Legion contributor Christina Janke is recapping and reviewing Gotham for us this season. Follow her on Twitter @IntrotoGeek!
Grettings, Gothamites! How ’bout that totally awesome episode last week, huh? Full of action and adventure, and some straight up stuff going down. In other words, it was pretty fast-paced. Then this week happened. After witnessing long-laid traps snaring their prey, we expected to see fallout, right? Yes and no. This show is hard to trust, with all its pacing and story choices, and it’s still hard to figure this show out. “Grasping at straws” would be an inaccurate thing to say, but how else can you explain the appearances of the show’s ancillary characters (i.e. Bruce, Selina, Barbara, and etc.)? This week may not have been firing on all cylinders like last week, but there definitely were some interesting things happening with our favorite characters last night.
Fish Mooney is in a bad situation right now. Immediately proceeding Falcone finding her out, he has her sent to the family interrogator, or rather butcher from the looks of things. There, Mooney gets beaten and tortured, and nearly suffocated to death. Basically, this guy is doing all he can to take her to the brink of death and then deny her that sweet release. To top it off, this guy’s an eccentric sociopath. Or is it psychopath? Who knows with these people who still live in Gotham. Am I right? But with all his posturing and long- winded monologuing (and his threatening to chop her limbs off with a meat cutter), Mooney cannot be broken. She does get close, but then her right-hand man, Butch, who busted his way out of his own murder detail earlier in the episode, comes up from behind and saves his boss.
Butch unties Mooney from her torture table and takes her somewhere safe to recoup. Once she awakens, Mooney’s sense for payback arises and they make their way to her club, where Penguin is currently languishing in his win over Mooney. As soon as she has Penguin at her mercy, she’s interrupted by Victor Zsasz and his posse. She and Butch are forced to flee. Butch gets his own hero moment when he stays behind to give Mooney enough time to escape.
Here’s where Butch and Mooney’s relationship gets interesting. Before now, we thought of Butch as Mooney’s jovial confident and number two guy; a subordinate who’s more relaxed around his boss than one should be. There was always a sense of respect between one another, but nothing with any real depth that we knew about. We got a glimmer of his loyalty to his mistress when he killed his own friend when he wouldn’t side with Mooney. However, that act could have been translated in many different ways — he owed her something, or whatever. In this episode, another layer is peeled away and we witness a strong closeness not just with Butch, but with Mooney as well. We always knew she preferred to confide in Butch, but we never got to see just how important he was to her. Dare we say that she actually considers him a friend.
Meanwhile, Gordon and Bullock are at a murder scene in one Gotham’s premiere locations for murder, a warehouse. The victim is a small-time drug dealer. Bullock dubs the scene as a “public service homicide.” Also at the scene is a new character, a drug officer Arnold Flass. We have actually met him before, but for only a few seconds and just to tease Edward Nigma for his infatuation for Ms. Kringle, something he continues in this episode. Flass is best described as a kind of guy with inflated self-importance. It could be because he has “connections” that make it seem like he’s untouchable. Or he could just be a major a**hole. We’ll see.
Gordon inspects the body after Flass leaves and discovers little packets of drugs hidden in the heel of the victim’s shoe. Strangely, he doesn’t notify anyone else, not even Bullock. In fact, he pockets them as soon as Bullock calls him over when a witness steps up. The witness is a janitor who claims to have seen the killer. The GCPD takes him in for questioning. Unfortunately, this poor bastard is now a sitting duck. While waiting ALONE in an interrogation room, an assassin comes up from behind and stabs the witness to death with an ice pick. Yup, there’s been a murder right in the middle of Gotham Police HQ.
Considering how righteous Gordon is in front of Gotham’s most wanted, he seems rather collected when a completely innocent person gets killed in right under his nose. Where’s the anger? The outrage? Captain Essen was angrier than he was. Performance issue aside, Gordon immediately jumps to the conclusion that the murderer is a cop. Who else would have been able to stroll in without being noticed? I mean…this is the GCPD, where super villains can just stroll in and out and mess up a bunch of papers, but still! Despite some reasonable pushback from Essen and Bullock, Gordon somehow gets his way and starts asking a bunch of cops about the murder. Surprise, he’s not off to a great start. Cops look out for other cops no matter what.
Fast-forward a bit, Gordon resorts to getting down and dirty by asking Penguin for help. Keep in mind, this is right before Fish Mooney arrives to exact her revenge. Is this new Jim Gordon we heard about last week; the same guy who told Bullock that he’s going to be less careful from now on? First, it was using a criminal as bait in the middle of Gotham Central so he can get the fastest result, now Gordon’s using a close associate to Falcone AND Maroni to catch a murder suspect.
Gordon does eventually gets the murder weapon, links it to Flass as the murderer, and locks him with the support of his fellow cops (a HUGE moment, by the way). Gordon rides the high of victory, but only for a moment. Outside of the station, he’s stopped by Flass’ cop buddy. This guy looked like he was just put through the wringer. Ten dollars says that this was Penguin’s doing. The man falls to his knees in front of Gordon and cries out that he’s done what he was told and then pleads with him to spare his family. This is NOT the kind of win Jim Gordon wanted.
Clumsily weaved into the fabric of important character developments of our two story lines, is the interaction of Bruce Wayne and Selina. Bruce just returned from winter vacation abroad and he makes Alfred drive him around the slums of Gotham in search of his young street urchin friend. Instead he runs into Ivy Pepper who volunteers to relay a message for him.
The reason for Bruce’s adamant search for Selina is because he wanted to give her a present and to convince her to stay at Wayne Manor, live a better life. The last statement struck a wrong chord with Selina and she immediately starts to push back. She shatters the present, which was a snow globe, but most importantly Bruce’s hopes and dreams of finding his parents’ killer. Selina tells Bruce that she lied about being a witness, that she only said it to stay out of juvenile hall.
Dejected and angry, Bruce cries out his feelings until Alfred walks in and basically tells him to “suck it up.”
Bullock meets up with Mooney who just barely escaped Victor and his men. Like Penguin in the beginning of this season, Mooney is going to leave town for a while so she can lick her wounds. But against Bullock’s advice to stay away from Gotham for good, Mooney vows to come back meaner and stronger than ever. In the mean time, Mooney requests that Bullock find Butch and help him. Throughout this entire scene, there is an air of tenderness between the two. They say their goodbyes with a kiss and Mooney disappears under the cover of night. What? Did that just come out of nowhere? Has Bullock always been sweet on her or was that just suddenly thrown in as soon as Gordon mentioned earlier in the episode that Bullock was always sweet in Mooney?
Excuse me, while I scratch my head over this. Y’know what? I’m not even mad at this sudden development. I love Bullock, and I love Fish Mooney. Their dysfunctional love story is bound to be more compelling than the Gordon-Thompkins-Barbara love triangle.