The “A Dark Knight” section of Gotham’s current season is, if they follow the usual pattern, almost done. “Things That Go Boom” puts a lot of pieces in motion, and starts nudging things towards the mid-season finale. It starts off, as so many problems in Gotham City do, at Arkham Asylum.
The Asylum really needs to revisit its policies in the dayroom. We’ve seen this before, and they manage to not change anything. Now, we see Pyg with some of his fellow inmates, listening to what looks like an antique record player. The mix of technology eras on this show is one the series’ more endearing quirks. At any rate, someone objects to Pyg’s taste in music, and there’s a violent, but brief, argument about it. To no surprise at all, Pyg prevails.
At Gotham Central, Gordon and Fox go over some interesting results from Pyg being processed in after his capture. He has titanium plates under the skin of his face, both making him tougher and changing the shape of his face. He also has his fingerprints burned off. Together, these two things go a long way to preventing the police from figuring out who Pyg really is.
When Gordon tries to get back to his new office, he gets intercepted by Harper, telling him he has a visitor. Sofia has come by, wondering why she hasn’t heard from him. They fence for a bit, and then she reveals her current plan, albeit in vague form. Gordon doesn’t agree with this, and Sofia leaves, not looking happy.
Lee is having some problems with her newfound role as leader of the Narrows. Not only is Nygma pushing her about “fixing” him, but her territory is being pressured from the south by a thug called Sampson. Nygma suggests sending Grundy, but Lee wants to try peace. In Gotham? How long have you lived here, Lee?
Sofia gets home, and has two surprise visitors: Penguin and Zsasz. Penguin confronts her with some things he’s learned about both her and the rarely popular James Gordon. Sofia tries to play it off, but, when pushed, admits to her plans, calling Penguin an easy mark. He takes her prisoner, planning on sending her to a “specialist” that brings to mind the movie Marathon Man, or Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors.
Gordon goes to visit Pyg in Arkham, because nothing bad ever happens there, right? Pyg is uncooperative, but Gordon has a few mind-games to play with him. Gordon finally pierces Pyg’s irksome calm, and gets a hint at his origins when Pyg gets mad.
Lee has a less than successful meeting with her rival Sampson, but comes up with a good game to run on him. Sofia is not exactly enjoying the attentions of Penguin’s top interrogator, but she turns the tables on him through pure cleverness and preparation. Sofia is a dangerous woman. She doesn’t get that far before running into a new problem.
She wakes up in the tender care of the Sirens, as the Barbara/Tabitha/Selina collective is being called. Barbara and Sofia go back and forth about what’s going to happen next. You’ve got to hand it to Sofia, she doesn’t give up. The Sirens come to a decision, but it doesn’t exactly thrill Miss Falcone.
Penguin gets some surprising news from his young protégée Martine, and tries to figure out what this means. Just as he starts to get it, Zsasz comes in, telling him he has a phone call. After some negotiations with Barbara, Penguin finally agrees to a few demands, and sends Zsasz along to see to them. He also ominously tells Martine they’re going to talk more later.
Fox brings Gordon a sketch of what Pyg probably looks like without the metal plates. When neither of them recognize him, they send the sketch around, especially to southern states. As this goes on, Lee and Nygma debate what to do next, and Lee gets a nasty surprise. Sofia figures out what Penguin is up to, and warns the Sirens. They ignore her at first, until it’s almost too late. The Sirens and Sofia escape, but they lose something in the process.
Sofia comes by Gordon’s office, looking a lot the worse for wear, trying to manipulate him again. Gordon is wise to her by now, and doesn’t play along. What does happen is he goes to Penguin’s club, interrupts him in mid-rant, and brokers a deal. They come to an agreement about Sofia’s future, and hopefully reining in Penguin’s more violent plans.
In a series of wild reversals, Sofia gets put on a train out of Gotham, whether she likes it or not. Lee offers Sampson a different deal, which is a lot better for her. And Penguin finds out the Sirens, annoyed by his recent moves, have kidnapped Martine. Boy, those three are just grabbing everyone tonight.
Detective Harper, sent to escort Sofia home, has a really bad train trip. The usually unflappable Zsasz has difficulty knowing what to make of Sofia, but relays her choice of meeting spot to Penguin. The Sirens plus Sofia and Penguin with Zsasz meet under Crown Point Bridge. There are a lot of demands and exchanges, and then Penguin does something really surprising.
Lee delivers some surprising news to Nygma, who isn’t sure what to make of it. The Sirens and Sofia are displeased at the latest turn of events. Barbara is all for cutting Sofia loose, but Sofia makes some good counter-arguments. Penguin reveals another surprise as he sends Zsasz on a special errand.
To wrap things up, Fox brings Gordon news of Pyg’s real name. Gordon rushes off to Arkham, but, as usual, the person he wants to see has escaped, leaving a message behind in some unfortunate’s blood. Nygma gets his own shock when he goes to clean up after his long day.
What I liked: They haven’t played it up too well for a lot of this series, but Penguin is supposed to be a master planner. Tonight, he seemed like it, and pulled off some slick moves. Sofia is getting obsessive, but you have to admit she knows what she wants. Lee can be ruthless when pushed too far, and I like what she did. Zsasz continues to amuse me just about every time he shows up.
What I didn’t: For a collection of three talented ladies, the Sirens spent most of this episode as pawns, a few steps behind everyone. Their collective future is a lot less certain now, too.
It was a decent episode with a few really slick maneuvers. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5.
Taking the Week Off: I guess Harvey is still sulking on his enforced leave, and Bruce is still out playing spoiled brat. Alfred is no doubt cleaning up after Bruce, and Ivy continues her absence.