A Look at Gotham- Season 4, Episode 11: “A Dark Knight: Queen Takes Knight”

The Queen takes Gotham’s Knight and a very familiar laugh returns as we enter the mid-season finale.  Let’s jump right in.

The episode begins with Tabitha, Selina, Barbara, and Sofia crashing the Iceberg Lounge and demanding that Mr. Penn give up Oswald’s location, but naturally, Mr. Penn stays silent.

Jim leads a squadron of soldiers into a facility in West End Alley where they he soon finds a body.  The body soon spurts to life and points to a note written in blood on the wall, courtesy of Professor Pyg, who might have gotten a new face.

While Tabitha attempts to pull information out of Mr. Penn, Sofia and Barbara discuss Penguin’s disappearance, as he’s probably out gathering support.  Sofia is certain that the gangs will support her after Penguin is killed.  Tabitha enters and tells the two that Penn has no idea where Penguin is.  Then Sofia receives a call that is not about Penguin.

At the GCPD, Jim learns from Harper about Sofia getting freed by Zsasz, as Penguin’s late night meeting with Sofia at the Crown Point Bridge, where a car was blown up.  Even though Pyg escaped Arkham and has a new face, Jim’s focus right now is stopping this war.

Sofia brings the ladies with her as she comes face to face with her father.  Carmine enters and reminds his daughter that she was never ready for this.  And yet she’s in Gotham anyway.  Sofia still sees Oswald as weak and believes that Carmine still wants the city.  However, Carmine is still dying.  Someone else can have it- all he cares about now is his family.  Sofia, though, feels she deserves Gotham.

Carmine whacks her and calls her a disgrace, not to mention sleeping with Jim Gordon, the man responsible for killing Mario.  Carmine knows the meaning of honor, but he feels Sofia has none.

And then in enters Penguin and Zsasz.  Carmine explains that, courtesy of Oswald’s call, he came to Gotham because he knew Sofia would lose.  Had Sofia not come been his daughter, Carmine would kill her.

Meanwhile, Alfred receives at an apartment complex in the aftermath of what looks like a big party.  An officer informs him that neighbors called in a noise complaint, so that’s when Bruce walks over to the sleeping Bruce, surrounded by some ladies, and splashes him with water.  Party’s over, Bruce.

Jim is surprised to run into Don Falcone, who tells Jim that he’ll be taking Sofia out of Gotham.  Same as Jim’s deal with Oswald, but Carmine knows that Oswald will honor the deal with him.  Carmine tells Jim that he’s glad he didn’t kill him, as that would’ve been a kindness.  He warns Jim that he has no idea what he’s brought to the city, but when he does, it will destroy him.

Sofia joins the two and is upset that neither of them believed in her.  She gives Jim a goodbye kiss as Carmine bids Jim farewell.  What matters is that after everything Sofia did, Carmine still considers her his daughter.  She then goes to pick up a rose, but pricks her thumb.  As she licks the wound, she spots a black van approaching.

The van door opens as a mobster opens fire on the Falcones before speeding off.  Though Sofia has survived, the same can’t be said for Carmine, who has died.

Alfred learns of Carmine’s death as he watches the news at Wayne Manor.  When Bruce enters, he’s less cordial and just treating Alfred as a butler.  I maintain that Bruce needs a good old fashioned ass whooping.

Zsasz reports to Oswald that everyone on the streets believes Oswald killed Carmine. Victor asks if Oswald would have filled him in on the plan if he did indeed do this, but Oswald maintains his innocence, saying his hands are clean.

They’re in attendance at Carmine’s funeral, along with Jim and Sofia, who is now in a wheelchair.  She blames Penguin for her father’s death, but Jim needs evidence to support that before he can arrest Penguin.

Time for Victor to pay his respects.  He approaches Carmine’s open casket, gets a bullet out of his gun and places it on Carmine’s suit.  He then leaves the service without Oswald.

Bullock makes a surprise visit at the visit and asks Jim why Penguin hasn’t been arrested yet, but Oswald still owns the judges.  If Jim’s case isn’t solid, Penguin will walk.  Jim then admits that Sofia paid off the mayor to make him captain.  And as Harvey said, there would be repercussions for Jim becoming Captain, but Jim won’t let Sofia turn the GCPD into her army.

