A Look at Gotham- Season 2, Episode 16: “Wrath of the Villains: Prisoners”

It’s the Gotham crossover with Shawshank Redemption that you always wanted as Jim Gordon serves his sentence.  Not a bad episode, this was, but it felt a bit on the rushed side.  Jim’s situation should have lasted longer than it did since he is guilty of killing Galavan, but looks like the plot demands he be released so he can track down whoever framed him.  Also, Oswald and Elijah bond.

Prisoners- Warden Carlson Grey, played by Ned Bellamy, speaks with Jim

The episode begins in Blackgate as Jim and the other inmates go about their daily routines, over and over again.  One day, the warden, Carlson Grey, played by Ned Bellamy, tells Jim to step out of line and remain silent.  Several weeks have passed with no incident.

Jim just wants to do his time, but he’s being moved to F wing, World’s End, as in general population.  Protective custody was just a temporary privilege, one that can’t be sustained for his kind of sentencing.

Grey tells Jim that his friends have abandoned him, but he’ll see plenty of familiar faces from people he collared when he enters general population.  The warden tells Jim that if he gets along as a team player, things can go his way.  Also, ex-Commissioner Loeb says hello.  The only way you get out of World’s End is parole or in a body bag, and nobody gets parole.

Prisoners- Family dinner

Over at Elijah’s home, the family dines, with Oswald telling the family that he’s seen ghosts.  The house has several, but luckily, they’re friendly ghosts.  Elijah then tells how he met his wife, Grace, played by Melinda Clarke.

He found a diner not far from the home and went there the same day to get the same food.  Grace was his waitress, and she told him about her kids: Sasha, played by Kaley Ronayne and Charles, played by Justin Mark, who suffered at the hands of their abusive father.

One thing led to another and love blossomed.  Boom, instant family.  But Oswald is Elijah’s only true blood relative.  Well, that won’t cause any resentment among the other siblings, will it?  The family toasts to…well, family.

Prisoners- Bullock tells Nygma that Gordon was probably set up

Over at GCPD, a frustrated Bullock learns of Gordon being placed in World’s End.  He summons Nygma to vent his anger, but Nygma says that Jim’s prints were on the murder weapon.

Prisoners- Elijah and Oswald have a drink, Grace gives Elijah his medicine

Elijah and Oswald share a drink.  He talks about his father, who made suits for the city’s elite.  Elijah himself also served as an apprentice, but it was not to be.  When his father died, Elijah’s mother held him close and home-schooled him to protect him from the temptations of the city.  All this time, Elijah has been afraid to ask about Oswald’s mother.  He apologizes for abandoning them both.

Oswald tells Elijah that Gertrude had a good life, but he wasn’t always the best son.  Yet Gertrude never spoke a word of reproach.  Elijah finds it hard to believe that a nice young man like Oswald could be bad, but he maintains that he’s done bad things.  Grace enters and gives Elijah his heart medicine.  Outside, we see that Grace has swapped the medicine for mints.  Who actually does that?

Prisoners- Bullock visits Jim in Blackgate

Back at Blackgate, Jim watches inmates make shady deals when he learns that he has a visitor.  Grey, meanwhile, tells an officer that he wants Jim dead.  Turns out that Jim’s visitor is Bullock, who tells him that Dent is considering reopening the case.  Bullock will also look to Penguin for information, but he’s been hard to find.  Letters from Leslie have stopped coming.  Bullock then admits that Leslie lost her baby.

As for Leslie herself, Bullock tells Jim that she moved down South and no one has heard from her, since.  He advises Jim to not let this beat him and promises that he’ll get him out.

Prisoners- Weaver, played by Christian Frazier, gets rough with Jim

Inside, an inmate, Weaver, played by Christian Frazier, gets rough with Jim, which leads to several men kicking the ever loving hell out of him and another inmate who tries to stand up for him.  Jim, though, does not fight back.  Weaver is taken to the hole.

Prisoners- Oswald helps Elijah to bed

That evenng, Penguin has nightmares about the horrible things he’s done- subjecting us to a few seconds of Fish Mooney in the process.  He heads downstairs, where he finds Elijah sleepwalking to his father’s office.  Elijah then asks Oswald to help him back to bed.  He explains that he has a hole in his heart that keeps getting bigger, like his demons are feeding on it.

Yes, Elijah has demons, and he fears that Oswald does, too.  Oswald admits that there’s much he hasn’t shared, so he begins to talk about his criminal past and the horrible things he’s done, the manipulation, lying for power, revenge, even murder.  Elijah tells Oswald that nothing before their meeting at the cemetery matters, so he forgives Oswald for his transgressions.  Oswald is free to live his life at the mansion in peace.

Prisoners- Puck, played by Peter Mark Kendall, talks with Jim about his grandfather

At Blackgate, Jim and his new friend, Peter- or Puck- played by Peter Mark Kendall, are patched up.  Jim doesn’t want his help, but Puck refuses to move aside.  He calls Jim a true hero.  His sister was abducted by the child snatchers and Jim saved not just her, but dozens of other lives.  Puck explains that he stole a car to go out with a girl.  He planned on returning it, but the cops didn’t believe him.  As such, he got six years.

Puck won’t be like his grandfather, who died in prison.  Last time Puck saw him, Grandpa was so different that Puck didn’t recognize him.  Jim advises Puck to keep away from him.  Grey enters and tells the guards to watch out for Jim, since losing a child can make him angry.  He claims to know everything, but Jim knows what kind of man Grey is.

Prisoners- Family tells Elijah the truth he already knows about Oswald

We return to the mansion, where the family presents Elijah with the bad news that Charles, while at the public library, found out that Oswald is not the nice young man he says he is.  They bring up his criminal past and how they could have been raped and murdered by this man, but Oswald counters that he never raped anybody.  Elijah tells the family that he already knows about Oswald’s past, just not his nickname of Penguin.

Elijah has looked into Oswald’s soul and seen his beautiful heart.  The family sulks off with Grace opting for Plan B.  What’s Plan B?  Sasha.

Prisoners- Sasha, played by Kaley Ronayne, hits on Oswald

So Sasha tries to put the moves on Oswald.  She asks if there’s any bad-boy Penguin left in him, because Sasha has some bad-girl and a nice pair of bad-girls.  If they work together, Sasha says they could squeeze the family out.  Oswald slips out, telling Sasha to restrain herself since they’re practically related.  Well, that worked.  Charles offers to try, but Sasha figures Oswald for simple.

Prisoners- Guard tells Jim that Weaver is coming out of the hole

A guard warns Jim that Weaver is coming out of the hole already since nothing happens in Blackgate like it should.  Indeed, Weaver warns Jim that his day is coming.  He’s left to watch as Puck gets the shit kicked out of him while the guards do nothing.  Jim is warned to let it go so he doesn’t extend his sentence.  Jim watches Grey with obvious loathing.

Prisoners- Bullock goes to Falcone for help

At a diner, Bullock wonders who would set up Jim and how much longer he can stay alive in Blackgate.  Bullock knows that he’s making a bad choice, but he has nowhere else to turn but to Carmine Falcone, who just focuses on the fact that Bullock is wearing a hat indoors.  It’s the little things.

Prisoners- Elijah dresses Oswald in a fancy Italian suit

Elijah dresses Oswald up in a nice Italian suit, telling him that a man says a lot about himself because of what he wears.  All of a sudden, Elijah erupts in a coughing fit.  The family hears downstairs, with Grace telling the kids to call a doctor.

Prisoners- Jim visits Puck in the infirmary

We return to Blackgate, as Jim’s guard friend tells him that Puck is in bad shape.  Jim refuses to visit him in the infirmary, but Puck will die in there, one way or another.  So Jim visits Puck, who is indeed beat to shit.  He’s glad to see Jim, though.  Puck tells Jim to not give up hope.  He feels Jim’s sadness, but Jim has to choose life.  Jim tells Puck that when he gets better, stay the hell away because Jim is not a hero- just a convict.

The guard tells Jim that tonight is movie night, meaning all inmates will be in one room with the lights off.  Stay alert.

Prisoners- Doctor checks in on Elijah as Oswald and family watch

Back with Oswald and Friends, the doctor tells the family that the hole in Elijah’s heart has gotten bigger.  He’s been given medication, but he may not have long.  Elijah warns Oswald not listen to doctors since he’s beaten their diagnoses before.  He promises Oswald that they’ll have plenty of time together.  However, Elijah does want to speak with his lawyer now that his affairs have changed.

Prisoners- Grace and the kids need to take care of Elijah

Grace and the kids figure that Elijah is planning to change his will.  She’s livid.  After all, she brought Elijah back to life, and now he’s trying to mess things up for them.  She wants him eliminated, but how do you get rid of vermin?  Before we can answer that, Oswald comes down and tells the family that Elijah will not be joining them.

Prisoners- Fight during movie night, Jim is stabbed

It’s time for movie night at Blackgate.  Weaver gets a shiv and sits behind Jim, who is keeping his eyes open just in time for prison fight to break out.  Weaver stabs Jim over and over again until the lights go up and the officers break up the brawl.  The guard checks Jim’s pulse and tells Grey that they’re going to need a body bag.  That almost seemed convincing.

Prisoners- Jim is brought outside of Blackgate

Anyway, Jim’s body is wheeled out into an ambulance.  Bullock and the guard are ready to free him, but Jim wonders whether he’s supposed to stay here.  Bullock reminds Jim that the person who freed him is still out there.  He finally agrees to leave, but he’ll need one more favor.

Prisoners- Grey interrupts Jim's rescue of Puck

Back inside, Jim knocks out the guard and is ready to save Puck, but then there’s Grey with a gun.  He monologues long enough for the guard to knock him out.  Jim apologizes for getting him involved, but the guard is glad to help.

Prisoners- Elijah and Oswald have one last talk

Elijah, meanwhile, admits that he lied to Oswald, as his father was plagued by dark impulses and evil thoughts of violence.  Many in his family had the same affliction.  Elijah remembered the sound of the gunshot and finding the gun in his father’s hand.  Mom said to never talk about it and for years, she and Elijah never left the house.  Elijah tells Oswald to never give into the pain.  He is loved and most certainly not alone.  The sun will come up tomorrow.

So Elijah has himself a drink- damn his health- and tells Oswald that he wants him to have it all.  Keep it as a piece of their and Gotham’s history.  First thing tomorrow, Elijah will have his lawyers draw it up.  Well, I guess it’s a good thing that Grace prepared that drink because it turns out to have been poisonous.

Prisoners- Jim, Falcone, and Bullock on a bridge

On a bridge, Bullock explains to Jim that Falcone had the contacts to set up this arrangement.  Falcone tells Jim that there’s no need to pay him back.  He offers to get a safe spot for Jim in Gotham or a way out of the country, but right now, Jim wants to find Leslie.  To do that, he has to clear his name by going back to Gotham City.  Part of Jim’s heart says to run now that he’s breathing fresh air, but he can’t go back inside.

Falcone warns Jim that if he runs, he’ll have to keep running.  Some people can live with that.  Bullock tells Jim that he’s a fighter.  Jim asks Puck for his opinion, but turns out that, with his lifeless head resting on the ambulance door, he died from his injury.  Well, they can’t all be happy endings.

There’s a lot of good to “Prisoners,” with one positive being that it’s, for the most part, a contained storyline.  We’re either with Jim in prison, Bullock trying to get him out, or Penguin bonding with his family.  There’s no long Nygma scenes or traveling on the road with Bruce and Selina for the sake of reminding us that they’re still on the show.  To me, that’s how it should be since the episode can devote more time to the main two storylines.

Prisoners- Jim in Blackgate

Now I liked that we got to spend time with Jim in Blackgate, but much like his stint in Arkham Asylum during “Rogues’ Gallery,” I think it was over a bit too quick.  And similar to that episode, I would like to have seen this span over a few episodes.  Again, Jim is in the wrong because he did kill Theo Galavan.  When he considers staying at Blackgate, he realizes that he should be atoning for his wrongdoing.

Prisoners- Jim is a free man

But the story calls for him to make a quick escape so he can clear his name, but why right now?  He’s guilty of killing Galavan.  For that much he deserves incarceration and we should see him live out some of his sentence.  That does not mean condensing a few weeks into a montage.  We get a day in the life of Jim Gordon as he lives out a Shawshank Redemption fantasy, but it’s glossed over so we can set up his escape.

Prisoners- Grey watches Jim from above

We go through the typical routines: the system is corrupt, guards turn the other way when inmates beat the innocent, the warden is all-powerful, corrupt, and gung-ho on keeping down do-gooders like Gordon, a brawl where you hope the good guy fights the good fight and we learn this is no fairy tale, the protagonist making inroads with a guard, and finally, the main character tastes the clean air for the first time after you escape.

I really want to watch Shawshank Redemption right now.

Prisoners- Jim meets with Falcone

My point is that Jim’s time in Blackgate is all too routine and I’m quite surprised he only got off with the few beatings that we saw, given how apparently most of the people in general population are criminals that he collared.  Given that Jim is guilty, his eventual escape should feel earned.  His redemption needs to feel authentic and not convoluted just so he can return to Gotham City.

