Monday, May 27, 2024

The New Queen of Gotham Falls with a Grand Applause

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Last time we were in Gotham, Sophia was a thorn in everyone’s sides, or in Lee’s case, a hammer to the hand. Bruce outgrew his rebellious phase and mended things with Alfred. Almost being killed by Ivy helped Harvey and Jim mend their own fences.

This episode opens with a bang. It’s the explosion the Riddler uses to kill Sophia’s men who are holding Martin. Also, before he died in a fireball, one of the goons was reading an issue of Detective Comics. That was a fun little Easter egg.

Lee’s out of the hospital and she’s checking out her old turf. Without her in charge, the Narrows has gotten murder-y again.

Harvey is still pissed at Jim, but he’s willing to take up his badge again to help clean up his Sophia problem. Don Falcone knew about the Pyg which means someone in the city knew what Sophia was doing and they need to find that person. Harvey heads solo to an old source: a sweet grandma who runs a candy shop. Oh, and she also used to skin people alive, which got her the apt nickname of the Skinner. At this point, nothing in this city would surprise me anymore. She reveals Mr. Penn, Oswald’s bookkeeper, was Falcone’s eyes and ears in the city. Was anyone in Oswald’s inner circle completely loyal to him?

Word about Martin’s escape gets back to Sophia and she’s furious. I, meanwhile, am ecstatic because Zsasz is back! Sophia sends him to Arkham to kill Oswald before he can use Martin to clear his name. Zsasz isn’t the only one paying Oswald a visit, though; Harvey was there to find out where Mr. Penn is. But neither gets much of any time with the Penguin because among the chaos of a tripped alarm, the Riddler escapes with him.

At Wayne Manor, Bruce find Selina raiding his kitchen. He knows she isn’t there for his food or his company. She’s having regrets about stealing from the family after Ivy killed the father. She wants to return the items, but she’s already sold them off. So she needs a friend with deep pockets to get them back and pockets don’t get deeper than Bruce’s. He agrees, to her surprise, after her last few encounters with him. They banter, and it’s very sweet. But at the shop the buyer doesn’t want to sell it back, trying to just rob them instead. Naturally, Bruce and Selina knock all of them out and Selina takes what she came for. Bruce even leaves the money behind, which is a very Bruce thing to do.

Fresh off their escape, the Riddler and Oswald go to Lee for help. Lee realizes it’s the Riddler in control, not Ed. But that doesn’t matter because she wants to kill Sophia was much as they do. The Riddler has the idea to gift Oswald to Sophia as an Icy Trojan Horse. Oswald is, understandably, resistant it. The Riddler doesn’t have any other plans unless they can come up with some muscle. Lee reminds him of his friend.

So he goes looking for Grundy. Unfortunately for him, Grundy remembers he’s Butch. He also remembers he’s not really friends with Ed and certainly not with the Riddler. Butch knocks him out and takes him gift wrapped to Tabitha and Barbara. Barbara, it turns out, has been having horrible migraines. Headache or not she still knows gifting Ed to Sophia is the best way to stay on her good side. They are the only people in Gotham still on Sophia’s good side besides Sophia’s own men.

Oswald, meanwhile, has been getting anxiously waiting for the Riddler’s return. Lee tries to calm him, but he marches out onto the street anyway. Where he runs into Jim and Harvey immediately. Jim’s desperate to take Sophia down, so he offers to let Oswald walk if he tells him where they can find Penn. Oswald does and then Harvey promptly puts Oswald in chains, saying he didn’t agree to Jim’s offer.

Zsasz runs into them, learning about Penn in the process. A shootout over Oswald kicks off, but Lee comes to his rescue. She escapes with him in Jim’s car and takes him to Victor Fries, a.k.a. Mr. Freeze. The Riddler’s Trojan ice statue plan is their only option left.

The Riddler holds up really well under torture—he just answers in riddles. But, Sophia didn’t need to get her hands dirty because Freeze walks in with Oswald in a giant ice cube. Sophia’s day keeps getting better as Zsasz returns with Penn’s location.

