So we are delving into the Red Hood Gang mythology tonight. With the introduction of the Joker last week, I assume that this is setting us up for The Killing Joke’s version of the Joker’s backstory, giving us the history of the Red Hood Gang before Joker gets destroyed by them.
A gang of five rob a bank. One of the guys thought it would be “fun” if he made a red hood to wear. Putting on the red hood gave him the confidence to make himself the leader of the gang in the middle of the robbery. He is a slick talker and promised they weren’t stealing the public’s money, just the bank’s insured money. A security guard gets cocky and fires at the Red Hood, but misses, leading the goon to believe he is invincible, and that the hood is magic. Outside, cops are screaming down the street, so the Red Hood throws the money out to the people.
The group’s real leader, Destro, doesn’t appreciate this, nor does he care for this kid’s manic behavior. When back at their hideout at an auto shop, Destro shoots the kid dead and takes his hood. Why didn’t he just go get a new hood? There is nothing unique or special about the hood. I guess that is just the way of criminals. Jim and Bullock find their way to the hideout and find the kid dead. Bullock believes this is the end of it, until a second robbery, also led by a man in a red hood, makes the papers. Destro leads this heist, and he is not as slick as the kid. A witness IDs Destro in a lineup, but the cops let him go in the hopes that he will lead them back to the rest of the crew. Back at his apartment, another gang member, one with a stutter, is waiting for Destro. He wants to wear the red hood because his girlfriend is going to leave him. He thinks the red hood will make her proud. The stutterer shoots Destro and takes off before Bullock and Jim can make it upstairs. They do discover denied loan documents from three different Gotham banks, two of which were already hit.
The cops are ready at the third, this time hit by only three guys, led by the stutterer. The cops stop them before they can even enter, and the stutterer goes into full James Cagney mode, shouting “Suck it, coppers!” before opening fire. The entire gang ends up dead, and Jim peels the hood off him. Now they think it is over. Inexplicably, in the last shot of the episode, the red hood is laying on the ground, just outside the crime scene, and a kid picks it up and puts it on. Why would Jim just dump the hood? First off, it’s evidence. Second, it’s littering.
The Red Hood Gang is not the most interesting part of tonight’s episode: Alfred is. An old Navy buddy, Reggie, comes by Wayne Manor to see Alfred. It has been 20 years since they have spoken, and Alfred is happy to see him. Bruce warmly invites him to stay a few days. One day, when Bruce comes in from a run, he grabs his boxing gloves and Reggie asks what he is training for. He invites Bruce to show him his stance, then encourages to hit him… hit him again… hit with all his might…. Bruce bloodies his nose, but Reggie isn’t deterred. He then starts giving Bruce tips on how to fight dirty. Alfred breaks up the intense scene because he doesn’t like where it is going. Later on, Alfred and Reggie are reminiscing and Bruce warmly brings them a bottle of wine from the cellar. Alfred tries to reject it – Reggie had admitted that, among many problems in his life, drink was one of the biggest – but Bruce insists. Alfred invites the boy to sit with them as they share war stories, which is all fun and good until Reggie starts hinting at Alfred’s kills. He abruptly calls the evening to an end.
Later that night, Alfred catches Reggie stealing from the house. Reggie tries to explain that he couldn’t just ask for money, and he is in trouble far worse than Alfred could imagine. Rather than explaining further, he stabs Alfred and leaves. Bruce finds him an indeterminate time later and calls for help. Despite the fact that the last we see of Alfred is of him on breathing machines in the hospital, it’s not much of a cliffhanger. They aren’t going to kill Alfred. Why try to pretend? Is it maybe to confuse kids who have never, ever read a Batman comic, seen a Batman cartoon, watched a Batman movie? Regardless, there is a better “twist” to this story. Reggie wasn’t stealing knick-knacks; he was stealing Bruce’s research on his parents murder, delivering it to the board of Wayne Industries, who aren’t sure exactly how much trouble the young Bruce will be to them.
Fish finally meets the manager, who insists that the doctor told him to handle anything Fish needs while he is on assignment. He admits that the doctor is Dr. Dulmacher, who we all know is the Dollmaker. The fact that Fish sees hospital rooms filled with recent amputees, and a man in an ice-filled tub. (You’d think that if this was truly Dulmacher’s business, he wouldn’t resort to such sketchy, urban legend methods of organ removal.) Anyway, after a shower and a change of clothes, the manager goes dark. He gives her two options: kill her and her “friends” in the basement right now, or take her eyes and see how long a blind girl can survive in the basement. Fish decides on a third option: she grabs a spoon and gouges her left eye out, then stomps it under her shoe. Other than to show what a hard-ass she is, I don’t see the point to her option. It was a fun bit of gore, though.
And finally, what recap of “Gotham” would be complete without a little Barbara-bashing? She is letting Selina and Ivy stay with her. She likes the company but it is getting a little creepy. She almost seems to be trying to seduce Selina: telling her she is turning into a beautiful woman, brushing her hair off her face. She invites the girls to take any of her clothing that they want, then picks out a special dress for Selina to try on. Again, Barbara compliments her on her beauty, then wants to teach her how to use her appearance as a weapon. “What good has it done you?” Selina retorts. Boom! Pwned by a thirteen year old.
Overall, it was a really great episode. It moved well, had some great action, and some really funny moments. Honestly, I think it helped that Jim was in very little of this episode. His angry heroism has long since worn thin.
You can check out the promo for Episode 18 of “Gotham” in the player below. Titled “Everyone Has a Cobblepot,” the episode is officially described as follows:
“While Gordon seeks information about the recent controversy with Commissioner Loeb, Fish’s allegiance with the prisoners is questioned when she appears to join forces with Dr. Dulmacher (guest star Colm Feore). Meanwhile, after an attack close to home, Bruce deals with the aftermath.”
“Everyone Has a Cobblepot” is set to air March 2. “Gotham” airs Mondays at 8 P.M. EST. on FOX.