WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the sixth episode of Pennyworth, "Cilla Black," which aired Sunday on Epix.
When watching Epix's Pennyworth television series, it's sometimes easy to forget that this is a story connected to the Batman mythos. The series is building its own story, detached from what we know of the comics. New characters and organizations are introduced, and they are completely detached from the source material.
But every now and then, you'll see a spark between Thomas Wayne and Martha Kane. You'll hear a hostile exchange between Thomas and Alfred and it'll remind you that, eventually, these two will learn to become friends -- family, even. And all of a sudden, you'll recall that this series really is taking place in a version of the DC Universe.
And now, while the series so far has been rooted in a certain amount of gritty realism, the latest episode might have opened the door to a whole other aspect from the comics: the mystical side of the DC Universe.
Ever since its start, Pennyworth has found its title character stuck in the middle of a spy war between the Raven Society and the No Name League. As it stands, it's difficult to guess which side is good and which is bad. All we know is that the conflict between the two organizations has bubbled into unrest in the streets of London. Yes, so far, it has all been guns, lies, deception and secret meetings. But another far more dangerous element may have surfaced in the latest episode of the series.
In "Cilla Black," the idea of mysticism rises on two fronts. On the one hand, it comes in the form of a possible witch. In his search to find the person responsible for the death of his fiancée, Alfred is introduced to a fortune teller who may point him in the direction of the killer. While Alfred is quick to dismiss her as nothing but a charlatan, she quickly proves that she may have certain skills that involve visions of the future and sending Alfred into some sort of dream state where he can find his answers.
Then, we turn our attention to Martha Kane, who does Thomas Wayne a favor by looking after his sister Patricia. However, Patricia ends up dragging Martha into a private party held by Aleister Crowley, based on the real life Satanist of the same name. Crowley's party is effectively unsettling: it features mask-wearing guests, gothic decor and, you guessed it, orgies. It all culminates in a creepy scene that sees Martha come face-to-face with what may or may not turn out to be an actual demon. As the episode comes to a close, Martha has lost time, and she wakes up naked in a field, with no idea of how she got there.
Now, in both of these instances, it looks like we may have gotten a peek at this version of the DC Universe's mystical side. In the comics, we know that monsters, witches and demons are all real, and this could be what Pennyworth is slowly beginning to unravel.
However, there is enough uncertainty at play here that it may all end up being just tricks and hallucinations. Alfred and Martha could have both been drugged before they each had their own encounters with visions and demons. But given what we know of the source material, this mystical flair could simply be the beginning. We're not saying Zatara or Etrigan the Demon are about to show up on the show next (although that would be truly cool), but the Epix series may have delved into this mystical realm to give us an even darker, more haunting take on the mythos.
Developed by former Gotham collaborators Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon, Pennyworth stars Jack Bannon as Alfred Pennyworth, Ben Aldridge as Thomas Wayne, Jason Flemyng as Lord Harwood, Paloma Faith as Bet Sykes, Ryan Fletcher as Dave Boy, Hainsley Lloyd Bennett as Bazza and Jessica Ellerby as the Queen. The series airs Sundays at 9 pm ET/PT on EPIX.