Wednesday, December 6, 2017

'Gotham' Recap: "Things That Go Boom" (4x10)

If you're reading this, then congratulations: you've survived finals week. That, or you've given up on studying and taken to roaming the internet between exams. In any case, it's time for another Gotham recap. This week's episode contains three plotlines: one revolving around Professor Pyg's true identity, one concerning Sofia Falcone's true motives, and one focusing on Lee's control of the Narrows. Warning for spoilers and heavy violence.

Plot C: Penned-in Pyg 

(Note: This plot receives the least focus in the episode, hence the C classification. However, it is the first storyline to be presented, which is why it's placed first in this article.)

The episode opens in Arkham Asylum. Because the current warden is presumably an idiot, several inmates are in one room working on various crafts and hobbies while listening to music from a gramophone. Pyg switches the record to "Ave Maria" and begins to conduct it silently. Most of the inmates don't have a problem with this, except one who claims that his mother (who he later killed) used to have the same song playing in the background while she beat him up. Pyg mocks the burly inmate by suggesting reasons why his mother would have beat him. 

The inmate punches Pyg in the face, which causes the skin of Pyg's cheek to make an odd shift, as if there's something underneath. Pyg moves the lump back into place and coldly reprimands his attacker, stating, "I paid a fortune to look this good." The roommate charges at Pyg again, but Pyg stabs him in the gut with half of a record before slicing his throat with the other half. As the guards rush to grab Pyg and the inmates look on, Pyg resumes conducting the music as if nothing happened.

Over at the GCPD, Captain Gordon and Lucius Fox discuss the incident. Lucius says that an x-ray of Pyg's face showed that the criminal had metal plates grafted into his skin to reshape his face. He also notes that Pyg's body has scars from multiple surgeries and his fingerprints have been burnt off. Gordon questions why Pyg, who loves the spotlight, would be so hell-bent on preserving his identity. He asks Lucius to try to create a sketch of Pyg's true face using the x-ray. Lucius agrees to the tasks but says the process will take time.

Gordon later visits Pyg in Arkham. Pyg is glad to see him, but Gordon just wants to know who he really is, which leads to a funny bit of dialogue:

Gordon's punch shifts the metal plates again, but Pyg puts them back in place and says that "What you see is what you get." Gordon wonders again why Pyg would hide his true self if he wants to be known for his crimes. Pyg claims that he's already made his mark on Gotham, but Gordon says that this is Gotham, home of Fish Mooney and Jerome Valeska—which makes him second-rate. He tells Pyg that the city has already forgotten him, and this is a final visit. Pyg snaps at him for leaving, and in his anger, his voice reverts from its usual sophisticated, arrogant tone to a Southern accent. 

Gordon takes this to be Pyg's true voice. He tells Lucius, who now has a completed sketch of Pyg's face, to send the sketch to police stations all over the country, starting in the south. One station later replies with Pyg's true identity: a man named Lazlo Valentin who committed a string of murders. However, Valentin didn't use a Pyg persona back then and didn't target cops either, making Gordon question why a serial killer would change his M.O. Gordon asks why the station didn't convict Valentin. Lucius says that Valentin was convicted, but he escaped.

Back at Arkham, a guard walks past Pyg's cell and finds it empty. When he steps inside to investigate, Pyg leaps down from the ceiling, kills him, and escapes (as Gordon finds out at the end of the episode).

Plot A: A Falcone in the Hand

After Lucius and Gordon discuss Pyg's x-ray, Detective Harper tells Gordon that Sofia Falcone is in his office. Sofia asks when they're going to start seeing each other again, but Gordon says they're not. She tells him that Penguin knows she made Gordon captain and claims she's got it all under control. Gordon, less than convinced, says "there's no way forward" for the two of them.

Not gonna lie, I was worried that Gordon and Sofia were going to have some toxic, season-long romance. I suppose that could still happen, but for now it looks like he's shutting down her attempts to woo him. Good for you, Jim.

When Sofia returns home, Penguin and Victor Zsasz are waiting for her. Penguin confronts Sofia for her deception. She acts terrified and denies her involvement with Gordon, but Penguin says he found out about how Gordon visited Carmine Falcone before Sofia showed up in Gotham. Sofia then decides to drop her innocent act, declaring:

Penguin then tells Sofia that she's going to spill every part of her plan and every person involved with it. Why? Because he's going to have her tortured . . . by the Dentist. While the name and gimmick are undeniably corny, a YouTuber named Bobatalks pointed out that this character may be a reference to a character in Joker: Death of the Family who looked up to the Joker's work and was inspired to commit similarly violent crimes. 

