The latest episode of Pennyworth takes a sudden and unexplained dive into the mystical side of the DC Universe - but why is it doing so right now? So far, the Batman prequel series has been a dark and gritty spy drama with a young Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon) stuck in the middle of a war between two revolutionary groups in 1960s London. However, its grounded tone changed when magic entered the mix.
The Caped Crusader's legendary butler gets an updated origin story in Epix's Pennyworth series. Midway through the season, Pennyworth has already explored Alfred's first meetings with Bruce Wayne's parents, Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) and Martha Kane (Emma Paetz). Alfred and his two associates, Dave Boy (Ryan Fletcher) and Bazza (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) had been doing work for Thomas and Martha, but everything changed when Alfred's fiancé, Esme (Emma Corrin), was mysteriously murdered. Now, Alfred's one goal is to get revenge for Esme's murder.
In Pennyworth season 1, episode 6, "Cilla Black", Alfred collects on a favor owed to him by John Ripper (Danny Webb), Pennyworth's take on Jack the Ripper. Ripper leads Alfred to a witch in a mental institution, who claims that she needs the left hand of a murderer and a red rose to find the killer. A skeptical Alfred accomplishes the task and returns to the witch, who gives him a cup of tea. The tea induces a vision that points Alfred in the direction of someone he once knew in the military.
Meanwhile, Martha has her own encounter with the supernatural when babysitting Thomas' sister brings her to a Satanist's party. After seeing a six-eyed demon with a goat head, Martha awakens in a clearing, naked. The only logical explanation for what happened to Martha is that she was drugged, and that the demon was simply a hallucination. She did take a drink a few minutes before seeing the six-eyed creature, so it's possible that the storyline involving Martha isn't demonic or supernatural at all. However, that doesn't explain what happened to Alfred, who quite clearly had an experience with a witch.
Though magic certainly exists in the world of DC Comics, it still seems out of place in Pennyworth, a show that so far seems to be removed from the rest of the DC Universe. It's currently unclear what direction Pennyworth is headed in, and if the show's mystical connections will grow as the series moves forward.