The FOX Network and the creators of the Dark Knight Prequel “Gotham,” would never pretend they’ve got any intentions of reinventing the wheel with their series. The show’s very existence’s a testament to the story and the characters invented by Bob Kane in 1939. Those iconic characters that first appeared on the pages of Detective Comics have become such an ingrained part of our culture that more than 75-years after The Batman debuted, there’s a TV series telling the tales of Gotham City long before Bruce Wayne donned cape and cowl.
The concept of telling tales of our favorite crime-fighters when they were younger, certainly is far from unique with DC Comics selling plenty of copies of Superboy. We all know the drill, tell us why these characters we care about chose the paths they did keeping us entertained along the journey. During the first ten-episodes leading into the Fall Finale next week, Gotham’s built a taut and tense story with characters that have haunted us. Although the show can be guilt of tipping it’s pitches at times, it pulled off the biggest shock in many a TV-season when they killed off Jerome Valeska in the season’s third episode.
We’ve witnessed many embrace their dark-sides during the first year and a half of this show. Barbara Kean morphed from a society-gal that liked to get a little down and dirty every so often into a psychotic self-loathing creature that killed her own parents. GCPD Forensic Scientist Edward Nygma the man the pocket-protector was invented for, now hangs on the corner of Schizophrenia and Insanity after murdering the love of his life Kristin Kringle and two others.
Nobody’s had a more eventful ride on the Crazy-Train during this adventure than Oswald Cobblepot, Fish Mooney’s insignificant umbrella-boy with delusions of grandeur when we met him. Turns out he wasn’t delusional and was a fast learner when it came to the arts of back-stabbing and being duplicitous. The Penguin started out this season as the King Of Gotham City, but he’s fared badly in his battle with Theo Galavan. He’s lost his empire, his friends and his inspiration his mother who Tabitha Galavan stabbed to death, dying in her son’s arms.
How do we live in a universe in which Sean Pertwee doesn’t star in his own weekly adventure-series? I’ve simply run out of superlatives to describe what he’s done with the character of Alfred Pennyworth. He and David Mazouz have to navigate a high-wire each week, balancing out a dynamic where the guardian’s also an employee and they pull it off tightly.
Morena Baccarin joined the cast in the middle of the first season as Dr. Lee Thompkins now the Medical-Examiner of the GCPD and Detective Jim Gordon’s love interest. Lee’s aware of all of the skeletons her boyfriend’s got stashed in his closet but she’s a realist and knows that doing the right thing isn’t always pretty. She’s not afraid to call him out when she believes he’s indulging his dark impulses too often.
Captain Nathaniel Barnes’ too much of a wild-card to make a call on at this time. His instincts seem good but we know far too little about him and his past to venture an opinion. He’s certainly more of a spit-and-polish type leader than the late Commissioner Sarah Essen was in the position.
Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne will have a mercurial relationship throughout this series. They’re destined to play their game of cat and mouse, with each one inhabiting each role as they grow older.
Donal Logue’s transformed Harvey Bullock from just another corrupt cop with his hand out, whose idealism had vanished years before and was just putting in enough years to collect his pension into a hero. A man that’s unafraid to go against the tide and stick up for what he believes is right. He believes in Gordon and would follow him to Hell and back.
Bruce Wayne’s grown from a sheltered boy who we met in the series premiere to a self-assured and confident young man that pulled off a first-class sting in the most recent episode. He’s made his share of mistakes in the time we’ve spent with him, usually involving biting off more than he can chew. He’s started to realize just how arduous the task of bringing his parents killers to justice and cleaning up systemic corruption in Wayne Industries will be and how far off he is from becoming the man he needs to be.
The Boy Scout Detective that thought he could single-handedly rid the GCPD of corruption died a long-while back. That look of confidence that used to fill the eyes Jim Gordon’s been replaced by a man that appears to feel more haunted with each passing day. Memories made of promises that ended getting broken, feeling the guilt that only those who believe that they’re saviors can experience. That you alone are responsible for being unable to stop all the evil and suffering in our lives.
Gordon’s finding it too easy to embrace his dark-side, the situations he’s experienced over the last few months would likely have most officers on some PTSD-Related disability and deservedly so. However Gordon can’t become so laser-focused on bringing the Theo Galavan’s of the world to justice, that he forgets his own code and his own values. James Gordon was a good man when we first met him and he had such strong convictions that he allowed Oswald Cobblepot to live. Would the man questioning if he should have killed Flamingo have made that same choice?
This week’s installment put all the final pieces in place for the Dumas clan to try to reclaim Gotham City as their own next week. The monks from the Order Of The Dumas a religious sect that believes in Purification Through Pain The monks are killing throughout the city while they chant “The Blood Of The Nine Shall Wash Away The Sins.”
Selina convinces Bruce that Silver’s trying to scam him for her uncle. Wayne pulls off a sting worthy of Redford and Newman as they get St. Cloud to reveal the name that Theo says ordered the killing of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Crying to Bruce that Theo will murder her when he finds out she talked, the billionaire shrugs his shoulders. She screams to him you’re not like this and he smiles and says he is.
Gotham City Mayor Aubrey James could truly mess up a free lunch. Somehow Theo Galavan still has something he can blackmail the mayor with and James testifies that Penguin actually kidnapped him and held him hostage. Galavan’s immediately set free and the charges get dropped. Gordon slugs Galavan in the jaw and two uniforms drag Gordon away and knock him out with a Taser.
The detective wakes up and finds himself secured to a rack and Galavan’s standing in front of him laughing. He’s about to have Gordon shot to death, but he says he’s got a few minutes and cuts Jim loose then tells the cop to give it his best shot. Theo never gives Gordon a chance to raise his hands, knocking him down again and again with martial-arts moves. He then tells his men to finish him off. The two men beating Gordon with batons until they get interrupted when Penguin’s man Gabe shoots them both in the head. Penguin asks a barely conscious Gordon where Galavan went.
We find out his destination in the final scene as Galavan comes to find Bruce all alone in Wayne Manor and tells him he’s come for Bruce’s life.
The Fall Finale Airs Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.
Despite everything we’ve soaked in until that very moment, our loftiest goals and heartiest claims of bravado the unvarnished truth is we don’t know how we’ll deal in a crisis until it’s thrust upon us. Which of us will demonstrate bravery or compassion, while others attempt to blend in with the furnishings? Even prior history’s an uncertain indicator, as the right situation could give a coward courage or the final factor that pushes somebody over the edge. This week’s chapter of the FOX series “Gotham,” showed some characters just wetting their feet in unfamiliar waters while others dove in head first embracing the rush.
We watch a news-truck throw a bundle of papers in front of a newsstand blaring the headline “Mayor Galavan Arrested” as Tabitha walks past the stand and into an empty bar. Bartender’s wiping the counter and asks if he can help her and she says she’ll have a Highsmith Royale. The bartender asks isn’t it early in the day then she repeats her order adds no ice and gives the man a bankroll. After counting it, he smiles and opens a hidden door leading to a jumping underground casino.
Tabby makes a beeline to the woman she came to see, a woman who owns the most infamous assassin-for-hire agency in Gotham City. A treat for fans of Doctor Who, the woman’s portrayed by Michelle Gomez whose taken on the role of Missy playing opposite Peter Capaldi. The woman guarantees Galavan that once she provides the name, the victim will be roadkill before sunrise. Tabitha gives the woman a photo Jim Gordon.
Gordon’s down at Gotham General asking Barbara Kean’s doctor if she can answer questions. The doctor looks at Gordon as if the detective’s loony and tells him Kean’s in a coma and it’s tough to predict when or if she’ll come out of it. They’re transferring her to Arkham and the doctor asks Gordon if he wants to ride in the ambulance? He declines and heads to the precinct.
Penguin wakes up from being drugged and he sees Ed’s standing over him. Cobblepot tries to get up and Ed tells him he’s badly injured and can’t move. Oswald tries to get up again and this time Nygma sedates him with a hypodermic needle. As Penguin goes back under Ed says rest up we’ve got a big night ahead.
Jim sees Lee at the precinct and she tells him Kean’s being transferred to Arkham and he tells her he knows as he was just there to see her. Lee’s really ticked off at first then Gordon says she’s a witness in the case against Galavan and he needs her testimony. Thompkins says we all have a dark side, but Jim’s been running towards his over the last few weeks. She says that’s bad for him and them, he agrees and says he needs to meet Barnes at Theo’s penthouse. He promises they’ll discuss it that night.
As we drop in at Wayne Manor we see that Bruce has company as Silver St. Cloud’s sitting in his library. She says she thought he’d refuse to see her and asks if he believes her uncle’s guilty? Bruce says of course not and says he has a question for her but right then Alfred walks in. He says given the circumstances he needs to ask Miss St. Cloud to leave, she gives Bruce her hotel-room key and tells him to join her there later.
Gordon heads up to Galavan’s penthouse by elevator when a guy stops the car at last second by sticking his arm in the door covered by a cloth bag. The guy looks like a homeless person but it’s pretty easy to see he’s the hitman. He asks if Gordon lives there then offers him a caramel then pulls out a piece of piano wire and starts strangling Jim from behind. The two smack the stuffing out of each other in the confined space, but the detective gains the advantage by covering the dude’s face with his bag and pummels his head until he blacks out.
He drags the guy out of the elevator to the penthouse and Captain Barnes asks who he is? Gordon says he doesn’t know but he just tried to kill him. The assassin’s phone rings and Gordon picks it up and just breaths. The woman who owns the agency’s on the other end and hangs up realizing Gordon’s alive. She goes over to the craps table and puts out an all-call to kill Gordon before sunrise.
Penguin’s lucid this time when he wakes up and he’s frightened to see Ed standing by his bed. Penguin says he’s leaving and Nygma tells him he’s badly injured and a wanted criminal and he’d be fortunate to make it three blocks. Penguin glares at Ed but gets into bed, then says he knows Nygma. Ed says they met last year at the GCPD and he laughs when Cobblepot asks if he’s a cop.
He then says he needs Penguin’s advice, he’s just become a murderer and realizes he can’t go back to his old life. He asks Oswald to mold him. Penguin lets out a derisive laugh and looks out the window, he says his empire’s in ruins and he’s friendless and he lost the one person he cared about due to his weakness. He says he’s leaving, then passes out.
Barnes calls for backup, right now they’ve got an unarmed guy from forensics and three armed officers in Barnes, Gordon and a young uniform named Officer Parks and she looks like the only time she’s ever fired her weapon’s at target practice. Suddenly the security camera feeds get cut and the now restrained failed assassin starts laughing. He says that’s his employer’s policy, if the first assassin doesn’t get the job done, they keep sending people until it gets done.
