In 1960s England, Lord Rupert Longbrass and his party ride across the fields, hunting foxes. They bring it down and a woman, Bet Sykes, confronts Longbrass. He tells her to get off of his land and Bet refuses. A man grabs Longbrass and pulls him off is horse, and Bet says that nobody has rights. She hits him and says that she's nobody, and Longbrass has been a bad boy and has to come with them. Bet tells Longbrass that she came a long way on orders to bring Longbrass in,
In London, Alfred Pennyworth wakes up from a nightmare of his time in the trenches. He then puts on his uniform and goes to the funeral of a fellow soldier. Wallace "Dave Boy" MacDougal and Deon "Bazza" Bashford also attend, and afterward Wallace drinks and then pours the bottle over the grave of their friend. Their friend killed himself, and he's the second one to have done so that year. Alfred insists that there's a world out there for them and they're free men, but Wallace doesn't believe it. When Alfred says that he's started up a security firm and is doing well, Wallace and Deon warn him that he's too soft to be a businessman. Unconvinced, Alfred walks off.
Later, Alfred goes to his job and walks past a soap box speaker preaching about the end of the world, and several skinheads beating up a young man. Alfred works as a bouncer at a club, and the owner Mr. Chadley complains that Alfred isn't opening the door properly. He then tells Alfred that he needs him downstairs, and Alfred goes with Chadley to deal with a woman who doesn't want to leave. The woman is Patricia Wayne, and her brother Thomas is saying that two gentlemen are trying to take Patricia with them. Patricia complains that Thomas followed her to Europe, and Thomas insists that he's there on business. She tells Alfred that she doesn't know Thomas and that he can go, and Alfred talks about how there's nothing more important than one's health. When one of them takes out a knife, Alfred takes them both out and apologizes to the customers for the disturbance.
Thomas takes Patricia out and when she tries to punch him, hits Alfred by mistake. She breaks into tears and Thomas calls a taxi. Thomas then apologizes to Alfred and pays him for his assistance. He gives Alfred his card to call him if he has any related medical expenses, and says that there's no reason to involve lawyers. Alfred gives him his business card for Pennyworth Security, and a bemused Thomas takes it and leaves.
Alfred goes back into the club and one of the showgirls, Esme Winikus, gives him a handkerchief for his bleeding nose. They introduce themselves and Alfred offers to get her handkerchief back to her on Saturday. She says that she has to work and Alfred suggests that they meet during the door for lunch in the park. Amused at his forwardness, Esme smiles and walks away.
The Prime Minister sees a newscast about Longbrass' disappearance. He complains to his mistress Rita about the No-Names and the Raven Society, and snorts some cocaine. The Prime Minister finally explains that Longbrass is a banker who looks after the Raven Society's money, and the Raven Society and the No-Names League want to overthrow the government. The Society wants to establish a fascist utopia, and the League want to establish a socialist utopia. The government allows them to continue as long as they don't make too much noise, but Longbrass' abduction is far too "noisy" and figures that something is going on.
Lord James Harwood goes to the Raven Society's secret base where they are printing German marks on UK currency, and goes to cell containing Longbrass, who is strapped into a chair. He asks why Longbrass betrayed them, and Longbrass tells him to go to hell. Harwood knows that Longbrass talked to someone about their plans, and wants the name. Longbrass says that he became afraid for the country and what Harwood plans to do to it. Harwood says that they have glorious days ahead of them, but Longbrass doesn't believe him.
Alfred takes out enemy soldiers and then rejoins Wallace, Deon, and Spanish. As they argue about Wallace making the tea, a shot hits Spanish.
Waking up from his nightmare, Alfred goes downstairs. His mother Mary points out that he has a woman's handkerchief with blood on it, and his father complains about the "debauchery" beginning. After getting a piece of toast and the newspaper, Alfred says that the blood is his and insists that he's starting a business. He insists that he's a "security consultant" but his father isn't impressed. Mr. Pennyworth says that he could be a butler like him, but Alfred insists that he wants to be his own man. His father tells him that no one is their own man, but Alfred doesn't believe it. Mary tells them to stop arguing and asks who the handkerchief belongs to, and Alfred feigns ignorance.