(According to the link above, the Dentist's identity was Phillip Miles. Is this the same man? Only time will tell.)

After Zsasz and Penguin leave, the Dentist inspects Sofia's teeth and says he'll put them in a trophy case when he's finished. She says the Dentist wouldn't do that if he knew who she was, but he replies that he does, as her father killed his brother. Sofia replies that he still has a wife and child alive, but they won't be for long, as her underlings have orders to kill the family if Sofia is tortured or killed. The Dentist counters that no one will find her body, but Sofia replies that she has spies inside Penguin's empire and has even turned his captains against him. She repeats that if her people don't hear from her soon, the Dentist's family will die. He decides to let her go and uses a drill to kill the other person guarding her. Sofia then leaves but gets nabbed by the Sirens before she can drive away.

She later wakes up in their weapons gallery. Babs introduces herself, Tabs, and Selina. She explains that Penguin wants the three of them dead, but since Sofia is his friend, he might let them go in return for her safety. Sofia, however, admits that she's been moving to take over the underworld and claims she orchestrated everything that happened today, apart from the Sirens' appearance. Sofia insists that the if they want to get rid of Penguin, they should let her go. Selina is somewhat convinced, but Babs says that it doesn't matter, as Penguin will still pay to get Sofia even if she's his enemy.

Meanwhile, Penguin lets Martin sit on his throne at the Iceberg Lounge and thanks the boy for helping uncover Sofia's treachery. However, Martin admits that Sofia told him to tell Penguin about her kissing Gordon. Penguin realizes that Sofia has been playing him all along, and like clockwork, Zsasz arrives to announce that the Dentist is gone and Babs has Sofia. 

Babs then lists her demands to Penguin over the phone: she wants to keep the gun shop, not share profits, and operate with complete autonomy. He agrees and states that Zsasz will arrive to pick up Sofia (before giving Zsasz a meaningful glare). After he hangs up, Penguin tells Martin that their conversation isn't finished.

Over at the weapons gallery, Babs wonders if the negotiation was too easy. Sofia says Penguin just wanted to get them off the phone, and Selina agrees—because she can see Zsasz standing outside with a rocket launcher. He then proceeds to blow up their building. The Sirens escape the inferno, but now Sofia's gone and Babs is ticked at Penguin.

Sofia goes straight to Gordon with a sob story about how she underestimated Penguin. She begs for his help, claiming that if he uses the GCPD as an army, he can take out Penguin once and for all. Gordon, however, refuses to fight her war.

Meanwhile, Penguin angrily tells Martin that he'll be sent back to the orphanage soon and tells him to leave the room. Zsasz then confirms that Sirens and their business went up in smoke. Penguin resolves to unleash a crime wave to get back at Gordon for conspiring against him, but Gordon enters and says that'd be a bad idea. He then offers Penguin a deal, saying that since they both want to get rid of Sofia, he'll make sure she goes back to her father by train. Gordon says that if she comes back, he'll put her behind bars, and adds that if Penguin doesn't agree, he'll use the GCPD to take him down. 

Penguin admits that he can set aside his hatred of Sofia to avoid a bigger conflict, but asks what will happen after she's gone. Gordon says that the licenses will be over for good, but reminds Penguin that it'll mean an end to Sofia's interference. Penguin agrees to the deal, saying he's glad they could solve the dispute amicably.  

Gordon then sends Sofia on the train with Harper as an escort to make sure it goes smoothly. Zsasz relays the news of their departure to Penguin, who decides it's time to deal with Martin. However, when he goes to check on the boy, all that's left is Martin's notepad with a crude drawing and a note that he's been kidnapped.

By whom? The Sirens, of course.

Zsasz then boards the train and knocks out Harper before asking Sofia where Martin is. Sofia replies that he's alive, and if Penguin wants to keep him alive, he'll meet her under the Crown Bridge in an hour.

One hour later, the two of them meet under the bridge, accompanied by Zsasz, the Sirens, and Martin. Sofia tells Penguin that she'll give him the boy in exchange for control of the underworld. Penguin replies that even her father would be disgusted by the idea of using a child as a pawn, but Sofia says he'll be proud. Penguin mocks her for chasing her father's approval. "I myself can't relate," he gloats, "seeing as my parents loved me without condition." 

