When a man’s title is “The Demon’s Head,” you know he’s not a nice guy. But the Ra’s al Ghul of Gotham is stone cold, and the climax to this episode was a shocker that rattled Bruce more than we’ve seen since his parents were murdered.
It’s also possible that crime princess Sofia Falcone is stone cold, but Jim Gordon isn’t seeing it.
But Penguin wasn’t quite cold enough to refreeze his old nemesis Ed Nygma, who still hasn’t recovered from his last stint as a human ice cube.
Magic, madness and murder were woven through the storylines in this episode. So were issues of trust – or the lack of it. Let’s take a look.
What’s with the magic knife?
Ra’s is after the embalming knife Bruce bought at auction last week, and he’s willing to kill to get it. He does kill a museum curator commissioned by Bruce to study the knife, but not before the curator and his teenaged grandson Alex translate some of the engravings on it, finding a prophecy that the knife is a tool for the destiny of the Demon’s Head. We don’t know exactly how that will work, but it involves blood and death, apparently.
Alex goes into hiding after seeing his grandfather killed, and is eventually found by Bruce. As survivors and witnesses to deadly attacks, the two boys begin to bond just a bit.
But this is Gotham. When warm, fuzzy stuff starts happening, you just know trouble is on the way.
Watch out for the mad dog!
There have been a lot of crazy henchmen on Gotham. Tonight’s might have been the craziest: Anubis, a man who seems to think he is a dog. A really scary, rabid, mean dog. And he’s got a “handler” who speaks some strange language. We don’t get any backstory on these guys, but for now they served their purpose in scaring the boys half to death – and in giving Bruce a slight chance to be a badass outside of wearing his suit and mask. I expect we’ll see these guys again, even if Anubis did go chasing a dinosaur bone out a window!
The other bit of madness comes from Ed Nygma, who is really struggling. The time he spent frozen seems to have sapped his riddle mojo, along with his smarts. It does lead to some really funny moments when Ed sends a couple of rap riddles to Penguin in an effort to set up a meeting. The riddles are horrible and incomprehensible. When they finally meet, Penguin realizes Nygma’s brain has suffered some freezer burn, and decides not to ice him again, reasoning that it’s better revenge to have Ed live his life out knowing he only has half the mind he used to have.
But this is Gotham. You KNOW nothing good is going to come of that!
Getting political in the crime world
It’s not surprising Penguin would be… concerned about a Falcone returning to Gotham. So it’s not surprising that he summons Sofia to a meeting, to find out what she’s up to. He doesn’t quite believe that she’s in town for the family charities, and he keeps an eye on her, eventually barging into her home when some of her father’s former associates come calling.
Sofia looks upset while Victor is shooting the capos off camera, accusing Penguin of using her to get rid of them,
But this is Gotham, and nothing is ever that simple. I strongly suspect Sofia was actually using Penguin to get rid of the capos, to ensure they won’t ever challenge her.
She did tell Jim that she’s a gangster.
Not that he seems to have too much trouble with that, from their liplock at the end of the episode.
Matters of trust
Jim may be trusting Sofia a bit too much considering how little he knows about her. At the same time, Bruce and Alfred may not have trusted Jim enough, by keeping the secret of Ra’s position as head of the Court of Owls and of Alfred’s resurrection last season.
But the trust issue Bruce feels most keenly by the end of the program is the trust given him by Alex. It’s shattered when Ra’s murders the boy right in front of him and Jim. It’s a stunning moment, played out perfectly. You don’t actually see the cut of the knife, but you see Bruce’s face and reaction. This is so much more effective than the Game of Thrones-style killings of last season.
Random notes taken during the show:
I miss Bullock and Selina in this episode.
Jim and his ex Barbara meet again, and he shows no surprise that she’s back from the dead. But then, this is Gotham.
Really liked the exchanges between Alex and Bruce, when Alex tells Bruce how the kids at school used to talk about him. “They make you sound weird.” “Maybe I am.” “No, you’re cool…. Weirdly cool.”
Ra’s immediately gave himself up after murdering Alex, and is now in Blackgate Prison. But you have to know he wants to be there for some nefarious reason.
After all, this is Gotham.
Gotham airs Thursday nights at 8/7 Central on FOX.