Never trust Oswald Cobblepot’s cannoli.
The episode begins directly following the ending of “The Balloonman,” with Oswald showing up at Barbara’s doorstep. Oswald attempts to make small talk with Barbara under the guise of being an old work friend named Peter, but Jim cuts the conversation short and takes Oswald outside.
Outside, he’s livid at Oswald returning since Falcone could kill them both, but Oswald couldn’t just stay away. Gotham is his home, as terrible as it is. He offers to help Gordon, who knows very well that he has a small circle of friends he can trust. Plus, no one would go looking for a dead man, so Oswald can remain invisible in Gotham. There’s still a war coming, but war is just politics by other means. In addition, money talks. What does it talk about? Arkham. Think it over, Gordon.
We then cut to a parking structure where Councilman Ron Jenkins, played by Evander Duck, and an aide are leaving for the night. They’re stopped by constituent Richard Gladwell, played by Hakeen Kae-Kazin, who tells the council member that he’s voted for him in every election. How sweet. He has an invention to show and it will only take a minute. When he assembles the device, he tells Jenkins’ aide to put it close to his eye, and he does. He ends up with a blade to the eye. But still, Gladwell really did vote for Jenkins. Well, that’s one less vote you can count on. And that was the final tale of Councilman Ron Jenkins.
Surprisingly, we don’t end up with a crime scene investigating immediately following the murder. Instead, Captain Essen briefs Bullock on the double homicide. It’s his case to take, even though Alvarez hasn’t handled a case all week. Alvarez, however, has pulled double overtime, so quit being lazy, Bullock. The medical examiner’s report isn’t ready yet, but they do know that the councilman and his aid had their valuables stolen. Essen’s initial thoughts? Wrong place, wrong time.
Fish holds auditions for the next American Idol-I mean, she’s looking to recruit. The woman in question has a nice enough voice, but Fish wants her to seduce her as well. Pretend she’s a boy. It goes well enough, but Fish wants Butch to keep looking for a weapon.
Bullock and Gordon interrogate Nicky, played by Flaco Navaja, who is apparently the Crown Prince of Parking Lot Muggers. Shut up, Gotham. But Nicky denies it, saying he was on sabbatical, despite Bullock claiming that he has witnesses putting him at the scene.
Gordon heads out, positive that they have the wrong person, and finds a box of evidence on his desk. Inside are plans for the Arkham District Development Proposal.
We then cut to Mayor James giving a press conference about this very proposal. The Waynes had a plan to build affordable housing in the district. As for Arkham Asylum, it will be torn down and a new health facility will be constructed in its place. One reporter notes that an opposing plan is gaining traction: do away with Arkham altogether and use the land for waste disposal. James endorses the Wayne plan.
At Bamonte’s, Maroni arrives to celebrate this lucrative land deal while men head in the back with some suspicious looking bags. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Oswald.
Gordon requests from Alfred any information regarding the Wayne plan for Arkham. It’s for the Waynes in name only. Falcone would profit if the proposal passes. Councilman Jenkins also backed it. Gordon figures that Maroni is responsible for the murder because he’s the only one strong enough to oppose Falcone. How he arrived at that conclusion so fast, I’ll never know. Bruce comes in and asks whether the plans would be related to his parents’ murders. Thomas and Martha Wayne fought to give Gotham hope. He doesn’t want this dream to die with them. Before this conversation can continue, Gordon receives a call from Bullock, who lets him know that Councilman Zeller has been abducted.
At Arkham Asylum, Councilman Zeller, played by John D. Haggerty, is brought in an oil drum by Richard Gladwell of all people. Gladwell is just here to send a message from his customer. He fills the drum with gasoline, leaves a trail and lights a match.
All right, now we get an immediate crime scene follow up- Captain Essen is even there this time. It can’t be a coincidence, but she and Bullock figure this is about more than the land vote. Zeller and Jenkins were on opposite sides. Gordon figures Maroni had to strike first. He had Jenkins killed to change the vote his way, then Falcone had Zeller killed to send a message. As Essen leaves, she plans to post guards with other council members, as well as the mayor. Bullock asks how Gordon knows so much. That’s a good question. Rather than answer it, Gordon motions to Edward Nygma behind the two detectives.