What’s worse is the warden now knows that Gordon has escaped.  Whether that comes into play later, I don’t know, but there are some stones left unturned in this grand escape.

Prisoners- Jim finds that Puck has died

Puck felt like a plot device to give Jim the motivation he already had to escape.  He didn’t seem destined for this world and the fact that we got a bit of his backstory hinted that he was a goner.  But then, we only knew him for this one episode, so his death doesn’t feel impactful.  It also doesn’t seem to affect Gordon that much since he’s already motivated by his desire to see Leslie and clear his name.

Prisoners- Falcone speaks with Jim after his escape

What I find interesting was Bullock going to Carmine Falcone- who must not have gone far from Gotham City- in order to free Jim.  Now, Bullock has cleaned up his dirty cop act from the first season, but he’s still able to pull strings.  Here, Bullock and Gordon are taking advantage of the same behind-the-scenes maneuvers that Jim fought to stop when he first came to Gotham City.  It’s a moral dilemma that I wish Gotham would explore.

Prisoners- Penguin in a fancy Italian suit

As for Penguin goes, it’s a shame that we’ve lost Paul Reubens so soon because I did like Elijah’s relationship with Oswald.  It’s a given that Penguin will end up back as a criminal, but I appreciate that Elijah was playing it straight and didn’t try to deceive Oswald, as the family did.  He accepted Oswald for who he was and didn’t care about his criminal past.  He wanted Oswald to resist giving into pain so he could have a fresh start.

Prisoners- Sasha fails to seduce Oswald

And had the family not intervened, I wonder whether Oswald would have kept going down this route.  After all, Elijah planned to leave everything for Oswald after he died, so he wanted Oswald to at least keep making a name for himself.  So with Elijah now out of the picture, I’m curious what Oswald will do next and how he’ll end up back on the Penguin path.

So “Prisoners” was decent, but again, the situation with Jim in Blackgate, I feel, didn’t explore as much territory as it could have since it felt rushed just to get Gordon out of prison.  More time could have spent here in a place where Jim deserves to be and it’s another example of Gotham not going as deep with some of its material as it could.  Does that mean it’s a bad episode?  No, but Jim’s time in prison should have spanned more than one episode.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 6, Episode 15: “East”

I know that I should be focused on the episode as a whole, but I can’t get the ending out of my head.  This is “East.”

East- Carol and Tobin talk

The episode begins with Carol packing to leave when Tobin enters.  He’s got a bruise from a slip when trying to build a new guard tower, but Carol is tuning him out as he talks about the infirmary being quiet since Denise’s death.  She just stares and nods, as most people do during conversations.  She’s more worried about how Tara will feel when she learns about Denise.

East- Michonne and Rick share an apple

That evening, while Tobin sleeps, Carol slips out.  The next morning, as everyone goes about their routines, we get Rick and Michonne in bed as the two share an apple, noting that Jesus came through with his promise on food.  Rick wants to fool around since Judith isn’t up yet, but Michonne has plans.  Maggie asked her to put up more bins and watch points- for a potential attack- and she has a detailed schedule.

As Rick and Michonne note, you don’t want to piss off a pregnant woman.  Rick promises to end the Saviors when they come because the people of Alexandria are prepared for an attack.  The world is theirs and they know how to take it.  Everything they need is right inside the walls of Alexandria and Rick won’t lose any of it again.

East- Daryl prepares to leave the Safe Zone

So Maggie, Glenn, and Michonne go over hiding spots for guns when they spot Daryl leaving the safe zone.  He doesn’t give specifics on where he’s headed and leaves before anyone can stop him.  Because Rosita has an idea of where he’s headed, she joins Glenn, Maggie, and Michonne to follow him.  Abraham is left to cover her shift.

East- Rick, Tobin, and Morgan wonder when Carol left

Tobin then gives Rick the note that Carol left, but he’s unsure when she left or if she’s on foot.  No one saw anything, and if that wasn’t enough, one of the two new cars outside the Safe Zone is now missing.  Morgan and Rick also leave to join the search, with Rick telling the others to stay back and prepare for a fight.

East- A group of Saviors confront Carol

So Carol did indeed swipe one of the missing vehicles Tobin spoke of and spots a car heading in her direction.  The men in the passing car fire at her tires, forcing her to stop.  She exits and offers the car, but the men want information about where Carol is from and where she’s headed.  Carol says that she’s Nancy from Montclair, but she’s bounced around a lot and keeps moving.

The men know about the Alexandria Safe Zone and the cars with spikes through them, just like the one Carol is driving.  Turns out these men were on the way to the zone.  Carol, pulling another hyperventilating act, tells the men that it doesn’t have to be this way and no one doesn’t to get hurt.  Then bullets cut through the men like Swiss cheese.  Good thing Carol’s right hand doubles as a gun.

However, turns out that Carol missed one of the men, but she ends up skewering him with one of the spikes.  Another of the men still lives and lunges forward with his blade.

East- Enid offers to cover Maggie's shift

Maggie joins Enid in the food pantry, telling her that she’s taking an extra shift since so many people are gone.  Before Maggie can prepare her lunch, Enid offers to take said shift for a few hours so Maggie can rest.

East- Rick and Morgan talk about Carol

On the road, Morgan tells Rick that he didn’t have to come.  It’s a long shot, but Rick still wants to try.  Morgan asks about the attack on the Savior compound, which was West, while Carol went East.  Rick tells Morgan that he doesn’t know Carol, and while that’s true, Morgan has had time to do so.  Rick then asks why Morgan is doing this.

Morgan knows that he isn’t right because there is no right.  It’s the wrong that doesn’t pull you down.  Rick believes it hasn’t pulled him down, though, but Morgan thinks that it will because he knows Rick.

East- Rick and Morgan find some Saviors

The two soon happen upon the injured men in the road.  They spot Carol’s car and Rick stabs one of the injured men that he figures for Saviors.  Judging by the blood on the spike, Morgan assumes that Carol might have been hit.  Rick is proud of Carol for taking down four Saviors, but Morgan points to the fact that Carol still left.

Morgan spots a blood trail that leads into the field.  As the two head into the field, the remaining man emerges from the woods, picks up Carol’s rosary and, for reasons I can’t determine, follows the two into the woods.

East- Rosita, Glenn, and Michonne find Daryl and try to convince him to return

Rosita, Glenn, and Michonne arrive at the train tracks where Denise died and find Daryl’s motorcycle.  Rosita wants them to just let Daryl go after the Saviors so he can let out some steam, but Glenn thinks that Daryl is going to get himself killed.

Soon enough, they find Daryl, who shoots an arrow that almost hits Rosita.  He still blames himself for letting Dwight get the best of him.  Glenn tells Daryl to stop doing this for himself since Denise is dead.  They need to figure this out at home or things will go wrong out in the woods.  Despite Glenn’s talent for speeches, Daryl refuses to return.  Hell, Rosita ends up joining him.  The two groups go their separate ways.

East- Michonne and Glenn surrounded by Saviors

Glenn tells Michonne that the Saviors could be in Alexandria right now.  Despite this, with everything the group has endured together, it’s possible they could overcome this situation, too.  To Glenn, though, between the Hilltop and the Saviors, the world is bigger than everyone realized.  At the sound of a whistle, they spot Saviors, Dwight among them, surrounding them from every direction.

East- Morgan and Rick find a patch of blood

Morgan and Rick continue their search for Carol when they find a patch of blood in the grass.  Rick is out here because Carol is family, but Morgan has learned what happened at the prison and how Rick sent Carol away due to her killing Karen and David.

If that had happened today, though, Rick would have thanked Carol or killed Karen and David himself due to the disease.  However, Rick didn’t kill Carol.  And it’s due to Rick sending Carol away that she ended up saving him at Terminus.  In Morgan’s mind, people can come back.

East- Rick reminds Morgan that he doesn't take chances anymore

The two come upon a barn and find a man who is looking for his horse.  He tells them that they’re coming and runs off as several walkers approach.  Morgan and Rick make quick work of them.  Turns out that the spear Rick finds was from the Hilltop.  Rick thinks maybe the man was looking for Carol, or, as Morgan argues, he was looking for his horse.  Rick reiterates that he doesn’t take chances anymore.

Morgan then brings up the Wolf that attacked him on the road.  He reveals that he let him live and could have killed him, but all life is precious.  He put the Wolf in the cell in hopes that he could change.  And when the walls fell and the walkers entered, that Wolf saved Denise’s life, and Denise, in turn, ended up saving Carl.  It’s all a circle, but the fact is Morgan did what he did.  Morgan tells Rick to take the car home.

So Morgan chooses to find Carol on his own, but Rick tells him that he’ll come back.  If he doesn’t, though, Morgan doesn’t want Rick looking for him.  Rick offers his gun to Morgan and then, at last, tells him that Michonne did steal that protein bar.  Well, I guess that’s closure.

East- Abraham is ready to tear the world a new asshole

Rick returns to the Safe Zone and informs Abraham that Morgan is still out there.  Even still, Michonne hasn’t returned yet, too.  Both acknowledge that they’re afraid of going back to letting someone get close, but Abraham is much more ready to tear the world a brand new asshole.

East- Maggie's new haircut

Maggie summons Enid to give her a haircut because she has to keep going and doesn’t want anything getting in her way.  I don’t think Maggie’s hair ever got in her way, but whatever.  Anyway, this transformation is interrupted when Maggie feels a sharp pain in her stomach.

East- Dwight about to shoot Daryl

We return to the Saviors, who now have a bound and gagged Glenn and Michonne.  Daryl and Rosita stalk them from afar, but the Saviors, anticipating this, surprise Daryl and Rosita from behind.  Before Daryl can respond, Dwight fires and blood spatters on the screen like something out of a first-person shooter.

Well, that was an interesting ending.  “East” is an odd episode.  We’ve spent a good amount of time with the survivors taking a preemptive strike to Negan and the Saviors in order to prevent a war, though we know that the big man himself is set to make his counterattack soon.  The stakes have been raised and you’re just waiting for the survivors to receive their comeuppance.

East- Saviors capture Rosita and Daryl

I liked this episode, but it left me flat in a few places and I’ll start with that ending.  First off, credit where it’s due, as incompetent as the Saviors have been these past few episodes, it looks like they’ve learned to anticipate an attack.  Granted, Carol still killed a few on her own, but at least the Saviors were careful enough to leave Glenn and Michonne as bait in anticipation for Daryl and Rosita.

East- Dwight shoots Daryl

But what the hell was up with that ending?  Glenn has had enough close calls for me to not buy the fake-out of Dwight killing Daryl.  Truth be told, he probably didn’t kill him so much as just wound him, but why the blood-spattering on the screen like we jumped into a horror movie?  That just took me out of the episode, even though we were already at the end.  Why not just show the impact or Daryl hitting the ground and then cut to black?

East- Glenn tries to convince Daryl to stay

And I get Daryl going on the warpath, but going in gung-ho wound up getting him captured.  In his mind, he might have been thinking straight, but he didn’t have any actual plan outside of getting revenge on Dwight.  The odds and numbers were against him.

East- Morgan admits to Rick that he kept a Wolf alive

Elsewhere, we’ve got Morgan admitting to Rick what he did involving the one Wolf.  It’s nice for him to get that off of his chest, but Morgan hasn’t changed Rick’s mind yet and this speech didn’t do much for him, either.  And while the Wolf did save Denise, she wouldn’t have been in danger in the first place if the Wolf had been taken care of in the first place.

East- Rick learns that Morgan let one of the Wolves live

Also, I call bullshit on Rick saying that he now would have thanked Carol for killing Karen and David.  People can change their minds and the Rick back then isn’t the same Rick of now, but if that’s the case, why outright banish Carol?  He could have just delivered a stern warning since he was so confident that Karen and David might have lived, which goes against him saying he would have killed them himself.

East- Morgan tells Rick that people can change

Yes, the world has hardened Rick, and maybe it’s just me not being a fan of flip-flopping, but he spoke in Karen and David’s defense to the point that he chose to banish Carol from the group.  I would buy him saying that he’d have done things differently rather than saying he would have killed them himself.

And Rick still doesn’t take chances, but that’s my problem with Morgan admitting what he did with the Wolf- it didn’t do anything but just fill in Rick.  Given how Rick knows that Morgan let those other Wolves live, I doubt he would have done anything drastic here when he didn’t before.

East- Rick tells Morgan that Michonne took his protein bar

At the very least, I appreciate the moment of levity at the end where Rick tells Morgan that Michonne ate his protein bar.  It didn’t feel forced and was a nice way to break the tension.

East- Carol about to kill a batch of Saviors

Carol doesn’t seem too far gone just yet, but just like her interaction with Alicia, she doesn’t want to be put in a situation where she’s forced to kill.  There’s anguish and pain in her voice and all over her face when she tells the Saviors that no one has to get hurt.  She’s no pushover.  When it comes down to her or someone else, she’ll defend herself, but she hates having to kill.