The forensic guy’s killed but Parks, Gordon and Barnes kill three of the guys and one looks like he’s taking a long nap. Barnes says they’re evacuating now and will return with the backup, Gordon begs Barnes to let him stay behind so none of Galavan’s people can take evidence while they’re gone. Just then the fourth guy comes to and slices Barnes thigh deeply with a blade. Gordon takes him out with gunfire, but Barnes’ artery got severed and they can’t move him.
Ed tells Penguin he’s got a gift for him. The man’s named Leonard and he’s bound with a bag over his head and Nygma tells Cobblepot he’s Galavan’s lackey. He says Penguin talks in his sleep and was talking about Theo killing his mother and he thought Penguin would get cheered up by a little vengeance. He gives Cobblepot a blade and Penguin stands in front of Leonard, then drops the knife and says he’s through. He’s going to get better and leave Gotham City forever. He goes back in the bed and pulls the covers over his head and hums a tune softly to himself.
The agency’s owner’s at her wit’s end and makes a call she hoped to avoid. She gets a guy whose already got a bunch of corpses laying at his feet and he’s torturing his last victim, by slicing off a slice of the guy’s flesh and he’s about to eat it while the guy screams. He laughs at his victim and asks why just smell the fear when you can taste it?
He answers his phone and we find out he’s Eduardo Flamingo, a character out of the Batman comic-books universe. Flamingo’s known as the “Face-Eater” as he devours his victims faces after he kills them and his counterpart on the show’s also a cannibal. He says to the woman he thought she revoked his membership and she tells him all’s forgiven and she needs him to kill Gordon before sunrise. He shoots his surviving victim and says he’s on his way.
Gordon ties off Barnes’ leg so he doesn’t bleed out before the EMT’s arrive and the Captain asks Jim what’s going on. He tells her that Kean said he’s a monster and Lee seems to believe it as well. He said he nearly crossed the line before the backup arrived at the church as he held that double-barreled shotgun aimed at Barbara and nearly pulled the trigger.
Barnes’ has had a couple of belts of whiskey to kill the pain and he tells Gordon about his second-tour-of-duty in the Middle-East. He and his platoon caught three enemy soldiers and had their hands zip-tied as a sandstorm approached. One tried to escape and Barnes tried to scare the soldier and stuck his gun in the guy’s mouth, then he felt himself pull the trigger. He says it took him years to forgive himself, when he finally admitted he was just a man. He says there is no line, there’s only the law. That’s what separates us from the animals.
Bruce comes into the library wearing his bathrobe and he tells Alfred that he realizes his guardian’s correct and he’ll contact Detective Gordon in the morning about help with Theo. Alfred asks him if he’s heading for bed and Wayne responds he is, Alfred says he already sent the taxi that Bruce called away giving the driver a generous tip. Bruce says he didn’t call a cab and Alfred dangles the hotel-key and says if he has to play prison-guard he will.
The backup arrives downstairs as one of the uniform’s tells Gordon that four officers have arrived and then there’s silence. Flamingo gets on the radio and says after he feasts on Gordon’s friends he’ll have him for dessert. Gordon says he’s heading down there. Barnes’ tries to stop him but has no other solution.
Gordon hits the street and sees the four officers bodies but he doesn’t see his opponent until Flamingo hits Jim in the head with a chain. Flamingo takes the early advantage but Gordon suddenly gets the upper hand and starts beating Flamingo’s face like Ricky Ricardo on the congas. Eduardo starts laughing as his face turns to pulp and the blood spurts, he sees the evil in Gordon and he’s goading the cop on. Jim sticks his gun in Flamingo’s mouth and Eduardo looks at him defiantly daring him to let the dark side win. Gordon finally screams NOOOOO and pulls the gun out of Flamingo’s mouth. Eduardo says you let me down my man. Gordon gives him his rights.
Penguin’s woken to the sound of Ed playing an organ and singing the song Oswald hummed earlier. He asks Nygma how he knows the song and Ed said he heard him humming it. He then says his mother used to sing it to him every night and she’d say the other kids are wrong Oswald. You’re handsome and smart and you’ll be a great man someday.
Ed says Penguin was correct before when he spoke of his weakness, then tells Cobblepot his mother had been his weakness, Penguin grabs the knife and presses it to Nygma’s neck and says his mother was a saint and she was the only person he loved. Ed says a man who lacks love can’t be bargained with or betrayed. He answers to nobody but himself, he’s a free-man, that’s who Nygma sees in front of him. Penguin gives Ed back the blade.
Bruce tries to sneak out again, this time Cat stops him saying she’s got proof that Silver’s no good.
Tabitha visits Galavan at prison and he berates her for ignoring his orders and hiring a hit-man to try to take out Gordon. He says everything’s in place, the Brotherhood’s arrival’s imminent, soon Bruce Wayne will die and he’ll control Wayne Industries. He tells Tabitha as much as it pains him if he disobeys him again he’ll slice her throat.
Father Creel welcomes about ten hooded men onto the docks late at night, greeting them as brothers. A security guard comes up and says the docks are closed and he needs to see some identification. Creel nods his head and the men encircle the guard and start stabbing him, about a minute later they step away and the guard’s dead body lies where they just stood.
The FOX series “Gotham,” suddenly changed direction in the latest episode making a move that likely will have many fans of the show upset and perhaps irate. Other fans will look at this as a gutsy move by the show-runners, proving that the second-year series will keep viewers on their toes and let them take nothing for granted.
I’m going to break format this go-round and immediately address the elephant in the room. During the show’s first season Robin Lord Taylor’s Oswald Cobblepot, aka the Penguin evolved into a breakout character of the campaign. Taylor’s Penguin broke away from the way Burgess Meredith and Danny DeVito played the role, in appearance and mannerisms. Both actors portrayed the character as he appeared in the comic-books of the Golden and Silver Ages of comics. Short and round with pointed noses, their speech filled with assorted grunts and quacks.
Taylor’s Cobblepot’s a mama’s boy and outsider who dreams of greatness and overcomes his cowardice to end up as the Criminal King of Gotham City. Penguin stabbed each of his benefactors in the back, yet he ended up the first season as last man standing. We watched him transform from Fish Mooney’s umbrella boy to controlling the entire underworld operation in Gotham City.
This year’s breakout character was Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome Valeska, a young man we met last season when Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock arrested him for killing his mother. When Valeska realized that Gordon nailed him for the murder of his mother many fans including this one, believed that Jerome would become perhaps the Caped Crusader’s greatest nemesis The Joker. Jerome starts to break down and cry for a second only to look up at Gordon and flash that unmistakable grin, Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and the Joker from the comic-books, all wrapped up in one magnificently evil smile.
Although those connected with Gotham never confirmed that Jerome would eventually evolve into The Joker, the first two episodes in this short season was enough proof that the ginger would become the deadly criminal. Valeska and four other inmates of the Arkham Asylum received their freedom when they got broken out by Theo and Tabitha Galavan. Valeska quickly became first among equals, becoming the leader of The MANIAX, stressing showmanship along with his brutal slayings.
Jerome terrorized Gotham City’s elite for most of the third episode until the show-runners hit the audience that likely knocked them out of their seats. Theo Galavan called an audible at the line and decided that Valeska could get sacrificed in order to further Galavan’s master plan, to take control of Gotham City.
The first image we see on the screen’s a perp’s getting thrown through a second-story window, his fall softened by trash bags in the alley. We pan up to see Jim Gordon standing in the window and he turns around to talk to his next victim. He tells the guy he’s looking for Jerome Valeska for killing a friend of his and asks the guy what he knows. The dude responds he’s never heard of Valeska and Jim throws a right to his jaw. The guy says he can help the detectives by spreading the word and Gordon tells him that anybody who hides or protects Valeska’s going down. To make sure the guy understood the message, Bullock then threw him through another window to the trash bags below.
After a little playtime for Barbara and Tabitha, Theo walks in with a tray of toast and coffee for Barbara and himself as Tabitha takes off. Galavan then tells Kean that his family built Gotham City, yet their name’s not known. He says he’s out to avenge his ancestors and tells Barbara she’s going to be his star. He then tells her when the time’s right he’ll help her destroy Jim Gordon, not kill him but destroy him body and soul.
Back at the precinct, Harvey suggests to Jim that they pay Penguin a visit, but Gordon brusquely dismisses the idea. Bullock heads to another part of the station, when Gordon sees a female uniform about to take the crime-scene tape off of Captain Sarah Essen’s office door. Jim barks at her to stop then puts the tape back in place. He then shouts to all in the precinct that they lost Essen and nine of their brothers in their house and the killer laughed. He told them to never forget that.
Lee Thompkins puts her hand on his shoulder from behind and he wheels around screams what, before he realizes it’s her. They go off to a corner and talk and Lee mentions the Gotham Children’s Hospital Charity Event’s that evening and she’s involved in the presentation. Jim says he can’t go, he needs to find Jerome.
Just at that moment Valeska and Tabitha arrive at Paul Cicero’s apartment, Cicero’s the blind psychic who admitted to Jerome last season he’s his father. Quickly Cicero’s bound and gagged as Jerome recounts the days of his abusive childhood and blame’s Cicero for never stepping in. He then tells the old man that he’s going to leave manufactured letters between father and son, so that Cicero gets blamed for breaking Jerome out of Arkham.
Back at the precinct Harvey tells Jim that he’s tracked down Paul Cicero and maybe he knows where Jerome’s hiding out. The two quickly drive over to the old man’s apartment.
Valeska stand’s over the old man with a knife and asks him if he has any last words. Cicero says
“You will be a curse upon Gotham. Children will wake from their sleep, screaming from the thought of you. Your legacy will be death and madness.”
Jerome laughs and starts to raise the knife, when there’s a knock at the door as Gordon and Bullock arrived. Gordon calls for Cicero, saying he wants to talk to him about his son but gets met with silence. Suddenly the old man groans and they bust down the door, an instant too late. Cicero’s dead as Valeska stabbed him in the eye and Jim realizes they left through the open window. Harvey examines the body and notices the corpse’s hand’s placed on-top of a tin can, when he moves Cicero’s hand he passes out from the gas coming out of the can. Gordon pulls him out into the hall but he’s barely standing. Then Jerome and Tabitha show up, Jim tries to choke Jerome but he’s easily subdued and Tabitha kicks him in the forehead.
