We like the things that go boom on Gotham.
The episode begins at Arkham Asylum as Professor Pyg plays some soothing music on the record player. One inmate used to be beaten by his mother to this song when he was young, so clearly he doesn’t want the song playing. Pyg taunts the inmate, asking why he was beaten, but this causes the inmate to lash out and punch Pyg. Well, that was the wrong decision, as Pyg paid a fortune to look this good.
He snaps a record in half, stabs the inmate with one half and slits his throat with the other.
At the GCPD, Lucius shows Jim some X-rays of Professor Pyg. As his fingerprints were burned off, the doctors found the scar tissue indicate that he’s had multiple surgeries, which is why he couldn’t be ID’d. But Pyg is a glory hound, so why doesn’t he want anyone to know his identity? Jim asks Lucius to use the X-ray to reconstruct his face to find out who Pyg really is.
Harper then informs Jim that he’s got a visitor: Sofia Falcone, who hasn’t heard from Jim in a few days. She wants the two to meet regularly, and she already told Penguin that he made Jim captain. Furthermore, she’ll remove Oswald from the picture. After that, she wants to be with Jim. But Jim knows it won’t be that easy, plus he doesn’t see a way forward for the two of them.
At the Narrows, Leslie holds courts to settle issues and disputes. Nygma, though, remains uncured, even though Leslie is confident that he’ll be fine. A bruised up man staggers forward to tell Leslie that a man named Sampson wants his protection money, even though this is Leslie’s area.
Turns out that this Sampson guy controls a territory south of the Narrows Nygma tells Leslie that she needs to be strong, even though Leslie wants things settled amicable and doesn’t want to rely on Grundy.
Sofia is surprised to find a livid Penguin waiting for her. He finally has proof that she is his enemy. After what Martin explained, Oswald did some digging into Gordon’s trip shortly before Sofia arrived in Gotham. So Oswald figures that Sofia and Gordon have been plotting to destroy him from the beginning.
Sofia calls Oswald an easy mark and doesn’t back down. Sure, Oswald was blind to Sofia before, but he wants to now know the full extent of her plan. Zsasz then orders the dentist to come out. And he’s not your typical dentist, either.
Jim comes face to face with Pyg at Arkham to find out who he really is. Pyg merely calls himself a reflection of Gordon, though Jim doesn’t see it. He slugs Pyg, who merely readjusts his face. He tells Jim that what he sees is what he gets, though Jim wonders why Pyg doesn’t want to take the credit for his crimes. Though Pyg knows that Gotham has gone wild for the Pyg.
Though Jim tells Pyg that he’s second rate compared to other criminals like Fish Mooney or Jerome Valeska. Of course. Pyg is confident that he’ll be remembered, and even if the city hasn’t, Jim is here. As Jim prepares to leave, Pyg yells in a particularly distinct accent that Gordon will never forget him. And there is the Pyg that Jim wanted to see.
So Leslie and Nygma hit the streets and meet Sampson, played by Stu Riley, and hopes that he’ll honor the agreement with Cherry that the people be left alone. Even though Leslie isn’t from the Narrows, she’s offering 10 percent from fight nights. However, Sampson is taking the clinic, club, and entire neighborhood, not negotiating.
But then Leslie sees Sampson coughing up blood and mentions that there’s a virus going around that’s killed a few people…unless they had treatment. She offers to doctor Samson’s people free of charge, but Samson laughs it off. So Leslie will come back in a few days. As she and Nygma leave, Sampson agrees…to 30 percent per fight night. Leslie tells Sampson to come by the clinic later.
The dentist examines Sofia’s teeth, fully aware of her relation to Carmine Falcone, as he killed the dentist’s brother. But Carmine didn’t kill anyone else from his family and Sofia knows exactly where the dentist’s family lives. She knows all about Penguin’s members. If Sofia is harmed, her people have instructions to kill the dentist’s family. But thing is, no one will know she’s dead.
If Sofia didn’t have people inside Penguin’s organization. Today, she says, is the day she takes over Penguin’s organization. If her people don’t hear from her soon, the dentist’s family dies. But if the dentist doesn’t believe her, she can drill away. However, the denetist opts to tighten her restraints. As a henchman does, the dentist turns his drill on the henchman instead.
As Sofia is freed, she heads back to her car and finds the driver collapsed on the steering wheel. Before Sofia can figure what’s going on, she’s captured by Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina, who apparently always need to travel in a group.
Sofia awakens bound and gagged at Barbara’s spot and asks what Barbara wants with her. The ladies have some demands, except Penguin just tried to kill Sofia, so clearly the two aren’t on the best of terms. The ladies think she’s lying, though Sofia admits that she’s been manipulating Penguin from the start. Selina thinks Sofia could be telling the truth, but Barbara opts to call Oswald instead.
