So with the Mad Hatter out of the picture, Gotham puts its focus on our established characters dealing with trust issues. But then, it’s Gotham City, so who can you really trust?
The episode begins with Penguin’s getting to work as mayor. He works at a soup kitchen, commemorating a school bus, and shakes lots of hands. Later, Penguin introduces Nygma to a statue of his mother, who was his entire world. She would be proud of him.
After all, Nygma reminds Penguin that the people love him and gangs fear him. Tomorrow night, the people of Gotham will celebrate him. All he wants now is to share it with someone.
So the next day, Penguin addresses the public. With Gertrude as his witness, Oswald promises that the people of Gotham will be safe, but then the Red Hood gang arrives to break up the speech. They knock off Gertrude’s head, prompting Penguin to vow revenge. That’s a pretty random act of violence.
Valerie tells Jim that she can’t come over tonight because that would make it a thing. She asks what happened to Alice, as she heard a rumor about Alice’s blood and wants to know the truth. She’s having dinner the hematologist in charge of analyzing Alice Tetch’s blood, so that’s at least a start.
As Barnes looks over Alice’s death certificate, Bullock informs him that a team found the truck ditched in the Narrows. Before the two can go out to contend with this new Red Hood gang, in enters Nygma, who tells his old friends that, as Oswald’s Chief of Staff, he will be the liaison on the Red Hood investigation. And Nygma won’t take no for an answer. If Barnes refuses, Penguin will hire a police commissioner who will just fire him.
As for Penguin, he’s off meeting with constituents, which includes a group of mobsters and Barbara. Gertrude’s memory is being defiled, even in death, but more than that, the Red Hood gang has challenged Penguin’s authority. Tonight, as Penguin celebrates his victory at the Sirens, he tells the group that he wants the Red Hood leader’s head brought to him on a spike.
We then cut to this new Red Hood gang as they wait for the arrival of their leader, who turns out to be Butch. He tells the men that it’s time to get to work.
Bruce pays Gordon a surprise visit to request him as a private investigator for locating Ivy Pepper, as Bruce has put aside his investigation into Wayne Enterprises for now. While Bruce didn’t have a close relationship with Ivy, she’s still a friend of Selina’s.
Nygma stops by the M.E. lab to speak with Lucius Fox, who is still less than pleased with Ed gassing him last season. Nygma examines evidence from the crime scene as Fox explains that the carpet fibers of the gang’s getaway vehicle have elements of dirt, oil, and potassium chloride. A halide salt, for some reason.
Bullock tells Bruce and Jim about a construction worker knocked out by a redheaded woman in her 20s, which Bruce thinks is a cover for the man being with an underage girl.
Then Leslie pulls Jim aside for a second to talk about her engagement announcement that will be in the newspaper tomorrow- it will feature Mario’s family name, which Jim knows is Falcone. Jim maintains that it’s none of Jim’s business. He meant what he said about being happy for Leslie.
Then as Leslie heads to the lab, she spots and slugs a waiting Nygma in retaliation for Kristen Kringle’s murder. Leslie isn’t afraid of Nygma because, remember, she’s dating Mario.
Tabitha isn’t a fan of throwing this party for Penguin, but Barbara is more optimistic. If they find the Red Hood gang, Penguin will owe them. They open one of their freezers to reveal a bound man who calls himself the Ballistic Bomber. Turns out that last week, he bought smoke grenades like the ones used when the Red Hood gang attacked Penguin.
We cut to some members of the Red Hood gang setting fire to the previously seen school bus and killing a priest, but they grow tired of this violence. To be direct, they tell Butch that they would rather take out Penguin. Butch has gotten the men suits so they will blend in at tonight’s party, but no one is to kill Penguin. That’s when Tabitha and Barbara arrive to have a little chat. Well, they got there fast.
Bruce and Jim have lunch, with Bruce asking Jim if he misses being a cop and having a sense of mission. Jim will keep asking around about Ivy, but in the meantime, he advises Bruce to tell Selina how he feels.
Sometimes that works, but it’s better than being silent because you’ll look up and the moment passes. Bruce wonders if that works for Jim and the new woman that he’s seeing, as he noticed lipstick on Jim’s coffee mug. Keen eye. Bruce just wishes that he had a sign, but life doesn’t work that way. Maybe a signal that shines in the sky.
As Penguin examines the records from GCPD, Nygma wonders whether this is about the statue and not Penguin. He advises a frazzled Penguin to calm down and just as he applies salt to Penguin’s suit to get out a stain, he remembers Lucius Fox’s words about salt and now realizes that the Red Hood gang is located at a detergent factory in the Narrows.
At said factory, Barbara and Tabitha tell Butch that they want Oswald and ask why Butch is turning on him. His plan was to take down the Red Hoods at the party and get back in Oswald’s good graces. But if Tabitha and Barbara figured out that Butch is leading the Red Hood gang, it won’t take long for Penguin and Nygma to do the same.
