After a few weeks hiatus, Gotham is back. I’m too excited to write a proper introduction, so let’s just get to it with “Beasts of Prey”.

Fish Mooney walks around Dulmacher’s mansion, checking on patients like she doesn’t have a care in the world. This episode, by the way, looks amazing. There are weird choices of angles for shots that wouldn’t seem to need art direction and some nice color effects later on. It’s really distinctive. After making the rounds, she breaks a padlock off a door to get outside. Alarms go off immediately and she just casually strolls over to a helicopter. In no time, a jeep full of armed guards pulls up and a guy warns her that she’s free to roam around inside but once she steps outside, it’s open season.

I love that Fish acts like she didn’t know she wasn’t allowed outside when she actually had to smash a padlock to get there. She’s pretty chill about it all.

Over at Wayne Manor, Gordon stops by for lunch. Bruce is adorably nervous about having company and then Gordon confronts him – he lied about who stabbed Alfred. Gordon already knows that they want to take this matter in their own hands, but Bruce just fixates on the sandwich he prepared.

Then it’s over to GCPD, where a uniformed officer named Len Moore asks Gordon to look at a case. The detectives who were assigned the Grace Fairchild murder dropped the ball, and Len wants Gordon to take a look. It’s an unofficial thing where he wants Gordon to clean up somebody else’s mess because, darn it, he’s inspired by Gordon. That wins him over pretty quickly. Next, Gordon stops in to see Leslie (I will not call her Lee!) to flirt and tell her about the case. No leads, no tips, no witnesses. She was last seen in Leslie’s neighborhood, and she tips Gordon to a couple of speakeasies that she might have frequented. Oh man, Gotham City has hipsters.

Back in Pirate Jail, Fish goes to see Kelly. You know, her pal who she gave up to have an organ removed. She tells him they’re going to escape and she needs his help.

Opening Credits!

At stately Wayne Manor, Alfred gets ready to go out and find Reggie. He assumes he’ll be in a “shooting gallery”. Bruce tries to talk him out of going, and then Alfred’s stab wound reopens.

Hey, it’s Penguin! He’s in a bar, trying to talk an old woman named Sylvia into selling the place to him. She refuses and he gets all weasely, which is what we love about him. Finally she offers a deal – her wonderful daughter has been seduced by a sleazy guitar player. If Penguin fixes that, she’ll talk.

Gordon tries to convince Bullock to work this case that isn’t officially theirs. Bullock’s not into it, but then Nygma shows up with a list of every place in Grace’s neighborhood with a liquor license. Also, Gordon notes that there’s a piece of evidence missing and asks Ed to check it out. He’s helping! Nygma is the Zoidberg of this show. Gordon tells Harvey they’re going to investigate and that’s that.

Fish recruits a bunch of lowlifes to help with the escape. There’s a boat that can get six people off the island, Since none of them can fly a helicopter, that’s their best bet. She’ll get them out of the mansion and meet up with them.

Gordon and Bullock finally find a lead at a speakeasy – somebody recognizes Grace. She saw her with a hot guy. And then we jump to a flashback, even though it’s something nobody there witnessed. It’s a weird storytelling device, but go with it. Grace meets Milo Ventimiglia in a bar. You may remember him as Jess on Gilmore Girls or Peter Petrelli on Heroes. If so, you’re immediately mad at him.

He charms her back to his place, which is a huge apartment. We see a glimpse of some manacles and chains but everything else looks normal and she decides she’s spending the night.

Later, Bruce waits until Alfred falls asleep and then heads out to go looking for Reggie himself. Penguin passes by him while he waits for the gun range to buzz him in. Oswald’s got business of his own – his henchman Gabe rounded up Nicholas the sleazy guitarist. Penguin recommends taking some fingers and we leave the scene on a horrifying scream.

At the GCPD, Leslie has the Fairchild autopsy results. She was missing for four months, and the only wounds on her body were stab wounds to the heart and neck. That makes it look like her going missing was unrelated to the murder, but Gordon doesn’t believe it. He thinks somebody kept her locked away until he was ready to kill her.

Flashback! It’s the morning after they met and Grace is ready to go. Jess from Gilmore Girls (she calls him Jason) doesn’t want her to go. In fact, he doesn’t let her go.

Fish skulks around Dulmacher’s mansion, breaking into his office. He catches her and threatens her with a pistol. She breaks down, crying about how she still has nightmares of what he did to his last assistant. Fish claims that she was trying to get a weapon so she could kill herself rather than face the risk of becoming that. Dulmacher seems flattered and tells her if she steps out of line again, that’s exactly what will happen. The point is, he totally buys it. Fish wins this round!

Bruce runs into Selina in an alley. (“Could have smashed your head with a brick, you know.”) He tells her what he’s up to and that he already tried all the gun ranges. Selina has to explain that a “shooting gallery” is a whole different thing. Bruce it too innocent!

The lady who owns the bar is happy to have her daughter back – Nick dumped her after losing some fingers.

Nygma has a photo of the missing evidence in the Fairchild case. It’s a broken, handpainted heart. Bullock looks terrified at this news. This is a serial killer who’s been out there a while.

