OK, this Gotham recap is super late but when faced with the prospect of a long Gothamless winter I wanted to keep this one on my DVR for a bit and have a rewatch to look forward to. But we have to face reality and so it’s finally time to get into the awesome “Queen Takes Knight”.

Hey, right off the FOX announcer calls this “the season finale”, which is not actually true. Don’t confuse the people, announcer!

We start off big with Sofia and her crew (Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina) attacking the Penguin’s office. They take out some henchmen and give that one accountant such a fright. Sofia demands to know where Penguin is.

Cut to Gordon leading a gang of cops through an abandoned building to find a mutilated surgery victim, still alive. Pyg used the guy’s blood to write a goodbye on the wall. (“Toodles, Gotham. It was a gas. – Pyg”)

Tabitha tortures the accountant offscreen while Barbara questions whether it’s a good idea to make Penguin this mad. Sofia assures her that everybody will support them. Tabitha concludes the guy doesn’t know where Penguin is and then Sofia gets a call. We cut to the GCPD, where Harper tells Gordon about how Zsasz ambushed them and got Sofia out of custody.

Sofia and company arrive at her father’s mansion where none other than Carmine Falcone is waiting. He’s mad that she disobeyed his orders and now he has to step in. Carmine slaps her and says she’s a disgrace. He also mentions that she slept with Gordon, which comes as news to Barbara. Finally Carmine says they don’t understand honor and then the Penguin pops in. Between Zsasz and Carmine’s guys, they manage to subdue the women. Sofia insists that she can do this but the Don says she’s going to lose unless he and Oswald take over.

OPENING CREDITS!

Cut to a penthouse. Bruce and his terrible friends are passed out – including two young ladies who are in bed with him. There’s a cop who tells Alfred that the neighbors called in a noise complaint and asks him to deal with Bruce. Alfred dumps some water on Bruce and drags him out of there. Gordon shows up at the Falcone Mansion and Carmine tells him to back off. He says he made a deal with Penguin to end this, and Gordon’s all “Yeah, we had that deal too.” Hee! Falcone goes on to say that once Gordon finds out what he brought to the city, it’ll destroy him.

Sofia comes out, escorted by a goon. “Another day, another man sending me out of Gotham.” HA! She says goodbye and Falcone says he assumes she and Gordon will never see one another again. He tells Sofia that he’s still willing to consider her a daughter, and she grabs one of her mother’s roses on the way out. There’s a lingering shot as a thorn pricks her finger and then a van rolls up in slow motion. Gunmen start shooting and both Falcones get hit. Gordon runs to Sofia who’s freaking out about seeing her father’s corpse.

Farewell, Carmine Falcone. You were a real asset to the show and I’m going to miss your professionalism.

Three days later, the news is still talking about Falcone’s death. A drunk Bruce staggers in to stately Wayne Manor and tells Alfred to clean up the mess in the Rolls. Elsewhere, Zsasz pops into Penguin’s office and wants to know if he engineered the attack on Falcone. Aww, Zsasz is sentimental about his old boss. Penguin assures him he didn’t know anything.

Carmine’z funeral. Penguin and Zsasz are in attendance, and even Gordon pays his respects. Sofia arrives in a wheelchair and tells him that Penguin set up the hit. She thinks Gordon is weak for needing things like, you know, “evidence” before he can do something about that. Zsasz approaches the coffin, pops a shell our of his pistol, and lays it on Carmine’s chest before storming out. Penguin seems panicked.

Hey, Bullock shows up! Gordon admits that Sofia paid off the Mayor to make him captain but they have to shut her down. The cops can’t be her private army. Bullock says he needs to get Penguin to start a war so they can shut him down. He also blames everything that’s gone wrong on Gordon deciding to go after Penguin in the first place.

Penguin approaches the coffin and tells Carmine he won’t forget what he taught him. Then he turns to Sofia to threaten her – Gordon pushes him away and helps Sofia out of the church while Penguin seethes.

Later, Penguin heads to the GCPD and makes a big show of demanding that Gordon turn over Sofia. He refuses. Penguin offers the cops a reward to turn her over and first Harper and then an unnamed patrol cop tell him to go screw. (The unnamed cop looks kind of like Jon Glaser, and I thought they found a way to make me love this show more.) He gets increasingly frantic as the cops just turn their backs and look to Gordon. That means it’s speech time! He tells them that the way they rejected Penguin means that they can turn Gotham around and this isn’t all for nothing.

