'Pennyworth' Season 1: Thomas Wayne finds his inner Lucifer and shows he can be a truly dangerous man
In six episodes, he was a man who was trying to recruit Alfred for his services, he was a man trying to talk his way out of grim situations, and when it finally came to a point where push came to shove, he put up his fists and wiped the floor clean with the bad guy
Contains spoilers for 'Pennyworth' episode 7: 'Julie Christie'
When Ben Aldridge was asked about the preparation and research that went into playing Thomas Wayne in 'Pennyworth' during the San Diego Comic-Con, he revealed that there was a heavy reliance on the scripts. And, the scripts did an impressive job in bringing out a shade of Wayne the world never knew. When we saw him in the pilot episode he came across as a man who's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Imagine a polite American in a '60s corruption-filled Britain where guests weren't welcome unless they had something to offer.
Over the course of the series, we realize the man isn't here on business or at least one that didn't involve bringing a nefarious criminal organization, The Raven Society to the ground. Initially, it was revealed that he was a member of the No Name League. Although no such entity exists in the DC Universe, there still is an organization out there bent on destroying the Raven Society. Reporting to Wayne was a woman who would go on to become his wife in the future, Martha Kane (Emma Paetz).
By mid-season, it was clear that Wayne was CIA. He'd been tasked to work with Kane and Alfred (Jack Bannon). While his relationship with Alfie was pretty much rocky, Kane and Wayne managed to work together despite disagreeing on most things. While Kane comes across as a woman who wouldn't hesitate to cock her gun and fire, Wayne's pretty much the sort of a man who would talk things through. Not in the last episode though. 'Julie Christie' showed us a Wayne who could kill a man with his bare hands should the rage get to him.
It starts off with Wayne assigning Kane to take care of Patricia (Salóme Gunnarsdóttir), while he is out on a mission, only to find the duo missing when he returns. The ladies, in the meantime, head to a rave house party organized by satanist Aleister Crowley (Jonjo O’Neill). Kane is drugged while at the party and wakes up three days later and returns home without Patricia, ticking off Wayne. The duo head to Crowley's mansion, where the host infuriates Wayne by talking about how he isn't really the person he is but rather has a dark, violent persona to him.
The prodding gets to Wayne and he lashes out by nearly beating Crowley's aide to death, and when he does so, there's cold fury seen in his eye as he goes about biffing the assistant before realization dawns. This is a new side that the audience is not used to seeing considering that he and Kane were shot by a robber in the alleyway in Gotham and Wayne didn't offer any resistance at that point, lying meekly.
'Pennyworth' is known for being unpredictable and with Wayne's character, the creators have introduced us to a man who makes it perfectly clear that he won't go silently into the night. The show presented Kane too in a way we never expected and it's interesting to see how the series brings them together in the show. This also goes on to prove that Wayne wasn't really a man who would be defenseless if it comes down to fighting his way out when things go south.
The pilot episode sees Alfred (Jack Bannon) take Wayne hostage after the villainous Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith), kidnaps Alfred's girlfriend, Esme (Emma Corin). In one of the sequences, Wayne successfully deduces Sykes's ill-intentions and informs Alfred of the same. A theory that proves right and helps Alfred gain the upper hand over Sykes. Again, while Wayne was fully capable of taking care of himself, he opted for the safe way out by learning more about the money.
It's ingenious that 'Pennyworth' gave this shade to Wayne. In six episodes, he was a man who was trying to recruit Alfred for his services, he was a man trying to talk his way out of grim situations, and when it finally came to a point where push came to shove, he put up his fists and wiped the floor with the bad guys.
This also goes on to prove Wayne had a crime-fighting life before he's given it all up to retire to a more peaceful life. For now, we know Wayne is a guy who asks first and shoots later. However, it's interesting to see where the show takes his character in the episodes to come. Was Wayne's brawl a one-off or will we see more of the trim and proper gentlemen wallop people when provoked?
'Pennyworth' airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on EPIX.