Later, Alfred goes to the park to meet with Esme. She finally arrives and Alfred returns her handkerchief. They walk and Esme talks about her dancing pays the rent and she refuses to be dependent on her father. Her mother died when she was young, and she's trying to work as an actress. Alfred mentions that he was in the Army, and Esme says that she's against wars and killing. They sit to watch a band play, and Alfred admits that he's killed on occasion as part of the job for the Queen. Esme says that it still wasn't right, and Alfred tells her that he has no more to do with violence. Alfred asks for her to do some dialogue from her play, and Esme recites her role as the sister.
That night, Alfred and Esme end up in bed. Esme smiles as they make love.
The next morning, Martin Falconer is going to his next class and sees a man following him. He runs into Bet, who knows who he is.
Longbrass is covered in his own blood, and Harwood talks about Longbrass' marriage and his ability to sire children. Harwood has Bet brings a blindfolded Martin in and asks Martin what his name and his father's name is. Martin admits that he's a bastard and says that his father is an important man not at liberty acknowledge him. Longbrass tells Harwood to stop, and Harwood has Bet take Martin out. Once they go, Harwood tells Longbrass that he must be proud and demands the name. After a moment, Longbrass says Thomas' name. Harwood leaves and his torturer closes the doors behind him.
Thomas is working in his London hotel room, and his mother calls to ask about Patricia. He says that he put her on a plane back to the States, and says that he's uncovered a large fraud. As Thomas hangs up, someone shoots repeatedly through the window, just missing Thomas. He quickly leaves the room and a minute later, Bet and her aide come in and Bet realizes that Thomas escaped. She goes through Thomas' coat and finds Alfred's card.
In his bedroom, Alfred is getting dressed and Esme says that she's nervous about meeting his parents. She wonders why he likes her, and Alfred says that she makes him feel like anything's possible. Esme says that she likes him because he's very alive, and sometimes she doesn't feel very alive but he brings her back to life. Alfred sits next to her and says it's the best thing anyone's ever said to him, and they kiss.
At breakfast, Esme talks about getting her earrings in India. Mary mentions that Alfred was in India, surprising Esme, and Alfred reminds her that they don't talk about his past. Mr. Pennyworth asks what Esme's father does, and she says that he's a vicar. He asks what her father thinks of her acting career, and Esme says that he doesn't approve but is willing to let her try. Mr. Pennyworth confirms that Alfred hasn't met her father yet. As they leave, Alfred says that he's proud of his family but not his father. He suggests that they should move in together, and Esme points out that he works in a nightclub and they have no future. Alfred assures her that he's going to make something of himself, but she thinks the gap between their worlds is too much and walks away.
Bet and her aide pull up, and Bet punches Esme and shoves her into the car. Alfred runs over and as he runs after the car, Bet tells him to get Thomas and then they'll swap him for Esme. She tosses a piece of paper with a phone number out of the car before it drives away, and Alfred wonders who Thomas is.
Alfred goes to the police station and reports that Esme has been kidnapped. He shows the sergeant the paper, which is on stationary with a raven at the top. The sergeant tells Alfred to wait and leaves. A nearby payphone rings, and when nobody answers it Alfred picks it up. It's Bet, who tells him that the police can't help him and he should fetch Thomas like she told him. Alfred says that he doesn't know who Thomas is, and Bet hopes that he's lying and tells him to bring them the Yank. After she hangs up, Alfred realizes who she's talking about.
Returning home, Alfred calls Thomas' number on the business card. The number isn't available, and Alfred realizes it's a card for Batley's Electrical.
Mr. Batley and his wife Janet are watching TV in their flat when three masked men break in and hold them at gunpoint. The leader--Alfred--tells Batley to tell him everything he knows about Thomas, and Thomas says that he put in electrical wiring at Wexdale Farm, which Thomas is renting. Alfred thanks him for his time and leaves with the other two men, Wallace and Deon.
