So “Rogues Gallery” left things on a cliffhanger with Gruber and Helzinger making their escape. It had the potential to do something interesting, but a lot of what we get is dull, to be honest. At the same time, we see Fish finally make her move against Falcone. Sounds captivating, and this subplot was a bit more entertaining to watch than the stuff involving Gruber, Helzinger, and the GCPD, but even then, nothing that really wowed me.
The episode begins with Gruber and Helzinger making their way to Irwin’s Electronics. Inside, one of the employees goes to open the door after hearing some noise, but upon grabbing the door knob, he receives a powerful electric shock and is thrown back. Irwin, played by Adrian Martinez, is at Gruber’s mercy when he demands his stuff.
At the GCPD, Captain Essen briefs the precinct on Helzinger and Gruber- there aren’t any records on Gruber himself. The Commissioner is on his way to check the case so far, when in walks Gordon. Essen wants Gordon gone for his own safety, but Gordon refuses to leave. It may not be his jurisdiction, but it’s still his case.
Before Bullock can usher Gordon out, Commissioner Loeb, played by Peter Scolari, enters and asks Gordon why he’s there. Gordon is curious about Loeb, as this is the first time he’s seen him, so Loeb must be desperate. It’s like Gordon never left.
At Irwin Electronics, Gruber is ecstatic to be back around his many gadgets. Being at Arkham Asylum freed him in the mind. The Asylum is like the world itself: a factory of broken machines. Some are fixable, others must be scrapped. He straps a device onto Irwin’s head and turns on the generator.
Loeb wonders why Gordon even choice the police life, given that his father was a District Attorney. Where did all this fire and rebellion come from? Gordon isn’t fazed by Commissioner Loeb. His name is already being dragged through the mud, but he knows that the GCPD need him. After all, he knows how Gruber thinks. And if he can help solve this case, he wants to be reinstated as a detective. Loeb gives Gordon and Bullock 24 hours. If not, Gordon heads right back to Arkham.
In a flashback, young Falcone and family observe a body. Okay. In the present, Falcone has a man executed. What did he do? Who knows? Falcone tells Liza of how the area used to be a slum. He’s come a long way and worked hard to get where he is now. Falcone thinks that Liza should eventually settle down and find a husband. He could even help set her up so she can be independent. Enticing offer, but Liza would rather stay. Falcone makes her feel safe.
While Gordon gets reacquainted with the GCPD atmosphere, Nygma lets him and Bullock know that he cross checked the prints and learned that Gruber has a long criminal history as Jack Buchinsky. Also, Buchinsky actually wanted to be placed at Arkham.
Nygma then receives some files from Kringle, who is less than thrilled with his gift of a cupcake with a bullet in it. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone bowled over by that, really. But Nygma insists that it’s a riddle. Even still, it’s not edible.
Essen, Gordon and Bullock learn that Buchinsky committed a string of bank robberies, but was caught during one of them. He was never ID’d by the GCPD, and he used his contacts to help him create a new identity. One of the officers hands Bullock a note.
We then cut to the Arkham Asylum Transport Prisoner van. Bullock and Gordon check inside Irwin’s Electronics- I mean, it is right there- and find the first employee’s body. They then find Irwin writing on the wall over and over in a daze.
Liza and a bodyguard walk through a farmer’s market when they’re ambushed by random henchmen. Liza’s bodyguard is shot and killed, but Liza is taken hostage.
She’s brought before Fish, who lets her know that she plans to make her move on Falcone. Fish calls Falcone, while disguising her voice, and lets him know that Liza is alive and won’t be harmed for the moment. What now? Let Falcone sit and think on that for a while.
Buchinsky has been given a proper villain name: The Electrocutioner. Nygma at least likes it. He suggests that Bullock and Gordon wear their work galoshes in the event they have to deal with Buchinsky. Gordon takes his pair. Bullock, not so much. Dr. Thompkins pays GCPD a visit and delivers Gordon a doll- one of the female inmates is a pagan sorceress. Gruber gave her a doll to have curse the person in its image. Had the doll been dressed like a mobster, I’d wonder if this was a passing reference to The Ventriloquist and Scarface, but that’s the geek in me thinking too much into this.
