In this episode of Gotham, “Rise of the Villains: A Bitter Pill to Swallow,” Tabitha seeks revenge on Gordon as Theo sits in jail, Nygma tries to get Penguin to get back in the game and Barnes reveals his dark past.

Theo Galavan may be in custody, but Gordon and Barnes still need to find evidence to corroborate Mayor James’ story. Funny, I would think finding the man tied up in a warehouse with his head shoved in a box and his testimony that Theo was responsible would be enough. But with Barbara in a coma, I guess it still comes down to James’ word against Theo’s.

FOX’s Mid-Season Schedule: Sleepy Hollow Moves to Fridays, Bones Missing >>>

Hired Help

Speaking of Theo, with her brother behind bars, it’s up to Tabitha to keep the home fires burning. She’s hired a hitman to take out Gordon. She’s a cracker-jack shot, but after being injured during the church shootout, her aim is “off.”

Two Peas in a Pod

Edward “rescued” Penguin and brought him back to his apartment. Penguin wakes up and isn’t pleased that Nygma drugged him, but Ed explains that it was necessary given the extent of Penguin’s injuries.

Penguin recognizes Nygma, and Ed reminds him that they met briefly at the GCPD. Penguin knows Nygma isn’t a cop, and Ed tells him he’s in forensics. Nygma asks Penguin if he believes in fate, but all Penguin wants to do is get the hell out of there.

Nygma reminds Penguin that he’s a wanted man. He can try and run, but with his injuries, it’s unlikely Penguin would get three blocks. The former King of Gotham has no choice but to convalesce at Nygma’s for the time being.

Penguin questions what Nygma wants with him, and Nygma confesses that he’s recently been going through a change; he’s started killing people. When Penguin asks how many and Nygma responds “three,” Penguin scoffs. Penguin tells Nygma that if he’s planning to kill him, he should get on with it because it would come as a welcome relief. Nygma has no ill intentions towards Penguin. What Ed wants is advice.

Killing people has changed him, and like a butterfly who has emerged from a cocoon, Nygma can’t go back to being a caterpillar. Since Penguin is a notorious killer, Nygma is hoping Penguin can guide him on his new path. After all, there are always two: the master and the apprentice.

Penguin isn’t exactly in a mentoring mood: his empire is in ruins, he’s a wanted man, he’s got no friends and his mother sleeps with the fishes — or Fish, if you will. Penguin tells Nygma that this new path he’s embarking on leads to nothing but destruction and pain. Penguin insists on leaving but passes out before making it to the door.

When Penguin comes to, he sees a man in a hood tied to a chair. Nygma reveals that the man’s name is Mr. Leonard, an employee of Galavan before he was arrested. Nygma has brought Leonard to Penguin as a gift. He thought it might make Penguin feel better to kill Leonard, as retribution for his mother’s death. A little pick-me-up, even. Penguin refuses. His current plan is to leave Gotham forever.

When all else fails, what’s the best way to manipulate a mama’s boy? Use the woman who screwed him up beyond recognition against him. Nygma says that while love may be a source of strength for others, for him and Penguin it will always be a crippling weakness and they are better off unencumbered. “A man with nothing that he loves … is a man that cannot be bargained, a man that cannot be betrayed, a man who answers to no one … but himself. And that is the man I see before me. A free man.”

Bruce Refuses to Give Up

Just because Theo destroyed the envelope with all the evidence that Bruce needs to find out  and exact vengeance on the people/person who orchestrated the untimely demise of his parents, he hasn’t given up. He invites Silver to Wayne Manor, but before he can enlist her help, Alfred politely demands that she leave the property. Before exiting, she whispers in Bruce’s ear that she’s staying at the Kane Hotel and slips her room key into his pocket.

Alfred question what Bruce hopes to accomplish by continuing his association with Silver. Brucie is convinced that if Theo really had the name of his parents’ killer in that envelope, there’s a chance Silver might have information to share.

Alfred doesn’t believe Theo had anything; it was just a ruse to get Bruce to sign over Wayne Enterprises, but Bruce disagrees.

Alfred warns Bruce that getting information out of a minx like Silver requires a level of deception that Bruce does not yet possess. Theo is a dangerous man, and Alfred orders his charge to stay away from Silver or to pursue Galavan’s wild claims. If Bruce wants to force Alfred to be his jailer, than Alfred will gladly take the job.