After the progress the GCPD has made, Jim wants this done by the book.  Harvey then suggests forgetting about Falcone, as Penguin is too smart to get nailed for that. Instead, Jim should get Oswald to start a war- that’s at least enough of a reason for Jim to take down Oswald, who most likely will come for Sofia.  As far as Harvey is concerned, this is all on Jim, so he needs to finish what he started.

After Oswald says his goodbyes, he goes to Sofia and threatens her just as Jim interrupts the two and wheels Sofia away, telling her that he’s about to finish what he started.

Penguin then comes to the GCPD and demands that Jim hand over Sofia, who he believes is manipulating Jim.  Gordon, of course, refuses to give up Sofia, saying no one gets to decide who lives and dies in Gotham, so Oswald can get over it or face the consequences.  Okay, Oswald then offers a reward to any officer who hands over Sofia, but none of the officers will obey Oswald anymore.

Instead, the officers toss Penguin out of the precinct.  Jim addresses the precinct, reminding them that when he first arrived, Gotham and the GCPD were corrupt with criminals running the city.  Today, the officers showed him different.  He tells them that Penguin will be coming, but it’s time the GCPD showed Gotham what it’s capable of, so it’s time to suit up.

And thus, the war begins as the GCPD goes up against the mob.  Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina are still being held hostage in the middle of this, but when one mobster is shot, Tabitha falls over and retrieves his gun that she uses to shoot and kill the remaining mobsters.

Back at the precinct, Jim tells Sofia that he can’t arrest all of the mobsters under Penguin.  So long as Penguin is using proxies, he’s protected.  He knows that when Oswald is cornered, he’ll do something he can’t take back.  So Sofia brings up Martin from the orphanage and how Penguin blew him up.  As for why Sofia is saying this now, she is Penguin’s rival, so she doesn’t expect anyone to believe her.

Plus, she didn’t actually see Penguin plant the bomb, so it’s not solid.  However, Sofia isn’t done yet.  She says that Oswald never understood the way people cared for Carmine, and one of those people just called her…

At the Iceberg Lounge, Penguin is livid to learn that he’s losing to Jim Gordon and orders Zsasz to get things done, but then Jim arrives to arrest Oswald for murder…not of Falcone, but Martin.  And Oswald finds it all funny because remember, Martin isn’t dead.  He faked Martin’s death so Sofia couldn’t use Martin against him.  As for where Martin is, Oswald tells Jim that Victor took him out of town.

However, Zsasz doesn’t back Penguin’s alibi, saying instead that Oswald did indeed blow Martin sky high.  This causes Oswald to lash out at Victor, but he’s soon carted off just as Jim reminds Victor that he doesn’t get a free pass for this.

So Oswald is put in lockup among other criminals while the GCPD congratulates Jim finally winning the war against Penguin.

Zsasz reports to Sofia of all people and figures that Jim isn’t aware that Martin is alive. Sofia responds by telling Victor that Gordon played his part in showing the underworld that Oswald was weak.  At the end of the day to Zsasz, his loyalty is to a Falcone over a Cobblepot.  Sofia then tells Barbara, Selina, and Tabitha to smile, as this is a new day.

So they take over the Iceberg Lounge, but Tabitha isn’t as ecstatic about this as Barbara.

At Wayne Manor, Bruce finds that Alfred has packed some bags for Operation Bruce Wayne in order to appeal to his better angels.  Bruce admits that he hasn’t thought about his parents or Ra’s in awhile, but all Alfred offers his pain.  Bruce claims he’s happy, but Alfred sees misery.  Bruce again tells Alfred to stop, saying he’s not who his parents wanted him to be.

Alfred doesn’t believe that, but Bruce sees that as the problem.  And Alfred won’t let Bruce leave to go to the horse races, either, even if he has to use force.  Though Bruce doesn’t want to take on Alfred, he does…and Alfred ends up easily getting the upper hand, putting Bruce into a lock.  When Bruce lands a headbutt, Alfred responds with a punch to the face. That’s enough to get Alfred to stop, but Bruce storms off.

I mean, Bruce had it coming, let’s be honest.

Nygma is arguing with his Riddler persona in the mirror, yelling that he’s in control, but the Riddler maintains that things were better when Ed was him.  Riddler taunts Nygma with riddles and how he’s in love with Thompkins.  Nygma punches and shatters the mirror just as Grundy enters, wondering if Ed is angry with the mirror…or himself.

