Review: Gotham 1.08 – “The Mask”

After last week’s great episode, I hoped that Gotham could maintain a steady combo of character development, plot twists, and more. One thing I hoped for was that it not return to it’s villain-of-the-week procedural format. Unfortunately, this episode did return to that format. This week a masked man orders fresh recruits to fight to the death for a job at his firm. Alrighty. And to give it credit, though it was episodic in format, the show really did a great job of advancing all of the other plots and characters in great ways, so I really did, in fact, enjoy this episode.

Gotham on the sceneHarvey, Jim, and Edward Ngyma arrive outside of the all too familiar body-dump bridge. A young man, dressed in suspenders and nice pants, is found dead. Inside her mouth? A finger! The guys are gonna figure this out. They interview the victim’s mother, who explains her son is a good guy. Harvey, Jim, and the Captain talk about all the cops running out on Jim last week. The captain feels bad, but Jim is all stubborn. Harvey tells him he is lucky he has Harv on his side. HA.

Meanwhile, the beloved Oswald Cobblepot steals a gaudy broach from a random lady on the street. He then gifts it to Fish as a peace offering. She is still hella pissed and even introduces Oswald to his replacement, a young man named Timothy. They trade veiled insults. Fish takes his broach and stabs Oswald in the hand with a piece of it. She is holding a grudge! But, little does she know, Oswald is secretly working with Falcone and has her one-upped.

Oswald decides to re-gift the broach to his wacky mother! She sees his hand injury and recounts a story about how she got her enemy back by snitching on her to the Secret Police. Snitches run in this family apparently. Another thing I learned from this exchange is that the restaurant business is hard. Those Cobblepots are quite interesting creatures! More of them please, Gotham!

Gotham pardnersHarvey and Jim follow a lead to an underground doctor, who apparently worked on a guy with a missing thumb at 3am. Instead of letting the doc run free, Jim arrests him and throws him in jail, much to the chagrin of fellow cop, Alvarez, who had a secret deal with the crooked doc. Jim doesn’t give a damn, further making all the other cops hate him. The doc did give them a lead though, in the form of a business called Sionus Investments.

Instead of following the case, we take a u-turn and go to Jim and Barbara’s loft apartment. How rich are they because that place is hella nice?! Anyways, Barbara, of course, pulls a gun on Jim, because she is the worst. She’s afraid of Zsasz. Jim reassures her, even openly lying to make her feel better. Just leave town if you are so scared, Barb! The next morning she apologizes for her behavior. Mmkay, whatever.

Meanwhile, that night a masked man taunts men in cages. So, there’s that.

Gotham ngymaEdward Ngyma does an autopsy and it is everything you ever wanted, but didn’t know you needed. He continues to be one of the better characters on the show each week. And if you were wondering, he did eat half a cranberry muffin that morning (saving the rest for later). Unfortunately his secret autopsy is interrupted by the real technician. Oh, shucks.

Jim and Harvery arrive at Sionis Investment, where everyone looks battered and they don’t clean up the blood off the floor. Wow, could this possibly be the place of all this murderous activity? They talk to the head honcho, Richard Sionis (Todd Stashwick), who couldn’t be more obvious with his creepy masks and sword paraphernalia. He acts confused and denies everything, but is really into Jim and his intense killing vibe. Apparently, that gets him off or something because no other motive is given.

Jim follows a literal blood trail into the bathroom, and alas, they find the guy with a missing thumb. Later, at the station, thumb boy says it was self-defense and he had to fight to get hired. Ngyma comes in and says there have been more deaths like this in the past year. A lawyer from Sionis comes in and says any confession Thumb Boy makes will be thrown out. So, looks like they are going to have to do this the old fashioned way.

Jim also shares with the Captain that he thinks all of the crime and bad stuff happening directly relates to the death of the Waynes. Ever since they died, the city has gone bad. And then he says his slogan, “I’m going to save this city!” Yup, keep preaching, Jimbo. Harv and Jim are gonna search all of Sionis’ buildings in the city. Barb calls Jim for no reason whatsoever and he hangs up mid-sentence. Barb looks all offended and I just can’t help but laugh. Jim is the first to find the guys in cages, but is tasered from behind. Welp, that can’t be good.

