These extended breaks in the programming schedule are getting to be a real drag. After another month or so off, ‘Gotham’ finally returned this week with a new episode to kick off the season’s final run.
In episode ‘Beasts of Prey’, an idealistic young uniformed officer tells Jim Gordon how much he admires Jim’s attempt to clean up the police department. He also asks for his help with a case involving a murdered girl that no other cops care about. Sufficiently buttered-up by the compliments, Jim agrees. Despite having gone missing four months earlier, the victim appears to be in nearly pristine condition – you know, except for the fatal stab wounds. Generally, you’d expect her to look beaten-up a lot if she’d been held hostage for a long time.
In a weird, awkward artistic device, the episode reveals the killer’s identity in flashbacks while Jim and Harvey discuss the case, as if they already know who he is. Yet they don’t. I guess the episode director just wanted to get as much footage with guest star Milo Ventimiglia on screen as possible.
Ventimiglia plays Jason, a very clean-cut, wealthy playboy type who demands perfection in every aspect of his life, especially his love life. He says that he’s looking for “unconditional love,” which isn’t quite as romantic as it sounds at first. After wooing a girl back to his lavish pad, he forces her to become his perfect, obedient Suzie Homemaker catering to his every need as a husband, until she inevitably disappoints him, at which point he disposes of her. He’s done this at least a dozen times over.
As soon as Jason reveals his creepy S&M chamber, a comparison to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is unavoidable, though I think the more direct influence is supposed to be ‘American Psycho’. Sadly, Milo Ventimiglia is no Christian Bale.
When Jim digs into the case, he finds a clue that causes Harvey to panic. He realizes that the culprit is a notorious serial killer called “The Ogre” who will come after the family and loved ones of any cop that investigates him. As a result, every cop knows to stay far away from the case. Further, Jim and Harvey realize that the young officer dumped this case on Jim on purpose, to put him in harm’s way. When confronted, he claims that he was forced to do it by Commissioner Loeb. Harvey begs Jim to drop the case before the Ogre catches wind that they’ve been looking for him. Jim instead confronts Loeb in the police station (again – he’s making a habit of this), swears to catch the Ogre anyway, and warns Loeb that he’s crossed a line. As soon as he’s done with the Ogre, Jim is coming after Loeb next.
The episode leaves this storyline off there, to be continued next week.
A Flying Fish
On her island prison, despite being promoted to a middle-management position, Fish Mooney still plots to escape. When she sees both a docked yacht and a helicopter, she breaks open a door and strolls outside in a leisurely fashion so as not to draw suspicion. Within seconds, a crew of armed mercenaries run up to her. They’re the “Catchers” that prevent inmates from escaping. Fish pleads ignorance, claiming that she just needed some air and didn’t realize she’d done anything wrong. They send her back inside, but threaten that she only gets one warning.
Fish recruits a bunch of the toughest killers from the prison and informs them of her escape plan. She will sneak into Dr. Dulmacher’s office and steal his keys, then the group of them will make a break for it and head to the boat. When one of the lunkheads wonders why they don’t take the helicopter instead, she asks if any of them knows how to fly it. Of course, none do. “That’s why,” she says.
Fish manages to snatch the keys, but Dulmacher catches her snooping in his office and threatens her with a pistol if she doesn’t immediately confess what she was doing. Fish cops to stealing a letter opener off his desk and puts on a show of being terrified of the Frankensteined abomination that Dulmacher made of her predecessor. Dulmacher lets her go, but no longer trusts her.
When the time comes to make their big escape, Fish sends the thugs ahead of her and tells them she’ll be right behind. Of course, she has set them up to be a distraction while she sets free a few of her more valued lackeys, including Kelly (who survived his first “donation” but isn’t in great shape). Dulmacher catches her in the act this time, but Fish already used his keys to open the prison gates, unleashing the other prisoners to beat him up. (It looks like he’ll live.)
As the first group of escapees get cornered and gunned down by the Catchers, Fish and her friends hop in the helicopter. The other dunces may not have been able to fly it, but Fish can.
The head Catcher hears the helicopter engine revving up and races toward it. He grabs a high-powered rifle and gets off one good shot as the chopper takes off. The bullet punctures through the door and hits Fish in the stomach. She’s badly wounded, but still able to pilot the helicopter away from the island.
Cat and Mouse
Alfred is still recovering from his stabbing, but attempts to get dressed up and track down his attacker Reggie. He tells Bruce that he has a limited window of opportunity to find him. Reggie is an addict and will lay up at a “shooting gallery” before he leaves town. Unfortunately, Alfred pops his stitches and is in no condition to go anywhere. Against his wishes, Bruce decides to find Reggie himself.
Because Bruce is still a kid and pretty sheltered, he searches a bunch of gun ranges in town. When that goes nowhere, he teams up with Selina, who laughs at his naivety. Obviously, the “shooting gallery” is a drug den.
It doesn’t take the two of them very long to find Reggie. Bruce demands to know who hired him. Reggie won’t admit anything, but Selina grabs his bag of drugs and threatens to toss them out a window if he doesn’t talk. He rants that he’ll rat them out to his employers and tries to grab the drugs back. Selina drops them out the window, but they land on a ledge just out of reach. Reggie shoves her aside and dangles out the window to get them.
Bruce contemplates shoving Reggie the rest of the way out the window to his death, but can’t bring himself to do it. He’s just not a killer. When Selina sees that he can’t go through with it, she kicks Reggie herself. He plummets to the street below.
Our Feathered Friend
In the final storyline of the episode, Penguin tries to buy a small Italian restaurant, but the owner won’t take his money. She’ll only sell if he helps bring home her wayward daughter, who has run off with a deadbeat musician boyfriend.
Penguin finds the musician, who swears his undying love to the girl. He says that nothing can keep them apart. Penguin cuts off his fingers so that he’ll never play the guitar again.
Next we see him, Penguin drags the girl back to mama. The woman finally agrees to sell the restaurant. When his lackey asks what interest he has in a tiny Italian restaurant anyway, Penguin reveals that the spot is one of Don Maroni’s favorite neighborhood eateries. He plans to ambush and kill Maroni at one of his own haunts.
I’m glad that Fish is finally off the island. That storyline seemed like it wasn’t going anywhere quickly. Jim’s case-of-the-week isn’t especially interesting, and I’m disappointed that it’s being dragged out to a two-parter. That said, this is a solid, middle-of-the-road episode, neither one of the best of the season nor one of the worst.