‘Gotham’ 5×06 Review – ’13 Stitches’

A lot happens in “13 Stitches.” There are surprising teamups, big revelations and a long-awaited return. Directed by series star Ben McKenzie, the episode sets the stage for Gotham’s remaining seven episodes. We start to see why the GCPD teamed up with some of its worst adversaries in the season premiere’s flash forward. And in the last minutes, we get a glimpse of the future.

“You Gomers messed with the wrong supergenius!”

A lot revolves around Riddler and that microchip controlling him. Jim disables the control with one of the most surprising moves I’ve seen on the show: defibrillator paddles applied to either side of Ed’s skull!

Now free of Walker’s control, Ed wants revenge. Even if it means teaming up with Jim and Bruce. This is the sort of response that makes me love Ed so much. My favorite characters have always been the reprehensible ones who occasionally manage to do the right things. Ed Nygma is one of those characters. He’s done so many awful things over five years. But Walker and Eduardo are far, far worse.

The Riddler has always been one of my favorite Batman villains. I grew up with Frank Gorshin’s cackling, capering version. He might have been one-dimensional, but he was a lot of fun when I was a kid. As an adult I got a kick out of Jim Carrey’s portrayal, which had a bit more depth. But Cory Michael Smith has given Ed Nygma some real pathos amid all of his craziness. He will be a hard act for any future Riddler to follow.

Team CatBird

The Gotham writers have been pulling out all the stops in bringing together characters who haven’t been paired very often. This time it was Penguin and Selina. They’ve teamed up to track down a thief and bomb maker named Magpie.

Despite their differences, these two share one thing: Both feel they’ve done all they can in Gotham. Penguin’s done some things twice! And Selina is already tired of being challenged constantly after “killing” Jeremiah. (She doesn’t know the killing didn’t take). Both want to leave town. They’re willing to go together for mercenary reasons: Each can help the other.

But we know from the 5×01 flash forward that at least Penguin is not going anywhere. It will be interesting to see what brings him around to defending Gotham beside the GCPD.

Bringing Bane To Life

Bane is the apparent catalyst for that strange future alliance between heroes and villains. That’s really the only thing that interests me about him at this point. Once unmasked as an enemy, Eduardo just felt like another guy out for Jim Gordon’s blood.

This is Gotham. What else is new?

I’m not one of the fans who got excited about Bane’s addition to Gotham. Just not one of my favorite villains. But I am excited about what his addition means for the rest of the characters we’ve come to know over the years.

The Return Of The Queen

It took six episodes to happen, but Lee Thompson, the Queen of the Narrows, is finally back. She doesn’t remember much of what happened, though. She’s shocked to learn that three months had passed since the bridges were destroyed.

That lack of memory should have tipped me off earlier. Somehow I didn’t realize Lee had a control chip until just before she attacked Jim. Perhaps because there was just so much going on in this episode. And maybe because, for the first time in a long time, I was really liking Lee. I really didn’t care for everything that had happened around Mario Falcone and the Tetch virus a few seasons back. I had mixed feelings about Lee as Queen of the Narrows; I loved her helping people, but her Bonnie-and-Clyde romance with Ed didn’t sit well. The whole time we’ve waited for her return, I wondered, “What trouble is she going to cause when she comes back?”

I should have expected the trouble to come from Jim’s other ex-fiancee.

Batgirl Begins

Barbara Kean is pregnant! And the writers have been very clear on social media: She is pregnant with the future Batgirl. Now this excites me. For me, it all begins with Batgirl.

No hearts, flowers or sappy sentimentality here. Jim and Company have barely caught their breath from everything with Lee when Barbara drops this bombshell. That’s so Gotham.

But Barbara is changing, and not just because she is pregnant. We’ve been watching a bit of a softening since Tabitha died. We have to wonder what will happen by the end of this season that will make Jim willing to name his daughter for the woman who’d broken his heart and tried to kill him more than once.

Looking Ahead

I keep saying I want more Bruce and Alfred. We got a tiny bit more in this episode. Then Alfred got kidnapped by Jeremiah, who’s apparently ready to launch his big plan.

Next week’s episode is titled “Ace Chemicals.” The site is famous in Batman lore as the birthplace of The Joker. I can’t wait to see Gotham’s take on the story.

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

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