Gotham Recap: Episode 1.02, Selina Kyle

I am going to open up my inaugural “Gotham” recap with a little bit about my Batman background. I would consider myself a “casual Batman fan.” I have seen all the movies (even the ridiculously-bad Schumacher films), watched much of the Bruce Timm animated series, and read a handful of the comics. I am also married to one of the biggest Batman nerds out there. So while I try to respect the “history” of The Batman, my primary concern is with “Gotham” as a self-contained TV show.

Episode two opens with Bruce Wayne holding his hand over a candle flame to see how long he can stand the pain. You can already see the little bugger is “practicing” to become Batman (though surely eight years old is a little young to worry about becoming a vigilante, even if he doesn’t have the entire plan in mind). He holds it until Alfred comes in. Alfred’s first response is to yell at the “stupid little boy,” but then he grabs said stupid boy into a tight hug. As someone who is used to the Michael Caine Alfred, I don’t care for Sean Pertwee’s portrayal.

Anyway, the main issue this week is that street kids are disappearing. Nobody really notices until one of the kids, Mackie, escapes his attackers and crashes through the window of a fancy restaurant. Jim is the only one who will seriously listen to Mackie’s story: a couple by the name of Patty and Doug show up, claiming to be part of the mayor’s homeless outreach program. While the kids help themselves to free sandwiches and cookies, Patty injects them with a powerful sedative. Mackie caught a bit, and a tox screen reveals it to be ATP, a sedative that was only used at Arkham Asylum (which has been closed for fifteen years) and has no recreational usage. Only three pharmacies in Gotham are licensed to sell the knock-out drug, and Jim thinks one of them is crooked.

Quillan Pharmaceuticals is the crooked one. Patty and Doug are meeting with Morry Quillan, who is merely the front, giving Patty and Doug access to the drugs and a place to store the kids before they are trafficked to The Dollmaker (who we do not yet meet in this episode). Jim and Bullock raid the pharmacy. A gun battle ends with Patty and Doug getting away, and Quillan taken into custody. Jim does find the most recently snatched kids in a dank basement, about to be killed by the janitor.

The public pressure is on to solve this case. The chief explicitly said not to involve the press, but after Jim tells Barbara about the case, she places an anonymous call to the paper. The morning headlines scream “Child Snatchers!” Luckily Jim and Bullock bring in a half-dozen kids unharmed, and the mayor vows that Gotham will step up to help these unfortunate children with “tough love” but getting them into the “loving arms of juvenile services.” In private, he informs the police chief that the “cute, undamaged” kids will go to foster homes, while the rest will be sent to a juvenile detention center upstate.

So the majority of the kids are going upstate, including Selena Kyle (who prefers to go by Cat, of course). Cat insists that she needs to speak with Jim Gordon, but the guards won’t help her out and force her on the bus. Of course, that bus just happens to be controlled by Doug and Patty. They hijack the entire bus (much to the panic of the mayor, who could cover up one or two missing kids, but not a bus full) and take the kids to a warehouse where they are herded into cargo containers. Meanwhile, back at the station – and after a moderate beating – Quillan gives up the only info he has on Patty and Doug: they were driving a truck that had plate and fork logo. Jim and Bullock have no luck tracking down a company with that logo, until Jim realizes it wasn’t a plate and fork – it was a globe and a trident. Trident Shipping. Jim and Bullock show up at Trident Shipping before the kids can be shipped out, and Patty and Doug are taken into custody.

The kids, however, still have to go upstate. Cat is still determined to talk to Jim, so she threatens the cop that is doing her paperwork to get Jim right now, or she will start screaming that he touched her. The cop dutifully retrieves Jim. Cat has been watching Jim for a while now, and wants a deal to keep her out of juvie. She knows he is friends with “the kid” (Bruce) and knows Pepper was a patsy. She also knows who killed the Waynes.


A gang war is brewing. Falcone meets with Fish, and is concerned that with the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, there is something of a power vacuum. The Waynes and the Falcones were “pillars of the same house” and now things are out of balance. He is concerned that Maroni, the #2 gang, is preparing to step in. Falcone also tells her that Oswald told him that she has plans to overthrow him. Fish assures him that Falcone is like a father to her, and that she would never do that to him. Of course, in private with Butch, Fish promises to bide her time, but is determined to kill Falcone with her “bare hands… and teeth.”

Oswald hitchhikes with a couple drunken frat boys. He thinks he has found friends, until one of them comments that he walks like a penguin. Oswald viciously stabs him in one swift motion. He then rents a tiny, trashed trailer from a farmer in the middle of nowhere, and holds the second frat boy hostage. His mother seems to think this is a prank and refuses to pay, so it looks like Oswald will have to kill him.

Alfred brings Jim over. Clearly he is over his head with this whole “raising a boy billionaire” thing, and needs Jim’s help. (“Bruce looks up to you.”) Bruce is having nightmares and hurting himself, but Mr. Wayne left specific instructions as to how to raise Bruce in the event that he is orphaned: trust him to choose his own cause. This also means absolutely no psychiatrists. Bruce creeps in and says that he is not hurting himself – he is testing himself. He wants to do something to help the homeless kids, but doesn’t quite understand how to help.

And finally, we get to meet Mrs. Cobblepot – Oswald’s mom – who has absolutely no point to this week’s episode, but she is played by the delightfully weird Carol Kane, so she has to have a bigger role coming up.