A Look at Gotham- Season 2, Episode 7: “Rise of the Villains: Mommy’s Little Monster”

Because the last time Gotham City held a gala, things went over very well.  Now it’s time to throw another one.  This is “Mommy’s Little Monster.”

Mommy's Little Monster- Penguin begs Theo to release Gertrude

The episode begins with Penguin and Butch arriving at the supposed location.  Once Gertrude is safe, Penguin plans to go after Theo and Tabitha.  He does indeed find Gertrude trapped in a cell and she’s happy to see him.  Before Penguin can free her, in enter Theo and Tabitha.  Theo insists that Gertrude stay since Tabitha loves her play things.  It doesn’t help that Theo has the key.

Penguin orders Butch to shoot Theo and Tabitha, but he hesitates and instead shoots Penguin’s two henchmen.  The obedience has passed, Butch says.  There’s always a trigger word implanted in the brainwashing process, Tabitha tells Penguin.  So here we are.  Penguin surrenders.  He offers his services.  Hell, kill him, but let Gertrude go.  It doesn’t come off as begging to Theo, so instead, Penguin even gets on his knees, saying that he’ll do anything.

Even if Tabitha loses her plaything, she still has the former mayor.  Tabitha frees Gertrude and she reunites with her son.  Everything will be okay…until Tabitha puts a blade in Gertrude’s back.  Penguin attempts to comfort his dying mother.  They’re together now, and that’s all that matters.  Penguin begs his mother’s forgiveness, but Gertrude insists that her son was always such a good boy.  And with that, we say farewell to Carol Kane.

Theo orders Penguin to be killed and the bodies dumped…anywhere.  Penguin challenges Theo to kill him himself, even calling out his family history.  Theo takes the bait and prepares to kill Penguin by his hands.  But Penguin strikes fast, taking the blade from Gertrude’s back and slashing Theo across the face. He jumps out the window and evades death.

Mommy's Little Monster- Nygma reads a clue he left for himself

The next day, Nygma has flashbacks of the previous episode as his dark side taunts him, despite almost being banished.  Nygma claims that it was an accident.  He plans to make this right.  Dark Nygma won’t let Nygma turn himself in.  After all, he can make a body disappear…and he has.  Kringle’s body is gone, but in its place is an envelope with a riddle.  Nygma will need some help from the GCPD.  Technically, though, Nygma went to his job with Dark Nygma doing the leading.

But Dark Nygma is doing this for Ed’s good.  Ed better get moving.  He does want to find the body soon.

Mommy's Little Monster- Tabitha, Silver St. Cloud, and Theo

Theo and Tabitha watch news of the election.  Tabitha can’t believe that Theo would even be mayor.  She wants to unleash some hell, but that comes later.  Bruce Wayne needs to sign over his company, first.  Until then, Theo needs focus.  Theo notes that Bruce has become fond of Silver St. Cloud.  He needs her to make sure that no one else whispers in his ear.  Luckily, Silver has Bruce wrapped around her finger.  There is still the matter of Penguin.

Mommy's Little Monster- Harvey Dent accompanies Theo to GCPD to discuss bringing Penguin in and instituting martial law

At GCPD, Bullock and Gordon also watch election news.  Gordon tells Bullock about Selina saying that Penguin was behind the burnings.  Then, all of a sudden, Theo arrives with Harvey Dent.  Captain Barnes tells Bullock and Gordon that Penguin tried to kill Galavan.  Penguin apparently came to seek an alliance, but when Theo declined, Penguin stabbed him in the neck.  So this is the second time that Penguin has come to kill Galavan.

Dent presents an arrest warrant for Penguin, as well as search and seizure of his properties.  In light of recent events, Judge Turnball has declared a state of emergency and granted the mayor’s office additional powers.  After Theo is sworn in, he’ll implement a curfew and order Strike Force to begin door-to-door searches until Penguin is apprehended.  Jim sees this as martial law, but Barnes sees it as bringing a dangerous fugitive to justice.