The charity event for Gotham Children’s Hospital kicks off and amongst the guests, Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth. Bruce questions why they’re at the event and Alfred says that Bruce needs to be seen at certain functions, this being one on that list. Lee Thompkins comes over to introduce herself to Bruce, she tells him Gordon talks about him all the time and she wanted to meet him.
Alfred’s smitten and unaware that she’s Gordon’s girlfriend he starts to turn on the charm and make a play for her. Lee tells him she loves his stories and he suggests they have dinner at Wayne Manor. She starts to tell Pennyworth she’s got a boyfriend, but he mentions he’s good friends with the head-chef at an exclusive restaurant. Lee says she’s been trying to get a table there for months.
Bruce sees Selina at the event and tries to talk to her, but she tells him she’s working. She’s robbing Gotham’s elite of some of their “extra-cash.” Wayne mentions the entertainment’s a magician and Kyle tells him she hates magicians and says she’ll see him later.
There’s a last-minute substitution for the magician scheduled to perform. Taking the stage The Great Rudolfo and his lovely assistant, actually Jerome and Barbara in disguise, after they tied up the real magician and locked him in a trunk. Lee’s the hostess of the event and introduces the magician and his assistant.
Rudolfo performs a few tricks and then asks for a volunteer from the audience and asks for Bruce Wayne to come up. Wayne doesn’t want to do it but Alfred tells him to be a good sport. He comes up on stage and Rudolfo places him lying down in a box, Wayne’s head and arms sticking out one end and his feet out the other. Alfred starts to protest when Rudolfo takes two honed steel sheets and sticks them in a slot in the box. He separates the boxes and Bruce’s fine with his feet appearing to stick out one end while he waves to the crowd.
Lee asks Alfred if the performers look familiar and suddenly Kean’s mask slips off and she winks at Thompkins. Lee backs into the hallway and calls Jim telling him Barbara’s there and she thinks Jerome as well when she’s grabbed from behind and a hand goes over her mouth. Gordon rushes to the event.
Rudolfo’s asked for Deputy Mayor Harrison Kane to be his next volunteer and the official takes the stage smiling broadly. Rudolfo then says to the audience nobody’s getting out of her alive tonight and there’s nervous laughter, which turns into screams when he throws a knife into Kane’s chest killing the Deputy Mayor.
Gordon arrives outside the hall where the event’s taking place and a uniform tells him he’s not sending in his men. Jim stomps off and says he’ll go by himself when his cellphone rings and Lee’s number appears. He says thank goodness you’re okay only to hear Jerome at the other end. Valeska says to the detective he wishes he could see what’s going on then says actually it’s on TV so he can. Gordon gets to a monitor and sees Lee tied to a spinning wheel, with Barbara and Jerome on either side of her.
The waiters are part of the gang and start shooting automatic weapons at the ceiling, Alfred takes on one of the guys and almost has the weapon when he sees Bruce chasing Selina. Pennyworth’s caught off-guard and a blow to the head knocks him out.
Theo Galavan takes the stage and says to Valeska that he can’t let this go on and when Jerome asks him his name he turns to the cameras and announces Theo Galavan. He says to Jerome that there must be one cell of compassion within him and he says he appeals to the good in him. Kean knocks on top of his head with a hammer and Galavan falls to the stage.
Selina grabs Bruce and almost has them outside when he says he has to go back for Alfred. She says she’s not going back and he tells her he understands, then says he misses her and heads back to the dining room. Selina shakes her head and heads for safety.
Wayne’s just outside the dining room when he hears Jerome saying he wants Bruce back on the stage. Bruce stands and looks from behind a curtain until Kean says shoot the butler and Alfred’s brought out. Valeska says if Bruce wants to save his friend he best come out, he’s about to enter the dining room when he feels a hand on his shoulder. It’s Gordon and he tells him not to go.
Bruce says he can’t let anything happen to Alfred and he runs in shouting I’m here. Alfred stops him and asks what he’s doing, he gives Alfred a pistol that Gordon gave him and tells him the Detective’s in the hall. He goes to Jerome and he puts a knife against his neck and starts slicing slowly. Gordon and Alfred lack a clear shot at Valeska, suddenly Galavan rises from the floor and severs Jerome’s jugular with a knife. Valeska slumps to the floor still with a huge grin plastered on his face and his eyes wide-open.
Theo talks to Valeska as the life ebbs out of his body. He tells him he’s sorry he deviated from the script but he found it necessary. Valeska dies on the stage with his face frozen in the grin and Galavan’s looked at as the city’s new hero.
Jerome Valeska didn’t become The Joker, but he inspired a following. We watch a guy in his thirties laughing hysterically watching Valeska killing people. Then we watch a kid with braces laughing like a lunatic as he watches. We finally see two homeless stragglers stab a bag-lady to death and then one guy kills his partner.
The final image’s Jerome’s corpse with that grin frozen on his face, as we hear Cicero’s words ringing in the background.
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.
The FOX Network series “Gotham,” opened its second season with an episode that should eliminate any doubts the series is going to suffer from the sophomore blues. The show-runners made every moment count in this fast-paced and gripping chapter. The powers that be have labeled season two as “The Rise Of The Villains,” but it could be subtitled “Doing The Right Thing Isn’t Always Pretty.” Alliances were formed that blurred the line between good and bad, in order to achieve the desired endgame. This results in show that no longer pits the white hats against the black hats, now all the characters are varying shades of gray.
Season two opens seconds after the first season finale on another rainy day at Wayne Manor as Bruce and Alfred head down the staircase they discovered hidden behind the fireplace. When they reach the bottom of the staircase, there’s a door in front of them with the carving of a creature that appears to be a cross between a man and a lion. The door’s locked and the only way to enter it is through a keypad. Bruce furiously punches in a number of codes, but the digital display reads access denied with every entry.
We watch a montage of the rest of the characters set to a the Lou Reed classic “Perfect Day,” a perfect counter-balance to what we watch unfold on the screen. Lee helps Jim with his tie as he prepares to direct traffic, now that he’s been demoted to patrolman. His former partner Harvey Bullock quit the department rather than accept the demotion, he’s now a bartender and picks a drunk’s head off the counter to clean it. Penguin now the King Of Crime in Gotham City, kisses a bald man on top of his head before he has Victor Zsasz shoot him to death. We see Barbara Kean arrive at Arkham Asylum and we see a familiar face among the inmates, Jerome Valeska who many fans believe will evolve into the Joker.
We then get our first glimpse of the character that appears destined to become the “Big Bad” of season two, as Theo Galavan gives a hefty man wearing what looks like a superhero costume including a helmet a liquid and tells him to drink it. The man responds yes master and consumes it all.
Gordon’s directing traffic in Gotham City when the dude in the suit comes down the stairs of the elevated-train system and announces that he’s Zaardon Slayer Of Souls. He then pulls out two pistols and fires overhead into the metal bridge, then throws the pistols down and unsheathes a sword and grabs a young woman. Gordon tells Zaardon he doesn’t want to shoot him as there’s too much paperwork involved. Zaardon pushes the woman away and Gordon’s able to deflect the sword, overpower the dude and cuff him.
Just then the uniform that’s supposed to relieve Gordon arrives, another hefty guy munching on a burger as he arrives. Gordon barks at him that he’s late and the uniform smirks and asks Jim what’s his problem and Gordon just pushes him away due to his frustration. He whips around and pulls his weapon, pointing it at some would-be looters and growls bad idea. The guys put down the stuff and take off.
Gordon brings Zaardon back to the station and tells him he’s heading for Arkham Asylum. Zaardon responds that Gordon won the battle but his master will win the war. He tells the patrolman dark days are coming and Jim thanks him for the heads up.
Gordon goes into the men’s room and sees Ed Nygma standing in front of a sink staring into the mirror, without his glasses on. Jim asks him if he’s okay and Ed responds he’s fine and Gordon leaves. We then realize that Jim interrupted a conversation between Nygma and his reflection. His reflection starts talking about pursuing Kristin Kringle in a romantic relationship, but Ed says they have to leave Miss Kringle alone.
We’re now in Captain Sarah Essen’s office along with Essen, Gordon, Commissioner Loeb and the uniform that Jim pushed Officer Frank. Loeb asks Gordon if he put his hands on Frank and he replies that he did and Frank leaves the office. Loeb tells Gordon that the infraction calls for him to be dismissed from the force and tells Essen to take Jim’s gun and badge. The Captain starts to protest but Jim tells her to stop. He then shakes hands with Loeb and says that he told the Commissioner he’d break him and he intends to fulfill that promise.
Jim tells Lee and she tells him that she’s glad he got fired, as he was far too good to be directing traffic. She says she knew he’d never quit so she’s thankful that the decision was taken out of his hands. We can see by Gordon’s expression he doesn’t share her opinion.
Barbara’s reading a magazine in the communal cell at Arkham Asylum when Jerome comes over and introduces himself. He tells her that one of their fellow inmates Richard Sionis wants to be her friend, Kean responds that she’s not interested. Jerome tells her that a girl needs a friend at Arkham as the guards refuse to intercede. She then gets the attention of Aaron Helzinger, a gigantic bald man that looks like a wall with a face. She asks Aaron if he’d become her friend and protect her if someone tried to hurt her. He said of course and Barbara cooed and called him a cutie and thanked him. Jerome says she got a gorilla but Sionis runs Arkham and can get her what ever she wants, Barbara replies she wants a phone.
Gordon goes to see Penguin and says they need to talk, Cobblepot kicks out all his staff except for Selina Kyle, who apparently joined up with Penguin after Fish Mooney’s apparent demise. Jim says Penguin owes him a favor for saving him from Sal Maroni’s guys. Oswald says he thinks they’re even but he tells Gordon he’ll grant his favor. When Jim says Penguin doesn’t know what he wants, he responds that Gordon wants to be reinstated as a detective and Loeb to resign as Police Commissioner. Gordon tells him that’s indeed his wish and Penguin responds that he wants Jim to do him a favor in return and collect a debt. Jim refuses and wishes Penguin luck as he says goodbye.
Jim heads down to Harvey’s bar and soon he’s stinking drunk. He says screw the Penguin, Loeb and the GCPD and asks his former partner if he’s going to join him in a drink? Bullock says he’s been sober for 32-days, without the stress of the department he doesn’t need the booze. He tells Jim that he’s got a woman that doesn’t dislike him, a home and he sleeps well every night. Jim hugs him and tells him that’s great.
