It’s all about the Narrows as we reconvene for the second half of Gotham’s fourth season. This is “Pieces of a Broken Mirror.”
The episode begins with Jim entering a brothel, where he asks the owner if she’s seen Harvey lately. Indeed, Bullock has been by as of recent, but not today, so Jim asks the owner to call him if Harvey ever returns.
As Jim leaves, we follow three perps entering a rundown shop in search of drugs. They don’t find what they’re looking for, but in the center of the shop is a cocoon surrounded by plant life. Upon touch, the body begins to move and soon the person within emerges. And it turns out to be none other than our very own Ivy Pepper- not Maggie Geha, mind you, but now played by Peyton List.
At a diner, one patron questions someone who is sitting at the bar by themselves. This turns out to be Alfred, who has more free time since Bruce fired him. Judging that Alfred must be new to the area, but also have a ton of money, the patron and two other friends of his decide to pursue Alfred.
While they do so, we cut to Leslie speaking to some of the Narrows’ inhabitants in a nearby building. Gotham, she says, is responsible for their dire situation, so the people of the Narrows need to band together instead of just wanting to survive. Leslie believes their lives should be about more than just survival, even if it’s always been every man for himself.
Fair enough, so Leslie asks how many of the folks have kids. Several do, and she’s been treating the children at her clinic. The people are stealing from each other.
As Leslie talks, a man in back sets up an airplane that he’s preparing to launch. This is Griffin Crank, played by Thomas Lyons. We’ll learn more about him in a bit.
Ivy, still confused over her rebirth, grabs one of the perps hitting on her and paralyzes him with her newfound abilities. A new trick indeed for our plant loving friend. As the other two flee, Ivy examines her new, recast look in the mirror.
Back to Alfred, as the three men have caught up to him to demand his belongings. He manages to hold them off when Jim interrupts the scuffle. Alfred explains to Gordon that he’s living nearby in the area.
We then return to Leslie, who tells the people of the Narrows that she wants to prove that she can turn their home into a nice place to love. It sounds crazy, but the crowd erupts into applause.
Meanwhile, Griffin Crank finally sends his toy airplane flying from the back room and towards Leslie, but Grundy quickly intervenes and knocks it out of a window just before it can detonate. Jim and Alfred help everyone out of the building while Ivy, now in her signature shirt, also leaves the scene.
When firefighters later arrive on the scene, Jim tells the officers to set up a perimeter and interview witnesses. Lucius Fox also arrives on the scene to find the source of the blast.
Upstairs in the building, while Jim interviews some of the survivors, Lucius brings him some remnants of toy airplane used as the explosive. It’s possible that this was an assassination attempt, but now there’s the question of who was the intended target?
Nygma and Leslie debate their next move. Well, an enraged Nygma wants to burn the Narrows to the ground. He’ll find this perp and…Grundy will do something about it, though Grundy is too busy thinking as he has flashbacks of his life as Butch Gilzean.
Alfred arrives back at the diner and is greeted with applause and even given a complementary drink on the house from hostess Tiffany Gale, played by Caissie Levy. Even the man who tried to rob Alfred congratulates him for running into a burning building and saving others. In the midst of all this, Alfred notes a bruise on Tiffany’s temple and asks what happened, but she brushes it off.
Lucius and Jim arrive at one of several shops that manufactures antique toys. They speak with Cosmo Krank, played by Chris Perfetti, and asks if he’s familiar with the airplane. He recognizes the model and has kinds like it in his store, but it’s been altered to carry a bomb. As is, Cosmo works at the store with his father, who is upstairs, so Jim requests that Dad be summoned.
As the two look over the toys and talk about Harvey, one of the Nutcracker dolls suddenly opens fire, forcing Jim and Lucius to duck for cover. As bullets rain over them, another toy, this one with a bomb, approaches, so Jim tosses it and the two rush out of the toy store. They spot Griffin escaping in a car, but before Jim can fire, Cosmo pleads that Jim not shoot and kill his father. So Jim doesn’t.
Later, Cosmo tells Jim and Lucius that he had no idea what his father was up to. Jim wants to know who the target of the bombing was and asks if anyone came asking questions, but Griffin works at night and people rarely visit the shop.
Cosmo remembers his father talking to someone a few days ago and he kept repeating ‘The Doc’ during his conversation. Jim and Lucius part ways, though Jim makes sure to ignore a call from Sofia.
New Ivy stalks the streets of Gotham and is saddened by the dying plants that are being choked to death by noxious fumes. As some folks nearby leave in a taxi, Ivy somehow enters what I’m assuming is their home and goes through the wardrobe.
She finds herself a suitable outfit and begins lounging around, stuffing her face on ice cream, and sees a news broadcast and an advertisement for the Sirens Night Club. The ad itself is…not good, and Selina could not give less of a damn, but that’s when Ivy recognizes and remembers that wait, she hates these three women.