(It's interesting to note that he's right. Despite all of Penguin's flaws, he was raised by a loving mother and was accepted as an adult by his father even though the latter was previously unaware of his existence—a far cry from the actions of Penguin's parents in Batman Returns.)

But I digress. Penguin agrees to the deal and tells Martin to wait in the car. He then tells Sofia that it was smart of her to use the boy. Penguin admits that his heart is his greatest weakness but insists that he won't let Martin be a pawn any longer. He then pulls out a detonator and blows up the car. 

As the Sirens and Sofia stare at the blaze, dumbstruck, Zsasz opens fire. "You want a war?" Penguin screams. "You've got one!"

After Sofia and the Sirens flee the scene, Selina says that Sofia lost, but Sofia insists that they can still win the war despite losing the battle. They need to strike soon, while Penguin is still getting ready. Sofia tells the Sirens that if they don't back her, they'll never get any of the city. She also points out that they need her since their business is in ashes.

Back at the Iceberg Lounge, Martin emerges. A flashback reveals that there was a secret exit in the car that allowed Martin to climb down and escape into a tunnel. Penguin apologizes for being harsh with Martin and tells the boy that Zsasz has to take him somewhere safe and far away. Martin doesn't want to go, which leads to a genuinely touching scene.

Zsasz asks Penguin if anyone else can take Martin out of Gotham and points out that they need to take out Sofia, but Penguin insists that he needs his best man keeping Martin safe.

Plot B: The Narrows Dream Team

What has Lee Tompkins been doing since we last saw her? Apparently, holding court in the Narrows with Ed Nygma to settle the disputes of her subjects (for lack of a better term). It's interesting to see her version of authority contrasted with Penguin's. While Penguin sees himself as the "king of Gotham" again, Lee never asked for her position and doesn't think of herself as a queen. She still thinks of herself as a doctor, concerned with fixing other people's problems, and it shows in this first scene. 

Two Narrows citizens approach Lee with an argument over territory. One runs dogfights, while the other runs cockfights. As the two residents bicker, one draws a knife. Nygma (who's impatient that Lee is focusing more on helping the Narrows than curing his mental problems) advises her to stay out of it. "If she stabs him, it's resolved," he states. But Lee wants to show the Narrows that disputes can be settled diplomatically, so she breaks up the fight and orders the two fight-owners to partner up and work together. Lee also asks one of the residents how his daughter is doing after a visit to the clinic and is pleased to hear that she's recovering.

Note: this scene makes me think of two things. The first is a quote from Princess Diaries 2 when Queen Clarisse advises Mia on how to hold court: "One has to be fair and very honest. Even if you can't help, you have to show the people you care." The second is 1 Kings 3:16-28, which tells an account of how Solomon settled a dispute between two women who were arguing over possession of a baby. In the same way that the people of Israel were in awe of Solomon's wisdom and obeyed his command, the people of the Narrows respect Lee's counsel and follow her orders.

The next person to approach Lee is a badly beaten man, who tells her that a Narrows crime boss named Samson beat him up because he (the man) wouldn't pay a protection fee. Nygma tells Lee that Sampson's testing her power, and if she wants to show that she won't be pushed around, she should just send Grundy to deal with him. But once again, Lee decides to take a more diplomatic route.

She and Nygma visit Sampson. Lee reminds Sampson that he and Cherry had a deal, and she expects him to continue to honor it. Sampson insists that he's not going to negotiate, even when she offers him 10 percent of the profits from fight night. He points out that since Lee is an outsider and Nygma is a "has-been," they don't have much sway with him.

However, when he begins to cough up blood into a handkerchief (the vague go-to symptom in any genre), Lee claims that he's got a case of "Narrows Lung" and will be dead in a few days without treatment. She offers to give him and his people help free of charge but points out that if he refuses her deal, she'll just renegotiate with whoever replaces him. Sampson agrees to the deal, but on the condition that he gets 30 percent of fight night.

Later on, Nygma pesters Lee, asking why she didn't just let Sampson die. And, after they find her clinic trashed and raided, it seems like he's definitely got a point. Nygma repeats that it's time they do things his way, without diplomacy, and send Grundy in. However, Lee counters that she's got a better idea.

