‘Gotham’ 1.17 Recap: “He’s Just a Kid, a Good Kid”

What… the… living… hell…?! I can’t even process what happened in this week’s balls-out crazy episode of ‘Gotham’.

That’s eyeballs-out! Holy frikkin’ crap.

A lot more happens in episode ‘Red Hood’, but let’s just address the insanity up front.

Eye, Caramba!

Fish Mooney is escorted out of her dungeon prison and brought upstairs to meet the “Manager” (‘Re-Animator’ star Jeffrey Combs). On the way, she passes a number of rooms where victims who are missing limbs or other body parts are left to recuperate from their involuntary donations. In a quick conversation, Fish determines that the Manager isn’t really in charge, and that the facility is owned by someone called “The Doctor.” Fish refuses to deal with middle management and threatens to withhold any more donors until the real boss comes to negotiate with her. The Manager tries to soften her up by offering Fish a shower and fresh change of clothes.

Fish takes him up on that, but even after cleaning up, continues to stick to her guns. The Manager has his flunkies grab her, comments on what lovely eyes she has, and gives her the option of either doing what he says or he’ll donate her eyes. (I guess he’s willing to sacrifice his man waiting in the dungeon.)

Fish suggests that he has forgotten an option. She elbows the guy holding her, grabs a teaspoon off a table, and jams it in her own eye, scooping it out and stomping on it on the floor just to spite him! Having proven herself an epic badass, she then passes out.

Let’s hope he doesn’t think she has nice hands too.

Red Dead Redemption

The episode title refers to a storyline about a new band of bank robbers called the Red Hood Gang, so named because their leader Floyd comes up with the gimmick of wearing a bright red hood during their bank jobs. When a nearsighted security guard fires off a bunch of rounds and misses him entirely, Floyd thinks that the hood is a good luck totem and makes him invulnerable. As the crew leave the bank and get surrounded by cops, Floyd tosses a bunch of money into the street, causing enough chaos among people running around to get it, that the robbers are able to escape.

Floyd suddenly fancies himself a modern day Robin Hood, but his days of vigilante altruism come to a quick end when another guy in the gang named Destro finds him annoying and shoots him dead. Destro then picks up the red hood and claims it for himself.

At the next heist, customers at the bank expect the robbers to distribute the cash again. After initially resisting, Destro goes ahead and tosses some in the air, and feels a rush of power doing so. Unfortunately, this leads infighting among the gang, where members kill each other for the hood and for leadership.

By the time of their last job, the gang is down to just three members. They get cornered by cops again and come out shooting. Jim and Harvey are forced to gun them all down. In the aftermath, a kid on the street finds and picks up the hood. I’m sure we’ll see more of him later.

In the comics, the Red Hood Gang is part of the back story for The Joker. I feel like this episode validates some of my thoughts on last week’s, where the character of Jerome seemed almost too obviously to be a young Joker, so much that I wondered if he’s an intentional misdirect. In this one, several characters exhibit traits similar to The Joker, from Floyd’s bad jokes during the first bank job, to Destro having a bit of a Heath Ledger moment later. (We even see another stand-up performing at Penguin’s club.) I suspect that we’ve either never seen The Joker at all yet, or we have but he has appeared to be someone completely normal. Of course, I could be way off base about this.

A Fight to Remember

At Wayne Manor, Alfred receives an unexpected visit from his old military buddy Reggie, who’s down-and-out and needs a friend. Bruce takes a liking to him and offers to let him stay for a few days. When Reggie learns that Alfred has been teaching Bruce how to fight, he gives the boy a lesson in fighting dirty. Alfred does not approve, but Bruce finds the methods effective.

While sharing old war stories, Reggie tells Bruce a little too much about a past Alfred would rather forget. Alfred tells him that it’s time to go. Before he leaves, however, Alfred catches Reggie stealing from the mansion. Reggie tells him that he’s in bad trouble. Alfred offers to help him sort it out, but Reggie stabs him and leaves. Bruce finds Alfred bleeding out on the floor and calls an ambulance. The last we see of him, Alfred is in bad shape at the hospital.

The next day, Reggie delivers a report to the Board of Directors at Wayne Enterprises about everything that happened. He was a spy the whole time, and deliberately sidelined Alfred. The Board members are very eager to know how much Bruce has learned about their illegal activities.

Bottom’s Up

Penguin’s club has run out of alcohol. This is very bad for what little business they have left. Butch informs him that Maroni controls all liquor on their side of town and refuses to sell to them.