Gordon decides he needs to sober up and he decides to walk to Wayne Manor to accomplish that. By the time he reaches Bruce’s home he’s sober as a judge and asks Bruce and Alfred why they’re so dirty? He then tells Bruce that he got fired from the GCPD and so he can’t fulfill his promise to find the killer of Bruce’s parents. Alfred asks if there’s any way he can get reinstated and Jim says he could but it would mean becoming a collector for Penguin, an act he believes is morally wrong.
Bruce says that Gordon can fulfill his promise to Wayne and bring reform to the GCPD, but he refuses to take it as he’d be working for Penguin and that’s demeaning. Then he asks if Jim’s sure it’s not his pride standing in the way of the greater good? Alfred tries to stop Bruce, but Wayne says Gordon wouldn’t have walked there if he wanted Bruce to keep his thoughts to himself. Wayne says doing the right thing isn’t always pretty, but it’s necessary. The two shake hands and Alfred shows Gordon out.
Gordon heads to a night club that’s also the headquarters for the guy that owes Penguin money, Ogden Barker. Gordon enters Barker’s office and says he’s there to collect the debt owed to Penguin and Barker laughs in his face. Gordon says he’s not leaving without the money and Barker pulls out a gun and sticks it in Jim’s face, Gordon says he’s going to count to three and Barker and his henchmen start laughing. Jim grabs the gun then knocks out Barker and two of his goons telling the third guy to fill the bag he gives him with money. He runs out just as Barker recovers and he growls get him.
Gordon starts running on the street with the two goons in pursuit when they see some uniforms ahead of them and one of the guys yells stop thief, so the patrolman start chasing Gordon. However he gives them all the slip as he ducks into a parking garage. His troubles aren’t over as Barker steps out of the shadows and starts shooting at Jim, he misses but Gordon kills Barker with return fire. We see the anguish on his face but Gordon runs off.
Bruce’s frustration not getting the right password on the keypad, causes him to destroy it with a hammer. He then enters the library with a bag of fertilizer and some other objects. He tells Alfred he’s taking his own advice that doing the right thing isn’t always pretty and he’s going to build a bomb to blow the door off his father’s room. He says he’s building it with or without Alfred’s help, his guardian and butler tells Bruce that he’ll need another ten bags of fertilizer to do the job.
Gordon delivers the money to Penguin, who apologizes that things got messy and pledges that Gordon’s name will never be connected with Barker. Jim asks if Penguin knew Barker would react that way and Cobblepot responds that he had no idea things would go down the way they did. He then tells Gordon that his favor will soon get granted.
Jim heads back to his apartment with Lee and she sees something’s bothering him and asks if he’s alright and he responds he’s fine. His cellphone rings and he picks it up and Barbara’s on the other end. He asks her how she got use of a phone and she says the only thing that matters is they’re talking. She then tells Gordon there’s been a terrible mistake, she didn’t attack Lee, Lee attacked her and she’s insane. Jim growls don’t ever call me again and hangs up. Lee asks who it was and he says a salesman, which of course Lee realizes is a lie.
Then her landline rings and Jim tells her not to answer it because it’s Barbara, it goes to her answering machine and we hear Kean say hey girlfriend, sorry I missed you. I just want to wish you a painful death with you going out screaming. Jim says that she’s locked up in Arkham where she can’t cause them harm. Lee suggests they move away and start fresh in a new city and Jim replies he can’t, because he did a bad thing.
Loeb’s in bed asleep that night when he’s woken by noises downstairs. He enters his kitchen and he sees Victor Zsasz standing there, then suddenly we hear Penguin asks Loeb if he’s got any peanut-butter. Loeb asks what Cobblepot said and Penguin puts on the kitchen lights and again requests peanut-butter. The Commissioner shouts for his guards and Zsasz produces a disembodied head that he proceeds to use like a ventriloquist’s dummy. Zsasz moves the heads lips and says in a high squeaky voice Hi Boss, how about a bottle of beer. Penguin and Victor laugh as Zsasz throws the head into the kitchen sink.
Penguin tells the Commissioner as he makes him a peanut-butter sandwich, that usually he threatens his victims with unearthing scandals about them, but Loeb lacks any dirty-laundry. Penguin says that he knows that any threats of force would get ignored by Loeb so he’s just going to have Victor kill him. He says he needs some requests granted, but it will be far easier dealing with Loeb’s successor as Commissioner. Loeb asks Penguin what he wants and Penguin says he wants Gordon reinstated as a detective and Loeb says he’ll do it.
However Penguin says even if Loeb does reinstate Gordon, his hatred of the former detective would cause him to eventually fire him, so he’ll still have to kill him. Zsasz pulls out his gun and Penguin says, unless you’d resign as Commissioner.
Zaardon arrives at Arkham Asylum and he’s put into the same communal cell as Barbara, Jerome and company. He proclaims that he’s Zaardon Slayer Of Souls, but Sionis tells him to shut-up he’s telling a story. After a couple of minutes Zaardon interrupts the story and threatens the other inmates. He then collapses but as he hits the floor, a blue gas comes out of his mouth and knocks out the other inmates. Seconds later an explosion takes place at the other end of the hall and a young woman and a bunch of mercenaries, knock out the guards and grab the inmates.
They come to in another facility and they’re all strapped to large cement poles. One of the inmates asks where they are and Jerome says they’re out of Arkham so things are improving. Theo Galavan and the woman who broke them out of Arkham enter the room, he introduces himself and the woman as his sister Tabitha. He says he broke them out to form a super-band of criminal geniuses. Kean says she just has issues and Galavan says she has ferocity, beauty and desire, that’s all she needs.
Sionis tells Galavan that he wants no part of his plan and wants to be released, he says he’ll get Galavan a million dollars as soon as he hits the street. Galavan says he’s disappointed and the money means nothing to him. Galavan demands that he and Barbara get released and Galavan says oh you’re trouble we need to get rid of you. Tabitha releases the binds then produces a whip and strangles Sionis with it, then when she has him on the ground she slices him to pieces. Galavan asks if anyone else wants to leave.
The next scene’s at the retirement ceremony for Loeb and a men’s choir sing a song from The Sound Of Music. The spokesman takes the podium and says the Mayor couldn’t attend the ceremony but sent a friend in his place. He introduces businessman, scientist Theo Galavan. Galavan says that he’s an adopted son of the city, having recently moved there but he already feels Gotham City’s magic. He thanks the outgoing Commissioner and his replacement Commissioner Sarah Essen.
Essen goes up to Gordon and congratulates him for whatever he did to pull off his amazing feat. Lee congratulates them both then tells Essen that Gordon’s a determined man. Essen excuses herself to take a call and Lee says to Jim I hope this was worth it, Jim replies he does as well. Essen returns with some distressing news six inmates escaped from Arkham including Barbara Kean.
Alfred runs the fuse to the bomb out to the library, then fastens it to an ignition switch and asks Bruce if he’s certain this is what he wants. Bruce says he is and pushes the switch, the bomb knocks the door off it’s hinges and the two enter the room. We see a couple of computer monitors and keyboards covered in cobwebs, on one of the keyboards is a letter for Bruce from his father, that Thomas wrote shortly before he and his wife were shot to death.
He tells Bruce that if he’s reading this message that Thomas has died and Bruce figured out the code for the keypad was Bruce. He then says that his son’s responsible for the room, as Thomas became a better man after he became a father, Then he started to ask the tough questions.
He says he’ll dispense with fatherly advice, except to tell his son he can’t have happiness and the truth. That he’ll have to choose what path to take and he begs his son to choose happiness, unless Bruce feels a deep calling to pursue the truth. We then see Jim Gordon straightening his tie in the men’s room of the GCPD, ready to resume that calling within him.
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.
The FOX Television Network, took a calculated risk last fall when they introduced their new series “Gotham,” a prequel to the Gotham City protected by Batman whose adventures first appeared in comic-books in 1938. The producers of this series take us back to Gotham City, when Bruce Wayne’s just a boy dealing with the recent murders of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne his legal guardian the family’s butler Alfred Pennyworth. The show’s focus however is not on the future Caped Crusader, instead Gotham City’s future Police Commissioner Jim Gordon’s the protagonist a young detective determined to get rid of corruption in the city.
Gotham’s not just an origin story for young Bruce and Gordon through the series first 16 episodes, we’ve gotten introduced to characters we know play a significant part in Batman’s future. Our first future foe of the Dark Knight that we meet’s Selena Kyle a young-teen who lives off the streets and fends for herself quite well. She of course will adopt the name Catwoman and get involved in the infamous love/hate relationship she has with Batman.
Her tag-along-pal’s Ivy Pepper, perhaps the creepiest little girl shown on a regular basis on the small screen. It’s truly tough to visualize she’ll one day be the temptress criminal Poison Ivy, a woman with a hypnotic hold on men. Earlier this season Bruce and Alfred ran into her walking in downtown Gotham City, when Bruce stopped to talk to her. Alfred’s revulsion was as plain as the nose on his face as he told his charge “Watch out for this one Master Bruce, I believe she might have the mange.”
There’s a young man employed by the GCPD as a forensic scientist named Ed Nygma, who’ll one day transform from public servant to public menace. Extremely intelligent and equally nerdy, Nygma’s instincts are excellent for his job. Unfortunately he’s got a terrible habit of attempting to share his latest riddles with all his associates, causing many of them to avoid him. We’ve already seen what the future Riddler’s capable of getting the former Medical Examiner dismissed, as he stuffed the doctor’s locker with various body parts. after the ME demanded he get suspended.
Of course the breakout star of the series is Oswald Cobblepot whose known as the Penguin due to the way he walks. Cobblepot’s advanced from being Fish Mooney’s umbrella boy, to the right hand man of Don Carmine Falcone. He’ll double-cross anyone, except for two people, to achieve his goals, a quality that’s almost gotten him killed quite often so far. For those new to the world of Gotham City Fish Mooney’s a character invented for this series, a deadly part of the old guard criminals that will eventually give way to the criminals whose exploits we’ve followed for many years.
The latest episode of Gotham entitled “The Blind Fortune Teller,” expanded the series’ universe greatly as a name that resonates loudly for fans of The World’s Greatest Detective, as well as the Caped Crusader’s chief nemesis get introduced to the series. Both situations could be considered fill in the blanks type of moves and advance the long-term story rather strongly. The revelations in this episode pretty much eclipsed the story line, as Gordon figured things out on his own rather easily.
I’m going to break format this go-round and just give a rather brief description of the storyline of the episode. Jim and his girlfriend Lee Thompkins are in the audience enjoying the circus, we join them as trapeze artists fill the space between them and the big-top. When their act ends and they bow to the crowd, the clowns come on, joking at first then start beating on the acrobats. Gordon approaches the center ring, flashing his shield, yelling GCPD, everybody freeze.
