‘Gotham’ 4×15 Review: ‘The Sinking Ship the Grand Applause’

“Gotham” Episode 4×15 “The Sinking Ship the Grand Applause” Source: FOX

Just when I think Gotham cannot get any crazier, it does.

Just when I think it cannot take any more twists and turns, it does.

And just when I think it can’t bring back any more dead villains….

Well, I really shouldn’t ever be surprised by that last one. As Barbara Kean once said in one of the best lines of the season, “This is Gotham. Better check for a pulse.”

The “sinking ship” of the title is Sofia Falcone’s hold over Gotham’s underworld, and her hold over Jim Gordon. The episode also continues the reunion themes we saw last week, bringing more characters back together and giving us a real surprise or two along the way.

Overthrowing the Queen

Sofia Falcone had her run at ruling the underworld. But her mobster management style leaves something to be desired; leaving your enemies alive leaves them able to get back at you.

And in this episode, they do.

Penguin makes his escape with help from the Riddler. They band with Lee, the recently deposed Queen of the Narrows, and Mr. Freeze to plan a way to take out Sofia. And they’re not the only problem for the crime queen: Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock are working together again (to my utter delight), and they are also targeting Sofia.

In Sofia’s corner, the always snarky Victor Zsasz – how I have missed him lately! And he had a sidekick that really surprised me. Remember Headhunter, the hit man that Penguin supposedly killed seven episodes ago?

Yeah, not so dead after all!

Sofia tasks them to kill Penguin and to also kill her old accountant and triple-agent spy, Mr. Penn. But she makes another mistake: When Victor asks for priorities, she says, “Do both.”

“Gotham” Episode 4×15 “The Sinking Ship the Grand Applause” Source: FOX

Sofia, Sofia. What grade did you GET in Mobster Management 101? You ALWAYS set priorities. Otherwise, you get results like this: lose both your targets, and get a bullet put in your head by your dead brother’s wife.

At that point, my husband leaned over to me and asked, “I wonder how long she’s going to stay dead?” I answered with the wise words of Barbara Kean – which were proved true in the next act.

Only in Gotham can villains take bullets to the head and still survive. But what will happen with the now-comatose Sofia when she wakes up? Stay tuned.

The takedown teams

Taking down Sofia brought Harvey and Jim back together again, and I’m so happy to see it. The episode not only brings back Harvey’s sorely-needed humor, but also shows us just how much Harvey has grown in the four years we’ve known him. Jim may not have always appreciated Harvey’s style, but Harvey has knowledge Jim needs to police Gotham. And while Harvey may have given Jim hell for his involvement with Sofia and the whole Pyg situation, he also understands what it is to have sold your soul to the devil – so he won’t let JIm sacrifice himself by confessing to that.

The other team is one I didn’t know I needed: Penguin, Riddler and Lee, with an assist from Victor Fries AKA Mr. Freeze. The first two have always had such a love/hate relationship, reinforced when Riddler has to choose between going after Sofia or rescuing Penguin. Riddler chooses the latter. “You gave up your revenge for me?” Penguin asks in wonder.

The love is back. Watch out, Gotham!

Also watch out for Lee, who is now reinstated as Queen of the Narrows. Even with a broken hand, she’s a good enough doctor to have kept Jim alive after he’d been shot by Sofia multiple times. But her experiences have hardened her – and when she takes back Cherry’s Place from Sampson, she gives him the same treatment Sofia had given to her: A hammer to the hand. It will be interesting to see what happens next. I never liked the completely antagonistic Lee we got last season, and I was lukewarm on straight love interest Lee from earlier in the series. She’s now something in between.

Just a moment now regarding Mr. Freeze: He’s been a small but vital part of the story in all his recent appearances in Gotham, and I’d love to see more of him. Love the attitude and love the suit.

Baby BatCat together again

As much as I enjoyed all the villains, I’d’ve been just as happy if the whole episode was nothing more than Bruce and Selina. These two have been growing up together, and learning to work as a team.

“Gotham” Episode 4×15 “The Sinking Ship the Grand Applause” Source: FOX

Selina has come to Bruce for help in recovering some items she stole while Ivy was killing a Wayne Enterprises employee. Selina feels guilty but needs money to buy them back from the fence.

Bruce is also feeling guilty about the way he’d acted toward her at the Sirens’ Club. Selina finds that amusing. “Oh, no you’re not gonna try to apologize to me, are you?,” she asks. “Save it. Because you’re probably gonna be a douchebag to me later anyway.”

“Missed you too,” Bruce returns with a grin.

I adore moments like this between the two of them, and I hope we get to see many many more.

We also get to see a little of the Batman Bruce will become when the two of them have to fight the fence and his “assistants” to get what they came for. “Next time, take the deal,” Bruce tells the fence in a voice that isn’t quite the Bat’s threatening growl but has the makings of it.

And we get to see Bruce sharing a little hard-won wisdom about guilt with Selina.

I want more of these two. MUCH more.

Other notes

There was a LOT in this episode, so brief notes on a couple of things:

  • Ed now knows that Butch has his memories back. There will be trouble ahead here.
  • Butch is also focused on getting Tabitha back.

    “Gotham” Episode 4×15 “The Sinking Ship the Grand Applause” Source: FOX
  • Gotham has given us a lot of weird locales, but the “spa” outside of town where Sofia’s accountant is hiding out may just take the cake. A spa where adults dress as and are treated as babies? Height of weird! (And now how will they top it?)
  • What the hell is going on with Barbara? We see her suffering some terrible headaches, and the episode ends with her getting a vision of Ra’s al Ghul, who seemingly merges with her (no, not THAT way). We know he’d done something to her back when he was in prison, and it looks like we’re finally going to get the payout for that.
  • And remember what I said in the beginning about Gotham always getting crazier? Jerome is back next week.

Gotham airs Thursday nights at 8/7 Central on FOX.

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