Gotham Episode 217 Recap: Penguin Breaks Bad
Barnes doesn’t believe Bullock when he says that he has no idea where Jim is. But of course, Bullock knows: Jim is hiding out at his apartment, poring over crime photos. Jim thinks the one who framed him has to be a cop, and he suspects that Loeb is the one pulling the strings. Bullock suggests Jim run, but that isn’t going to happen. Instead, Jim remembers a rumor he heard, about IA recording all of their phone calls. If he could get a copy of that secret recording, maybe they could figure out who ratted him out. Bullock makes a call to his internal affairs contact, Jenny. While he and Jenny have rough foreplay at her place, Bullock slips Jim the key to the IA evidence lockup, then goes back to his date.
Jim sneaks into the department late at night and retrieves the tape without difficulty. His way back to the apartment takes him through a dark alley, where a few thugs are trying to mug a woman. He tries to ignore it but can’t, and beats up the muggers. When he turns to check on the woman, he is holding one of the mugger’s knives, and she screams and runs. A cop shows and as soon as he recognizes Jim, he places him under arrest and calls for backup. Jim knocks him out, promises he is innocent, and runs.
Jim is waiting for Bullock in the backseat of his car in the morning. The governor announced a $10,000 reward for Jim, which has made things a little crazy. They play the tape and discover the voice has been disguised. It sounds as if there is a bird chirping in the background. It is time for Jim to seek help from a few other friends.
He sneaks into Ed’s apartment, scaring the hell out of him. Jim promises not to hurt him; he needs his investigative help with the tape. Ed agrees, but the quality of the recording is so poor, he determines it to be a dead end. Even still, Jim asks him to clean up the audio, which Ed does. He goes over his theories about the case, that it was Loeb and one of his “psychopaths” who set him up. Ed takes issue with the use of the word “psychopath,” and points out that Jim has killed people, too. Jim insists they were all in the line of duty, and Ed tells him he knew the rumors about Galavan weren’t true. This piques Jim’s suspicions and he asks if Penguin ever told him about Galavan’s death. The tape is done being cleaned up, and the pair listen to it. The voice is no clearer – the caller used a digital voice scrambler. But something did come out clear: the bird chirp. It is not a bird, it is a cuckoo clock chiming. A cuckoo clock just like the one Ed has. Jim pulls his gun and tells Ed he knows he framed him (something which, really, he only learned this second). But Ed knew that Jim knew that he knew (or something) and sets off a taser affixed beneath Jim’s chair, knocking him out.
Ed drags Jim down to the street, and turns to unlock his trunk. When he returns for his hostage, Jim is gone. Ed shoots him with Jim’s gun, but only nicks him. He follows the blood trail into a warehouse, and decides to give Jim a hint about why he framed him: KK. It all becomes clear to Jim. He escapes out of the warehouse.
Bruce is making dinner for him and Selena in her little hideaway. He is really enjoying his street punk “research” as well as playing house. He stitched up a tear in Selena’s leather jacket (an extended close-up of the stitching hints none-too-subtly at what is to come). Jim stumbles in, bleeding, surprised to find Bruce there. He collapses into a nest of blankets.
When Jim wakes, he is in Wayne Manor. Alfred picked them up when Bruce called, but Bruce insists he is not ready to come back home yet. Jim stumbles into the kitchen and Alfred sends Bruce to retrieve Jim’s clothes while the adults talk. Alfred doesn’t want to talk about Bruce’s current situation; he wants to talk about Jim’s. Jim knows how he is going to get out of this pickle. But he needs someone Barnes knows would betray him. All eyes turn to Selena.
Selena barges into the police station, demanding to talk to someone about the Jim Gordon reward. Barnes appears, and she says Jim was at her place a few hours ago, shot, but then he took off. Barnes says that info is not worth $10,000, so Selena offers more: Jim said he was going to find Penguin, because Penguin knows where the bodies are buried. Ed hears this and hides in the locker room. He starts talking to himself, going over the odds, and decides this is not good.
