I got behind on the recaps, and I blame Gotham for skipping a week and confusing my schedule. That seems reasonable, right? Anyway, things are getting crazy as we meet the Man Who Would Be Bane and the Riddler’s story takes an unexpected turn. Plus, a hundred other things happen. It’s “Pena Dura”!
Bullock and Gordon catch up to the guy who sold Riddler the RPGs (Plural. Turns out, Ed is also the one who shot down the helicopter), but he’s an arms dealer so he’s got a bunch of people with guns ready to defend him. And then a SWAT team bursts through the skylight and kills all the bad guys, including the arms dealer. Gordon is as surprised as I am and even more surprised that the leader is his old military buddy, Eduardo.
Eduardo and Gordon catch up and he explains they’re the help “Secretary Walker” promised. So Gordon was apparently in contact with somebody in the Cabinet. They were kind of cagey about that. He and his team are there to eliminate the criminal threat. First they restore order, then they help the survivors. They manage to confirm from a ledger that Nygma bought two RPGs, and Eduardo confirms that Ed is on his list of threats. Bullock is frustrated at getting desk duty for this next phase, but Gordon convinces him it’s OK.
Bruce and Alfred arrive at GCPD separately – Alfred to check in on the Haven bombing and Bruce to report Selina missing. There’s a nice bit where they agree that Selina killed Jeremiah, but Bruce likens it to when he killed Ra’s al Ghul. Alfred doesn’t think it’s the same thing, but it’s a nice use of that character beat.
Ed goes over his recorded logs – he’s been recording the time and his general status every time he wakes up in a strange location, and he can’t put it together. He’s getting frustrated because he thinks he’s Riddler right now and Ed isn’t a murderer and he argues with the mirror but it doesn’t argue back. I like this a lot because this season’s been a little unclear as to which personality has been driving him, and it looks like he may be down to just the one now. There are more details to come!
Gordon and Eduardo burst in to arrest him. Riddler tries to talk them down but he can’t say he definitely didn’t do it – just that it’s not the kind of thing that he would do. Gordon agrees to bring him in alive, and then Riddler activates a landmine under Eduardo’s foot. Hee! There are more in the room, so now they don’t dare move. Oh, and Riddler’s wearing a heartbeat monitor – the bombs will detonate if his heartbeat changes by as much as 10 bpm. Eduardo orders his men to stand down and let him walk.
Gordon figures the bookcase is the key, since he activated the trap with it. He plays a high stakes game of “the floor is lava” and jumps onto the bookcase. By figuring out a series of chess moves with books, he manages to disarm the mines.
At Sirens, there’s a party in Selina’s honor after she killed Jeremiah. Bruce sneaks in and isn’t happy about it. There’s a PA announcement throughout Haven that Ed is the one who blew up Haven. A street mob mobilizes for revenge.
Hey, it’s Penguin! Somebody brings him something we can’t see and he rewards them with 200 bullets. An aide brings him the news that Ed is the Haven Bomber and Penguin is concerned.
Riddler dodges the mob, but somebody clobbers him. There’s a quick shot of the military team bringing in somebody who could very well be Black Mask. At GCPD, Gordon fills Eduardo in on the threats and they look poised to go after Scarecrow next.
This bit is awesome. Ed wakes up strapped to a lawn chair in what appears to be, like, the Florida part of Gotham city. This lady and her two redneck sons have decided to execute him for his crimes. He’s wired to an old jalopy so when they rev the engine, he gets a shock. The woman says she’s going to make it slow and painful. She wants revenge for her dog, who was in Haven. I love the idea that the dog went to Haven without his owner. Ed tells her that dogs can’t smile and he gets a shock for it. This causes a flashback of Penguin threatening (offering?) to “fix” him.
More electrocution follows, but eventually the engine floods and they can’t get it started again. Ed figures out what’s going wrong and “accidentally” lest it slip that the fuel line is clogged. Unclogging it spills some gas on the ground and when they rev it up again the sparks blow up the car. While his captors deal with being on fire, Ed runs away crouched over because he’s still tied to a lawn chair.
Penguin sends men out in search of Ed. And then he notices that a grate is uncovered. He checks it out, and a gun-wielding Ed sneaks up on him. He has questions, and the first one is “Did you name your dog after me?” HA!
Back at GCPD, Bullock gets a report from Harper that Riddler was seen outside Penguin’s. Eduardo is ready to go and Gordon lets Bullock go on this mission while he works on some stuff at the station. At the party, Bruce tries to talk some sense into Selina, and she picks this moment to tell him that she witnessed his parents’ murder and didn’t do a thing about it. She feels bad but she tries to laugh it off. She says they’re not the same and he can’t turn her around. She didn’t do anything when his parents died because she didn’t care.
