Gotham Episode 215 Recap: Riddle Me This, Jim Gordon
The Riddler strikes the Gotham Museum of Art. A large bomb is set up in the middle of the gallery, with the label, “This is a Real Bomb.” The patrons think this is the title of the piece; after all, it looks like something out of a cartoon. Ed hides in a corner and pushes a button. The bomb starts to smoke and spark, and the patrons rush from the gallery. This is the distraction. With the gallery empty, Ed steals a painting and leaves a green question mark in its place.
Barnes assigns Jim and Bullock to the case – bomb threats fall under their purview. Before they roll out, Barnes holds Jim back. Internal Affairs has gotten an anonymous tip and reopened the Galavan file. The tipster claims they saw Jim, not Penguin, kill Galavan. Jim holds firm to his story, but worry creeps into his eyes. He finally admits to Bullock that the investigation has been reopened, and Bullock promises to talk to his friend, Jenny, in IA.
Mr. Thatch, the head of the museum, walks the detectives through the crime scene. The missing painting is a minor one, called “Mad Grey Dawn.” Not worth the time and effort he put in to stealing it. However, the thief defaced two other, far more valuable paintings, each with a question mark. Those were painted by artists named La Rue and Marche – French for street and market. Market Street. The stolen painting depicted a train bombing that took place on a Monday. Today is Monday.
They rush to the train station on Market Street and start evacuating. Ed is there, and he quietly steps into the shadows. The cops don’t know what they are looking for, but Jim sees a question mark painted on a locker. From his hiding spot, Ed flips a switch and the bomb hidden in the locker ignites. Jim cracks open the locker with a crowbar and, seeing that he only has 20 seconds left, throws it into a huge stone decoration in the center of the station. It explodes, and Jim is knocked over, but there are no other injuries, and no major damage. Ed quietly slips out. Later, Ed returns with the rest of the force, in his official capacity, and Jim specifically assigns Ed to oversee forensics on this case. Ed is happy to do so and gets officer Pickney to sign off on a chain of custody form. Jim thinks the bandit is playing some kind of game, but there are no other clues for the next act of “performance art.”
Bullock has spoken to his IA source, who states that Penguin was beating Galavan when Jim stepped in and shot him. Jim thinks maybe there was someone else there, but Bullock thinks Penguin ratted him out. That doesn’t make sense to Jim, but it doesn’t matter: the case is officially reopened and Jim is an official suspect. That night, Jim and Lee are having an uncomfortable dinner. He finally admits that IA is reopening the investigation, which doesn’t make Lee happy. She again wishes they had left Gotham, but Jim promises to find a way to fix this.
Ed visits officer Pickney on official business, promising that detective Gordon is just behind him. “What do you call a tavern of black birds? A crow bar!” Ed shouts gleefully – then beats Pickney to death with a crowbar. Thankfully, Ed apologizes for the terrible joke – it was a last-minute thing.
Jim sits at the kitchen table, going over police reports. He can’t sleep. Bullock calls to tell him that the forensics came in: the bomb was detonated by a phone call placed from a pay phone a few blocks away from the train station. Jim can’t sleep, so he goes to check out the phone, hanging on the wall of a cheap apartment building. Jim notices the apartment next to the phone has its door cracked open, and Jim can’t help but check it out. This is Pickney’s apartment, and he finds him battered to death in the living room. Barnes comes in, gun drawn, and is startled to see Jim. They both aim their guns at one another, but Jim relents and lowers his first. He claims he was here following a lead; he didn’t even know Pickney lived here. Barnes was there to follow up on a message Pickney left him about Jim. Jim swears it is a mistake, and Barnes hopes so. For now, he has to take Jim in.
Barnes interrogates Jim. His fingerprints were on the crowbar. Barnes knew there was “something behind his eyes” after testifying about Galavan’s murder. Jim insists he was set up, but Barnes doesn’t believe him. “Look me in the eye, remind me you were a good cop once. At least tell me the truth!” It is at this point that Jim requests his union rep, and Barnes calls him a disgrace to the badge. He has officers transfer him to country, because he can’t stand to look at Jim. As he is being dragged away, Jim whispers to Bullock that the bomber, the whole thing, was a set-up to trap him.
In fact, Jim is right. It was a very elaborate plan to frame Jim and get him sent to prison. This was all Ed’s plan, so that Jim would stop looking into Kristin’s disappearance. The crowbar with Jim’s prints was the same one he used to jimmy open the train station locker; Ed stole it when processing the scene. The “chain of custody” signature Ed got from Pickney was actually used on a tipster form – all Ed had to do was fill out the information he gave in the anonymous call he placed to Internal Affairs. The forensic report, claiming the bomb was detonated by a pay phone, was falsified and slipped into Bullock’s report by Ed. As soon as Bullock told Jim, Ed retrieved the report and destroyed it.
