Warning: Spoiler Alert
Last week the new FOX series “Gotham,” aired a landmark episode, revealing layer after layer of intrigue, finishing with an ending that made most viewer’s jaw’s drop. However, in a 22-episode season, as the show-runners look to reveal results slowly, we can’t realistically expect so many layers of the onion, to get peeled back each episode. They need to build the story at a pace, that will produce a new dynamic for its second season (and with the amount of promotion the Network’s giving the series, it seems a safe bet, it’ll get renewed.)
We’re viewing the coming of age of two Iconic characters, Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon and the city’s masked crime-fighter, the Batman, as a boy when his only identity’s Bruce Wayne. What we should expect to witness, is the character’s growth in each episode, taking them one step closer to the fate we realize awaits them. In that aspect, the latest episode entitled “The Mask,” hit the mark, as both Gordon and young Wayne took some big steps in their evolutions. Both characters got hurt, but came back to gain the final victory.
The episode opens in a dilapidated poorly lit large office and we see a man wearing a shirt and tie, suit pants and suspenders, he then pulls a black ski mask over his head, revealing just his eyes and nose. As he looks up, he sees another man identically dressed, getting ready to attack him. They use everything they can lay their hands on in their battle, staplers, paperclips, tape dispensers and they go after each other mercilessly. One of the men takes the blade from a paper-slicer, off its hinges and attempts to use it as a sword, the two men struggle over the blade until one slices the other’s jugular vein, killing him instantly.
The next morning the man’s body’s found outside miles away from the building by some uniforms, and Detectives Gordon, his partner Harvey Bullock and GCPD scientist Ed Nygma, inspect the scene. Nygma tells the pair, that the victim died around midnight but his body’s got moved to this spot, just a couple of hours earlier, then he asks if the detective want all the fingerprints found on the victim and pulls the assailant’s thumb out of the victim’s ear.
The pair head back to the station-house and Harvey heads into Captain Sarah Essen’s office. She asks how Gordon’s doing and Bullock says his partner’s justifiably angry, after being deserted by all his fellow officers when Carmine Falcone’s enforcer Victor Zsasz invaded the station to deliver Jim to Falcone. Essen says she regrets leaving, but Gordon told her to leave since everyone else vanished. Bullock says he wasn’t including her as a deserter.
Jim and Harvey start checking “criminal doctors,” physicians who got disbarred from the Medical Association, now earning what they can, patching up people who can’t go to a licensed physician. They enter one office as the doctor’s attempting to fix up a renowned criminal, Bullock asks him if he replaced a man’s thumb that morning and the doctor replies that he didn’t. That’s when Gordon discovered the same black ink that covered the victim’s body and knew the guy lied. He admits he did the procedure that morning, he didn’t get a name but a business card from Sionis Investments, dropped out of his pocket.
We return to the office complex and see three men dressed in the same clothes the combatants wore, locked in cages and asking when they’ll be released. A man in an African tribal mask says, they know what they need to do to gain their freedom.
The next scene’s set at Barbara Kean’s apartment and Jim walks into the apartment and gets hinky, because it’s dark. With her being imprisoned by Zsasz in the previous episode, Gordon’s jumpy and it turns out Barbara is as well, as she’s standing there when he turns around with his backup pistol pointed right at him. She apologizes and says she just got nervous, he tells her she shouldn’t handle firearms after she’s been drinking.
The trauma she went through has her very shaken up, she says each time she’s outside she feels that monster’s presence. Jim tells her Zsasz’s just a man not a monster, and she falls apart. She asks Jim to tell her she’ll be alright, she won’t get kidnapped again and there’s no monsters, even if he needs to lie. He says there’s no monsters, but she gets little comfort from his words.
The next morning, Jim’s packing up the gun to leave it at the station, when his fiancée stops him and apologizes for her behavior, but now she’s over it. She then says that she asked Jim to let her into his life on the force and now she’s definitely in it. But once again she sounds displeased that she got what she asked for.
Harvey and Gordon arrive at Sionis Investments, and they’re shocked to see every male financial analyst, sports some heavy-duty bruises, quite unusual in a white-collar office. They’re brought into meet the owner of the Investment firm, Richard Sionis, whose office’s crammed with tribal masks and swords of all eras. (It’s possible, that he’s the father of Roman Sionis, The Black Mask, whose a longtime adversary of the Caped Crusader in the DC Comics.) Bullock asks about all the warrior gear and Sionis responds, it inspires him seeking investors trying to steal them from other firms and to conquer. Gordon inquiries why his staff’s so banged up and the investor responds they play hard-core touch-football.
Gordon angrily accuses him of lying and Sionis, gets impressed, calling Jim a warrior and asking how many he’s killed? Gordon grabs the investor by the knot of his tie and tells him he knows Sionis killed the victim and the other man responds prove it. Gordon and Bullock walk out , but Jim follows a trail of blood to the men’s room and finds a guy whose a nose-bleeder, his nostrils stuffed with tissues. But seconds later a man walks in with an injured hand and Gordon knows it’s the guy, who promptly knocks Gordon to the floor, then he gets knocked down by the door as Harvey slams in the melon with the door.