It turns out the clowns are the Lloyd family and the acrobats are the Flying Graysons, whose family’s started feuding before World War I and it’s gotten passed down through the generations. However John Grayson and his seemingly former girlfriend Mary Lloyd believe this fight came about as part of a rivalry between John’s older brother Alfonse and Mary’s uncle Owen, both vying for the affections of the same woman. Lila, the snake-dancer who works in the sideshow.
Gordon and Thompkins’ head to Lila’s trailer however she’s not there. Her son Jerome answers the door and he says he’s concerned, his mother was due back hours before. The Ringmaster says to Jerome his mother’s probably out on one of her binges, then he tells Jim and Lee that Lila takes off on little adventures with men all the time. Gordon asks Jerome to release Lila’s snake and it leads them to Lila’s dead body. The Ringmaster and some other circus folk found the body out in a field and planned to bury her when they hit the road.
Lloyd blames Grayson and Grayson blames Lloyd down at the station, each saying the other killed Lila because she chose them. The rest of the circus staff’s allowed to leave the station while Alfonse and Owen get incarcerated. A short while later an elderly blind man accompanied by a young boy wearing a coonskin cap, (Once again what era does Gotham take place in, or is it an alternate Earth?) The man asks Gordon if he’s Detective James Gordon then asks Lee if she’s Doctor Thompkins the Medical Examiner. He introduces himself as Paul Cicero a psychic from the sideshow and a longtime friend of Lila’s. He said she sent him a message from the beyond and although Gordon’s ready to tell Cicero to beat it, Lee wants to hear the message. He says that the servant of the Devil lives in the garden of the Iron Sisters. Then he leaves.
That night Jim comes over to Lee’s for dinner and she’s certain she’s figured out the message. The Iron Sisters are the two towers that support the Arkham bridge and there’s a park next to them that could be construed as a garden. Jim says they’ll check it out in the morning, but Lee wants to go right then. Despite Jim’s protests they go to the park.
As they’re searching the grounds with a flashlight Jim finds a hatchet the weapon that Ed said killed Lila. There’s an inscription on the handle, saying THC, Gordon says it stands for The Hellfire Club a cult of Satan worshiping killers that disbanded a decade before. Lee says perhaps they reformed but Jim says no, but he now knows what happens. He calls the station saying he wants two people to be brought in, but they’re not to know of each other’s presence.
They get to the interrogation room and Paul Cicero walks in. Gordon says that Cicero knew the Hatchet was there as he told the killer to plant it there, he’s also an accessory to murder. Cicero protests claiming he’s innocent then they bring in Lila’s son Jerome, Gordon accuses him of killing his mother and says Cicero helped him after the fact. He also says that Cicero’s Jerome’s father.
Paul realizes the jig’s up and tells Jerome he actually is his father and Jerome says that’s insane. His father was a sea-captain and he died at sea. Gordon asked the teen what was the name of his ship and Jerome responds he commanded lots of ships. Jim asks him what was the name of the ship he went down on and the teen responds his mother never told him.
Realizing there was no sea-captain Jerome starts to break down and cry for a second, only to look up at Gordon and flash that unmistakable grin. Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and the Joker from the comic-books, all wrapped up in one magnificently evil smile a truly chilling moment as we realize who Jerome will become.
Jerome looks over at Cicero and tells him his mother was a cold-hearted whore, who never loved anyone and would stay away from a pathetic creep like him. Paul tells Jerome to think things through why would Cicero help him after what he did only a father would protect a son that way.
Gordon asks Jerome why he did it and the future Joker replied, you know mothers she just pushed too much. You can be a whore, you can even be a drunken whore. But what you can’t be is a nagging drunken whore complaining the kitchen’s a mess when you’re having sex in the next room.
With Owen and Alfonse cleared they’re freed, ending the century old feud, which allowed John Grayson and Mary Lloyd to get engaged. Years later, they’ll have a son named Dick and John and Mary will get shot during a performance, leaving Dick an orphan until Bruce Wayne became his legal guardian. Due to his acrobatic ability Grayson became the first Robin, now guarding the streets as Nightwing.
There was no talk about introducing perhaps Batman’s greatest foe, the Joker in any of the preseason talk about the series, the show-runners kept it under wraps until the preview they showed at the previous episode’s conclusion. The fact that we got to meet Dick Grayson’s parents, was an unexpected bonus.
There’s a reason that the Caped Crusader’s still one of the most popular characters in comic-books, now 77-years after Bob Kane introduced him to the planet in Detective Comics. Gotham won’t last 77-years, but if this season’s an accurate indication for what’s up ahead, it will enjoy a long and popular run, on the FOX Network.
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.
Since the FOX Network started airing their new series “Gotham,” we’ve watched as alliances form and then crumbled, once powerful figures, running for their lives along with romantic relationships, dashed upon the rocks, while other romances begin to bloom. This week’s episode contained all of those elements, plus another serial killer on the loose and yet another amazing escape from the clutches of death by Oswald Cobblepot.
Our first scene takes place on a rainy-night on a Gotham City rooftop, (does it rain every night in Gotham City?) as a man with spectacles, wearing a suit and tie, trench-coat and fedora, drags a man tied to a wooden chair, with a black hood over his head to the edge of a rooftop. He puts a noose around the man’s neck with the rope attached to a giant pulley, he has the man hanging over the edge of the rooftop, takes off the mask and awakens his prisoner.
The man in the chair’s a younger guy with a gag in his mouth and gets scared out of his mind when he sees his situation. The man with the hat loosens the rope and the victim falls halfway down the building, suspended in front of an apartment, where an Asian maid vacuums the floor, singing to herself with headphones on.
The next morning Gotham City Police Department Detective Harvey Bullock’s met on that rooftop by his Captain Sarah Essen and she’s told the victim dangled and then brought back up to the rooftop, by his killer. GCPD forensic scientist Ed Nygma, says that the murderer removed a part of the victim’s abdomen, post-mortem and he’ll check it thoroughly when he examines the body at the station.
Essen tells Nygma, that he’s just a forensic scientist and not the Medical Examiner and the man who’s in that position keeps complaining about Ed overstepping his bounds. She tells him to stay away from the body, then asks Harvey where his partner’s at and Bullock responds he had personal business to attend to.
His partner, GCPD Detective Jim Gordon, heads to his former fiancée Barbara’s apartment, to drop his keys off, but he discovers Selena Kyle’s homesteading there. He tells her he’s going to get her a safe place to live, when she asks if he’d spoken to Bruce Wayne, he responds he hasn’t. She then tells Gordon she told the boy she lied about seeing his parents killer and escapes out of the apartment.
Gordon heads to the Wayne Estate and finds a very subdued Alfred Pennyworth and Bruce Wayne, Wayne’s reading the paper in the library, when Alfred announces the detective. Jim’s unaware anything’s troubling Bruce, but it quickly becomes apparent as the boy hesitates to shake his hand. Bruce says that Selena’s telling the truth, she just lied she saw the killer to escape juvenile detention. He then tells Gordon, the detective he no longer concern himself with the case.
Jim tells him this isn’t the time to give up and the boy tells him he’s intensifying his efforts. He then tells Gordon that it’s months after the murder of his parents and the only thing Gordon’s turned up’s an unreliable witness. He then looks Jim in the eyes and said he didn’t want the detective bound, by an oath he failed to fulfill. He then says that he lets Gordon out of his promise and he’ll find the killer with his own resources and walks away. Alfred tells Gordon that once Bruce makes up his mind, there’s no going back. Jim says he can’t do it on his own and Alfred responds he’ll have to look after his ward.
We’re at Sal Maroni’s restaurant, as he uncorks a bottle of champagne, as Oswald Cobblepot sits with him at a table and the Penguin and he celebrate the death of Fish Mooney, whom Oswald’s certain got gunned down by Falcone’s hit-man Victor Zsasz in the previous episode. Maroni says they’ve got to jump on her territory quickly and Cobblepot says he’s already taken her nightclub over in Maroni’s name. Right then Sal’s cellphone rings and Penguin’s world begins to fall apart.
On the other end of the phone’s Fish Mooney, standing in a phone-booth with a rotary-phone (one of the cool, little oddities about this series, is we’re never quite sure about the time period. Or perhaps Gotham City exists in an alternate universe, where cellphones and phone-booths do coexist?) She tells Maroni’s she’s still alive, despite what his weasely errand-boy told him, she’s fallen from the top but she’ll get back there. She then tells Maroni that Penguin told her he’d been working for Falcone the entire time and double-crossed them both. When Sal questions her, she asks him if everything adds up, or has Maroni overlooked situations?
He replies that rings true and she responds for him to get his house in order and hangs up the phone. Cobblepot, asks if the call brought bad news, Maroni says he needs to go upstate, to see a guy about a thing and he thinks that Penguin should join him so they can discuss business.
Bullock’s at the station when a woman approaches his desk and asks if he’s Detective Bullock, then identifies herself as Scottie Mullen, the woman they contacted about Adam Jadowski, then asks if he’s dead. Bullock asks why she’d ask that question and she says this is a police station and you’re a homicide detective, Harvey tells her that he is and her number was in his pocket. She says she was his sort-of sponsor in a support-group, Bullock asks, if it was alcohol or drugs and Mullen responds, that it’s for fear and Jadowski had a fear of heights.
Harvey starts to poke fun at the concept, when Mullen’s asks him why he wants to be an ass? He’s totally flustered and says excuse me and she tells him he started making fun of her and the others with phobias. Bullock falls all over himself in apologizing and asks when the group meets next and she tells him that night at 6:30 pm. He asks her if she’s Irish, then says she looks Irish, then asks if the meeting takes an hour and if conceivably, if she could have dinner after the meeting. She’s now flustered and says yes and he assures her he’ll find the murderer.
Harvey’s smitten. he watches her as she leaves the station and while Jim comes over with a slim lead, the chair that Jadowski got tied to is a wooden banker’s chair made by a manufacturer, that closed down a few years before, but still own their warehouse. Bullock, puts on his coat and says we’re on our way.
An elderly well-dressed man, leaves his apartment building and we see the killer clutching a pot-bellied pig, which the man’s clearly afraid of. He turns to head the other way and the killer’s henchmen, Tasers the man and they put his unconscious body into a van.
