In this episode of Gotham, “Rise of the Villains: Tonight’s the Night,” Theo uses Barbara to distract Gordon, Bruce is faced with a moral dilemma and Nygma’s body count rises.
Now that Gordon is on to Theo, thanks to Penguin, he’s ready to go after the newly-elected mayor. Gordon shares what he knows with Captain Barnes, who requires more substantial proof than the testimony of two criminals (Penguin and Butch) who also both happen to be at large. Barnes demands that Gordon does some good old-fashioned police work and come up with actual evidence that Theo has been a bad, bad boy.
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Barbara Sets a Trap
Theo, knowing that Gordon is on to him, has decided to pull Barbara off the bench and put her in the game. She strolls right into the precinct and says she will only speak to Gordon, Of all the villains Gotham has been throwing at viewers this season, Barbara remains the most intriguing and complex.
The former couple faces off in an interrogation room, and the two engage in some emotional cat and mouse. She’s antagonistic, but Gordon is compassionate and understanding. Barbara begins to cry and Gordon kisses her. He wants her to confide in him, but she has something he needs to see first.
Lee, Bullock and Barnes may not agree on Barbara’s motives, but they all think Jim playing into her hands is a big mistake. Gordon isn’t dumb enough to think he’s got her completely wrapped around his finger, but his Boy Scout tendencies do have him believing he can convince her to rat out Theo or at least give him a workable lead.
Barnes agrees to let Gordon do things his way, but he’s sending in backup. Barnes believes that Gordon is too personally invested to think clearly, but Bullock reassures the captain that there’s no danger of him getting sucked into Barbara’s mind games, and he’s got his partner’s back. The Strike Force will also be within shouting distance, and Barnes makes it known that if this little field trip starts to even remotely go south, he’s pulling the plug.
Theo Makes Bruce an Offer
While Jim is focusing his attention on Barbara, Theo continues to manipulate Bruce. He asks to see the young billionaire. Theo asks Bruce if he could have one dream come true, what would it be? Bruce responds, to find the man who murdered his parents and then kill him.
Theo says his dream is to clean up Gotham, to rid the city of all corruption, crime and poverty, but he needs help — in particular, Bruce’s help. Bruce readily agrees, and Theo tells Bruce that in return, perhaps he can help Bruce realize his dream.
Theo acknowledges that the Wayne family helped build Gotham, but the legacy is built on lies. Theo informs Bruce that Wayne Enterprises has been responsible for a slew of illegal activities ranging from toxic waste dumps to nightmarish experiments.
Bruce promises to look into Theo’s allegations and stop whoever is responsible. Theo points out how naive Bruce is to think he can take on a board of directors whose members are willing to kill to protect the company’s secrets. Bruce senses that Theo has a plan and urges him to spill. Theo wants Bruce to sell him his share of the company, all 51%. Bruce will be rolling in cash, and Theo can take control and do what needs to be done.
Bruce isn’t ready to part with Wayne Enterprises. Not only does he feel a sense of personal responsibility, but it’s all he has left of his parents.
Obviously, Theo knew it was going to take more than money to worm his way into little Brucie’s company, so he offers a signing gift. Theo will give Bruce an envelope containing the name of the man who killed his parents along with documentation, accomplices, motives, etc. For good measure, Theo plays the dead dad card, telling Bruce that this is what his father would want. Theo gets to fix the company, preserve the Wayne legacy and give Bruce closure. He gives Bruce until the end of the day to decide.
Gordon and Bullock are Ambushed
Gordon and Bullock are heading into the unknown, with Barbara calling the shots from the back seat. The whole thing has a very Seven-ish feel to it. Gordon tells Barbara that he knows it’s a trap and that Theo Galavan is behind the whole thing. He also warns Barbara that Theo is using her, and when she’s served her purpose, Theo will kill her. Barbara isn’t rattled, and Bullock, convinced that Gordon is chasing his own tail, suggests they turn back. Gordon isn’t ready to give up quite so easily.
Barnes loses patience and, convinced his top cops are being led into an ambush, orders them to turn around. Gordon and Bullock refuse and Gordon makes a final plea to Barbara. But all Barbara wants to talk about is the demise of their relationship. But even though he screwed her over, Barbara still loves Jim, and she believes he loves her too.
