In the downtown district of London, a couple and their son walk along the street. When a homeless man--the disfigured Lord Harwood--approaches them, the husband hits him with his cane until he backs away. Another man, Jack Wild, comes along and hears Harwood sobbing. Jack invites him to come along with him for a cup of tea. Harwood agrees and goes with Jack.
Aziz goes to the nightclub and meets with Alfred to have a word. The inspector accuses Alfred of making rash decisions, pointing out that he works for Martha Kane and her band of "fanatics". He threatens to arrest Alfred and have him hanged for working with Martha, Thomas, and the No-Name League. He warns that commanders in the coming civil war are vital, and Alfred insists that he isn't going to command anyone. Aziz tells him that everyone will have to pick a side, and warns that if it wasn't for the Queen, Alfred, Wallace, and Deon would already be in shackles. Alfred insists that they're not in it, and Aziz tells him it would be safer if he worked for the Queen. The inspector advises Alfred to stop working against the Queen or they'll all hang, and Alfred tells him that he got the message. As Aziz goes, he asks how Esme is doing. He asks what she thinks of Alfred working for the No-Names, but doesn't Alfred doesn't respond and Aziz doesn't push the matter.
At her flat, Martha receives a visitor: Thomas. They exchange sign and countersign, and Martha lets Thomas in. They formally introduce themselves and Thomas wonders why she's involved with the No-Name League. Martha says that she gets bored easily and wants excitement, and he says that the Raven Society has elected a new chief and they need to know who it is. Someone in the Society will tell them the leader's identity for a price, and Martha and Alfred are to meet with him. He gives her a file, expenses, and a gun. Martha tells Thomas that her deal with Alfred stipulated no guns, and Thomas says that now it's time to reel Alfred in, paying him whatever he demands. Martha takes the pen and signs.
At the bar, Alfred watches the news about fights between the street gangs, with the Raven Society and the No-Name League behind it all. Martha comes in and sits with Alfred, saying that he has a job for her. Alfred tells her that he's getting married and married men can't mess about. She writes down a sum and shows it to Alfred, but he refuses. Martha warns him that it's too late to back out now, and Alfred explains about Aziz's warning. He figures that Thomas is her boss, and Martha says that she didn't know until recently. She insists her job has no government angle, but Alfred still isn't interested. Martha explains that she'll pay double her offer if they get the name of the Society leader, and realizes that Alfred is going to accept.
At home, Esme aims a gun at the door. Alfred comes in and tells her to slowly put the gun down. Once she does, Alfred hugs her and she apologizes for being a coward. Esme explains that she heard a noise as if someone was outside the door, and Alfred tells her that it's her imagination. Alfred explains that he has a job and she should stay with his parents.
At the Spicer home, Bet dances in the kitchen to the radio. Peggy complains about the volume and Bet finally turns it down. She complains that she's bored, and Peggy complains that she's interfering with her work. Peggy points out that Bet hasn't brought in any money in years and got her off the gallows, and tells Bet to show her some respect. Bet turns the radio back on and when Peggy turns it off, her sister grabs her by the hair. They fight, Peggy finally slamming the radio into Bet's face, then chokes her for a minute. She finally releases Bet and tells her to behave.
Alfred and Esme lie in bed,. They eventually make love, and Mary and Mr. Pennyworth hear them. Mary tells her husband not to say a word, and he tells her to take the wistful look off her face. Later, the couple come downstairs and Mr. Pennyworth tells Esme that it's the first time they’ve had an unmarried female stay the night. Mary tells him not to start and Alfred says that he has a job and will be back in a day.
Later, Alfred meets Martha and they go to the rendezvous at Paddington Station to meet with the contact, Kenneth. They discover that he's been stabbed in the side, and Kenneth mutters about "the darkness" before dying. Alfred takes Kenneth's wallet, pretends that the dead man is drunk, and quickly leads Martha off. Once they're clear, Alfred checks the wallet and finds return tickets. The couple soon catch the train to the countryside.
Jack, Wallace, and Deon bury Spanish.
On the train, Alfred tells Martha that the Society will be looking for them. They'll catch one of them and convince him to talk, or the Society operatives will capture them and take them to their leader. Alfred figures that her father was a soldier, and Martha says that he was a lifer. They arrive at the village and get off as the townspeople notice them.
Bet prepares to leave, and Peggy asks where she's going. Her sister doesn't believe her concern, and tells Peggy that she's going to London. Peggy tries to stop her but Bet leaves.
Mr. Pennyworth and Esme have breakfast, and he makes small talk about marmalade. Mary comes in and Mr. Pennyworth seems to warm up to Esme, offering her kidneys.
Alfred and Martha continue into the village, passing a man in a pillory. There's a maypole in the center of a field, and Alfred tells her that it's for sex orgies. They see the Darkness Tea Rooms building and figure it's connected to what Kenneth said. They go in and Mrs. Darkness greets them. The couple take a seat and Mrs. Darkness explains that the tea rooms are named after her. After ordering, Alfred tells Mrs. Darkness about Kenneth and what he said as he died. Mrs. Darkness smiles and goes to get the tea, and Alfred says that it's their move. Martha tells him that she completed Marine Corps Reserve Combat Training program and can handler herself, and Alfred advises her to leave the rough stuff to him.
A nervous girl brings them tea and leaves. Alfred figures the Society will send gunmen to fetch them and drinks the tea. Martha asks who he's marrying, and Alfred finally says her name is Esme. He shows Martha a photo of Esme, and Alfred says that he doesn't deserve her. Martha figures that Esme feels the same way about her, calling Alfred a sexist. Alfred assures her that he's a one-woman man, and Martha tells him that Esme is a lucky woman.