She and Nygma approach Sampson again, who mocks her for trusting him. In turn, she tells him he has a single day to clear out of the Narrows. When Sampson refuses, Lee reveals that she had his drink poisoned thirty minutes ago and the effects will kick in soon. At first he thinks it's a bluff, until he begins to cough and look extremely ill. Lee offers Sampson the only antidote on the condition that he leaves, and he hurriedly agrees to the deal.

Back at the fight club, Nygma complains that it was Lee who fixed the problem. He bemoans the fact that Sampson was right; he really is just a has-been. Lee says he's wrong and decides that since Nygma trusted her judgment, she'll trust him with the truth: her tests show that the initial damage from the ice has worn off. Whatever Nygma's problem is, it's psychological. She even points out that Nygma repeatedly warned her that Sampson would double-cross her, proving that his intellect is back. This leads to a sweet moment where we see a glimpse of Nygma's old self come through.

But when Nygma later goes to the bathroom to wash up, a hallucination of the Riddler appears in the mirror and begins to mock him. 

The Verdict
Plot C: I didn't mind this plot too much, given that it wasn't the main focus of the episode. However, I think the Pyg plot may have already run its course. Professor Pyg is a good villain, but I'm worried that if they use him too much in this season, it'll be a repeat of what happened last year with Mad Hatter. Mad Hatter was a decent villain, but I felt like he should've been limited to a two-episode arc. Instead, his storyline stretched across the entire first half of the season (and affected the outcome of the second half as well).

As I said, Pyg's a good villain, but I fail to see him being a major player in this season, like Sofia Falcone (or Ra's al Ghul, if he returns). That being said, it doesn't make sense to give him this much screen time. I'm hoping that the next appearance of Pyg will be his last—not because I dislike the character, but because I think it's time to start focusing on bigger, more important story arcs for this season.

Plot A: It's nice to see that Sofia, for the most part, has dropped her act of innocence. However, I wasn't sure how I felt about her larger plan. Most of it made sense, except for how much it relied on Gordon and the GCPD backing her up. But if she's still learning to follow in her father's footsteps, it makes sense that she might make mistakes. This is, after all, her first attempt at a takeover. I'm also glad to see that Gordon isn't backing down from his decision to cut off his partnership (and potential relationship) with Sofia. I just hope his common sense lasts.

The main thing I loved about this plot was Penguin's relationship with Martin. When the boy was first introduced, I thought he was just your typical sociopathic child stock character. However, his youth and vulnerability brought out a different, almost paternal side of Penguin. Their relationship is a good reminder that Penguin is someone who craves attention, friendship and compassion.

Plot B: Gotham has a knack for creating unexpected interactions between characters. And I've got to say, I'm loving this friendship between Lee and Nygma. As much as selfish as Nygma is, it really seems like he wants Lee to succeed. And like she said, he trusted her judgment, even when she made the wrong choice initially. He put his respect for her leadership over his personal safety, which would've been at risk if Sampson took over.

But the Riddler's return heralds another internal conflict for Nygma. So although I hope that he'll fight off his darker impulses and stay friends with Lee, I doubt that's the route the show is going to take. But given that we already saw Nygma struggle with his darker side in season 2, the writers will need to make an effort to differentiate this storyline from that one in a clear way. If Nygma goes full-on Riddler again, I want there to be a compelling reason for the change.

As for Lee, I'm pretty happy with what they've done with the character. It's cool to see her in this role of authority, doing unethical things but for the greater good. I also hope she fixes her clinic up again, and I'll tell you why: assuming that Bruce quits being a jerk and goes back to being a vigilante, I'd love to see him coming to her for medical help after a fight, mask or not. 

That's it for "Things That Go Boom." All in all, not a bad way to set up for the winter finale. No Bruce and Alfred in this episode, but that's probably for the best. There's only so much of Bruce's billionaire-brat phase I can take, and that will be returning in the next episode anyway. 

Got an opinion on Sofia's plan? Pyg's identity? Lee and Nygma's partnership? Leave a comment below. And with that, I leave you to whatever's left of your finals and wish you:

Friday, December 1, 2017

How to Throw a 'Star Wars' Christmas Party

It's finally December, which means the Christmas season is in full swing. In addition, we only have a matter of days until Star Wars: The Last Jedi releases in theaters. So in the spirit of fandom, why not combine the two celebrations and host a Star Wars Christmas party? Here are a few galactic ideas to get you started.


