Some episodes of Gotham are like watching an orchestra,. You sit there mesmerized by the conductors frantic, yet passionate movements, and the rush of music that echos from the perfectly chosen orchestra. Other episodes are like standing outside of a bar at closing time, watching people stumble out onto the street, trip over a planter, land on their face, get up to throw up in that planter, and then fall face first into the newly puke-drenched planter.
Most of last night's episode was a whole city block of goddamn puke planters.
Theo, the dear ole mayor of Gotham has been arrested, and Tabs is on a tear. She goes to a secret gambling lair under an empty bar and hires a hitwoman. Well, not a hitwoman, but a woman who rings up hitmen to do the dirty work for her. Personal costs extra, so Tabs uses business. She whips out a photo of Gordon and demands that it be done that day.
I really go back and forth on how I feel about Gordon but as of late he's slipping further along the path of character suckdom for me. You can give Ben Mackenzie MUCH better writing than this; he can handle it. Gordon is in the hospital visiting banged up Babs. So the woman who lost her mind, tried to kill you and your, let's be honest, soon-to-be-fiance, is someone you want to make a public visit to in the hospital? Good choices. They're bringing Babs back to Arkham, where she belongs. Jim should go too, honestly.
Riddler is playing nurse to Pengs, fulfilling more of my dreams. "Rest up, my feathered friend." I bet the fanfic forums are going wild with this.
Gordon and Lee talk about snoring and he tears away from her to chase after Theo's goons. Lee is upset that Gordon went to see Babs, who is in a coma, and also because he and Babs had a moment in the interrogation room. Lee tells him that most people fight their dark side, but lately he's giving into it, which throws a wrench in their relationship... since Lee's apparently the only good person in Gotham. Gordon is dark. Just pointing that out, in case you've missed it so far this season.
Bruce and Silver (Theo's jailbait niece) are having a moment, where she pouts her lips to slip into his head again. Alfred has perfect timing and kicks Silver out. She slips Bruce a key so that they can hang out later. Bruce is still convinced something was in the envelope that led to his parent's killers. Alfred sees right through the plan and will do whatever he can to keep Silver and the Galavan's away, against Bruce's wishes. Teenage angst vs. experienced badassery.
Gordon goes up to the crime scene in the Galavan's apartment, and with him comes an assassin. The man fails to kill Gordon and has his unconscious ass dragged into the apartment. The man's phone rings and on the other end is the henchwoman. She stops the gambling to tell everyone that Gordon needs to die asap - who wants to take him on? Gordon wakes the assassin up and holds him halfway out a window to get answers. The Captain chews his ass out for going against the rules. More assassins have arrived to the building; if the first guy fails, the killers will keep coming. The Captain calls for backup while Gordon prepares a rookie cop and medical examiner for the worst. They may as well be wearing red shirts. The assassins blow the door open and another sneaks in the back to kill the ME. Rookie cop lights a badguy up and the Captain kicks the butt of another. Gordon takes down the backdoor assassin. By now, the first assassin, who is wearing round, red glasses, has a hold of the rookie cop. Gordon whips out "You know what I like about those glasses?" *BANG* "They look like bullseyes." Lord, give me strength. Rookie lives and gets the hell out. In the broken down wall, Gordon sees a bag. One of the assassins wasn't killed, tries to kill Gordon but instead stabs the Captain in the biggest artery in his leg.
Peng wakes up again and Nygma is giddy as can be to have his new friend around. Ed asks for help to become an evil bastard like Penguin, who blows him off. He's a wanted man, has no friends, and lost his mother because he couldn't protect her; Gotham is nothing but destruction and pain. Peng goes to leave but passes out, because he's a weakling. Nurse Nygma back to the rescue. A few hours later, Peng wakes up again, but sees a tied up man at the end of his bed. Nygma tells him that Theo is in jail and this guy in front of the both of them is one of Galavan's lackeys. He's like a present - maybe killing him will make you feel better. Peng takes the knife and drops it next to the hostage: he's done, he's going back to bed and then high tailing it out of Gotham. While falling asleep, Peng hums something that makes Nygma grin as he takes the captive to his closet.
