When last we saw our intrepid city Gordon was put in a bind, Bruce doesn't want to whine, and Cobblepot came out not so fine.
The bulk of this story follows the tracking of child traffickers, so let's start with the secondary story. The Tale of the Lost Little Bird.
Following his near death experience, Cobblepot is limping out of Gotham. He is struggling and looking for a ride. But what will he do?
|Walking back to the South Pole joke.|
His luck has a little turnaround when an nice new truck stops. It has a pair of young affluent men in it who take the opportunity to jerk Cobblepot around before actually giving him a ride, and a beer. (Guess they aren't all bad.)
For what happens next, you can watch below.
Cobblepot tries to sound optimistic, and the bros are very gregarious. Then one comments on Cobblepot walking like a penguin. (The injury that Mooney gave him has given him quite a limp. He'll carry that for the rest of his life, maybe even need something to help him walk.) He pauses for a moment, then breaks the beer bottle, and sticks it in the man's neck. Then he jumps the driver.
|Oh, yeah. A farm. Cobblepot will blend in there just fine.|
Later, Cobblepot has incapacitated the driver, and tied him up. He continues out of Gotham and rents a trailer on a farm to lie low in. He slides back into his more docile self to seem unassuming as he rents the spot from the farmer.
I like how in all these scenes Gotham always hovers in the background. Cobblepot cannot never escape Gotham City.
A while later we learn that Cobblepot has kept the driver alive for a reason. Ransom. He's hoping this preppy guy's family will pay him a nice sum for his safe return. But, his mom doesn't believe it. She thinks that her son is running a con...
|Well I guess it's lesson learned on the topic of picking up hitchhikers.|
It's not Cobblepot's day. But Cobblepot won't be deterred. We last see him walking towards the kid menacingly.
During the episode we also see that Cobblepot has made himself a collage on the trailers ceiling. Maybe it's a dream board...I can't believe those things are a thing.
|Penguin's What I Did For Vacation projects always ended up looking interesting.|
Rather, Cobblepot is mapping out Gotham, and where everything lies. It shows how he sees everything connecting. (It also gives a taste of Cobblepot's psyche, and attitudes towards people.)
The Waynes, cops, and city hall.
City hall and the Falcone Crime Family.
He still dreams of sitting atop the great hill of Gotham power. And he thinks he can see a way to get there. It would no doubt be a very bloody hill.
Of course Cobblepot's kidnappee is not the only child drawing concern. Oswald Cobblepot's absence is also noted. His mother is asking questions.
|...Is she secretly a ghost?|
Played by the enjoyable Carol Kane, she adds new depth to Cobblepot. She is clearly a woman that had to learn English later in life. Even her name is an Eastern European variation of Cobblepot, suggesting that Oswald actually changed his name to try and fit in (and hide his origins).
She has a sense around her as if she's a bit faded, like her apartment. She has antiques around her that make her feel out of time. She lives in her own private world, and is unaware of what her son truly is.
As far as she is concerned some horrible woman has tricked and stolen her son away to do him harm. She gets called on by Major Crimes, and gets to talk to Montoya and Allen.
|This looks like the type of old ladies that has bodies of her gentlemen callers |
buried in the basement.
The pair quickly know that Cobblepot must have been killed for talking to them. And Montoya is already lining up her favorite suspect.
As they look into the little lost lamb, Oswald Cobblepot, Mooney is also being feeling some loss to.
|"Am I stoic enough? I'm afraid I'm not stoic enough."|
Mooney gets a visit from the boss, Falcone. He acts friendly at first, but slowly turns to the fact that Cobblepot spilled everything she'd said about Falcone. He isn't pleased, but she pleads that Cobblepot was just lying. She plays the role of the wronged daughter for Falcone.
|"Come on. We're in the mob. I would never turn on you and take power. |
Falcone pretends to take her at her word. He brings up Maroni, and ponders if he had any part in the trouble.
He then asks her about the young man working for her that she is fond of. She protests and says she just has a man that she uses for fun. Falcone pretends again to believe her. He then has the young man dragged into an open area and severely beaten. Mooney just works to keep a smile up and pretends to not care.
|"I'll kill you." "Not if I kill you first."|
Falcone finally gets up and leaves. Once he's gone, Mooney can finally let out her rage. Her hunger to destroy Falcone has only grown.
|...Sorry. I'm just scared right now.|
This partly explains why she embraces Gordon and Bollock again later. Partly, it's good business. But it's also nice to try and have some possible support when she moves against Falcone.
In our main story this week, the urchins of Gotham are under threat.