Maroni and company feast. Penguin gets a phone call from Falcone about Liza’s disappearance, so he tells Maroni that he must leave so he can attend to his mother. He doesn’t get too far, as he receives an electric shock upon grabbing the doorknob. Another henchmen staggers in while holding what looks like an EMP grenade. It detonates.
And it doesn’t look to have done much besides give everyone fresh bruises. GCPD arrives on the scene and Gordon theorizes that Maroni was one of Buchinsky’s partners. He’s going to need protective custody. This way, both sides are happy: GCPD catches a bad guy, while Maroni loses one less nuisance. Oh, and Penguin wakes up and starts babbling about business with Falcone before passing out again. Whoops.
So while Maroni and his crew shack up at the GCPD for now, Barbara visits her parents, played by Richard Poe and Caroline Lagerfelt. Barbara needs a place to stay for a few days. Though her parents insist she may be bored, she’s allowed to stay through the weekend. She says that she and Gordon are doing well. Of course, she’s lying through her teeth, but this scene isn’t all that interesting, so let’s not dwell on it.
Penguin finally wakes up and again wants to help his dear, old mother, but Maroni tells him that mom can wait. He reminds Penguin that, when he woke up, he mentioned urgent business with Falcone.
Falcone receives a call from Fish, who is using her real voice this time. She says that she received a call from some folks about Liza and is now acting as the intermediary. Falcone tells her to quit the act- he knows that she’s behind this. After all, she was always the smart one in the family. Fish gives Falcone an ultimatum: leave Gotham and never come back. Liza can even come with him.
He agrees and Fish decides to get the paperwork ready. Butch is ecstatic, but Fish figures that she’s doing Falcone a favor and letting him take the easy way out, given how many people would want him dead if he stayed. Fish tells Liza that she’ll have to go with him for awhile. Even though she may like Falcone, Liza can never tell him the truth.
Falcone considers that maybe it is time for him step away. Zsasz disagrees and urges Falcone to let him go to work. He tells Falcone that fighting back will earn him respect, but Falcone does not care about that right now. He would even like to go live with Liza in the country.
Nygma pays Ms. Kringle another visit at the Records Annex and explains his cupcake riddle: the cupcake is sweet, the bullet is deadly. A beautiful woman is a dangerous thing. His advances are rebuffed not by Kringle, but by Detective Arnold Flass, played by Dash Mihok from Ray Donovan.
At GCPD, Penguin swears on his mother’s life that he has no business with Falcone. Maroni looks to buy it and tells Penguin to go visit his mother, but he won’t get that chance.
The room begins going haywire as electricity crackles throughout the precinct. All at once, everyone is knocked out from the electric surge.
Except for Gordon, who took Nygma’s advice and put on his galoshes. He confronts Helzinger and Buchinsky, who tells Gordon that the people of Gotham aren’t worth saving. Gordon fights Helzinger and manages to overpower him. He tells Buchinsky that he’s going back to Arkham, and that’s the kind of fighting spirit Buchinsky likes to hear. Gordon needs to win, Buchinsky says. He pretends to care about the law, but it’s just primitive ego. He hates to lose. Gordon actually agrees.
So he throws water onto Buchinsky’s device and short-circuits it. Ha!
So Gordon gets his badge back and vows to never be careful again since men like Loeb will never trust him.
Penguin shows up at Falcone’s and apologizes for his tardiness. Falcone admits that Penguin was right about Fish, but Oswald has discovered something else- Liza was planted on him by Fish, who went out of her way to find a woman who reminded Falcone of his mother. Falcone slaps Penguin across his face and denies that Liza would do such a thing.
Soon enough, Falcone shows up at Fish’s, who has the papers ready for Falcone to relinquish the family’s control. But Falcone needs to see Fish first. She’s brought out by Butch. Falcone asks Liza how long she’s known Fish, but Liza tells him that they just met. A little bird told Falcone that Fish told Liza things about his mother so that he’d get caught up in her, since Fish knows how much Falcone loves his mother. Falcone is disappointed in his own stupidity.