Later that evening, Alfred and Tiffany exit the diner, with Tiffany asking about Alfred’s past. He talks up his history in the military and how he found himself lost when it was all over, and then he met a man who changed his life, brought him to America, and gave him a job. But that man is dead now and Alfred misses him very much.
A trucks pulls up and Alfred, assuming this is the boyfriend, gets rough with the man, noting the bruises on Tiffany’s head. Alfred demands that Tiffany stay away from him, but she assures him that she’ll be fine. The man, Gil Rooney, played by Matthew C. Flynn, quickly picks up something that Alfred dropped and then whisks Tiffany away so the two can ‘talk’ later.
At GCPD, the coroner tells Lucius about his newest victim- the same man who Ivy infected. Turns out that the cause of death was poison ingested into the bloodstream, but there’s something growing in the victim’s body- the foreign, organic material is not just alive, but growing.
It’s Toxicodendron radicans, better known as poison ivy. Huh. That’d make a pretty good villain name. Anyway, the tiny plants are living off of the victim’s dead tissue. The coroner then performs an incision down the victim’s chest and plants emerge from within.
At the Sirens’ club, Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina take note of the mysterious woman who has just entered, but Barbara tasks Selina with breaking up the riffraff nearby, which turns out to be Bruce partying with some lady friends. Selina threatens to call Alfred, but Bruce reveals that he fired his former butler. It was time to move on, he says. Selina doesn’t buy Bruce’s new persona and asks if he’s putting on an act.
But the conversation is interrupted when some men nearby start fighting over Ivy’s attention. Tabitha breaks it up and orders Ivy to leave, which she does, but not before waving in Selina and Bruce’s direction. Barbara notes that she seems to recognize Selina, who then remembers that is indeed Ivy. Hopefully Selina asks Ivy why she’s been recast yet again.
Later, Jim also pops by the club to speak with Barbara to ask about The Doc, who might have been the target of the assassination at the Narrows. Yes, Barbara knows The Doc, and said Doc is with Edward Nygma in the Narrows at a place called Cherry’s.
Jim gets a call from Harper, who is at a murder scene and has Alfred in custody. At said scene, there’s a woman who has been found beaten to death- it’s Tiffany. And the boyfriend conveniently has an alibi- he was at work all night. According to him, though, Alfred made some advances on Tiffany and got rough with her. Of course, Jim knows this doesn’t sound like Alfred at all.
There’s more to it, though. Tiffany’s face has impressions on it from an SAS signet ring- the same ring that Gil swiped off of Alfred during their encounter. And upon closer inspection, the impression does indeed match.
He goes to Alfred, who says that Gil is responsible for the killing. Alfred explains that Tiffany was merely a friend and that he connected with her. However, according to Jim, Gil has an alibi, so the best Alfred can do is go to the precinct and give Harper a statement. Then Harper informs Jim that another witness saw an earlier scuffle between Gil and Alfred. Speaking of Alfred, he’s gone.
Grundy, nay, Butch, arrives at the Sirens’ club and tells Tabitha, calling her by name, that her ‘treatment’ worked. He doesn’t remember much outside of Barbara shooting him in the head and the swamp bringing him back. He came to the club because the one thing still clear i that he loves Tabitha. With that, Butch bids her farewell.
Over at Cherry’s, Nygma gets the crowd pumped for the Doc’s arrival. Jim arrives just as the Doc descends the stairs and is surprised to see that the Doc is, in fact, Leslie. The Doc tells the crowd that whoever tried to kill her apparently didn’t like what she said about the Narrows being united, because a united Narrows is a strong Narrows. And the assassin should be scared.
Nygma approaches Jim from behind and tells him that Leslie has his support. But Jim warns Ed that whoever hired Griffin Crank to try and kill Leslie might try it again. When Leslie is done getting the crowd excited over the dream of a new Narrows, she goes to Jim and tells him that she’s been busy since she came back. Jim wishes that she called, but he’s at least glad that she’s doing well.
He tells her that both the assassin and the person who hired him are still on the loose. Oh, and while Ed is present, Jim is surprised that Leslie is working with Nygma. He wasn’t Leslie’s first choice, to be fair.
Anyway while Jim looks around, Ed spots and pursues the Toy Maker, whom he follows into an alleyway. When the Toy Maker gets the drop on Ed, he confesses that he’s been looking for Nygma.
Alfred enters a bar and begins to beat the ever living hell out of Gil, but he soon finds himself outnumbered. When the perps gang up on him, Alfred finds himself saved by Bullock of all people. Hey, great continuity, as Harvey does bartend. He helps Alfred get a confession out of Ronnie.