Cut to another flashback, Jason and Grace eating dinner. Only she’s terrified and manacled. He doesn’t like the meal she prepared while shackled and says that this isn’t going to work out. We get some glimpses of his torture equipment and a long line of photographs of other victims.

Gabe wants to know why Penguin cares about this particular bar. Turns out, he’s decided it’s the perfect place to kill Maroni.

Pirate Jail Break! Fish lets her roughnecks loose and tells them to start the boat and wait for her. They make a run for it while she goes back for Kelly. On the way, she runs into Dulmacher, who’s very disappointed in her. But then the people she really planned to escape with jump him and give him a beatdown.

The fake escapees run into a locked gate they weren’t expecting. The armed guards catch up and gun them down. In the commotion, Fish leads Kelly and some others to the helicopter. She lied about not being able to fly a helicopter. Dude, of course Fish Mooney can fly a helicopter. The guards see the chopper taking off and one manages to get in a shot. He manages to shoot Fish in the guy, but it doesn’t stop her. She’s flying them off the island as she bleeds out.

Back at GCPD, Bullock explains this guy’s MO, which we’ve seen in action. He always leaves that broke heart behind. People call him “The Ogre”, and he’s the GCPD’s dirty little secret. Well, one of them. They don’t let word get out because if any cop investigates him, the Ogre kills everybody they love. Everybody’s afraid to investigate and the guy who asked Gordon to look into it set him up.

Selina and Bruce find Reggie in an abandoned building full of heroin fiends. Bruce questions him but he doesn’t cooperate until Selina steals his drugs. Reggie wants to know if Alfred’s OK, but Bruce won’t tell him. He just keeps asking who sent him. Reggie mentions a man named “Bunderslaw”. Look, with his accent, that’s as close as I can get. He wanted to know how much Bruce knew. Bruce seems satisfied with that explanation but Selina drops his heroin out the window anyway. Reggie threatens to rat Bruce out to Bunderslaw and then notices his drugs on the sill. He reaches out to get them, and Bruce struggles with the idea of giving him a shove. Selina sees that he’s conflicted so she pushes Reggie out the window, apparently to his death. It’s three floors and he landed on pavement. He’s dead.

Bullock roughs up Moore, who admits that Loeb ordered him to give the case to Gordon. So Bullock advises Gordon to drop it. Nobody knows he’s investigating, and if he just gives up, it’s over. But that’s not good enough for Gordon. He confronts Loeb and says that it’s over – he’s going to find the Ogre and then shut Loeb down.

END!

Gotham is back! In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I’ve been very sick all week and I think it’s affecting my enjoyment of things. Like, I was so doped up on NyQuil when this aired that I was barely staying awake and for a full day, I thought I dreamed Selina killing Reggie. Point is, when I watched it again to write the recap, I liked it a lot more. It’s not a standout and it’s a little slow (except for the Fish subplot), but we’re coming up on the end of the season and they’re going to have to dial it back a little so they can build to the finale.

The Ogre is not a pre-existing villain (more on that later – yes, there’s “more” on somebody who appears for the first time), and I think it’s a good move to use a new character for a multi-episode arc at the end of the season. It makes him Gordon’s enemy rather than Batman’s eventual enemy. And as much as I don’t like “here’s a subplot about a woman who is eventually going to be tortured and murdered” scenes, a more realistic (and I use that term loosely) antagonist is a nice change of pace.

Also – Loeb and the cops setting Gordon up to be murdered by a notorious serial killer? That goes way farther than just trying to ruin his career or not showing up when he requests backup. I don’t know how Loeb remains a viable character once this storyline is over, so we might be seeing the last of Peter Scolari soon. Well, Scolari will have other jobs. On this show, I mean.

I can’t wait to see what Penguin’s plan for Maroni is if it requires him to have partnership interest in one particular bar. And Selina killing Reggie is a big move. Traditionally, they try to portray Catwoman as being a thief but not a killer. That’s how they justify Batman flirting with her and not throwing her in jail immediately. But this is a big deal. And, you know, she’s a young kid. Killing somebody is going to change her. I really like that she did it because she saw Bruce considering it. She did it because he’d never recover from it if he did. That’s going to be a really interesting dynamic in the future, and I say this as a guy who thought young Bruce knowing young Selina was a big misstep.

And Fish Mooney? Badass as ever. She betrayed everybody to one extent or another and then still flew that helicopter out of there after getting shot. Awesome.

–So, there is an Ogre in Batman’s rogues gallery, but he bears no resemblance to TV Ogre. He was a genetically altered man who teamed up with a similarly altered ape that he considered a brother. The Ogre and The Ape appeared only once in Batman #535 (1996). There’s no relation to the Ogre here, but I feel obligated to mention it.

Also, the victim is “Grace Fairchild”. Right around the time of The Ogre and The Ape’s appearance, Bruce Wayne had a girlfriend named Vesper Fairchild. And I’m only bringing that up because I think it’s funny that this episode has two almost-references to the Doug Moench – Kelley Jones Batman run from the mid-nineties.

–For this week’s Recommended Reading, heck, why not check out the aforementioned Batman #535. It’s not a key issue or anything, but I like that Moench/Jones run a whole lot and it’s an appealingly weird single issue story.

Next week – more Ogre! More Penguin! More Eddie Nygma! I’ll see you then!

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