Nygma has a paradox. The medical report on Jenkins and his aide found the two suffered from fatal puncture wounds to the skull through the eye socket. The woman was a sort of metal spike. Councilman Zeller also suffered from a spike wound. Sounds like an unlikely coincidence. Hence, the three had to have been killed by the same person. Sounds crazy, right? Welcome to Gotham. Bullock has a source.
Back at the restaurant, the manager warns Oswald about sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong when he watches Maroni’s men counting money.
Bullock and Gordon head to the Gotham State Penitentiary and speak with Minks, played by Brad Calcaterra. Bullock delivers two cartons of cigarettes, so this must be important. Minks guesses the hitman’s weapon of choice and has even heard of him by reputation. He identifies Gladwell by name, telling the detectives that he works at the Lanky building in midtown.
At said building, Bullock can’t help but notice Gordon on edge recently. The two ask for Gladwell. His desk is further back in the main hall, but Gladwell overhears and heads into a supply room. When Bullock and Gordon finds Gladwell’s desk empty, Gordon heads toward the room while Bullock investigates the desk. Gladwell assembles his weapon in anticipation while Gordon gets closer and closer.
Bullock calls him away with the evidence they need: newspaper clippings on Jenkins and Zeller. The two head toward the supply room together and scare the daylights out of a woman with a box of paper clips. Well, maybe she shouldn’t be walking around with boxes of paper clips! The two do find one noteworthy item: a slip of paper with the letters C, L and M on it.
Bruce awakens from a nightmare about his parents’ deaths. He asks Alfred for additional files about the Arkham plan to see any other connections.
Robbers burst into Bamonte’s and kill the manager, along with anyone else they see. They swipe a bag and flee just moments before Maroni’s men arrive. One follows some bloody footsteps and finds Oswald hiding in a locker with a bag of money.
Because Gordon doesn’t appear to have what we’d call friends, he again goes to Barbara with his problems. But she isn’t too pleased about his long hours and late nights because they make her worry. She thinks that he has secrets and doesn’t like that. Gordon isn’t about to spill on who Oswald Cobblepot is, though. Gordon correctly figures that Montoya stopped by, so Barbara admits that she used to be a in a relationship with Montoya. However, it only lasted a year and Barbara was the one who ended it. Needless to say, Gordon is not happy. Not because Montoya is a woman, but because Barbara lied to him.
At Bamonte’s, Maroni plans his retaliation against Falcone. He has Oswald brought before him and lets him know that saving the bag of money did not go unnoticed. Oswald’s getting a promotion to restaurant manager! I mean, the position did just become vacant.
Gordon looks over the note, but Bullock has bad news: the real Richard Gladwell died five years ago in his apartment. No one noticed it because he always paid his rent on time and this hitman assumed his identity while no one batted an eye. Bullock does have a solution for the note: Complete Waste of Time. See, that doesn’t work because the letters are C, L and M, not C, W and T. He leaves the take on the case his way.
So Fish holds a second audition. She asks the singer if she wants to be a woman with power, money and respect. Who wouldn’t? Fish again asks to be seduced, and she is, but as the woman leaves, Bullock enters. Fish can help find the hitman over time, leaving Bullock to owe her a big favor. However, she thinks the hunt is a waste of time since Falcone will just get someone to take his place. He can’t afford to lose the vote and if Maroni wins, it will show that Falcone looks weak. She’s a bit too excited at that, Bullock notices, but Fish always has a plan B. Those are important.
Gordon gets an unexpected call from Oswald about another hit coming for someone who backs Falcone. Even though there are officers present, Oswald tells Gordon that there are ways around law enforcement. In Gotham? Easily. Gordon gets a list of officers working protection and looks at the three assigned to Mayor James: Officers Campos, Lazenby and Martins. He leaves the department and informs Bullock.
