In the Gotham midseason finale and the two episodes leading up to it, we are introduced to some very important things — the Lovecraft subplot, the man who will eventually be known as Two-Face, and the moment that Bruce Wayne first met Catwoman.
Without further ado, let’s begin. Spoilers ahead!
Episode 8. The Mask:
Things seem to have hit rock bottom in Jim Gordon’s life. His fiancee, Barbara, has been suffering terrible anxiety since being held hostage by Victor Zsasz, and almost accidentally shoots Jim when he comes home one night. At work, people are still shunning him out of anger. Harvey continues to try to convince him to go along to get along, but Jim continues to fight the city’s corrupt system, sometimes to a radical degree (as we saw last time, when he attempted to arrest the mayor and Falcone). He even jails one of their best sources for being involved in the black market.
The detectives find a man who was beaten to death and has a severed thumb in his mouth. In their search for the man with the severed finger, they are led to Sionis Investments. There they meet Richard Sionis, who seems to have quite a fondness for violence. His office is filled with battle gear, and he seems entranced by the fact Jim fought in a war.
Outside his office, all his employees seem to have suffered a lot of injuries lately. They follow a trail of blood, which leads them to the man with the severed finger.
They bring the man in to question him. He tells them that the employees at Sionis Investments had to fight other applicants to get their jobs. But before he can sign a statement, his lawyer shows up and says all statements made by his client will be considered to be made under duress. Eddie does some research and discovers four people have died of office-related injuries in the last three years.
Jim goes missing after deciding to look for possible places the fights are being held. Harvey tries to get the other cops to help look for him. They’re reluctant at first, but join in after Essen volunteers.
Meanwhile, Jim has found the place where the fights occur. It’s a dark office containing people locked in cages. Someone tasers Jim, and when he wakes up, he finds he’s the target of the next fight. Sionis tells the fighters that whoever kills Jim gets the job. Jim announces he’s a cop and reminds them that they haven’t committed any crimes yet and can still walk away. This seems to have an effect on them. That is, until Sionis throws in a million dollar signing bonus.
Jim manages to take all of them out. Sionis enters the office wearing a black mask, and decides to kill Jim himself. Jim gets the upper hand, but chooses not to kill Sionis. Essen finds and enters the office just in time to warn Jim about Sionis attacking him from behind, and Jim knocks him out.
Throughout the episode, both Barbara and Harvey hint to Jim they think the real reason behind his mission to clean up Gotham is because he secretly likes the fight. Jim says he doesn’t like to fight, but he isn’t afraid to either, and that he will never stop trying to save Gotham.
Essen remarks that there have been many strange crimes taking place lately, and they seem to have started right after the Wayne murder occurred.
Meanwhile, Bruce is having trouble with a bully at school — the bully, by the way, being Tommy Elliot, a future Hush.
Alfred is disappointed that Bruce didn’t beat up the bully, so he takes Bruce to Tommy’s house and has him beat Tommy up there. Alfred then tells Tommy to remember he let Bruce do it. He also gives Bruce Thomas Wayne’s watch. Later, Bruce is feeling guilty that he enjoyed beating up the bully. He asks Alfred to teach him how to fight.
At the GCPD, Eddie tries to sneak in and perform an autopsy himself.
He becomes a bit ruffled when he’s caught and kicked out of the room.
At a church confessional, Fish and Liza meet in secret. Fish gives Liza a sleeping potion for Falcone. While Falcone sleeps, Liza is to get his keyring, open his desk, and copy down the last two pages from his ledger. Fish becomes concerned when Liza asks if the potion will hurt Falcone, and she wonders if Liza is starting to develop feelings for him. Later, after she has done what Fish asked and brought the papers, Liza says she wants out. Fish says no. Liza reminds Fish of all the power she already has. Why would she want more? Fish tells her a story about when she was a little girl, one of Falcone’s men killed her prostitute mother because he didn’t like the service. Ever since then, she vowed to never let any man be over her. The story seems to have the desired effect on Liza. To top it off, Fish finally allows Liza to call her “mama”. After Liza is out of earshot, a woman — who’s hinted to be Fish’s mother — asks why Fish told that story. She replies that a lie with a heart of truth is a powerful thing.
After taking a brooch from a wealthy woman, Oswald offers it to Fish as a peace offering. Instead of accepting it, Fish stabs his hand. Oswald leaves with it, and gives the brooch to his mother instead. We’re shown further glimpses into how Getrud shaped Oswald’s personality, when we learn she once got rid of an enemy by denouncing her father to the secret police. We also see her catch a rat by finding out its "secret desire".
Oswald meets Timothy, the man who replaced him in Fish’s employment. He has Timothy brought to him, tortured, and killed. But not before learning that Fish has someone close to Falcone working as her mole.
Episode 9. Harvey Dent:
We start the episode by meeting a very important character: Harvey Dent (not to be confused with Harvey Bullock. Since we have two Harveys on the show now, I will refer to the newest Harvey as just “Dent“).
