It’s a dog-eat-dog world in Gotham. If you didn’t know that from the beginning, you’ll certainly get an education courtesy of the Black Mask.
An office brawl results in a brutal murder and a body dumped in Gotham River. Their first clues found on the dead body are someone else’s thumb, which was stuck inside the victim’s mouth, and black ink smudged all over his clothes. Gordon and Bullock are on the case, but Gordon is still a little sore about his comrades (excluding Bullock) abandoning him when Don Falcone’s man, Victor Zsasz, came a’ knockin’. He’s having a hard time trusting anyone else and insists on overlooking/doing most of the investigation himself.
Meanwhile, Penguin and Fish Mooney have a private meeting in Mooney’s club to discuss logistics of maintaining a peace treaty between the crime families. As a show of good faith, Penguin gives Mooney a fancy brooch from which he stole from an unsuspecting one-percenter and her Yorkie. Unamused (and still supremely pissed), Mooney stabs Penguin’s hand with the brooch’s pin. This act satisfies her for now, but she warns Penguin that things change, powers shift. “Pray that [Don Falcone] stays in good health.”
Bullock and Gordon hit up the black market, specifically to visit a surgeon who deals with operating on criminals who get injured on the job. They find a shirt covered the same black ink as the victim, and the doctor comes clean. The killer came from Sionis Investments, a big Wall Street type financial firm. Normally, this is where any Gotham cop would leave the doctor to go on about his business. But Gordon’s still a little miffed and takes decides to have the doc arrested for obstructing a criminal investigation. The cops back at GCPD are not happy. Gordon and Detective Alvarez nearly break into a fight, but Bullock steps between them and tries to reason with Gordon into letting the doctor go. The stubborn detective stands by his convictions keeps the doctor behind bars.
Gordon comes home to a frightened, and drunk, Barbara, who nearly shoots him upon entering the room. She’s clearly not coping well with last week’s confrontation with Falcone’s men and needs constant reassurance that there are no such thing as monsters. You think she’s starting to regret making Gordon give her “half his life”?
Next we take a peek into more of Nygma’s quirks. Because why not? Apparently this forensics assistant is also a medical examiner. Or so he thinks. The real M.E. shoos Nygma away, but not before making lame riddles and discovering way more office supplies embedded into the body.
Elsewhere, Fish secretly meets up with her girl, Liza in a confession booth. Liza has nothing on Falcone so far, “He watches me cook, clean…we go on walks… I don’t know whether I’m his maid, his lover, or his mother.” This statement alone makes Mooney think that Falcone genuinely cares for Liza. Mooney then gives her the copying the last two pages of Falcone’s ledger which is kept in a desk drawer under lock and key. To get to it, Liza has to first drug Falcone, take his keys, and then sneak into his office to get the ledger. Mooney gives Liza a drug to help her in this task.
Gordon and Bullock go to Sionis Investments. There they find that a lot of the men in this office with black eyes and broken noses. Either they all happen to join the same fight club or the detectives have found themselves in the right place. Now all they need is a guy with the missing thumb.
They meet with Richard Sionis himself, whose office is decorated with warrior masks and sharp, pointy things (this is how I imagine Jenna’s office to look like some day, but maybe less scary looking). There is a framed magazine cover with Sionis standing among bold letters that read “Success Today. Richard Sionis: Ready for War.” This Sionis guy plays up the “I’m a wolf on Wall Street with killer instincts” very well. He clearly turns finance into a battlefield, but to what degree? We already know, but without proof, the cops can’t do anything to stop Sionis’ little game.
On their way out, Gordon spots blood on the floor. It’s the guy with no thumb! They take the guy in for questioning. After some coaxing, the man says that as part of the hiring process, three candidates are forced to fight it out in an illegal fight club inside an old office building, hence the dead body covered and beaten with office supplies. Nygma adds that there have been at least other bodies beaten to death with office supplies in the past three years. Unfortunately, before Gordon can get their perp to sign a confession, a lawyer from Sionis Investments swoops in and prevents the guy from signing anything. Furthermore, any statement they got from him will be considered as information given under duress. Stupid lawyer trick…
While Bullock investigates which empty office building is being used to stage the fights, Captain Essen and Gordon reflect on when things started getting weird in Gotham. Gordon suggests that maybe the weirdness was always there, just kept in check by a balancing force. The Waynes. Whatever they were doing, or might have done, their deaths upset the balance in Gotham and things are steadily being thrown out of whack.
