The last episode, “Penguin, Our Hero,” ended with a major surprise as Gordon’s Haven, the refuge for the lost souls of Gotham, blew up. “Ruin,” a fitting enough name, begins with the aftermath as flames light the night, ash drifts down, and shocked people try to find loved ones or help. Penguin is so clearly shocked that I don’t believe for a moment he had anything to do with this. Barbara almost enacts her revenge, but she, too, is devastated by what she sees and leaves without a word or a shot. Gordon does his best to organize the survivors and offer what help he can. Harvey brings Gordon some evidence that Gordon, too, lost someone in the cataclysm.
The next day, Gordon is on the radio with his mysterious contact that claims to want to help. He rattles off the statistics of the dead, wounded, and missing, and rails at the anonymous woman for not actually helping. She sympathizes, but doesn’t have more than words to offer. Survivors swarm the precinct, and Gordon gives a good speech to rally them. He and Harvey go over their desperate straits, ponder suspects, and tentatively eliminate Barbara.
Back in the “Dark Zone,” Bruce is right where Selina handcuffed him. He fights off a few cult members, all the more impressively for having one hand shackled. Alfred shows up, having been called in by a gizmo from Fox. Bruce lies at first about what happened, but Alfred gets the truth out of him. Alfred gives some advice about both now and later, and they go in search of Selina.
Gordon goes to Sirens, and eventually gets to see Barbara. They talk over a possible lead on a “shady guy” who was seen leaving just before the explosion. They also debate her possible involvement, and she’s an odd mix of offended and resigned to his suspicions. For hardened criminals, several of Gotham’s worst seem shocked and incensed by the attack. Seems a bit inconsistent for people we’ve seen enjoying their various murders. I guess Gotham, for the most part, has a “no kids” rule.
As if he doesn’t have enough problems, Gordon gets called back to the precinct by a harried sounding Harvey. Getting there, Gordon finds Penguin has returned, with man- and firepower. Penguin, rather than taking over or attacking, makes a very unexpected offer. Penguin is also offended by the Haven attack, and he and Jim shake on hunting down the killer.
Riddler has another confusing awakening, taking in his new surroundings with a curious eye. He’s taken to carrying a mini-recorder, and dictates notes as he makes a few discoveries. He comes to a conclusion based on what he’s found and leaps to his next course of action. The GCPD and Penguin’s thugs move on Barbara’s tip and find more than they bargained for. Their hunt leads them to Victor Zsasz, who we haven’t seen since No Man’s Land started. Zsasz gets in a few good lines with his usual understated delivery as he stands off the combined force against him. Eventually, Gordon gets the drop on him and captures the killer.
While Penguin and Gordon argue over what to do with Zsasz, Ed goes to the precinct, almost finds what he needs, and gets caught by Lucius Fox. They argue and banter, but form an uneasy alliance. Selina skulks through the cult’s weird headquarters, eventually finding Jeremiah. Jeremiah is dressed a bit more like some comic book versions of the Joker, and is leading his men on a strange project with some weird peptalks. Echo shows up and fills him in on recent events, and we see Selina working in closer.
Nygma and Fox play their own version of CSI, finally concluding that they need to go somewhere else to figure out what happened. Gordon slams Zsasz down on a table in interrogation, getting more weird comments from the gunman. Just as his story starts to make Gordon doubt his guilt, Fox calls in with evidence to support Zsasz’s innocence. Penguin doesn’t want to hear this and decides there will be a trial by mob.
Nygma and Fox find the point of origin of the attack. Fox lives up to his word and gives Nygma what he wanted. Nygma finds it nowhere near as helpful as he was hoping, but then gets a possible clue about the attack and goes to find out what he can on his own. Another supervillain appalled by the attack? What are Gotham’s bad guys coming to?
The trial goes about as you’d expect, with Penguin enjoying his theatrics and Gordon actually relying on facts, which doesn’t make the crowd happy. Eventually, they decide Zsasz is guilty and rush to his execution. They take Zsasz to a guillotine (seriously, where did they even GET that?), and Gordon finally intervenes, he and Harvey getting away with the killer who really didn’t do it this time. Harvey and Gordon argue over what to do with Zsasz, and Jim’s solution surprises Harvey and Zsasz both. Things change course slightly, and Harvey expresses his displeasure to Gordon very strongly.
Selina pulls off a great surprise attack on Jeremiah as he lectures/pushes his workers. He never saw it coming, and she was clever. Bruce and Alfred show up and pull her away as the cult starts to turn against them. Selina isn’t that happy to see her would-be rescuers. Ed follows up on his clue and makes a series of discoveries that shock him. He takes some drastic action to keep his secret, and I really wonder what he’s going to do next. I do feel a bit bad for the man.
The episode ends in Jim’s office. His solo drinking gets interrupted when Barbara turns up. She offers a lead on the man selling all these damn RPGs (did the same person shoot down the Wayne Enterprises chopper? We don’t know yet as far as I know). Gordon is bitter and not really in the mood for company. They have a few exchanges and Gordon makes an understandable, but horrible, decision.
What I liked: I’m going to steal someone else’s observation and say it’s a weird time in Gotham when Harvey Bullock is more law and order than Jim Gordon. I always enjoy Zsasz’s appearances, and he’s fun to watch, from a safe distance. I like that Fox was smart enough to know he needed help and to take full advantage of Ed turning up. I feel bad for Ed with everything he’s going through. Zsasz made a nice reference to his comic book incarnation while arguing his (in this case) innocence.
What I didn’t: I think it was inconsistent for so many killers to be shaken up by the Haven attack. I really think Jim is starting to lose it. The Selina/Bruce bit felt just kind of tacked on this week. I’ve been saying Bruce was making leaps and bounds towards becoming the Dark Knight Gotham so desperately needs this season, and this week felt like he lost ground. I still don’t like the Jeremiah/Jerome/Joker plots, and this week was no exception. I’m also not fond of Echo as proto-Harley.
It was a decent episode, although it had a few flaws. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. I’m more curious about Ed’s next moves than about anything else on the show right now.