“Dark days are coming.”
In this season premiere, it’s been a month since we left off. And if anything is clear from this episode, it is that nothing good is on its way for Gotham City.
In a month, the Penguin has established himself as the new Falcone – albeit with a few bumps along the way and Viktor needing to put a few bullets in a few heads – Bruce and Alfred are doing their best to crack to code to Bruce’s father’s secrets and Gordon isn’t having the best time of it. Regulated back to uniform duty, Gordon is directing traffic now. Something that has already had Bullock quit and start working behind a bar.
After dutifully drinking a mystery blue substance, new villain Zaardon takes to the streets. He stumbles upon Gordon directing cars, but his attempt at a hostage situation is short lived. Even if he does wave around some rather pointy swords, he’s easily subdued by Gordon and brought into the station. He’s easily shoved rambling into a cell, where he proceeds to belch out a brilliant blue gas. The whole situation though was certainly frustrating enough to prompt Gordon to shove his new partner, breaking one of the codes of conduct for law enforcement.
We do briefly stumble across Ed Nygma in the bathroom of the police station. At the end of last season we saw Ed begin his mental breakdown, but it seems in a month he’s well and truly deteriorated. He hallucinates and argues with a more confident and definitely eviler version of himself in the mirror. It seems – at least for his alter ego – that Miss Kringle is still the desired goal in life.
Essen tries her best to reason with Commissioner Loeb, but his grudge is still holding firm from last season and he orders for Gordon’s badge to be taken. Back at home, Leslie doesn’t seem at all surprised by this turn of events, but seems pleased that Gordon took the opportunity to threaten the Commissioner that he was going to come through on his promise of ruining him.
Now that he that he wants to be a cop so badly he’s willing to break the law, Gordon goes to see the Penguin. After Don Falcone’s retirement, Penguin is quite happily conducting his affairs with Viktor as his enforcer, Butch by his side and even Selina Kyle hanging around. He is however having some trouble getting a few people to pay up the debts that were owed to his predecessor.
In keeping with the good nature of their ‘friendship’, Penguin happily grants Gordon’s favour without even needing to hear what it is. Although, as he says, it is obvious. He’s more than happy to get Loeb fired and Gordon his old job back, in return for one thing. He wants Gordon to go to Odgen Barker and collect a debt that he’s owed. Something that Gordon refuses to do, because as Bullock points out, he’s too morally straight to work for a guy like Penguin.
At the bar where he’s working, Bullock and Gordon have a quick conversation where it Bullock tells him maybe it’s for the best that they’re not cops anymore. He claims to have never been happier, thirty-two days sober, sleeping at night and with a woman who genuinely cares about him.
“I’m proud of you, brother.”
In what seems to be his default move when things aren’t working out, Gordon goes to visit Bruce to apologise for not being able to fulfil his promise of catching who killed his parents. He catches a dirty Bruce and Alfred slightly unawares – Bruce still shifting some of the study’s furniture back into place. Before he gets criticised by Alfred, Bruce soon tells Gordon that he’s sacrificing the greater good for the sake of his own vanity.
After Gordon leaves, Bruce gets frustrated with the key code to the door they’ve found at the bottom of the stairs and in a fit of rage smashes it to pieces with a hammer. Alfred then later catches him walking into the study with a bag of fertiliser. He’s apparently taken his own words to heart about the way to do things and after having done some reading on the matter, is determined to build a bomb to blast open the door, with or without Alfred’s help.
Why no, Alfred, he isn’t a joking and since he isn’t, one of the funniest scenes in the episode leads to Alfred begrudgingly stating: “Right well, you’re gonna need ten more sacks of that gear for starters, three more Jerry cans, two lengths of timber and a heaven tarpaulin. And I’ll put the kettle on.” When is a butler not a butler?
Meanwhile, with Bruce’s speech in mind, Gordon goes to talk to Odgen Barker. He warns him not to underestimate the Penguin when the other man says he won’t last the month. Gordon holds Barker at gunpoint and swipes the money that they were previously counting. After a short police chase, Gordon ends up shooting Barker in the chest, killing him.
It’s not a turn of events that the Penguin seems particularly surprised by, to Gordon’s chagrin. Still, it prompts the Penguin to uphold his end of the bargain. Along with Viktor, he breaks into Commissioner Loeb’s house. Whilst fixing himself a sandwich and with the decapitated heads of Loeb’s guards on the kitchen floor, Penguin points out his dilemma. Since he has nothing to blackmail the Commissioner with, his only real option is to kill him. This statement combined with Viktor’s twitchy trigger fingers soon leads Loeb promising to do what they want.
Meanwhile, in Arkam Asylum, Barbara is settling in. It doesn’t take Jerome long to introduce himself to her, trying to bond over their mutual experience with killing parents. He warns her that ‘a girl needs a good friend in here’ and points out that another inmate, Sionis is interested in getting to know her better. Barbara then makes friends with a large, but apparently simple inmate and gains his promise of protection, much to Jerome’s obvious joy.
After Jerome’s offer on behalf of Sionis that they can get her whatever she wants, she befriends the millionaire mass-murder in exchange for a telephone. She later uses it to ring Gordon, claiming to never have told Leslie that she killed her parents and that the other woman was lying and then attacked her. After Gordon hangs up, disbelieving, she turns to leaving Leslie a voicemail message just to say: “I hope you die screaming, bitch.” This prompts Leslie to ask Gordon to go away some place, especially since he’s now been fired, but Gordon refuses.
After all, he assures her, Barbara is safely locked away in Arkam. Right?
Zaardon arrives at Arkam to little interest from any of the other inmates. They may not blink at his yelling, but the sight of the blue gas rushing out from his mouth does panic them. At least in the short amount of time before they’re all knocked out. With this abrupt end brought to their chummy ‘story time’ session, Arkam is broken into by a woman who is later revealed to be Tabitha Galavan.
“I am not a brilliant outlaw, I just have issues.”
The six ‘escaped’ inmates wake up bound, but there seems to be little panic about the situation. In fact, Jerome seems to be positively overjoyed. Especially when Theo Galavan introduces himself as the one to break them out and tells them about his plan. He wants them all to work together as a team to bring anarchy to Gotham. Despite Jerome loving what is happening, Barbara is obviously against it and Sionis outright refuses. He claims not to like taking orders and offers to pay Theo for his release. However, to Jerome’s joy and Barbara’s shock, all that this refusal gets him is a rather quick death at the hands of Theo’s sister and enforcer, Tabitha. It’s apparent that this new ‘team’ isn’t optional.
The Penguin’s solution to holding up his end of bargain with Gordon becomes apparent at a press conference. There, an unhappy Commissioner Loeb announces his retirement, his replacement to be the Police Chief Essen. Essen is obviously pleased by this turn of events and praises Gordon for making it happen, reinstating him in his previous job.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce and Alfred set up their bomb and actually manage to not blow up the whole mansion. They head down the stairs and through the blasted off door to find a secret office on the other side. There, Bruce finds a letter addressed to him from his father. The letter soon reveals the one code Bruce apparently didn’t have the wit to think of – his name BRUCE.
In the letter his father talks about having been asking questions about the family business. He asks that Bruce choose happiness over the truth, unless he feels a true calling. With Bruce reading out these words, we see Gordon picking up his gun, ready to do proper police work once again.
Don’t forget to catch Gotham Mondays at 9pm