Bruce tries to get vengence, we meet another proto-Joker(maybe), and Alfred shows he can fight adults as well as kids. Time for another trip to the insane funhouse called Gotham.
Previously On Gotham…
Alfred does his best Benedict Cumberbatch impersonation and digs up the true Wayne killer, Selena forgets what guns are for, Nygma kills you because he loves you, and the Penguin is being vexed Clockwork Orange style.
We kick things off with Oswald sitting at his dining room table in his old mansion. Ah good times, when he was King of Gotham. BUT WHAT’S THIS!? Oswald is bound to his chair and gagged. And there’s his mother, sitting across the table, as if she was still alive. She’s telling him how wonderful he is, how brave and handsome. He is screaming, trying to speak. Now there’s another Oswald, with a mean look walking behind Mother. Oswald wants to yell but he can’t. Oh how he wishes he could. The other one holds a baseball bat. Not to bat in the 7th hole against the Yankees at Fenway, which frankly would not have been the oddest lineup choice John Farrell made last year. No that baseball bat is coming down onto dear Mother’s head. All bound Oswald, or bound-Wald if you will, can do is watch helplessly and scream through his gag.
BUT WHAT’S THIS!? IT WAS A DREAM, ALL ALONG! Well not quite. It’s the behavior modification tests Dr. Strange has been doing to Penguin. They’ve been mixing their REM stimulation with the Crane formula and getting the desire results, According to Peabody, he is docile and friendly. He has a low appetite but it’s of no concern to Peabody. Strange wants him to be tested against adversity, so he tells her to prepare the “ice cream test”. Penguin continue screaming and flailing in his chair. A quick tangent, only B.D Wong could take a line as silly as “Prepare the ice cream test” and make it menacing.
So the test is Oswald getting some ice cream with his lunch, but not sure how. He finds it unusual when a fellow inmate points it out. The other dude is quite jealous and despite Oswald’s friendly demeanor and offer to give him the delicious dessert gets grabbed and slammed into a table for his trouble. But no reaction. No anger or fighting back. Strange is pleased with this outcome. It’s amazing to think that the guy who will build Arkham City started out with doing the ice cream test.
We leave Arkham and find Bruce on the other side of the tracks to meet Selena. She has the gun he asked for and he stares it. She says he looks scared when he doesn’t take it immediately. “Guns aren’t for show Bruce, and they’re not for protection. They’re only for one thing.” Gotham is not the favorite show of the NRA. We cut back to GCPD HQ. Lee goes up to Jim’s desk and he wants to continue the post Arkham talk but that will have to wait. She is there on business, Kringle business. She tells him that she has Kristen Kringle’s final paychecks. She went to HQ to get her new address and they gave them to her. She didn’t leave a forwarding address or cash them. Jim thinks she and Dougherty might be traveling since he has money. She’s not convince since she once told Lee Dougherty hurt her. She didn’t want to worry Ed about it and says she can go to Missing Persons but Jim says he will look into it and let her know what he finds.
Meanwhile, at Stately Wayne That One Room, Alfred is preparing for their Malone hunt. He sees Bruce walk in and is not happy with his answer when he asks if Bruce is ready. He reminds Bruce that they are on the hunt for an extremely dangerous man and he has to be absolutely sure. Bruce says he is sure. Alfred tells him to follow his every lead on the street, no “faffing” about. They go over Malone’s records and Alfred says that according to the records he ran with a guy named Cupcake, surely not a literal name. According to the records Malone turned on Cupcake which resulted in a ten spot in Blackgate. He just got out and runs with a crew called the Mutants. Thankfully this is a Fox show so no concerns about legal action from the movie division. Alfred figures that Cupcake might be willing to spill where his old partner is for payback.
The Mutants is an old fashioned fight club, minus Brad Pitt’s pornographic children’s movies. Cupcake is as expected, a very large dude. Alfred is quite direct, walking into the middle of a fight and tell his he desires to talk and what they are there for. Cupcake asks who his friend is and despite Alfred trying to divert the conversation Bruce offers to pay them. Despite Alfred’s best efforts he aslo tells them he thinks Malone killed his parents which is why he is there. Cupcake asks for a million, Bruce says it’s too much. Not sure if that’s true or if Bruce is being cheap. Alfred is trying to get Cupcake’s attention but Cupcake tells him he’s talking to the shot caller. Alfred is not pleased by that. Cupcake says for $50k they can leave unharmed, Alfred gets pissed at this but Cupcake tells him he is joking. He would never hurt the little boy, he likes little boys and he’s not even Catholic. He says he will sell the location for $50k but he wants to fight Alfred. Alfred tries to back out but Cupcake is determined. No fight, no Matches and no matches, no leaving. Alfred agrees and he and Bruce have a funny moment where they argue over whose fault it is. Bruce thinks the outcome would have been the same while Alfred tells him to pick his battles, not let them pick him. So we get Alfred’s first fight against an adult Kind of surprising really. The whole scene is a lesson in fighting a big man. Foot work and leverage are an important factor. After a few minutes Cupcake throws Alfred to the ground and starts beating him. Bruce is ready to call it but Alfred waves him off, even as he gets beaten. After a few minutes Alfred is able to get Cupcake in a sleeper hold. The lesson is that fighting a big man is about endurance, letting him wear himself out until you can make a move. A lesson Bruce will take to heart in his future crime fighting career. Cupcake yields and tells them to see Jeri at Celestial Gardens on the East Side, she’ll know where Malone is. Alfred thanks him for doing business and collapses.
Alfred and Bruce are in the hospital. Alfred says after a couple of hours of rest he should be fine, I think. He says it in such a British way that I’m not 100% sure. He tries to make Bruce promise to not go on his own but Bruce keep asking him to repeat himself and says nothing as Alfred falls asleep. Checking the gun, he says he’s sorry and leaves.