The three men go to Wexdale and Alfred reminds Wallace not to kill anyone. Deon scouts ahead and says that there are no sentries, and they go in. Thomas admits who he is and says that he's the only one there, and Alfred calls the number and tells Bet that he has Thomas. He agrees to make the exchange at dawn but Bet refuses to let Esme talk to Alfred.
Once Bet hangs up, Alfred asks Thomas what he knows about the Raven Society. Thomas recognizes Alfred from the nightclub and explains that he's a financial forensics analyst. He recently discovered stolen funds connected to a criminal conspiracy, and says that if the Raven Society kills him then they'll kill Alfred to eliminate any loose ends. Alfred invites him to propose an alternative, and they both admit that they can't think of anything.
Bet watches over Esme and offers to make her a cup of tea. Esme says that she doesn't know anything, and Bet says that Alfred is a character and fondles Esme's leg.
The next morning at the rendezvous, Alfred and Thomas wait in a car. Alfred admits that Esme dumped him a minute before she was abducted, and Thomas suggests that Alfred is selling their lives for an unworthy woman. Thomas asks Alfred to tell his parents that he faced death honorably. Alfred agrees and introduces himself, and they shake.
Three cars pull up and men get out with guns and order Alfred and Thomas to get out. Alfred demands to see Esme, but the men refuse. He tells Thomas to get down on the floor, then gets out. Wallace and Deon emerge from cover and open fire, and Alfred draws his gun and kneecaps two of the men and then pistol-whips the leader.
Bet pours tea and asks Esme about her dancing. The phone rings and Bet goes outside to answer it. It's Alfred calling on one of the car's phones, saying her team is out and it's all unnecessary. He says that it's the same deal but this time Bet plays it straight. Alfred demands to speak to Esme, and Bet puts her on the line. Esme confirms that she's all right and Alfred says that he's coming to get her. Bet takes the phone and asks for the details of the rendezvous, and Alfred tells her to be at a tube station that evening.
Thomas tells the men that Bet and Esme won't be there. Alfred tells the surviving men that one of them is taking them to Esme or he'll kill them. Wallace tells Alfred to step away, repeats the invitation, and shoots one of them when he swears at him. He figures the leader is convinced and aims his rifle at him, and the leader says that Esme is in a warehouse at Sussex.
Bet dances with Esme in Esme's cell, and then Esme grabs the tea kettle and hits Bet in the head until she goes down. Esme runs out and Bet goes after her, tackling her on the stairs up. After kicking her in the face, Esme runs up, emerges through a bookcase, and finds herself in a study. She finds another hidden doorway and goes through, finding herself in a dining room. Harwood and his wife are there, and everyone looks at Esme when she yells for help. Bet arrives and punches Esme, and Harwood tells her to go home and put Parslow in charge of Esme. Once Bet leaves with Esme, Harwood apologizes for the intrusion and says that they'll have to cut the evening short.
Detective Inspector Aziz arrives at the first rendezvous site where his men are securing the crime scene. The junior detective, Jack, confirms that they're all wearing Raven Society pins. Aziz tells him to call Downing Street and say that they have a problem.
Alfred tells Wallace and Deon that if they don't hear from him in one hour, they should take Thomas to the American Embassy. He tells them not to come in after him unless he rings for help.
Parslow enters Esme's cell and asks Esme to sit down. When she hesitates, Parslow slaps her and repeats his request. She sits down and Parslow ties her to the chair.
In Sussex, Jack waits until most of the men leave for the tube station and then goes over the wall. He finds the housemaid, Edna, and orders her at gunpoint to tell him where Esme is. She still doesn't talk and when Alfred leaves to search for Esme, Edna makes a phone call. Thugs quickly subdue Alfred.
Wallace and Deon hear a phone call at the box where they're waiting.