No party is complete with decorations. Since you'll be combining forces here, you want to mix it up a bit. A little bit of Star Wars, a little bit of Christmas. For starters, you can cut out some awesome paper snowflakes with these unique Star Wars patterns. You could also create a starry backdrop with black paper and cut out stars or even glow-in-the-dark stars to hang up with your snowflakes. (Something like this.) Maybe even add blinking Christmas lights and a few starships to mimic the Battle of Yavin 4, complete with a giant Death Star cut-out. (Or you can decorate your Christmas lights to look like lightsabers.)

Of course, the real decoration would be a full-blown Star Wars Christmas tree, complete with one of the various helmets as the tree topper. If that's too ambitious, you could settle with a Star Wars wreath to decorate your front door. For more ideas, you can create a Yoda countdown chain (either for Christmas or The Last Jedi release) or make a few Star Wars ornaments to set around the food table.

Speaking of...


One of the most important parts of a party is the food. Providing enough food or snacks for your guests will assure you have the most successful party in the galaxy! For a winter holiday atmosphere, you can make gingerbread cookies in the shape of Star Wars characters or these cute stormtrooper sugar cookies. Everybody likes chocolate covered pretzels, right? Add a little food coloring to the white chocolate and make them look like lightsabers instead. These would even double as a nice party favor.

Munchies like Star Wars themed popcorn or BB-8 Muddy Buddies will definitely satisfy anybody looking for something to snack on. You can use graham crackers and peanut butter (or Nutella) to create TIE-fighter s'mores, and this Bantha hot cocoa recipe is sure to warm up your guests.

If you need other Star Wars themed foods, check out the Star Wars Cook Book, and you can even make Wookiee cookies for Wookiee Life Day!

Though, your Wookiee cookies will never be this cute. (source)


Another part of a party includes activities to keep your guests entertained. There are probably countless Star Wars related games designed for 12 year-old birthday parties, but why not make things interesting by playing pin the Santa hat on... well, any character from Star Wars. Darth Vader, Jabba the Hutt, Yoda, even Boba Fett--the possibilities are endless.

If you're in a crafty party mood, you can make light-up cards using a similar pattern to these May the Fourth Be With You cards, only give it a Christmas twist. You can also host an ugly sweater contest, since there are a plethora of Star Wars ugly sweaters to buy (or even to make).

When in doubt, you can always search the Outer Rim to find a copy of the Star Wars Holiday Special and enjoy ninety minutes of Wookiee and other bizarre things. Or... create a bingo card to go along with the viewing to make the night truly memorable.

Just in case this isn't memorable enough... (source)

Overall, make the party fun and your guests will do the rest. Decorate to your heart's desire, blending Christmas decorations with Star Wars themes and vice versa. Fill your table with yummy food and your house with good cheer, and your party guests will go home full and happy. Also, don't forget the music.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

'Gotham' Recap: "Let Them Eat Pie" (4x09)

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means.

No. Well, yes, but no. It is Hump Day, but more importantly, it's time for another Gotham recap. This week's episode, "Let Them Eat Pie," follows two plotlines. The first revolves around the latest scheme of Professor Pyg and its effect on Gordon, Sofia, and Penguin. The second revolves around Bruce Wayne being a supreme billionaire brat. Let's begin with the first plot.

Warning for spoilers, violence, implied underage drinking, and some very disturbing subject matter.

Plot A: Pyg's Modest Proposal

The episode begins with Pyg, disguised as some kind of religious official, taking the poor into his van with the promise of feeding them a good meal. And I've just got to say, if you lived in a town like Gotham, why would you accept food from a total stranger? Yes, you're starving. Yes, he looks like a priest/rabbi. Still, that's just a disaster waiting to happen.

But I digress. Pyg takes some homeless people to a dinner of his own preparation and photographs each of them, labeling the photos with their names. He tells the people there are two categories of Gotham's citizens: the haves and the have-nots. As he tells them this, each person collapses on their plate, dead from poison. Pyg continues to monologue and promises that the "haves" of Gotham will taste what it is to be a "have-not."

(If you saw the Red Band trailer on YouTube, you know where this is going.)

Over at the GCPD, Harvey moves the last of his things out of Gordon's new office before preparing to go on leave. Gordon says he didn't want his promotion to happen like this. Harvey bitterly says that it is what it is. He also points out that a lot of what's going on in Gotham's underworld is indirectly Jim's fault for sparing Penguin.