The future Two-Face, with his two-headed coin, is encouraging a young delinquent to reform his ways when he is introduced to Jim Gordon. Montoya and Allen are hoping Dent can help Jim solve the Wayne case.
Dent’s main suspect is Dick Lovecraft, a corrupt billionaire who had dealings with Falcone, Maroni, and a long feud with Thomas Wayne. Dent comes up with a plan to pressure Lovecraft into revealing information, by letting false rumors slip that they have a witness who can testify to Lovecraft’s involvement. Jim agrees to the plan, as long as everything is kept anonymous.
Dent brings Lovecraft in, claiming to have a witness to him murdering the Waynes. During the conversation, Dent suddenly snaps into a fit of rage and then immediately snaps back to his calm demeanor.
Afterward, Dent says Lovecraft acted scared and therefore must be guilty, but Jim is doubtful.
Jim takes Cat, who was recently brought in for theft, to his apartment. There he finds a note from Barbara saying she couldn’t handle Jim’s life after all, and is leaving for awhile to try to get herself back together. Jim gets the charges on Cat dropped, and asks her to draw a picture of the Wayne killer.
Is it just me, or does that picture look a bit like either Butch or Mayor James?
Jim plans on having Cat stay at Wayne Manor for her safety. He also hopes that if she forms an emotional bond with Bruce, she’ll be more likely to stick around to testify. Bruce seems a bit disturbed to find out someone witnessed everything. And Alfred is not at all keen on the idea of having a street thief stay in the mansion. But Bruce ends up insisting she stay there, since she’s the best chance they have of solving the case.
Once at Wayne Manor, Cat has some reservations about Bruce. She finds his formality amusing, and his wealth and privilege does not exactly endear him to her.
Cat finds him all the more strange when she hears about his training. And when she finds Bruce practicing holding his breath in the hopes that it will help him become stronger, she tells him, “Out there on the streets, it’s not enough to be strong. You got to be mean. You got to be ruthless. Well you ain’t. You’re a nice kid.”
Bruce does his best to treat her warmly, but she remains cold. Cat also ends up getting angry with him when he asks her about her parents. Alfred, who thinks Cat is a “cheeky little minx”, calls Jim and says things aren’t working out with Cat staying there. Jim tells him to hold on a bit longer.
Bruce and Cat talk for awhile after he catches her trying to sneak out of the mansion. He tells her that if she wants to leave, they can call her a cab. He also apologizes for upsetting her, but she pretends she was never upset. We find out the reason Bruce is disturbed at her witnessing everything is because he’s ashamed he didn’t do something to save his parents. Cat tells him there’s nothing he could have done. She then starts telling him fake stories about her mom being a millionaire and a secret agent. Bruce knows she’s lying, but decides to play along. Cat asks if he’s ever kissed a girl before, but Alfred interrupts them before anything can come of that.
Bruce and Cat begin to grow closer. She realizes he may be privileged and naïve, but he is also sharp-minded and foolishly brave. She continues to flirt with Bruce.
And Alfred, seeing how her presence is beginning to bring out the fun in Bruce, calls Jim back and says they will continue to allow Cat to stay there, as they find her a breath of fresh air.
Meanwhile, a genius bomb maker named Ian Hargrove is broken out of Blackgate Penitentiary by a group of gunmen. Now, with his help, they are using explosives to steal explosives. The GCPD brings Hargrove’s brother, John, in for questioning. John tells them that Hargrove isn’t a bad man; he has mental problems, and what crimes he commits he does so because he thinks it’s for a good cause. A nameplate from one of the explosions leads them to Hargrove himself, who says he’s being forced to work for the gunmen — a group of Russians plotting against Falcone — or they’ll hurt his family. The Russians come and, after a shootout with Jim and Harvey, escape with Hargrove once more. Essen puts Hargrove’s family members in protective custody, but unfortunately Hargrove is not aware of this.
Eddie runs some tests on Hargrove’s explosives and finds it is specifically designed to penetrate iron. And the only place that uses iron vaults is the Gotham Armory, owned by Falcone. Jim and Harvey head there to find the gunmen and Hargrove breaking in. They tell Hargrove his family is protected, and have him back away from the gunmen’s van before it suddenly explodes. All but Hargrove, Jim, and Harvey are killed in the explosion. Later, they discover Hargrove is being moved from Blackgate to Arkham.
We find out that the head gunman, Kasyanov, once worked for Nicolai. He’d been trying to get revenge on Falcone after Fish told him Falcone was responsible for Nicolai‘s death. The bomb that blew up the van was Butch’s, which was triggered on Fish’s orders when the cops came.
Back at the GCPD, Eddie is trying (and failing) to make friends with his coworkers.
And Jim is trying hard to get hold of Barbara. What he doesn’t know is that she’s secretly sleeping with Montoya again.
With the tip he got from Timothy, Oswald is on a search to find out who Fish employed to get close to Falcone. He figures out it’s Liza when he discovers she wears the same perfume as Fish. Oswald breaks into Liza’s apartment and threatens to plant suspicion against her in Falcone if she doesn’t do as he says. He decides to use Liza as his own personal spy, saying she must spy on Fish for him if she wants to live.