Falcone strangles Liza to death while Zsasz and his henchmen surround Butch and Fish. Falcone wants the two kept alive. He tells Fish that he can forgive all kinds of betrayal and dishonesty, but using his mother against him is just wrong. Fish will suffer for what she’s done, but Falcone does still thank her for making him feel alive for the first time in a long time. He remembers who he is. And he tells another person nearby that they can finally come in. In enters Penguin, who bids Fish farewell before taking his leave.
Dr. Thompkins enters the GCPD men’s locker room just as Gordon comes out. She just happened to be in the area. She’s there because she needs the sorceress’ doll back, but it’s more than that. Just before Thompkins leaves, Gordon stops her.
And then this happens. The kiss is interrupted by an officer reporting to Jim that there’s been a shootout at Fish Mooney’s club.
While Gotham still has its fair share of storytelling issues, I’m at least happy that this episode, for the most part, focused either on the GCPD or the mob. There are no misadventures of Ivy and Selina and no Bruce or Alfred. For that, I’m thankful. The scene with Barbara going to her parents wasn’t necessary, but hey, at least it was the only time we saw something unrelated.
As far as the main story itself, nothing spectacular. I guess I should have expected Helzinger and Buchinsky to be apprehended one episode after they escaped from Arkham Asylum, but part of me hoped they would just be a looming threat and reminder to Gordon that they got away. Buchinsky had the potential to be threatening and him taking out the majority of the GCPD and Maroni’s crew was a cool scene to watch. I’ve seen better special effects, but that’s coming from the perspective of someone spoiled by The Flash and Arrow. As is, it was a cool moment.
And Buchinsky did have a good point about Gordon- he cares about the law, but also wants a win. After all, he’d still like to solve the mystery of the Wayne murders. I think Jim does genuinely care about the people of Gotham, even if the GCPD did once turn their back on him. But I do like that he appears to be taking a more assertive approach to taking down perps. He’s done being careful and playing the good cop. I don’t think he’ll become the sort of cop that Bullock is, but he won’t be as easygoing as he once was.
As for how Gordon beat Buchinsky…a bit anticlimactic, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it funny as well. I mean, it was so comical that it could have been a solution in the 1960s Batman television series, but I love how the show played it so seriously at the same time. Buchinsky may be an intelligent man, but he didn’t think too far ahead of doing something having a protective cover over his device. That or maybe button up the coat.
With Gordon and Thompkins, I don’t get where the sudden chemistry came from. They only just met in Arkham Asylum not that long ago. As far as Gordon was concerned, they were coworkers, so I just think the kiss was a bit soon.
The same applies to Falcone and Liza. He hasn’t known her for that long and for her to conjure up these memories of his mother should have alerted him earlier than we’re expected to believe. Or maybe he was just biding his time and didn’t want to believe Liza would double cross him, but then, what would lead him to believe that? I never got the sense that there was a deep connection between the two.
But Falcone strangling Liza to death was a big moment for him. It helped him rediscover who he is and why so many in the mob world fear him. Lucky that Fish gave him the option to live instead of just killing him. That’s another thing I don’t get. Fish has taken many steps to screw with Falcone and ultimately take his place. It seems strange that she now wanted to do him a favor after wanting to be rid of him.
I don’t have anything to say on Penguin conveniently mentioning Falcone around Maroni or Bullock and Gordon locating the prison van that happened to be right near Irwin’s Electronics because those coincidences seem to be commonplace on Gotham. Though I’m positive Maroni is always going to be second-guessing Penguin’s loyalty from now on. Of the two storylines, though, I did enjoy the mob stuff a bit more. Plus, it’s nice to see Zsasz again.
So “What the Little Bird Told Him” was decent. Nothing great or all that compelling, though. Gordon is back at the GCPD and Falcone remains the man in charge. To be frank, though, I actually liked that this episode spent a fair amount of time with the GCPD. While the stuff here wasn’t all that compelling, just seeing the detectives at work was a change of pace and it didn’t feel like the show needed to remind me that this was the Batman universe. I do hope that The Electrocutioner returns at some point because his intellect proves that he can be a formidable opponent.