Then Grundy hears the very same song that spawned his name playing on a phonograph.    A smoke grenade lands at his foot and goes off.  Grundy soon passes out just as Tabitha enters.

She takes him to an empty building and tries tries to remind him of the time Ed cut off her hand, but obviously Grundy has no memory of this.  She even gives him a long, deep kiss to get him to remember, but no dice.  Tabitha then reveals she’s got a series of blunt objects.  After all, Tabitha got him to remember her once by hitting him very hard, so maybe doing that will help.

Jim arrives to warn Sofia against unifying Gotham’s gangs and putting the Falcones back in charge of the underworld.  Though Sofia claims this was part of the deal, that she’d replace Penguin.  Jim would still come after her if she does that, but Sofia has a proposal.

Lazlo Valentin, who isn’t wearing a different face, enters and holds Jim at gunpoint.  The two lay out how this all worked: when Jim realized the Pax Penguina would last, he went to Sofia, who had heard of a contract killer that was impersonating serial killers. As Sofia explains, if there was a killer out there hunting the police, the GCPD would most likely turn on Penguin.

So Lazlo came in to do his thing, though he admits the might have gone overboard with cooking people.  The only problem was Carmine Falcone, and Sofia reveals that she was the one who had her father killed.  Her defense is that if her father had shown some appreciation for what she’d done, he would still be alive.  And it’s revealed in a brief flashback that Lazlo is the one who shot Sofia, avoiding her vital organs.

Jim doesn’t care.  He still plans to send Valentin to Blackgate, but then Sofia shoots and kills Valentin herself.  She reminds Jim that no cops died under the Pax Penguina, but Jim couldn’t stomach that.  He came to the Falcones for help and there’s a line from that decision to a dozen police officers who have died.  For now, Sofia needs Jim to lead the GCPD so she, in turn will have someone to control.

And it’s here that Jim realizes that not only has Sofia been planning this from the start, but this isn’t about Gotham at all- just revenge for Jim killing Mario.  Sofia offers for Jim to arrest her, but she’ll talk, and all of Jim’s actions will be in vain- more than they already are, anyway.  She warns Jim that Penguin or someone worse will take over and Gordon will lose Gotham forever.

Or he can take on the sin as his own and let the GCPD think he’s a hero.  But he’d live knowing what he’d done.  She knows that someone worse than Penguin will rise and Gordon will lose.  Or Jim can take Sofia’s offer and live knowing what he’s done.  That is Sofia’s revenge.  She then makes a call, and Jim takes it to report to the GCPD that he shot and killed Professor Pyg.

We return to Wayne Manor as Alfred concedes to Bruce, saying that he won’t stop Bruce from doing what he’s doing, but he knows that Bruce will remember who he is.  However, Bruce went to his lawyer and it turns out he’s had emancipation papers drawn up.  As such, Alfred isn’t Bruce’s legal guardian.  Alfred won’t sign, but he doesn’t have to.  Bruce can just go to the police and show what Alfred did.  So yeah, Alfred’s fired.

Tabitha whacks Grundy over and over again in an attempt to get through to him.  She goes in for another kiss before apologizing, saying that she tried.  With that, she leaves.

Alfred quickly packs up, ready to leave Wayne Manor while Bruce continues to party the night away.

Jim, meanwhile, arrives at the precinct and finds that Harvey exiting the captain’s office.  He congratulates Jim for getting Pyg and Penguin and then heads off, telling Jim not to let the officers down, given that they believe in him.  So Harvey realizes he may not even be needed anymore.

When Jim enters the captain’s office, he sees that Harvey has turned in his badge and gun.

A bruised and battered Grundy stares at himself in the water as Butch wonders what the hell happened to him.

Penguin has been incarcerated at Arkham Asylum as he swears revenge against everyone who wronged him.  He hears a voice from the cell next to him saying that Arkham is full of loonies.  The inmate wants to work with Oswald, saying that he’s very resourceful fellow.

And with the sound of a very familiar laugh, Jerome makes his appearance and offers to help Penguin.

It’s all part of the plan, as the Joker said in The Dark Knight.  And I’m not saying that because this is a Batman related show or that the mid-season finale ended on Jerome, but because a lot of what happened and culminated in this final showdown with the GCPD against the mob all hinged on one thing: Sofia’s plan going off without a hitch.

