Gotham: Pena Dura review S5 E5 – Bane Begins?

Pena Dura was the first episode this season that really felt like we’re nearing the end of Gotham. So much happened over the course of this episode with a big payoff and a significant introduction of an important player.

Gordon and Bullock tracked down the guy who sold the RPG that took out Haven, but they didn’t bother to notice he had an army of gun-toting goons. They get sniped out by the timely arrival of Gordon’s old military buddy Eduardo Dorrance (Shane West) and his Delta Force. Sadly Chuck Norris is not with this squad. The arms dealer actually kept a ledger, with Ed’s name conveniently scribbled for the purchase of one RPG. This sloppy failure to cover his tracks is hardly the work of The Riddler. What’s the deal?

That’s exactly what Ed’s trying to figure out when Gordon and Eduardo burst in his lair. Ed makes enough of a compelling case to Gordon that he’d never kill that many people that Gordon ignores him fumbling to trigger a death trap for Eduardo. Gordon’s experience dealing with the Gotham nut jobs helps him crack Riddler’s puzzle. Eduardo is here to eliminate all the criminal threats and then restore order. That’s one way to do it, but maybe getting supplies to the starving survivors in Gotham would do more good?

gotham pena dura - gordon and bullock

Escaping Gordon is one thing, but a whole city looking out for him? Ed manages to avoid the mob, but gets tied up by a woman and her weird sons hoping to electrocute him via car batteries. One of Gotham’s guilty pleasures is watching the bad guys use some devious plan to get out of trouble. In this case it’s suckering the family into leaking enough battery fluid to burn one of the sons. Freed of the crazy family and jolted with a new memory of Penguin saying he was going to fix him, Riddler is off to find his old ally.

Penguin is stunned Riddler was behind the Haven attack, but he doesn’t have to wait long as Ed pays him a visit. In my favorite exchange this episode, Ed questions why Penguin had Hugo Strange fix him.

Penguin: After Butch died you were my only friend.

Ed: You shot Butch!

Penguin: That’s why I needed you.

Man, I love Gotham logic. Wait, Penguin and Riddler both declare by their friendship they’d only kill each other face to face. This show is bonkers and I love it! Both piece together that Strange pulled a fast one and screwed with Ed’s brain somehow. To find Hugo, Ed has to go to Barbara for his location. Like Penguin, Barbara recognizes Ed wouldn’t be stupid enough to come to her if he were really guilty.

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And we don’t have to wait til next episode for this Riddler/Strange confrontation. Nope, we’ve got too much ground to cover here tonight! Strange did put a control chip in Riddler’s head, which he reboots after misting Ed. Gordon and Eduardo arrive to see Strange’s handiwork, but he’s acting on behalf of someone else — Eduardo’s superior, Walker. Uh-oh. To make sure Gordon will play ball, he’s got to kill Riddler to get Walker’s full support. Predictably, Gordon doesn’t bite and escapes while Eduardo sics Riddler on him.

In the other subplot, Bruce can’t find Selina. Alfred is fine with Selina killing Jeremiah. Hard to say he’s wrong here. Bruce thinks it over for another half second and finds Selina at Sirens. In a full circle moment at the club, it’s Selina who’s a jerk to Bruce and pushes him away this time. Bruce gets a pep talk with Bullock and practices his disappearing act.

gotham pena dura - riddler and hugo strange

Death doesn’t mean a whole lot in Gotham so it wasn’t a huge shock Jeremiah didn’t actually die. He was wearing armor and staged his ‘death’ to keep attention off him while he and Ecco hatch his latest plan. Jeremiah is now fully Joker-ered out minus the green hair. Hopefully soon? He’s had his doctor hard at work on a man and woman and with his tease of family reunions, did Jeremiah carve up two people to look like Thomas and Martha Wayne?

Gotham packed a ton of big moments in Pena Dura. BTW, Pena Duro is the birthplace of one masked adversary with addiction issues. That’s subtle foreshadowing, but Gotham rarely bothers on that front. Let’s see how this plays out next episode.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Photo Credit: FOX

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