Masks, visible and invisible, and alliances are the theme of this episode. There isn’t a lot that actually happens, but what there is feels Significant (capitalization intended). It feels like Gotham’s Season 4 chessboard is now set, with some new pieces on the board and a new mystery object in play.
The visible masks are worn by Bruce and Selina right in the beginning of the program, when both are checking out a mystery shipment for the Penguin at the Gotham docks. The proto-Bat and Cat are both unsuccessful in obtaining the item, Bruce getting wounded along the way. Amazingly, Selina is not injured by all the rounds of ammunition fired at the truck where he is hiding. Unless she’s now down a life.
This is the only time we see Bruce in his new suit this episode. Otherwise, he’s trying on some different masks, with some coaching by Alfred. His masquerade as a working-class boy on the docks doesn’t go over too well with the men he’s trying to fool, but he scores well as “Bruce Wayne, billionaire brat.” It’s a foreshadowing of how the adult Bruce will cover up his double life, and reminded me of the Frank Miller version of Bruce at the beginning of his crusade.
The New Players
Technically, it’s just one truly new player: Sophia Falcone (Crystal Reed), daughter of Carmine Falcone. She’s been living in Daddy’s place “down south” all this time, and she’s not harboring resentment over Jim’s killing of her brother last season. Dad doesn’t seem all that resentful either, but perhaps he has decided life is too short for that; he says he is dying. That may mean we won’t see John Doman again on Gotham, and if so, that’s too bad. He always made a great foil for Jim Gordon and for the crazies of Gotham’s underworld.
Now, it looks like it’s going to be Sophia running things and giving Jim some help in taking Gotham back from the Penguin. Maybe. It is Gotham, after all, and nothing is as it seems. But from the kiss she gave Jim, it seems her interests go beyond crime.
The other character coming back into play: Edward Nygma, now thawed out from his icy prison by an old elementary school classmate named Myrtle who became a Riddler fangirl. The scenes between Ed and Myrtle are reminiscent of “Misery;” he’s trapped in bed, with both his body and his mind crippled from spending five months as a human popsicle. He is eventually able to make it out of bed, but how long will it take for him to become the Prince of Puzzlers once again?
Mysticism Becomes A Factor
Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) was brought into the ‘Gotham’ universe last season, along with his Lazarus Pit. In this episode, we learn he is the reason Barbara is alive (what’s death when you have a magical hit tub, after all?), and we learn that he’s seeking a knife that was part of that shipment to Penguin we saw at the beginning of the show. We don’t yet know the significance of the knife, but Ra’s says it is the “key to everything.”
This setup left me wanting more, and I actually was a little surprised to find I was at the end of the episode already. It didn’t feel like an hour.
Other random thoughts:
Morena Baccarin was in the opening credits but we didn’t see her. I’m not sure I’m ready to see Lee get bashed around for another season.
Myrtle could have made a fun character, but alas, Penguin wanted to make an example of her because she stole Nygma from his club. Although… we didn’t actually see her get shot…
Victor is becoming a very amusing sidekick, just as Butch was in the first three seasons.
No sign of Ivy this time. What did those herbs she took last week do to her, anyway?
The producers have said for years that Bruce and Selina would have a tortured relationship, and we’ve certainly seeing that here. David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova have done a wonderful job of portraying these two, who are friends one minute, closer than friends another, and then enemies.
Gotham airs Thursday nights at 8/7c on FOX.