“Paradise Lost” finally turns the tide of the war as Alfie and co. head out on a suicide mission, and the show’s various subplots begin to catch up to one another.
This recap of Pennyworth season 2, episode 9, “Paradise Lost”, contains spoilers.
You’ll recall that in the previous episode of Epix’s Pennyworth, things weren’t looking too good for either the titular hero or indeed the country. Negotiations between the English League and the Raven Union had gone t**s-up, and Colonel Salt was poised to use his terrible Stormcloud weapon to eradicate any remaining resistance. Alfie, meanwhile, had been badly injured in his climactic showdown with Gully Troy, leaving the League with few options in the face of a Raven leadership that had eliminated any dissenters, put the finger of a fanatic on the world-ending button, and even had Alfie’s presumed-to-be late father Arthur as an ardent supporter, kept alive by the wonders of modern technology.
With all this in mind, “Paradise Lost” opens with Thomas Wayne, Lucius Fox, and Martha recruiting Alfie and Dave Boy for one last job – heisting Stormcloud from the Raven Union headquarters, a veritable suicide mission that Mary is dead-set against. But the fate of the country is at stake, and that’s why Alfie refused to leave for Gotham in the first place, so the mission is a go. During their last nights of freedom, Alfie rekindles his romance with Sandra, Thomas and Martha agree to get wed, and Dave Boy does what he does best – has a drink.
The heist itself is a clear highlight of Pennyworth season 2, episode 9, linking up fan-favorite characters for a job that feels suitably epic but also a neat continuation of the plotting thus far. We’ve had enough glimpses of the Raven HQ to get a good sense of the scale of the task, and there are enough close-calls and moments of tension that getting to the Stormcloud lab doesn’t feel too easy. Naturally, it isn’t easy, since everyone is captured on their way back out, and Alfie, for the first time since his apparent death, comes face to face with his father.
Alfie and Arthur’s relationship has always been testy, but thanks to the secrecy of Arthur’s survival and the fact he has allowed his son and wife to grieve him, Alfie has the moral high ground here, and one gets the sense that Arthur recognizes that. Trying to sway Alfie to the Raven Union’s cause is a waste of breath and batteries – even affixed to life-saving technology, Arthur’s humanity comes through here, a desperate sense of needing to belong to something greater and knowing how much has been sacrificed at the altar of his idealism. This sets up a later development, but more on that in a bit.
With everyone thrown back into cells, “Paradise Lost” finally links up this main plot with Bet and Peggy’s shenanigans, which have felt tangential until this point. They turn up with Salt’s missus as a hostage in order to free Frances Gaunt from captivity, and on their way out they take shelter in the brig where Alfie and co. are being held. Bet recognizes Alfie from his relationship with Esme, and there’s a bit of a darkly comic reunion. When Gaunt realizes they’re after Stormcloud, though, she insists everyone works together, but Alfred, Thomas, Lucius, and Dave Boy are captured once again.
The turning point of Pennyworth season 2, episode 9 comes when Arthur asks Salt for one last opportunity to change his son’s mind and convince him to join the Union. Salt’s arrogance is on full display here. He clearly sees Arthur as something not far removed from a fanatic, someone whose devotion to the cause supersedes everything, even his love of family, and whose gratitude for being “saved” is a foregone conclusion. But Arthur’s previous conversation with Alfie clearly resonated. All he’s worried about now is Mary – he wants to see her before he dies. Leaning close to Alfie, he tells him that there is a gun in his pocket, and Alfie uses it to shoot his way free.
“Paradise Lost”, the penultimate episode of Pennyworth, ends with the mission having been completed. Alfie and co., including Arthur, leave the Raven Union headquarters with Stormcloud, and for the first time, it looks like the war might be winable. With Bet and Peggy still aiming to take down Salt and install Gaunt at the head of the Union, there’s a clear path to peace for England – and a route to Gotham City for everyone else.