Bullock finds that Sionis owns about half of Gotham in real estate, so they split the list and concentrate their efforts on mostly abandoned buildings. Of course Gordon is the one who finds the building first and then gets caught by the bad guy. When Gordon wakes up, he’s now part of the game: whoever kills the cop gets a job in Sionis Investments. Okay. Maybe Gordon can still talk his way out of this. He is GCPD, after all, and someone can get serious jail time for killing a cop. Then Sionis throws in a million-dollar signing bonus. Heck, I’d kill him for half a million!
A few hours has already passed by since Gordon’s capture, and Bullock gets antsy. He tries to enlist some cops to help him, but they all refuse. Bullock may be a lot of things, but when it comes to protecting his partner, he’s the guy you want in your corner. Bullock grabs the attention of the entire precinct and gives them some harsh truths before convincing them again to help look for Gordon. Captain Essen is the first to step up (she’s still remorseful for walking away the first time), and the rest follow suit.
Back at Office Space/Fight Club, Gordon takes out the three contenders with ease, but now he has to face a katana-wielding Black Mask/Sionis. This confrontation unleashes the rage beast Gordon has been bottling up this whole episode and he takes Sionis down. There’s a moment where he considers dealing the final killing blow, but doesn’t. He may secretly love being in the middle of a battle, like Sionis said when they first met, but he’s no killer.
Captain Essen and a few other cops come in just in time. While Gordon has his back turned, Sionis tries to do a sneaky backstab. Before Essen can pull the trigger, Gordon spins around and smacks Sionis in the mouth his is fist. With Essen coming to help Gordon instead of Bullock, maybe this is the first step in Gordon gaining some faith back with the GCPD.
At Mooney’s club, Liza comes back with the copy of the ledger. She wants out, but Mooney’s refuses her request. As if to find a reason to keep working for Mooney, Liza asks why taking down Falcone is so important to her. We find out that Mooney’s mother was killed by Falcone’s men when she was a little girl. She recalled how helpless she was back then and how she made a promise to herself that she never wanted to feel like that again. This is mostly untrue. An old crooner whom we see before Mooney and Liza’s conversation walks up to Mooney to ask why she’s telling Liza “stories.” They then share a meaningful hand touch and the old lady goes home for the night. Could this be Mooney’s mother? It’s possible.
In another part of Gotham, Penguin has Timothy, Mooney’s new umbrella boy (Penguin’s old position), held captive. After some torture, Timothy finally spills that Mooney has someone close to Falcone. He doesn’t know who, but knowing this much is enough for Penguin. He has Timothy killed. Suddenly, we’re afraid for little Liza.
At Gordon’s apartment, Barbara is a little ticked that Gordon brushed her off earlier over the phone. She leaves a note for him and leaves with a little suitcase. OMG, she’s actually leaving the house!
Gordon is just about to leave work until a cop tells him that Selina Kyle is asking for him. She was caught earlier for stealing fur coats and needs his help. Her appearance in this episode is entirely random. We hope there’s a point to this next week.
Speaking of Gotham kids in danger of having next to no point being in the show, Bruce’s storyline is finally picking up. We hope.
Alfred makes a reluctant Bruce go back to school. There he’s met by pretty girls, and douchy boys who get off on someone else’s tragedy and teasing orphans. The latter bully Bruce and even make fun of his mother. Bruce tries to fight for her honor, but loses. Alfred catches wind of this and allows Bruce a second chance at the bully. This time, Bruce punches the crap out of his tormentor. Right on his front doorstep, no less! Okay, Alfred. We know the bully deserves being taken down a peg or two, but we need to reevaluate your parenting skills. After the epic powning, a still angry Bruce asks Alfred to teach him how to fight. Maybe now we can start seeing Alfred’s more militant side.