As they’re searching the warehouse, Harvey asks Jim about him and Dr. Thompkins and Gordon admits to feelings, Bullock asks about Barbara and Jim says he dropped the keys off that morning. Gordon asks why they always talk about his love-life, what about Bullocks and his partner responds, that his love-life’s a sad short-story. However he says if they catch this killer he’s got his sights set on Scottie Mullen, then we hear a man scream in terror. They run to find the elderly man tied to a pole, with pigs at his feet, while a man with a pig mask’s about to stab him, they shoot him first.
Maroni and Penguin arrive in the country ay Maroni’s cabin and Maroni slaps him awake, then says let’s go inside and get some chow. Penguin’s barely touching his coffee and oatmeal and Maroni asks why and Oswald starts eating and drinking asking about the guy. Maroni says don’t worry about him, I’m going outside to get some wood for the fireplace and Penguin knows he’s in jeopardy.
Ed decides to go against the Captain’s wishes and start’s examining the hole in Jadowski’s abdomen and finds something when the Medical Examiner and Essen walk into the morgue and the Examiner goes crazy, demanding she do something or he’d go over her head. Captain Essen says she’s sorry but she’s placing Ed on indefinite suspension.
We see a boat out on the ocean and in the captain’s sleeping quarters lies Fish Mooney, visited by the Captain to make sure she’s comfortable, then tells her if she looks out of her window she can see the Gotham City skyline. She thanks him but says she’ll see it again soon.
Harvey and Jim arrive at the station and the Captain asks how the victim’s doing and Bullock tells her he’s in Gotham General half-scared out of his mind. Essen asks if they’re certain they got the murderer and Gordon says he’s not, but Bullock says these nut-jobs work alone and he’s heading to the meeting to let them know their fears are over. Gordon tells Harvey, he can’t say that assuredly and Bullock tells him to be optimistic.
Captain Essen repeats Harvey’s words and Jim says that the victim had a weird wound to his abdomen and he wants Ed to look at it and Essen tells him he’s suspended and the Medical Examiner’s reports in. Gordon reminds her that the Medical Examiner ruled the last victim a suicide, after dying from icepick wounds to the back. She says that by taking down Flass, in the previous episode they’re now being watched and there’s only so much she can do.
Harvey’s talking to Scottie Mullen at the support-group and he says she seems like such a strong woman, what’s her fear and she responds she’s a strong woman who fears swimming-pools after almost drowning in one at age seven. She asks Bullock if he’s afraid of anything and after attempting to blow-off the question he tells her he’s scared all the time and offers to speak to the group. She says that’s great and excuses herself as Harvey finds himself next to the killer at the snacks table. The killer asks Harvey if it’s his first time, Bullock responds it is and the killer states he’s a regular.
Just before Maroni heads back in the Cabin, Cobblepot goes into Sal’s bag and pulls out a pistol. When Maroni returns he says it’s time to lay all their cards on the table, total honesty, total trust, then starts playing a game with Penguin, revealing that Fish’s alive and told him that Oswald’s worked for Falcone the whole time. After trying to deny it, he pulls out the gun and Maroni laughs and says it’s filled with blanks, then he knocks out the Penguin.
Jim and Lee Thompkins meet at a restaurant for what looks like a date, but Gordon gives her the file of Adam Jadowski. She looks hurt and he asks what’s wrong, she says the last time they were together he got passionate, she believed this was a date and put on lipstick. Gordon blushes, says the case was pretext and he really wanted to see her. She smiles and says she’s glad because she dislikes putting lipstick on for nothing. His cell phone rings and he apologizes and says he’s got to leave, she understands and says she’ll look into the case and he kisses her goodbye. He calls Bullock, telling him that the second victim just said he got taken by two men.
Ed sneaks into the police locker-room and goes to a locker and picks a lock on it. We’re back at the meeting as Harvey addresses the fear-support group, he tells them he’s scared every moment of his life. His biggest fear’s getting shot in an alley as he bleeds out while some thug goes through his pockets. He doesn’t want to go out that way, he wants to pass in a loving home in the arms of a beautiful woman and looks at Scottie. The group applauds and then the killer speaks, saying his name’s Todd and this is his first time speaking. He says he’s got an uncontrollable fear of failure, he inherited it from his father and fears he’s passed it down to his son, then starts to cry and leaves the room, Scottie soon following him.
We’re in a garage as Maroni stands in front of Penguin whose on his knees begging Maroni for his life, saying he can be more valuable alive than dead, but Sal says he’s heard enough of his lies. He tells him he’s going to put him in a car that’s going to be compacted by the crusher and he’ll send it to Falcone to use as a coffee table. He then throws Cobblepot in the car locking the doors as the crusher starts to work. Maroni’s cellphone rings and it’s Penguin making one last-ditch effort, Sal says take it like a man and hangs up.
Oswald then calls the crusher operator, a man named Duffy and tells him he just called Falcone and unless he stops this instant, Falcone’s men will slaughter him and his entire family. Duffy falls for it and starts running away, Maroni thinking all’s under control wasn’t close enough, starts chasing Duffy but the operator splits. Sal heads back to the car to see that Penguin escaped as well.
The Medical Examiner walks into the locker-room whistling as he ends his shift and opens his locker then screams in fright as body parts tumble out of his locker. As he starts to pick them up, two uniforms walk into the locker room and the Medical Examiner says it’s not what it looks like.
Sitting at the meeting, Harvey asks the group if it seems they should have returned, when he’s met by silence he says so long, getting to the parking lot just as the killer’s taken Mullen. Jim and Bullock head to the station and Essen asks if the guy they shot was just an accomplice and Gordon confirms, and tells her that Scottie’s fear’s swimming-pools. Just then Harvey gets off the phone with Scottie’s mother and she told him it’s the Mars Park Pool, uptown. They head out and a uniform tries to get Essen’s attention by calling Boss. She starts to say not now, but instead she asks if he’s holding what she thinks he’s holding.
The killer’s real name’s Dr. Jonathan Crane and he’s got Scottie bound and gagged at the edge of the pool, she nearly drowned in as a child, he tells her she’s strong as she’s only registering an eight on his scale, a twelve causes a major coronary and instant death. Suddenly a teen walks in and tells his father he needs money to feed the meter, the son Gerald sees what his father’s doing and Crane tells his son that they’ve talked about his reasons, to help society. The teen heads back to the van.
Seeing her only hope of escape leave Mullen’s gets more scared registering a ten on Crane’s scale and he pushes her into the pool. Right then Jim and Harvey enter, Gordon says he’ll chase Crane and for Bullock to rescue Scottie, Harvey dives in, cuts the bonds on her hands and feet, brings her to the tile and performs CPR, saving her. Crane unfortunately escapes.
The next morning a school-bus filled with church-women come upon the Penguin lying in the weeds, one touches him with her hand-bag and he awakens, the other woman saying she knew he was alive. He asks if they’re heading into Gotham City and they offer him a ride, he enters the bus as the women sing hymns.
Jim’s at his desk at the station when Lee Thompkins shows up and tells him that she examined the body and the killer extracted the victim’s adrenal-gland, which has no value on the black market. He tells her she’s very good at this and that the GCPD need a new Medical Examiner as the old one got fired for stealing body parts. How about they talk about the job over dinner that evening?
He then stands up and tells her he’s got an overwhelming desire to kiss her right then and she asks why he doesn’t. He says he’s on duty, there’s like fifty-people watching and she tells him she’s going to lean in at the count of three and if he fails to kiss her on the cheek the date’s off. He takes her in his arms instead and the station personnel, including the reinstated Ed Nygma smile.
Fish lies in her cabin and suddenly hears gunfire, the Captain bursts in and says he can hide her, when a giant man resembling a pirate enters. Fish and the man rush head-on towards each other and the scene fades to black.
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 8:00 pm on FOX.
Never have the words “You Can’t Fight City Hall,” carried the amount of weight that’s come down on former “Gotham” City Police Detective Jim Gordon’s head, resulting from the detective failing in his effort to clear out corruption in Gotham. One of Gordon’s main targets, corrupt Gotham City Mayor Aubrey James, punished him with a demotion, as Jim’s now guarding inmates at Arkham Asylum. Although the asylum needs major renovations, before it can run effectively, the city shortsightedly decided to house the criminally insane in the facility, before improvements came about, resulting in barely controlled chaos.
The episode opens on a rainy night in Gotham, as we first head inside the asylum, to see some of the inmates performing one of Shakespeare’s works for their fellow patients, although most of the audience seems lost in their own little universe. A tall man with glasses and a mop for a wig’s apparently the leading character, with another inmate costumed with gloves that have metal talons on them. The man in the glasses gives a cue and the on-duty nurse Dorothy Duncan, (Allyce Beasley, who played the receptionist on the Eighties hit series “Moonlighting“)supervising the play turns on a boom-box and another patient sings to the music.
While he sings, we first watch Gordon listening to him, then we head to an alley where Selena Kyle’s attempting to stay dry, in a caged area. Then we see Harvey Bullock reading the paper at the station and taking a nip out of his flask, then over to Renee Montoya’s where Barbara Keane’s passed out in bed while Montoya broods, an empty prescription bottle on Keane’s nightstand.
When he starts to sing, it agitates one of the patients in the audience Robert “Frogman” Jones, who huffs and puffs then rises from his seat, darts to the stage, picks the singer up over his head, then drops the man to the ground and begins to pummel on him. Gordon subdues Jones, while Duncan sounds the alarm. Gordon, Duncan and two orderlies bring the singer to an exam room on a stretcher, and Jim’s new boss, Arkham Director Robert Lange immediately tries to pin the blame on Gordon. He says it’s the fourth patient outburst in the four weeks he’s been assigned there. Dorothy tries taking the blame, saying the play was too sad and they’ll perform comedies from now on.
Lange says that the play had nothing to do with it, that Gordon seems incapable of handling his job and asks his guard what he has to say about that. Gordon says the patient needs medical attention and Dorothy chimes in to say he needs a doctor. Lange puts on an icy-cold smile and says he’ll send one over then walks away.
We’re introduced to another new character, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, played by Morena Baccarin, whom you may remember as the Alien leader in the Reboot of “V,” a few years back, as well as playing Brody’s wife in the first three seasons of “Homeland.” Although she’s played rather unsympathetic characters on those series, Thompkins comes across as a genuinely good character and a probable romantic partner for Gordon, as he attempts to rebound from a broken heart.
Gordon enters the exam room and sees this woman in a white lab coat examining the singer Royston and asks if she works there. She quickly tells him she’s not an inmate, then introduces herself, telling him she works in the women’s ward but helps out in the men’s ward when they’re shorthanded.
