HomeEntertainmentEmma Paetz on Season 3 Finale & Martha Wayne

Emma Paetz on Season 3 Finale & Martha Wayne

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Pennyworth star Emma Paetz about Martha Wayne’s journey throughout the series, the Season 3 finale, and the show’s newfound audience on HBO Max.

“The DC origin series Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler follows Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon), a former British SAS soldier, who forms a security company in 1960s London and goes to work with young billionaire Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) and his wife Martha (Emma Paetz), before they become Bruce Wayne’s parents,” says the synopsis. “Season three of the psychological thriller begins after a five-year time jump: the civil war is over, and a cultural revolution has changed the world for better or worse – ushering in a new age of Super Heroes and Supervillains.”

Tyler Treese: When Season 2 ended, it was such a huge twist that Martha gave birth to a baby girl. Everybody thought it was going to be Bruce and was shocked by this news. What was your reaction when you read the script and found out that Martha has a daughter?

Emma Paetz: I wasn’t as shocked by it as I think most people have been. I don’t know. It makes sense to me. I haven’t really been filled in more than anyone else in terms of like Sam’s identity and Sam’s future, but I don’t know. It felt natural that she would be a girl.

We get this great time jump here of five years. What was most interesting about picking up at this specific part of Martha’s life? Your daughter has aged. We don’t have to go through the terrible twos and such. So you’re moving along there and we’re seeing her and Thomas in the middle of their marriage. The newlywed phase is gone at this point.

While it was really interesting having Jayda [Eyles], who plays Sam, come on to the set because we’d it’s not really a kid show. There’s not really room for that in the show. So it was such a different energy to suddenly have this eight-year-old on the set. I knew going into it that that would be quite different — and it was — but it was great. Jayda fit in really, really well with me and Ben [Aldridge]. It was cool, by Season 3, to have this new energy and this very hard turn in terms of the daily life of what Martha and Thomas are doing. Putting a kid in the middle of that situation just really changed it.

When you compare Pennyworth to Season 1 to where the show is now, it feels completely different. The show’s always evolving, and it’s always changing. As an actress, how tantalizing is it that the show’s always evolving and never feels the same for too long?

Yeah, it’s great. As you said, you never really know what you’re going to get. I’m very bad at predicting where scripts are going, so I never know what’s going to happen with those. Every season has really had its own distinct feeling, and I mean, I’m just really grateful for that. It definitely keeps it interesting in terms of playing. You never get too comfortable, which I think is a good thing.

RELATED: Pennyworth Season 3 Interview: Jack Bannon & Ben Aldridge Talk Wild Twists

Martha and Thomas are having that strife, and a lot of it is because Martha was still in the field. Why do you think that she can’t leave that part of her life behind? Because Thomas is dying to be normal, but as you say in the finale, “Hey, let’s just be fucked up together and have a good family that way.” So can you speak to that element of her?

I think that Martha’s altruism is such a huge part of who she is in a way that it isn’t with Thomas. Not that he’s not a good person, but I think that that adventure side, but also helping people … I don’t think Martha has much of a choice in terms of leaving that behind. It’s just who she is. She wouldn’t be herself if it weren’t for that. I think Thomas finds that really hard to identify with because who he is happens to slot in much better with a family dynamic. Apart from the “murdering his father” of it all, that doesn’t fit in as nicely. Besides that, who he is is just better suited to that sort of convention in a way that it’s not with Martha. I think they reach a point by the end of Season 3 where they’re just sort of honest with each other and honest with themselves and closer than they’ve been throughout the seasons.

What was your reaction to all the daddy issues Thomas is going through in Season 3?

Yeah, I think like a lot of that … obviously I was reading it as the actor in the script, but by the nature of it, Thomas is keeping it so separate from Martha that I didn’t really have that much to do with it. I think that it wouldn’t be Martha’s perspective because she’s in it, but from my perspective, I felt for Thomas because I can sort of see why he did what he did, but then also how torn he is between those two worlds. I think Thomas had a rough go of it this season.

