This week’s episode of ‘Gotham’ is filled with back-stabbings and double-crosses that move the show’s plot forward in some big ways. In contrast to last season, I feel like some of the storylines may be moving a little too fast, if anything.
After obtaining the location of his mother from Butch, Penguin gathers up a bunch of men and charges into a warehouse in the city’s port district. Sure enough, they find her there. Penguin is relieved and ecstatic to see her again. However, as shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to anyone, it’s a trap. Butch guns down Penguin’s other lackeys and turns his boss over to Galavan. Tabitha has successfully broken his brainwashing. Galavan makes Penguin beg for his own life and his mother’s life, but Tabitha (literally) stabs the woman in the back anyway. She dies in his arms. Thus apparently ends Carol Kane’s involvement in the show, unfortunately.
Galavan orders Butch to finish off his former boss, but Penguin taunts Galavan about his family history in order to draw him close. Penguin pulls a knife and slashes Galavan across the neck, then makes a run for it, smashing through a window to get away before Butch can shoot him. (His escape seems a little far-fetched, frankly.)
Galavan’s injury is just a minor flesh wound. Predicted to win the mayoral election, he realizes that he can use the city’s police force to clean up this mess for him. He goes to Captain Barnes and tells him that Penguin made another assassination attempt on him. Barnes issues an arrest warrant and orders a manhunt. Galavan pledges that as soon as he takes office, he will implement a city-wide curfew and declare Martial Law, allowing the police to search any house in the city at will. When Jim hears this, it makes him very uneasy. He wonders if he backed the wrong candidate in the election.
Galavan recognizes that Penguin’s rage is his weakness, and that he can goad him into seeking revenge and walking into another trap.
Penguin sends Victor Zsasz to kill Butch. Jim and Harvey find Butch first and question him about why Penguin is acting so erratically and doing dangerous things like burning down Wayne Enterprises buildings and trying to assassinate Galavan, both of which seem out of character for him. Butch starts to tell them that Galavan is really behind everything, and Jim finally puts 2 and 2 together. Just then, Zsasz and a bunch of goons arrive. Butch’s men abandon him, but Jim and Harvey stay. Zsasz shoots up the building, but Jim and Harvey fend him off with a pair of heavy-duty machine guns that Butch had on hand for the occasion. Meanwhile, Butch himself slips away.
Penguin hatches a plan to invade Galavan’s victory party. He insists on killing Galavan himself. The GCPD are providing security for the event, complete with Strike Force officer Martinez acting as a sniper on the roof of Galavan’s mansion.
Martinez spots a group of armed men marching toward the mansion, including one waddling in front. Before he can do anything, another sniper fires and appears to take out Penguin. It’s Tabitha, firing from a higher perch.
The group of men continue to march forward. As they get closer, it becomes clear that they’re a bunch of decoys, all dressed and hobbling like Penguin. Martinez goes after Tabitha and gets himself killed.
The flock of penguins smash through the building windows and fire indiscriminately into the crowd of partygoers. Jim faces off with the real Penguin over Galavan. Even though by this point he knows that Galavan is evil, Jim can’t let Penguin kill him. Tabitha shoots Penguin in the shoulder, and Penguin runs away again.
The next morning, new Mayor Galavan holds a press conference and talks about the city’s “baptism by fire.” He swears to do whatever it takes to root out the Penguin and his associates. Tactful as ever, Jim makes it perfectly clear afterwards that he knows what Galavan is up to and plans to stop him. He really ought to not announce stuff like this.
Boy Meets Girl
Selina sneaks back into Wayne Manor again to talk to Bruce, and finds him there with Silver. Silver asks Bruce if he can go tell Alfred to set another place for lunch. Once he’s left the room, she calls Selina “gutter trash” and warns her to stay away from her man. As soon as Bruce returns and asks what they’re talking about, Silver plasters a smile back on her face and says they were just making girl-talk. Selina’s not having any of that and asks, “How long have you been a two-faced slut?” Me-ow! Bruce is upset by her behavior and throws her out.
Later, Silver kisses Bruce when she knows that Selina is watching from outside the building.
Birth of the Riddler
In the wake of Ms. Kringle’s death, Ed Nygma’s smug alternate personality returns to taunt him. While Ed was sleeping, he took control of their body and hid Kringle’s corpse. He’s left a riddle for Ed to solve that will lead him to it.
Throughout the episode, Ed searches the police station for the body before anyone else stumbles across it. He finds her hand inside a vending machine, and that holds a clue that leads him to the Medical Examiner’s room, which you’d think would be the most obvious place to put a corpse.
Lee walks in on Ed, but he distracts her by claiming that he and Kristen have had a fight. He invites her out to coffee to ask her advice. When he finally gets a moment alone to sneak back in and look at the body, the two personalities fuse into one, and the new combined Ed Nygma cackles with glee as he grabs a bone saw to cut up the body.
This episode has a lot going on, including quite a bit of action. I’m sad to see Carol Kane go (not that she ever had much to do on the show). I don’t really like Jim declaring war against Galavan so soon. I would have liked to see that storyline play out longer as Galavan bends the city to his will and Jim slowly realizes the extent of what he’s done. At this point, I expect that Galavan will be defeated by the end of the season (if not sooner), and I’m not sure that’s for the best.
That said, it’s a pretty decent episode. I think the show is in a better place now than it was at a comparable point last season.