Speaking of, Oswald is grooming Martin and congratulates him on his work. Now Oswald is ready to impart his wisdom, but Martin doesn’t want what Penguin has. He writes down that he lied, saying Sofia wanted him to tell Oswald that she killed Gordon. Now Penguin is paranoid, figuring that Sofia knew how he would respond.
Then Zsasz alerts Oswald that the dentist is gone, and that Barbara Kean has Sofia in her possession now. She wants to make a deal. Barbara’s terms: she keeps the gun shop and operates with autonomy. Basically, she wants nothing to do with Penguin. Okay, Oswald can agree to that, so Zsasz is ordered to go pick up Sofia. As for Martin, that conversation isn’t over yet.
Lucius shows Gordon a sketch of what Pyg used to look like, so Gordon wants the photo sent to all police stations across the country, starting with the South, given Pyg’s southern accent that slipped.
Back at the Narrows, Leslie admits that there’s no such thing as Narrows Lung. Samson probably just has bronchitis. Nygma warns Leslie that Samson will want more than 30 percent, but the conversation comes to a stop when the two enter Leslie’s clinic and find it trashed. Nygma again tells Leslie to say the hell with diplomacy and just use Grundy to end this, but Leslie has a better idea as she picks up a particular vial…
Sofia warns the ladies that they need to leave, though Barbara doesn’t want to work for anyone, not even Sofia, even though that’s not what she’s offering. Then Selina looks at the monitors and finds Zsasz has arrived with a rocket launcher. The four aren’t given time to do much of anything before Zsasz fires, forcing them to flee out back as a now livid Barbara vows revenge on Penguin.
Back at the precinct, Sofia again pays Jim a visit to tell her that she underestimated Oswald. She plays up the innocent act, saying that Penguin is coming after her and pleads for Jim to use his power to end Penguin, but Jim sees through the ruse, saying that Sofia made Jim captain so he’d take Oswald out instead of her, given that she didn’t have the numbers on her own.
Sure, Sofia wants law and order in Gotham, given that this is what Jim wanted when he came down south. So Jim’s option is simple: crush Penguin. Seems easy enough.
But Oswald is too busy chewing out Martin, who writes that Sofia merely used him. He orders Martin out just as Zsasz arrives to inform Oswald that Barbara’s gun shop is up in smoke. Oswald is ready to take the city by storm, but Jim arrives, fully aware that Oswald tried to kill Sofia. But Jim wants to make a deal. Sofia is being put on a train home and Jim wants assurance that Oswald won’t attack her.
Of course, Oswald won’t do that, but if Sofia enters Gotham again, Jim will put her behind bars. If Oswald refuses, Jim will use the full force of the GCPD to bring Penguin down. And that’s not pleasant at all. So Oswald agrees to put his feeling aside for the good of the city. But he wonders where the two will be once Sofia is gone. Jim wants no more licenses.
Leslie warns Sampson that she wants him out of the Narrows by the end of the day. Samson vows to stay in his turf, but Leslie presents the antidote to the poison she slipped into his drink. It’s the one thing from the clinic that wasn’t destroyed. How convenient.
It starts kicking in and when Sampson’s henchmen point their guns, Leslie threatens to destroy the antidote. Again, Leslie tells Samson to leave and he’ll live. He agrees. As Leslie leaves, she tosses Sampson the antidote.
Over at the GCPD, Sofia gives Jim a kiss and says that they’re the same: they both want power, and it’s easier for Jim to send Sofia away than admit it. Jim places Sofia in handcuffs and orders Harper to escort Sofia to the train station.
Zsasz informs Penguin that Sofia is headed to the train station. As for Martin, Oswald doesn’t want him sent back to the orphanage. When Oswald goes to speak with him, he finds Martin’s notebook with a drawing indicating that Martin has been kidnapped.
Indeed, Martin has been kidnapped by Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina…just because. And again I must ask, why do these three do everything together?
On the train ride, as Harper escorts Sofia, she’s soon knocked out by Zsasz, who suddenly arrives and demands to know where Martin is, though Sofia tells him that if Oswald wants to know where Martin is, he’ll meet at her designated spot in one hour.
At the meetup point, Oswald arrives as Sofia delivers her terms: Penguin turn over the underworld to Sofia and Martin will go free. Sofia figures that her father would be proud, not upset, at her threatening to kill a child.
Soon enough, Oswald submits. He apologizes to Martin for what he said, as he truly cares for him. He orders the young boy to wait in the limo before turning his attention back to Sofia. He applauds Sofia for attacking his emotions, but won’t allow her to use Martin as a pawn in her game.