The GCPD would have to be unified against Penguin and solidly with Jim, a reversal of where they began not just at the start of this season, but the beginning of the series in general.  Given Jim’s actions and him being so resolute to doing the right thing by the book, Gotham’s police have slowly gravitated towards showing him respect outright instead of begrudgingly.  Okay, so Sofia succeeded there.

But this plan did have the potential to go wrong.  She thought she could pin Martin’s death on Oswald as a way for Jim to bring him down, but she didn’t expect Penguin to do that in the first place.  More than that, she couldn’t have known that Oswald had a plan that would save Martin’s life.  Oswald blowing up the limo was a surprise to everyone, so she couldn’t possibly have anticipated that.

To use this as leverage to get Jim to arrest Penguin would involve Zsasz turning on Penguin.  And in the long run, this makes sense.  After all, Carmine is the one who hired Victor way back in Season One to go after Gordon in “Penguin’s Umbrella.” Perhaps working for Penguin was an opportunity, but as he tells Sofia, she’s a Falcone, so her showing up could’ve been the chance for Victor to flip his loyalties.

It makes sense.  Victor’s frustration seemed to be mounting in this episode and he did ask if Penguin would’ve told him if he planned to kill Penguin.  I can’t tell if he knew that Sofia planned to have her father killed, though.  Hell, she expected to find Penguin at his club, so whose to say if she anticipated him going to Carmine, who in turn returned to the city?

I say all this to say that some parts of Sofia’s plan fall together a bit too conveniently, even though she did end up besting Jim and getting him under her thumb in the end. In the end, though, to find out that Pyg apparently wasn’t Pyg at all, but just a guy who impersonated killers feels off, even for this show.  So did we just get an imitation Professor Pyg?

Whatever.  It was nice to see the war play out and escalate.  Having finally earned the backing of the GCPD, Jim had the power to take the fight to the mob.  With his resources, it was a battle he couldn’t lose since the criminals were divided between their loyalties to either Penguin or Sofia.  But now Sofia, as that Queen of the underground, has taken Gotham’s GCPD Knight and install him just where she wanted.

With Carmine dead, that could create a power vacuum for Gotham’s criminal element to fight among itself, but now Sofia is right where she needs to be while she’s got her own pawn leading the GCPD.  In the end, Bullock was right when he said that Jim would have to pay for becoming captain.

By the way, it was nice to see Bullock again, even if it was a brief appearance.  At the funeral, he said just what Jim needed to hear when he said he needed to do something that would incite Penguin to start a war.  And Harvey’s words didn’t come from a place of malice or a need to gloat.  He anticipated it, and now Jim has to clean up a mess that he made.

But this seems like a more solemn Harvey who realizes that he’s not needed anymore. Now I don’t think Harvey is gone for good, even with him turning in his badge and gun. I’m confident that he’ll return at some point.  Not sure when, and to be fair, Jim has been fine on his own and has the likes of Harper helping him, but I would bet good money on Harvey rejoining the force in some capacity later.

Oh, Bruce.  There’s nothing wrong with his downward spiral, but to lash out at Alfred, treating him more like a butler than a friend is a sign that he’s lost his way.  Nothing wrong with indulging in a bit of happiness, but to cry foul and say that he’d go to the police and show his bruises, on top of getting emancipation papers, shows that Bruce has abandoned his principles.

Of course Alfred would do anything to keep Bruce from falling off the path altogether, even if it was by force, so it’s all the more tragic that Alfred getting physical with Bruce was what lead to the fracturing of their bond.  Bruce pulling a move like this on Alfred doesn’t make him sympathetic, but in due time, he’ll see the error of his ways.

As for everything else, Nygma is apparently now in love with Leslie.  Not sure where that came from, but maybe the Riddler is just screwing with Ed to get him to embrace the Riddler persona again.  And the key to snapping Grundy back into Butch is just repeatedly hitting him really hard over and over again.  Well, that was easy.

And Jerome.  Gotham always seems to get a jolt of energy when Jerome is on the scene and this is no exception, so I’m excited to see him teaming up with Penguin in the second half of the season.

“Queen Takes Knight” was a pretty decent end for the first half of Gotham’s fourth season.  With Carmine dead, Sofia has taken over Gotham’s criminal element and managed to put Jim right where she wants him in the GCPD.  How long Jim will deal with this situation remains to be seen, but until then, looking forward to the show’s return when Jerome and Penguin join forces.

See you in the spring.

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