There is stuff going on in the criminal underworld, too. Penguin visits Butch with apologies and cupcakes and proof of his sanity. Butch and Tabitha are wary, especially when Penguin insists he is a good person now. Trying to get a rise out of him, Tabitha talks about how Penguin’s mom’s sobs would lull her to sleep. He just smiles. Butch realizes he poses no threat, but Tabitha still wants to kill him. Butch puts a stop to that, but Tabitha won’t let him leave without a punishment.
HIs punishment is to be tarred and feathered, which seems like it is done just for show. Genuinely tar and feathering someone results in severe tar burns that are usually fatal. When we see Penguin later, just his clothing is tarred and feathered; his skin is untouched. Anyway, next on his apology tour is Ed. He wants to reel Ed back from the dark side, but Ed is quite happy with who he is now. He pushes Penguin out of his apartment – he is really freaking Ed out with his happy banality.
Having been rejected by the only two friends he knows, Penguin visits his mother’s grave. There is another man there to grieve Gertrude, Elijah Van Dahl. Penguin introduces himself as Gertrude’s son, which surprises Elijah greatly. He does some math, then: “She never told me… That I had a son!” Elijah takes Penguin to his massive mansion. Penguin takes a bubble bath and sits for an elaborate dinner with his father, who tells him his story. Gertrude came to work for his parents as a cook. Elijah’s father forbade his son from being with Gertrude, as he was an heir to a great fortune, and she was beneath him. Elijah was a “foolish, romantic boy” and threatened to run away with Gertrude; the next day, she was gone. Apparently his parents made an arrangement with Gertrude: she had to leave and must never again contact their son; in return she would be “taken care of.” Elijah never knew that Gertrude was pregnant at the time, and promises he is no longer alone. “You have a home, a father, a family.” Penguin weeps with joy.
Selina is teaching Bruce the way of the street. They visit Ivy, who works for a gang that runs the city’s magic mushroom trade, which is run by Butch’s nephew, Sonny. Selina is there to rob the drug pushers, and Bruce insists he is too: he wants to survive on his own without his money. He doesn’t mind stealing from criminals. Ivy slipped the gang some mushrooms, promising they will be in “relaxed bliss” for a while. Selina and Bruce sneak into the house, where the gang is all passed out. Selina tries to take a tin of cash from the lap of one sleeping pusher, but he wakes and grabs her. Bruce promises he is just dreaming. “Pretty cool, right?” The junkie thinks he is right, and that this is all fun. He settles back into his sleep and they take the tin of money. They hear people outside and run into Sonny and his gang.
Sonny tries to get a call out to uncle Butch, but he can’t get him. Selina promises that she will tell Butch about the lack of security that would allow a teenager to waltz in and steal a ton of cash. She suggests they call it even, but Sonny won’t hear of it and tosses Selina aside. Bruce gets defensive; he doesn’t like seeing girls get picked on. Sonny punches Bruce. Bruce calls him more names, and Sonny’s punches send Bruce to the ground. Bruce remembers what Alfred told him about just outlasting the big brutes, and he keeps standing up. The beating continues until Sonny insults Bruce’s parents. Selina sees the change in Bruce; she yells and the two of them manage to beat up Sonny’s thugs and escape with the cash. When Selina later tends to Bruce’s wounds, she muses that he must really like pain. But it’s more than that, explains Bruce. “When it was happening, it was like nothing else existed. The confusion, the emptiness, just vanished. For the first time in a long time, I knew I would be okay. He couldn’t break me; no one can.” Selina isn’t so sure: no one is unbreakable.
When we return from commercial break for the final act of the episode, it is four weeks since Jim’s murder trial began. He is found guilty and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The jury took less than 24 hours to deliberate. Bruce sees this on television and can’t believe it is true. The news plays on a radio at Arkham, and it seems to wake up Barbara, scared and twitchy. The nurse calls for Dr. Strange.
Lee visits Jim at prison and she promises they will fight this. Jim doesn’t want to: “We both know I’m not innocent.” His solution is that they “move on.” What he means is he wants Lee to move on. She refuses, and points to her very pregnant belly. “You can’t leave us.” Jim wants her to go somewhere far, raise their child, and forget he exists. “Don’t try to contact me again. I won’t answer.” Bullock rides with Jim to Blackgate prison and promises to find out who set him up.
Things are a little happier for Penguin. Elijah has a black-tie dinner party to introduce his son to the rest of the family. Penguin is over the moon… but several other family members (we aren’t introduced to them, but I assume it is his step-mother and half-siblings) don’t appear very happy to have a new threat to their inheritance.
You can watch a preview for the next episode, titled “Prisoners,” using the player below.