Ed goes straight to the woods and starts digging up Kristen’s body, talking to her the whole time. Jim sneaks up on him, and Ed pulls his gun. Jim didn’t find Penguin; he just followed Ed. Jim wants to know how he became this, but Ed insists this is who he always was; he is just now ready to admit the truth. Barnes and Bullock enter the scene, with backup. Ed promises he was just arresting Jim, but this doesn’t fly. Ed drops the gun and tries to run, but he falls and is surrounded by the cops.
Back at the police station, Barnes makes his amends with Jim, and is glad he is innocent. Now he wants to know when he is coming back to work. Jim has something he needs to do first, and Barnes hands him Lee’s new phone number. But that is not what he has to do. He has to solve the Wayne murders. The department considers that case closed, but Jim wants to know who hired Matches. Barnes agrees to turn over the Wayne files if Jim takes Lee’s phone number. He does.
Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce is reading a magazine while he waits for Selena to shower. Alfred comes in, not to ask him to stay, but to tell him Fox fixed his father’s computer. Bruce is pissed that Alfred is just now telling him, and he goes for the little remote to get into the Wayne Cave. Alfred is worried that Selena will walk in, but Bruce trusts her. Alfred, however, won’t have him put her life in danger. “It’s her or the work. You can’t do both,” Alfred warns. The guys shut up when Selena walks in, utterly relaxed from an amazing shower. Alfred excuses himself awkwardly, and Bruce looks from the remote to Selena. He is not going back. “I am grateful for everything you taught me, but my place is here.” Selena is hurt and stomps out.
Meanwhile, Penguin mourns his father at a small, private funeral. As the family leaves, he hugs Grace fiercely, but she is surprised to find out he plans to return with them to Elijah’s mansion. The house was left to Grace and her kids, and she is not comfortable living with a criminal. Penguin literally begs. He has nowhere to go and will do anything. So Grace agrees – they need help around the house. She assures her concerned kids that this is just to keep him close. Soon, he will “take his own life,” and until then, they will have a free servant.
They put him to work making dinner. Grace doesn’t care for his “slut mother’s” goulash recipe and wants a roast tomorrow night. She leaves, her kids following behind her – but not before they spill their plates to the floor and throw food at Penguin. Later, Penguin is making a drink for Grace and she demands cherries for it. While Penguin is searching the cupboards for some, he comes across the sherry decanter, still with some sherry at the bottom. Penguin cringes at the horrible odor from decanter, and pours the rest of its contents into a dish for the dog. It doesn’t take long for the dog to drop dead. Penguin laughs maniacally.
Dinner time, and Penguin serves Grace her requested roast. She says it is overcooked, so he suggests she try the other flank. She does, and says it is the same. Penguin reveals that he found the poisoned decanter. Grace gulps, then plays dumb. He pulls a knife. Getting nervous, Grace calls for her kids, conspicuously absent from the dinner table. Penguin reveals that he is surprised that Grace thought both roasts tasted the same; “Sasha was more tender in my opinion.” Before Grace can fully react to the fact that she just ate her children, Penguin starts stabbing her violently.
Over at Arkham, Barbara is participating in group therapy. She admits that she killed her parents, joined a group of psychopaths, and tried to kill Jim and Lee, but ultimately was just a “puppet for the demons in my head.” She no longer feels insane, just sad. Peabody thinks it is an act, but Strange isn’t so sure. She intrigues him, and he decides to check Barbara out of the asylum. Since she is no longer insane, it would be unethical and illegal to keep her here. Peabody is worried about releasing her, but Strange assures her it is an experiment. “I don’t know what she will do, but it will be interesting.”
In the finale montage, we see Ed delivered to Arkham; Penguin having a drink with the bloody remains of his step-family; Selena throwing away the jacket Bruce mended for her; and Bruce and Alfred booting up Thomas’ computer. Back at home, Jim calls Lee, but when she picks up, he can’t say a word. A knock at the door gives him an excuse to hang up. Barbara is waiting on the other side.
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