We go back to Arkham where Strange is doing word association with Oswald, He matches punishment with crime and remorse with revenge. He confesses to feeling remorse for his past deeds. Strange says that is normal and a good sign that the treatment is working. Oswald is turning into a kind good young man but will need a few more therapy sessions. Oswald gets noticeably nervous at the ide of more sessions. Strange tells him it’s necessary to get better. Oswald seems content at this but is noticeably shaken.
Jim goes to see Ed about Kringle. After a riddle where the answer is silence Ed says he heard nothing. Ed feigns concern but Jim says they aren’t at the point of thinking something bad has happened. He asks Ed about Tom Dougherty and Ed says he’s rotten. Jim asks if she told him she was moving south with Tom, Ed says it was told by a note which he threw away. Jim gets a call and leaves and Ed monologues to himself about how Jim won’t outsmart him.
Jim and Bullock go to the hospital to see Alfred. He tells them about what he found, Bullock is not happy that they didn’t come to him and Jim. Alfred is concerned that Bruce is going to Malone to kill him, something that Alfred said he would do. Bullock’s reaction is great “Again we’re the cops. Don’t tell us stuff like this.” Bruce ends up at the club where Jeri is at. It’s a pretty standard punk rock club with band playing. The lead singer looks like a Joker Macully Caulkin and there is a projection of Maniax footage behind the stage. After the song ends the kid goes to Bruce and asks him what took so long. He leads Bruce to Jeri.
Well big shock, we got a proto Joker, and she’s leading Bruce down a long hallway full of ladies in underwear and people having sex to where Jeri is. And YUGGGE shock the Kid is Jeri. They have a nice scene. She asks Bruce why he wants Matches and Bruce tells him the truth. Jeri doesn’t think he can do it, kill him. She asks him if he’s ever killed anyone before and he says no one has ever killed his parents before. They banter for a bit and eventually he gives up the address. I like this kid. He isn’t as out there as Jerome but he’s got a good solid laugh and does an early version of the Joker makeup well. I’m sure he won’t be the Joker but as far as a proto goes he’s ok. Jim shows up and tries to take Bruce away but the band strikes up and Jim loses him as he gets dragged into the crowd of club goers.
Jim has gotten backup and takes Jeri out to his car in handcuffs, looking around for Bruce. Meanwhile Bruce has found the apartment where Malone is. But surprise, instead of a gun he takes out a wad of money and tells Malone he wants to hire him. They talk for a bit and for a little while it looks like Malone is playing with him, acting like he doesn’t remember him. But after a little bit of time he does and more or less confesses. But he won’t tell who hired him, even if Bruce tortures him. Bruce figures out that he is trying to make him kill him, out of guilt. He wants Bruce to think of him as a monster but he can’t because he’s not a monster and that makes it worse. H leaves and Jim arrives just as Malone kills himself with the gun Bruce left behind.
Back at Arkham Oswald is subject to one more therapy session, this time given the chance to kill the man from the cafeteria who attacked him over ice cream while he’s tied up. But Oswald doesn’t want to and uses the knife to cut his free. Strange tells him he has been declared sane and can leave, despite Oswald’s reluctance. Peabody isn’t sure it’s smart to let him go and tells Strange there will be an outcry and strange tells her it will pass. He is an experiment and part of deeper plans which he can’t tell about.
Jim and Bullock talk about Malone. He had been a killer for the mob but had gone underground which is why he escaped notice for the Wayne’s murder. Jim says that he confessed according to Bruce and he trusts Bruce. Now he wants to know who hired him but Bullock doesn’t want to know.
The final scene is Alfred finding a note from Bruce. He is leaving to live in the bad part of town with Selena. He has learned that you can only defeat evil by not committing it. He is going to learn how to live in the same world others have to live in. He will come home eventually and asks Alfred to honor his wishes and not try to bring him back. The show ends with Ed clipping out a picture of Him and drawing a green ? on his face
Notes and Observations.
· Over all I thought this was an ok episode. The core of the story was on Bruce and his attempt to get revenge. I wish they narrowed the scoop a bit because it felt like we were all over the place between the police, the mansion and Arkham
· B.D Wong is just having a blast playing Hugo Strange. I will miss his scenes with Robin Lord Taylor.
· I just kept waiting for someone to ask Nygma what the hell was wrong when he went into his villainous monologue at the end right there in the middle of the precinct. The dude needs to time his shifts into Villain Mode better.
· I was impressed with David Mazouz’s performance. He showed a young man who wanted to get his long desired vengeance but was held back by his own sense on honor and desire to do well. I will be interested to see how he handles himself on the mean streets of Gotham.
· Michael Bowen played Malone and I liked his performance. He’s known for work on Kill Bill and Breaking Bad as well as playing asshole extraordinary Davie Pickett on LOST. He came off as a man who knew what he did was wrong but did it anyway because he was good at it. At the same time I think he wanted Bruce to kill him. I thought the idea of trying to hire a killer to learn his history and try to get a confession was a nice touch and Bowen played off Daivd Mazouz well.
· Jeri….oh Jeri Jeri. An interesting character to be sure. There is wisdom there, she knew how to play Gordon, to get to his anger. She seemed to have genuine interest in Bruce. If we compare her possible Joker to others I think she was going more for the Heath Ledger. She had a great chemistry with David and I hope we see them more. She was also played by Lori Petty, known for roles in movies like A League of Their Own and Free Willy. I had no freaking idea that was her until I looked it up on IMDB.
So what did you all think? Talk about it in the comments and here are some additional recaps.