Selina, meanwhile, enters the home inhabited by Ivy, who was anticipating her arrival. And she’s in a different flesh. She scratches Selina’s hand and infects her with the poison that flows through her veins, causing Selina to collapse. Luckily, she hands Selina a vial that will counteract the toxin. But Ivy isn’t crazy. So she says. She’s been reborn, and she will never be underestimated or ignored ever again.
Right now, Ivy wants to repay Selina for all the times that she’s helped her…by making Gotham their bitch.
Back in the alleyway, the Toy Maker tells Ed that he paid him to kill Leslie. Or rather, The Riddler did and said that Leslie must die so that Ed could be free.
Jim interrupts the conversation and both shoots and kills Griffin, so Nygma’s tale is that the Toy Maker did it all himself. Okay, so Jim calls it in and congratulates Nygma on a job well done. In other news, the Riddler is still around.
Back at the bar, Gil and his cohorts are hauled off as Alfred explains to Harvey who Gil killed and what Tiffany meant to him. The two toast to Tiffany just as Jim arrives and assures Alfred that Ronnie will talk. As for Harvey, he’s doing just fine. Jim missed him so much that he’s ready to return Harvey’s badge, but Harvey is in no mood to return.
More than that, he knows that Jim is keeping a secret. To him, Jim came to confess. But Harvey isn’t about to come back to the precinct, so he tells Jim to leave.
It’s a small Gotham City after all. Despite the midseason finale ending with Jerome meeting Oswald, we don’t follow up on that this week, so that was quite the tease. Perhaps later.
There’s a lot going on in “Pieces of a Broken Mirror” and the strangest, and most convenient, of it all wasn’t how fast the episode moved from one scene to the next, but how one moment happened in proximity to another. So we get Jim searching for Harvey, Ivy being reborn, Alfred at a diner and making some new friends, and Leslie giving a speech to the people of the Narrows. All virtually within the same city block.
This sort of convenience is good so that no one has to travel very far to get from point A to point B, but it’s too easy that everything occurs at around the same location.
Alfred’s subplot felt the most unnecessary and I would think that a man of his status could live in a better place than the Narrows. That said, I’m all for him to get a bit of happiness and it looked like he would have had if Tiffany survived the episode, as Caissie Levy was quite good in the role. I enjoyed seeing Alfred happy for once, but also never tired of seeing him kick ass when he sensed trouble with Tiffany’s situation.
That said, I find it baffling that Harper’s one explanation for Alfred possibly being the killer is that he has a temper. Okay, so she hasn’t known Alfred that long, but I would think Gordon is smart enough to know that Alfred is no killer.
It was nice to see Lucius back in the field alongside Jim. I’ve enjoyed him slowly becoming more involved with the cases, rather than him being relegated to the GCPD medical examiner’s office. He has a lot of knowledge that he can bring to investigations and I hope that, as the show progresses, he plays a larger role.
While last time around, it felt like Nygma might have been developing feelings for Leslie, it’s an interesting idea to have him still warring with his Riddler persona, which now seems to be taking over at certain points. It’s a good way to keep the Riddler side of Nygma active while leaving the door open for that persona to become dominant again, as Ed is still struggling to maintain control.
By the way, until this episode, I did not know that the Toy Master was actually a part of Batman lore. Like turning the Dollmaker into Dulmacher, I thought this was Gotham’s way of just having their own take on the Toyman. Or at least to differentiate him from the version on Supergirl. But now that he’s dead- thanks, Jim- whose to say that his son can’t take up the Toyman mantle?
Aside from checking in on Bruce, seeing that Butch indeed has his memory back, and that the Sirens aren’t ready for prime time, we also get the new return of Ivy. Peyton List was fine in the role and it’s a nice connection to see her in another DC role after playing Golden Glider on The Flash. What I don’t understand is why Ivy needed yet another recast.
Wouldn’t it have been easier to just keep Maggie Geha in the role and give her the new abilities that List’s version has, without needing to alter her appearance? Furthermore, the only new thing about Ivy as far as we can tell is that she has these abilities. Yes, she’s emerged from her cocoon a new creature, but I don’t get why, especially since it doesn’t necessarily justify the recast.
But hey, if this is a way to get Selina and Ivy working together again- and potentially break Selina away from the Sirens for a bit- I’m all for that.
Oh, and it’s nice to see Gotham remember its own mythology by having Harvey be a bartender again. I do miss the dynamic he has with Jim, but am also curious how long he’ll stay in the wings, and if he’ll ever return to the force. But even with Harvey’s attitude and tone towards Jim, he did give him ample warning, but now Jim is living with the consequences of working with Sofia.
“Pieces of a Broken Mirror” is a pretty decent for the return of Gotham’s fourth season. It had a lot going on and managed to bring in almost everyone but the two characters it left off on last year. I’d say this episode was almost too busy and we could’ve done without seeing Bruce, Butch, or Alfred at all so we could instead focus on the Toy Maker and Narrows storylines.