One thing you have to say about Gotham; they’re not lacking in dark humor. The title “Stop Hitting Yourself” comes in to play early and gruesomely. At Cherry’s fight club, Riddler is now starting the shows with a silly bit of drama where he mocks Penguin. A lot. As Grundy pounds another foe, and the crowd works in the title, Riddler and Lee talk about the Narrows, the fight that’s coming, and Riddler’s obligations after getting everyone all riled up. The interesting bit during the fight is Grundy getting a flashback.
The surprises keep coming as Gordon is summoned to the Commissioner’s office. Not only is he not in trouble, he’s been promoted, skipping a few ranks along the way. Gordon isn’t sure this is a great idea, but the Commissioner both reassures him on some fronts and makes a good counter argument.
Following up on last episode’s heist, the boss of the Demons gang is pleading his case to Penguin, while the Sirens (what they’re calling Babara/Selina/Tabitha) look on. Mr. Penn, the nebbishy accountant, shows up with word about the shows Riddler is giving, and the Demon boss makes a really poor choice. Let’s just say he doesn’t win his case. By the end of the scene, Penguin has dispatched the Sirens to the Narrows to kidnap Riddler and bring him back. He also sets some insurance in motion if they fail.
As they get there, Selina fills in the other two on the Code of the Narrows, essentially, disputes are settled in trial by combat. They’re all happy to be going after Riddler; the man is bad at making friends. Or keeping them, anyway. They are stunned to see Grundy in the ring being his violent self. Tabitha fixates on Grundy, Barbara sees Lee and goes to see her, leaving Selina to grouse, “I could’ve sworn we had a job to do here.”
Gordon goes into Bullock’s (for now) office, seeing Harvey staring at a box of six bullets. They are the slugs that wounded the various cops in the botched raid in the Narrows. Harvey is blaming himself, which he should, and Gordon tries to reassure him. Lucius comes in to report no luck on any of the evidence from Pyg’s crime, and to be the new viewpoint of what the Bullet Hole Club is.
For a busy crime boss, Penguin is spending a lot of time hanging out at Sofia’s orphanage. He’s ranting about Ed, and feeling sorry for himself. Sofia is busy herself, meeting with caterers for an upcoming fundraiser. She also gives him some advice about how her father used to handle the stress. Penguin sees one of the kids in the yard getting picked on, and finds his own new hobby.
Tabitha has a less than she hoped for reunion with Grundy, while Barbara finds Lee, who gives her a very memorable greeting. Barbara boasts about her being on a mission from Penguin. They trade barbs about their choices, and then Lee figures out why the Sirens are there. Off on her own, Selina takes step to complete the mission.
Gordon meets up with Sofia, and wonders about his new promotion. He’s really worried Penguin is behind it, which is odd since Penguin isn’t exactly his biggest fan. Sofia admits she might have used the family name to smooth the way for a few things, and Gordon worries about getting this at Harvey’s expense. She makes some good points in response.
Penguin embarks on a really twisted version of the Big Brother program. The kid, Martine, doesn’t talk, but communicates through sketches and the occasional word on a pad he wears around his neck. Penguin gives him some advice and the kid is pretty good at taking it to heart.
Barbara and Selina snap at each other about professionalism while Tabitha tries to reach whatever of Butch might be left in Grundy. He’s not making much progress, and then things get worse when he sees Riddler captured by the other two. After a lot of yelling and threats, Selina suggests the Code of the Narrows to resolve it. This should be ugly.
After another anti-Penguin show, Riddler introduces the match. Tabitha starts off with trying to reach Butch, while Lee and Cherry look on and Barbara urges Tabitha to take a weapon. Tabitha isn’t making much progress, and Lee learns some disturbing news from Cherry. But it may be that Tabitha’s approach has something to be said for it after all.
Gordon goes the Bullet Hole Club ritual, and is disappointed at Harvey chickening out. It’s a weird little scene I could almost see some cops doing. While Gordon fills in for the absent Harvey, things take a turn at Cherry’s. Tabitha isn’t doing that well in the ring, and then Penguin’s insurance plan starts, in the form of the always happy to burn something Firefly. This isn’t good for anyone, as Grundy has a phobia of fire, ala Frankenstein’s Monster. Things take several unexpected turns, and someone I wouldn’t have thought ends up being the hero of the scene.
Gordon goes to confront Harvey, who is off drinking alone. They have an argument, which is largely Gordon berating him and Harvey feeling sorry for himself. Gordon finally sees that Harvey is just not working as leader of Gotham Central, and signs his promotion in front of him. This doesn’t go over well, as you’d imagine. Harvey makes a few dire warnings as he leaves.
Penguin continues his strange tutoring of Martine, which Sofia has a few doubts about. Mr. Penn comes in with news Penguin doesn’t want to hear. Penguin actually keeps himself in control, remarking, “Well, that’s quite a lot to go awry in one day.” That’s a pretty big understatement. Sofia uses this as a chance to push her views on friendship before leaving a sulking Penguin to offer weird insights to Martine.
Lee patches up Grundy, and then learns she has some really unintended consequences to deal with for her own stand on things. Riddler explains it to her well, which is amusing to see. The final scene is Sofia explaining a few things to Gordon about how things work. They don’t part on good terms. That’s Gordon, reminding me a lot of the lyrics to Billy Joel’s “Angry Young Man.”
What I liked: It was a good episode. Riddler was entertaining, and the Grundy/Tabitha reunion was interesting. I like that Selina was the only one who managed to stay on mission. Lee did some great things, and, while I like Bullock in general, his demotion was overdue. The rise of Jim Gordon should be interesting. I’m not sure about Penguin “mentoring” Martine, but it should be interesting to watch.
What I didn’t: Not a lot. Bullock is sliding downhill fast from the character he used to be, and Gordon really needs to dial back the self-righteousness. I’m still hoping for a resolution of the “Riddler is stupid now” plot. I don’t like it.
This was an entertaining episode. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5. A lot awry in one day, indeed.