She knows who Jim is though, without an introduction, calling him the famous Detective Jim Gordon, who got struck down trying to overtake City Hall. He says that he’s not sure famous applies, she then asks infamous and he says that’s near the mark. She says all the girls are talking about him and she admires what he’s doing, in not quitting. She says the patient’s fine, just sleeping off his meds and the two say so long.
Selena comes out of her cage as the rain stops and starts to leave the alley, when she hears what sounds like a child coughing. After scouting around, she finds it’s Ivy, Kyle suggests she needs a doctor but the girl refuses to see any more doctors. Selena says she has a place they can go and takes the girl to Barbara Keane’s apartment, she breaks in from the balcony, notices the dust that’s accumulated and a spoiled smell and realizes that Keane’s not been there for a while. She lets Ivy in the front door and tells her to lie down on the sofa and she’ll find a blanket.
We check in with our old friend The Penguin, who arrives at the docks with one of his henchmen, trying to get two older fisherman to give him a cut of their profits. One of the fishermen says they won’t give Cobblepot a cut and he asks him if they know who they’re dealing with, he’s The Penguin. The old man says he’s already paying Sal Maroni and Oswald says he’s tiring of them. The fisherman says he called the cops, and Cobblepot tells him that won’t do them any good as they control the police covering the waterfront. At that point a cruiser pulls up and two veteran uniforms emerge. Penguin says why the long faces Boys, and the cop punches him in the eye knocking him out cold.
Back at the asylum, Gordon’s checking the cells and sees Jones just sitting in his chair staring straight ahead. Jim tries to get his attention by calling his name, but Jones remains still. Gordon goes into the cell and Frogman’s just sitting there in a catatonic state, with two burn marks at the front of each temple. Jim taps him and Jones falls to the floor.
Leslie examines Jones in the next scene and says that Frogman’s the victim of a crude form of electro-shock therapy and his brain’s fried. Lange comes around the corner just then and once again tries to pin the blame on Gordon, but this time Jim throws it back on him. He says they started too early, they don’t have nearly enough staff to conduct a proper investigation and suggests calling in the GCPD. Lange tells him they’re keeping this in-house, then asks Thompkins if Jones is still breathing, she replies he’s breathing but he’s brain-dead. But Lange says if he’s breathing on his own he’s alive, then tells Gordon to investigate and he wants a copy on his desk Friday.
Gordon realizes if a patient did this they’d need to have keys to the cells and he confronts another guard named Steve and asks if he knows anything about missing keys. After trying to bluff his way out, he admits his keys were stolen during the fight at the end of the play. Gordon tells him to walk away, as he seethes with anger.
We meet up with Fish Mooney, her main henchmen Butch Gilzean and two of Falcone’s gang-leaders. The dominant guy, named Jimmy’s talking about how they need to take out Falcone, before he turns on them. Fish asks if God Forbid something happened to Falcone, who’d take over and Jimmy says he would. Fish expresses surprise at that and Jimmy says he’s next in line due to seniority. Mooney says it’s a new city and that calls for fresh, new, ideas. Jimmy asks who would she have in mind, as if he couldn’t guess, then the other gang-leader asks Jimmy who she means and he’s told she’s talking about herself. He says that’s fine with women’s lib, but Jimmy does have seniority. They then leave, but not before Jimmy and Butch exchange a look.
Back at Arkham Jim and Dorothy start interviewing the inmates in an attempt to find the missing keys. The first man he interview’s Jack Gruber, the star of the play. Gruber’s clearly unbalanced, but he’s extremely bright and very eloquent. Gordon says that Jones’ ruined Gruber’s play and that Gruber hated Frogman, however Gruber denies having any feelings about Jones. He’s named Frogman, because he believed a giant bull-frog lived in his abdomen controlling his thoughts. In Gruber’s mind Frogman had already died. Gruber then denies, taking or possessing the keys and Gordon sends him to his cell.
We then watch a montage of Jim interviewing the other inmates, and each one got crazier than the next. One dude starts making faces and sticking out his tongue and even Nurse Duncan starts to laugh. He then interviews Aaron who also performed in the play and Dorothy says that Aaron’s incapable of lying he doesn’t even grasp the concept. Gordon says but he killed his entire family with a hatchet and Duncan replies he never hurt a fly before or since. Aaron then says I said I was sorry and Gordon sends him back to his cell.
Back at Mooney’s club, Fish and Butch talk about Jimmy, she says she can get the other gang-leaders inline but Jimmy’s a different story. Butch says that he and Jimmy grew up together, he’ll arrange for the two of them to talk. Fish asks Gilzean if he’s turning on her and Butch gets totally flustered, asking how could she even joke about that. She replies every once in a while a girl gets insecure.
As we head back to Arkham, we see that Royston’s scared to death, then we see his heads wired with electrodes and someone in black rubber gloves, turns up the juice and zaps him. Gordon minutes later hears a rattling sound from one of the gates, it’s Royston shaking the gate now sporting the same marks on his head as Jones. He can speak, but only the lines from the play, they recently performed.
Leslie examines Royston and tells Gordon he underwent the same procedure, but got a lower dosage of electric current. She then says, she doesn’t understand why one patient would attempt to scramble another patient’s brains and we can see the wheels turning in Jim’s head. He tells her to stay on the women’s ward for the next few days, he thinks it’s a staff member involved and there’s going to be a lot of drama.
Gordon tells Lange that a member of the staff’s behind the attacks, Lange blows it off saying it’s an inmate and then tells Jim he can’t investigate staff members as a lowly guard. The director then says, you’re trying to force my hand and call the police, Jim says he already called.
Renee walks into her bedroom, Keane’s still in bed with her back to her looking at her cellphone, then hides it under her pillow and feigns sleep when she hears Montoya. Renee wakes her up and gives Barbara a coffee, then she says she made a terrible mistake, they are a toxic couple. When they’re together its pills and booze all the time, she straightened out once and doesn’t want to get back there again.Barbara, of course freaks out and tries to gather her stuff and leave but Montoya says she’ll leave and Barbara can stay there for a few days and leaves.
There are some incredible characters and actors and actresses that portray them on this series, but I have to admit to having a soft-spot for GCPD Detective Harvey Bullock. When we first met Bullock at the start of the series, Harvey was a formerly idealistic cop, turned bitter and corrupt, because that’s all he saw around him. But Gordon inspired him and Bullock morphed back into one of the good guys.
He enters Arkham and first encounters Frogman, then Royston timidly approaches him and Bullock says hey buddy, how you doing? Royston answers back with a line from the play and Harvey replies, Okay, That’s Cool Man, I can dig it!
At that point Lange and Gordon come out to greet Bullock and though Lange speaks first, Harvey yells out Jim, pushes Lange aside then hugs Gordon and kisses him on the cheek. As he’s telling Gordon how good he looks, Lange says the call was a misunderstanding and Bullock says that Officer Gordon did the right thing. He points to Frogman and says that’s at least third-degree assault and this case is now being investigated by the GCPD.
Lange tells Gordon that his career in law enforcement’s through and Bullock starts leaning hard on Lange asking the Director if he did this terrible thing? Lange’s sputters for seconds then says he didn’t, but Harvey says he has all sorts of questions and they should conduct the interview, at the station. He then asks Officer Gordon to investigate the staff files.
We’re back at the water-front, this time at the meeting between Butch and Jimmy. They talk about growing up and then Jimmy gets down to business. He says Fish will fail and he asks his old friend to join his team, offering a very nice incentive package as a signing bonus. Butch says he wants to think about it, and Jimmy says just don’t take too long.
As Harvey and Lange enter the station, Penguin sees him from his holding cell and calls for him. Bullock walks over and tells him it’s nice to see him. Cobblepot then says this is a mistake and asks Bullock to call Maroni for him, but Harvey replies he likes having Oswald there.
Butch meets with Fish at the club and says Jimmy’s stubborn but give him some time. She nods her head and repeats his words. Then Butch says he feels optimistic and Mooney smiles and says good.
Harvey opens up his investigation of Doctor Lange, by asking Lange to pretend he’s an ignoramus, which shouldn’t be hard for Lange to do. He then asks to explain electro-shock therapy to him and Lange says that highly skilled surgeons can use the procedure to either induce or remove certain behavior in their patients but nobody on their staff has the skills. Bullock says that Lange does, and Lange says he hasn’t been at work on a body since medical school.
Gordon’s poring over the staff records back at Arkham and then starts looking at the hospital’s blueprints. Nurse Duncan stops in with a cup of coffee and says Jim looks pale and asks him if he’s had any luck? He replies that the records are incomplete and asks Dorothy if there could be records in the basement. Duncan responds the basement’s closed off, banned chemicals are down there and nobody’s been down there in ten-years. He asks her if she knows a way down there, she smiles puts down the coffee and starts leading Gordon.
They run into Leslie who greets them both and Dorothy says they’re heading to investigate the basement and asks if Thompkins wants to join them. Leslie says sure, but Gordon says remember what I told you before, you should go home. We quickly realize that Duncan’s up to no good, she pushes Leslie then runs away.
Bullock calls an instant later telling Jim that Duncan’s an inmate not a nurse, Gordon says he knows and tells Harvey to get down there. Dorothy pushes a button which opens all the cells and all the inmates chase after Thompkins. Duncan’s pushed to the ground in the stampede and she’s trampled to death. Gordon gets to the locked-gate, seconds after Thompkins and the inmates arrive, he punches one in the face and gives Leslie the keys. He then starts yelling at the inmates, telling them this wasn’t a game and to head back to their cells immediately. It stunned the inmates long enough for Thompkins to open the lock, the two escaped and then padlocked all the inmates on the other side.
Jim and Harvey head to Captain Essen’s office and she’s glad to see him, Bullock tries lobbying to get him back and the Captain says if she could she’d do it that second. But she congratulates him on the victory and pulls out a bottle, for a celebratory drink. Just then the medical examiner walks in and says that Duncan also had the electrode burns on her head. So whose doing the zapping?
Steve’s sitting in his locked in office, when Aaron comes by and Steve asks him how’d he get out of his cell? Aaron then pulls out the keys opens the door to Steve’s room and breaks his neck. We then hear the voice of Jack Gruber telling Aaron he’s his best work yet and we see the electrode burns on Aaron’s head. Then Lange turns the corner, seeing the two inmates free and his guard dead on the floor, his jaw drops.
Jim and Harvey reach Arkham, just after Gruber and Aaron have escaped and mortally wounded Lange, he spits out Gruber’s name and dies, clutching a goodbye note from Gruber to Gordon. He admits that he’d been experimenting on the patients for a while and he thinks he finally has gotten the results he wants with Aaron, he signs off until we meet again.