Theo speaks with Gordon, who is cautious.  But then Theo reminds Gordon that he did say that they needed more resources.  Gordon doesn’t want to kick down the doors of average citizens.  The people of Gotham will trust the GCPD because, at the end of the day, they want to feel safe.  And Theo reminds Gordon that he came to him.

Mommy's Little Monster- Selina enters Wayne Manor and meets Silver St. Cloud

Selina slips into Wayne Manor and speaks with Bruce, who wonders why she has something against the front door.  Those pesky doorknobs, man.  These two haven’t seen each other in a month.  Selina tells Bruce about her misadventures with Bridgit when she spots a purse.  Silver St. Cloud soon walks out and invites Selina to lunch…never mind that she doesn’t live there.

When Bruce leaves, it’s just the girls.  Silver has some advice- it would be bad if Selina if she came around again.  And who is Silver?  Bruce’s only friend.  And Selina?  She’s gutter trash and no one would miss her if she was gone.  Bruce returns just as the girls finish talking about, you know, girl stuff.

Mommy's Little Monster- Nygma finds Miss Kringle's hand in the vending machine

Nygma looks all over the GCPD for Kringle’s initials- K.K.  This sounds like a perfect time for a musical montage, and that’s just what we get.  Nygma settles on the break room vending machine and presses K.K. over and over until he finds a human hand.  He manages to secure and sneak out with it.  Good thing no one else tried to get the candy blocking the hand.

Mommy's Little Monster- Tabitha is impressed with Theo's plan

Tabitha is impressed with Theo’s plan.  Putting Penguin in the cross hairs of the GCPD will drive him underground.  Theo believes that Penguin will deliver himself because his rage will consume his better judgment- leaving him with a craving for revenge.  All Theo needs to do is keep him hungry enough until it’s time to invite him to dinner.

Mommy's Little Monster- Penguin declares that Theo Galavan will die tonight

We then cut to Penguin and his men watching Theo addressing the press about the assassination attempt.  Theo taunts Penguin as a man that not even a mother would love.  Low blow.  Penguin smashes the television and declares that Theo Galavan dies tonight.

Mommy's Little Monster- Leslie gives Jim a key to her apartment

Back at GCPD, word on the street is that Butch started his own crew, so maybe he’s ready to talk.  Leslie drops by and gives Jim a key to her place.  Yeah, we’re at that point.  Jim offers a key to his place, but hey, last we all checked, doesn’t even have a place.  Seriously, where does this guy live?!

Mommy's Little Monster- Alfred serves lunch for Selina, Silver, and Bruce

Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred serves lunch for the kids.  Silver sucks up to Alfred while Selina indirectly brings up the slap.  Silver asks if Selina has any family and Selina calls bullshit on the act.  How long has she been a two faced slut?  Bruce flips out, but Selina stands her ground, saying that Silver is bad news.  But Bruce wants her out.  But maybe Selina is right, Bruce says, since he thought all this time that Selina was his friend.  But she has no idea what that means.

Well, that was a scene.  Come on, Selina, you had to at least have an idea of how this would play out.

Mommy's Little Monster- Nygma examines the clue in Kringle's hand

Nygma examines the hand and finds a clue that will lead him a step closer to the body.  Why is Dark Nygma doing this?  It’s fun and good for Ed.  He’s showing Ed who he really is.  Plus, he’s surprised that Ed hasn’t even figured out this riddle yet.  No period at the end of the sentence, for example.  What are the two things missing from ME?  Medical Examiner.

Mommy's Little Monster- Gordon and Bullock confront Butch

Gordon and Bullock have yet another stakeout, though Jim is quiet and a bit out of it.  He questions Galavan’s story.  How does a newcomer like Galavan suddenly become mayor?  The timing after Mayor James’ disappearance is too convenient.  The attempted assassination, the gala murders- what if this was all planned?  The two make their way towards a pizza shop and enter.

The two confront Butch and his new crew. Butch is prepared for a firefight, as evidenced by the machine guns.  He has no idea where Penguin is, as he’s not a lapdog anymore.  So then why would Penguin go after Galavan?  Despite no warrant, Jim points out that the new mayor wants results like this.

