A Look at Gotham- Season 4, Episode 8: “A Dark Knight: Stop Hitting Yourself”

Jim and Leslie finally get promotions.

The episode begins at the fight club with Nygma and his Penguin impersonation taking center stage.  The crowd gives energetic boos to Nygma and his cronies, as they want to see Grundy instead.  So Grundy takes the stage and the lights die.  Nygma reveals his true as it’s time for the event.  Grundy’s challenge is Mr. Murderface.

Up above, Leslie tells Ed that she may not have a cure and asks what happens when Oswald finds out about this, but Ed isn’t worried since he’s got Grundy.  Leslie tells him not to bail when he’s in trouble, but she’s not in a position to argue.

The fight begins as Mr. Murderface lays hit upon hit on Grundy, causing him to have a glimpse of Tabitha Galavan.  Grundy soon strikes back, rips off Murderface’s arm, and starts hitting him with it over and over again as the crowd cheers “stop hitting yourself.”  Thus our episode title.

Meanwhile, Jim receives a promotion from the Mayor: as in he’s being made Captain of the GCPD.  Harvey has made reckless decisions, but the mayor signed the GCPD over to Penguin, so he’s not innocent.  However, the mayor says this has nothing to do with Penguin.  And if Jim won’t take Harvey’s place, someone will- someone who has no problem working with Penguin. Jim is given time to mull this over.

Penguin must settle a debate between a perp and Barbara, Selina, and Tabitha, but Oswald receives more important news from Mr. Penn: Edward Nygma is impersonating him in the Narrows.  This sends Oswald into a rage, but he soon laughs and stabs the perp, saying that Nygma’s name is just plain, dumb Ed.  Barbara’s account isn’t cleared, their debt is now owed to Penguin.

He tells them to go to the Narrows and see Ed’s act, then bring him to Oswald by nightfall.  Selina, though, wants something in return.  Okay, Oswald won’t send every criminal after the ladies.  Barbara accepts the terms.  He then tells Firefly to follow the women and kill them if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain.

So Selina informs Barbara and Tabitha about the fights and code of the Narrows.  Barbara wants the mission done, and while the ladies don’t like being Penguin’s lackey, they’re fine with going after Ed.  Plus, they know that Nygma’s not altogether right now, so this should be easy.

Indeed, the ladies arrive at the Narrows in the very next scene and watch Ed’s performance and are surprised when they see Butch enter the ring.  He rips off another opponent’s arm and beats them with it.  Tabitha goes off to try and talk with Butch, but then another familiar face pops up as Barbara spots Leslie.  Selina, meanwhile, tries to get the job done.

At the GCPD, Harvey goes through a box filled with bullets when Jim arrives.  Today is the bullet hole club, where officers shot in the line of duty are given the bullets that hit them as a badge of honor.  Harvey explains that the slugs were pulled from the Narrows raid.  He blames himself for sending the cops in, but Jim insists that they move forward and find the pig before he hurts someone else.

Lucius Fox arrives and tells the two that Professor Pyg hasn’t left much evidence, so they have to dig deeper and get ahead of him.  Harvey asks Jim to show up for the bullet hole club, knowing that Jim will have his back.

At the orphanage, Oswald talks about Ed to Sofia, saying no one appreciates how hard it is to be a crime lord.  He wants to talk about this over lunch, but Sofia has to see the caterer for Oswald’s fundraiser.  Oswald understands, but Sofia tells him to find a new form of relaxation, like chickens.

She brings up Carmine’s chickens, saying that life couldn’t be just about business. When life was tough, Carmine spent time with his birds- or an interest outside of business.

But then Oswald looks out the window, watches the kids playing, and eyes one in particular that’s about to set fire to some backpacks after being bullied.  Oswald stops the boy, Martin, played by Christopher Convery, before he can burn the items and it turns out that the he cannot speak, so he draws a picture of fire instead.  Oswald tells Martin that his enemies will know that what he did, so he can’t do that.

Back at the Narrows, Tabitha comes face to face with Butch, who of course does not recognize her.

Leslie is of course not pleased to see Barbara.  She doesn’t shoot Barbara, but does pistol whip her instead.  Barbara wonders what Jim thinks of the new Leslie, but Leslie has moved past him. And with that, Barbara moves past Leslie.

Nygma, meanwhile, is knocked out by Selina, because hey, someone has to get the job done.

Jim shows the captain’s offer to Sofia, who says that Oswald has nothing to do with this.  Sofia, though, did get the mayor to defy Penguin.  All thanks to the Falcone name, but Jim won’t do this at Harvey’s expense.  Sofia wonders how long Jim will stomach Harvey’s incompetence and tells him to stop pretending that he won’t take the job.  After all, he hasn’t thrown away the paper yet.  She then tells him to meet her tonight.