Across the city, it seems kids are disappearing off the street. But they are homeless, so they don't get to count. Isn't that sadly the way society trains itself. Sometimes they are invisible to us. Sometimes we treat them like animals to be corralled and moved out of sight.
|Barrels of fire. Bless TV.|
And I noticed here the Trident Shipping pops up again. It made an appearance in the background in the pilot as well. Even with my knowledge of Batman history, I am drawing a blank on it. You can try and draw parallels to the likes of Aquaman, or people who use pitchfork weapons, but that seems an undue reach. The best I've seen related to that name is a reference in the Arkham video games to a Trident Labs. I think that's a stretch to. So I have to guess this exists as a show created company that they can play with. Maybe it'll end up having even more significance later in the season.
The street denizens have a community of there own, they congregate and share some with each other. Among them is Selina Kyle (Her friends call her Kat. For some reason I can't imagine it's Cat. Maybe it's too on the nose for my imagination.). She's with a group of street kids when a truck pulls up.
|Weird? Isn't this what everyone in Minnesota is like?|
Patti and Doug.
|"Why does everyone run when I ask them if they want a look inside my|
They say they are from the Mayor's Office, there to share food with the homeless. They offer sandwiches, cookies, and chocolate. The kids all seem eager.
|"Really, guys? Free food, at midnight, in Gotham City? Really?"|
But Selina has her reservations, and stays well back.
It proves a sound idea. As the kids grab food and eat, Patty takes out a needle, doses it, and starts sticking the kids. They all start dropping. (And Selina vanishes.)
|Damn. I hate when I find I left a pin in one of my shirts.|
One kid runs, even dosed. He makes it down a block before he's grabbed. In the struggle he ends up being sent through a window. So they leave him, and take the kids they've knocked out.
|"Why do are parties always end like this?"|
An old homeless man tries to interfere and Doug quickly shoots and kills him.
The pair, Patti and Doug, are an odd set. They enter the pantheon of curious criminal duos.
|"Should I kill this guy? What do you, the viewers at home, think?"|
I would have thought that everything in that first scene was play acting. The manners, clothes, etc. But it is either who they are, or they stick to a bit until the bitter end, while they're on the job.
And I do actually like them. Having these smiling polite sociopaths cheerfully and politely abducting kids and killing people feels very much of Gotham City to me. It's what Gotham draws in.
Of course they make mention of The Dollmaker. That is a name that is not unknown to the DC Comic's universe. Granted, I was blanking on him. But there are a lot of doll related villains out there.
There have been multiple uses of the name. One had a father who was a cannibal, who Commissioner Gordon killed in the line of duty (So he had a grudge.). Sometimes they have an interest in mind control. So you can try and imagine possible uses for kids in experiments.
You could imagine that maybe these two were psychologically altered to meet The Dollmaker's needs. (But that would seem more likely in a different.) I prefer to think they are a duo of weirdos that met and became a team.
While Selina disappears for awhile, the murder does bring Gordon into the story. He's not happy that the officer that found the body is gone. Apparently their was a broken window down the street (where the kid went crashing through) at a nice restaurant. And they offered to pay him to help watch it for them. In a lot of cities some police do take side jobs. But I hope you have to be in Gotham to see one abandon a dead body for a cash offer.
Gordon intuits that since they happen around the same time, the murder and the kid crashing through the window are related. So they go and talk to the kid, Mack, who has now recovered from whatever he got dosed with the night before.
|"You heard me! ...What's Raven like in real life?"|
Gordon wants to learn what he saw. Bullock just wants to throw the kid around.
Bullock is being lazy. He'd like the kid to just say he's the murderer, who then stumbled through a window. Then Bullock could go home.
He justifies roughing the kid up by saying that he's tall and well built, so the kid could take it. Partly this is meant to show how eschewed his view of homeless kids is. But there is an actual social bias against black boys in this country. People generally look at them and treat them like they are adults. Which leads to them getting far less sympathy, understanding, or consideration from the legal system. (And in day-to-day life they are prejudged.)
But I think Bullock is just supposed to be a lazy cop. Minutes later he walks away and clocks out for the day, in a huff. (He also punches another detective before he leaves.)
The trouble is, the police force think it's fine for Bullock to smack a teen boy around. It's as Captain Essen asks Gordon, "I thought you were with The Program?" This is how the GCPD works?
|"Gordon. You are going to be the death of me."|
They need leads to try and figure out what happened to the kids, and someone finally gives them one. Eddie Nygma is back.
|"Here's one you can all solve. Who has two thumbs and the answers you|
He reveals, in his normal slow cryptic way that the kid was drugged. It was not a recreational drug, but a rarely used drug for dosing aggressive psychiatric patients. It was last used at the Arkham Asylum.
