Hot on the heels of last week’s season best, the latest ‘Gotham’ tackles the fallout from Gotham PD’s complete abandonment of Gordon in his biggest hour of need. While he’s dealing with the emotional toll of the betrayal, there’s also some killer competition for a place in a financial firm led by a war-obsessed crackpot while, in the background, Bruce returns to school and Cobblepot and Fish Mooney continue their personal agendas to increase their power in Gotham’s underworld.

Gordon has quite a bit of anger and resentment going on inside him

The action begins with two men battling for a job that’s literally to die for, with one being the fortunate victor. Gordon and Bullock are called to the scene where the loser’s body is discovered, complete with a man’s thumb lodged in his mouth. On the other side of the fence, Cobblepot and Mooney are finalizing the terms of détente for their respective bosses when, after giving Fish a broach ‘borrowed’ from an unsuspecting pedestrian, Cobblepot is gifted with the sharp instrument through his hand. Fish reminds him how things change and, though in pain, Cobblepot doesn’t back down this go round.

Understanding his young master’s need to socialize, Alfred returns Bruce to school. Things go well until a older punk, Tommy, needles Bruce with questions about his parents’ murder. Tommy pokes and prods Bruce until the young boy loses it, smacking his adversary, though the action gets nothing but a chuckle from the older boy. Over on the other side of the parent department, Cobblepot also presents his mother with a broach and their off kilter discussion on the past sparks an idea in Oswald. Chiefly, everyone has a secret and he sets out to find out what Fish Mooney is holding onto for her personal secret.

After speaking with Coleman Lawson’s (the murder victim) mother, Gordon and Bullock visit a black market doctor who, after lying a bit, gives them the card to Sionis Enterprises. Gordon takes the good doctor in despite the sorta cooperation, garnering cross looks and open displeasure from his peers. “You have to go along to get along” Bullock reminds him but Gordon is not moved and leaves the doctor to stew in his cell. He returns home to find a drunk and frightened Barbara waving the gun at him, another casualty of their harrowing experience at the hands of Falcone and Zsasz. He promises to protect her but she doesn’t believe it, asking him to lie about there being no monsters in their world. He and Bullock pay a visit to Richard Sionis, finding an office full of bruised faces and a leader fascinated by the prospects of war, in the most literal sense. Though they get nothing from him, Gordon runs into the man with the missing thumb in the bathroom and haul him into the station. While Adams gives a statement and waits to sign it, Bullock briefs the Captain on Gordon’s current state (not good) and, before they’re able to secure Adams’s written confession, a Sionis lawyer shows and gets him out of dodge. Gordon and Essen commiserate about the state of the city with Gordon telling the captain that the murder of the Waynes fast-tracked Gotham to chaos. The Waynes represented something important—hope—and with their light extinguished, the city has fallen into darkness. It’s a darkness Gordon finds himself circle, a “demon” inside him, one looking for a fight. Following up on some leads, Gordon gets the fight he’s looking for when Sionis throws him into the Office Pool Thunderdome, where the man that kills him gets a job and a million dollar bonus.

Thanks to his mother’s cryptic words, Cobblepot decides to “speak” with Timothy, his replacement as Fish Mooney’s man, discovering that she has someone close to Falcone. He doesn’t quite yet know who it is but will find out sooner or later about Liza, whose starting to feel a bit dicey about her duplicity. She asks Fish to end things but the power hungry Mooney refuses, offering a story on the young Fish Mooney’s promise to herself never to let a man stand over her. It’s “a lie with a heart of truth” in it, so Fish tells an elderly woman who had earlier sung for her.

Bruce dispenses justice the way it should be. Swift and severe

The Sionis case solved, Gordon thanks Bullock for his work in rallying the force to help find him (despite not really needing the help). He addresses Bullock’s earlier assumption of his love for the fight. “It’s not that I love fighting,” he says, “but I’m not afraid to, either. And if we don’t fight for this city, who will?” He caps off their talk with a decree that, no matter what, Jim Gordon will stay true to himself and go after the mayor, Falcone, Maroni, and any dirty cop he finds. It’s a shot across the bow, one who Bullock can only answer with a “Go home, Jim”. But when he returns home, he’ll find Barbara gone, a note left in her wake.

To Thine Own Self

  • It’s a hard road, dealing with betrayal and Gordon is surrounded by it. Every officer, save Bullock and Essen, left the young detective in his hour of need. The anger generated by such abandonment has helped Gordon see even more clearly just how bad Gotham has become. He realizes that compromise with those who feed on the corruption will only make things worse. He needs to take a stand—for himself and those who deserve a Gotham envisioned by the Waynes.
  • At least Gordon has two allies on the force. The aforementioned Captain Essen and, more importantly, Harvey Bullock. We’ve seen the good cop Bullock was years ago, before the corruption of Gotham tarnished his golden boy outlook but standing up for Gordon to the entire GCPD hints to us that his convictions of a better city may not have been completely erased after all.
  • This is the second week in a row we’ve been reminded of Bruce’s youth. Too long he seemed more advanced than he should have but his distress at being teased about his parents’ death was heartfelt and framed him as a mature young boy but still a young boy. Admitting to his constant anger and enjoyment from punishing someone who needed it, though someone overt, still delivers a better glimpse into the psyche of the boy who will become the Dark Knight than any of his obsessive detective ambitions.
  • And how about a welcome home for everyone’s teen burglar, Cat. No telling what trouble she’s going to bring Gordon’s way now that she’s back in police custody.