I like how the finales have been keeping this marriage theme going for the past two seasons. Season 2 ended, Martha and Thomas. Season 3, Sandra and Alfred. But all these weddings happen when the world is falling apart in the most ridiculous ways. What do you think is so romantic about society collapsing that they just have to get married that instant?

I don’t know, I think maybe, in those moments, that’s when people sort of cling to that kind of ritual because you don’t know how much time you have, and you want some sense of meaning and normalcy. I think it’s pretty truthful to have people do these things that maybe don’t make sense, but you can understand why people need them in those moments.

You’ve played Martha for over 30 episodes now. What have you liked most about just her character development from Season 1 to the woman and mother she is now?

I think what’s been really fun to play about Martha is how much she changes and grows throughout the seasons because she just, as a person, has been through such a huge period of growth in her life. I feel like in Season 1, she was like really grappling with trying to be important and get things done and make a difference and matter. Then in Season 2, she was more firm with what she was doing, so she was much more comfortable. In Season 3, she was sort of uncomfortable again because she’s in the middle of these two different worlds. I have really enjoyed how much she’s gotten to grow. I also think what’s really fun about Martha is [that] other characters expect her to be a certain way a lot of the time and a lot of her actions are undermining that. She’s kind of a strange person in a lot of ways, but it’s fun to play with her undermining the other character’s expectations of her. She’s very unpredictable. She’s kind of a volatile character in a lot of ways.

Later in this season with Martha and Thomas, what have you really enjoyed about going deeper into their relationship? Now we’re past that courtship phase and it’s very much like you’re seeing the two different sides of them and what gels and what doesn’t. How fulfilling has that been?

Yeah, it’s been great. I always love filming with Ben and the first two seasons, as you said, there’s the courtship, and now all of the scenes that we had together in Season 3 were dealing with how their actions affect each other and their family unit and how do they work through that? Those felt … I guess there’s just a sense of them being more grounded in familiarity because that’s something that we can relate to outside of a superhero show — how are we working through issues in our family? How are we keeping who we are alive while also making room for people we love? That was just … that was fun to explore. It wasn’t something we looked at at all in the first couple of seasons with our relationship.

As the show’s developed, it definitely does feel more like a superhero show. Now we’re seeing like these proto-superhumans emerge. How fun is this time period where we have these anomalies popping up, but it’s not like everybody knows a superhero around the block? It’s not like the modern day where it’s so well known.

It’s cool. I think Bruno [Heller]’s described it as, “they’re starting to be superheroes, but they’re still kind of crap because I haven’t worked out all the kinks with them yet.” So that’s really cool. You don’t really see that. That’s just another way that Pennyworth is really serving as a prequel because it’s not just showing the birth of the relationship with Thomas and Martha and Alfred, but it’s also showing the birth of this superhuman world, but working out the kinks of it because it’s new.

Another really cool aspect, and we saw this over the first two seasons, but Bruno’s talked about the V for Vendetta connection, and this season has the Guy Fawkes masks, and there’s a little bit more going into that — the state of disarray England’s getting into. How have you liked that side element? It’s very nice how it never overtakes the main plot, but you can see it brooding in the background and it’s nice to reward people for paying attention.

Yeah, In a lot of my scenes, it didn’t really have a lot to do directly with what Martha was dealing with, except in the last couple of episodes. Me, the actor, and Martha, the character, was really seeing it all blow up with people running around in the streets, killing other people, there being explosions, cars on fire … that was as shocking for me as it would’ve been for Martha.

This season is streaming on HBO Max. How great has it been that there’s such a large install base that are coming to the show that are able to binge the first two seasons? Now they’re going on this wild ride with the rest of the fans. How cool is it seeing a larger fan base come to Pennyworth?

It’s great. We’re all really excited about it. I think that the way we worked on Pennyworth for three seasons has never really changed. It’s always just kind of felt like our show that we come back to, and we’re very excited to share Season 3 with people, but the filming of it didn’t feel hugely different, which was nice.




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