In another episode of Gotham where Bruce Wayne is conspicuous by his absence, the show continues to lean into the strength of its villainous cast members with a dark glee. In a town this bad, how can you be okay? The central theme of this episode seems to be how far one will go for power, and even the stoic righteousness of the newly-minted Captain Gorden appears to be put to the test.
In the first main plot, things come to a full boil with Penguin and Sophia Falcone, whose game of cat and mouse may be the most enjoyable thing about the season so far. Penguin believes that he has irrefutable evidence of her betrayals, and she confirms it by finally telling him what she thinks of him, but it is only after he sends her to be tortured by a demented dentist that he finds out that it was what she wanted all along.
The multiple kidnappings and hostage situations that follow culminate in Penguin seeming to kill the mute orphan that was used against him. But, in the biggest surprise of the season, we find that Oswald did have a soft spot for kids and faked the boy’s death.
The B plot of the episode is a parallel arc of Gordon and Lee dealing with their new positions and the compromises that must be made to hold onto power. Lee eschews the brutality of being a crime boss in the narrows at first, but after her clinic is trashed, she shows the competition how formidable she is. Gordon is tempted by Sophia Falcone in more ways than one, but ultimately puts her on a train and makes a deal with the Penguin to keep the peace.
The viewer can be forgiven if they feel that Bruce Wayne’s face should be on a milk carton after how little we have seen him this season, but this intense episode makes the most of the ensemble cast. While this season may have been subtitled “A Dark Knight” the best parts of the season have highlighted the cast around him.