Mommy's Little Monster- Zsasz and his team arrive

Outside, Zsasz and his henchmen come looking for Butch.  The other henchmen inside leave, but Jim cuffs Bullock to a pipe.  Butch spills about Galavan’s master plan and the kidnapping of Penguin’s mother.

Zsasz and his crew pull out their guns and bring bullet hell upon the shop.  Gordon and Bullock are outnumbered, but not outgunned.  The two grab the assault rifles and open fire.  No word if they hit anyone, though, but Zsasz falls back for now.  Jim wonders if Butch, who escaped, was telling the truth.  As Bullock reminds us, nobody’s telling the truth- this is Gotham.

Mommy's Little Monster- Silver St. Cloud arrives just as Theo and Bruce are talking

Bruce pops by Theo Galavan’s to find Silver, and she is here, though a bit upset.  Theo never met Thomas Wayne, but he figures that Thomas gave Bruce a clear moral compass.  Very on the nose, Gotham.  Theo talks up the similarities between himself and Bruce, but also warns Bruce to be careful of needing to fill a void.  It may not go away, but you can find closure.  Theo doesn’t want to make promises, but when the time comes, the two will talk again.  On cue, Silver arrives.

Penguin tells his goons that only he gets to kill Galavan, but Gabe reminds him that the cops won’t let him anywhere near Theo.  The henchmen offer to whack him, but no- Penguin wants this for himself.

Mommy's Little Monster- Barnes and Gordon address the GCPD ahead of Theo's party

Barnes addresses the GCPD about Theo’s victory party tonight.  He’ll be exposed, but protected by the brave men and women.  Gordon will be running point.  He tells the officers to be ready for anything Penguin may throw at them.

Mommy's Little Monster- Harvey Dent introduces Theo to the audience

At said celebration, Bullock tells Jim that no one has seen Gertrude in quite some time.  Jim doesn’t think that Gertrude is on a cruise.  Harvey Dent, for some reason, introduces Theo Galavan to the crowd.  The crowd eats it up.

Mommy's Little Monster- Nygma tells Leslie that he and Miss Kringle had a fight

Back to Nygma’s misadventures, as he enters the medical examiner’s lab and finds a question tag on a drawer.  He pulls out Kristen’s body just as Leslie enters.  He explains that this was a Jane Doe case and just finished checking his notes…notes that he doesn’t have, but they’re all in his head.  Nygma had hoped to run into Leslie to talk about Miss Kringle.  The two had a fight.  Leslie understands that every relationship hits a rough patch.  Nygma offers a coffee date between the two so she can give him some advice.  Rain check on that.

Mommy's Little Monster- Martinez spots incoming targets

Back at the gala, Theo asks about Gordon’s shootout and whether he got anything out of Butch.  The answer is no, and that’s a pity, but Theo goes back to talking with Gotham’s finest.  Outside, Martinez spots a group of people approaching.  One target is taken down not by GCPD, but Tabitha.

So is Penguin dead?  No.  Just a lookalike.  Gordon tells Martinez to find the shooter.  It’s impossible to ID Penguin, so Gordon gives Martinez the go-ahead to engage.

Mommy's Little Monster- Penguin and Penguin and Penguin arrive

But then Penguin and Penguin and Penguin and Penguin and Penguin and Penguin all crash through the windows and open fire.

Mommy's Little Monster- Martinez finds Tabitha

Martinez, meanwhile, finds Tabitha.  He’s distracted enough to let her get the upper hand, subdue, and kill him because this is Gotham and he’s a moron.

Mommy's Little Monster- Penguin corners Theo while in a standoff with Jim and Bullock

Bullock engages the Penguin brigade while Gordon gets Theo to a safe location.  Luckily, the police chatter confirms this just as Penguin picks up a radio.  He corners Jim and Theo.  Jim orders Penguin to lower the gun, telling him that he knows about Theo killing Gertrude.  Penguin recalls watching her die.  That sort of thing changes a person.  Penguin finds himself caught between Jim and Bullock.  If he dies, then Jim won’t know Theo’s end game and how it involves someone that he loves.