Moving forward, though, a lot of the power players are now outside the Safe Zone and it makes me wonder who is going to end up meeting Negan.  Maggie seems safe since she’s got pregnancy problems right now- if that’s indeed what’s causing her pain- but Rick and Abraham look like they’re about to head out, you’ve got Morgan looking for Carol, then Daryl, Rosita, Michonne, and Glenn.

“East” wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.  It might be my least favorite episode of this second half of the season right now.  That might change on a second viewing, but Carol killing a handful of Saviors didn’t make up for everyone being scattered and putting themselves in the Saviors’ crosshairs right when they’re all needed to defend Alexandria.

A Look at Gotham- Season 2, Episode 15: “Wrath of the Villains: Mad Grey Dawn”

Okay, no riddles this episode, but Nygma’s certainly got a way of getting Jim Gordon in trouble that he, admittedly, deserves for killing Theo Galavan, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Mad Grey Dawn- Nygma at the Gotham Museum of Art

The episode begins at the Gotham Museum of Art, where Edward Nygma sets off a spark that leads up a wire trail on a bomb sculpture.  However, it just ends up setting off sparks.  Nygma uses the distraction to cut out a piece of art and spray paint a green question mark in its place.  GCPD arrive later and find the question mark.

Mad Grey Dawn- Barnes tells Bullock and Gordon about the museum attack

At GCPD, rather than speak with the officers at the scene, Barnes shows security footage to Gordon and Bullock.  No one was hurt, luckily.  Bullock wonders why he and Gordon have been summoned since there’s a robbery squad case, but they’re on it regardless of whether a bomb detonates.

Barnes keeps Gordon around and informs him that Internal Affairs is reopening the file on Galavan’s murder due to an anonymous tip claiming that the person say Gordon, not Penguin, murder Theo Galavan at the docks.  Could be a prank call, but the call came with a detail not released to the public: the umbrella.  Gordon figures someone in the GCPD is making trouble for him again.

Gordon reiterates that he didn’t kill Galavan.  Before he can leave the station, Nygma swings by, ready for his sit-down to talk about Miss Kringle.  Gordon takes a rain check to investigate the museum heist- an act Nygma calls very bold.  Gordon tells Nygma not to worry, as he’ll get to the bottom of what happened to Miss Kringle.

Mad Grey Dawn- Penguin apologizes to Butch and Tabitha

Butch, not in the mood for guessing games, gets an unexpected visit from Penguin, who shows his certificate that declares him sane.  He thought it would be rude to pass up visiting an old friend.  Then he offers a cupcake, though Tabitha reminds Penguin that he not only killed Theo, but he also brainwashed Butch into being his slave.  Penguin apologizes and promises that he’s a good person now.

Tabitha taunts Penguin, telling him that she thought about visiting Gertrude’s grave because her sobs would lull her to sleep at night.  When Penguin doesn’t get angry, Butch and Tabitha believe that Arkham’s treatment must have worked.  Butch goes as far as saying that Penguin is just a pathetic shell of his former self, no longer a threat to anyone.  He opts to let Penguin go and reminds Tabitha that he’s calling the shots.  Butch declares the two square.

However, Tabitha still wants to dole out some kind of punishment.

Mad Grey Dawn- Gordon tells Bullock that Internal Affairs is reopening the Galavan murder case

At the art museum, Gordon tells Bullock about the anonymous call that led to the reopening of Galavan’s murder.  We then learn that Bullock has a pal in Internal Affairs named Ginny, and Gordon hopes that Bullock can use his connections to find out what I.A. has on him.

Mad Grey Dawn- Mr. Thatch, played by Jerry Dixon, tells Gordon and Bullock about the defaced art

Gordon and Bullock then speak with Mr. Thatch, played by Jerry Dixon, who informs the two that the stolen painting, titled “Mad Grey Dawn,” depicted a railway explosion on Bloody Monday.  It’s a minor work, but two more valuable paintings have also been defaced with similar question marks.

Gordon surmises that the perp is sending a message.  That message?  Gordon has no idea.  He notes that the question marks are painted above the painter’s names.  Going by the names, “Marche” means market and “LaRue” is the road.  Or rather, street.  Market Street.  Guess what day it is?  Monday.  And Union Railway Station is on Market Street.  Gordon and Bullock head off while Nygma, at the same time, loads an explosive in his car.

Mad Grey Dawn- Gordon and Bullock find the bomb at the train station

Gordon and Bullock arrive just as the train station is evacuated.  As Nygma watches from a distance and sets off a timer, Gordon hears the device ticking inside one of the lockers.  He takes a nearby crowbar to pry open the locker, removes the bomb, and tosses it into a column just as the bomb detonates.  Nygma heads off, pleased with his handiwork.

Mad Grey Dawn- Selina and Bruce meet up with Ivy

We then cut to Clare Foley as Ivy’s plant care is interrupted by the arrival of Selina and Bruce.  Selina explains that Bruce is staying with her for awhile and informs Bruce that Ivy works for a gang that runs the magic mushroom trade.  Magic mushrooms apparently give you visions, energy, or help you sleep.  The gang is run by Butch’s nephew, Sonny, and his merry band of losers.  They’re illegal, meaning there’s a ton of cash around.

Bruce hesitates, but then asks how Selina plans to rob them.  But they won’t.  Bruce reminds Selina that he didn’t bring money because he wanted to survive on his own, without Bruce Wayne.  He doesn’t mind stealing if it’s from criminals.  Ivy introduces Selina and Bruce to Psilocybe Arkrescens, also known as the Blue Devil.  She’s slipped a few in the gang’s lunch today, so the three just wait for the gang to enter a state of relaxed bliss.  And Ivy knows.

Mad Grey Dawn- Barnes and Gordon look at the question mark and wonder why

Back at the train station, Gordon tells Barnes that he believes the attacker wanted them to find the bomb, as if he’s playing a game.  No clues with this recent question mark, though, meaning the perp is either keeping it a surprise or taking a break.  Barnes wants all resources on this.

Mad Grey Dawn- Nygma congratulates Gordon on solving the case

Not too far, Nygma receives Officer Pinkey’s signature for a chain of custody form.  He then speaks with Gordon, who now insists that Ed call him Jim, about how he saved the day.  Gordon calls it luck, but Nygma doesn’t believe in luck.  Gordon wants Ed to oversee forensics to maybe get something on the bomb’s signature or trace elements.  With no idea what the bomber wants, Gordon figures it must be a dangerous person.

Mad Grey Dawn- Bruce and Selina attempt to rob one of the gangsters

So Bruce and Selina head upstairs and find the passed out gang members and their money.  One suddenly wakes up, but Bruce assures him that he’s dreaming.  He tells him that if he hands over the can of money and goes back to sleep, he’ll be able to fly.  The two, hearing noise, attempt to flee a trio of men that suddenly enter.  Among them is Butch’s nephew, Sonny, played by Paul Pilcz, who has his men take in Bruce and Selina.

Mad Grey Dawn- Penguin visits Nygma

Nygma gets an unexpected visit from Penguin, who is now covered in tar and feathers.  Nygma is glad to see Oswald and the two catch up, with Penguin glad that Butch and Tabitha didn’t kill him.  He then tells Ed that violence and anger are not the answer.  If Oswald can change, so can Ed, but Nygma shoots it down.  He’s hitting his stride and is grateful for Penguin’s advice, particularly what he said about Jim Gordon.

After all, it’s helped Nygma create the perfect puzzle to eliminate his Jim Gordon dilemma.  He’d share, but the new Penguin is freaking him out right now.  With that, Penguin heads on his merry way.

Mad Grey Dawn- Bullock tells Gordon that he's the prime suspect in Galavan's murder

Back at GCPD, Bullock shares intel from his friend at I.A.: apparently the snitch said that Penguin was beating Galavan when Jim stepped in and killed him.  Gordon, now worried, believes that someone was there that night.  That or, as Bullock believes, Penguin talked.  After all, he did just get out of Arkham.  And he was there for a crime that Gordon committed, so it’s not impossible that he held a grudge and talked when he was arrested.

Even more than this, the witness agreed to swear out a statement.  Internal Affairs has officially reopened the investigation, with Gordon as the primary suspect in Galavan’s murder.

Mad Grey Dawn- Bruce gets his ass beaten

Sonny gets no response for Butch, so he and Selina have a spat.  She wants Sonny to let him go in exchange for her not ratting him out, but Sonny rejects the offer.  After all, the Gilzeans are all about consequences.  Just as Sonny is about to have Selina test the mushroom, Bruce calls him cowardly for assaulting a girl.  Never mind that Selina Kyle is no ordinary girl, but this earns Bruce a punch in the stomach.

Now on the ground, Bruce remembers Alfred’s words from the previous episode about outlasting a big man.  This meaning nothing since Sonny beats the ever living shit out of him anyway until Selina intervenes.  She and Bruce put the boys down in a few seconds, giving them enough time to escape.  Okay.

Mad Grey Dawn- Elijah Van Dahl, played by Paul Reubens, learns that Oswald is his son

Penguin visits his mother’s grave, apologizing that he couldn’t attend the funeral.  He thinks that she would be proud of him changing.  But he doesn’t know if he’ll make it without her.  A man nearby joins with lillies.  The man introduces himself as Elijah Van Dahl, played by Pee-Wee Herman himself, Paul Reubens, and recognizes the name “Cobblepot” when Oswald introduces himself.

Elijah asks Oswald’s age- 31 years old- and realizes that Gertrude never told him that he had a son.

Mad Grey Dawn- Leslie and Jim have dinner

Now for a domestic scene.  Jim and Leslie have a quiet dinner, with Jim receiving no word on the bomber yet.  He just wants to know the man’s end game, which might be why he’s not eating.  Well, no, there’s another reason.  He tells Leslie about Internal Affairs reopening the investigation.  Leslie is upset that Jim lied to her, but he defends himself, saying that they couldn’t have left Gotham City.  He promises to find a way to fix this.

Mad Grey Dawn- Nygma about to kill Officer Pinkney

Nygma visits Officer Pinkney at his home to tell a joke: what do you call a tavern of blackbirds?  A crow bar, which Nygma uses to bash Pinkney.

Mad Grey Dawn- Elijah tells Oswald how he first met Gertrude

Elijah brings Oswald to his mansion, where he takes a bubble bath and freshens up.  Elijah explains that Gertrude came to work as a cook for his parents.  Elijah, being a foolish, romantic boy, could not keep the secret for long before his parents found out.  They then forbade the two from being together, as Elijah was the heir to a great fortune, while Gertrude was just a cook.

He threatened to run away- possibly to a random playhouse- and turn his back on his family name and inheritance.  It was the first and only time he stood up to them, but his parents called his bluff.  The next day, Gertrude was gone.  His parents told him that they’d made an arrangement: Gertrude would be taken care of, but Elijah must never make an attempt to find her.  He didn’t.  As such, he never learned that he had a son.

But Oswald reveals that Gertrude him that his father died when he was still a baby, which might have been easier than revealing that his father was a coward.  Elijah figures that Penguin, a strong young man, must have done well under Gertrude’s careful eye.  But now, Penguin doesn’t have to be alone in the world.  He has a father, a home, and a big, happy family that will be thrilled to meet him.  Penguin asks Elijah if he’s dreaming, but it’s no dream.  Oswald is home.

Elsewhere, Jim receives a phone call from Bullock.  Based on forensics’ findings, the timer on the bomb was activated remotely via phone, which gave the bomber time to plant and set it off when he wanted it.  The phone number came from a pay phone inside 17 West Dewy Avenue.

Mad Grey Dawn- Barnes finds Gordon in Pinkney's home

So Gordon investigates said pay phone, but ends up entering a nearby room where he finds Pinkney’s body.  But then he spots Barnes entering and the two wonder why the other is present.  Barnes orders Jim to put his gun on the floor.  Jim does, but he explains that he was following up a lead on the bomber investigation.

He didn’t know that this was Pinkney’s apartment.  As for why Barnes was here, he received a message from Pinkney and wanted to talk about Jim.  Barnes tosses Jim a pair of handcuffs, telling him that he has to take him down to the precinct.

Mad Grey Dawn- Selina stitches up Bruce

Selina is apparently good at stitches, because she puts Bruce back together as best she can, though his left eye is still bruised.  She thinks that Sonny was right about Bruce liking pain.  Bruce explains that when he got the hell beaten out of him, it was like nothing else existed.  Everything else he struggled with, the emptiness and confusion, just vanished.  For the first time in a while, he knew he was going to be okay.  Whatever Sonny did, Bruce wouldn’t be broken.

But Selina tells him that no one is unbreakable.  Selina is a dick.  And technically wrong.  She ever meet Clark Kent?

Mad Grey Dawn- Barnes believes that Gordon killed Pinkney

At GCPD, Barnes shows Gordon the file on Pinkney’s murder- the cause due to blunt force trauma to the head with a crowbar found under the couch.  With Gordon’s fingerprints.  Jim remembers that he picked up a crowbar at Union Station to open the locker.  He figures that someone picked it up, but how would that someone know that Gordon would visit Pinkney’s?

Gordon reiterates that he was following up on a lead based on what forensics found.  Bullock can and has already backed him up, but when Barnes asked him about the report, there was no mention of a remote timer or traced call.  Turns out that Nygma removed that information from the report.  Jim argues that he has no reason to kill Pinkney, but Barnes gives him one: Pinkney was the anonymous witness that fingered him.