Penguin grabs a couple of thugs with a half-assed plan to steal the booze they need from Maroni, but Butch actually beats him to the punch by sending in fake cops to raid Maroni’s warehouse. This is a much smarter plan. Now Maroni will think that corrupt cops stole his booze and write it off as the cost of doing business.

Penguin may be on his way to becoming a criminal mastermind, but he still has a lot to learn about managing the street-level operations of an organization.

We Need to Give These Characters Something to Do

Barbara gives Selina and Ivy some new clothes and tries to clean them up. She also makes sort of an awkward pass at Selina, but the girl coldly shoots her down. This is a very weird, uncomfortable storyline, and I don’t know what the point of it is or where the show’s writers are planning to go with it.

The stuff with Barbara notwithstanding, this is pretty great episode. The Bruce and Alfred stuff is very intriguing, and my jaw was on the floor when Fish jammed her own eye out.

Would a real person ever do that to herself? No, I assume not, but these are not real people. They’re comic book characters in a comic book world, and that’s exactly the sort of thing they do.

That said, I’m really surprised at how dark ‘Gotham’ is for an 8 PM show. How do the producers get away with some of this stuff?

5 comments

  1. NJScorpio

    Eye, Caramba!
    – Wow…there are some times when I am suprised by a scene, then there are a handful of times where my jaw DROPS. I think I still have a bruise where it it the ground. Fish’s character is now signficantly more awesome. I’m wondering if we will be seeing her, down the road, with a patch, or some cool false eye.

    Now…the manager said that the “Doctor” is in Gotham at the moment (I don’t recall the name he used). Is that someone who we’ve already seen in the Gotham story line. Could it be Gordon’s new boo?

    Red Dead Redemption
    – I like the idea (if it is true) that fans are getting serveral misdirects regarding the introduction of The Joker. I also like that they started with the Red Hood as one of the first masked characters (the first being The Goat). Because it isn’t elaborate, it just touches upon the power of masked characters, and their appeal to the public. The ramping up makes sense, so it’s not like just suddenly we have people dressed in full costumes (like the The Riddler or Poison Ivy).

    A Fight to Remember
    – I’m finding Alfred’s and Bruce’s character development (in relation to each other) to be on a higher level than any other story line so far. It’s so rich and compelling, I feel they are doing an amazing job so far. When Alfred was stabbed, I initially felt underhwelemed (they couldn’t possibly have him die)…until it was revealed that Bruce is now all alone, and the danger he is in. Will he be able to handle this on his own? Will Gordon step in? Or will, perhaps, Selena help?

    Bottom’s Up
    – I feel like Penguin’s story line has slowed down just a bit, which is fine (for now). He isn’t currently manipulating/scheming, just getting his footing (so to speak). Butch’s reaction to Penguin’s toast to Fish makes me wonder (once again) what Zsasz did to him, and what will happen once Fish returns. I expect her return to be the catalyst for the next stage in Penguin’s evolution.

    We Need To Give These Characters Something To Do
    – I mentioned Barbara hitting on Selena to a female friend of mine, who said she didn’t see that intention at all (but I totally did because I’m a dude, apparently). Is Barbara hitting on an underage homeless girl she found sleeping in her apartment? I thought so, but it doesn’t seem to be keeping in tone with the rest of the show. I think it was more that she saw some of herself in Selena, and if she can’t get her own life right, perhaps she can help her (to be a femme fatal it seems).

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      The doctor’s name is Dulmacher. I have heard that he’s “The Dollmaker” referenced but not seen in episode 2, whose henchpeople were kidnapping the homeless and juvenile delinquents.

      Yeah, Dulmacher = Dollmaker, groan.

  2. Yeah, I didn’t interpret Barbara as hitting on Selina. To me it seemed like she was trying to be sort of motherly/nurturing? I don’t mind Barbara standing around doing nothing while wearing short skirts. She’s fucking HOT!! P.O.A. It was awesome to see Dr. Herbert West on the show, I hope we’ll be seeing more of him. I always thought Mooney would wind up taking Oswald’s eye out or stabbing it, not her own. Maybe as an excuse for him to wear the monocle at some point… If they decide to go that route. Just fun and nerdy speculation on my behalf. I knew that raspy voiced friend of Alfred was up to no good. That guy never plays a good guy. I liked the way they started the mythology of the Red Hood, pretty clever. Can’t wait for next week.

  3. Justin

    I didn’t take Barbara’s actions as taking a pass at Selina at all. Seemed more like big sisterly. Like she was trying to bond with the only person in her life that seems to give a damn. Selina then giving her the cold shoulder was just her not letting anyone get close, the same she did with Bruce.

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