And that’s an interesting balance to strike in this show because you do have to convince us that Gotham is worth saving and Gordon’s not insane for hanging around. But it also has to get bad enough to need Batman down the line. So the angle of fixing the corruption in the GCPD is a good one to take – it’s progress that Gordon can make but it doesn’t rule out outside influencers continuing to get worse.

And with that, the war is on. We see a big warehouse shootout between the cops and an army of Penguin goons. Then we see another shootout where the thugs are firing down at cop cars from the third floor, in the room where they’re keeping Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina. Barbara tries reasoning with the men who are in the middle of a gunfight. One of them turns to point a gun at her, but he’s killed by a stray bullet.

This is amazing. Tabitha tips her chair onto the floor to grab the guy’s gun. But her hands are tied behind her back, so she’s got the gun and Barbara and Selina are directing her where to shoot and they manage to kill the last of the gunmen. Hee!

In his office, Gordon talks to Sofia and explains that they’re waiting for Penguin to publicly commit a crime so they can arrest him on something clear and indisputable. Sofia tells Gordon about how Penguin blew up Martin, and it would be rad if he went down for something he didn’t actually do. There’s no evidence, but Sofia thinks they have a witness – Zsasz.

Cut to Penguin screaming at Zsasz, who is increasingly over Penguin and his nonsense. Gordon shows up with some cops in tow to arrest Penguin for murder. Penguin assumes they’re talking about Falcone and insists he didn’t do it. When Gordon tells him it’s about Martin, he bursts out laughing because the kid’s not dead. He says Zsasz took him outside Gotham, but Zsasz lies and says Penguin killed the kid and he’ll testify to it. HA! And everybody is really good here. Robin Lord Taylor is always awesome and when he just loses it, it’s so much fun. Gordon tells Zsasz this doesn’t mean he gets a free pass and Anthony Carrigan freaking nails all the weird emotions in this scene as he brushes him off with a sad “Jim? Not now.”

I waited a while to recap this episode because we had a lot of holiday stuff and I’ve been kind of sad that Disney’s deal with FOX probably means we’re not going to get another season, but man, I am having so much fun watching this again. Let’s just embrace whatever amount of Gotham we’re going to get.

When Gordon gets back to the GCPD, the holding cells full to bursting, the cops give him a standing ovation. Zsasz meets Sofia at her place and says he had to turn on Penguin. “At the end of the day, he’s a Cobblepot, you’re a Falcone.” Sofia tells Barbara and company it’s a new day and she is not going to hold up her end with Gordon at all, is she?

Later, Barbara and Tabitha discuss making over the Iceberg Lounge. Barbara is much more interested in owning a club than Tabitha, because she has some unfinished Grundy business.

Stately Wayne Manor. Bruce is being a dick and Alfred explains that he thinks Bruce should go off to Switzerland to get his head clear. He actually begs. Bruce tells him that he finally stopped thinking about Ra’s al Ghul and his parents. They argue and then Bruce takes a swing at Alfred. He easily blocks it, but then it turns into a fight. Alfred is on defense the whole time until Bruce sucker punches him and then Alfred instinctively decks him. He’s immediately guilty and he struggles to apologize as Bruce storms out.

Ed yells at the Riddler in the mirror, and mirror Riddler is so much smarter than actual Ed. Riddler tells him that he’s in love with Lee, and Ed smashes the mirror. Grundy watches, trying to make sense of a man screaming at the mirror. Then he hears the Solomon Grundy song and follows the sound downstairs. He pauses at the record play and a gas grenade hits his feet. It knocks him out and we see Tabitha getting ready to go to work on him.

Grundy wakes up tied to a chair. That happens a lot on this show. Tabitha: “I kidnapped you. For the record, you’re not light.” Hee! She reminds him of the ways his friend Ed hurt him and then she tries kissing him. Grundy apologizes for not remembering her. So then she takes off the jacket and gets to work. The one time he remembered her was after she hit him in the head and she just starts pounding him with a lead pipe.

