Gotham: Let Them Eat Pie

gotham

Next time, I get to pick where we eat!

Batman is one of the darker heroes out there, and a lot of his stories over the years have reflected that. Gotham is pre-Batman (and ever more off in its own version of reality, but that’s another issue), but it doesn’t go easy on the darkness. “Let Them Eat Pie” is one of their more disturbing episode so far, and at this point, that says something.

The show opens with a man giving food to the homeless. That shouldn’t be a bad thing, but it’s Gotham, so things go dark quickly. As this goes on, Gordon gets to Gotham Central and sees his name being painted on the captain’s office door. He looks uncertain about this, and it gets worse when he goes inside. Harvey is there, and not accepting his loss gracefully. He bitches and then stalks off to an uncertain future about “being on leave.”

Sofia is getting ready for her big fundraiser, and Penguin comes in. He tells her he thinks the event will go well, but he can’t be there. He has to deal with Mayor Burke promoting Jim Gordon to captain. Penguin is worried about who may have been behind this, and plans on finding out, as soon as he can find the suddenly missing mayor. This is followed by Penguin and his confusingly-named assistant Mr. Penn (really, couldn’t they have gone with another name?) talking about what to do with her. Penn advocates turning Zsasz loose on her, but Penguin says she is literally his only friend. Wow, does he need to get out more.

While Penguin recruits a spy, Sofia talks with Gordon. Gordon isn’t happy with Sofia, but she plows ahead with her warning about Penguin suspecting something. After their conversation, Gordon gets another call. This time it’s Pyg, telling Gordon that Phase 2 is about to begin. Pyg has left an ugly clue outside for Gordon, which is very memorable.

Bruce is having a bad morning after. He’s very hungover and being an absolute dick to Alfred. Alfred offers a few theories for Bruce’s sudden major changes, and reminds him about their camping ritual with a rock in memory of Thomas Wayne. Bruce is a lot less enthused this year, and they argue about pretty much everything.

In the morgue, Lucius Fox talks about Pyg’s latest offering. Fox and Gordon debate what to do next and the meaning of Pyg’s clue. This leads Gordon and a few other cops to the Narrows, yet again. He and Harper run down a lead that goes badly and results in her being captured. Far as we’ve seen so far, Harper is a good cop, so she should notionally be safe from Pyg’s attentions.

While Alfred all but drags Bruce through the woods, Penguin is getting a suit made for Martine. They talk about friendship and motivations and spying. After a wide-ranging talk, they shake hands. With this odd mentoring going on, Gordon is desperately looking for the kidnapped Detective Harper. The press mobs Gordon, and a few of them seem very well-informed. He pushes through them and goes back to work.

Gordon and Fox (which just doesn’t have the rhythm of Gordon and Bullock) search the warehouse Pyg was using as a base of operations. The best clue they find is a literary quote that proves both of them are very well-read. Gordon goes to handle it alone, leary of endangering more cops.

Sofia is getting ready for her fundraiser and worried about details. The chef was late arriving, and, of course, is Pyg in disguise. He makes a lot of comments that are all double-edged about his “special menu.” Meanwhile, Bruce and Alfred are out in the woods, and things go badly. Alfred is trying but Bruce is in full sulky teen mode. The scene ends with Bruce doing something else rotten, and really, Alfred should have seen it coming.

Sofia gets ready for her big event and has another odd conversation with “Chef Pyg.” Penguin and Martine arrive, looking good, and Sofia is impressed. She goes off to check on the chef, followed by Penguin’s spy, who isn’t as good as he thinks he is.

Gordon gets to the orphanage and goes in the back way. He finds out Pyg isn’t working alone when he has some problems with the help. While fighting the henchman, Gordon gets knocked out, captured, and dumped in a back room with the captive Harper. Penguin and Sofia start to bicker, and get interrupted when Pyg and his flunkies disturb the event.

While Gordon and Harper work on escaping, Sofia and Penguin initially blame each other for Pyg, finally realizing he’s an independent agent. He makes everyone sit at the table and reveals a very unsettling menu. When Sofia resists, he stabs her through the hand, putting her in a lot of pain and convincing Penguin she’s not part of this. Pyg tells them more about the menu, and insists on them eating under threats of several different kinds. Penguin finally falls in line and takes matters into his own hands when another dinner guest refuses. Gordon finally gets to the main event for a knock-down, drag-out fight with Pyg.

After the dinner show, Sofia and Penguin have a talk and mend fences a bit. Gordon walks Pyg to the cruiser, and gets thanks and even applause from the press. Out at the Manor, Bruce continues being an absolute brat, acting out and being horrid to Alfred. The episode wraps up with an odd scene between Gordon and Sofia that doesn’t go how she planned, and Penguin talking to his spy.

What I liked: Gotham is a dark place, and the better stories usually embrace that. This one really does. Pyg’s plot was ugly, and nasty, and kind of clever. I was amused, and it made prefect sense, that Sofia and Penguin blamed each other. I always enjoy Lucius showing up; he has a great delivery. It’s fun watching Gordon trying to figure out how to deal with Sofia’s plans and advances.

What I didn’t: Bruce. Everything about him this episode. This whole “Bruce is an out of control problem child” plot is just annoying, not fun to watch, and makes me want to smack him. I get that he’s going through something, but this is just unpleasant and going on way too long.

I’ll give this a low 4 out of 5. Much as I didn’t like the Bruce bits, the Pyg’s plan was kinda brilliant and prefect for Gotham City.

Taking the Week Off: Pretty much everyone in the Narrows. Lee, Riddler, Grundy, Barbara, Selina, and Tabitha don’t show up. And Ivy has been gone a while now. I miss Victor Zsasz’s amusing sociopathic presence, too.

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