Back at the orphanage, Oswald tells his Martin that revenge is not easy.  He asks what Martin imagines when he sees his tormenters, and he draws a picture of a dead boy.  No, Penguin tells Martin to be crafty, as friendship can be a very deadly tactic.  So friendship can drive a wedge between his two enemies.  And it turns out the two enemies are flunking math.  Martin, by comparison, is great at it.

Following this, we see Martin taking a math test and sliding his answers to one of his tormenters, but not the other.  The one who saw the results gets an A, but the other seethes in anger.

Later, at recess, Martin fakes a wedgie.  The first bully attacks the other in retaliation and a fight breaks out.  Penguin admires how far Martin has come, saying that this minions are better than friends.  However, Martin considers himself Oswald’s friend.  Oswald warns him, saying his last friend betrayed him, so he says to shun friendship.  The two aren’t friends, but conspirators.  However, Oswald still keeps the note.

At the Narrows, Tabitha asks Butch if he remembers anything about them and even shows the mark on her wrist where it was cut, but then in comes the others with Ed. Before Grundy can save Ed, Leslie interrupts and breaks up the conflict, telling Barbara to let Nygma go.  Selina,bringing up the narrows, wants to settle this in the ring, saying that the winner gets to take Ed.

So the ladies must put up their best fighter to go against Grundy.  In the ring, Nygma again puts on his Penguin impersonation and tells the crowd that tonight is a special match.  The winner gets him.  So it’s Solomon Grundy versus Tabitha, who, despite her clear hesitation, is confident that Butch won’t hurt her.

Leslie informs Cherry that Tabitha and Grundy had a past association and wonders if Grundy will go easy on Tabitha, but Cherry not only believes that Grundy will be fine, but is more focused on giving Penguin what he wants, as she knows that he wants Nygma.

In the ring, Grundy doesn’t pull any punches, so to give a hand, Barbara tosses Tabitha a weapon. When she hits him with it, he has another glimpse of his past with Tabitha.  When he calls out her name, Tabitha knocks him out.

Meanwhile, at a bar, Jim has arrived for bullet hole club when a bartender gives him a box from Harvey, who came a few hours ago before the other officers arrived.  Apparently, Jim would know what to do.  He opens it, still housing six bullets, and hands them to the officers who were shot in the line of duty.

Back in the ring, Tabitha assures Butch that she’ll be back for him.  Before the ladies can leave, though, Firefly arrives, as the ladies have missed the deadline.

Grundy, meanwhile, finally awakens and is ready to kill, but he cowers in fear at the sight of fire.  Selina tries to reason with Bridgit, given that she’s from the Narrows, but hey, the only way to get rid of the stink is to burn it.  But before that can happen, Barbara shoots Bridgit’s tank.  Cherry is pissed, given that Bridgit is Penguin’s enforcer, but then Leslie reveals that Cherry informed on Ed to Penguin.

True as that is, Cherry points out that Barbara and her team work for Penguin.  In response, Barbara shoots and kills Penguin, saying that she and her ladies have quit working for Penguin.  Nygma, meanwhile, assures Grundy that Firefly can’t hurt him.  With that, the ladies leave.

Jim arrives at the precinct and finds Harvey having a drink in the captain’s office.  Jim tells Harvey that he owed it to be there and face the officers.  Had he done that, maybe Harvey could’ve gotten their respect, but Harvey feels that he doesn’t deserve it, given that he shot an officer.  But Jim reminds Harvey that it’s his job to take responsibility for his fellow officers.

So now Harvey is surprised that Jim is telling him what the job is- today, Harvey couldn’t do the job.  He sent Jim because he knew that he could, but that’s not good enough for Jim.  Though the officers needed Harvey, there’s nothing he can do about it now.  Jim then grabs a pen and signs the form from the mayor and officially relieves Harvey of duty, now that Jim will assume the captain’s position in the precinct.

Harvey is glad that Jim got what he wanted, but he asks what he did to get it, as nothing in Gotham is free.  Harvey warns Jim that he’ll have to pay when his bill is due, as that day will indeed come.

Later that evening, Oswald trains Martin when Sofia arrives.  Then Mr. Penn arrives to tell Oswald that Barbara failed to retrieve Oswald.  And even dispatching Firefly didn’t help.  But it gets worse.  The mayor has promoted Jim Gordon to captain of the GCPD.  A lot for Oswald to unpack.  Sofia reminds Oswald that business is not the end all of life.  There’s companionship, peace of mind, and friendship as well.

She then heads off to the estate and asks if Oswald will be joining her, but he has to stay and help Martin with his practice.  Oswald then asks Martin what they learned about friendship, which is that if you’re not careful, friendship can blind you to what’s staring you right in the face.  Oswald then looks out the window and watches Sofia leave.  He’s starting to piece this all together..

