An alternate title for “Stop Hitting Yourself” could be “Penguin and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” Lots of things happen in this episode, some of them a bit convoluted, and none of them are good for Oswald Cobblepot.
The most hated man in Gotham
When you’re in power, being mocked goes along with the territory, and that’s just what’s been happening at Cherry’s Place. A Penguin parody is the opening act for Grundy’s fights these days, and Cherry’s audience is eating it up. Penguin learns about the act while mediating a dispute between one of the surviving Demons and the Sirens. He doesn’t take it well. Especially when he learns Ed Nygma is the driving force behind the parody.
Cold calculations have never been Penguin’s strong suit. He’s always one to react hotly to something that makes him angry. Instead of making a plan, he orders the Sirens to Cherry’s Place to capture Ed, and also sends Firefly to make sure they follow orders.
Bad move, Oswald.
Barbara and Tabitha are shocked to see a zombified Butch in the ring, and Barbara’s also surprised by the new Goth version of Lee. While Tabitha tries to talk to Butch, and Barbara takes a very satisfying punch from Lee, Selina is the only one to stay on task, capturing Penguin. And when they’re caught by Cherry, Selina is the one to call for the matter to be settled in the ring, according to the Code of the Narrows.
Selina, what did you need the other two for?
Of course, settling the issue puts Tabitha against Grundy in the ring. Of course, Grundy has enough flashes of memory that he can’t quite manage to kill her before she knocks him out. It’s an unsurprising outcome in this match.
It’s also not surprising when Firefly shows up to tell the Sirens they missed Penguin’s deadline. What *is* surprising is when Lee shoots and injures Firefly, to keep Ed from being taken to Penguin. Then she outs Cherry as one of Penguin’s informers, who was going to turn Ed over to Penguin no matter what happened in the ring, leading to one more surprise: Barbara shoots and kills Cherry.
Okay, it’s no surprise to see Barbara kill someone. What surprised me was to see Cherry disposed of so quickly. I’d been hoping to see more of the character, but it doesn’t appear that we will. Pity.
Although… this IS Gotham. Better check for a pulse.
One more surprise to end the episode: Lee is now in charge of Cherry’s Place. Wonder what Jim will think of this?
Nothing in Gotham is free
Of course, Jim doesn’t even know Lee is still in Gotham. He’s got other problems to worry about right now: The mayor wants to promote him to Captain of GCPD Central.
For most of us, a promotion would be a great thing. But in this case, a promotion would oust Harvey Bullock, and while their relationship has become strained by the Pax Penguina and the hunt for Professor Pyg, Jim doesn’t want to take his partner’s job.
But there’s more to it than that: Jim knows that Sofia Falcone is behind the offer. She doesn’t deny it, saying Harvey is weak.
Unfortunately, Harvey isn’t doing anything to disprove her. He’s on a downward spiral, hiding away with his booze and unable to face the officers injured in the failed Pyg raid. Jim sees this as an inability to take responsibility, and that pushes him to accept the promotion and relieve Harvey of duty.
It’s something we knew was coming, but it’s painful to see these two good friends at such odds with each other. Harvey warns Jim that nothing comes free in Gotham, saying, “You’d just better hope you can pay up when your bill’s due, and it’ll come due.”
Here’s hoping Harvey Bullock will be back to help settle that debt. Jim Gordon is the leader GCPD needs, but he needs Harvey.
What he doesn’t need, really, is Sofia Falcone, and I was relieved by the end of the episode when he walked away from her. Finally showing some sense there, Jim.
“Quite a lot to go awry in one day”
Everything you’ve read above? All happened in the course of one day. The sun hasn’t even set yet when Penguin’s accountant sidekick delivers ALL the bad news. At least this guy is smart enough to stay far away from Penguin when he gives it, because Oswald is known to get stabby when things go wrong.
Speaking of people getting stabby, Penguin’s picked up a protege, a young mute boy living in Sofia’s orphanage. THe lessons Penguin is teaching little Martin? How to stab someone, for one. Plus these gems:
- Shun friendship.
- Friendship can be used to drive a wedge between antagonists.
- Revenge is never as simple as tit for tat.
- Don’t have friends, have conspirators.
- Sometimes friendship “can blind you to what is staring you right in the face.”
I see a couple of t-shirt or coffee mug possibilities with #4. But the one to pay attention to is #5. Penguin is finally catching on to Sofia. And all that cool that escaped him at the beginning of this Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day seems to be coming back.
“You owe me an apology for electrocuting me.” – Barbara Kean
“It was nothing personal when I shot him in the head.” – Barbara Kean
“No one appreciates how hard it is to be a crime lord.” – Penguin
“What you are is four courses of barbecue. Crispy skin.” – Firefly
Gotham airs Thursday nights at 8/7 Central on FOX.