A shot above from Tabitha puts Penguin down for a second.  She distracts Jim and Harvey long enough for Penguin to escape.

Mommy's Little Monster- Theo addresses the press after the attack

The Penguin extras are carted away.  With Penguin’s gunshot wound, Bullock doubts that Penguin will make it far.  However, a lot of good people died tonight, including Martinez.  Theo, meanwhile, addresses the press about tonight’s massacre.  He sees this as abaptism of fire where the city will strengthen itself to head towards a new day in Gotham.

Silver and Bruce watch this press conference.  She knows that Selina will never like her, but Bruce doesn’t care.  He likes Bruce.  And in typical fashion, Selina watches this kiss from afar.

Mommy's Little Monster- Jim confronts Theo on what he's done

Anyway, Theo speaks with Gordon.  Theo thought that Gordon was willing to make the hard choices to get rid of Gotham’s monsters.  He still has, and he’s going to start with Theo.  Dangerous words, considering Jim is addressing the man who controls the city.  Well, these are still desperate times.

Mommy's Little Monster- Dark Nygma asks Ed how the rush felt

Nygma returns to the medical examiner’s lab and pulls out Kringle’s lifeless body.  Why did Dark Nygma do this?  When Leslie entered, how did Ed feel?  Terrified.  She could have discovered the body, but she didn’t.  The point is that Nygma got away with it and can still feel the rush of almost getting caught and what he would have had to do.  He was at the edge of uncertainty.  So how did it feel?  As Dark Nygma reenters Ed’s body, Nygma declares it all a beautiful feeling.  He grabs a tool and prepares to get to work on Kringle’s body.

Okay, so we’re moving forward with Theo’s plan to take over Gotham, since he became mayor in no time.  There have been a lot of moving pieces here and it all came to fruition, though you wonder how someone like Gordon wasn’t able to piece some of this all together until now, even before Selina dropped Penguin’s name.

Mommy's Little Monster- Selina tells Bruce that Silver is playing him

Actually, I want to get the kid stuff out of the way first.  So Selina is down in the dumps after Bridgit’s supposed death and wanted to talk with Bruce- one of the few people she thought would understand her.  Okay, fine, but even though she has a correct hunch about Silver, she still antagonizes Bruce’s new friend and just alienates herself.  Nothing about her reaction to Silver was a good idea and I’d like to think that Selina is smarter about her approach, even if she’s still a kid.

Mommy's Little Monster- Silver warns Selina to stay away from Bruce

I get that she, in her own odd way, still cares for Bruce and wants a friendship with him, but she could bide her time and at least learn more about Silver before making this outburst right off the bat.  She’s a petulant little brat, but she’s not a moron.  As for Bruce, he’s not too deep yet that he can’t figure out what’s going on, given how much Theo apparently wants to help, but for now, the idea of a family still excites him.  With a girl like Silver St. Cloud in his life, how could it not?  We’ll see how long he remains wrapped around her finger.

Mommy's Little Monster- Gertrude dies

When a character is killed off, that death can be used to help spur others into action.  We have that this week with Gertrude’s death.  While it’s unfortunate that we have to say goodbye to Carol Kane, I get how and why Penguin would use this as the moment to declare all-out war on Galavan.  If I can give the show credit for anything, it’s showing us Oswald’s relationship with his mother.  This man has had a very close bond with his mom to the point where he allows her to bathe him.

Under the Knife- Gertrude wants to know the truth about Oswald

It’s a deep connection we’ve seen play out since the first season and for Gertrude to be killed is just enough to send Penguin over the deep end.  He already wasn’t going to forge an alliance with Theo, but with his mother dead, he has more motivation to keep him in his crosshairs to avenge his mother’s death.  And such a tease, too.  Just when Penguin thought all was well and he’d be reunited with his mother, she’s snatched away from him.  Penguin may be a villain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sympathize with him after his mother dies in his arms.

