‘Pennyworth’ S02 E06 Review: ‘The Rose and Thorn’

by Rachel Bellwoar

Jack the Ripper vs the Devil. That’s a match you don’t see every day, and it’s not one Pennyworth has been setting up for a while, either, which is what made it such an unexpected surprise. That’s the point. though, too. Crowley and John didn’t have a beef (or at least not one they were going to act on). Aziz set them after each other and, what’s more, made quite the decisive blow.


Last week I wrote that some of the storylines this season felt stuck but ‘The Rose and Thorn’ was ripping band-aids off all over the place. From ongoing storylines, like Pennyworth finally breaking up with Sandra, to this feud between Ripper and Crowley, that lasted an episode. It’s a shame if this is the last we’ll see of John on the show because, while he hasn’t had a lot to do this season, he was one of the standout villains in season one (plus, he’ll always be the person who dragged Alfie out of his grief when Esme was killed).

Aziz is stepping into his own as a crooked prime minister. This isn’t the first time he’s shown a capacity for cruelty but going full Diana Rigg in Game of Thrones and taking an “It was me” moment? What’ll be interesting is to see how Martha, as an idealist, reacts when she realizes how coldhearted he can be.

Speaking of Martha, it was great to see her on a mission with Pennyworth and Dave Boy again. This is also the episode where Martha learns that’s she pregnant, which if you watched the panel for the show during DC FanDome, Bruno Heller, the show creator, had spilled the beans then. I wonder why he was willing to reveal that news so early, though. It would’ve been one thing if came out early in the season but episode six is pretty late and makes it seem like Martha was the last person to be told.


Similar to Ripper’s downfall, Harwood’s defeat couldn’t have come more swiftly after Frances’ last week and I wonder if Bets’ absence this week might mean she’s the person who’s going to come and take Salt down. She’s always had Harwood’s back in the past, but then she also might think he betrayed her after the shootout in episode three.

Other thoughts on this week’s Pennyworth:

  • Pennyworth’s mom has always been the coolest but her coming to him this week, after last week’s blowout, was a true mom move. If it weren’t for the sense of dread that she might be in danger now it would be perfect, but Pennyworth doesn’t usually get to stay happy, and this was a big win for him. The fact that Melanie knows about the third ticket, too, and has admitted she wants to go to America (and that was before she found out her husband might want to kill her) makes it seem like those seats are far from secure (hell, even Dave Boy got shot again, so who knows who’s going to get on that plane).
  • Anyone else find it amusing that Pennyworth gave the Queen (Jessica Ellerby) and Sandra the same line, about not being good enough for them?

Pennyworth airs Sundays at 9 PM EST on EPIX.

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