The season 1 finale of Pennyworth doesn't bring Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) any closer to his role in DC comics, but instead may have moved Alfred further away from fulfilling his destiny and becoming the legendary butler of Batman. Pennyworth, the Batman prequel series that airs on Epix, tells the story of a young Alfred as he navigates through an alternate version of 1960s London, a violent and dark world.
Alfred uses his background as an SAS soldier to start a security firm, but quickly gets swept up into an ongoing battle between the British government and two revolutionary groups, the No Name League and the Raven Society. Both have their sights set on taking control of the government. Also in the mix are the future parents of Batman, Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) and Martha Kane (Emma Paetz).
The fight between the Raven Society, the No Name League, and the government has been heating up over the past several episodes, with Alfred caught in the middle. It appeared that a winner was about to emerge in the season's penultimate episode when the Raven Society managed to capture the Queen of England (Jessica Ellerby). In the Pennyworth season 1 finale, titled "Marianne Faithful", the war finally comes to a conclusion with Alfred once again being the one to turn the tide.
The Raven Society Is Defeated In The Pennyworth Season 1 Finale
After backing out on his agreement with Aziz (Ramon Takaram) to kill Lord Harwood (Jason Flemying), Alfred decides that his best bet is to leave the country and forget about both the Raven Society and the No Name League. He changes his mind when he hears about the Queen's capture. The Ravens Society are using the Queen as leverage to force the prime minister into surrendering. Alfred determines that if he can save the Queen, his fortunes will change. With the help of his two closest allies, Bazza (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) and Dave Boy (Ryan Fletcher), Alfred manages to rescue the Queen from Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith).
With the Queen safe, Lord Harwood is at the mercy of the British government. The Raven Society surrenders, and with Harwood in police custody, it looks like everything will go back to normal. Things are looking up for Batman's will-be butler, who is offered a position with Scotland Yard. Alfred even has a tryst with the Queen, which is a surprising relationship that could be followed up on later.
Alfred Is Forced To Kill His Father
After the defeat of the Raven Society, Harwood reveals that he has one last card to play, which is the Old Guard. The Old Guard is reserved as sort of a last resort in case of failure. As it turns out, the Old Guard is Alfred's father, Arthur (Ian Puleston-Davies). Arthur has been participating in Raven Society activities for a while, but was never shown to partake in violence. Arthur's devotion to the Raven Society leads him to use a bomb against high ranking government officials and the Queen. Alfred figures out what's going on just in time to stop him. When Arthur won't back down, Alfred is forced to shoot him. He manages to rescue the Queen, but his father is caught in the explosion, which is the final scene of the Pennyworth finale.
The events of the episode provide a tragic conclusion for Arthur's story. In the early episodes of the season, Alfred had a tense, troubled relationship with his father, who was implied to be occasionally abusive toward his wife. But after the death of Esme (Emma Corrin), Arthur became a much more sympathetic and supportive character. By the time of the finale, Alfred and Arthur had formed a very close bond. Arthur's death is sure to have a tremendous effect on both Alfred and his mother going forward.
Batman's Parents Finally Get Together
After nearly an entire season of bickering, Thomas and Martha grow much closer. Thomas, who has disliked Martha throughout most of the series, decides to take Martha out of the country and back to the United States so that both of them can be safe. Thomas is worried that the coup orchestrated by the Raven Society will result in their deaths.
When Martha begins to suspect that Thomas may have feelings for her, Martha makes romantic advances toward him, which he reciprocates. In the same scene that Thomas and Martha begin their romantic relationship, Thomas is mysteriously shot from a window. Thomas falls unconscious, but is revived by Martha. It would seem that Thomas is wounded, but not in any grave danger. Why Thomas was shot isn't addressed, but what's important about this scene is what it means for Batman. It's a huge first step toward Bruce Wayne's conception that will most assuredly be explored more deeply in Pennyworth season 2.
Pennyworth Pushes Alfred Further Away From Becoming Batman's Butler
While the Pennyworth season finale moves Thomas and Martha closer to becoming Batman's parents, the series takes a step backward when it comes to Alfred. Comic book fans -- and even casual fans -- know what awaits Alfred in the far distant future. Alfred is destined to become the Wayne family butler, and later the most trusted confidante of the Waynes' son, Batman. When the series began, it was clear that Alfred wasn't interested in going into the family business of being a butler, and the season finale doesn't bring Alfred any closer to becoming his comic book counterpart.
Pennyworth has turned Alfred into a cold-blooded killer. With his skillset, it's no surprise why characters keep turning to Alfred when they're in trouble or need someone dead. Rescuing the Queen (twice in one episode) certainly won't change that. Now that Alfred has been offered a job with Scotland Yard, Alfred has no reason to leave England anytime soon. His career just received the boost it needed, so it unlikely that he'll change directions in the near future. With the way things are going, it appears that Pennyworth still has plenty of stories to tell before putting Alfred on the path to becoming the butler of the Caped Crusader.