Mommy's Little Monster- Penguin army

His plan was a bit theatrical.  For this all to work, Penguin had to corral a bunch of followers that were willing to dress up and imitate him, but beyond that, put themselves up as human shields.  We haven’t seen Penguin utilize many of his henchmen and resources outside of Butch, Gabe, and Zsasz, since they’re all at least named.  Now he has a massive army ready to die for him.  If he could think of this now, I wonder why he hasn’t used duplicates before this.

This could lead to another alliance with Jim, whose suspicions about Galavan are confirmed when Theo doesn’t deny his plans for Gotham.  And since Theo rules the city, and Barnes is offering his help, and Jim already endorsed him, I can see him putting his pride aside again to form another uneasy coalition with Penguin.  Sure, Penguin has dirt on Jim, but right now, they have a common enemy.  And yet we just got rid of Loeb, so we’re dealing with Jim going up against yet another Gotham elite.

Mommy's Little Monster- Theo and Jim face off

Then again, if Theo intended to keep as much of his plans in secret as possible, I don’t see why he’d just come out and admit that he has plans for Gotham.  Why not just deny it and let Gordon make more hunches?  I think enough of the public is on Theo’s side that they would believe anything he said.  This also applies to having Tabitha take a shot at Penguin.  Tabitha was at the last gala.  People can and will recognize her face.  Jim and Bullock spotted her here, so this would just draw more unnecessary attention toward Galavan.  And it’s not like Theo is a man that wants to be caught, given how much he’s worked to get the public on his side.

Mommy's Little Monster- Bullock and Gordon pack heat

Before moving off of Gordon, how about that shootout with Zsasz?  No, literally, how about it?  Sure, Jim and Bullock were probably glad to get their hands on some heavy artillery, but they fired wildly with no idea where they were shooting!  They could have hit random civilians.  Sure, it’d be ridiculous for civilians to wander in the middle of a firefight, but that could have caused some serious harm and there’s no discussion of it afterward.

Mommy's Little Monster- Martinez dies because he's an idiot

The same goes with Martinez’s death.  That’s now two members of Strike Force that have been killed not long after their introduction. I still don’t feel anything about the loss because I know next to nothing about Martinez.  But on a side-note, going back to the gala for a second, it sure was good for the officers to go over their plan so Penguin could hear it on the radio.

Oh, by the way, Leslie and Jim talked about an apartment.  Jim’s apartment.  This is a major move because, let’s face it, we’ve spent next to no time in Jim’s actual residence.  Hell, maybe he lives in a Bat cave.  No, we don’t see it, but after seeing Jim lounge in the GCPD locker room or Leslie’s place, at least the show acknowledged that he does have his own place…I hate that this is a good thing for Gotham.  That and Harvey Dent returned…though not used to much effect, really.

Mommy's Little Monster- Nygma gives into his darker side

Now Nygma, who is going further down that dark path with leaving clues to his own murder.  This is a side of Nygma I’d like to see more of, now that Miss Kringle’s death has led him to, I assume, merge with his darker half and embrace the thrill of murder and riddles.  Why he didn’t do this after Dougherty’s death is another question altogether since he already kept the badge.  But we have another death that’s led a proto-Batman villain to embrace the darkness.

But while I can see Penguin heading to a dark place since he’s still more of a crime boss than an outright villain, if Nygma is on the verge of becoming The Riddler, it seems early, but hey, this show has killed Maroni and Essen, so screw mythology.  Hopefully this gives Nygma more to do since, for the most part, his storyline this season has revolved around Miss Kringle and trying to subdue his darker side.  With Kringle out of the picture and Nygma embracing his other half, I hope he’ll get more to do moving forward.

“Mommy’s Little Monster” wasn’t bad.  And it’s strange how that’s somehow a positive for Gotham’s standards.  But Gertrude’s death gave Penguin the extra push over the edge in his assault on Galavan, who continues his ascent as a power player in Gotham City.  Meanwhile, Nygma’s becoming a bit more interesting, and hopefully his riddles do as well.  The episode had its hiccups.  I wasn’t all that invested in the Bruce/Silver/Selina subplot and the police work still had some issues, but overall, this was decent.  Nothing great, but decent.

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