Gordon shows up at Sofia’s. He wants her to back off from unifying the gangs. They have very different ideas as to how their deal worked. And then Professor Pyg shows up, gun trained on Jim. This time he’s out of costume and talking in his real voice, so we should probably call him Lazlo, but let me have these last few minutes. Pyg and Sofia explain that they’ve been working together all along. He’s a contract killer who impersonates serial killers and a guy killing cops would be just the thing to tip Gotham into chaos. Sofia’s even the one who put out the hit on her own father. Pyg shot her just to sell the story. Man, he also stabbed her in the hand and made her eat person. These two went all in! Also, this means Penguin was arrested for killing Martin and betrayed by Zsasz for killing Falcone and he didn’t do either of those things. They’re like the only things he hasn’t done at this point!

Gordon grabs Pyg’s gun and starts punching him, bruising up his hand on those titanium face plates. And then Sofia shoots Pyg in the head and declares that part is done now. She’s standing up, so clearly she was faking a lot of things. Sofia tells Gordon he’s the reason everything went bad. People died because of him and now she needs a captain she can control. If he arrests her, she’ll talk. And since technically Gordon went to Falcone for help, that would probably be enough to ruin his career. He can arrest her and lose Gotham forever as somebody worse than Penguin steps in to fill the void. Or he can let her take over the Gotham underworld and live with his mistakes. She calls the GCPD so force the decision. Gordon takes the phone and reports that he shot and killed Pyg. Oh, Jim. Compromise has never worked out for you.

As much as I’m bummed that Pyg is dead, that was pretty awesome. The idea that he was a persona a hitman created for maximum drama is clever and genuinely surprising. There is no other version of Professor Pyg where that’s the case and it’s a cool twist. And since they said he “impersonates serial killers”, maybe there’s a real Professor Pyg out there for a return visit. Either way, we got an excellent arc about a villain I love and who I really didn’t expect to appear on the show at all. That’s a serious win.

Stately Wayne Manor. Bruce comes back and Alfred is so happy he’s safe. He tells Bruce that he’s not going to fight anymore. He wins. Alfred’s not going to stop him, and he’ll be there when Bruce remembers who he is. Except that Bruce got emancipation papers drawn up and Alfred is no longer his legal guardian. He fires Alfred and tells him he’ll go to the cops and show him the black eye he gave him.

Tabitha just pounds on Grundy, demanding that he say something. Finally she gives up and leaves him alone. Bruce parties and gets wasted while Alfred looks around the manor one last time. This is killing me.

Gordon comes back to GCPD and runs into Bullock. He asks Harvey if they can talk for a minute, but Harvey just leaves. When Gordon opens his office door he sees Bullock’s gun and badge left behind on his desk. A dazed Grundy sits alone and suddenly says in Butch’s voice “what the hell happened to me?” Penguin screams his head off in a cell at Arkham Asylum until he hears somebody talking to him through a vent. The voice offers to help him out before collapsing into laughter. It’s Jerome, and he’s ready to be Penguin’s best friend!

–Well, everybody’s in a bad position right now. The trailer has Penguin fighting Jerome in Arkham, another version of Ivy, and more trauma. No indication of when it’s coming back, but my guess is it’ll follow last season’s pattern and do a Jerome mini-arc in late February and then wrap up the season starting in late April. But that’s just speculation on my part.

Since we’ve got a lengthy break ahead of us I’ll probably talk about things more in-depth in the coming weeks and just wrap this recap up for now. But there’s one thing I want to mention because it came from our erstwhile CW recapper Mark Espinosa. He suggests that Bruce’s spiral was Ra’s al Ghul’s plan. A guy with thousands of years of experience can see the big picture. He knew Bruce was going to be a problem and so he took him off the board early. Bruce Wayne didn’t kill Ra’s al Ghul, but Ra’s al Ghul killed Batman years ahead of time.

And unless this has been set on Earth 3 the whole time, we know that eventually Bruce is going to be OK. And we know why. Grant Morrison said it best.

“The First Truth of Batman… it had to be the one I didn’t like to admit. The gunshots left me alone. For years, I was alone in the echoing dark of that well. But something else defined the exact moment Batman was born. The First Truth of Batman. The saving grace. I was never alone. I had help.”

 

No matter how far Bruce strays, we know that Gordon and Alfred and Lucius and probably even Selina aren’t going to give up on him. They’re going to remind him who he is and help him back to the right path. It’s the First Truth of Batman and we’re going to see it in action. That’s awesome.

 

 

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