Butch promises that once he’s back next to Penguin, he’ll protect Tabitha, but he will owe her as well. Just then, Penguin calls to tell Butch that he is on his way to the hideout. Butch then tries to hurry the gang out, but they want payment. With Penguin arriving fast, Butch mows down the entire group with a machine gun. He dispatches of the group just in time to claim credit of eliminating the group when Penguin arrives.
Later, Penguin tells the press that, thanks to Butch’s efforts, the Red Hood gang is no more. Nygma is skeptical, to say the least. GCPD investigates the crime scene, with Bullock wanting to get this over as fast as possible. However, Nygma focuses on how the bodies fell, as if they were standing around and waiting to be killed. Looking further at the scene, Nygma finds some fancy new suits.
Barnes finds Leslie working late at night. He’s here to talk not about Leslie striking Nygma, but to ask about Alice Tetch’s blood. She has received preliminary results from the lab, which injected the samples into a group of rats.
After three days, the rats showed an increase in strength and stamina. The study ended when one of the rats chewed through a dozen wire cages to kill the others. Maybe the other rats were immune or didn’t have a chance to show changes. As Barnes leaves, he cautions Leslie about staying late at night, as her fiancé will want to see her soon.
At Penguin’s celebration party, while Tabitha reminds Butch of him owing her, Bruce and Alfred arrive and prepare to put on fake smiles and mingle for the festivities. Penguin goes over to greet the two, who thank him and his bazooka for saving them from Galavan. And wouldn’t you know who else is at this party? Bruce’s sign, as he goes off to catch up with Selina, who has a run in with a redheaded woman who knows her, but Selina does not.
Nygma presents Butch with a black tie and evidence from the Red Hood crime scene, as all six suits were made by the same tailor and purchased by a large man with a metal hand.
This enrages Butch, who is ready to kill, but Nygma proposes that they kill Penguin together and run Gotham City together. Nygma was not made to be someone’s number two, so he’s just keeping up the act until he can later turn on Penguin. He presents Butch with a red hood. Butch refuses, so Nygma reveals that Tabitha is being held hostage by Zsasz. So now Butch really doesn’t have much of a choice.
Bruce catches up to Selina, who is still distracted by the woman formerly who she doesn’t know. He wants to go somewhere private so the two can talk, but Selina needs this over quick since she’s working.
Zsasz hands Butch a gun and orders him to work or Tabitha dies. As Penguin prepares to go up for a few words, Nygma briefly wishes him good luck. Penguin tells the crowd that tonight is a celebration of Gotham.
Butch, now wearing a red hood, fires, but the bullet turns out to be a blank. He’s apprehended and unmasked, but is defiant, telling Penguin that he used to be someone. Penguin is shocked that one of his dearest friends has betrayed him and tells the audience that he will prosecute anyone who threatens Gotham.’
But when Tabitha storms in, having taken out her captors, Butch breaks free and begins to choke the life out of Nygma. However, Penguin knocks out Butch, saving Nygma’s life.
On the roof, Bruce tells Selina that a redheaded woman had Ivy’s sweater, but it wasn’t her. Hardly newsworthy. However, he tells Selina that they’ve been friends for a long time and he likes her as more than a friend. Selina asks how many girls he’s dated. Zero. So Selina figures that Bruce likes her because she’s the only girl that he knows. Well, there’s always Silver St. Cloud.
Anyway, Bruce maintains that he feels something between them because they’re the same. Selina has to see that. Selina then introduces Bruce to rule one: don’t tell Selina Kyle what to do. And with that, she kisses him. Hey, she didn’t have to ask if he wanted it this time. Bruce is still confused because he’s an idiot.
Valerie meets with her doctor friend from before to talk about tests on Alice Tetch’s blood. He’ll talk, but wants something in return from Valerie. Just then, Jim arrives and demands that the doctor leave.
Though Valerie maintains that she could have gotten what she needed without compromising her honor, Jim wants to keep the woman and reporter separate by providing what she needs. But there’s no separation, Valerie will have to buy Jim dinner instead.
Penguin provides Nygma with some ginger tea and asks why Nygma didn’t tell him what he was doing. It’s because Oswald’s shock when seeing Butch had to be genuine. The people had to see it, and once again, Oswald is the city’s hero, even if Nygma almost died. But Nygma would do anything for Penguin. Oswald embraces Nygma in a deep hug.
Tabitha, meanwhile, drives off in pursuit of the ambulance carrying Butch. At the same time, at GCPD, Alvarez tells Barnes that the ambulance with Butch was hijacked. Before Barnes can leave the office, he finds himself overcome with power and walking without his crutch.