Harvey insists that Gordon still doesn't understand how the city works. "Gotham doesn't need heroes," Harvey says. "It needs people who will do what's necessary." Gordon argues that the people of Gotham will learn to follow his example. He tells Harvey that there'll be a desk waiting for him when he returns from leave, but Harvey isn't so sure there'll be anything for him to do in the GCPD.

Over at the Falcone Orphanage, Sofia prepares for a fundraiser dinner that will feature the wealthiest citizens of Gotham. She asks Penguin to attend, but he's upset over Gordon's promotion. She points out that someone must have paid off the mayor, but that doesn't explain why Penguin can't come to her dinner. Penguin explains that the mayor is missing and he needs to find out who bribed him. Sofia says that it would mean a lot to Martin (the silent boy from the previous episode) if Penguin could attend, as he and some other orphans will be performing a song. Penguin agrees to consider coming. 

After Sofia exits, Mr. Penn asks why, if Penguin suspects Sofia, he doesn't just have Zsasz interrogate her. Penguin replies that Sofia is his only friend and he needs proof of her betrayal before he acts. The solution? Have Martin spy on Sofia. 

In the next room, Sofia (who seems to have overheard Penguin's conversation) calls Gordon's cell phone to tell him that Penguin suspects their partnership. He thanks her for the warning, but tells her not to call him again. After he hangs up, Harper tells Gordon there's a call for him on line one.

Who is it? Professor Pyg. He tells Gordon that he was right about Gotham's rot going from high to low and that the second phase of his plan is to hurt Gotham's elite. As Harper tracks the call, she realizes that Pyg is outside the precinct. She and Gordon rush outside, only to find a tent set up by Pyg. Citizens swarm it, disgusted at what's inside: two dead people dressed as French aristocrats, with pigs beginning to eat them. A card reads: "Vive la revolution." 

Thankfully, everyone's fave is here to help: Lucius Fox.

Lucius is able to ascertain that the victims were homeless. He also tells Gordon that Pyg removed organs from his victims. Gordon wonders why Pyg would go after the homeless. Lucius suggests that it was an act of madness, but Gordon insists that Pyg always has a plan. He decides to search the Narrow for Pyg.

As Gordon widens the radius of cops searching in the Narrows, Harper tells him that chemicals found on the victims are commonly used in paper manufacturing. The two of them decide to search a nearby paper factory. There, they find more dead homeless people, along with a smoker—causing Gordon to realize that Pyg's been cooking his victims. Gordon and Harper encounter Pyg outside the factory, but Pyg manages to stab Harper and take her hostage. He tells Gordon that the plan has to be seen through and that no one can eat until the table has been set. Gordon offers to be his hostage instead, but Pyg refuses, saying that both Gordon and Gotham have to see his final act.

Meanwhile, Penguin tells Martin that he suspects Sofia. He explains that she may only be pretending to be Penguin's friend. Penguin also suggests that she's using Martin. He continues, saying that there are two options: either Sofia chose Martin to get close to Penguin and prepared him for the role, or she simply picked a group of children and hoped one would get close enough to Penguin to make him vulnerable. Penguin tells Martin that in the second version, the boy would be innocent, which is what he wants to believe. In order to prove their friendship is real, Martin must spy on Sofia. Martin, though scared and upset, agrees.

Back in the narrows, the press asks Gordon for answers. He says that the GCPD is hopeful for Harper's safe return and will catch the Pyg. The press, in turn, asks if Gordon will be pushed aside like Harvey if he fails. He refuses to comment on that. They also ask him if it's true that Pyg is cooking his victims. Gordon, confused as to how they could've gotten that information, doesn't confirm or deny it. 

Gordon later confides to Lucius that he's worried there's a mole in the department, but Lucius points out that Pyg could've leaked that information himself. As the two of them search the Narrows, they find a painted excerpt from Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal." Lucius explains to Gordon that the work suggested that the rich of England, who had already profited off the poor, should actually eat the poor. Gordon notes that the passage specifically mentions orphans, leading him to realize that Pyg will strike at Sofia's dinner. 

Gordon tells Lucius that he's going in alone so that none of the other cops will get lead into a trap. (As heroic as that sounds, however, I think being captain means that Gordon will have to eventually drop this lone-wolf attitude.)

At the orphanage, Sofia speaks with the chef (Pyg in disguise), who has added one item to the menu: Gotham meat pies, which are "to die for."