Let’s briefly look at the other two subplots of the evening. The first concerns Fish Mooney and her mole in the Falcone camp, Liza. Mooney gives the young woman a vial of liquid that’ll knock out Falcone for two-hours during that time she can copy some files for the gang leader. Later in the show, Liza’s performed the deed but tells Fish, she wants out, but Mooney informs her it’s not an option.
The other subplot’s more interesting and more long-term, as Alfred’s decided it’s time for Master Bruce to return to his school. We’ve watched Bruce mature quickly, over the course of the season, but now it’s time for peer interaction. The boy argues that studies show home schooling’s more effective, but Alfred tells him he needs to interact with kids his age. When Bruce asks why, he receives every child’s most hated response; Because. Young Bruce won’t accept that answer, so Alfred simply tells him to march up the stairs.
He gets some welcome attention from some pretty girls, but then two slimeballs, greet him and sit down. One kid’s just sits there, while his buddy starts asking inappropriate questions about Bruce’s parents murder. Bruce walks away. He sees the pair again as the break to change classes occurs, the talkative one calls out hey Brucey and Wayne responds his name’s Bruce and doesn’t contain the letter y. The kid asks what’s Wayne’s problem and he replies they got out of line with their comments. The kid calls Wayne a snob and starts saying something about Bruce’s mother, when Wayne slaps his cheek, telling him to never mention his mother. But the slap’s like how a mother would slap her child and we know Bruce will suffer a beating.
Back at the station, Jim and Harvey question the murderer and he says he acted in self-defense. He then told them, Sionis puts all his potential employees through a battle against each other and the victor gets the gig. He says they got taken to an old office park, but they blindfolded him, so he doesn’t know where it is. He says he’ll sign a confession, but Sionis’ attorney arrives before he can.
Now to implicate Sionis, they need to find the facility, Gordon takes some names of empty office parks, owned by Sionis and of course finds the right facility on his own and doesn’t call for backup. He enters, finds the three guys in cages and asks if they’re the only ones there. A second later he finds out Richard Sionis, is with them, as he knocks the detective with a Taser.
Gordon’s woken by Sionis’ voice and he tells him via a speaker system that he’s about to fight for his life. A TV monitor comes on and there’s a group of pretty-people, jaded thrill-seekers, who’ve found a temporary buzz betting on human combatants in these fights Sionis stages. We realize they’re watching the event via closed circuit TV, at a remote location. The three men from the cages, now freed, and wearing the ski masks, Sionis announces that the usual battles are between prospective employees, but this time it’s three against one and the man who kills Gordon gets the gig. The detective says this is their last chance to back out and Sionis says the killer also receives a million-dollar bonus. Gordon, realizes this fight’s going down.
Bullock attempts to reach Gordon, who of course can’t get to the phone, so he attempts to get some other cops to help find him, but gets no takers. Harvey then seems to prove he’s become one of the good guys, as he shouts to get everybody’s attention, then rips them apart for not helping one of their own. He says they’ve got a chance to redeem themselves for running out on Jim the first time, but they’re blowing it. Captain Essen speaks up and says she’ll help and that unleashes the flood gates as all get involved.
Now, even though it’s a three-on-one fight, we’re talking three finance-majors, taking on a man with a military background and he’s a GCPD Detective, my money’s on Gordon. And it doesn’t take him long to take all three out, disappointing the audience, who all bet on one of the three opponents. But they begin to cheer when Sionis appears, wearing his mask and wielding a sword. Gordon, subdues him, then straddles Sionis with Jim holding the sword above his head, ready to plunge it into his opponent’s heart, but refuses to give into the desire. He gets off of Sionis, just as Essen and a uniform arrive, the investor tries blind siding Gordon, but Jim knocks him down.
Alfred picks Bruce up at school and he sees the boy’s bruised and asks what happened. Bruce hems and haws, then finally tells Alfred the kid insulted his mother. The butler says that’s great and he hopes Wayne knocked his teeth out, but Bruce says the other kid’s bigger and he doesn’t know how to fight. They get into the car and stop on a street, Bruce doesn’t recognize, but both get out of the car. Alfred then hands the boy a watch, telling him it’s Bruce’s father’s and take good care of it. He then points to a house where the kid lives and says Bruce might have something to say to him. The boy smiles and walks to the house and rings the bell, seconds later the slimeball opens the door, asking why he’s there. Wayne says they’ve got unfinished business then punches the kid once in the mouth and once in the nose, as the kid’s face turns bloody.
Alfred says he thinks that’s fair play, then asks the little bully what he thinks? The kid’s shocked and says he tried to kill me, Alfred smiles then advises the kid to remember that and that Alfred would let him do it. When they get home, Bruce tells Alfred he’s angry all the time and asks if that will fade, the butler replies he doesn’t know. Wayne then asks if Alfred can teach him to fight and Alfred smiles and says ”Yes…. Master Bruce, I can do that.”
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on Fox.