Henchwoman rings up a cannibal to help come kill Gordon. What?
Gordon and the Captain sit and drink booze to dull the pain. And this is the point of the episode where I lose more faith in Gordon and the writer's team. The two men talk about darkness, because that theme isn't a overly-beaten dead horse on this show. While the Captain was deployed, he put a gun in a kid's mouth and blew his head off, it haunted him for years and then he made peace with it. Any man is capable of anything at any time; there is no line, there is just the LAW. So you're either bad, or you're the law. We like to apply absolutely no logic to this show, it must be black and white... grey is never an option.
Alfred finds the keys that Silver gave Bruce and two have a bullheaded face off. 99% sure Alfred is going to win this one.
A sweet song echos through Nygma's apartment, with the Riddlez himself singing along with it. It clearly hits a tone with Peng, since it's the song his mother used to sing to him before bed. It's interesting to see such a ruthless man broken down into realistic pieces, exposing the emotional side of him. Nygma tells him the pain of memories fade. He reflects on Kringle's glasses - they don't make him sad, they make him grateful, because it led him to where he is now. Love is the weakness for these two men, and that Peng's weakness was his mother. His weakness is gone. They both have nothing left to lose. Nygma turns Penguin to realize that only he can answer to himself, he has no boss... they're both free men.
More policemen show up to the apartment, and who would arrive as well but the cannibal. Gordon goes down to stop the cannibal from eating his fellow policemen. The darkness is in Gordon. You can see it in his eyes. Because it wasn't there before - it's there now! AH HA! Gordon and the cannibal beat each other up a bit before the cop lands on the killer. Gordon takes his gun and in a rage, puts it in the cannibals mouth, who is laughing manically at the officer. He doesn't pull the trigger, but sure as shit thinks about it. Everyone gets out of the building alive, and Gordon makes a special note to the rookie cop for being strong. Red shirt.
We get back to the station as the rookie escorts the cannibal to his cell... but not before he bites into her neck. The blood that shoots out the side of her neck is comical, which is in complete contrast to the fact she's being bitten to death. Be a little more realistic with the blood use, guys.
In Nygma's apartment, he and Peng are doing a duet about their mother's love. Peng wants to play with Galavan's lackey now. He's baaaaack.
Mini Bat is trying to sneak out but Cat is there to stop him. She has proof that Silver is bad - do you want to face the music?
Gordon and Lee have trust issues (WHAT?! NO WAY!) and he promises to always tell the truth. His phone rings, and she answers it - the news of the rookie has spread. Darkness. The darkness, y'all. It's in Gordon, in case you didn't know.
Tabs visits Theo in jail, who is pissed she ordered hit men. How are police guards not overhearing this conversation? He threatens to kill his own sister for screwing up his plans.
In the harbor, the Brotherhood of Gotham's Reckoning arrive, and a nearby cop gets shanked to death because he doesn't understand how a mob works.
Congrats - you made it through this episode with me! It was indeed a bitter pill to swallow, so kudos on the episode title. Do you have the darkness in you, too?
Last season I hated Barbara's character with every fiber of my being. This season, they chose to dump that crappy storyline problem on Gordon... the guy who the show is centered around. If it wasn't for the stunningly perfect villains and the heartwarming bromance between Mini Bat and Alfred, I'd have to store a lot more wine in my house to power through Gotham. And know what you're thinking: I watch the show and recap it, so I'm asking for this kind of pain. Incorrect. I watch and recap this show because there are elements of it that send me into a fangirl tizzy. And they're good enough to keep me here through all the batshit crazy/stupid things that the writers think is okay to do. It's a balance of extremely good with extremely bad, and I know it can be remedied. The mid-season finale is coming up. I'm begging you... do better in 2016.