In this episode of Gotham, “Rise of the Villains: Strike Force,” a new police captain shakes things up, Penguin finds himself under Theo’s thumb, a new girl catches Bruce’s eye and Gordon’s past begins catching up with him.
Oswald decides he’s let his underlings have too much freedom and wants to rule with more of an iron hand. The Maniax gave criminals a bad name in Gotham and it’s time for some damage control. Oswald lays down the law. There is to be no killing or kidnapping or stealing without his consent first.
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Even Criminals Need Rules
Things in Gotham are even more chaotic than usual in the wake of Jerome’s high-profile misdeeds. Oswald has found that Jerome’s short-lived reign of terror has been bad for business. He gathers together the city’s criminal element, in an effort to find out who orchestrated the Arkham breakout, but Theo has covered his tracks well.
Hanging back in the shadows is the sultry Tabitha, who approaches Oswald once he’s dismissed all of his minions. She lets him know that her brother, Theo, would like to meet with Oswald, alone.
A New Sheriff in Town
On a good day, the GCPD is a mess, so without a leader, Jim is trying to keep his fellow officers in line. Enter Nathanial Barnes (Michael Chiklis). He’s the new captain. Barnes is in the mood for kicking ass and chewing gum, and he’s all out of Bubble Yum. He immediately fires a handful of the force’s more unsavory officers. Barnes makes it clear there will be no more corruption, and any officer who doesn’t follow the straight and narrow will not only lose their job but face criminal charges as well. No more turning a blind eye to crime. No more infighting and no more apathy.
It’s love at first sight for Gordon, who Barnes makes his second in command. Gordon warns Barnes that fixing the department may be a far tougher task than he realizes, but the new captain, a former marine, seems undeterred.
Theo Threatens Mr. Penguin
Oswald meets with Theo. He suspects that Theo isn’t the upstanding citizen he appears to be, and his suspicions are confirmed when Barbara, who is now apparently enjoying intimate relationships with both brother and sister, sashays into the room. Oswald realizes that Theo is the mastermind behind the Arkham escape and the Maniax.
Theo lets Oswald in on his plans for Gotham. He thinks the city is a shit hole and he wants to rebuild. With the mayor “missing,” and the deputy mayor recently deceased, Theo plans to run for public office. If he wins, he will yield the power to make his vision of a new Gotham a reality.
But Theo has a problem. He needs someone to eliminate his competition. Enter Mr. Penguin. Theo wants Oswald to do his dirty work for him. Now, Penguin has shown sycophantic tendencies in the past, but he’s the self-declared “King of Gotham” now, so he’s not eager to assist Theo.
When it becomes obvious the Penguin will need some persuading, Tabitha reveals that she and her brother are holding Penguin’s mother, Gertrude, hostage, and we all know how much Penguin loves his mother. Theo tells Penguin to kill the other candidates or his mother dies.
Barnes has high expectations for Gordon, but he realizes Gordon can’t clean up the streets of Gotham all by his lonesome. The two pay a visit to the police academy, where they hand pick some very promising recruits. Barnes’ logic is that he and Gordon will get young cops who haven’t been corrupted, so they choose four hot shots — Garrett, Josie, Martinez and Pinkney — who are now members of a new GCPD strike force known as Unit Alpha. They answer only to Gordon, who in turn only answers to Barnes.
Theo Throws His Hat in the Ring
Theo receives a Medal of Valor for his bravery at the benefit. A car drives by with a man in a ski mask, Butch, who opens fire on the small crowd gathered to watch Theo receive his accolades. Nobody gets hurt, and Theo uses the faux assassination attempt, courtesy of Penguin, to announce his candidacy for mayor. After all, if the bad guys don’t want Theo to run, what other choice does he have but refuse to allow himself to be intimidated by the city’s criminal element?
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Alfred Puts the Cat Out
While there may have been a time when Alfred found Selina to be a “breath of fresh air,” those days are gone. As Alfred waits outside Bruce’s school, he catches Selina doing the same. She approaches the butler with her usual bravado, and he pops her in the chops. Alfred says he knows Selina killed Reggie and warns her to stay away from Bruce.
