WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the seventh episode of Pennyworth, "Julie Christie," which aired Sunday on Epix.
In the previous episode of Epix's Pennyworth, "Cilla Black," the introduction of a witch and real-life occultist, Aleister Crowley had us wondering if the Batman prequel series had just unlocked the door to the mystical side of the DC Universe.
This turn towards mysticism would be rather surprising, especially considering that, for the most part, the series has so far been concerned with telling a story about spies and secret organizations. But Pennyworth is also rooted in the world of DC, a world populated by aliens, gods and monsters. Therefore, nothing can ever really be off the table.
"Cilla Black" was cryptic enough in its depiction of the magic on display to have us wonder whether it was real or not. However, with its latest episode, "Julie Christie," Pennyworth goes even further than that. Sure, we might not get a full display of magic just yet, but things take enough of a dark turn to have us wondering if the series really is considering bringing in a dangerous mystical figure: the Lord of Darkness himself, Satan, the First of the Fallen.
In "Cilla Black," Martha Kane was dragged into a party by Patricia Wayne that was hosted by devil-worshiper, Aleister Crowley. The dark party took a turn for the worst when Martha came face-to-face with what she perceived to be the Devil -- a giant with the head of a multi-eyed goat. Next thing she knew, Martha woke up naked in a field, unaware of how she had gotten there.
Now, in "Julie Christie," we find out that Martha didn't wake up the morning after. In fact, she's been missing for three days, and Thomas Wayne has been worried sick about her and his sister. Martha tells her future husband what transpired at Crowley's party and, naturally, the two of them are quick to believe that she was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and that what she saw wasn't real.
However, when they later face Crowley, the villain assures Martha that he didn't put anything in her drink, and that what she saw was real. Of course, for the time being, there is no way to figure out if the Satanist is telling the truth, or if he's just a convincing conman, as Thomas believes him to be.
But the plot thickens when Thomas asks for an audience with the Devil himself. Crowley, of course, obliges him, and leads him to one of his dungeons. There, Thomas is shown a black-and-white film of the Satanist's disturbing rituals, which are enough to drive Bruce Wayne's future father mad with rage. While he stops himself from killing the man in his grasp, Aleister tells him that this rage, this beast inside of him, is a glimpse of the Devil.
Now sure, we never actually see the demon in the episode, but the usually well-composed Thomas Wayne is visibly shaken by his experience.
In fact, when Martha -- who now believes that what she saw was real because of the darkness she feels in her returning memories -- is convinced that Thomas saw the Devil as well, and he doesn't exactly deny it. Clearly, there's a dark power at work here. Aleister Crowley could certainly simply be playing mind games, but then again, what reason would he have to? There is enough mystery and mysticism at play here that it appears as if Pennyworth really wants us to wonder if the Devil is really coming to this version of DC Universe -- if he hasn't already.
In DC's comics, there are plenty of characters who have served as the ruler of Hell. There was the original Satan, the ruler of Hell. There was also Lucifer Morningstar, who has been the star of a Vertigo comic series, as well as a live-action television show. What's more, a demon named Neron also ruled Hell in the Constantine: The Hellblazer series. Therefore, there are many interpretations of the character Pennyworth could use as inspiration, should the series truly introduce the character.
It would certainly make for an interesting, and completely surprising, addition to the show.
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.
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