Scarification…er, come again? Is that even a real word? Well, this week it is the title of Gotham’s fifth episode of season two. Last week, the lack of Cameron Monaghan’s brilliant ‘Jerome’ was deeply felt and I know I keep mentioning him, but he was THAT good. Hopefully this week, things are able to get back up to that bullet-fast, exciting pace again and more of the plot develops. Also, hoping for some more Lee, Harvey, Jim and/or Barbara development, character wise.
Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) still wants his belovedly kooky mother (Carol Kane) back from Theo Galavan (James Frain) and his sister, Tabitha (Jessica Lucas), but Theo is holding out. He even makes Penguin do more dirty work for him – something involving starting fires and stealing old artifacts. Why exactly? We’ll find out later and it’s not necessarily that big a shock, at this point. Theo is so over-the-top that I expect him to start twiddling his thumbs every time he makes a speech (and it’s not a fun over-the-top like Penguin or the Riddler).
The cops, Jim (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey (Donal Logue) included, bust up another of Penguin’s mob criminal factories with the help of their “strike force” and loud-mouthed Captain Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis). That guy just gets under my skin. Lee (Morena Baccarin) LITERALLY asks Jim to do something (further proving she has absolutely nothing at all to do on the show — c’mon guys, give her an arc or a storyline? Anything?!). Luckily for Lee, Edward Ngyma (Cory Michael Smith) wants to go on a double date with Kristen (Chelsea Spack) and Lee and Jim. Great, it’s a plan! Jim is reluctant, but has to deal with Theo, who comes in to ask Jim to endorse him for mayor. Jim, rightfully, declines. Nice try, Theo!
Later, Penguin and Butch (Drew Powell) do Theo’s bidding by getting a bunch of low-life Fish Mooney supporters to do their bidding. The thugs are mean to their nice sister, Bridgit (Michelle Veintimilla), who happens to be Selina Kyle’s (Camren Bicondova) friend. It seems now Selina is hanging out in alleyways again, just sticking her nose in other people’s business. I thought she was working for Penguin? I’m so confused! Also, where the heck is Barbara? Tabitha mentions that she likes to sleep a lot. REALLY, Gotham? She likes to sleep a lot? Wow. GIVE HER SOMETHING TO DO! You can’t just shelf characters and use them when needed. We want a consistent story here!
One scene I did like was the double date scene, mainly because I finally understand why I love melted cheese so much. It was also nice to see Ed and Kristen be weird together. Lee once again has nothing to do. Later, the thugs make their sister infiltrate a safe and get a knife. She ends up blowing up the hallway for reasons unknown and catches on fire, which inspires her to make a costume. Aha, so I figured it out…she is Bridgit Pike aka future Firefly! Anyways, they give the knife to Penguin who tries to figure out how to use it to get leverage over Theo.
And this is where things get weird: an old woman named Edwige (Mary Joy) comes in and explains the history of the “cursed” knife and Gotham, telling Penguin about the five families who ruled Gotham, the biggest being the Waynes. Here we get a black and white flashback to who knows when. And Edwige explains the rift between the Waynes and the Dumas family. Apparently a young Dumas tried to get with a young Wayne, but it was forbidden, so they cut off his arm and exiled the entire family. Why anything of this happens is up for debate. And, no surprise, but the Dumas family is back and changed their name to Galavan. Shock to no one at all.
This story inspires Penguin to chop off Butch’s hand and make him infiltrate Theo’s gang, so he can finally gain the upperhand again. For reasons still unknown, Butch has a conditioned behavior where he must do everything Penguin says, which is beyond me and makes no logical sense, but ah, oh well. The show kind of throws logic to the wind!
Back on the main case, Jim and Harvey corner the thugs and their sister. She ends up blow-torching one of the new recruits…to death! Dang, girl! Selina helps her escape. The cops are all angry about it, especially Captain Barnes, who vows vengeance. RIP to that random recruit. I hardly knew ye. Somehow all of this convinces Jim to NOW endorse Theo for mayor. WHAT?! It’s just almost too easy.
Theo is very clearly trying to resist descending into maniacal laughter and thumb twiddling. He arrives home to find a hooded Father Creal (Ron Rifkin), whoever that is, in his apartment. They hug and Father Creal declares that soon Bruce Wayne will be dead. HAHA, what? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is Theo’s big elaborate plan — to kill Bruce Wayne? Well, that’s pretty easy. He’s just a dang kid. Go take him out. This makes no sense and is so disappointing. This is what Gotham has been leading up to. Disappointment falls. And on top of all of it, we know for a fact that Bruce Wayne does NOT die. Soooo….where are they going with this?
Sadly, this episode did not do it for me. Mainly because the plot is predictable and Theo’s evil plan is so dumb. Also, I am still frustrated by lack of development for Lee, Barbara, Harvey (where is his fiancee), Selina, and even Oswald. We want characters – real, live human characters and we want to see them grow and develop and change. Everyone is sadly a disappointment. I am happy that Bruce wasn’t in the episode. We’ve had enough of him. Altogether, it’s just disappointing and I am quickly losing my investment in the show. I’m not done yet, but I really hope they hone in and focus on making the show about the characters we already know and their struggles. And let’s hope there is more to Theo. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below!
Gotham airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox. Watch full episodes on Fox.com, Hulu Plus and On Demand (check with your local cable provider).