Barnes then presents an Internal Affairs form found at Pinkney’s home- the exact same statement that the anonymous tipster made, but Pinkney signed this with his own name.  Barnes figures that Pinkney didn’t want to put himself out there, so he sent in the anonymous tip instead, figuring that Gordon would get nasty.  Though Barnes has no idea how Jim figured out Pinkney was the witness, he still thinks that Gordon killed him.

And Barnes is still suspicious of what happened with Galavan and Gordon that night.  And now, the one person about to shine a light on this is found dead with Gordon standing over his body.  Jim calls this a setup, but Barnes doesn’t buy it.  The least Jim could do is admit what he did.  Barnes still wants to believe that Jim is a good cop, but Jim wants to talk to his rep.  Barnes, now heartbroken, calls Jim a disgrace to the badge and has him hauled off to county.

Mad Grey Dawn- Jim found guilty

We then jump ahead four weeks later and learn that the murder trial of Detective Jim Gordon just ended with the jury giving a unanimous guilty verdict.  Jim is sentenced to the maximum of 40 years served at Blackgate Penitentiary.

Bruce watches the events unfold on television and figures that something here isn’t right. This is apparently the biggest news story of the day, because it’s also overheard at Arkham Asylum, just as Barbara awakens.  The nurse calls for Professor Strange.

Mad Grey Dawn- Leslie tells Jim that she plans to fight this

Leslie visits Jim and tells him that they’ll plan to fight this, no matter what.  Jim figures that he’s far from innocent and wants to move on, as in Leslie moves on.  But she’s tired of listening and wants Jim to be with her and the baby.  Jim wants her to have a chance at happiness by going somewhere far away that’s fit to raise a child.  She should forget that he exists.  Leslie still refuses, but Jim tells her that he won’t respond to any attempt she makes to contact him.

Mad Grey Dawn- Family toast

Back at Elijah’s, Oswald is welcomed into the family with open arms and hearts.  Oswald is grateful for this warmth.  The family toasts.

Mad Grey Dawn- Gordon arrives at Blackgate

Jim is transferred into Blackgate, with Bullock promising to find out who set him up.  This is far from over.

Not bad.  “Mad Grey Dawn” as a whole might not have been a great episode, as the two subplots often weren’t as engaging as the main storyline, but the serialized approach actually ended up working in Gotham’s favor this time as Jim found the walls and Nygma closing around him.

Mad Grey Dawn- Ivy tells Bruce about her mushrooms

But let’s start with the things that didn’t work.  First off, Bruce and Selina’s encounter with Butch’s nephew.  It was nice to see Clare Foley as Ivy Pepper again- like David Mazouz, she’s also done some growing up since the last time we saw her- as I do find her performance creepy enough to fit with Gotham’s tone.

Mad Grey Dawn- Bruce hears Alfred's words for nothing

It’s the stuff with Bruce that didn’t work for me.  He wants to survive on his own and the first thing he does is try to prove that he’s durable.  But one barb from Sonny about Bruce’s parents is enough to send him into a frenzy.  More than that, he got his ass kicked.  Badly.  Selina’s interference saved him and Bruce should know that she’s capable of handling herself.  And for all of Alfred’s advice about fighting someone bigger than you, it didn’t amount to anything.

Mad Grey Dawn- Paul Reubens as Elijah

So there’s that.  Meanwhile, you’re usually in for a good time whenever Paul Reubens is on the scene and he’s good in his first appearance as Oswald Cobblepot’s long-lost father.  Well, second appearance, technically, since he played this role in Batman Returns, but right now, it’s a good way for Oswald to have some semblance of hope.

Mad Grey Dawn- Happy Penguin

Penguin trying to straighten things with Butch, as well as his failed attempt to catch up with Nygma, showed that he’s alone right now.  He’s not the king of Gotham or, hell, he’s not even the Penguin right now.  Like Butch said, he’s harmless, as if Arkham’s treatment not just took away his edge, but effectively neutered him.  Now, having made contact with his father, he has a chance to make a connection.

Mad Grey Dawn- Toast to family

But it makes you wonder just what Elijah wants from Oswald, if at all.  So Penguin is in an interesting transition right now.  He doesn’t have an empire to rule, but he does have a home and family.  I’m interested to see how long the domesticated Penguin will be here, but it’s an adjustment I enjoy watching because Penguin, with good writing, is still one of the more interesting characters on Gotham.

Mad Grey Dawn- Nygma about to set off his explosive

Onto the main storyline, though.  Since Nygma killed Dougherty, he’s slowly been going down a dark path that he’s continued to walk when he killed Miss Kringle.  Granted, I still question why he had to kill to go on this path, but it’s helped paint a more reserved Edward Nygma that talks to himself, had split personalities, and was even openly angry towards Bullock.

Mad Grey Dawn- Nygma has a plan for Jim

Edward Nygma is a smart man.  What makes him such a compelling character in Batman mythos is his ability to stay one step ahead of those coming after him.  We’re getting shades of that early Riddler here in, I’ll admit, a pretty good plan to remove Gordon from the equation.  So to keep Gordon from finding out about Miss Kringle, he sets him up for the murder of both Galavan and Pinkney.

Mad Grey Dawn- Jim is caught

Granted, Jim did kill Pinkney, but until this anonymous tipster, Gordon seemed to be off the hook.  In fact, remember that Leslie originally offered to talk with Nygma about Miss Kringle.  Had Jim not opted to do it himself, I wonder whether Nygma would have even tried to set him up in the first place.

Mad Grey Dawn- Nygma gets Pinkney to sign a form

So instead of Nygma leaving clues and riddles at each crime, he takes careful steps to make sure Gordon can’t talk his way out of a nasty situation when caught.  The crowbar at the train station, the chain of custody form, using Pinkney as a pawn, and both removing and planting evidence to ensure Gordon’s guilt all fit for someone like Nygma.  It helped that, from Gordon’s perspective, there was no logic to it all.  To him, it was just a random bomber.

And that random bomber, who has been under his nose the entire time and knows how he thinks, one-upped him without exposing himself.  Let’s be clear, Jim isn’t in the right.  He did still murder Theo Galavan and had to make sure Penguin didn’t expose him.  He’s committing one wrong to prevent future crimes, never mind that such an idea isn’t possible in a place like Gotham City.

Mad Grey Dawn- Jim speaks with Leslie

So now he’s down for two murders.  The Galavan framing is justified since he did do that, but Nygma had enough to implicate him for Pinkney as well.  Gordon couldn’t wiggle his way out of this like before and Barnes had him pegged down right when he compared him to perps who say they were set up for their crimes.

Mad Grey Dawn- Leslie vows to help Jim through his ordeal

What I don’t fully get is the time jump four weeks later and Leslie now wanting to fight this.  Huh?  All this time, she’s been railing on Jim for lying to her, and now that he’s been exposed, she wants to defend him to the end?  Shouldn’t she at least admonishing him for his actions now that there’s no denying his involvement in Galavan’s murder?  It’s a strange switch after she called him out for his duplicity.

Mad Grey Dawn- Barbara awakens

And like her brief appearance in “A Dead Man Feels No Cold,” I didn’t see the need for Barbara to be here this week.  Hell, we could have just had the nurse tell Strange that Barbara had awakened.  Or, better yet, save it for when it’s relevant to the plot.

While the Bruce and Selina stuff in “Mad Grey Dawn” didn’t work, Penguin’s shot at having a family and Nygma taking Gordon out of the precinct for now made for quite an interesting episode.  And since Nygma is a main character and not just a one-off, we know there’s more to come with his plan, especially with Bullock promising to get to the bottom of this.

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 6, Episode 14: “Twice As Far”

Well, that was a surprise.  Not that it happened, mind you, but the timing and the target threw me for a loop.  You want that in a show like The Walking Dead, though it should be noted again that if we’re spending a good amount of time with a character who normally doesn’t get that much attention, keep an eye out.

Okay, I’m finished.

Twice As Far- Rick asks Morgan why he's building a prison

The episode begins in what could be a tribute to Groundhog Day in Alexandria as the citizens go about their daily routines.  Morgan is putting the finishing touches on his jail cell when Rick arrives and asks Morgan why.  Morgan responds that it will give the citizens some choices for next time.  As Meredith takes inventory, we go about another daily routine.  Carol still has the crucifix from the previous episode, even.  Rosita heads out, leaving Spencer in bed.

Twice As Far- Carol and Daryl talk

Daryl eyes the figurines he swiped from Dwight when Carol joins him, glad that he got his bike back.  She asks him about the people he saved in the burned forest.  Carol isn’t upset him saving them because that’s who he is, but Daryl wishes that he had killed them.  He then asks Carol about the people who took her and Maggie hostage and what they did.  But she responds that they didn’t do anything.

While Eugene and Abraham head out for a run, Rosita tries to cut short Spencer’s small talk and dinner invitation.  In fact, she wants to know what the hell they’re doing.  Rosita soon relents and agrees to dinner.

Twice As Far- Denise tells Daryl and Rosita about a store that may have drugs

Soon after, Denise informs Rosita and Daryl about Edison’s Apothecary and Boutique: a gift shop in a strip mall that may also have drugs.  There’s no guarantee of any drugs still being there, but Denise just wants to be sure.  As in she wants to also go outside the walls.

It helps that Daryl and Rosita don’t have anything to do right now. Now Denise has spent next to no time out there, and while she may be able to identify the meds, Rosita is against her joining.

Denise may know how to use a machete and have seen roamers up close, but she’s inexperienced.  When she offers to go alone, Daryl and Rosita have little option but to play babysitter.  I imagine this isn’t how they envisioned spending their day.

Twice As Far- Denise, Rosita, and Daryl on the road

On the road, Denise gives Daryl front seat tips about driving stick when the three eventually reach a fallen tree in the road.  Daryl and Rosita head out and begin removing the debris while Denise watches from the safety of the truck.  The three go on foot, with Daryl and Denise going through the woods while Rosita follows the train tracks.  Given the group’s history with train tracks, I’m not against Daryl’s decision to follow the road.

Twice As Far- Abraham asks Eugene about his new appearance

Back to Abraham and Eugene, who make small talk on their run.  Abraham is curious about Eugene’s recent change in appearance.  For Eugene, like any RPG or electronic, the key to survival is allowing oneself to be shaped by the assigned environment.

In doing so, you acquire a broad range of skills, allowing you to flip the script and use said skills to shape the environment for maximum longevity.  Right now, Eugene is in Stage Two as a survivor

Twice As Far- Rosita, Daryl, and Denise find the store

Daryl and Denise catch up to Rosita and the three find a rundown strip mall.  They head for the Edison store, with Daryl telling Denise to stay back while he and Rosita head in.

Twice As Far- Abraham saves Eugene from a walker

At the same time, Abraham and Eugene also enter a building with a lot of machinery.  Abraham is lost on why the two are here, but Eugene tells him that they’re going to manufacture bullets here.  This has been on his mind for some time.  Abraham is skeptical, but with a thorough scrubbing and some lead, Eugene is certain he can do this here.  That is some damn fine thinking outside of the box.

Eugene wants to inform Rick and Olivia, but before this, he runs into some trouble with a walker that’s got some melted steel encased on its head.  Abraham ends up taking it out, even though Eugene claims he had full control of the situation.  Abraham tells Eugene that he needs to learn fast if he’s serious about surviving in this world.

In addition, Abraham believes that Eugene’s skillset lies with ghosting hostilities and making bullets. However, Eugene believes that Abraham has outlived his usefulness to him.  With that, Abraham heads off since his services are no longer required.  So Eugene can find his own way home.

Twice As Far- Denise makes too much noise in the shop

Rosita, Daryl, and Denise enter the abandoned store and examine every nook and cranny of the shop.  Daryl soon finds the pharmacy.  While he and Rosita go for everything in sight, they hear a noise that they believe is coming from just one walker.  They go back to packing, but Denise arms herself and heads inside.  Inside, she finds an abandoned playroom and a walker that’s not worth the trouble.  “Hush” is scrawled on the walls.

She rushes out, making a shit ton of noise in the process, so she ends up waiting outside. Daryl and Rosita soon join her, and while Daryl says that she did a good job finding this place, Rosita reiterates that Denise wasn’t ready for this.

On the walk back, Denise tells Daryl that her brother, Dennis, was older than her by a few minutes.  Nothing scared him.  He was brave, but also angry.  A dangerous combination.  Sounds a lot like Merle.  Daryl elects to walk the train tracks since, as Denise said, it’s faster.

Twice As Far- Denise eventually takes down a walker

Denise checks a nearby car that is holding both a walker and cooler.  She wants it, though there’s no guarantee of anything inside, but Daryl and Rosita say it’s not worth it.  True as this is, Denise opens the car door and gets the cooler, but the walker falls on top of her.  Before Rosita and Daryl can save her, Denise stabs the walker in the head.  And then she vomits on her glasses.  And what’s in the cooler?  Pop, including a can of Orange Crush.

