'Pennyworth' introduces to us a formidable villainess in Paloma Faith's Bet Sykes, a sadistic and sharp-tongued archnemesis to Alfred
'Pennyworth' may just be two episodes in, but it's already earned rave reviews for its gritty tone, pacy narrative and a thriller of a plot. The EPIX series traces the life and times of Batman's butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
In his heydays, the man was former SAS, who planned of opening up his own security firm. Set in a dystopian England in the '60s, the show sees him take on villains who threatened to change the way the world operates.
Speaking of villains, the show introduces us to a villainess who looks like she could kill a person with her bare hands. Bet Sykes played by Paloma Faith is a member of the Raven Society, a nefarious organization that consists of wealthy British elites with an eye for totalitarianism.
At this moment, it is still unclear why the Raven Society is behind Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) but it is revealed that Sykes is the person tasked to apprehend and takedown Wayne. It so happens that she crosses paths with Alfred (Jack Bannon) and after a fair bit of digging deep into his past, decides to use his services to help her catch Wayne.
She kidnaps Esme (Emma Corrin), Alfred's girlfriend, and strikes a deal asking him to bring in Wayne in exchange for setting Esme free. Expectedly, good ol' Alfie decides to put Sykes in her place by breaking into the society's HQ and rescuing Esme. Sykes attempts to confront Alfred again but fails.
In episode 2, it is revealed that she has been arrested and the court decides to have her executed. However, the skillful operator that she is, she manages to seduce the prison guard, blackmails him to deliver a letter to her sister, Peggy Sykes (Polly Walker), and escapes the execution.
Sykes is a class apart. She's not your sweetly-threatening villainess, neither is she the one to march in all guns blazing at your doorstep. She is shown to be sinister, cool-headed, extremely intelligent and she can pack a wallop.
The '60s was a time when gathering intel wasn't an easy job. But it's incredible that Sykes not just manages to get the information, but also boldly makes a move to go to Alfred's house and take his parents hostage. The move may not have gone well, but nonetheless, it shows that daring trait of the woman.
Epix best describes Sykes referring to her as "sadistic" and "sharp-tongued". In the pilot episode, she kidnaps Esme by punching her flush in the stomach. Intimidation and disguise seem to be her key strengths as she manages to slip past government entities with absolute ease.
The two episodes so far have already established Sykes as one of the formidable villains in the series and Alfred's archnemesis. She nurses vengeance against Alfred and it remains to be seen how she plots his downfall in the episodes to come.
'Pennyworth' airs Sundays 9 p.m. on EPIX.