Oh man. I’m excited about this one because not only did Gotham introduce one of my favorite villains, but it’s somebody they explicitly said they had to cut because of the shorter season. Truly it is the season of miracles. It’s time for “Nothing’s Shocking”!
We open at Siren’s where a couple of old guys who still have police connections show up for a drink. Then Bullock’s old partner, Dix, approaches them. They’re surprised he’s walking around again and I’m surprised to see Dan Hedaya making a return appearance. Remember when us used to be in everything? Dix asks is they ever think about what they did to the girl before cutting both their throats and disappearing.
In the clinic, an injured woman tells Bruce and Alfred about something living in the sewers. She and her husband, Hank, went looking for it. Whatever it was knocked her out and took Hank. Bruce promises to look into it.
Bruce and Bullock arrive at Siren’s to investigate the double murder. Bullock recognizes both of them as cops from the old days. Bullock can’t believe Dix did it, since he’s been in a wheelchair for 15 years. He heard that he’s still in town, so they can at least check on him. Gordon and Barbara talk about the baby and they have very different ideas as to what role Gordon will play in its life.
Oh man, the water is still green.
Penguin arrives late to his meeting with Ed. He recruited a guy named Dale who’s big and mute and therefore trustworthy. He figures they need muscle. Ed is irritated that Penguin isn’t really helping with the submarine. The alarm rings again and they briefly panic until they see who’s there – it’s Arthur Penn, Penguin’s trusted business manager. He survived the shooting at the GCPD and he wanted to come sooner but “he wouldn’t let me”. And he produces from his bag a large wooden ventriloquist dummy that looks like an old-time gangster. He introduces “Mr. Scarface”. You guys, Penn is the Ventriloquist! This turn of events made me so happy, I can’t even tell you. Penguin and Riddler have some hilarious responses to this turn of events.
Gordon and Bullock go to see Dix, and Bullock feels guilty for not visiting. They knock on the door and he Dix shoots a hole in it. HA! Sure enough, he’s still in a wheelchair and laying a guilt trip on Bullock. Gordon thinks it’s suspicious that he has a suitcase packed and Dix says it’s because he’s worried that he’s next. He will not cop to a reason why he thinks that.
Bullock tells Gordon that he and Dix once worked a case with the two dead cops – an open and shut case of a woman who killed her husband. There’s another knock on the door – it’s a young man. He tussles with Bullock and Bullock accidentally pulls the guy’s face off, which just shouldn’t happen. The guy runs off.
Bruce and Alfred begin their hunt and sure enough, they hear something. Then they find part of an arm covered in bite marks.
Back at GCPD, Harper figures out the case Bullock was talking about was Victoria Cartwright. Bullock and Dix tell Gordon again that she snapped and shot her husband. There was no physical evidence, and she was convicted on the testimony of her young daughter, Jane. Gordon thinks they need to try and find Jane and Bullock is all “Remember Clayface? It’s probably him!” Man, I love this show. It seems like Bullock and Dix are still hiding something, so Gordon leaves them behind.
Back at Penguin’s place, he’s trying to reason with Penn. Penn explains that Mr. Scarface is very persuasive and he made Penn tell him about Penguin’s treasure. Penguin wants to get him some help and then Penn starts talking through Scarface with an olde-timey tough guy voice. Scarface instructs Penn to pull a gun and shoot Dale. I love this so much!
Dix tells Bullock that Jane Cartwright died in Arkham, so this has nothing do to with her. Oh, these guys screwed up. Gordon arrives at Cartwright’s last known address with Harper and a uniformed officer. It’s long-abandoned but they find lots of family photos with the faces scratched out. A woman in a simple plaster mask knocks out the uniformed officer. When she touches him, her body changes shape to look like him. She takes off the mask and… she has his face now. Harper finds evidence that somebody lives here and Gordon finds some rotting faces. The fake officer catches up with them and tries to ambush Gordon. He throws a punch and knocks him(her) to the ground. She covers her face as her hair grows out and her body reverts back, and she yells “Don’t look at me” the whole time.
Gordon interrogates the woman back at GCPD, but she won’t let him take the mask off. Bullock listens from outside. She claims to be “Nobody” and I’ve got quite enough of him in the other DC show I’m currently recapping, thank you very much. Gordon tells her they know she’s Jane Cartwright and that she’s been in and out of institutions. But Jane Cartwright is supposed to be dead. In third person, Jane talks about being taken from Arkham and taken to Hugo Strange’s lab. I really like that we’re seeing one of Strange’s monsters pop up. They were largely unaccounted for after the opening of Season Three. She explains that Strange gave Jane the power to change, mimicking anybody she touches. And when she’s done, she sheds her skin and starts over. She remembers anyone she’s ever touched, including Gordon. And then she says Jane Cartwright died in Arkham and that’s where Jane Doe was born. Ooh! Also, she tells Gordon to ask her friend why all these cops have to die.
When Gordon leaves, Jane slims down her arms to slip out of the cuffs. He really should have seen that coming.
Bruce and Alfred hear increasingly alarming noises from the sewers and then a panicked man comes running – they determine it’s the guy they’re looking for, and he says something is going to kill him. A big guy with burns all over his face knocks out Bruce and drags the panicked man into the darkness. Man, we were so close to getting a Killer Croc appearance! But we’re getting a burned guy instead of a lizard guy. I guess I shouldn’t be too greedy given that we got the Ventriloquist and Jane Doe in the same episode.