Hit and Miss

On the way up to Theo’s apartment, a man enters the elevator with Gordon. He’s the hitman Tabitha hired, and he tries to strangle Gordon with piano wire. The two struggle, but Gordon rallies, beats the guy unconscious and drags his body into Theo’s apartment. There’s no question in Gordon’s mind that the guy is a pro. A cell phone rings and it belongs to the hitman. Jim answers but says nothing. The woman on the other end is the lady in charge, who makes these types of arrangements happen and realizes she’s got a botched job on her hands. This type of mistake isn’t good for business, so she puts a bounty on Gordon’s head. She basically unleashes an army of killers on Gordon with instructions that he is not to see the sun rise.

Gordon questions the man who tried to kill him, but playing by the rules isn’t cutting it, so he hangs the guy out of one of the apartment windows. Barnes flips his lid, ordering Gordon to stand down.

Barnes wonders if Gordon is losing his shit, if the church incident pushed him over the edge. Barnes is still pissed about Gordon disobeying his orders, which landed him at the church, being held hostage by Barbara. Gordon argues that he ended the day by putting Galavan behind bars.

Their tiff is interrupted when another officer points out Theo’s video surveillance. Several unsavory-looking characters just entered the lobby of the building. The hitman starts laughing and say his employer has a strict protocol. If the first guy doesn’t succeed, keep sending men until the job is done.

Gotham Recap: Does Bruce Discover Who Killed His Parents? >>>

Gordon and Barnes Battle Hired Guns

Barnes calls for back-up, but until the cavalry arrives, it’s just Barnes, Gordon, a forensics dude and a newbie named Parks left holding down the fort. The poor forensics sap gets his throat slit by a man who was smart enough to find a way in other than the front door. The others blast their way in, resulting in some gun play and hand-to-hand combat. Gordon and Barnes manage to take them out, but the original hitman manages to free himself and is holding Parks hostage. Gordon doesn’t hesitate and puts a bullet in the guy’s face.

Barnes isn’t about to hang out waiting for the next wave of attackers, but Gordon is determined to search Theo’s apartment for evidence. He’s convinced that if they leave, by the time they return anything incriminating will have been destroyed. The blast uncovered a monk’s cassock (think black robe). Gordon thinks this is a significant find, but as he tries to convince Barnes they should take it, one of the assassins, previously thought to be dead, springs into action. He goes after Gordon with a knife, but Barnes intervenes and is stabbed. The guy hits an artery, and if Barnes moves, he could bleed out in seconds.

It’s a Thin Line

Barnes and Gordon find themselves alone with a bottle of booze and time to shoot the shit. Apparently, GCPD cops and EMTs move like they’ve got molasses in their asses. Barnes questions what is up with his star detective.

Gordon recounts how while he was held hostage, Barbara accused him of having a monster inside of him, and that not only does Lee agree but she’s convinced that he’s ready to give in to it. Gordon admits that there was a moment when he could have blasted his ex away, but Galavan’s people busted in. Gordon feels he came very close to crossing “the line.”

Barnes recalls his time in the military; he killed an insurgent, a kid, really, whose hands were tied. He stuck a gun in the kid’s mouth as a threat but wound up pulling the trigger. The moral of the story? At the right moment, men are capable of anything. There is no line; there’s just the law. That’s what separates them from the animals.

Back-up finally arrives but they are immediately taken out by a vicious character named Eduardo Flamingo. Not only does he enjoy killing, but he likes to eat his victims as well. Gordon decides to take the fight to Flamingo in an effort to save Parker and Barnes.

The fact that Eduardo was able to take out four armed cops is pretty impressive; then again, it is the GCPD.

Gordon, because he’s a superhero himself, is able to take Eduardo down — not that he won’t have some black and blue marks to show for it tomorrow. He finds himself in a position to blow Eduardo’s head off but is reminded of Barnes’ story. Gordon’s already haunted by several demons, and he’s got a long road ahead. So to prove to Barbara, to prove to Lee and to prove to himself that he can control that nasty thing inside of him, he doesn’t pull the trigger.

Officer Parks walks Flamingo towards a cell when he doubles over as if in pain. He goes full-on Hannibal Lecter and attacks, ripping her throat out. Even a mob of her fellow officers can’t manage to pull the guy off.

So the question now facing Gordon is this: is crossing the line scarier than the repercussions of not doing so?

Also, Bruce continues to try and get out from Alfred’s thumb without much luck. But when he finally finds a moment to steal away to see the lovely Silver, Selina steps in. 

Theo Warns Tabitha

Theo is displeased. He expressly told Tabitha to hold tight until he gave her instructions. Theo figures out that Tabitha’s decision to involve hitmen had less to do with him and more to do with Barbara.

Everything is ready, and the brothers’ arrival is imminent. Next time Tabitha is in a mood, she needs to find a nice librarian to torture. If she endangers his plans again, sister or not, Theo will cut her throat.

Speaking of the “brothers,” they’re heerrreeeee.

Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.