Twice As Far- Denise defends her stupid actions

Daryl is beyond pissed because Denise could have died, but Denise’s rationale is that you take chances to survive.  This was a big moment for her because she’s got training in this shit.  She asked Daryl to come because he’s brave, and Rosita because she’s afraid.  More than that, they give her hope that she can as strong as them.

She could’ve told Tara that she loved her, but she was afraid.  That was stupid- not facing her shit.  But Daryl and Rosita aren’t even trying.

Twice As Far- Denise takes an arrow to the eye

Denise’s rant is interrupted when, out of nowhere, a bolt goes straight through her right eye.  She falls to the ground just as a group of Saviors emerge from the woods.  Among them, a slightly scarred Dwight, who has Eugene as a captive.  Dwight is, of course, glad to see his old pal.  The Saviors disarm Dwight and Rosita, with Daryl regretting that he didn’t kill Dwight.  So who brought this on who?

Twice As Far- Dwight has Eugene as a captive

Dwight laments that Denise wasn’t the one he was aiming for, but he’s still getting used to the crossbow.  He tells Rosita and Daryl that they’ll be letting him and the other Saviors into Alexandria so they can take whatever and whomever they want or they’ll kill Eugene.  Dwight doesn’t want it to come to that.  Eugene gives up Abraham’s location, saying that he deserves to die more than them.

Twice As Far- Eugene takes Dwight's dick in his mouth

Eugene makes his move by biting Dwight in the crotch.  Abraham springs into action as he, Daryl, and Rosita open fire on the Saviors and approaching walkers.  The remaining Saviors fall back, but Daryl does manage to retrieve his crossbow.  The three take Eugene back with them while Denise’s lifeless body rests on the train tracks.

Twice As Far- Abraham apologizes for questioning Eugene's skill

Back in Alexandria, Eugene will live to see another day due to a bullet just grazing him.  He tells Abraham that he was just looking for a moment.  Abraham apologizes for questioning Eugene’s skills.  It helps that Eugene knows how to bite a dick, and Abraham means that with the utmost respect.

Twice As Far- Abraham speaks with Sasha

Abraham meets with Sasha to tell her that they both have choices.  It could be 30 years for them both in Alexandria, but that’s still too short.  Sasha invites him inside.

Twice As Far- Daryl and Carol bury Denise

Daryl and Carol, meanwhile, bury Denise’s body.  Well, Daryl digs, with Carol admitting that he was right about what he said earlier.

We then overhear Carol’s narration in a letter to Tobin as she ends her relationship with him.  There’s everything they need to live within the walls, but what they want, other people want, too.  If they survive this threat, there will be another.  She loves everyone, but she won’t kill for them.  Rick sent her away, but she wound up staying.

Now, she can’t love anymore because she can’t kill for anyone, so she’s going, like she always should have.  Also, don’t come after her.  Morgan watches the now empty porch swing drift in the wind as the episode comes to a close.

Well, that happened.  “Twice As Far” was a good episode.  It advanced the plot for several characters, gave us development for Abraham, Eugene, and Denise, put the survivors in another conflict with the Saviors, and pushes up closer to Negan’s first appearance.

Twice As Far- Saviors confront Daryl and Rosita

With two episodes left and Negan yet to appear, it was a given that a character would be meeting their end.  Not just because of Negan’s reputation, but to tip the scales and make things a bit more balanced.  As is, once again, our survivors found themselves in a confrontation with the Saviors and, for the most part, came out on top.  Yes, they lost Denise, but they still ended up forcing the Saviors to retreat.

Twice As Far- Denise rants to Daryl and Rosita

But not without a major loss.  Like Bob before her, the second we started learning more about Denise and her becoming more outspoken, it was a red flag.  Unlike Aaron or Heath, Denise hasn’t spent a lot of time outside the walls, so this was a big change for her to prove her worth to herself and Daryl and Rosita.  It allowed her to vent.  We dug a bit into her past as well, with her upbringing having similarities with Daryl’s.

Twice As Far- Denise stabs a walker

Like other Alexandria residents, Denise looked up to the new survivors because they have next to no fear of walkers or living outside of a safe zone.  That’s what they’ve known for so long, but Denise had the advantage of being sheltered in Alexandria.  For Daryl and Rosita, taking a chance on a supply run is nothing to them at all.  Denise, though, lacked experience to survive for long, but given the chance, she proved she could eventually hold her own.

Twice As Far- Denise still talking with an arrow in her eye

And then she dies.  In addition to Eugene biting Dwight’s crotch- more on that in a minute- I didn’t expect the show to adapt the death by crossbow to the eye.  Or, at least, I didn’t expect it to be Denise.  I still thought it would have been Abraham, given the time we spent with him and Eugene, but then boom, Denise takes a bolt to the eye.  Like the comic, it was a gruesome sight to watch her try and keep talking despite the mortal wound.

The 100- Lexa

Brief-aside on Denise’s death.  People apparently are taking issue with this because Denise is a lesbian and, based off what happened on The 100, is another case of television shows killing off a gay character.  First off, no.  Second, no.  Denise was the doctor.  Her sexuality was not her defining character trait.

And really, anyone can die on this show.  Not sure why I’m making this point because it’s not like I’ve got any sort of audience.

No Way Out- Carl gets shot through the eye

Then there’s the argument that Carl managed to survive his eye injury, but Denise did not.  Here’s the difference: once Carl had been shot, Rick and Michonne immediately abandoned their escape plan and rushed to the infirmary so Denise could save his life.  Here, Denise is the doctor, so who else has the medical expertise to save her life?  In addition, the group wasn’t in the Safe Zone, so there was no immediate way to save her.

Twice As Far- Rosita is apparently alone

Another side-note, why does Denise think that Rosita is alone?  The two don’t seem like the closest of friends, and Rosita has been out with the others to ambush the Saviors. The breakup with Abraham hasn’t been that long, so how would Denise infer this? Though I guess an argument could be made that Spencer is just a rebound.

Twice As Far- Eugene has a plan to stockpile bullets

Anyway, then you’ve got Eugene, who the show is setting up in a great way when it comes to his plan of manufacturing bullets.  This could end up having a big payoff, but I’ll leave it at that for now without getting into comic territory.  Eugene’s arc has also been about proving himself, which he’s had to do even more after admitting that he lied.  He aided the others during “No Way Out,” so he has what it takes to survive.

Twice As Far- Eugene about to take in Dwight's dick

So it’s refreshing to see him change his appearance and demeanor for the sake of adaptation.  The world is changing and bullets are valuable, so he’s showing how he can be of use to stockpile ammunition.  And he’s a quick thinker for biting Dwight in the crotch.  He allowed Abraham, Rosita, and Daryl a moment to take care of the Saviors and proved to Abraham that he has valuable skills.  Even if they involve his mouth and a man’s dick.

Twice As Far- Carol watches Daryl dig

As for Carol, it feels like we’re missing something.  It’s not unlike her to just vanish without a trace.  And I get the feeling that her talks with Daryl confirmed what she experienced in “The Same Boat,” but maybe a short conversation with Rick or someone else would have been nice instead of just having her explanation spelled out through a letter and closing narration.

“Twice As Far” put our survivors in another winning battle against the Saviors, but that came with a price in Denise’s death before Tara could admit her feelings for her.  It gave Abraham and Eugene a bit of growth as both made bold steps to adapt in the ever-changing world.  Not everything worked, as Carol’s decision to leave felt a bit odd, but with two episodes left, here’s hoping we get an explanation of where she’s headed next.

A Look at Gotham- Season 2, Episode 14: “Wrath of the Villains: This Ball of Mud and Meanness”

So we’re putting Mr. Freeze aside for the moment to catch up with Bruce Wayne as he confronts the man who killed his parents.  Should Matches Malone prepare to die?  Let’s see.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Oswald speaks with his mother in a dream sequence

The episode begins with a dream sequence as a bound and gagged Penguin dines with Gertrude.  She tells him that life is hard, but Penguin is special.  However, Penguin number 2 appears behind Gertrude and hits her over the head with a bat.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Penguin and the ice cream test

Penguin’s therapy continues as Dr. Hugo Strange and Miss Peabody watch their subject go through the treatment.  Next up is the ice cream test.  Penguin enters the cafeteria with ice cream on his plate, unsure how he got it.  The inmate wants to know why Penguin has it.  What the hell makes him so special?  Penguin shows no violent reaction as the inmate chokes him to find out about the ice cream, even the flavor.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Selina gives Bruce a gun

Bruce meets Selina to get his gun.  Though he looks afraid, Bruce assures her that he’s anything but.  Selina warns Bruce that guns aren’t for protection or show, but one thing.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Leslie tells Jim that Kristen has been missing for some time

At GCPD, Leslie speaks with Jim and gives him Kristen Kringle’s final paychecks from Human Resources.  Apparently, no one knows where she is and she has no forwarding address.  No one’s talked to Ed, and Leslie didn’t want to worry him, so Jim will look into it instead of missing persons.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Alfred and Bruce prepare to find information on Matches

At Wayne Manor, Bruce informs Alfred that he’s ready for the dangerous manhunt.  When the two hit the streets, Bruce is to follow Alfred’s lead.  Alfred goes over Malone’s recent information, including one ally in Blackgate Penitentiary.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bruce and Alfred speak with Mr. Cupcake, played by Jamar Greene

So Bruce and Alfred infiltrate some underground fighting ring to speak with Mr. Cupcake, played by Jamar Greene.  Cupcake presents himself and Alfred explains that he’s looking for Matches Malone.  Bruce Wayne, against his best judgment, gives his name and offers money for information about his parents’ killer.  Cupcake wants a million, which is too much for Bruce, so he knocks it down to $50,000 instead.  Cupcake won’t hurt Bruce, but Alfred has to fight him first.

Alfred doesn’t figure him as a fighter, but he’s in Cupcake’s house.  Bruce offers $100,000 and no fighting, but Cupcake says it’s fight or nothing.  Well, when you put it like that, Alfred doesn’t have much of a choice.  So even though Bruce did the talking, it’s Alfred’s time to enter the ring.  He warns Bruce to picks his battles, not the other way around.  The fight doesn’t stop until someone says uncle or goes to sleep.

So the two fight, with Cupcake eventually managing to overtake Alfred as he beats the hell out of him.  Bruce says uncle, but Alfred soon fights back and gets Cupcake in a chokehold.  If you’re going to beat a big man, you just have to outlast him.  Cupcake soon taps out and the fight ends.  Cupcake tells the two to see Jeri at the Celestial Gardens on the East Side for information.  Alfred thanks Cupcake before passing out.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bruce and Alfred in the hospital

We cut to a hospital, where Alfred advises Bruce to stay until he’s better.  As Alfred rests, Bruce leaves.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Hugo Strange plays word association with Penguin

Back at Arkham, Strange plays word association with Penguin and stops on the word remorse.  Remorse is progress and huge, Strange says, but Penguin feels terrible about things he’s done.  But remorse is a normal sign, and Penguin wants to be good.

Strange congratulates Penguin on his progress into his real self: a kind, decent man.  A few more sessions and he’ll be a new man.  Penguin fears more therapy, but Strange tells him that it is making him better.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Jim asks Nygma about Miss Kringle

In the medical examiner’s lab at GCPD, Jim asks Nygma if he’s heard at all from Kristen.  Nygma responds with a riddle: I’m strong as a rock, but a word can destroy me.  The answer?  Silence.

Jim asks Nygma about Dougherty and how things went south with him and Kristen.  Nygma mentions her note, which he didn’t hold onto as a keepsake.  Luckily, Jim gets a phone call that sends him on his way.  When Jim leaves, Nygma wonders aloud whether Jim is trying to outsmart him.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bullock and Gordon visit Alfred in the hospital

Bullock and Gordon visit Alfred, who reveals that they have the name of the man who killed Bruce’s parents.  There’s a solid lead, but Bruce won’t answer his phone, so Alfred figures he’s going after him on his own and that he plans to kill Matches.  This isn’t a game for Bruce.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bruce visits the Celestial Garden

That evening, Bruce heads to the Celestial Garden, which turns out to be a nightclub, even though I’m sure he doesn’t meet the age requirement.  Inside, people dance while news reports about the Maniax flash on the screen.  The main singer brings Bruce to speak with Jeri.  Again, no one questions a child in a club like this?

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Jeri, played by Lori Petty, talks to Bruce about Matches

So the singer brings Bruce into the back, where she introduces herself as Jeri, played by Lori Petty.  He tells her what she already knows, but he assures her that she’ll kill Matches Malone.  She warns him that killing people isn’t easy, and while Bruce hasn’t killed, no one’s killed his parents before.

Jeri warns Bruce that Matches is a professional and has killed many people.  Jeri wants a good reason to give up Matches’ location, as Bruce’s responses of justice and money don’t fly.  So he pulls out his gun, which turns out to be a good reason.  He doesn’t point the gun at Jeri because he’s not going to shoot her, so he leaves.  Jeri soon reveals that Matches lives in a building on Grand Street between 9th and 10th in Apartment 9B.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Jim finds Bruce in the Celestial Garden

Bruce leaves just as Gordon enters, telling him what Alfred explained.  Jim may not understand, and Bruce doesn’t want his help, based on past experience.  And that’s when Jeri kicks into a new song, which gives Bruce just enough time to leave while Bruce flees.  Where was Bullock in all of this?

