The third episode of Pennyworth introduces Martha Kane, the woman who will one day marry Thomas Wayne, and eventually become Batman’s mother.
On the whole, I enjoyed her introduction more than that of Thomas Wayne, although I was a bit dismayed that she is a reporter. Not every woman has to be Lois Lane. But Emma Paetz plays the role with a lot of spark, and I was also glad that she does not yet even know who Thomas Wayne is. It will be nice to see the relationship between the pair grow during the course of the series.
The main storyline in this episode riffs off of Alan Turing. In the England of this series, homosexuality is a capital offense, and Martha Kane has come to enable the escape of a gay scientist, a man working on a powerful new computer. The sexuality is handled very well, and I was pleased with the development of the man’s lover as well.
This episode also really expands on the degeneracy and hypocrisy of this alternate England. Public executions are broadcast live on tv, and attended by huge crowds, and treated like great entertainment, despite the disgusting grisliness. Bet Sykes, played by the scene stealing Paloma Faith, gets some help from her sister, played by Polly Walker, and they have some underwear clad slaves attending to their needs.
At one point in the episode I was displeased with the relationship between Alfred (Jack Bannon) and Esme (Emma Corrin), as Alfred seems to completely switch his point of view, deciding that the class differences are too great, and they shouldn’t stay together. But as the episode played out it became clear that this was just part of a larger arc running through the story, one that reached a strong and satisfying resolution.
Another top notch episode. I really enjoy how this show is developing.