Mr. Pennyworth shows Esme photos of the tables that he's set, and Esme asks him if he would consider helping her plan their wedding. Flattered and surprised, Mr. Pennyworth agrees. The phone rings and Mary answers it. It's Alfred, who asks to talk to Esme. Esme takes the call and Alfred says that he's checking in. She says that Mr. Pennyworth is a teddy bear and she's going to the flat to look at colors. After Alfred hangs up, Mrs. Darkness comes out wielding a shotgun. Alfred struggles with her and the shotgun goes off, killing the owner.
Esme goes back to Mr. Pennyworth and tells Mary that her husband is going to help them with the plans. Mary abruptly goes to the kitchen, and her husband tells her not to sulk. She comes back and insists that she's not sulking, and Esme asks her to help. Mary comes over and hugs her future daughter-in-law.
Martha and Alfred leave the tea rooms, wiping at the blood on them. Two men are parked outside, and run after them, and Alfred leads Martha off through the back alleys. Using Martha as bait, Alfred knocks one man out but the other one attacks him. Alfred manages to knock him out and the couple get clear, but a May dancer comes after them. Another one cuts off their retreat, and the two dancers beat Alfred. Martha draws her gun and orders them to fuck off, and they quickly leave.
Martha's leg is injured, and Alfred leads her out into the countryside. They stop so he can check the injury, and he binds the wound and says that they'll find her a doctor. Martha complains that the operation has been a failure, and Alfred says that he'll deal with their opponents and they head to a hospital they saw on the other side of the village.
The couple arrive at the hospital and Martha goes in by herself. Nurse Dawson calls the doctor, Dr. Frances Gaunt, and takes Martha to an examination room. Frances comes in, mocks Martha's story of walking through a French window, and gives her a shot for the pain while she stitches. Martha says that she doesn't want a scar and passes out from the \shot.
Alfred goes back and surrenders to two police officers, and they slam him on the hood of their car, handcuff him, punch him, and say that he killed Mrs. Darkness. Alfred says that he has a message for their leader, but one of them continues beating him. Alfred head-butts him and tells the man's partner that he's trying to do business and they should act like professionals.
The officers take Alfred to a cell, blindfolding and tying him to a chair. Alfred says that he has an important message for the Raven Society, and demands to see the leader. The officer in charge calls for their leader.
Martha wakes up on a couch wearing a robe, and Frances tells her that she fainted and her clothes are in the laundry.
Captain Armitage comes in and claims that he's leader, but Alfred can see his shoes and figures that he's third-in-command at best. The captain figures that Alfred is stalling, and Alfred tells him that it's his call.
Martha and Frances have tea and chat, and Frances says that she's never seen a French window in the village. She asks where Martha was, and Martha claims that she can't remember because of the anesthetic. Francis calls Dawson in and tells her to bring Tanya, and says that Martha won't be needing her clothes. She explains that Martha and Alfred were sent to assassinate the leader of the Raven Society, and points out that they killed Mrs. Darkness and injured several good people. The doctor says that she's the new leader of the Society, and tells Martha that her clothes have been burned. Frances explains that none of the men would step up so she took charge, trying to save England from soft-hearted liberal do-gooders. Since Alfred killed one of their people, she has to set an example.
Dawson brings in a jar with a severed head inside of it, and Frances asks Martha if she knows her. She explains that they call the head "Tanya" because she looks Russian, and Martha insists that she doesn't know her. Frances says that Tanya tried to kill her and wouldn't say anything afterward, and asks Martha to write down her name. Martha says what her name is, and Armitage comes in and says that Alfred has a message for her only.
Armitage's man brings Alfred in, and Martha greets him. She says that the Society knows everything, and Frances introduces herself. Frances asks for his message, and Alfred says that he made it up. Armitage beats him, and Alfred points out that he let himself get caught so he'd get paid more if they succeeded. He signals Martha, who stabs Frances in the leg with the pen. After a brief fight, Alfred defeat Armitage and his man, and they explain that they were only supposed to find out her name and aren't there to kill her. He demands a car and some beer so they can leave.
Esme watches the news with the Pennyworths, who doze off. She quietly slips away.
When they get back to Martha's flat, Alfred pours beer and Martha pays him. She figures that he enjoyed being close to death and it's a compulsion. Alfred talks about Spanish and how he said life was a comedy or a drama, and Alfred chooses comedy. They share a toast and Alfred tells Martha that she was very game. He asks why she's mucking about with the League, and insists that he doesn't believe in anything. Martha doesn't believe him and says that he's mysterious, and talks about how her father was a happy man who died in a car crash despite the fact he was an excellent driver. Alfred says that he'd better be going, and then he and Martha kiss. After a minute he backs away and says that he'd better be going, and Martha agrees. Alfred wishes her luck subverting the state and goes.
Alfred walks home through the alleys, sees Jack, and gives him some money. Jack is busy treating Harwood like a dog, feeding him from a spoon. Alfred returns home and finds his parents asleep on the couch in front of the TV. There's a note from Esme saying that she'll be back at 11 after choosing paint for their flat, and Alfred should come to help her if he gets back.
Esme is painting the wall at the flat when she hears someone at the door. She figures that it's Alfred and hides to surprise him. Esme jumps out and stares at the arrival in shock. He grabs her throat and strangles her.
Alfred senses something is wrong and runs to the flat. He enters the flat and finds Esme dead on the floor.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 25, 2019