And with that, Penguin pulls out a detonator and activates it, blowing up the very same limousine that Martin just entered. A firefight breaks out as Oswald’s war commences.
Over at the Narrows, Leslie finds a glum Nygma, who is upset that he did nothing to help Leslie. He’s not cut out to be a sidekick, saying that Sampson was right when he called him a has-been. Leslie tells Nygma that there’s nothing wrong with him, as she hasn’t been looking for a cure. There was an effect early on from the ice, sure, but the rest is purely psychological, as Ed knew every move that Samson would make.
Nygma asks why Leslie would lie to him, but she feared he would go back to being the Riddler. She likes who Nygma has been all along…just Ed Nygma, her friend.
Sofia tells the ladies that they need to Penguin hard as he’s gathering his forces. Though Barbara decides to go at it alone, Sofia declares that Barbara won’t have a piece of this city if she does. After all, Barbara’s club is gone and she has nowhere else to turn. Penguin won the battle, but Sofia vows to win the war.
However, it turns out that Martin is not dead. As he opened the limo door, he entered a tunnel underneath the limo. Penguin tells Martin that Zsasz will take him to a safe location from which he can never return to Gotham. Martin, though, doesn’t want to leave, but Penguin must do this to protect Martin. Though Zsasz would rather stay and fight, Oswald wants his top man on this. Oswald has something big planned for Sofia.
Over at the precinct, Lucius reveals to Jim that Professor Pyg’s real name is Lazlo Valentin. And it turns out that Pyg’s previous victims weren’t cops and there was no pig persona. The last case involving Pyg at a precinct down South didn’t fall apart, though- Pyg just escaped. As such, Jim then heads off to Arkham.
At Arkham, a lone guard overhears some noise from Pyg’s cell. He heads over to it and finds it empty, but when he heads in, a noose is slipped over his neck from above.
Nygma cleans himself up at the Narrows and sees his Riddler self in the mirror, taunting him. The Riddler will never escape.
Jim arrives at Arkham and finds the lone guard in Pyg’s cell dead and then sees bloody writing on the wall.
An aptly named episode, this was. At least, given how explosive the war between Penguin and Falcone is heating up to be as things escalate.
Let’s start with that, actually. For a moment, I thought Gotham had actually taken Penguin full on back to that dark place with him killing Martin so he wouldn’t be a pawn in Sofia’s game. It wouldn’t be out of character or even out of left field for this show, given how we just saw Ra’s slit a kid’s throat a few episodes ago. So the idea of Penguin blowing Martin up so he couldn’t be used against him was interesting.
But then it didn’t happen, and I can appreciate that Oswald was smart enough to have a plan in place that would allow Martin to live, but also give off the impression to Sofia and Barbara that he actually did just murder a child. I bought it and it’s the sort of crazy thing Penguin would do. Then again, in his time with Martin, he has grown attached to him, so it makes sense that he’d want him away from Gotham for his own safety.
I’m glad that Penguin isn’t wasting any time escalating things, though. He confronted Sofia the first chance he got, had Zsasz blow up Barbara’s gun shop, and even agreed to Jim’s terms if it meant bringing them one step closer to removing Sofia from the equation. Oswald could easily have spent this entire episode just brooding over Sofia’s betrayal, but instead, he’s taking the fight to her.
That doesn’t excuse the fact that Sofia easily escaped from the dentist- or why Oswald wouldn’t just do the job and finish Sofia off himself- but at least that showed Sofia, like Oswald, also has a contingency plan in place if things don’t go the way she’d like.
For example, she couldn’t have predicted that Barbara would abduct her. I don’t even recall if the two had even crossed paths up until this point. And yet, with Barbara’s shop in shambles, Sofia has a chance to guide her in this war since they have a common enemy in Penguin. At the very least, maybe this will give Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina some structure because they seem to be winging it right now.
So we get Professor Pyg’s real name this week and learn that his previous victims weren’t cops. In effect, we didn’t really need another villain, particularly one like Pyg, to be introduced with a grudge against the GCPD, but at least Jim and Lucius were able to piece this together and it’s nice that the GCPD wasn’t the main focus this week.
I enjoyed seeing Leslie and Nygma working together at the Narrows, if just to see Leslie exert some leadership and snap Nygma out of his funk. I’m guessing Leslie has just gotten over what Nygma did in the past if it means they’re work partners. But with Nygma aware that his intelligence is back, it remains to be seen whether he’ll embrace the Riddler again or just be Edward Nygma.
We’re coming up on the mid-season finale as Penguin’s war with Sofia Falcone escalates. And now that Pyg has escaped and presumably will embrace his actual self, a lot of things should go boom as we head towards the end of the first half of Gotham’s fourth season.