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Matches Malone, played by Michael Bowen, sees Bruce offering him money

Anyway, Jim quickly hauls Jeri into a station wagon while Bruce heads to the apartment. He knocks on the door and comes face to face with Matches Malone, played by Michael Bowen.  He then pulls out a wad of cash, saying that he wants to hire him because someone needs to die.  Bruce won’t wait and he’s old enough to make his own decisions.  He needs to be sure he’s making the right decision, since Matches looks pretty ordinary.

But Matches assures Bruce of his abilities, telling him about how many people he’s killed and what weapons used.  After a bit of hesitation, Bruce figures Matches for the right man.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Jim asks Jeri about where Bruce is located now

At GCPD, Jim asks Jeri about where Bruce is headed.  Jeri plays games, as she knows all about Jim’s temper.  In addition, she doesn’t see why Bruce, out of all the endangered kids in Gotham, should receive special attention.  Jim threatens to hurt Jeri, but Jeri finds him less fun than advertised.

Jeri asks for the time.  Not because Bruce might be in one spot or several, but because she figures that Bruce should be at Malone’s location by now.  Jim should get there in time for the cleanup.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Matches lays out his terms

Matches lays out his terms- no babies killed, apparently- before asking Bruce who he wants killed.  Bruce realizes that Matches doesn’t remember him, so he reminds Matches that they’ve met before he pulls out his gun.  Matches claims that he could overtake Bruce now, but he’s tired.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- My name is Bruce Wayne, you killed my mother and father

Bruce Wayne introduces himself.  They met two years ago in a theatre district alleyway when Matches shot and killed his parents.  The name rings a bell, but Matches’ memory is foggy.  He was busy that year.  Bruce points out that his parents were important people and their deaths were all over the news.  Most deaths stick with you, but not with Matches.  Bruce describes his parents’ clothes and how Matches grabbed his mother’s pearl necklace.

It starts to come back to Matches as he finally remembers the Wayne family.  Bruce asks who hired Matches, but he responds that it might have been a random occurrence.  Gotham made Matches, and because of Matches’ actions, he says that he made Bruce.  Bruce threatens to hurt Malone for information, but Matches isn’t afraid.  Killer’s code isn’t much, but it’s what he has.  If he dies, Bruce will never know who hired him.

So there’s nothing left to say.  Matches toasts to Bruce, as he wants Bruce to kill him.  Why?  A rich kid like Bruce wouldn’t understand, but Matches explains that a man gets tired doing wrong and going unpunished.  Nothing happens.  You start to wonder if there’s a God who would let this happen.  Matches advises Bruce how to hold the gun before pulling the trigger, but Bruce hesitates.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Matches kills himself

Matches insists that he be killed since he’s a monster, but Bruce only wishes he was a monster.  Instead, Matches is just a man to him.  Conveniently, Jim arrives as Bruce heads out and the two hear a gunshot.  Jim enters and sees that Matches turned the gun on himself.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Penguin with the inmate who wanted his ice cream

We return to Arkham as Penguin is locked in with his ice cream loving companion, who is strapped in the Clockwork Orange chair.  Penguin grabs a knife and removes the man’s blindfold as he reminds the inmate who he is.  Oswald offers to help, but only if the inmate promises to be nice.  Otherwise, no ice cream.  He frees the inmate from his bonds.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Hugo Strange gives Penguin a certificate declaring him sane

Strange then gives Oswald a certificate declaring him sane after passing his tests.  He’s even saner than Miss Peabody, which means that he’s a free man and no longer has to stay in Arkham Asylum.  However, Oswald believes that he’s fine where he is.  He’s sane, gentle man, Strange says, and good things happen to good people.  Penguin thanks Strange for being such a kind mentor and friend.  Penguin heads off to gather his things.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Miss Peabody wonders about Strange's experiments

Peabody wonders if Strange has done the right thing by freeing Oswald, but Strange isn’t worried about the potential outcry.  To him, people are afraid of progress.  He also won’t alert the police, as he has future plans for Oswald Cobblepot.  Plans that go deeper than building semi-human creatures in the basement.  For that, Peabody wants to play no part.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bullock and Gordon discuss Malone

Back at GCPD, Bullock and Jim go over Malone’s record, but he’s a fly under the radar.  Bruce got a confession, and that’s good enough for Jim, but now the question of who hired Malone.  That’s a question Bullock does not want to ponder.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Jim gives Nygma a non-update on Miss Kringle

Jim then gives Nygma a non-update on Miss Kringle’s disappearance.  While Jim then speaks with another officer, Nygma believes that Jim is trying to lull him into a false sense of security.  Nygma can make plans of his own.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Alfred finds Bruce's note

Back at Wayne Manor in the not Bat cave, Alfred finds a temporary farewell note.  In his narration, Bruce explains that he plans to live on the streets with Selina Kyle.  He’s thought long and hard about this decision and Malone’s death made him realize that you can’t get revenge on evil.

You can only fight such things by not doing them.  And you can only fight them where they live: in the streets and slums of Gotham.  He won’t start battling muggers, but someday, Bruce will do something to help the people of Gotham.  First, he needs to learn about life on the streets Selina will teach him all about that.  He’ll be home soon, so he hopes that Alfred will honor his wishes.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Ed draws on Jim

Ngma, meanwhile, reads a newspaper report about Gordon and begins to scrawl a green question mark around his face.  Get it?

Okay, so after spending two episodes devoted to Victor Fries, we get something on Gotham that we haven’t had in some time: a Bruce Wayne centered episode.  With so much attention on the rise and wrath of Gotham City’s rogues gallery, it’s a refreshing change of pace to spend time with Bruce.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bruce gets a gun from Selina

Execution-wise, there’s a lot to be desired.  I don’t think Gotham has a proper handle on how Bruce Wayne has processed his parents’ death.  There have been interesting ideas, but not all have been handled well.  Things like listening to blaring music, creating a crime web, asking Alfred to teach him how to fight, and trying to learn more about Wayne Enterprises were incremental steps in showing us the origin of a great detective.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bruce points his gun at Jeri

Despite his abduction, Bruce is still focused on getting to the bottom of his parents’ murder.  Unlike Season One, he now feels comfortable with the idea of taking a human life because he’s motivated by justice.  Bruce, right now, hasn’t discovered the proper brand of justice, so I could see him being impulsive enough to get a gun from Selina and expect to just kill Matches without any regret.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Selina asks Bruce if he still wants the gun

Making the decision to take a life, as Selina said, takes you down a dark path.  It’s something that, I feel, warrants more time spent contemplating such a huge move.  This could have been a good opportunity to get into Bruce’s head and find out what he’s thinking.  As is, we can only go off of his conversations with Leslie, Selina, and Alfred, but that’s not enough, considering the weight of Bruce’s actions.  What is Bruce feeling?  Is it right to take the law into his own hands?

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Jim spots Bruce

And revenge is a lame motivation.  Maybe have Bruce ask Jim for his input.  The GCPD didn’t seem too busy this week, so Jim could make one of his routine visits to Wayne Manor and check in on Bruce instead of Leslie.  And with Jim having just committed murder to prevent Theo Galavan from causing more harm, he’d be able to relate to Bruce without having to reveal his secret.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bruce and Alfred at the underground fight ring

Plus, Alfred is the one who found out information about Matches Malone thanks to his source.  Not to mention he put himself at risk in that fight.  We know that Malone has killed plenty of people and is a real threat, but only because we’re told these things.  Have Bruce do some more investigating with his crime web and learn about Malone on his own.  He damn near tore apart Wayne Manor to find Thomas Wayne’s not Bat cave, so he could spend some time to learn about one assassin.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bruce is surprised that Matches doesn't remember him

Like it or not, Batman’s rule is that he doesn’t kill.  And yes, he’s not Batman yet, but for Bruce in his youth to weigh such a big decision deserves better care focused on his choice.  And sure, we’ve seen Bruce act impulsive, but we’ve also seen a quiet, more reserved Bruce.  Give us more of that so that when Bruce finally does decide that he wants to kill Matches on his own, he’s resolute in his decision.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bruce can't bring himself to kill Matches

I say this because for all the buildup to the confrontation, Bruce ended up wavering and we had to have the conversation between him and Matches spell out everything.  Things like whether Matches is a man or monster, killers going unpunished, and the Wayne legacy, I feel, don’t need to be told to us in the span of one scene.  It’s a good moment for Bruce, but the scene loses some of its weight because it doesn’t let the audience come to a conclusion on its own.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Bruce and Selina go on an adventure

So when Bruce decides to head into the underworld with Selina, it feels a bit forced.  The two come from different worlds and Selina already warned Bruce about killing.  Why would she suddenly open her arms to welcome him into her circle?  Based on past interactions, Selina should be telling Bruce that this life isn’t for him.  Some sort of hesitation on her part.  Again, it’s an interesting place to take Bruce, but I just wish we had more buildup.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Jeri asks Jim for the time

As far as everything else goes, the Maniax and Jerome in particular seem to have had an impact on some of Gotham’s citizens.  Though Jeri had a bit of Heath Ledger’s Joker in her as well when she asked for the time while in interrogation.  I’d be interested to see Lori Petty play this bit part again, though.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Riddler foreshadowing

And Nygma is drawing question marks while thinking that Jim is trying to outsmart him.  You know, because Riddler stuff.

This Ball of Mud and Meanness- Penguin released from Arkham Asylum

Actually, I’m curious what will become of Penguin now that Strange has decided to free him.  Strange continues to be the most interesting part of this second half of the season because he appears to be a few steps ahead of everyone.  Even Peabody isn’t 100 percent on board with his plan of semi-human creatures.  So what’s his game plan with releasing Penguin?  We’ll see.

So we got our confrontation between Bruce and Malone in “The Ball of Mud and Meanness” and while it was decent, Gotham missed a chance to dig deeper into Bruce’s head to find out what he’s thinking as he contemplates a life-changing decision.

As is, what we learn is spelled out instead of shown through a slow progression.  But hey, here’s to Bruce and Selina’s grand adventure.  Meanwhile, with Penguin out of Arkham, does that spell potential trouble for Jim and his secret?

A Look at The Walking Dead- Season 6, Episode 13: “The Same Boat”

So just what were Carol and Maggie doing that got them so distracted that they ended up captured?  Well, maybe Alicia Witt can help us with that.

The Same Boat- Saviors capture Maggie and Carol

The episode begins during the events of “No Tomorrow Yet” with Carol demanding that Maggie stay in her spot while Carol helps the others.  Their conversation is interrupted by a small band of Saviors, one of whom Carol manages to shoot.  This distraction gives the Saviors enough time to take the two hostage.

The Same Boat- Paula, played by Alicia Witt, offers to make a deal with Rick

That morning, the Saviors watch Rick and company leave the outpost.  The leader, Paula, played by Alicia Witt, radios in and orders everyone within the gates to lower their weapons.  With only eight, that’s not enough to take on these strangers.  Paula asks for the hostages’ names and Maggie complies.  The woman figures that Rick would want to chat about this.  They’ll work this out, but things will go the way of the Saviors.

Rick offers a trade, but wants to hear Carol and Maggie’s voices first.  After he does, he promises to turn over the one for Carol and Maggie.  That and the Saviors get to live.  Not a fair trade, but Rick knows the Saviors would have done something about it by now if they had a choice.  Paula will get back to Rick on the deal.

The Same Boat- Carol and Maggie imprisoned

The Saviors mask Carol and Maggie and move them to a facility while Paula communicates with other Saviors.  Once the group arrives, Paula informs a now bound Carol and Maggie that there’s no way out of this unless she says so.  Tough cookie, this Paula.

When Paula leaves, Maggie and Carol get to work trying to free themselves.  Carol finds and pockets a rosary as well.  She begins to hyperventilate as the Savior women return, with Paula working on the wounded Savior, Donnie.  She doesn’t want to take on these strangers, given that they took down the compound and snagged the guns.

Maggie informs Paula that someone should remove Carol’s gag so she can breathe.  They do, but she then gets a gun in her face.  One of the Saviors, Molly, finds the rosary, declaring Carol to be one of those.  Paula asks what Carol is so afraid of, wondering if Carol is afraid to die.  Carol says is less concerned with herself and more that Maggie and her baby aren’t harmed.

Paula figures Maggie for some kind of stupid, getting knocked up at a time like this.  Maggie responds that women used to die in childbirth and always thought that the world wound end.  True as that is, Paula finds it cute.  Children are the future, but also make good snacks for the dead.  Maggie is choosing something instead, and Paula agrees that Maggie did just that.

The Same Boat- Carol asks Molly to not smoke

As Paula leaves, Carol warns Molly to not smoke because of the baby.  She responds that Carol has more problems on her hands than a little secondhand smoke.  However, another of the Saviors tells her to put out her cigarette.  Carol continues, saying that the cigarettes will kill her.  They already are, so really, the two of them are already in the same boat.  I see no boat.

