It’s an odd numbered episode week, which means ‘Gotham’ was fairly entertaining this week. At least the show is consistent with its up and down pattern. This week landed firmly in the very good category as the writers stuck to the formula that’s worked for roughly half the season — focusing on Gordon and Bullock while developing the subplots just enough to move them forward and limiting the goofy, ill-fitting attempts at humor. And we introduced a key character in the Batman mythos so it was all around a solid 60 minutes in Gotham.
Our main story focus on Gordon and Bullock trying to capture Jason/The Ogre before he kills Barbara. Last week ended with the cliffhanger as if Barbara was fine with all the crazy that is The Ogre, but to prevent things from getting too interesting Jason tells Barbara he was planning to kill, but now thinks she’s the woman he was destined to be with all along. Can’t imagine a worse conversation to have following a one-night stand. Barbara bolts for the door, prompting Jason to lock her in the dungeon and drug her into submission. Just think how much more suspenseful this all would have been had the writers bothered to develop Barbara at all this season instead of making her the object of Gordon’s affection and Montoya’s lust? Hoping to prove his cray cray love, Jason says he’ll kill for Barbara — she just has to name the target.
Following up on some leads, Bullock goes undercover in the Fox Club, Gotham’s seedy sex club, a known Ogre hangout. Bullock can’t keep his cover as some live performers involve a pig in an off camera moment that was more of the quirky humor that works best for the show. One of the hookers (who encountered The Ogre before he graduated to killing and called himself Christian Grey) vaguely remembers Jason’s apartment and Gordon and Bullock find The Ogre’s hideout deserted. Ogre calls annoyed that Gordon triggered his silent alarm and warning him to try and find them. Bullock and Gordon have impeccable hearing and together determine Ogre and Barbara’s destination — her terrible parents.
It was a bit unclear just how in control Barbara was as she’s dopey as Ogre kills her parents and just as out of it when Gordon and Bullock arrive. After a brawl with Gordon, Ogre threatens to kill Barbara, but Bullock distracts him long enough for Gordon to shoot him in the head. A decades-long Gotham serial killer finally gets put down because a cop bothered to come after him. For now enjoy your victory and some office flirting with Lee there Jimbo.
While Gordon tracks down The Ogre, Bruce attempts to console Alfred after he learns of Reggie’s death. Selina’s delivered a copy of Bunderslaw’s key and Bruce is ready to find out what’s in the safe. While I appreciated someone being smart enough to not get outwitted by a 10-year-old, it was a real stretch that Bunderslaw decided to ignore the fake fire alarm Bruce triggered since he knew Bruce and Selina copied his key. Unless he’s reading my recaps too….
Bunderslaw tells Bruce it’s been a Wayne family tradition to be outraged over the moves made in the company only to go along in the end. Now it’s time for Bruce to follow in their footsteps. Before Bunderslaw can finish his spiel, Wayne Enterprises new junior executive Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) comes to get Bruce. Lucius subtly warns Bruce that his father was a good man who kept his best self hidden from the company. That was just about the least helpful tip Bruce could have received. Deciding not to be like his father Bruce tells Alfred everything from his investigation into Reggie, Selina killing Reggie and his encounter with Bunderslaw. Alfred is remarkably composed for this confession and reinforces Lucius’ statement that Thomas Wayne was a good man. Bruce might not be so sure though saying even good men have secret.
Edward Nygma may not be a good man, but he definitely has secrets. Namely the two suitcases he lugs in to GCPD stuffed with Officer Daughtery’s body. Nygma figures no body, no crime, but in a crime-ridden area like Gotham and his expertise of autopsies you’d figure Nygma would have a better solution than lugging evidence directly linking him to a murder to police headquarters. He writes a ‘Dear John’ letter from Daughtery breaking up with her and as she reads it in discuss and storms off, Nygma giggles as she missed his hint of reading between the lines. Each of the first letter in each paragraph spelled ‘Nygma.’ That definitely felt more in line with The Riddler’s nonsensical desire to outwit everyone even if it tips his hand.
The writers remember Penguin is a more engaging character than weird comic relief as he sends his hit man to gun down Maroni with a Penguin selected gun and special message. Maroni is celebrating the release of his ace hit man Tommy Bones when Penguin’s assassin arrives aiming his gun and declaring this a message from Falcone. Only, Penguin removed the firing pin and rightly predicted this ‘act of war’ would be enough to get Maroni and Falcone at each others throats. Penguin has come to find being under Falcone’s thumb intolerable and he’s going to shake things up. This felt like am abrupt switch from the writers as if they decided they needed to get back to making Penguin a scheming underworld mover and shaker after weeks of goofing around with his mother. Hard to complain though as manipulative Penguin is one of the show’s best characters.
Capt. Essen gives the GCPD the news — a crime war is spreading in Gotham and they’ve got to stop it. The Maroni/Falcone battle has been a long time brewing and probably should have been kicked off a few episodes before next week’s season finale. We’ve got the stage set for a pretty solid finale though even if it’s an even-numbered episode.