In this week’s episode of Gotham, we witnessed both the fall of Jim Gordon in all its Machiavellian glory, and the rise of Bruce Wayne in its steadfast triumph. Both stories were equally compelling, and both will have long-term effects for the remainder of the season of the show.
It was clear last week that Edward Nygma had something up his sleeve for Gordon, and boy did he ever! The entire episode was him playing a masterful game of chess against Jim to ensure that he would not discover any more information concerning the “missing” Kristen Kringle. Although Gordon didn’t even have Nygma on his radar as a possible suspect, Nygma wasn’t going to take any chances and stopped Gordon dead in his tracks.
This episode was an interesting change for Nygma’s character because although he has all the cunning and ruthlessness of other villains on Gotham, he has never been seen as that much of a threat by those around him. In fact, he’s a much more dangerous villain because he’s hiding in plain sight under the “costume” of a weak forensic scientist. No one would even fathom that he is capable of not only killing someone, but deceiving an entire police force to accomplish his goals of framing Gordon.
And frame him indeed he did! His plan was so intricate that if the audience didn’t see him do it, we would believe it ourselves that Gordon was guilty of all the crimes he was framed for. It was a very slick game of cat-and-mouse that Gordon just simply wasn’t ready to play. By the time it was all said and done, Gordon couldn’t even muster an adequate defense for himself because Nygma had all his bases covered. He officially graduated to The Riddler.
Meanwhile Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are living on the streets. Bruce wants to learn more about this world in his quest to grow more. His first “mission” with Selina was to rob a local drug dealers for their cash stash. Needless to say, this would be life changing for Bruce. After all, he did have a sheltered life, he doesn’t even know what mushrooms looked like. During the robbery Selina and Bruce were to take a bucket of cash from a drug dealer who was too high. When the dealer woke up from a drug induced slumber, Bruce stepped up and used his ingenuity to convince the dealer that he was still asleep and to give him the cash, and the dealer proceeded to follow his directions. This is the first time that he’s thinking on the fly and adapting to situations at whim, skills that will be perfect for him when he eventually becomes the Caped Crusader.
Once caught, the head drug dealer taken Bruce and Selina in custody. During that moment, Bruce has a moment of bravery. He remembers Alfred’s training words about “outlasting the other guy,” and Bruce steps up to the drug dealer. Bruce proves to himself that he can take a punch, and wait for his opportunity to dish it back out. When the gangster made a crack about his parents, that took him into action and he found his way to beat a guy twice his size. Once again, the strategy of this young kid is beyond his years. After he and Selina escape, he talks about how during the beating he got from the gangster, it was the most alive he’s felt since his parents died. Each episode that centers on him and he continues to grow to eventually become Batman.
The third story dealt with Penguin as he is dealing with life after being declared “sane” by Stephen Strange and release from Arkham Asylum. As stated last week, it seemed very up in the air if Penguin was faking his sanity or not. It appears that he is, in fact, a changed man and has truly reformed, unless he is playing the longest con on earth. As he visits his former criminal associates, he tells each of them that he is sorry for his actions.
The new element is that he meets his father. While visiting the grave of his mother, he meets his father (played by “Pee-Wee Herman’s Paul Rubens), who gives him some family history, and a new lease on life complete with a new family. Now if Penguin is playing a long con, he now has a new mark. If he’s genuine, then perhaps his crime days might just be done for good. Only time will tell.