The Same Boat- Donnie wants Carol and Maggie dead

Paula returns and tells the Saviors that there’s a crew coming in 30 minutes.  Maggie figures that Donnie doesn’t have that kind of time with his dying nerves.  Without proper medical care, he may lose more than his arm.  She advises Paula to make a deal with Rick if this Primo guy can really help.  Donnie staggers towards Carol, saying she did this to him.  He doesn’t want this trade to go through when the two can be killed now.

But Paula declares that they need insurance, so no shooting Carol in the arm to make it equal.  Pain shoots through Donnie’s arm as he strikes Carol.  Maggie and Carol, despite being bound, manage to give him a good enough fight before Paula stabs him in the head.  Maggie is taken out to see what if she knows anything.

The Same Boat- Maggie interrogated by one of the Saviors

So one of the Saviors speaks with Maggie.  Judging from Maggie’s appearance, the Savior figures that she must live in a nice community.  So where’s that?  Maggie responds by vomiting, because that’s an appropriate way to stall.  The Savior tells Maggie that she isn’t a good person.

The Same Boat- Molly patches up Paula

Molly patches up Paula, while Carol thanks them for helping her and Maggie.  Paula doesn’t give a shit about Carol’s past, though.  She figures that Carol is pathetic and doesn’t care if Carol thinks the same of her.  At least they’re on the same page in that regard.  Paula asks whether Carol really believes in God, but faith got Carol through her daughter’s death.  Well, maybe Carol will see her again, soon.

The Same Boat- Savior explains how she lost her finger

Back with Maggie and the Savior woman who, we see is missing one of her fingers.  She explains that it’s a result of her getting caught stealing gasoline to get a car and find her boyfriend’s body.  He’d been blown up and there wasn’t much to find.  His name wasn’t Frankie.  Frank was her father and that’s what she would have named her baby.  Neither of the women plans on dying today.  The woman asks again where Maggie lives.

The Same Boat- Paula receives a transmission from Rick

Paula receives a transmission from Rick, who wants to know the location of the trade.  Paula isn’t sure she’ll agree yet, as she’d be taking much of the risk and not receiving much of a reward.  Rick warns that the other option won’t work for her, but Paula will take her chances on that.  Carol tells Paula that she doesn’t have to fight, but they do, as a whole lot of Saviors are dead.

Carol tells them that some other Saviors ambushed some of her people on the road.  Well, damn.  So now they know what happened to T’s group.  Fair enough play, Paula figures that the others were defending themselves.  But her people were still killed, so why didn’t Rick and company stop?  Then Carol mentions Negan, who she thinks sounds like a maniac.

Molly responds by telling Carol that they are all Negan.  Carol demands to know what that means before asking Molly for a cigarette.  She doesn’t approve, but it’d still be nice to smoke.  Paula asks Carol what she’s afraid of if she can’t even stick to her own principles.  Carol responds that Paula wouldn’t want her to stick to principles.

The Same Boat- Paula tells us her backstory

Okay, time for Paula’s backstory: she was a secretary before all this.  She fetched coffee for her boss, boosted his self-esteem, and read inspirational emails.  There was one inspirational email about a woman who had a hard time and wanted to give up, so her mother started boiling three pots of water: one with a carrot, one with an egg, and the last with coffee beans.

After a while, Mom said the three items went in the same, but the coffee beans changed the water.  You’re supposed to want to be the coffee beans.  But for Paula, coffee was just a thing the boss drank.  One day, when the world went to shit, Paula explains that when the army took over in D.C. and all the important people were evacuated first.

So Paula was stuck with her boss instead of her husband and four daughters.  Paula knew her boss was weak and he was the first person she killed so she could live.  Eventually, she stopped counting when she reached double digits.  She’s still herself, but better.  Though she’s lost everything, she’s both stronger and still alive.  And Carol’s people are killers, so that makes Carol just as much of a killer.

The Same Boat- Paula agrees to Rick's deal and arranges the terms

Carol says that Paula is afraid to die and will if she doesn’t work out this deal.  That and she just hopes that she won’t be the one to kill her.  Paula radios to Rick, saying she agrees to the trade.  There’s a large field about two miles down I-66 with good visibility in all directions.  The two sides will meet in 10 minutes.

Paula figures that was too easy.  There was no static, so she figures the group is close.  However, Carol says that Rick wouldn’t put her and Maggie at risk just to attack.  Then Paula radios into the other Saviors who are also 10 minutes away.  Paula and Molly, for whatever stupid reason, leave Carol alone in the room.

The Same Boat- Maggie and Carol reunite

And Carol uses that opportunity to free herself.  She manages to find Maggie, who is in the middle of also freeing herself.  Again, why leave them unguarded?  Carol wants to spread out to escape, but Maggie would prefer to finish this now.  So they return to Donnie, who is in the middle of reanimating.  Maggie needs a gun.

The Same Boat- Donnie bites Molly

When Molly, she’s bitten by a now turned Donnie, and then both knocked out and bashed to death by Maggie.  The two leave just as Paula returns to find the remains.  She loads her gun.

The Same Boat- Paula finds Carol and Maggie

Maggie and Carol enter a hallway filled with walkers just as Paula catches up to them.  Carol readies her gun, but Paula isn’t afraid.  They have no idea of what Paula has done and given up to get to this point.  Maggie orders Carol to shoot, but a walker slips free and almost bites Carol before Maggie downs it.

The Same Boat- Maggie shoots one of the Saviors

Maggie engages the other Savior, who manages to slice across her shirt before being shot in the head by Carol.

The Same Boat- Paula bitten by walker while Carol watches

Paula rises to her feet, asking why Carol is afraid of if she could do all of this.  Carol was just afraid of this.  The two fight with Maggie throwing Paula to a walker and pinning her through a spike.  Carol then picks up the radio and, in her best impersonation, tells the Saviors to meet on the kill floor.  Later, Carol tells Maggie that she’s killed about 20 people.  She believes none of this would have happened if she’d killed the Saviors in the woods.

The Same Boat- Carol burns the Saviors

As other Saviors arrive, Carol lights a cigarette and throws it into the kill floor, burning the other Saviors alive.  The two make their way out of the compound and run right into our heroes.  When asked if she’s good, Carol says that she ain’t.  Maggie tells Glenn that she can’t anymore.

The Same Boat- Rick tells Primo that no one is coming for him

Rick tells Primo that his friends aren’t coming for him, so he might as well talk.  He asks Primo where he found the bike and whether Negan was in that building last night or this one.  In response, Primo says that not only did he find the bike, but Negan was in both buildings.  How?  He declares himself to be Negan.  There’s a lot the two can discuss, too.

Realizing what this has come to, Rick raises his gun and executes Primo at point blank range.  Carol squeezes the rosary so hard that she bleeds as the episode comes to a close.

If there’s one thing The Walking Dead does well, it’s deliver quality episodes, but more so in a focused situation.  That’s not to say dealing with multiple storylines in different locations aren’t stellar as well, but I find the show to be much stronger when it stays, for the most part, with a single group of people and deals just with that storyline.

The Same Boat- Maggie and a Savior

“The Same Boat” manages to do just that with a Carol and Maggie focused episode.  Although we’ve had moments with them, this episode gave us time to catch up with their character arcs and follow up on the brief discussion they had in “Not Tomorrow Yet” as they faced another near death scenario.

The Same Boat- Maggie asks about Negan

It gave us a chance to get into their heads, more with Carol, who appears to be facing a crisis.  I say appears to be because it’d be easy for this to be another example of letting her enemies think light of her.  Things like hyperventilating, wanting Molly to stop smoking because of Maggie’s pregnancy, and trying to give Paula a chance to escape show that she’s still capable of playing up that maternal role and try to save everyone.

But unlike what Tobin said, that Mom role isn’t who she is anymore.  Faith may have helped Carol after Sophia’s death, but that loss also helped turn her into the hardened warrior she is now.  Very similar to Rick, if she’s confronted, she’ll shoot first and deal with it later.  Her instinct is to protect and save the lives of those around her, not hand out compassion.

The Same Boat- Carol points her gun at Paula

Yet, similar to Paula, Carol has been molded by the world around her.  Carol at least keeps count of her kills as a reminder of what she’s done.  While the Saviors are doing what they do to survive, folks like Carol and other survivors we know see their actions as a need to protect in the name of self-defense.  That doesn’t make blowing up the Saviors or killing them in their sleep right, but that’s putting things in our civilized perspective.

The Same Boat- Carol tells Daryl that she isn't good

If and when you’re backed into a corner, it’s either kill or be killed.  That philosophy is what puts folks like Rick and Carol at odds with Morgan’s notion that all life is precious, but The Walking Dead does a good job at blurring the lines between right and wrong.

The Same Boat- Carol watches Rick execute Primo

Now, it looks like there’s a small part of Carol that’s been compromised by Morgan’s outlook on life.  Not to go as far as saying she’s softened since she burned those Saviors without breaking a sweat, but watching Rick execute Primo without a thought seemed to have some effect on her.  So it makes me curious whether she’s softening or wondering about the brutality of her actions.

The Same Boat- Maggie tells Glenn that she can't do this anymore

Same goes with Maggie, who, despite making the decision to go on this mission, realizes that she’s at her limit.  When she tells Glenn that she can’t do this anymore, I bought it.  Perhaps she wants to focus on her baby.  Getting slashed across the stomach served as a reminder for both her and Carol that their survival is critical.  It sprung her into action in a well-coordinated and tad convenient counterattack, but it’s taken a toll on her.

However, she still put up a fight while imprisoned, killed Saviors without a thought, and wanted to finish the fight instead of finding a quick way out, as Carol did, so both still have plenty of fight in them.

The Same Boat- Paula tells Maggie and Carol that there's no way out

It helps that they’re going up against incompetent people.  While Paula is smarter than the average member of her group, the Saviors so far have come off as a lackluster threat.  I get the point of this.  Lull viewers into a false sense of security so we’ll think these Saviors can be killed as quickly as the Wolves or Hunters.  Make us comfortable enough to believe our survivors can walk over Negan like he’s nothing.

The Same Boat- Molly smokes

Even still, outside of Paula, these Saviors weren’t much of a threat with their bickering and doing stupid things like leaving Maggie and Carol unguarded, which gave them time to escape, reunite, and overtake the Saviors.

The Same Boat- Alicia Witt as Paula

I liked Alicia Witt in her role and Paula made a convincing argument that the Saviors are no different than Rick’s group because of how many people they’ve killed.  She’s smart enough to see through Carol’s ruse and realizes that her group can’t take on Rick because they’re outnumbered and outgunned.  She knows the territory and has the advantage, so she takes full advantage of the situation.

And while I like that we get a bit of history to her life before the outbreak, she still does a lot of talking and posturing instead of, as Donnie suggested, popping off either Carol or Morgan.  Primo was doomed either way, let’s face it, and from Paula’s perspective, she had no reason to believe Rick would keep his word after he managed to take over the compound.

The Same Boat- Paula's final moments

It’s unfortunate that Paula died because she was the most memorable of the Saviors presented and came off as a convincing antagonist.  I don’t have much to say about the rest of the group since, while it was a change of pace to have mostly female antagonists this episode, they were one note.  Like others before them, they found out that you don’t fuck with Rick and merry band.

The Same Boat- Rick executes Primo

Though whether it was Rick’s frustration or truly believing Primo was Negan that led to such a quick death remains to be seen.  Rick isn’t stupid, but surely there would be value in keeping Primo alive in order to get information out of him.

With that said, “The Same Boat” gave us a Carol and Maggie-centered episode that dug into their characters while showing that the two on their own are more than capable of handling a group of Saviors.  Though it helps that these Saviors, despite having the weapons and advantage, weren’t much of a threat in the end.  So everyone is reunited with no losses as the mystery of Negan deepens.  Seems easy, but their problems are far from over.

A Look at Gotham- Season 2, Episode 13: “Wrath of the Villains: A Dead Man Feels No Cold”

So pretty much only a few people in Gotham City have good ideas, since most of the decisions made with good intentions this week ended up backfiring.  With Nora in holding, Victor must race to save her, but Gotham’s finest have a mix-up with Hugo Strange as their plans go awry.  Also, Bruce Wayne returns.  Let’s check in on him.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Jim and Harvey find a frozen man in the chemical plant

The episode begins with police arriving at Ace Chemicals, which makes the liquid helium Victor uses for his weapon.  Jim warns the officers to be careful since Victor is desperate enough to do anything.  GCPD enters the facility and find frozen officers during their search.  Some canisters are gone, and the cops find a frozen body with the words ‘Free My Wife’ scrawled across in ice.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Leslie checks on Bruce

At Wayne Manor, Bruce updates Leslie on his trip to Switzerland.  Alfred is apparently worried about Bruce concealing trauma from his abduction.  Leslie tells Bruce that it’s normal to feel scared, but he isn’t.  Instead, he feels alive.  He asks Leslie if he thinks that he’s abnormal, but she just finds it unusual.  At least he’s being honest.  As for now, Bruce feels invigorated with a second chance at life, but his plans remain unchanged: find his parents’ murderer.