Sofia then greets Penguin, noting that Martin is happy to see him as well. She asks if he was able to find the mayor, and he replies that he was not. She then says she needs to check on the chef again since he seemed a little odd. Martin follows Sofia in an attempt to spy on her, but she asks what he's writing down.

Meanwhile, Gordon sneaks into the party but gets knocked out by Pyg's henchman and wakes up next to Harper, who's tied up and gagged with duct tape.

Back at the dinner, Sofia thanks Penguin for showing up in support of her orphanage and tells him that the children are about to sing. She tells him that things happen for a reason and hints that the person who got Gordon appointed as captain may have saved Penguin from the error of licensing crime. Penguin, however, says the person was trying to destroy him and tells Sofia that if she's going to confess, she should do it now and face the consequences. But before she can respond, Pyg walks in on them with a cleaver in his hand and announces that it's time to be seated.

The scene then cuts to Harper and Gordon, who manage to get loose, thanks to the former having a hidden blade strapped to her leg. 

(Seriously, I'm glad that Harper is shown as a competent cop and also that she survived this episode. When Pyg stabbed her, I was pretty worried.)

Back at the dinner party, Penguin asks Sofia if having Pyg show up is another one of her plans. Sofia is quick to tell him it's not. Pyg then announces a change in the evening's entertainment: he'll be performing the "Meat Pie Tango." The song is a parody of Chicago: The Musical's "Cell Block Tango" in which he sings about how the rich deserve punishment for neglecting the poor. Martin, a hostage of Pyg, plays a triangle during the song when told to.

Sofia asks where the other children are and is about to threaten Pyg, but he stabs her in the hand with a knife and tells Penguin that if he pulls it out, the next one goes in her eye. Pyg then explains that the children are safely locked up with the rest of Sofia's staff. 

He then explains that it is time for the rich to literally feed on the poor and tells the guests to open the envelopes next to their plates. Each one has a picture of the person that he used to make each pie. Penguin initially refuses to eat his. (I find that odd, since he was completely fine with cooking his step-siblings into a pot roast in season 2. Then again, we didn't see him eat the roast; he only implied that he had. Or maybe he doesn't want to eat innocent people). 

Pyg says that the guests must eat the pies, or else he'll kill Martin. One guest says he's not going to eat human flesh just to save one orphan. Penguin responds by ripping the knife out of Sofia's hand and stabbing that man in the head with it. Pyg, barely shaken, tells Penguin it's no coincidence that he came to the banquet. The people of Gotham prey on the poor, he says, and "You are the biggest glutton of them all."

Penguin, worried for Martin, dives into eating his pie.

Despite his sarcastic enthusiasm, Penguin is visibly disgusted by the taste of the pies. Still, he yells at the other guests that if they don't eat, he'll hunt them down and kill them. They reluctantly begin to join in, but Sofia can't feed herself because of her injured hand, so Penguin has to cut up the pie and feed it to her.

Gordon rushes in and shoots Pyg's men. Penguin yells at him to stop for Martin's sake, but Gordon presses onward as all the guests flee, along with Martin. After a somewhat lengthy fight involving knife-and-cleaver throwing, Gordon manages to get the upper hand on Pyg and bring him into custody.

Later, Penguin asks about Sofia's hand. She says it's all right, and he tells her that Martin is also unharmed. He then gets her to confess to making Gordon captain and says that, whether or not she truly had his (Penguin's) best interest in mind, she went behind his back. However, given her willingness to eat the pie to save Martin, Penguin decides to give her a second chance, provided she doesn't betray him again. He also agrees to get rid of the licenses but says he still needs to appoint a different captain. Sofia says that Gordon means "less than nothing" to her, but it's unclear if she's telling the truth.

Speaking of Gordon, he announces to the press that Pyg is under arrest and Harper is recovering in the hospital. The reporters actually thank Gordon for catching the criminal. As he leaves the press, he notices Sofia staring at him out of a window.

He later joins her inside. She says Gordon was the hero, and it proves he deserves to be captain. He replies that he does deserve the job, but he's going to make sure the city gets justice.  Sofia insists that she wants the same thing and that they're not enemies. She then kisses Gordon, who looks very unsure of what to do.

However, Martin sees the kiss and reports it back to Penguin, who thanks him but swears that Sofia will pay for betraying him. Sofia, I have one thing to say:

Still, it seems like Sofia's usually on top of things. Is this a part of her master plan? Only time will tell.