Speaking of, we’re back to Penguin’s office. Penn would love a peaceful resolution, but Scarface won’t allow it. He will let Penn tell what happened after Haven – he woke up alone in the morgue and patched himself up. Then he hid in an abandoned magic shop where he met Scarface and told him his story. “I don’t want anything. But Mr. Scarface, he wants your treasure. And to be the boss.” Penguin is frustrated but Riddler feels like he deserves this. So Riddler decides to talk to the dummy. He wants to know what Scarface is going to do next and offers him a seat on the submarine.
Bullock pulls Dix into the locker room to confront him. He says they did a bad thing and because of they, they made the girl into a murderer. And then Harvey starts to strangle Dix. It’s Jane! Gordon comes back to GCPD and spots Barbara – she wants to report some info and also wonders if she’s going to be arrested after reunification. Gordon does not have good answers. Bullock comes down the stairs and Gordon asks him about Dix. Oops. They find Dix dead in the locker room.
Bruce and Alfred confront the sewer man. The missing husband runs to safety and sewer man just starts fighting. He has Wolverine claws and I can’t tell if they’re part of his hand or if he’s wearing a weapon. Either way, he breaks a couple on the sewer wall and Bruce uses the shards as throwing knives. That throws the guy off enough for Alfred to get the upper hand and knock him out.
Gordon puts the GCPD in lockdown and then a shaken Barbara comes in and says she’s attacked. Everybody is a little suspicious, especially when another Barbara walks into the room. Man, I love a “shoot the impostor” scene. The cops draw their guns and the second Barbara says “It’s me, you idiot”. Bullock: “Sounds like Barbara”. HA! Gordon asks where they first met and the first Barbara knows she can’t fake her way though this so she tries taking the real one hostage. She does the whole thing about how they’re leaving and if anybody moves, Barbara dies. Barbara: “Shoot her!” I’m going to miss her so much. Since nobody’s willing to risk it, Barbara decks her assailant. Bullock chases Jane.
Back in Penguin’s office, Scarface peers through the blinds, which is a hilarious visual. Riddler tells Penguin to wait for the signal. He doesn’t know what the signal is, of course. Scarface decides that he likes Riddler and also he can probably build a submarine. But Penguin needs to die. Penn himself is shocked by this, which is a nice touch. Penguin tries to reason with Penn and reminds him of everything they’ve been through together and admits that maybe he wasn’t a good friend but he’s learning. Scarface is unmoved but Penn starts listing his grievances in his own voice. And then Riddler hits the sonar he was building to activate a piercing tone. That’s the signal! Penguin and Penn fight and Penguin manages to blow Scarface’s head off. Penn snaps back to normal at that moment, but Riddler kills him anyway. I love that Penguin 100% bought into the story that Scarface was really the problem. Riddler says he was a lunatic who had to be stopped and then they have a good laugh because their relationship is all kinds of weird.
Bullock returns to the Cartwright house and calls out for Jane. He finds her, Blair Witching it up against a wall. He says it was his job to protect her and he failed. She says it only ends when he’s dead and she pulls a gun. Bullock asks to see her real face, and she insists Hugo Strange destroyed it. She finally takes off the mask and she looks perfectly normal. Bullock promises to try and work it out but she pulls the trigger. She misses, but Bullock doesn’t.
Back at the clinic, Bruce tells Alfred they found the sewer guy had irreparable brain damage. Alfred is still proud of the win and thinks they can do a lot of good for people. Bruce realizes Alfred is still feeling guilty about Wayne Manor and trying for penance. Bruce says the house doesn’t matter and I want to cry.
Back at GCPD, Bullock tells Gordon the whole story. Victoria Cartwright killed her husband. She confessed, but later recanted. The evidence wasn’t there, so rookie Bullock leaned on Jane to get her testimony. Later he found out the husband beat both of them. He felt it was wrong and the other guys told him to keep his mouth shut. And then he stayed on that path until he met Gordon and this is such a good link back to the Bullock of Season One. Gordon asks what he wants, because he can’t give him forgiveness. Bullock: “I just needed you to know.”
–I liked this episode a lot, and even though we’re running long, we have a couple of new villains to talk about.
First off, the Ventriloquist! Earlier this season, one of the producers said they really wanted to do the Ventriloquist but couldn’t fit him in, and then this happens! The Ventriloquist first appeared in 1988, and the classic version is fairly close to what we saw here. A meek man with a gangster puppet who seems to control him. The classic Ventriloquist is Arnold Wesker, which is why Penguin calls Penn “Arnold” instead of “Arthur” by mistake.
Andrew Sellon, who plays Penn, is very much doing the animated series version of Wesker. It’s very good. Traditionally, Scarface can’t say the letter “B” and has to substitute “G” because you can’t make the b sound without moving your lips. Here, he also can’t say “P”, for the same reason. They usually only do the B/G bit in the comics because multiple letter substitutions are going to make any word balloon a mess. Anyway, the Ventriloquist is a favorite and I’m so happy they found a place for him before the end.
Jane Doe is more obscure. She appeared in the 2001 miniseries Arkham Asylum: Living Hell. She didn’t have powers in the comic (except when she did), but she was a near perfect mimic. She also didn’t have skin, so she had to go to great lengths to appear as another person. Usually by killing her target and wearing them. She has not appeared very often, but she’s a nice addition to the show. We’ve got four episodes left – how many new villains can they fit in?
After this week’s episode, there’s at least one week off. None of us are happy about this.