isn’t stupid. He recognizes that Gaunt has a legitimate claim to Union leadership and can use it to dethrone Salt, and he also knows that Salt can’t use him as an excuse to launch Stormcloud if he’s dead. Thus, he engineers a scenario in which the Union troops have to shoot him dead. It’s a delaying tactic that results in the death of a complicated character who I’ll be sad to see go, as despicable as he might have been. But now, as we approach the finale, Pennyworth season 2, episode 7 has given the next few episodes a clear shape, with the stakes higher than ever.

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