Gotham Episode 1.20 Recap and Preview for Next Week

Tonight’s episode picks up right where last week left off, with Bruce and Selina leaving the scene of Reggie’s murder. Bruce is upset that she could kill someone, but she would do it again if need be. He would have told his boss and then Bruce would be dead. They have to figure out what Bunderslaw is up to. Each Wayne employee has a safe in his office. If Bruce gets Selina close enough, she can lift it.

Bruce tells Alfred he is going to the Wayne Foundation Charity Gala. Alfred insists on going, worried for Bruce to attend alone. He admits he is going with Selina. Alfred teases him playfully, but promises to remain in the car – that way he is close by if need be but won’t cramp Bruce’s style.

Barbara is back tonight, and Jason – aka the Ogre – flirts with her. She takes him back to her apartment for drinks, and is clearly about to jump him when he suggests she has a boyfriend. He is secretly withdrawing a knife from his pocket. Barbara gets pissy and turns away, asking why he thinks she would cheat on a boyfriend if she had one. She is full of anger, and explains she has no one. “If a bus hit me, no one would care.” Jason is intrigued – she is not who he expected her to be – and the knife goes back into his pocket.

Jim is scared for Lee. He explains the Ogre case to her, and she insists that he not give up the case, but that she isn’t leaving Gotham either. Jim proclaims his love for her – all it took was a serial killer to get him to say it. Jim and Bullock bring in the first detective on the Ogre case, the one whose wife was killed. He scratched out some info on his notes on the first murder, Julie Kimball. After protection is promised for his daughter, he tells them that she was working as a nurse at a private cosmetic surgery facility. Jim and Bullock head straight there. The Ogre is surreptitiously snapping pictures of them as they leave. At the clinic, Dr. Kushman won’t give out any info other than Julie was recommended to him by one of his patients. The detectives leave, and see the same car watching them in an alley. They go to confront the driver, but the car peels out. Even though he couldn’t see him, Jim knows this is the Ogre. They report the sighting to the captain, and Jim gets a call from the Ogre, who is giving him his one chance to back off or he will kill someone he loves. Jim won’t back down, and after checking with Lee, he holds a televised press conference attesting to that fact. The Ogre sees this, and he isn’t happy.

Bruce has a department store’s worth of stuff sent to Selina at Barbara’s apartment. She seems vaguely annoyed that the girl is going to the same gala she is, but she pushes those feelings aside to help the tomboy get ready. Bruce picks her up, nervously. Selina has chosen a full-skirted cocktail dress that somehow seems just her style. She is even wearing heels.

At the gala, Bruce and Selina dance awkwardly. She is uncomfortable with the stares; he is more concerned on keeping an eye out for Bunderslaw. He spots him (the only black guy at the party) and introduces himself. He keeps Bunderslaw distracted with small talk while Selina lifts the keys from his pocket, makes an impression in her compact, and puts the keys back.

The Ogre greets Barbara at the gala. Funny thing, if you donate $10,000, it is easy to get an invite. She is unsure how she feels about seeing him there, but consents to a dance. The Ogre apologizes for the way things ended the other night, and commiserates over being one person on the inside, and a different person on the out. “I created the person I am now, and I can do the same for you.” He whispers into her ear and the two leave together.

The warrant comes back and Dr. Kushman gives up the name of the person who recommended Julie: Constance Van Groot. She is a wealthy, old-money woman and the detectives think maybe she has a son. They visit her enormous, castle-like estate. The doors are open so they just walk in and find the butler trying to hang himself. The guys cut him down before he can die. Jim notices photos on the piano, with a child’s face scratched out of every one. Upstairs, Bullock finds Constance – she is dead in her bed, and has been for years.

They interrogate the butler, Skolimski, right there on the spot. He finally opens up. His son, Jason, was born hideously deformed, so much so that his own mother abandoned him. Ms. Van Groot took a liking to Jason, and doted upon him as if he was her own. Jason thought she really was his mother, and when confronted, she wouldn’t give him the Van Groot name, or an inheritance. This enraged Jason and he killed her. His father helped cover it up, and kept her corpse in the house so no one would know. He knows that his son couldn’t be the one going around seducing women, because of his face. He doesn’t know where Jason is, but he did call earlier to warn him the police were coming. There are no photos of the surgically-corrected Jason available, but the doctor drew a quick sketch for Jim. Jim realizes that the photo the paper used for him recently was one from a ball he attended with Barbara. He hurries to her house, concerned, and shows the picture to Selina, who is back in her street clothes. She thinks that is the man Barbara left with.

And in fact she did. She is over at his loft, helping herself to a drink. She asks what is “over there” and he invites her to check it out. Opening the door, she discovers his murder room, which, because of the cleanliness, could easily be mistaken for a sex dungeon. Barbara smiles. I have no hope that Barbara will suddenly become a murderer, nor do I believe she will be murdered. She’s probably just going to have some really, really kinky sex with Jason.

Also: Penguin hires a hit man to take care of Maroni. When Maroni spills to Mrs. Kapelput that he is a psychopath, she faints. Penguin is furious and takes her home to care for her. She promises to love him no matter what but doesn’t want him to lie to her. He insists he has done nothing wrong, but she doesn’t really believe him. A delivery man brings a vase of roses to Mrs. Kapelput from Maroni, which enrages Penguin to the point that he kills the messenger. Nygma discovers that Kringle’s boyfriend is abusing her. He confronts him about it and is laughed off. When he sees the officer arrive at Kringle’s apartment, he confronts him again outside, and it ends with Nygma stabbing him, over and over.

This was definitely one of the better episodes of the season. I appreciate that they picked up right where they left off last week. It gave the episode more fluidity, and brought the show away from the stale procedural formula it has pursued most of the season. Plus this is the first episode Barbara wasn’t wholly obnoxious in. I like the idea of her embracing her inner villain – or at least her inner submissive. (I can’t imagine that the Ogre would be a submissive.)

I have to say, they are laying the groundwork for Bruce Wayne becoming Batman very effectively. He is starting to see that murder may not always be as black and white an issue as he once thought it was. I’m also glad Fish wasn’t in this episode. While I usually don’t mind her scenery-chewing overacting, it was starting to get a little repetitive and dull.

You can check out the preview for Episode 1.21, titled “The Anvil or the Hammer,” using the player below. In the episode, airing Monday, April 27, The Ogre breaks down Barbara’s emotions, while Gordon and Bullock go to great lengths to track him down. Meanwhile, Penguin leads a massacre, beginning an epic war, while Bruce learns the truth about Wayne Enterprises and Nygma deals with his recent actions.