He arrives at the mayor’s home and finds an empty police cruiser outside. After informing the mayor of the assassination plot, Gordon and the mayor plan to break for the mayor’s sister’s house.
Too late. Gladwell arrives, forcing the two upstairs into the mayor’s secret room within a room. A fight breaks out, but Bullock arrives just in time. Before Gladwell can finish the job, Gordon and Bullock put him down.
Barbara drops by the police department and apologizes for not telling Gordon about Montoya. She doesn’t want any more secrets, but Gordon still has no intentions of telling her about Oswald. It was a mistake to discuss work and he won’t make that error again. Barbara decides she can’t live like this and gives Gordon an ultimatum: let her in or let her go. Without saying a word, Gordon makes his decision and Barbara takes her leave.
Fish holds tryouts for the two women. Surprisingly, there’s no broken pool cue. The second girl wins.
Now in a brand new suit, Oswald meets up with the robbers from earlier and congratulates them on a job well done for a convincing set-up. To celebrate, Oswald brought cannoli.
The results of the vote are in. Gordon and Bullock watch as Mayor James announces that the Arkham District will be developed into low cost housing and the land can be used for waste disposal. As for Arkham, it will be reopened.
Gordon is now at Wayne Manor- that was fast- and both he and Bruce don’t think this is good for Gotham. This compromise may have helped avert war, though Bruce still isn’t pleased. Everything isn’t in the hands of Falcone and Maroni, though.
Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot collects.
So we’ve got another random killer this week. Not a vigilante, but your average, hired assassin with an odd weapon. We don’t learn much about the weapon. Heck, we don’t learn much about Gladwell at all. Who hired him? How was he able to take over someone’s identity for so long with no one noticing? Why use a distinct weapon and potentially draw attention to yourself? And better yet, why work in a public building where everybody knows your name? A lot of blanks left unfilled. At least with David Lamond, we learned a few things about him before he became a vigilante.
So Barbara and Gordon are no more, it seems. This would seem like a big deal, but as an audience, we haven’t learned much about the two of them together for this to be that upsetting. Hell, aside from her conversation with Montoya, we’ve only seen Barbara when Gordon needs to talk about his troubles. We dug a bit into her backstory, but as a character within this interpretation, she’s not well-defined. Only four episodes in and we’ve already got a breakup. The show must really want to go ahead and get Gordon with Essen.
Speaking of Gordon, Bullock touched upon something that never got addressed again in this episode: Gordon’s convenient hunches. Gordon has not been in Gotham that long compared to other officers on the force. It’s strange that he would automatically assume that Maroni is the only one in Gotham strong enough to take on Falcone. He’s right, sure, but it just seems like he figured that out with little to go on. There should be much more detective work involved instead of Gordon just having an a-ha moment.
Not sure what to make of Fish’s new pet so far, but at least these tryouts seem less violent than the Joker’s. Oh, and there’s a Crown Prince of Parking Lot Muggers? No, Gotham! What’s with these shows just casually dropping references like that and thinking it’s cool or subtle? Arrow does it. The Flash does it. Gotham is next in line.
Cobblepot was, again, the best part of the episode. He’s slowly working his way up the crime mob chain by playing multiple sides and it works to his advantage because, as he mentioned, no one would go looking for a dead man. At the same time, he’s able to get on Maroni’s good side. He knows Gordon won’t kill him because Gordon is a good man and, if Selina Kyle is an indication of anything, Gordon will need all the help he can get. Though not the main character, Cobblepot is clearly one of the main players and Robin Lord Taylor’s performance continues to stand out.
This episode, though not as interesting as “The Balloonman,” did have its moments. It’s always nice to see Arkham Asylum, knowing that it’s going to be a key factor in the series. There are still gaps, though. Gladwell being a mystery isn’t all that interesting when the detectives themselves point out how he could have floated under the radar for so long. I wasn’t invested in Barbara and Gordon’s relationship enough to care that they’re no longer together. And Fish really wants to be seduced, doesn’t she?