After a month-long hiatus, ‘Gotham’ has returned to the fold and we’re immediately given perspective into how far Detective Jim Gordon has fallen for his defiance of the powers that be in an effort to clean up his fair city.

Gordon meets the lovely Leslie Thompkins

Demoted to the most infamous of asylums (Arkham for the uninitiated), Gordon’s having the time of his life watching the inmates perform Shakespeare. Well, not really. He’s bored out of his skull and a little pissed, especially after Doctor/Director Lang tries throwing his weight around (he knows the Mayor, you know) when an assault occurs during the inmates play. “Any more incidents,” he tells Gordon, “and I’ll have you placed on the remedial duty roster.” Gordon takes it as well as one could and ends up meeting Leslie Thompkins, doctor of Arkham. When Gordon takes Jones, AKA Frogman to her after finding him comatose in his cell, she identifies electrode burns on his head, which has fried his brainpan. Lang continues pushing Gordon but refuses the former detective request to bring in the GCPD. No, it’s Gordon’ who has to find the killer, so he begins his investigation by questioning the inmate population, which includes Gruber, a shady but seemingly intelligent individual and Aaron, a guy who has no concept of lying but thought it was a good idea to hack his family into pieces with an act. While those two stand out, he questions a bizarre menagerie of few characters and his frustration at the impediments to his inquiries is visible.

Outside of Arkham, the city continues to move forward without Gordon there. Selina still roams the streets and ends up taking a sickly Ivy to Jim and Barbara’s, which is now empty since Barbara’s shacking up with her former ex and Major Crimes detective Renee Montoya. From the looks of it, she’s putting on a brave face but with Jim out of her life and adding the trauma of her run-in with Zsasz and Falcone, Barbara is falling apart. It doesn’t help when Montoya rejects her, for both of their health and sanity and, to top it all off, she puts a call into Gordon and little girl Ivy answers, playing at being an alluring woman. The fact that she can’t tell the difference between a young girl and a woman shows how far she’s truly fallen with the drinking and drugs.

Insofar as illegal activities go, Fish is taking the temperature of two more of Falcone’s lieutenants to see where they are in respects to the “hypothetical” event of Falcone’s demise. The elder of the two is Saviano, the rightful ‘heir apparent’ should Don Falcone meet his maker. He’s not too keen on Fish’s suggestion that she’d be fresh blood to take over things. Butch offers to talk to Saviano for her, using their childhood relationship as an in. Fish is iffy on Butch’s loyalty, a worry somewhat verified when he tells Saviano he may be convinced to take Fish out. But, more than anything it’s a ruse and, after “thinking it over,” he meets with his childhood buddy and puts a bullet in his skull, reaffirming his loyalty to Fish.

Speaking of loyalty, Penguin receives a wakeup call when, after trying to strong arm the fishermen, he lands himself in jail. When Maroni finally comes to see him, the Don admits to using it as a lesson for the upstart Cobblepot. “You’re a smart monkey,” Maroni tells him, “but you’re still a monkey. And I’m the zookeeper.” The ominous tone of Maroni’s words is nothing compared to the poisonous rage written on Penguin’s face, one harboring promises of a deadly payback. But not just yet…

The newest adversary for Gordon, one Jack Gruber

Back to Arkham, Thompkins and Gordon evaluate the second victim who, while not brain dead, can only spout lines from the Shakespeare play. It clues Gordon in on this all being some sort of misdirection and maybe re-evaluating the staff instead of the inmates is the way to go. He ends up calling in Harvey Bullock, his partner, to get Lang out of the way long enough for him to do a real investigation. While Bullock is questioning the good doctor, Gordon discovers Arkham’s sub-basement level, one that has been closed for a decade due to a chemical spill. Weird nurse lady Dorothy escorts him down but something about her trips Gordon’s detective radar and it’s verified through Bullock’s conversation with Lang. Dorothy’s not a nurse but a patient who had immersed herself within the bowels of the asylum when it shut down. She’s able to get away from Gordon and sets about releasing all the prisoners, though she gets trampled to death for her troubles. Thankfully, Gordon’s able to rescue Thompkins before she meets a grisly fate at the hands of the released populace.

For a few moments, it’s back to the old times as Gordon, Bullock and Captain Essen talk about inmate Dorothy and her life at the asylum. Their celebratory drink is interrupted when the ME brings the report on Dorothy’s body; she too carried the scars of the electrode burns, which means someone else has been pulling the strings all along. Gordon rushes back to Arkham and arrives moments before Doctor/Director Lang kicks the bucket, a victim of Gruber and his best work yet, Aaron. Gruber says his goodbyes to Jim Gordon, positive the two of them will be meeting again.

Back to the Grind

  • They don’t waste much time throwing Gordon into the thick of action and reminds us viewers the cast of characters inhabiting the halls of Arkham. I’m not DC encyclopedia but odds are we’ll be seeing quite the roll call of “scum and villainy” during Gordon’s stint at the asylum.
  • Interestingly enough, this was the first episode where Bruce Wayne is neither shown nor explicitly mentioned. It was a welcome reprieve because, despite how much Young Master Bruce has grown on me, there are quite a few things out there to explode besides his slow rise towards donning the mantle of Dark Knight.
  • Welcome to ‘Gotham,’ Leslie Thompkins. I’ve always been a fan of Morena Baccarin. From ‘Firefly,’ to ‘V,’ then ‘Homeland’ (to name a few), she’s always carried a grace and strength under her soft-spoken ways. As the good doctor, one has to wonder if she’s a distraction for Gordon during his estrangement from Barbara or will there be a bit more there?
  • Doctor/Director Lang, we hardly knew ya…and never liked you. But one thing we do want to know are these massive secrets you hinted at keeping. Sooner or later, those secrets will most likely be revealed sometime soon…