And speaking of Penn’s location it’s… interesting. I know I just said that nothing in this city would surprise me anymore, and yet it never ceases to amaze. While a resort that caters to adults wanting to be treated like babies is probably not the weirdest thing to exist in Gotham, it’s up there.

Jim and Harvey find Penn and get the information they need. Turns out he was a triple agent, as an informant for both Falcone and Sophia while working for Oswald. He was also the one to find Pyg for Sophia. Sophia and her men show up just then, one landing a gut shot on Jim.

Oswald, meanwhile, breaks out of the ice. With Sophia gone he beats her location out of one of her men. He calls Lee to tell her where to find Sophia. But before he leaves he sees the Riddler’s hat and realizes he’d been there. Sophia’s henchman tells Oswald he’s being taken to the pier to be killed.

Jim, despite being hit, makes Harvey leave with Penn while he leads Sophia away from them. Harvey gets outside as Lee pulls up. She gives him the car so he and Penn can escape. Technically, that was the car she stole from Harvey and Jim anyway.

Sophia corners Jim, shooting him again, in the shoulder this time. She makes the classic villain mistake of taunting him, giving Lee enough time to catch up. She shoots her. Twice. The second time in the head. I guess my prediction about Sophia being the main antagonist for this season was a little off.

At the pier, the Riddler’s lamenting the last thing he’s going to hear is a bad riddle. But Oswald shows up just in time. He chose Ed over his revenge. Back at Wayne Manor, Selina asks Bruce to return the stolen items for her. She doesn’t know how she can face the family. Bruce reminds her of her own words, that saying sorry is sometimes enough. Jim wakes up in the hospital with Harvey at his side. Even after taking two bullets Lee was able to keep him alive. Also, Sophia isn’t dead, never mind she took a bullet in the forehead. She’s just in a coma. When was the last time someone who wasn’t a nameless goon died in this city?

Jim wants to come clean, but Harvey insists he can’t. Jim clearing himself of his guilt will cost Gotham its hero. Gotham surviving is worth Sophia winning over Jim.

Lee takes back the Narrows! And she isn’t the pacifist she used to be. I’m a little worried about her. But not as worried as I am about Barbara. Her migraines are getting worse. Oh, and her hand is glowing. And she sees Ra’s Al Ghul?

The Sinking Ship… more like an Overcrowed Ship

This episode is great. I wrote that at least three times while making my notes for the episode. Was it a packed forty-five minutes with more characters in one episode than some shows having in a whole season? Yes. Did that make it any less fun? No.

If anything that made it more fun. Gotham is at it’s best when it lets it’s characters drive the plot. Even if does get muddled when there are more than fifteen major characters in one episode. Still, almost everyone had a good moment at some point. A personal favourite was Bruce and Selina’s banter in the pawn shop. But the real gem between the two this week was Bruce echoing Selina’s own advice about apologizing.  The Bat and Cat will always be one of my favourite dynamics to watch. Even when they did get overshadowed by everyone else putting Sophia in their crosshairs.

Okay, I was wrong. I said last week Sophia was going to be the main adversary for the season. And she gets dethroned one episode later. I did not see coming. But she’s not dead, yet. Even after taking a bullet to the head. Funeral homes in Gotham must be doing horribly right now. Really, does anyone die in this city anymore? Is it because of chemicals Indian Hill leaked into the water supply? But, hey, if I can suspend my disbelief for plants that grow inside people and toxic swamps that reanimate the dead, then I can suspend disbelief for people surviving multiple bullet wounds.

If Sophia’s not dead she’s probably going to be back before the season is over. Between the Ivy storyline and the promise of more Jerome in the near future, I’m not sure if the show has the time to go back to Sophia after she’s been taken down.

Plus, Ra’s may or may not be coming back. I’m of two minds about his potential return. To bring him back would undermine Bruce’s conflict over killing him. But, on the other hand, I will never complain about any plotline with Barbara at the centre.

Speaking of comebacks, Ed and Os are back! I don’t know if that moment on the pier was laced with romantic tones or not. I don’t really care because the Penguin and the Riddler are a team once again.

Next time promises Jerome’s grand escape and more Selina and Bruce.

Images courtesy of Fox.

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