Gotham returns from its long break with “A Dark Knight: Pieces of A Broken Mirror.” They’ve changed the subtitle of the seasons after the break most of the past seasons, but not this time it seems. What they do cleverly this time out is manage to believably link several different stories in the same block or so of the Narrows, one of Gotham’s poorer and more dangerous neighborhoods.
The show opens with Gordon visiting a very interesting party, for lack of a better term. He and Harvey didn’t part on the best terms before the long mid-season break, and it seems like they haven’t patched things up since then. Gordon leaves word he’s looking for his former partner and goes, after assuring the hostess he’s not there to cause problems for her or her business.
In far less fancy surroundings, some punk kids break into an old apothecary shop. They were looking for some drugs to steal or general chaos to cause. What they find is Poison Ivy version 3.0 for the series, and she doesn’t exactly wake up in a great mood. This is a lot closer to her ruthless, killer persona she frequently has in the comics, and the kids don’t fare too well.
In a run-down diner, some local toughs ask their waitress about the new guy at the counter. After she tells them to leave him alone, it turns out to be Alfred, at loose ends after being fired by Bruce in the mid-season finale. He leaves, followed by the toughs and a worried glance from the waitress. The camera pans up from the diner, and we see Lee leading a meeting. She’s trying to live up to her own ideals of being the new leader of the Narrows, or at least the owner of Cherry’s. She’s very passionate in her appeals to them to treat each other better and build a new kind of world in the Narrows.
After Ivy wraps up her business, the hardcases make the poor life choice of trying to mug Alfred. The former butler is holding his own when the fracas gets broken up by the sudden appearance of Captain Gordon, who makes a dramatic entrance with a warning shot. He and Alfred talk, and Gordon is surprised to hear Alfred’s living here now.
Lee’s appeal gets interrupted when she’s almost killed by someone with a unique MO. Grundy saves her, barely, but it sets off a massive explosion. In addition to ending Lee’s meeting, the blast gets the attention of Ivy, who was apparently on the bottom floor of that building, and Alfred and Gordon, who were talking in the street next to it. Alfred and Gordon being who they are, of course they charge into the wreckage to see how they can help. Gordon and Alfred’s talk gets put on hold after more cops arrive, along with Lucius Fox, to sweep the scene and help the victims. No one is talking to the cops, which isn’t surprising, but Fox finds an important clue.
Ed fumes about the attempt on Lee, and suggests a few things that don’t sit well with her. After she leaves, Ed finally notices that Grundy is acting a bit weird, although the monstrous man covers it as well as he can. Inside, he’s having flashbacks of his life as Butch, and I suspect Penguin and Barbara Kean might get some unwelcome company in the not too distant future.
Alfred gets a hero’s welcome when he returns to the diner and makes friends with his waitress and the would-be muggers. He also sees that the waitress is having some problems. Gordon and Fox follow up on their clue, and find Krank Toys. Cosmo Krank is a really obscure Batman villain, from “The Batman” animated series several years ago. Now, he seems to be a toy-themed hitman. Gordon and Fox find the man’s son, who seems utterly clueless, and several nasty booby traps. Krank was expecting company, it seems. The son proves generally useless, although he overheard that the target of the bomb attempt might have been “the Doc,” giving Gordon something else to look into.
Ivy wanders the streets, breaks into someone’s place, and makes herself at home. She gets a few clues about her earlier life, which she’s not remembering well, when she sees a tv commercial for the new Sirens bar. As Ivy plots her next steps, Alfred and the waitress, Tiffany, compare life stories. Things get heated when her boyfriend shows up and he and Alfred have some words.
It’s probably next to redundant, but there’s a fascinating case in the Gotham coroner’s office, and Fox gets called to take a look. We know what’s going on, and eventually this will be a well known thing, but for now it puzzles everyone. In a much more fun place, Sirens is hopping, as Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina attend to business. Ivy stops by to cause chaos and make Selina suspicious, but that’s after the young cat-burglar has a run-in with her sometime friend, sometime boyfriend, the out of control Bruce Wayne, who continues to be a dick.
Sirens it the place to be, I guess, because Gordon comes in as well. He’s there to talk to Barbara about who “the Doc’ might be, which delights her to no end. She gives a lot of cryptic warnings before sending him in the right direction. Gordon gets distracted from following up on this when he gets called in on a homicide involving a young diner waitress and Harper tells him who the suspect is.
Solomon Butch pays a visit on Tabitha, and they start to catch up with each other. Gordon finally makes it to Cherry’s just in time for Ed’s introduction of the Doc, which of course is Lee Tompkins. Lee and Gordon are mutually surprised to see each other before Lee goes on to make another plea for the residents of the Narrows to band together and stand up for themselves. After a lot of awkwardness, Gordon warns her about Krank. As they talk, Ed sees the assassin himself and actually tries to chase him down on his own. Ed catches up with him and gets several nasty surprises in a row before Gordon “rescues” him.
Alfred, having slipped away from the police and now pursuing a career in bad ideas, goes after Tiffany’s boyfriend in a dive bar. There’s a big fight, with way too many against one, until the tide gets turned by… bat man. Sort of. Actually, it’s Harvey with a baseball bat, who helps Alfred out and sorts out the mystery behind Tiffany’s death. Later, when Gordon comes by, Harvey is less than happy to see him and refuses the offered badge and gun. Selina, meanwhile, tracks down the new and improved Ivy and they have a very strange visit.
What I liked: Points to the writers for a really deep dive in the Batman archives to find Krank. I consider myself something of a comics expert, and I had to go look up who that was. Gordon had several great scenes; with Barbara, Lee, and Harvey particularly. The inter-connectedness of the first several scenes was really well done. I like how they show Fox as brilliant but still fascinated when he runs across something he doesn’t understand yet. Ed’s problem is going to make for some interesting plot threads.
What I didn’t: Yes, I get this is a different world, but Butch snapping out of being Grundy was just weird to me, and not how that’s ever worked before. Young Punk Bruce is just annoying, and even his one scene was almost too much. I get where he’s coming from, but I really want Harvey and Gordon to be working together again. They made a great team and had the best dynamic of any two characters on the series.
It was a decent return after a long break. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5.
Taking The Week Off: After dominating so much of the first half of the season, Penguin is nowhere to be seen. Maybe he’s hunting down Sofia, also notably absent.