‘Gotham’ 1.08 Recap: “Tell Me There Aren’t Any Monsters”

The first rule of Gotham Fight Club is: Don’t talk about Gotham Fight Club. The second rule of Gotham Fight Club is: Don’t talk about Gotham Fight Club. Ah hell, I’m going to tell you about Gotham Fight Club…

Despite its title, don’t worry, ‘Gotham’ episode ‘The Mask’ does not feature a guest appearance by Jim Carrey. Oddly, the masked bad guy in this one turns out to be a pretty disposable villain. It seems that not every episode will attempt to set up a future nemesis for Batman.

The episode opens with two men in ski masks beating the hell out of one another in a very poorly-lit and otherwise deserted office. They use anything they can grab around them (printers, computer monitors, a paper cutter, etc.) to fight until one kills the other. The loser’s body is found the next day dumped near the city’s shipyard, with a severed thumb in its mouth.

Gordon and Bullock question an underworld back-alley surgeon about whether he’s had any recent clients missing an important digit. Despite the man’s cooperation, and despite Bullock advising him against it, Gordon arrests the doctor afterward. This doesn’t make him too popular with the other cops who have look-the-other-way arrangements with this doctor, but then Jim isn’t too popular with other cops these days anyway – owing to the fact that he made them all look like a bunch of pansies when he was the only person brave enough to stand up to Falcone’s henchman.

The trail leads Gordon to a Boiler Room-style financial firm where all the stockbrokers have bruised faces. The boss, a guy named Sionis (Todd Stashwick, who has appeared in tons of shows you’ve probably seen), has a samurai fetish and takes all those “Business is war” clichés far too seriously. He makes new applicants literally fight to the death for a job. When Gordon gets too close, Sionis tases him and puts him in the middle of a death match with three recruits. The winner will get the job plus a million dollar signing bonus.

After Jim goes missing, Harvey can’t convince any cops to help him search. He gives a big speech on the precinct floor, until the captain is the first to step up and personally assist. Other cops reluctantly follow her lead.

Meanwhile, Jim turns badass and wins his fight against all three opponents. Sionis steps in wearing samurai gear to finish the job himself, but Jim is a tough sonofabitch and defeats him. He has the opportunity to kill Sionis but refrains. The captain then arrives with a handful of officers to save him, only to find that Jim already has the situation well in hand.

In a thematically parallel story, young Bruce Wayne returns to school (a high-end academy, of course) and has to face an insensitive bully who teases him about his parents being killed. When he smacks the kid for saying something about his mother, Bruce gets punched in the face in return. Rather than lecture the boy about taking the higher road or reporting the bully to the school, Alfred encourages him to beat the snot out of the kid, and then promises to teach him how to fight properly.

Other Developments

  • Penguin meets with his old boss Fish to negotiate terms of the arrangement between their two Dons. He brings her the gift of a stolen brooch as a peace offering, but she stabs him in the hand with it. Penguin pretends to brush this off, but later captures and tortures her new lackey, Timothy, who took his old job. Timothy reveals that Fish knows that Falcone has a mole in the Maroni outfit. Whether she knows that Cobblepot is that mole is uncertain.
  • Fish meets with her own deep cover mole, Liza, and orders her to drug Falcone so that she can copy pages out of his journal. Liza does so, but tells Fish that she wants out. Fish explains why it’s so important that they work together against Falcone. She claims that her mother was a whore that Falcone’s men murdered, and that she swore vengeance on Falcone as a result. This story appears to be a total fabrication, however.
  • Barabara is suffering some PTSD after her recent kidnapping. She leaves Jim a goodbye note and cuts out.
  • Selena Kyle gets arrested for robbing a store and requests to talk to Detective Gordon. This storyline is left dangling to get picked up in the next episode.

I said in my last recap that this show would have a hard time topping last week’s episode. This one doesn’t. Nor does it even try, really, but it’s a solid episode with a number of good moments, even if the main plot is a one-and-done case that doesn’t necessarily further the greater arc.


  1. Yep, this one doesn’t live up to the previous episode, but it’s still a good one. The best stuff this week is about Alfred and Bruce, which is rare for a show that I originally thought didn’t even need those characters.

    • Mark

      You’re not the only one. This was my first reaction when I heard the guy’s name was Sionis. Then the office meeting with the emphasis on the story behind the masks kind of further set it for me. We will see though.

  2. NJScorpio

    I’m still waiting for Selena’s cats…because I know the breeder who provided the acting cats for the show. My last two cats I’ve gotten from her (Siamese). They aren’t relatives of the cats on the show…but still, it’s pretty cool.

    As for this episode, I was digging the Bruce story line, were Alfred says something along the lines of, “Yes, he was going to kill you. And I was going to let him. Remember that.” Also, all the lines from Bruce about how there IS shame in backing down, and says that his nerves are just him thinking about what he is going to do. Great stuff.

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