All of a sudden, the car gets sideswiped by a truck and men in masks pop up with machine guns.
Gordon comes to and Bullock is out cold. I’m guessing the elite Strike Force got their asses handed to them or turned around because they are nowhere to be found.
Gordon spots Barbara from his passenger window and pulls his gun, but she’s a bright girl; she knows he won’t shoot. Tabitha injects him in the neck with something guaranteed to make him go nighty night.
Back at the precinct, Barnes is rallying the troops. He is determined to find Gordon. Bullock is patched up and not looking too much worse for the wear. He may have survived the car crash, but his job security looks to be DOA. Barnes orders Bullock out of the building, an order Bullock obviously ignores.
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A Walk in the Woods
In a secluded forest outside the city, Nygma is disposing of Miss Kringle’s body. He’s manged to cram her into a steamer trunk and has even brought along a picnic. He credits her for bringing his two warring halves together as one.
A hunter stumbles across the scene, and Nygma kills the guy with a shovel to the head. After going back to his car to retrieve a hand saw, Nygma returns to find his sandwich eaten and a trail of blood leading away from his little horror show and further into the woods.
A Father’s Legacy
Alfred finds Bruce in his dad’s former lair. Bruce wants to know how long he’ll have to train to be bad-ass enough to take down his enemies. Alfred can’t give him an exact number, but it’s going to be a while. Bruce wonders how many innocent people will suffer in the meantime.
Alfred questions where Bruce’s newfound moroseness is coming from, and Bruce tells him about his conversation with Theo. Theo may have thought he had his bases covered, but he forgot about Alfred.
After Bruce reveals that, he says he believes it is his moral duty to sell the company to Theo. If Theo wipe out the corruption that led to his parents’ death, Bruce is honoring his father’s legacy. Alfred points out that the company isn’t Thomas and Martha’s legacy; Bruce is.
The true struggle Bruce is facing is that he wants to put it all behind him. Becoming a superhero to avenge your parents’ deaths is an arduous task, to be sure.
Here Comes the Bride
Gordon comes to, tied to a chair in a church. Barbara is parading around in a wedding gown, and she’s bound and gagged a priest and a few witnesses. She tells Gordon that his hubris was his downfall. He knew it was a trap but figured he would prevail or die trying.
Not content to just torture her ex, Tabitha wheels in Lee. Let the games begin. Barbara accuses Gordon of being like an addict; he can dabble in the darkness as long as nobody sees the needle marks.
Barbara wants to drive a wedge between the lovers, telling Lee that she’s in love with a “cruel, cold, death-obsessed sadist.” Lee insists her love for Gordon is unconditional, and Barbara’s competitive streak comes out. Barbara insists that she loves Gordon more and she’s going to prove it by carving up Lee’s face.
Gordon manages to free himself and get his hands on the gun Barbara abandoned in favor of a blade. He threatens to kill her, and she practically begs him to do it, but the GCPD shows up and Barbara takes off.
There’s a big shoot-out between the cops and some of Theo’s masked thugs and Tabitha. Gordon manages to shoot Tabitha in the shoulder before she flees the scene.
Gordon follows Barbara into the highest point of the cathedral. She comes at him with a knife, they struggle and then they crash through a window. The only thing preventing Barbara from falling to her death is Gordon, who has a hold on one of her hands. He tells her to hold on, but after declaring her love for him, she lets go.
If Barbara was actually dead, I would be pissed, but bushes break her fall. Barbara may be gone, but she’ll be back. And it looks like she succeeded in screwing things up between Lee and Gordon, so it’s not a total loss.
Theo Gets Arrested
In the midst of her umpteenth psychotic break, Barbara did manage to tell Gordon that Mayor James is alive and well, and being held at a warehouse down at the docks.
Bruce decides not to sell and backs out just as Gordon, Bullock and Barnes bust into Theo’s apartment. They found the mayor, and Gordon finally has a credible witness to use against Theo. Theo is put under arrest, and Bruce is no closer to finding out who killed his parents because Theo threw the envelope into the toasty little fire burning in his fireplace.
As the episode comes to an end, Nygma follows the trail of blood to a small trailer. The Penguin emerges because a good villain may be down, but he/she is never out.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)