Meanwhile, Jervis Tetch has abducted a young woman and dressed her in a blonde wig and blue dress, even going as far as calling her Alice. Jervis is upset that his sister was taken away from him. The woman tells Jervis that she’s not dead, and that’s true until Jervis slits her throat. He then pens a letter in her blood and leaves a message for James Gordon. The people who hurt Alice shall feel the pain of the Mad Hatter.
Okay, after two pretty good episodes centered around the Mad Hatter, “Anything for You” scaled things back to focus mostly on the characters we already have to progress their storylines, most of which centered around trust and loyalty. In a city as corrupt as Gotham City, that’s hard to come by, even among those considered trustworthy.
But while Gotham is often blatant with its messages, I didn’t find that to be the case this week. Though among the pairings working out their trust issues, I again found the Penguin and Nygma dynamic to be the most well-handled, but more on that in a second.
Let’s talk about the return of the Red Hood gang. Or rather, just the usage of the Red Hood because unlike last time, they didn’t factor into the plot all that much. While I didn’t like the idea of the Season One episode “Red Hood” revolving around the red hood being some sort of good luck charm, that at least had more reason for the presence of the gang than this time.
Butch’s men could have just been everyday gangsters, so I don’t see why Gotham chose the Red Hood Gang specifically. At the very least, have some link between this gang and the previous one, because otherwise, it just seems like expendable men in red hoods. That was the case in Season One, but again, the story worked around the group. Less so here.
But that’s a minor nitpick since Butch dispatches of this new Red Hood gang with ease to save his own ass. Butch’s loyalty to Penguin has been challenged in light of Nygma’s release, and between that and his feelings for Tabitha, he’s looking to reclaim his former glory. I like that this all revolves around trying to regain whatever bond he had with Tabitha. An odd motivation, given what she did to him, but motivation nonetheless.
And while Tabitha still requires a favor from Butch, she does end up springing him at the end of the episode when she didn’t have to do that. I am interested to see whether Butch and Tabitha trying to rekindle their connection will drive a wedge between Tabitha and Barbara.
Also, I’m curious whether there will be any wedges driven between Nygma and Penguin. As odd of a job Gotham has had with its couples, it somehow nailed the friendship between Oswald and Nygma. And the show keeps teetering on the verge of having them kiss or something, which would probably create tons of fan art from the folks at DeviantArt.
But while they work excellent as a platonic pair, is there any truth to Nygma’s words? Could it be possible that, since being sprung from Arkham, he doesn’t want to be another second-in-command and he’s just biding his time? I could see it. He’s more confident than before, such as when he struts into the GCPD as a different man than the medical examiner the officers knew him as in a former life.
At the same time, I can’t deny that it’s fun watching Nygma play off of Oswald. There’s such natural chemistry between Cory Michael Smith and Robin Lord Taylor that I buy Oswald and Nygma’s friendship and bond more than just about any other couple on this show. Right now, Nygma has Oswald’s trust, so I am very curious whether it’s all genuine or if Nygma is waiting for the right moment to make a move.
But at least Bruce has made his move as far as telling Selina how he feels. And while I’m iffy on how the show handles these two, I will credit Gotham for having this progression feel natural. Two seasons ago, Bruce liked the idea of kissing Selina, but chose not to because he didn’t consider her a nice person. He may feel similar now, but he’s more open about his feelings now compared to then.
He’s had time to grow and realize that he has a connection with Selina, and he is going out of his way to help find Ivy when, as he tells Jim, he doesn’t have a connection with her. Whether Selina feels the same about Bruce now as he does for her is something I don’t know since Selina is good at wearing a mask and putting up barriers.
But this being Selina Kyle, maybe she’ll just toy with him. This Bruce Wayne isn’t as savvy or street-wise as other incarnations, after all, but then he’s just a kid and settling into that role of wearing a fake smile when out in public. Even if I’m still not a fan of some of the dialogue exchanges between Bruce and Selina, their bond has been a building development that I’m coming around to appreciate more.
Whereas Jim and Valerie’s connection appears to be genuine, but they’re also using each other for information. And Jim does, for now, commit to his words about putting the past behind him, as he doesn’t mind Leslie’s engagement or that she’s marrying a member of the Falcone family. It would be easy for the show to put them back together again, but I hope Valerie and Jim have time to develop and grow closer as a pair.
As for the final scene, I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t my favorite part of the episode. Benedict Samuel has been so good as Jervis Tetch and from this scene, Tetch feels more like the insane Mad Hatter we know him as from previous versions. Now we wait for his upcoming attack.
So all in all, a good episode. Though the Red Hood gang felt expendable, most of the other storylines centering around bonds and friendship were well-handled. Meanwhile, Ivy made a quiet return, the Mad Hatter has plans for Jim Gordon, and Alice’s blood is starting to affect Barnes. Now to see where it all leads.