This is also our first reference to Arkham Asylum in the show. It does exist. But it's been shut down for several years at this point. It isn't clear why. Maybe it lost funding. Maybe it had severe infrastructure issues. Maybe something horrific happen to some patients.
We will also learn that Thomas Wayne was interested in reopening the facility before he died. And there are some powerful people that are also interested in that land. I wonder if, more than a plot point for other stories, if this will tie into the Wayne Murder case?
So the drug that was used, ATP, is not widely available. In fact, it's restricted. A handful of companies have the ability to make it in Gotham. So one of them is likely in league with the kidnappers.
Seeing Gordon and Bullock coming, Patty tries to blend in, and Doug holds a gun on the owner of Pharma so he'll play ignorant.
But it isn't long until Patty hits the lights, and we have a gunfight in the dark. The malicious duo escape, without the kids.
|I trust we all realize that Bullock isn't really concerned about who he hits, |
Back at Police HQ, the mayor is eager to make an appearance. Kids rescued. Bad guys thwarted. It's a good press day in town.
|"And I want to assure the people of Gotham that I would have been far more|
concerned for these kids if they had been bribing me in the way all of you
So he applauds the cops. Then he turns and uses the fact the kidnappers are still out there to justify a mass roundup of all the street kids by force. Everyone has to be taken off the streets and put into "loving homes". And if not that, send them out of town to a facility upstate that is dreadful.
|"Is going back to the kidnappers still an option?"|
And sadly, that is how a lot of cities look at homelessness. Sweep it away. Social and economic issues alone will refresh the numbers before long. Then you have some cities, that keep such poverty criminalized. It's not a good answer.
|I see the War on After School Specials is still ongoing.|
So the police go out in force through Gotham and grab/arrest every street kid. This does end up including Selina.
|And this is why you don't tear the tag off of your mattress.|
They have a moment where you have police dogs barking at the kids, and Selina reacts. I imagine that's there for the pathos of how harshly the kids are being treated. But if you have the future Catwoman reacting hostilely to a dog, how can you not see a small joke?
Selina is back in the system. From the way she talks, this isn't the first time she's been taken in. She seems to have a record. She also knows how this all works.
She is defiant. But she also seems to have the capacity, at times, to look out for others.
But I find it interesting that she tries to get word to Gordon when they try and put her on a bus to go upstate to kid prison. I guess she decided to hold on to whatever she saw the night of the Wayne Murders until she got in trouble. A little Get Out Of Juvie card.
But no one is interested in what she has to say at the bus. They just want the many buses of kids their to get filled up and sent out. How many kids were they actually planning to put with families? Or were they just going to send them all upstate and work that logistics out...later? Thought sounds like a Gotham bureaucrats plan.
But Selina's trouble aren't lessening yet. Up onto the bus pops Patty, who Selina instantly recognizes. Selina tries to run, but Patty has a gun.
|"We got some good news and some bad news..."|
And now the kidnappers have a whole bus of kids. Good job, Gotham City! Though I love the mayor's reaction when he realizes what's happen. He slips into one of Richard Kind's classic schlub characters. "You're killing me here!" In the end that is who the mayor is. A weak man held in power by more powerful people.
|Sadly, this is about what "Upstate" looks like as well.|
When they get to the drop off point, Patty, Doug, and their henchman unload the kids into a cargo container at Trident Shipping's facility. But their head count is off. Selina goes into sneak mode, and evades Patty.
|"Okay.Why didn't I do this when the police came to grab us?"|
|Poor guy. He hiccuped and burped at the same time.|
As the villains begin a search for her, Patty kills the blinded guard, and joins in. Selina slips up and gets spotted by Patty, but Gordon arrives in time to clock her on the head. (Gordon figured out the origin of the trucks that Patty and Doug had originally been using.)
And the kids are free...to go upstate still...Crap.
Selina though takes the chance at the police station to play her card. She gets Gordon and let's him know that she knows that he knows the Wayne killer is still free. She knows this because she saw the actual killer that night.
|"Are we friends, or enemies?" "Hah! You're going to spend the rest of your |
life trying to figure that one out."
And one more lost child. Bruce Wayne. Okay. He's not literally lost. But to Alfred he seems gone. Alfred's struggling still. He can't cope fully. Bruce is lashing out at himself.
He's burned his hand, and says he's just testing himself. But, is he really testing himself? Or is that just the justification for self harm? Is he rationalizing it?
Bruce is still trying to cope. He's turning to loud rock music (Let's just all agree I can't classify music. Heavy Metal. Death Metal. eh). He's scribbling creepy drawing, and dark eyes in the night that haunt him.
