An alternate London is once again threatened by a sinister society aiming to take over the British government in the trailer for the second season of Pennyworth, a crime drama/prequel series based on the character of Alfred Pennyworth, aka Bruce Wayne/Batman’s loyal butler. Like Doom Patrol and the cancelled Swamp Thing series, which languished in the hinterlands of the DC Universe streaming service—Doom Patrol has since moved to HBO Max—Pennyworth being aired on Epix limited S1’s audience reach. And that’s a shame because it’s a solid series, even if it only has a passing connection with the DC Comics characters who inspired it.
(Spoilers for S1 below.)
The series is set in an alternate London circa the 1960s. Jack Bannon stars as the titular Alfred Pennyworth, aka “Alfie,” a former working-class British SAS soldier who has found work as a bouncer at an exclusive club and hopes to start up his own security firm. Among his potential clients: an American businessman named Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), who is secretly a CIA agent working undercover with a group called the No Name League. Among the league’s other American agents: Martha Kane (Emma Paetz), Batman’s future mother.
Alfie’s father (Ian Puleston-Davies) is a butler and urges his son to pursue a similar respectable profession. Alfie has also fallen in love with Esme (Emma Corrin), who is socially far above his station. Thanks to his security side gig, Alfie becomes a target of the mysterious Raven Society, headed by Lord Harwood (Jason Flemyng). Over the course of the season, Esme is murdered, and Alfie tracks down and kills the culprit, making him a wanted man. He gets back in the queen’s good graces when he and his buddies thwart a planned coup by Harwood and the Raven Society.
Yet the season ended in tragedy, with Alfie being forced to shoot his own father—who was attempting to bomb the queen and much of Parliament into oblivion during a royal dinner he was butlering—and Thomas Wayne being shot by an unknown assassin (before he could consummate his budding relationship with Martha). Alfie saved the queen, but it wasn’t clear whether anyone else survived the blast.
So what might the second season hold after such an explosive finale? Per the official S2 synopsis:
A year after the explosive events of last season, England finds itself embroiled in a devastating civil war, with the powerful, neo-fascist Raven Union, led by Lord Harwood (Jason Flemyng) threatening to control the entire country. North London remains one of the few resistance holdouts remaining. It’s here in the West End Neutral Zone, that we find Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon). After years in the British Army, his training with the SAS has taught him to be a cynical optimist —expecting the worst, but knowing that he can handle it. Now running The Delaney, a black-market Soho club that welcomes everyone, regardless of their politics, Alfred, with his SAS mates, Deon “Bazza” Bashford (Hainsley Lloyd Bennett) and Wallace “Daveboy” McDougal (Ryan Fletcher), is now in search of a way out—before London, and his country, burns itself to the ground. And he’s got his eye on America.
Epix dropped a S2 teaser last month in which Alfred seemed to be heading to America, insisting he couldn’t stay in England because of guilt from Esme’s death and the killing of his own father. We learned Thomas Wayne survived his shooting, but his reunion with Martha Kane hits a snag because apparently he’s now engaged. Men are so fickle. And of course, the Raven Society is back and civil war is brewing. The full trailer is mostly just a mix of action shots and bits of quippy dialog, but the new footage looks like we’re in for another entertaining wild ride.
We do know that much of the cast is returning for S2. In addition to Bannon, Flemyng, Bennett, Paetz, and Fletcher, Ben Aldridge is back as Thomas Wayne, Paloma Faith as Bet Sykes, Polly Walker as Peggy Sykes, and Jessica Ellerby as the queen. New S2 cast members include Simon Manyonda and Jessica de Gouw, who will play Lucius Fox and Melanie Troy, respectively, as well as James Purefoy, Edward Hogg, Jessye Romeo, Ramon Tikaram, and Harriet Slater.
Pennyworth S2 debuts on Epix on December 13, 2020. The first season is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime, making this the perfect time to catch up on Alfie’s adventures—perhaps as a Thanksgiving weekend binge.
Listing image by YouTube/Epix