Back at the Narrows, Leslie checks up on a confused Grundy.  Nygma looks out to the waiting crowd, who is acknowledging their Leslie as their leader.  Given that she heals the kids and stitches up the warriors, this is now Leslie Thompkin’s turf.  Leslie, though, doesn’t want the position, because if she doesn’t, someone worse than Cherry will.  Leslie doesn’t know where to start, so Ed tells her to give the crowd a reason to cheer.

What’s that?  Drinks on the house.

Jim meets up with Sofia, believing she’s the reason that he became captain.  Jim insists that he’s not Sofia’s puppet, but Sofia calls them partners…and Jim just stabbed his partner in the back.  Sofia calls this a mercy killing- that Harvey had to go.  If Jim wanted a mobster’s help to dethrone Penguin, this was necessary.  Jim wants Sofia gone, but she’s here to restore the Falcone name, so she’s not leaving Gotham.

With that, she beckons the new captain inside, but Jim opts to stay outside where he can breathe.

When considering all of the Bruce partying stuff from last week, it would make sense to think that Gotham might check on him, even if just a throwaway scene.  But no. Instead, the episode focuses on two storylines, and a minor one with Penguin training Martin.  As such, the episode feels more concise and to the point since we’re not cutting away to plot points that could have been saved for another week.

Well, Jim came to clean up Gotham City and it looks like he’s done that by making it to the captain’s chair.  But, as Harvey points out and as he knows well by now, nothing in this city is free.  Just as Jim has owed debts to Penguin, he’s going to owe something to Sofia as well.  As he needed a Falcone to come help take down Penguin, Jim can’t just tell her to go or weasel his way out of this arrangement so easily.

So it remains to be seen just how deep Jim is in with Sofia.  Sure, Jim may not answer to Penguin, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have to answer to Sofia.  Jim isn’t oblivious to this, as he’s been questioning Sofia’s motivations with Penguin, all without realizing that Sofia has been manipulating him as well.  It puts Jim in an even harder place now that his bond with Harvey is fractured.

But again, Harvey’s downward spiral, much as I hate seeing him slide backwards, has provided us with more great scenes between Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie.  Harvey is fraught with guilt over shooting a fellow officer and can’t bring himself to face them, but he knows that Jim is plenty capable of doing so in his place.

It makes for good drama, but I hope it doesn’t come at the expense of reversing Harvey’s character arc.  Now to be clear, Harvey has never been 100 percent clean, but over the course of the show, he’s come around from being completely corrupt.  He acknowledged Jim’s prowess and devotion and has become loyal to him in many tough times.  To see all that go away would be a bit of a letdown.

If the door is left open for Harvey to redeem himself, then that’d be great.  As is, I’m curious how Jim would operate as Captain.  Sarah Essen wasn’t on the front lines that much- she mostly stayed at the precinct.  But Jim, by nature of this show, is always at the forefront, so I assume he would be even more so now that he’s giving commands.

Then we’ve got the conflict at the Narrows with Barbara and her entourage trying to secure Nygma.  First off, even though Barbara can make a huge declaration about not working for Penguin anymore, we haven’t really seen these three do odd jobs for him. More often than not, the three have been bickering among each other, so it’s not like they even worked for him that much anyway.

My fear was that Tabitha would somehow get through to Butch, and it looks like there are still pieces of Butch in there within Grundy, but only after getting hit very hard in the face. It’s campy and ridiculous, but entertaining to watch, even though Tabitha makes her bond with Butch sound more important than we saw.

Also, side-note, did all three of the ladies have to go to the Narrows?  Selina seemed to be the one member interested in getting the job done, and she was the most familiar with the Narrows.  If anything, just have her go alone.  Maybe send Tabitha as backup in case Selina got cornered again, but all three of them didn’t need to be present for this.

So with Cherry’s death- quite unfortunate, as I did like what little we got of her- now Leslie, the former GCPD medical examiner, has become the leader of the Narrows. That’s…interesting, but it could make for a fun combination when you set her alongside the still brain-damaged Nygma and the ever confused Grundy.

Finally, I do like the idea of Penguin taking Martin under his wing and training him so he’ll avoid the same mistakes that befell Oswald.  It’s given him something to do besides be a mobster, but it’s also let him piece together that Sofia is manipulating him.

“Stop Hitting Yourself” was a very focused episode that devoted a considerable amount of time to two of the main storylines with a good blend of off-the-wall dark comedy and drama with Jim succeeding Harvey as the new captain of the GCPD.  Where their friendship goes from here, and whether it’s still intact, is anyone’s guess.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s