Gotham Episode 1.08 Recap

A couple of men in dress shirts, suspenders, and ski masks arre beating the hell out of each other in an empty office building. The next morning, one of the men shows up dead, with a finger shoved down his throat. The dead guy is named Coleman Lawson, a barista who was hoping to get a job in finance. Bullock and Jim pay a visit to a back-alley surgeon, asking if anyone had come in missing a finger. It takes some prodding, but the doc admits that a guy came in last night with that very affliction. He didn’t catch a name, but a business card dropped out of his pocket: Sionis Investments. Despite Bullock’s promises of protection, Jim arrests the doc, which doesn’t sit well with the rest of the department, who are already treating Jim like he has the plague. Bullock tries to bargain with Jim to let the doc go, but he won’t budge.

Jim and Bullock pay a visit to Sionis Investments. The first thing they notice is that all the young employees have bruised, bloodied, battered faces. Richard Sionas, who has an impressive collection of samurai masks and swords in his office, claims all the injuries in the office come from touch football games that got a little rough. Jim flat-out accuses him of murder, and vows to prove it. Out in the hall, Jim notices fresh blood on the floor, and follows it into the bathroom. A kid is stuffing toilet paper into his nose to stop the bleeding. But of more interest is the guy coming out of the stall, with his hand bandaged in such a way as to suggest a finger is missing.

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They bring Adams into the station, and he admits that it is all part of the job interview. They have to fight it out, last man standing gets the job. It’s not supposed to be to the death. According to Ed (who finally has a reason to be in this show!) there have been four killed with office supplies in the last three years. Before they can get Adams to sign his statement, a lawyer comes in and gets the confession thrown out. Jim thinks Sionis is paying Adams to take the fall.

Jim heads to the battle office and finds several men in cages. Sionis, wearing his samurai mask, tasers him. He wakes to find the caged men free, all wearing ski masks. Sionis announces that whoever kills “the man without the mask” wins, and he will throw in a million dollar signing bonus. All of this is being shown via CCTV to a room full of well-dressed folks who enjoy this as sport. While the fighting is at full-tilt, Bullock is trying to get someone to help him run down addresses to find where Jim may be. No one wants to help, even though Jim is probably in trouble, so he gives a speech. It only elicits help from the captain, who feels guilty about not standing up for Jim with Victor Zsasz. Alvarez relents, and like lemmings, all the other cops offer to help.

Jim doesn’t really need help though. He knocks out all his opponents, then goes one-on-one with Sionis. He gets Sionis’s sword away from him, but after a minute he decides not to kill him. The captain comes in, guns out, but finds she is too late and really unnecessary.

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Elsewhere in Gotham…

Penguin tries to win Fish over with a brooch he stole off a rich lady. Fish can’t be bought, and stabs him with the pin, then licks his blood off the tip. She feels betrayed by him: “When I order someone killed, I expect them to stay that way.” Falcone is the only reason Penguin is still alive – he wants peace. Penguin gives the brooch to his mother, who worries about his injured hand. She relays a story about a bully from her youth: she turned the young girl’s father in to the secret police. I wish they would give Gertrude a meatier plotline (or, you know, any plotline) because Carol Kane feels so wasted in the paltry scenes she has been given.

Fish meets with Liza (in a Catholic confessional!) to tell her to sneak into Falcone’s office and copy down the last two pages in his ledger. She does so, and returns the note to Fish at her club. Fish is pissed that she would risk being seen there. Liza wants out of her deal to spy on Falcone. (Feelings for the old man?) She tells Fish she is rich and people fear her – is that not enough? Fish tells this sob-story about being the daughter of a prostitute, having only a curtain to divide her from her mom and her clients, and how one of Falcone’s men killed her because he didn’t like the service. Fish vowed to never be powerless, or let any man be over her. Liza hands over the pages, but we don’t see what is on them. We do find out that Fish’s mom is not dead – she was singing in Fish’s club that very night.

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Alfred sends Bruce back to school. The girls flirt with him, but some of the boys tease him. One in particular, Tommy, follows Bruce around, talking smack about his mom. Bruce slaps him, but that is all. When Alfred picks him up, he sees that Bruce is very upset. So he takes Bruce to Tommy’s house, and when Tommy comes to the door, he says “We have unfinished business,” then proceeds to punch him. Eventually Alfred steps in, tells Tommy to consider that a warning, and essentially says that he approves of the beating. Then he takes Bruce home for pizza. Bruce admits he enjoyed hurting Tommy, and Alfred kind of eggs him on, saying that Tommy deserved it. When Bruce asks Alfred to teach him how to fight, Alfred almost looks a bit proud. I still find it odd that Alfred is such an instigator. It seems like he is advocating for violence, even when the situation doesn’t necessarily call for it, and that feels very out-of-character for the soon-to-be-Batman.

And finally, Barbara is being insufferable. As usual. She has armed herself with Jim’s spare gun, and waves it at him when he enters their house. She blames it on too much to drink and fear and paranoia from last week’s kidnapping. The next day she calls him at work, and he abruptly tells her he has to go – and hangs up. So when Jim calls her back later that evening, as he is leaving the office, Barbara doesn’t take the call. She has left him a note, and leaves. Unless “Gotham” producers make a serious change to the Jim Gordon story, Barbara can’t get killed off, which makes me extremely unhappy. I dislike her way more than I should any fictional character. There is something seriously wrong with her.

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