This is positively spoiler laden, so if you haven’t watched the episode or don’t want potential future plot points ruined, STOP RIGHT NOW. Seriously. Stop reading now because below, SPOILERS ABOUND.
As ruthless as our dear Penguin can be, he is no judge of talent. He proves that to us this episode by hiring his mother as chanteuse for his recently acquired club. Ever the mama’s boy, he unleashes that ruthless side and a bottle of liquor when someone (rightly) begins to heckle her vocal stylings. That vociferous clubgoer will find it hard to smile in future, methinks. Mr. Zsasz, on orders from Falcone, brings back Butch, Fish Mooney’s former right hand, to help Penguin turn his struggling club around and simultaneously make his bladder drop. Only when Mr. Zsasz reveals he’s been torturing poor Butch into docility does Penguin relax and realize that he now has a meek hand puppet who will help him be the success he knows he is on the inside.
Barbara is the worst. The literal worst. Why exactly does she think Jim will be just waiting for her after she basically skipped town on him and went back to her ex? Don’t be mad that he upgraded in your absence! Girl, get your life together. And ask a couple of questions about these two random girls who have obviously been eating up all your food and using your apartment as a squat. But instead of throwing some cold water in her face and asking the important questions, she makes friends. So that’s something, I guess.
We meet the Flying Graysons and their practically life-long rivals, the Lloyds, while Jim and Lee are on a date at the circus. And boy do they love to throw bows. I mean, these families HATE each other (they yell as much during the brawl!), but we get a glimpse of the future when we meet the parents Robin, Gotham City’s favorite sidekick who we all know from comics canon. Good thing they get past the blood feud and get married or we couldn’t have a Boy Wonder!
And of course we have the strong-minded Dr. Lee Thompkins who is dating Jim and really giving him a run for his money! I love it so much. She challenges every little patriarchal quirk Jim displays and never takes his guff. She is no pushover (unlike certain blondes we could mention) and she has no problem flexing her knowledge or calling BS when she needs to. I admit I don’t fully trust her but she is a breath of meadow-fresh air for Jim.
Arguably the biggest draw to this episode is the appearance of Jerome, the young man who will become the Joker. He is the son of a snake dancer at the Grayson/Lloyd circus who has just been found dead. Oh, and he killed her. Surprise! After masterfully pretending to be distraught at his mother’s disappearance and shutting down Gordon’s implications about sex and sexuality, he finally breaks character and devolves into a psychotic laughter-laden tirade about his trifling mother. He just really couldn’t take her nagging about him doing the dishes when she’s getting laid in the next room. (Did anyone notice that the actor who played his father – the eponymous Blind Fortune Teller – also played Felix Faust on Constantine recently?)
I feel like every scene including Fish Mooney should be soundtracked by Trina’s “The Baddest Bitch.” She has zero patience for anyone telling her what to do or how to be. With her newly acquired scarf and sweater, she is running the nameless prison she’s been relegated to – and it took her like three days? All of the prisoners ride for Fish.
She’s all, “Hey, captors. I’m the new ‘shot caller’ here. We need food, water, blankets, and the latest Vogue and you’re going to bring them to us.” And they’re like, “I’m not doing that. Hand over that prisoner. Someone needs a kidney transplant.” And Fish is all, “Bitch, please. You’re not in charge here. Watch me tell these guys to savagely beat that prisoner to death with a hand motion.” *commence beating* “Now go get someone with authority.” Fish is everything.
Then we have young Bruce who is throwing these corrupt Wayne Enterprises board members so much shade I thought a solar eclipse had happened. After continually blowing his meeting requests off, they thought he was going to come in with some fluff like, “Do you guys have a tablet to spare so I can play Angry Birds?” And their faces were absolutely priceless when Bruce pulls out his composition notebook and starts laying into them about how a few of those dirty buggers were definitely working with the criminal underworld to control the Arkham project and some subsidiary is into chemical weapon manufacturing and he wasn’t having that. “If I were a man I would be chairing this board.” BOOM.
All in all, it was a great episode. I get sick of Jim’s antiquated ideas about relationships, but with each episode we see how he becomes more and more of the iconic, hard-nosed, “what’s right is right” Gordon that comics fans know and respect. There was offensively little Nygma, a slight blow because I enjoy him so much, but this show is really ramping up to become something so awesome. The characters continue to be compelling and I can’t (always) predict the storyline, two hallmarks of great programming if you ask me.
Can’t wait for next week! Who’s holding Fish? Who is Red Hood (for those of us who don’t already know)? And who’s breaking into Wayne Manor trying to take out a kid this time?!