For the better part of this season, Detective Jim Gordon has been alone in his crusade to clean up the overemphasized decadence and violence of Gotham City. Not until facing off against Victor Zsasz did he find allies in his one-man war. His partner, Harvey Bullock, seems to have come around, shunning some of his cynicism and “look-the-other-way” beliefs in light of Gordon’s golden boy virtue. Former antagonists but good cops from Major Crimes, Detectives Montoya and Allen have also joined his fight. On his side but in a precarious role as a go-between with some of the city’s powerful is police Captain Sarah Essen. Of course there’s the burgeoning relationship between Gordon and the wunderchild Bruce Wayne but the fruits of that connection will take years to ripen.
Enter Harvey Dent.
Everyone knows his story, the paragon of virtue (much like Gordon) whose fight against Gotham crime eventually unleashes the Mr. Hyde aspect of the DA’s persona, the infamous Two-Face. But as things stand, we become privy to Dent’s origins, his Dr. Jekyll if you will.
Picking up where we left off last week, Gordon returns home with the feisty Selina Kyle in tow, only to find the apartment empty and a letter from Barbara. In the letter, she admits to needing time away, still afraid of the shadows Falcone and Zsasz have left on her life. With no Barbara to watch the adolescent pickpocket and after she describes the Waynes’ murderer to a sketch artist, Gordon pays a visit to Wayne Manor and drops Selina off, much to Alfred’s chagrin. Satisfied on Selina being in good hands, Gordon (with Montoya and Allen at his side) meets Harvey Dent for the first time. When he tells Dent about the new information on the shooting, Dent fingers Richard Lovecraft—a rich and corrupt land entrepreneur whose fortunes nearly doubled after Thomas Wayne’s murder—as the primary suspect behind the event that changed Gotham’s future. He plans to use the idea of an eye witness to draw Lovecraft or others who may have been involved, out in the open. No names or paperwork would be filed, the best bet to keep Selina safe.
Speaking of Selina, Bruce is immediately taken by her sharp wit and bold persona. During his training with Alfred (“Taking a punch is just as important as throwing one,” he tells Bruce gruffly) Selina stumbles upon them and the butler immediately notices Bruce’s infatuation with the young girl. They have several more interactions, the most uncomfortable of which occurs when he asks Selina about her parents. His questions smack into a sore spot for her and she storms out, proclaiming “I’m not an orphan! I have family all over.”
When he’s not worrying over Barbara going walkabout or working with Harvey Dent, Gordon’s focus is on Ian Hargrove, a bomb maker doing time in Blackgate Penitentiary, who was broken out during a routine transfer. He’s not an arsonist as such, instead concentrating his energies on exploding weapons and munitions factories due to his core beliefs regarding the proliferations of such instruments of destruction—ironic, I know. He was sentenced when two janitors were killed during his last bombing run. This information is gleaned from John Hargrove, Ian’s brother and the only one to have visited/spoken with the mad bomber during his two years of isolated incarceration. So who had reason to bust him out?
Enter Gregor Kasyanov. The Russian, as we soon find out, is a former lieutenant of Nikolai working for Fish Mooney to get back at Falcone. Kasyanov has Hargrove fashion another bomb which kills several security guards at a munitions factory and they end up stealing HMX, a substance with ten times the strength of C4. Thanks to E. Nygma, our painfully awkward forensics guy (and future Riddler), HMX’s primary purpose is to blast through iron is discovered. There’s not much use for such a device…unless you factor in the Gotham Armory, the place where Carmine Falcone keeps a hefty portion of his cash deposits. Thanks to clues provided by Hargrove in the earlier explosion, Gordon and Bullock locate the captive prisoner and he drops a bit of the Russian’s plan to the detectives before said Russian and his gang arrives, getting Hargrove out and seeing through the final executions of their plan.
Speaking of plan, Mr. Cobblepot pays a visit to Liza’s apartment where he discovers a picture of her and Falcone adorning a bookshelf. He recognizes the fresh scent of lilacs, confirming that it’s his old boss’s perfume, and realizes the young woman is working as a spy for Fish on Falcone. He promises not to tell anyone so long as she keeps quiet about his discovery. The once inauspicious ‘Penguin’ continues to slither his way into more and more power.
While Gordon and Bullock deal with the bombings, Dent begins the slow squeeze on Lovecraft. The wealthy business man isn’t too worried with Dent’s findings until, when provoked, the DA nearly snaps. “Don’t threaten me,” he growls to a startled and somewhat frightened Lovecraft, “Or I will rip you open.” And then the mask of Harvey Dent slides back in place.
At the Manor, Bruce finds Selina trying to slip out but she ends up staying. He laments about how he did nothing when his parents were murdered and the admission gives Selina a glimpse into the pain and guilt Bruce is holding onto. She even crafts a story of her mother—a famous woman in showbiz who’s really a spy—as a way to brush over her earlier explosion at his questions. Another encounter as Bruce trains himself on “self-discipline and willpower” adds to Selina’s already pessimistic view of Gotham though it all changes by a deftly thrown pastry.
Clued in by Nygma’s research on HMX, Gordon and Bullock, along with several GCPD, trap Kasyanov and Hargrove in a pincer. Luck is on Hargrove’s side as he walks away from the van used to transport Falcone’s money. Unbeknownst to the Russians, it was armed with its own little bomb, one set off by Butch when he saw the cops surrounding the baddies. Though they don’t get the money, Fish couldn’t be happier as her plan is successful as it hits Falcone where it hurts most; his money.
Back to the pastry, Selina strikes a reading Bruce in the face with it and tells him “hit me, and I’ll let you kiss me.” Thus begins the pastry food fight, one Alfred watches from the doorway. “She’s a breath of fresh air,” he tells Gordon regarding Selina’s presence. It’s not quite as promising for the detective. Though Dent’s plan seems to be working, the Mayor’s initiative to re-open Arkham as a place to help the criminally insane will only cause more trouble. He tries reaching Barbara, confessing in the voice mail that “I don’t have anything without you.” Trouble is, she’s already taken another lover. A familiar love…one Detective Renee Montoya of Major Crimes.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
- Welcome to Gotham, Mr. Dent. The show does a pretty good job introducing the newest player to the series but, like several other instances, they overdo it a bit. Though I welcome his inclusion, the ‘split-personality’ reaction to Lovecraft’s threats were a touch much. I do think this will be toned down as we’re exposed to more of Dent in the same way they’ve toned down Bruce Wayne’s slow transformation into the Dark Knight…
- Speaking of Young Master Wayne, this episode continues on the path to remolding Bruce into the image of a kid that is mature and facing unspeakable tragedy, but nonetheless still a kid. The chemistry between David Masouz and Camren Bicondova hit the perfect note of innocent flirtation and the wanton play of kids. To paraphrase Alfred’s remarks to Gordon regarding Selina Kyle, the change is a breath of fresh air.
- But all change isn’t good. Though having Barbara abandon Gordon made sense, having her reconnect with Montoya paints both women in a bad light. Yes, Barbara’s fears of the city are understandable but going to someone who once believed Jim Gordon was the bad guy and yet is now working with him again goes beyond selfish and a mistake. It’s a conscious act that will devastate Gordon once he finds out…and find out he shall. After all, secrets have a way of coming out at precisely the wrong time.