With her lip trembling, Selina shows a brief moment of vulnerability, but she quickly recovers and scampers off.
Kissing Miss Kringle
Edward Nygma continues to fight to squash the dark half of his psyche, but along with being psychotic, Nygma’s other self is confident and somewhat charismatic. So when naughty Nygma speaks, we all listen. And it is Edward’s dark twin that sparks within him the confidence to finally ask out Miss Kringle and, intrigued, she agrees.
She shows up at Nygma’s apartment for dinner, and things go well at first. Kringle apologizes for being mean to Nygma and for accusing him of forging the note from her ex-boyfriend’s goodbye note. Kringle admits what a jerk the guy was, and Nygma replies that he’s glad the man’s dead. Oops. Nygma tries to cover his tracks by saying he didn’t mean it literally, just that Kringle’s boyfriend was dead to her.
It looks like Nygma is busted. The vibe gets weird, and Kringle excuses herself to go to the restroom. While she’s gone, Nygma’s dark half takes him to task, and he begins a dialogue with himself. Kringle catches Nygma talking to himself, and he admits to her that he has a voice inside his head, a stronger version, that keeps him in line. While most women may take this as a big warning sign, we know Kringle has terrible taste. She seems to find Nygma’s admission endearing, and the two kiss.
Stuck Between a Rock and a Penguin
Penguin is proving to be the asset Theo thought he would be. Not only did Penguin successfully stage the attempt on Theo’s life, but he murdered one of the other candidates, Ms. Caulfield.
Bullock and Jim are called to the murder scene. Butch may have worn a mask, but Penguin didn’t go to any great lengths to disguise himself, and there’s that pesky walk that is his obvious tell. After questioning Caulfield’s staff, it becomes obvious to Gordon and Bullock who the murderer is. This presents a problem for Jimbo, since Penguin’s got some dirt on him, information that would definitely upset the new police captain.
Silver St. Cloud
Bruce and Theo meet, each with an agenda. Bruce’s is pure: he simply wants to thank the man who he believes saved his life. Theo plays the role of sheepish hero but then speaks to Bruce about the death of his parents. Theo is shocked at how little progress has been made in the investigation. As Theo goes on about the injustice of it all, Bruce spots a lovely blonde playing in a fountain outside the window. Theo picked the meeting spot, so you know she was placed in Bruce’s line of sight by design.
Theo sees that Bruce is distracted by the girl and tells the boy her name is Silver St. Cloud and she’s Theo’s ward. He asks Bruce if he’d like to meet Silver, and Bruce says yes. After two years abroad, Silver will be attending school with Bruce.
Gordon Confronts Penguin
Penguin contracts out the killing of the last mayoral candidate, Hobbs, to Victor Zsasz. The bald baddie strolls into Hobbs’ campaign headquarters and then goes all Terminator. Armed with two guns, he still misses Hobbs, who makes it out into an alley, where Zsasz is met by Gordon, his Unit Alpha and Bullock. Zsasz takes a bullet and is forced to retreat but not before he’s spotted by Gordon.
Gordon confronts Penguin, who is in no mood to be berated. Gordon can’t figure out why Penguin would be messing with the election when he has his own little kingdom to look over. Gordon also warns Penguin about Barnes and that there will be no more deals, no more favors. If Barnes finds out Penguin is behind these murders, he will feel the full weight of the GCPD coming down upon him.
That’s all fine and good, but Penguin reminds Gordon that not only did he shoot a man in cold blood, but Gordon asked Penguin to get rid of the old commissioner as well.
Gordon says he’ll face whatever is coming to him, and Penguin says he’ll do the same. We’ll see if they both mean it, since Barnes decides to make taking down the Penguin his new strike force’s number one priority.
Theo is poised to become the new mayor, Penguin wants his mommy, Gordon is in quite a predicament and Bruce has a love interest whose intentions are murky at best.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)