Plot B: Step aside Zuko, there's a new king of angst.

A hungover Bruce trudges into the kitchen and demands breakfast, but Alfred replies that he already ate it himself and tells Bruce it's nearly lunchtime. Bruce blearily asks for a coffee, causing Alfred to conclude that he's been out with Tommy and co. again. Alfred tells Bruce that he's lost and compares the boy to soldiers who can't return to normal life after the war. He says that Bruce has been fueled by vengeance for so long that he doesn't know what to do without it. Bruce mutters that he doesn't care and tries to call Tommy.

Alfred, however, grabs his phone and reminds Bruce that it's the day of their annual camping trip, which brings back some season 1 nostalgia.

(During episode 1x15, "The Scarecrow," Bruce tried to complete his and his father's annual camping trip alone, only to have Alfred follow him because he knew he couldn't do it on his own. Part of the tradition is that Bruce and Thomas would place stones with their initials in a pile for each year they made the journey.)

Alfred shows Bruce the stones and says that he needs to go on the trip because he needs to remember who he is.

Later, as they sit next to a fire eating stew, Alfred tells a petulant Bruce about how he first met Thomas Wayne. It was shortly after Alfred left the army. He had taken to drinking, getting in fights, and anything that resulted in general mayhem. One morning, Alfred woke up bloody in an alleyway with no memory of the night before. He decided to turn himself in, but they told him to wait. 

As Alfred waited, he met a preppy-looking American man who asked what happened. Before he knew it, Alfred told the man everything he'd been keeping inside, all of his misery and shame. Afterwards, the man (Thomas Wayne) covered for him by saying that Alfred had saved him from being attacked.

Alfred tells Bruce that his friendship with Thomas is what saved his life. He says he knows what it's like to want the world to punish you and insists that he wants to help Bruce. Bruce says that he just doesn't want to talk and walks over to the packs. He says the stones aren't there and must've fallen out in the car. Bruce takes the keys—only to drive off without Alfred.

Later that night, Alfred returns to Wayne Manor only to see Bruce throwing a wild party. Bruce cheerily asks him how his walk was. Alfred replies that his friends need to leave, but Bruce says they're staying because it's his house. Tommy says Alfred is out of line and needs to be kept in check, but Alfred tells him to back off. Tommy decides to leave and take his friends to a club.

After they exit, Alfred says Bruce has shown a different side of himself. Bruce replies that Alfred doesn't understand what he's going through (which is utter B.S.). He says that they're nothing alike and that Alfred can't help him. By killing Ra's al Ghul, he avenged his parents, but it didn't change anything. Bruce wonders why he did it if it didn't change anything and asks how Alfred could possibly help that. Alfred insists that Bruce needs to talk to him and face who he is. But Bruce gives a heartbreaking reply:

Bruce then leaves to join Tommy and the rest of the gang at the club.

The Verdict:

Plot A: Gruesome, but nothing spectacular. As interesting as this plot was, it mainly only worked because of the shock factor of cannibalism. Other than that, I'd have to agree with the AV Club that this episode was a little lackluster. Still, it wasn't a bad plot. I'd give it about a 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-10.

Plot B: Looks like they're not pulling any punches with this storyline. Bruce is lashing out at the person who cares about him most, and it's heartbreaking to see. Still, I like that the second the guests leave, he turns from a carefree partier back into his angrier self—which shows that the party-boy side of him is still just a mask. However, while he'll use it in the future to keep people from suspecting his vigilante activities, he's using it here as a way to escape the horror of what he's done.

As painful as this was to watch, I'd still say it's necessary, both as a means to developing Bruce's playboy persona and showing his inner turmoil after Ra's death. And as I said earlier, I'm confident that his jerk phase won't last too much longer—I agree with YouTuber BobaTalks that Bruce will probably sober up and suit up during the mid-season finale to fight a familiar foe. It's a confrontation I'm looking forward to seeing.

Overall, the episode was all right. I think it was more of a transitional story, as it appears to have set up confrontations that will come to a head next week. I hope you enjoyed this week's recap! If you have any questions, theories, or opinions about the episode, don't hesitate to comment on this post.

Also, just a note: there will not be a new episode airing tomorrow, most likely due to it being Thanksgiving. So my next recap won't be for another two weeks. Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving and don't eat any pies!