When I started watching Pennyworth season 3, I felt very optimistic about the future of the series. Just over a month since the first episode aired, the season finale arrived this week and now we can finally talk about everything in season 3. Many fans are considering this the best season yet, but what exactly does it offer, and did the change in the tone of the series work for Pennyworth? For my early impressions of the series, check out my review of Pennyworth’s season 3 premiere!
[Warning: Spoilers from HBO Max’s Pennyworth season 3 are below!]
The character arcs of Pennyworth season 3 are very intriguing
While I highly praised the first three episodes in my previous review, I can certainly say that these episodes were something different from previous seasons. Further in the story, you’ll be surprised by even more action, serious plot threads, and many unexpected solutions. The previous two seasons showed us a dark alternate history of 20th-century London, and that aspect of Pennyworth doesn’t change.
Continuing on from the first three episodes, we return to the story of Alfred (Jack Bannon), Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), and Martha Wayne (Emma Paetz), and the bigger mystery at hand. Because of the drugs produced by the CIA and Wayne Enterprises, Thomas tries to kill Martha and is jailed for his ill-advised attempt in the Tower of London. Thomas’ father, Patrick (Richard Dillane), is willing to pay Alfred a million pounds to save him, and once Alfred does, the whole situation becomes more complicated. Thomas must leave London to face his father in Gotham City, where we learn that the city has changed them.
The darkness that prevails in the city isn’t shown to us physically in the form of familiar DC villains from Batman’s rogue gallery, but rather in the form of really dark thoughts and compulsive decision-making. Thomas kills his father in a dark alley, mirroring Thomas and Martha’s death portrayed in many versions of Batman’s origin story. This dark secret isn’t hidden for long, with Martha and Alfred finding out about it when Thomas returns to London, further complicating the whole situation. Thomas and Martha’s relationship was on the verge of collapse at the beginning of Season 3, but after everything they’ve been through, their bond is even stronger than before.
On the other hand, Alfred’s situation isn’t as flexible as one might think. He appears to live a loose lifestyle, which consists of dating many women, drinking a lot of alcohol, and not appreciating his life. This time it’s not just his life, but the life of his mother (Dorothy Atkinson), as well as Sandra (Harriet Slater), the mother of his unborn child, that he is neglecting. Alfred decides that he’ll do his best not to die, marry Sandra and raise their child together. Although as always, his troubles have only just begun.
Events in Pennyworth get worse with each season
The previous two seasons dealt with the overthrowing of the English government and the start of the civil war, but season three delves even further into abstract stories with sci-fi elements. This time, the big threat is the aforementioned mind-control drug, developed by the CIA and Wayne Enterprises, which is being used by cultists. Their goal is to spark another revolution in which panicked people will tear down cities, making them “cleaner.” These events are meant to put our heroes in no-escape positions, which may be really strange, given that Pennyworth is a prequel series, eventually leading to a predestined future with Batman.
Prior to the release of season three, news broke of a crossover with the V for Vendetta comic universe, which played a key part in seasons one and two. In this season there are a lot of people wearing Guy Fawkes masks (also known as Anonymous masks) and “V” signs. Even the main villain Francis Foulkes (Paul Kaye) wears this mask and is dressed as V (Hugo Weaving) from the V for Vendetta film. While the showrunners didn’t have permission to use any names or anything from that film or comic, the parallels were really recognizable and I could understand everything perfectly.
In later episodes, all of London is affected by a mind-controlling drug, with chaos reigning in the streets. People like Lucius Fox (Simon Manyonda) keep testing and training new scientific advancements to create more enhanced solutions capable of protecting the country. Some of these advancements are a guy who shoots lasers from his robotic arms, a face-changing person, a girl with vertigo powers, and even a normal guy with a big robotic arm.
Alfred’s old friend Captain Gulliver Troy (James Purefoy) dies while trying to save the citizens of London from their impending doom. Alfie and Daveboy (Ryan Fletcher) give him a small and humble wake, which is very emotional for them and others in attendance. While the before-mentioned lab was being shut down, it was discovered that an old and crazy general is imprisoned there, due to sending missiles to kill Prime Minister Aziz (Ramon Tikaram) for what the general thought was treasonous actions.
While Alfred and Sandra are being wed near London, they find out what happened there, ending season 3 on a cliffhanger. We still don’t know if there’ll be a season 4 of Pennyworth, but I would be sad if there wasn’t. It is a very special series that I am very grateful HBO Max has acquired. Pennyworth is an easy and relaxed watch of a series, and I love seeing something different from DC Studios. This isn’t a typical production full of superheroes, disasters, and global problems. Pennyworth’s scale is smaller than other DC productions, but the series has unique qualities that make it distinct and fantastic.
Pennyworth season 3 is currently streaming on HBO Max. Have you watched it yet? Did you like it? Let us know on our Twitter and social media. And If you haven’t already, check out our season three premiere review of Pennyworth!