Gotham is back, everyone! Last time, we saw Jim Gordon get sacked from the GCPD and transferred over to the craziest of all nut houses: Arkham Asylum. What demented minds will we get to see in this half of the season?
Gordon mindlessly watches over an inmate-led production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. (Who let that inmate wear gloves with razors on the fingertips?!) During a sweet song by whom I can only surmise is Arkham’s version of Ariel, one of the inmates in the audience gets upset and attacks the little sprite. Gordon wheels the injured patient into the infirmary where he also gets a harsh tongue-lashing from Dr. Lang, head of Arkham. This is the fourth outburst since Gordon transferred to work security in the asylum. The nurse standing with them sternly reminds Dr. Lang that she cannot treat the injured patient, that he needs doctor to take a look at him.
Enter Dr. Leslie Thompkins, played by Firefly’s Morena Baccarin. Her bedside manner is just as we like to imagine it in the comics. Perfecto. And do I detect a bit of flirting between the two of them? Get a room, you guys.
What’s Gotham without its weird “what to do with all these kids we hired” side stories? Selina emerges from a hiding place in an alley somewhere in they city. She comes across the now homeless Ivy Pepper sleeping in a cardboard fort, sick. The weather hasn’t been stellar in this episode, and it should go without saying that the atmosphere hasn’t been all that great for Pepper either. Going to a hospital is out of the question since she’s not only a runaway, but a runaway from the crappy foster home system as well. So the only other place Selina knows that’ll keep her creepy friend safe for now is Barbara and Jim’s lavish downtown penthouse.
So… Selina climbs up the side of the building to break into Gordon’s apartment from the balcony so she can open the front door from the inside and let Ivy in. Yeah…uh…how did she do that exactly? Last I checked (exactly one second ago), that penthouse is super high up.
In case you want to know the level of importance these kids have in this episode: it’s next to nil. All Ivy does is scare away a desperate Barbara over the phone by feebly pretending she’s Gordon’s “other woman.” And since this is Barbara we’re talking about, a character so useless and dumb she needs a total re-write (or death), of course she falls for the prank.
Penguin, as Maroni’s envoy, meets with some fisherman at the docks. He’s upping their fees, because reasons. This bit of news doesn’t go well with the fisherman and they wave over some cops nearby. Penguin thinks they’re in his corner since Maroni owns the cops on the waterfront. Oh, Penguin. It seems you still have much to learn. The cops punch Penguin out and arrest him and his goon.
Back at the asylum, Gordon is walking his usual beat when he notices an inmate (Jones, aka “Frogman”) out of bed. Frogman is just harmlessly sitting still in front of his window. But when he doesn’t respond to Gordon’s call, Gordon gets suspicious and enters the room. That’s when he finds that Frogman is in a catatonic state with electrical burn marks on either side of head. Uh-oh, looks like we’ve got a maniac experimenting on patients!
Upon further investigation by Dr. Thompkins, Frogman was given a crude version electroshock therapy. Way too much voltage was used and his brain was completely fried as a result. In so many words, he might as well be brain dead if he wasn’t still breathing and walking around on his own.
This newest event doesn’t reflect well on Gordon’s performance with Dr. Lang. Gordon retorts with the fact that Arkham was opened too quickly — a skeleton staff was hired full-time to take care of hundreds of criminally insane patients within an barely refurbished, 200-year-old maze. Yup, all the makings of a powder keg just waiting for the lit match to drop. But Lang just sees these remarks as excuses. He tasks Gordon with figuring out whodunit by the Friday, without the aid of the GCPD.
The first place Gordon looks is with the staff members whose keys went missing at some point. The trail leads him to one shifty security guard who lost his keys entirely during the fight earlier in the episode and tried to hide his mistake by getting a spare set. Anyone could’ve taken them at that point. Gordon’s next logical step is to interview all the patients in his wing. We already know who the culprit is: the creepiest guy in the room who played pretty much the same guy in Supernatural. But we’ll get to that later.
In Fish Mooney’s club, she and another member of crime family, Sabiano, are discussing what to do about Falcone in this recent upstart — if you may remember, Mooney was responsible for blowing up Falcone’s money vault. As a hypothetical (of course), Mooney plays around with the idea of their boss’ demise. Who would take over then? Jimmy points to himself as the natural successor because he has seniority over everyone else in the family besides Falcone. Mooney nods and posits an alternative to reflect the radical change in times: herself. But they’re just talking, right? Jimmy and Mooney’s second in command, Butch, send each other knowing glances.