So yeah, Bruce needs closure with what could be an endless obsession.  He believes that he can be both a schoolboy and homicide detective.  Leslie asks what Bruce what will do, and his truthful response is that he’ll let the law take its course.  Not the honest answer, but then, that’s the other Bruce.  This conversation has been clarifying.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Barnes agrees to move Nora to Arkham to bring out Victor

At GCPD, Barnes is enraged about Victor wanting Nora freed.  No demands on the hostage yet and Nora still in a holding cell.  She could die soon if not moved to a hospital, but Gotham General is hard to secure.  Barnes then suggests the ER facility at Arkham, as she can receive care and Victor can be abducted there.  Lunatic idea, but it could work.  Barnes wants word put out to the press.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Leslie can't believe that Nora is being moved to Arkham

Leslie, meanwhile, finds it unbelievable that Nora would be used as bait.  It’s the least bad of several bad options and there are other sick patients at Gotham, but this is the rational way to go.  If there was a better option, Jim would choose it.  So Leslie elects to go, as Nora is her patient.  And if Jim uses Leslie’s pregnancy on her, Leslie will scream.  How does that help anyone?

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Peabody informs Hugo Strange about Nora's transfer

At Indian Hill, Hugo Strange emerges with one of Fries’ victims, having failed to extract traces of Fries’ formula from the victim’s tissue.  Miss Peabody tells him of GCPD’s plan to move Nora Fries to Arkham.  Strange figures that Victor is doing this all to save his wife.  Luckily, everything Hugo needs may be hand delivered to him.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Victor learns of Nora's transfer

Over at the docks, Victor learns of Nora’s transfer and figures out that it’s a trap.  He says as much to his hostage before throwing a capsule into the sea, freezing the water instantly.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Penguin's special treatment

Penguin, meanwhile, is chained in a very special chair.  He wants to speak with Professor Strange, but Peabody will deal with him instead, as Penguin is the face of the rehabilitation program.  How great would it be to cure someone like Oswald Cobblepot?  But Oswald refuses to take part, even though he’s in no position to argue.  The procedure begins.

Sometime later, Penguin is in the main room, playing ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ with the inmates.  He doesn’t want to play, as he’s a penguin, not a duck or goose.  Peabody enters, telling Oswald that it’s fun to participate.  Against his best judgment, he stands up and begins to act like a goose.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Leslie sees that Nora shares a sleeping with Barbara

At the same time, GCPD bring Nora into Arkham and meet Professor Strange.  The officers set up around the main gate while Leslie and Nora head off with Peabody.  As it turns out, Nora is sharing a sleeping wing with Barbara Kean because of course.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Penguin tells Jim about his torture

Gordon wants obstacles to keep Victor from entering, including placing a shooter on the roof.  Penguin spots Jim and calls out for him. Jim asks for a minute as Oswald tells him about his mental torture, but Jim calls it therapy.  Despite his pleas, Penguin is hauled off, screaming that he lied for Jim.  And Strange is watching this play out on a monitor.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Alfred and Bruce talk

Bruce takes out his aggression on a punching bag when Alfred enters.  Alfred says that they left the city because Bruce is at the end of his emotional rope.  He asks Bruce an important question: are they in this together or not?  I thought this was established, but Bruce says yes anyway.  Alfred does have news: he’s got a friend who did some digging to find any M. Malones that fit their description.

The closest is Patrick Malone, who goes by the nickname ‘Matches’ and committed his first murder at the ripe age of 15.  Alfred asks what Bruce plans to do next if they find this man.  Well, obviously, Bruce wants him dead, but Alfred says that he’s too young to have a death on his conscience.  Alfred knows that Bruce’s parents deserve justice, but he will do the killing, not Bruce.  Bruce just wants him to talk.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Nora speaks with Leslie about Victor

Back in the medical wing, Leslie calls a sleeping Barbara a bitch because for drama’s sake.  Nora awakens to learn she’s in a more secure place than Gotham General.  Nora says again that Victor only did terrible things because of her and he believes that the good outweighs the evil of his actions.  Leslie tells Nora that she’s stable, but fragile.

Nora laments that she could have saved Victor, but he became more and more obsessed as he went down this dark path.  Leslie admits that it’s hard when you love someone: you love who they were and who they can become, so you close your eyes to the truth.  Gotham, don’t spell things out like that.  Nora asks Leslie if she knows her child’s gender, lamenting that she always wanted a girl.  Nora says that Leslie shouldn’t be there, but hey, this isn’t about her.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Bus driver crashes through Arkham gates

Outside, a van crashes through Arkham’s gates and into a bus.  The driver is frozen to the steering wheel, so it’s not his lucky day.  Before the cops can make a move, they hear an alarm from inside Arkham.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Mr. Freeze meets Buzz Lightyear

Indeed, Victor Fries breaks through the walls in his best Buzz Lightyear costume.  He freezes some cops and begins searching for Nora.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Hugo negotiates with Victor

Strange, meanwhile, traps some of the police except for Jim, who manages to slip past a closing gate.  Fries enters the chamber where Penguin once sat and overhears Strange’s voice.  Strange asks what Victor will do once he rescues Nora and tells him about the keys that work for a vehicle by the loading docks.  In exchange for Strange keeping the police at bay, Victor must surrender one cartridge of his formula.  Victor agrees, leaving the cartridge on the chair.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Jim tries to reason with Victor

Jim informs Leslie that Victor is in the building.  They have to take Nora with her, but then Victor enters as he freezes one of Jim’s hands.  He’ll take it from here.  Jim tries to reason with Fries, who has gone through too many lives to give up now.  One Nora is safe, he’ll give himself up to the authorities.  Leslie counters that Nora could die if she’s moved, so she’ll accompany Victor.  Fries seals Jim in a room while he escapes with Leslie and Nora.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Where is Victor going next

Peabody returns the capsule to Strange while Jim escapes the frozen door in no time.  He rushes after Victor, but he manages to escape.  The others soon join Jim.  They realize Victor can’t go home and Nora has to be put on ice.  He can still freeze her, but needs a way to keep her frozen.  Not without a cryo-chamber, so chances are he’s going home.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Nora asks Victor to find a particular necklace

We then return to the Fries’ household as Victor tells Leslie that she and the rest of the city will care for Nora while he’s in prison.  A tired Nora wants to rest and tells Victor to let her go, but Victor promises her that this will work.  He promises to be there for her when she wakes up, for there’s hope as long as she’s alive.  Nora agrees, but then asks him to fetch a particular necklace.

While Victor goes off, Nora urges Leslie to leave, but she won’t.  As Leslie gets some water, she swaps a canister.  Nora saw who Victor became, but she did nothing because she loved him.  And Leslie knows what that’s like because of course.  Nora thanks Leslie for her kindness just as Victor returns.  Nora begs Victor to not blame himself.  The two have one final kiss as Victor Fries begins the process of freezing his wife.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Selina learns that Bruce needs her to get him a gun

Back at Wayne Manor, Selina fails to get the drop on Bruce, as he felt a breeze.  After showing her the file, Bruce needs Selina to get him a gun since, yes, he’s going to kill Malone.  Selina wonders how Bruce expects to do this, and it’s simple: this guy killed Bruce’s parents.  Selina warns Bruce that he won’t ever be the same.  Luckily, Bruce is counting on that.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Victor freezes Nora

GCPD eventually arrives at Victor and Nora’s home.  As Nora’s body begins to crack, Victor finds that Nora switched out the planned cartridge with a failed one.  He then hears GCPD calling out for him so there can be no more sadness.

He asks Leslie to tell the police that he’ll do as they say.  Leslie agrees, saying that she’s envious of the bond Victor had with his wife.  Victor then begins to freeze himself.  Jim is the only cop who enters soon after and finds the two frozen bodies.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Leslie and Jim argue again

Following this, Leslie can’t sleep.  Hugo Strange called Jim to inform him that Victor died at Arkham and could not be revived.  Jim and Leslie bicker over who was put at risk, but then Leslie asks about Galavan and the way he died.  The truth isn’t what Jim said because Leslie knows when he’s lying.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Victor awakens in Indian Hill

Back at Arkham, Penguin is once again strapped in for his Clockwork Orange treatment while Hugo Strange visits his new patient: Victor Fries.  Legally, his corpse is in the morgue, but Victor is now in Indian Hill. Hugo introduces himself and finds it astonishing that Victor isn’t dead.  His body underwent a transformation and absorbed some of his formula which, in turn, lowered his core body temperature.

Based on this, Victor can only survive in hypothermic temperatures, but never fear.  He won’t be here for long.  Modifications have been made to his costume.  Victor feels that he should have died with Nora, but Hugo tells him to pretend that he did die.  Death is not an ending, but rather, a new beginning.

So “A Dead Man Feels No Cold” illustrates an occasional issue I have with Gotham: any attempts at themes and messages are done without subtlety.  That doesn’t give viewers much credit when the show, balancing that line between seriousness and silliness, spells out what you can already infer.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Leslie envies Nora and Victor's bond

While someone could pick up on the obvious similarities between Nora’s relationship with Victor and Leslie’s with Jim, the fact that both have to talk about knowing who someone is, who they may become, and the sacrifices they make for the people in their lives doesn’t let us figure it out for ourselves.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Nora tells Victor to not blame himself

I doubt Nora, in her condition, could have done much to stop Victor from becoming the madman that he is, but he has good intentions.  Again, he’s motivated by desperation and will do whatever it takes to save Nora, but his emotions blind him to rational thinking.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Jim picks the least bad option

I’m being literal when I say that.  Like Jim, he’s taking the least bad option.  Until Hugo offered him a trade, I’m not even sure Victor had an escape plan or way to ensure Nora’s safety.  And no way should he have thought putting Nora’s safety in Gotham City’s hands was a good idea.  I get it.  Victor is racing against the clock with Nora’s condition.  But considering how much work he’s put into tests so far, you’d think he had a final plan for Nora.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Mr. Freeze

And he did, by freezing Nora, but even that went wrong for both of them.  I’m guessing Nora didn’t want Victor to spend the rest of his life trying to save her when she was too far gone.  So she removes herself from the equation to alleviate her suffering and hopefully set Victor on a path towards redemption.  Instead, he’s headed to a darker place.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Jim realizes Leslie has him figured out

Another thing Gotham isn’t too subtle about is how characters believe that the good of their questionable actions outweigh the bad.  Rarely has that worked on this show.  Whether it’s Jim’s decision to keep Penguin alive, Jim hoping to work with Galavan…Jim agreeing to place Nora in Arkham, pretty much half of Jim’s decisions have come back to bite him in the ass.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Leslie knows Jim lied to her

Now his relationship with Leslie is on the ropes again as she also sees him as a man worth saving from a dark path.  She’s smart enough to realize putting Nora in Arkham is a bad idea, but still feels a responsibility to accompany her.  This puts her in harm’s way, it’s her decision to make that ended up backfiring when she encountered Victor.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Leslie calls Barbara a bitch

Oh, and what the hell was up with that moment between Leslie and Barbara?  First off, convenient enough that a maniac like Barbara would rest next to other inmates, but Leslie’s anger served no purpose for the story.  How was this even a scene?  Did someone convince Erin Richards that she’d have a big role in this episode for all of a few seconds?

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Selina warns Bruce that killing will change him

I imagine someone has that same conversation with Camren Bicondiva, since that’s the only reason I figure Selina Kyle keeps popping up in at random points.  Selina is funny in this episode.  For as many dark things she’s done and how she influenced Bridgit, she still wants to keep Bruce from making a decision that she feels he’ll regret.

Under the Knife- Bruce and Selina argue about Reggie's death

But she’s already tried many times to get Bruce out of his shell and make him see the world beyond Wayne Manor.  She egged him on to kill Reggie, and now that Bruce is taking a chance to kill, Selina wants to stop him.  Wouldn’t she be glad he’s making a conscious decision to take a life on his terms?  She already couldn’t save one of her friends, so it’s pointless of her to try with someone like Bruce, who has great incentive to go after his parents’ killer.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Bruce hopes that killing changes him

We don’t spend much time with Bruce, but I like how newfound resolve to find his parents’ murderer.  The abduction by Theo and deception from Silver have given him a new outlook where he’s blurring the lines between justice and vengeance.  But again, Gotham’s lack of subtlety means Bruce has to spell out feeling like he can balance two different personalities.

A Dead Man Feels No Cold- Hugo Strange introduces himself to Victor

As with the previous episode, I found Hugo Strange to be the most interesting because he seems to keep tabs on everyone.  Though overhearing Jim and Penguin talk may have been of convenience, Strange has an incentive to keep Victor around so he can use his serum and later unleash him on Gotham City.

“A Dead Man Feels No Cold” was a decent enough follow-up to Victor and Nora Fries’ debut.  While I still don’t feel the level of anguish here that I did with “Heart of Ice,” both characters are presented as tragic and under pressure with Victor doing whatever it takes to save Nora.  In the end, he failed for now, but Strange has plans for him.  Meanwhile, Jim and Gordon’s relationship is again on rocky territory.  Bruce’s return is a welcome one since he’s had some time to mature, but now to see if and how he exacts vengeance against Malone.