‘Pennyworth’ S02 E02 Review: ‘The Burning Bridge’

by Rachel Bellwoar

PR is the word of the day on this week’s Pennyworth, as everyone on both sides of the London Siege line seems awfully concerned about their public image. Pennyworth is worried about what people will think if he skips town. Pennyworth’s mom is worried about gossip. The CIA are worried about people having qualms about the hydrogen bomb. Bets needs to make sure Harwood is onboard with her killing Major Sutcliffe (Louis Dempsey), and Harwood is worried about project Storm Cloud and whether or not its victims will look too disgusting.

Jack Bannon and Dorothy Atkinson (Photo Credit: Alex Bailey/Epix)

Is PR really the root of all these problems though? PR is certainly not the only thing stopping Alfie from feeling good about his decision to move to America. His mom doesn’t want him to go. He no longer has the cash. If only because they kidnapped his mom, he should be able to find the culprits, but that doesn’t mean he’ll get his money back.

Who kidnapped Pennyworth’s mom anyway? Aziz thought Pennyworth was meeting with Gully, but black ski masks are far from a smoking gun. The robbery wasn’t random. Someone called in advance, but was cash the real target or is someone invested in Alfie staying?

While she’s certainly presented as one of the reasons Alfie might want to stay, I’m not sure why the show keeps insisting on Pennyworth being with Sandra (Harriet Slater). Unless the showrunners have plans for her in the vein of Barbara’s character arc on Gotham, she just seems doomed to have her heart broken. At least if Alfie leaves it won’t be dragged out and she can find someone else.

Anna Chancellor and Jason Flemyng (Photo Credit: Nick Wall/Epix)

Even if Pennyworth does decide to stay in Britain, that doesn’t mean things will stay the same. Bazza sounds pretty confident that he’s going, whether Alfie decides to come or not. Is Alfie’s lifestyle in England sustainable without Bazza and Dave Boy? He’ll never find two people more loyal or dependable, or is that why Gully is joining the show – to replace them?

Technically the show has to go to America eventually. Thomas Wayne is only in Britain temporarily, but could that be how the season ends – with Alfie actually going? It’d be a huge change, like Friday Night Lights in season four or any high school show that tries to transition to college. A lot of characters would be lost, but it would be a bold move for a show that doesn’t always play it safe.

Other thoughts on ‘The Burning Bridge’:

  • Not much movement on the new character front this week, other than Bets trying to suss out who Katie is and Archbishop Potter (Dermot Crowley) being named as the new prime minister. Is it possible Katie’s innocence is all an act? Esme was an actress. Maybe Bets has a type.
  • While Bets isn’t able to reach Harwood this week, is that because Harwood doesn’t want to speak with her or did his secretary make that call?
  • If there’s one character I could’ve done without seeing again it’s Aleister Crowley (Jonjo O’Neill), but he’s back and working with Thomas again. Is there a line Thomas won’t cross for the CIA?

Pennyworth airs Sundays at 9 PM EST on EPIX.

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