Mooney knows the game and where the pieces will fall if anything were to happen to Falcone. Sabiano, however, is the foreseeable wildcard that gives her pause. He needs to be dealt with before she can make her next move. Butch, who goes way back with Sabiano, offers to change his mind. She becomes suspicious of his motives, but she lets him try anyway.
Back in Arkham, Gordon is awaken by a noise down the hall. Royston, the guy who played Ariel in the play, is banging against one of the gates. Gordon turns him around and discovers that he’s the latest victim in the mysterious electroshock incidents. Instead of becoming a walking vegetable, however, Royston has no memory past what he’s read from Shakespeare. Gordon decides to concentrate his search on staff, and tells Thompkins to stay in the women’s ward until the culprit is found. Then he calls Detective Bullock (yay!) for help.
We’re next transported to Renee Montoya’s apartment, where Barbara has been staying. Barbara fell off the wagon over the past few weeks, and has been “self-medicating.” Montoya was at first “okay” with Barbara staying with her but has since started to feel regret. She says that being with Barbara again was a mistake and that she should go back to Gordon. In other words, Montoya and Barbara together equals a toxic relationship.
Back at the docks, Butch and Sabiano meet in private. They talk about the good old days when they were kids, about the future of the Falcone crime family… Then Sabiano remarks that Fish isn’t suited to to run the family. Instead, he offers Butch a high position in his organization. Butch leaves to think about what transpired.
At the GCPD, Bullock has been grilling Dr. Lang for information: how electroshock therapy works, what has he been hiding, who he’s afraid of, and so on. Then he asks who on his staff could/or had the ability to use such crude methods on his patients. Dr. Lang thinks of someone, but it’s not of a staff member…
At the same time, Gordon wants to check to see if there are anymore records stored in Arkham’s basement. The sweet lady nurse we met earlier says that the basement has been closed off for 10 years due to the presences of unsafe chemicals. Gordon wants to check anyway. The nurse reluctantly leads the way. They bump into Dr. Thompkins, but Gordon insists that she go home. Already, Gordon knows that something is up. The nurse picks up on this and throws Thompkins at Gordon and runs away. The nurse uses her head start to unleash all of the inmates throughout Arkham. It turns out that the nurse is not a staff member at all, but a patient.
Thompkins is trying to escape the rush of angry and crazed lunatics behind her. Just behind her the nurse gets lost in the chaos and gets trampled. Gordon comes to the doctor’s aid just in time and they barely escape into another wing.
Some time has passed and order restored in Arkham. Relatively. Back at the GCPD, the nurse is revealed to be the late Dorothy Duncan. She used to be a nursing student until she started poisoning children with lollipops. After that, she spent half her life in Arkham. When the facility closed down, Dorothy hid herself down in the basement until it reopened. Then an ME pops in and informs everyone that there were electrocution marks around her temples as well, they were just hidden by her hair. That means the real perp is still out there lurking through the halls of Arkham.
Oh look, it really was the creepiest guy in the room. Jack Gruber is his name. He’s Gotham’s version of a Hannibal Lecter type. Yeesh. He’s been experimenting on the other patients to get the right combination of controllable/brainwashed lackeys.
To close out Penguin’s B-story, Maroni shows up at the GCPD to visit him and his goon. Maroni berates Penguin about his insubordinate action, raising the taxes on fisherman without his consent. He teaches him a lesson about hubris, one that Penguin takes to heart.
Butch and Sabiano meet again. Butch accepts his friend’s offer, and then tells him a story of the last time he wronged him when they were kids. Like airing out one last piece of guilt. Sabiano forgives him. Relieved, Butch places a gun in front of Sabiano’s face and pulls the trigger. Now Fish has a clearer path to the top of the crime family.
Super pumped that this show is back. The only drawback is that they still don’t know what to do with this kids on this show — I guess “Lovecraft” was a fluke. The other annoyance is that we won’t know what happens next for two weeks. Lame!
- In Defense of Hercule: How the MAJIN BUU SAGA Helped This Gag Character - June 28, 2023
- NOPE: The Subversion of Spectacle - March 27, 2023
- Demons to Summon in the Bathroom at Your Next Party! - March 20, 2023