Riddler demands answers. He wants to know what Penguin did to him that made him attack Haven. Penguin doesn’t know what he’s talking about, so Riddler asks about the “I’ll fix you” memory and Oswald remembers saying that the night the bridges blew. He found Ed after he’d been stabbed and brought him to Hugo Strange to save his life. (“After Butch died, you were my only friend.” “You shot Butch!” “Which is WHY I needed you!!” HA!) Penguin assures him that when he wants him dead, he’ll know it. “I promise you that. As a friend.” Riddler promises that when they’re enemies “I will look you in the eyes as I stab you in the heart”. Then there’s a rumbling and Penguin’s men report that the army just blew the gates. Riddler sneaks off and leaves Penguin to deal with this mess. It’s another standoff with Penguin’s well-armed defenders. It’s short-lived, because the army guys have a sniper who takes out all of Penguin’s guys with headshots.
Ed goes to Barbara looking for help. Barbara threatens to slice his face up, but Riddler convinces her that there’s clearly something going on and they could all benefit from finding the answer. She has some information on finding Hugo Strange. Meanwhile, Eduardo roughs up Penguin for Ed’s location, and he finally agrees to talk to only Gordon. Penguin tell him that Ed’s a patsy – he doesn’t have that kind of indiscriminate killing in him. Oswald wants to go free before he gives up anything further. That means Gordon has to break it to Eduardo that he let Penguin go. Eduardo accepts that compromise, but in a really intense way.
Cut to Hugo Strange berating his associates for bringing him a gangrenous body last time. And then the new body they brought him sits up, because it’s Ed. He’s got a gun and he wants answers. I like this a lot because he’s accusing Strange of controlling the Ed Nygma side of his personality, but generally it’s the Riddler side who’s violent. He only has the one personality now and doesn’t realize it, and Strange never knew any of this, so he’s just confused. Strange didn’t even know that Riddler is the Haven bomber, but he admits he did a little bit of tinkering. There’s a chip in his brain that allows somebody to control him remotely. But Strange doesn’t have control – he gave it to someone else. He won’t tell Ed who’s controlling him, but he’ll write it down so he can deny it on a technicality.
But that was a ruse because Strange’s pen sprays a gas that knocks him out. He can’t figure out how Riddler knows he’s being controlled, so he’s going to need to cut him open and find out. Bruce shows up at GCPD looking for Gordon, but Bullock is the only one there. He can tell Bruce is troubled and Bruce finally admits that he’s not sure they’re going to make it. Bullock says he wonders the same thing, but when he does, he gets to work because the little things matter. “Act by act. Deed by deed. It means something. Even if no one notices or cares.” That is an awesome piece of wisdom to impart on a young Batman.
Oh, damn. Ed’s brain is exposed. Strange just needs to do a reboot but also, that’s an exposed brain.
Penguin is back home with Dog Ed. He accesses a secret passage to what looks like an escape tunnel. There are a lot of tunnels this season.
Strange reattaches Riddler’s scalp and explains that a powerful electrical charge fried the chip. Well, that’s what happens when a guy gets electrocuted this often. And then Gordon sneaks in with Eduardo and the military in tow, demanding answers. First, Gordon makes him turn Ed’s brain back on, and he immediately tells Gordon everything. Gordon wants to know who hired Strange, and then Eduardo pushes a button on a handheld device and shuts Ed’s brain off. He asks his guys to escort Strange from the premises and then explains to Gordon that he can’t tell him everything, but he’s taking orders from Walker. You know, the person on the radio who is apparently a Cabinet member. She’s been controlling Riddler, and now she wants Gordon to execute him. Walker destroyed Haven and Eduardo knew about it and they are in deep. Eduardo demands that Gordon kill Ed, but Gordon drops his gun. And then he sucker punches Eduardo and gets away. Eduardo uses his device to command Riddler to find Gordon and kill him, and Ed jumps into action.
Later, we see the body of Jeremiah. He’s in an open coffin, and he’s actually just asleep. This was all part of the plan – he needed Selina to drive the knife into his body so she’s feel it. It’s a bit of a risky move since, you know, you can kill a person by stabbing. Jeremiah gets up and checks on the next phase of his plan. A plastic surgeon has… altered two people. And we don’t get to see them for ourselves, but Jeremah’s reference to a family reunion makes it clear that he recreated the Waynes.
–Since I’m running late, I’ll just wrap this up and in the next recap, we’ll talk about how bonkers this Bane origin is. You know, like literally every Bane origin.