Sal Maroni comes to the station and asks if Cobblepot knows why he’s in a cell, then tells him it’s due to hubris. How dare he try to shake down fisherman, who risk their lives on every expedition and to do it without asking Maroni’s permission first. Penguin apologizes and promises he’ll never do it again and Maroni has him and his henchman released. He tells Cobblepot, he’s a smart monkey, but that he’s the zookeeper.
Jimmy and Butch meet once again at the waterfront, Butch’s sitting there listening to Doo-Wop as Jimmy pulls up, he leaves his car and jumps into Jimmy’s. The gang-leader asks Gilzean his decision and Butch says he’s in and Jimmy pumps his hand in the air and asks what Gilzean wants. Butch then brings up a heist they did as kids, they robbed a meat market and split the meat. Gilzean then tells Jimmy, he ripped his old friend off, he kept the choice meat for his family and gave Jimmy the lesser quality meat. Jimmy says that’s ancient history, forget about it, but Butch says he’s always felt bad about that. Jimmy says he forgives Butch, Gilzean thanks him, then blows out Jimmy’s brains, gets back in his car and drives away.
Gotham Will Return Monday January 19, at 8:00 pm on FOX.
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.
This was the show I expected coming out of the gates, someone removed the training wheels off of the new Fox series “Gotham,” in its third episode and the result was a fun and exciting ride. The pace quickened, the writing seemed shaper, we met some new interesting characters and the main storyline could have emanated from a comic book. Hopefully, this episode’s where the series finds its footing and fulfills the hopes of Fanboys, Fangirls, and comic book readers as well.
The episode began at the station house as a youth services employee was giving custody of Selina Kyle to Detective Jim Gordon, as she told the young officer she had information on the murders of Martha and Thomas Wayne. She took Gordon to the alley they got shot in and schooled him not to trust juvenile delinquents, even if they’re as cute as young Miss Kyle. Selina tells the detective that she can prove she witnessed the murder as she threw the man’s wallet she stole that night down the sewer drain. Gordon handcuffs the girl to the railing of the fire escape while he raises the man-hole cover and goes into the sewer in search of the wallet.
What he didn’t bother to do was search the girl for any implements that could help her pick the lock on the cuffs. As soon as Gordon goes underground, she produces a pen and quickly picks the lock. Gordon’s naturally disgusted standing in sewage, but he quickly sees a wallet and it’s owned by the man who reported the robbery that evening. Just then Selina peers over the edge of the sewer hole, and throws the cuffs to Gordon, saying he’ll likely need them.
Gotham’s buzzing over the charges filed against a Bernie Madoff type of investment councilor named Arnold Danzer who fleeced people throughout the city. Our first view of him takes place while he’s on the phone with his lawyer, telling him to pay off who ever needs to get paid off to ensure Danzer never spends a minute in jail. He then tells his attorney, that he’s the lawyer and it’s his job to figure out how. He leaves the building and heads out into the street where a throng of reporters try to question him and he blows him off.
Suddenly a man wearing a children’s Halloween mask of a pig rolls a push-cart down the street shouting to all “Balloons, Balloons.” He rolls the cart over to Danzer and asks him if he’d like a balloon, but the investment banker ignores him. The masked man asks “Arnold Danzer?” and when he stops the masked man attached a handcuff to his hand, the other part of the cuff’s attached to a weather balloon and Danzer’s pulled into the sky by the helium balloon until he vanishes from site.
Back at the station Gordon’s appalled at the act by the vigilante, while Bullock’s amused. He tells his partner that Danzer’s a scumbag that got what he deserved, but Jim counters that citizens can’t take the law into their own hands. Harvey tells Gordon it’s a present and he should enjoy it, however Gordon does just the opposite.
Officers Allen and Montoya from the Major Crimes Unit pay Fish Mooney a visit to inquire on the whereabouts of Oswald Cobblepot and when they ask Mooney if he’s dead she admits he is, but tells them she’s not to blame. She then tells the cops that she’s heard that one of their own, Detective Jim Gordon sprayed Cobblepot’s brains all over the Gotham River. Allen asks why Gordon would do that, but Mooney tells him he’s asking the wrong question. She says what he should ask is whose powerful enough to get a young detective to kill someone for him and Montoya replies Carmine Falcone. Mooney tells the officer her deductive powers are amazing.
Of course Cobblepot’s not dead and we find out he’s back in Gotham. Unfortunately for him, so does one of Mooney’s thugs, whose ready to turn him over to her. But Oswald strikes first stabbing his assailant in the calf with his knife, then slashes him until he dies. He steals money from the corpse and asks the local food truck vendor for a tuna fish sandwich. He then heads to an Italian restaurant with a reputation for serving those who are “Connected.” He applies for a job in the kitchen, but the manager says Oswald doesn’t even have the right shoes. He then looks over at one of the kitchen staff and looks at his shoes. When the guy from the kitchen starts to head home Cobblepot approaches him at the bus stop and asks what size shoes does the man wear. The guy looks at him funny and tells him he wears size nine and Oswald smiles and says what a coincidence.
We head to Wayne Manor and witness a very peculiar site, the Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth’s trying to engage young Bruce in a sword fight using a pair of canes. Bruce tells him he doesn’t want to play, but Alfred starts parrying and thrusting and Wayne reactively blocks his shots with his cane. This goes on for a bit, then Bruce yells he doesn’t want to play and his anger puts him on the offensive and backs Alfred into a corner. They both smile when they realize what happened.
That’s a twist of the legacy as Alfred never encouraged young Bruce to learn to defend himself or send him down the path that lead to him becoming Batman. Was this an isolated incident, or will this Alfred play a different role in Wayne’s upbringing in this new telling of the tale? Although his past hasn’t been revealed, he’s portrayed as someone who looks like they can defend themselves and though he gets cross with Bruce, we know he loves him dearly.
Although nobody cared when “The Balloon Man,” sent Arnold Danzer into space, the reactions far different after he disposes of his second victim. This time it’s a dirty cop Lieutenant Cranston who’s stopped by the man with the cart. Cranston perceives him as a threat and disables him, emptying the contents of “The Balloon Man’s,” pockets, but he’s able to slip the handcuff on Cranston’s ankle and he sails off into space kicking and screaming.
Allen and Montoya, confront Gordon on what Mooney told them and asks if he killed Cobblepot for money or as deference to Falcone. Gordon just tells them they’re wrong and says if they find any evidence, come find him. Montoya won’t let it lie there however, as she heads over to Jim’s fiancée, Barbara Kean’s apartment.
When Renee and Barbara talked in the first episode, the body language between the two of them suggested they had a past together and we confirm that in this conversation. Montoya and Kean were a couple, apparently a dysfunctional one as there were lies and possibly both of them were abusing alcohol and or drugs. But Montoya says that she’s telling her former lover the truth, Gordon’s a dirty cop, just ask him where he was the night Oswald Cobblepot got killed.
The distributor of the weather balloons calls the police and then comes in and meets with Harvey and Jim. the guy’s named Gerrick and he says a former employee stole four of them from him, that means two more remain. They track the former employee down and bring him into custody, he admits he stole the balloons, but says he sold them to a man who concealed his identity. Bullock then says to the kid, it’s the perfect crime, no body no evidence. The kid laughs and says that Harvey doesn’t know anything about weather balloons, they reach a certain height then the air gets cold enough to make the balloon brittle and it pops, the bodies will return.
In a nice piece of black humor, we’re outside in downtown Gotham watching an elderly woman walking her little dog, when she suddenly looks up and all she says is “Oy!” The next scene has a tarp covering both bodies, we can see the woman’s feet sticking out and Cranston’s arm. Uniforms searched Cranston’s body and he had a form on him with Gordon’s name on it. Jim knows whose responsible, it’s the child services employee Davis Lamond, that handed over Selina Kyle at the beginning of the episode.
He’s not at work and officers search his home and find no trace of him or the remaining balloon. (The third balloon got cuffed to a Catholic Church official who molested children.) The two cops try to figure out where Lamond’s storing the balloons, when Gordon figures it out, since there’s a new child services center the old one’s no longer used.
They head to the building and find the last weather balloon and start searching for Lamond, Bullock instead gets found by him and holds a gun to Harvey’s head as he goes to talk to Gordon. Davis says that Jim should work with him not against him, they’re both trying to shut down corruption in Gotham. Gordon explains that’s why we have the criminal justice system and he pledges to Lamond to make it work, but “The Balloon Man,” says the police’s time’s past and then attempts to shoot Gordon but misses badly. Bullock subdues Lamond then hooks his arm to the weather balloon and the vigilante starts to rise. Gordon jumps up and grabs his feet, but the balloon keeps rising, he tells Bullock to shoot the balloon and he does, they both drop from the sky and land on the roof of a panel truck.
Jim heads to Barbara’s apartment and he’s physically and mentally spent. He tells his fiancée, that more vigilantes will follow, that corruptions leaked into every corner of Gotham’s infrastructure and branch of government. He says there are dirty cops out there, that will gladly shoot a suspect to death rather than try them. Keane looks him in the eyes and asks him, if he’s like that and he asks her if she thinks he’s capable of that mentality. She smiles kisses him, responds he’s not and that’s why she loves him. Just then the doorbell rings and Barbara answers it, she then turns to her fiancée with a confused look on her face and calls his name. Standing in the doorway, Oswald Cobblepot who greets Gordon by saying “Hello James, old friend.”
The Story Continues Next Monday Night at 9:00pm on Fox.
Tonight on Gotham we will delve further into the motivation and drive behind Fish Mooney. And perhaps, get a better grasp of the power struggle between Fish Mooney and Carmine Falcone..
Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman for those of you who are just now discovering the Batman/Gotham universe) is the namesake of the episode. While the speculation is that the episode will center around child trafficing, one has to believe Selina Kyle will play a major role. We only saw about 20 seconds of screen time from the young Selina Kyle in the pilot.
The other major development that has to be addressed is that of Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin). Last episode Gordon graciously exiled Cobblepot from Gotham. Most Bat-lore has Cobblepot establishing a base of operations away from the heart of Gotham. It will be interesting to see exactly how these showrunners decide to paint that particular picture.
And finally, it wouldn’t feel right (even if we’ve only seen one episode) if Detective Gordon’s steadfast pursuit of justice isn’t challenged by the powers around him.
Stay tuned tonight to Gotham on Fox. Following its conclusion come back here and join Jeff Sack for his recap and insight.