Meanwhile, Liza and Fish meet in a church, because that is appropriate. Fish has a mission for Liza: drug Falcone to fall asleep so she can copy a ledger in his desk. Liza is all worried, but Fish reassures her. While this is happening, Oswald has kidnapped Fish’s new friend, Timothy, and has his men torture him. Oh, Oswald, you bastard! Liza is nervous about drugging Falcone, but does it anyway.

Gotham jimcagesBack at the worst office ever, Master Sionis instructs three recruits that to get the job, and a millions dollars (and a new car! Just kidding), they have to be the first to kill Jim. All  the while, the entire office team watches and drinks. What is this place!? Jim is in quite a pickle.

Harv notices Jim is missing because he is a great partner. He asks all the other cops to help him find Jim, but no one budges, so he yells and calls them all out, which is what they needed because now they agree to help.

Jim doesn’t really need their help because he has managed to beat off the three guys and is now fighting Sionis himself. He doesn’t kill Sionis, but leaves just as the Captain bursts in with some men. Jim is all nonchalant. Thanks for the help. Ha.

Back at Fish’s place, as an old woman sings on stage, Liza shows up wanting out. Fish won’t hear it and tells a sob story about being powerless when her prostitute mother was killed by Falcone’s men. She tells Liza she won’t let another man have power over her. Liza hands over the copied ledger. Good minion. Later, Fish talks to the old woman who might possibly very be her “dead prostitute mother.” The old woman expresses lament at the lie, but Fish tells her a lie told with a heart of truth is okay. Whatever you gotta tell yourself, Fish.

Oswald gets some information out of Timothy, mainly that Fish and Maroni have a “friend” inside Falcone’s circle. Uh-oh, Liza! Then Oswald orders Timothy dead. He is baaaad!

Back at the station, Jim thanks Harvey for his inspiring speech and then jumps into his “I’m gonna save the city and get all the bad guys” speech. You get dem bad guys, Jim! He then calls Barbara, who ignores his call, because she just continues to be terrible.

Oh, and then in a random note, little Selina Kyle is caught stealing and brought in to the station. She wants to see Jim… Great. Why do I care again?

Gotham bullybruceMeanwhile, in young Bruce Wayne’s subplot, he finally is free of Wayne Manor. Hooray! He had been cooped up in that giant house for weeks. Alfred is making him return to school. While the girls are nice to Bruce, a larger boy, named Tommy Elliot (Cole Vallis), is being a real jerk. He insults Bruce’s mother, which causes Bruce to hit him across the face. Yeah, Bruce! Get that bully!

Later, Bruce explains to Alfred what happened. Instead of reprimanding him or taking him home, Alfred drives Bruce to Tommy’s house and tells Bruce to go confront Tommy. Bruce goes to the front door and punches Tommy multiple times in the face, makng him bleed. Tommy is like “he tried to kill me!” and Alfred is like “Yeah, remember that dick! And remember I let him!” HA, dang Alfred, you are bad ass. Bruce later says it felt good to hurt Tommy and asks Alfred to teach him to fight. Na-na-na-na-na BATMAN, in training. Fun stuff. It was great to get Bruce out of the house and into the streets. Bring out the bat!

Gotham mentorsAltogether, the episode was better than usual, but maybe it’s because I am actually starting to care about some of the characters, especially Bruce, Oswald, Fish, and Edward. Can we all just agree that Barbara is the worst and needs to be written off the show? I’m sure Erin Richardson is great and nice, but the character is not working and really is bringing down Jim. Otherwise, it was a better episode, considering it was a “villain-of-the-week” type. What did you guys think? Let me know in the comments below!

Gotham airs on FOX, Mondays at 8/9c. Watch full episodes on FOX.com.

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Post Author: Ben Fleck