Parslow works on a crossword, and she begs him to let her go. He says that they'll get started as soon as they sort out the situation upstairs.
When Alfred wakes up, Harwood greets him and pours drinks. Alfred figures that the Raven Society is some kind of secret Gestapo, and Harwood insists that they're patriots. He says that his colleagues are waiting for his call or they'll come in, but Harwood isn't impressed. Harwood tells Alfred that all he wants is Thomas' silence, with or without Alfred's help. He figures that Alfred is more than the quartermaster that his record shows, and insists that England needs the love of true patriots. He insists that they will take back the country from corrupt weaklings, and says that there are many in the Royal family that want to see England's moral rebirth. Harwood figures that they need strong man like Alfred, and tells him to bring him Thomas to prove his commitment.
Alfred agrees to bring him Thomas and join his society, as long as Harwood releases Esme first. Harwood refuses, and says that he and England need Alfred. Alfred refuses to make the call and glances at his watch.
Wallace decides to go in despite Alfred not signaling them.
Alfred tells Harwood that he doesn't like violence or Harwood, and figures he's going to kill them no matter what. His thugs move in on Alfred.
Wallace walks up to the gate guards and shoots them down when they go for their guns. He fires as more guards run up. Harwood hears the shots, and Wallace calls to Alfred. Edna shoots him and he goes down. Alfred takes out one of the two thugs leading him away, grabs his gun, and has the other man give him the keys to his handcuffs. He then pistol-whips the man unconscious and holds the gun on Harwood. Harwood tells him to think about what he's doing, and Alfred knocks him unconscious.
Deon arrives and takes Edna down, and tells Wallace that Thomas is safe.
Alfred fights his way through the manor and finds Esme's cell. Parslow grabs a knife and attacks him, and Alfred gets him in a choke hold, tells Esme to turn away, and breaks Parslow's neck. He asks if Esme is all right, and she says that she wants to go home.
As the sun comes up, Aziz and his men pull up. Alfred comes out with Esme, and Aziz introduces himself. The police take Esme away, and Aziz asks if there's been a spot of bother.
Alfred returns home and finds Bet and her aide training guns on his parents. Alfred says that Esme left him and he doesn't know where she is, and tells her that she doesn't have to bring his parents into it. Mr. Pennyworth tells Alfred not to talk to Bet, and Bet advises Alfred not to move. Mary says that Bet needs doctors, and Bet insists that she's fine.
There's a knock at the door, and Bet has Alfred to tell the newcomer to go away. It's Esme, who says that they need to talk. Bet opens the door, grabs Esme, and drags her inside. She hands her to Alfred and tells the Pennyworths that Esme hit her when she could have done much worse. Bet insists that she's a human being and have feelings, and hits her. Esme hits her back, and Alfred jumps Bet's assistant. Mary knocks Bet unconscious, and Mr. Pennyworth hits the assistant over the head with a bottle. Both parents kick the man repeatedly.
The Prime Minister takes a call from the American Ambassador, Hank. He assures Hank that they know about the situation he's warning him about, and a few civil servants will lose their pensions but otherwise no harm. Once he hangs up, the PM asks the chained-up Harwood how they're going to keep it quiet.
Thomas meets with Alfred and Esme, and explains that he's been appointed to a permanent posting. He hopes that he and Alfred can come to an arrangement about his security. Thomas says that he has the highest respect for Alfred's competence. Alfred asks what his business is, and Thomas says that his company works with the U.S. government under the strictest standards of honor. Alfred figures that he's a spy and Thomas assures him that he isn't. Alfred doesn't believe him, and Thomas warns him that he'll be back. Esme says that Alfred will have plenty of job opportunities once he gets his medal as a national hero.
Later, Alfred meets with the Queen. She says that she's grateful, gives him a medal, and swears Alfred to secrecy about the whole affair so it won't shake the nation. Alfred agrees and the Queen says that dark times lie ahead and loyalties will be tested... as the PM looks on.
Harwood is taken to a cell and yells that he'll be back.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 18, 2019