Alfred turns to Gordon as someone that Bruce has some respect for. He hopes Gordon can get through to Bruce, to open up about what he's going through.
Alfred explains that Thomas Wayne left explicit instructions for raising Bruce if he and his wife died (I wonder what Martha thought of this?). Bruce was to be allowed control of his life. He could decide if he wanted counseling. He could pick his own future. He should be trusted to seek his own way in the world.
Not sure I'm crazy about that idea. It makes you wonder about Thomas Wayne. But another thing. Thomas Wayne left these instructions with Alfred when? I wonder if it was more recently, that he had some concern for he and his wife's safety? We'll see, I guess.
|"I have gathered you all here to reveal the murderer...This might not be the|
room for that joke."
Bruce isn't up for being lectured. He also sneaks in the room behind Alfred. Some viewers are taking this as Batman-like behavior. But what kid doesn't like sneaking around behind grown ups? Especially when those grown ups are talking about you? I think Alfred issue is that popping up unannounced is just rude, and startling (particularly when you are as stressed as Alfred is). Bruce is being creepy.
Gordon isn't having any luck with Bruce, who's deflecting points.
But when Bruce considers the recovered kids in the news, he wonders about how he could help them. He suggests giving them money. But as wards of the state, it won't actually help them. They need families. So Bruce thinks about it and suggests that he can donate clothes to them.
|"Heh!Yeah. I'll be the World's Greatest...Philanthropist.|
That's the ticket."
|"What dweeb sent us these clothes?"|
Quickly the kids have new clothes, except Selina who already knows how to dress.
It is a nice moment in Bruce's growth. Looking beyond his pain to the needs of others. Sadly, one under appreciated aspect of Bruce Wayne is that beyond being a vigilante, he's a philanthropist. He works to help the poor and homeless as much as he can. He tries to employ, educate, and support the people of Gotham. He gives ex-cons jobs. He tries to see Arkham villains get rehab.
This is the part of the future Bruce Wayne we can see emerging slowly now.
The only questions left for now are, will we ever hear about, or see, the Dollmaker again? And, can Cobblepot make some money off his little scamp still?
NEXT TIME! Vigliantism! Balloons! Pig masks! And Oswald's Big Day Out!
Same Not Bat Time. Same Not Bat Channel!
This proves to be another episode that I enjoyed. The flavor of Gotham City still works for me. Police failings. Brewing mob war. Penguins plotting. Selina has a scheme of her own. And Gordon's stuck in the middle of the mess.
Patti and Doug make interesting and fun opponents. They are bit cartoony, but not Joel Schumacher cartoony. They are clearly disturbed people, but clearly functioning. They have a sincere sense of menace and competence to them.
That is more than I can say for the mayor who really seems to function on praise and campaign donation. He's so weak that he looks ripe for a fall. Or to be coerced.
The one issue that there could be is with how they are using Barbara Kean, Renee Montoya, and Crispus Allen. For the moment they seem to be filling a certain limited function. And repeating it.
That's not very satisfying. But this is just the second episode, and they have other aspects of the world of Gotham that they are focused on. They are still unpacking this dense world. I imagine they will be getting more focus as the season progresses.
As it was, Kean was allowed to directly influence things this episode. calling the Gotham Gazette to provoke a story on the Kidnappings, which helped Gordon. But she's still stuck in that apartment!
And I want to return to Bruce Wayne for a thought. Some people seem to be thinking that there is no plan for this show. So having Bruce develop certain interests and attitudes now mean he's heading to a dead end, or a 'lil cape and cowl. The show creator, Bruno Heller, has said that they were going to use Bruce far less at first, but began developing some interesting ideas that they want to play out over time. They seem to have some plan, at least for the first season.
Now, this wouldn't be the first show to claim a plan, than prove to not have one. But I see no reason to preemptively poo poo the shows direction, particularly before I know what it actually is.
I am perfectly happy to see what will happen. If I end up disappointed in the season, we'll deal with it then.
Of course, so far, we can say this show is looking very different than the other new DC Comics series, The Flash. And I am glad they both have their own feel.
We also have a season trailer out.
It looks like Arkham will be a major season long issue. Will see how it twists and turns into the various plots going on. I assume we aren't going the Arkham City game route. This looks mostly like a case of real estate being used to assert power over Gotham City.
Also looks like Victor Zsasz is coming to town. Seeing how many kill tallies he has on his body in the Batman era, he no doubt was around for quite awhile. It will be interesting to see how he is utilized here.
I am still optimistic for the show. But they need to be sure some characters don't get stuck in repetitive ruts.