Episode 10. Lovecraft:
At Wayne Manor, Cat is now helping Bruce in his training. But she also advises him to just get over his parents’ death, rather than continue to investigate it. When she asks again if he wants to kiss her, Bruce refuses her, saying he suspects she has an ulterior motive. He says that, while she may be a good person, she isn’t a nice person. Cat gets angry and stops helping him.
A woman manages to get inside Wayne manor by pretending to need help. It turns out she’s come to kill Cat. Alfred fights her while the kids escape. The intruder escapes as well.
When the GCPD arrives, Harvey finds a picture of Cat that was dropped by the intruder. He asks what’s going on, and Jim fills him in on the Lovecraft plan Dent came up with. It was meant to be kept anonymous, but word must have spread somehow that Cat was the witness. While Harvey and Alfred decide to track down the kids, Jim goes after Lovecraft to try to get him to call off the hit on Cat.
Jim becomes very angry when he discovers Dent leaked his name to gain credibility, and that’s how Cat was found. Dent helps Jim figure out where Lovecraft might be staying, since he isn’t at home. Eventually, Jim finds Lovecraft hiding from the same people who went after Cat.
Lovecraft says he’s not a big wheel like people think he is; he’s a nobody; and there are a lot of things Jim is in the dark about. He says he has some information for Jim. But at that moment, Copperhead, the woman who tried to kill Cat, arrives and knocks Jim out. When he wakes, he finds Lovecraft dead, shot with Jim’s gun.
With a tip they got from one of the GCPD’s street kid contacts, Harvey and Alfred go looking for Cat’s new fence. They decide to try asking Fish where they might find him. At first, Butch won’t let them talk to Fish, but Alfred holds Butch down and puts a knife to his throat. Fish talks to them, but is reluctant to help. Alfred tells her, “I can see you’re not a woman who would let petty self-interest outweigh honor and compassion.” She seems taken aback by this compliment. Fish agrees to help, but says to remember her kindness later. They learn the fence’s name is Clyde.
Meanwhile, Bruce and Cat are roaming Gotham, trying to shake the trail of the killers after them. Cat scares Bruce by telling him the woman is actually after him instead of her, because of all the detective work he’s been doing. She seems to enjoy spending time with Bruce, but Bruce is more concerned about whether or not Alfred is okay.
After giving him money to call Alfred to see if he’s okay, Cat admits that she was lying about Bruce being the killer’s target. She wanted him to be scared, so that he would stay with her and they could hang out longer. Bruce gets angry at her. She tells him he was right about her not being a nice person. Cat also reveals that she was never planning on testifying in the case of his parents’ murder. Then, she ditches him, and he tries to follow.
He chases her up a building, but she jumps across it to another building. Cat smiles at him smugly, because she knows he can’t jump as long a way as she can, and so thinks she’s gotten away. But to her surprise, Bruce makes an attempt. He makes it across, but barely; Cat pulls him forward when he almost falls.
Cat says Bruce can follow her as long as he goes by her rules. He agrees. She takes him to The Flea, where all the street kids hang out, and gives him some grungy looking clothes to help him fit in. There, they run into Ivy, who seems to be in an even worse state than when we last saw her. Her mother committed suicide, and Ivy was adopted by a family she ended up not staying with because she didn’t like their rules. We learn she is still very bitter over her father’s death. She doesn’t blame Bruce for this, however, and even gives a lame attempt at flirting with him (I… think?).
Cat warns Bruce about her, telling him she’s “scary”, and takes him to see her fence Clyde. Cat tries to sell Clyde a collection of Bruce’s possessions —including his father’s watch — without his permission, but Clyde won’t give her a reasonable price. She attempts to leave, but Clyde stops her, saying he’s going to keep them there for someone who wants them. Of course, that someone is Copperhead. She arrives on the scene, but so does Alfred, Harvey, and Jim. A shootout ensues as they look for the children. Cat escapes, but so does Copperhead. Bruce is happily reunited with Alfred.
Falcone finds out about the armory robbery. But instead of suspecting Liza of spying on him for Fish, he suspects Oswald of betraying him to Maroni. Oswald is brought in, who denies any involvement. Instead, he says the suspicion should be placed on Fish. Falcone doesn’t trust this statement, as he knows Oswald holds a grudge against Fish. Oswald tells Falcone he must have a mole, and that he’ll find the mole for him. In private, Oswald tells one of his men, Gabe, that it’s too early to reveal Liza as the mole.
Falcone gathers his people together, where he suddenly shoots his armory guard in front of everyone. He then informs everyone that tariffs will be increased until the reserves are built up again. Fish decides to use this to her advantage. In private, she tells Butch to reach out to two of Falcone’s other men, Saviano and Turski. Since they’re angry about the new tariff, maybe they can be persuaded to turn on Falcone as well.
When Mayor James hears that Lovecraft has been killed, he decides to use that to take down Jim. Dent, thinking he’ll go down with Jim, tells the mayor this is highly unfair. But when the mayor says he’ll only take Jim down, Dent protests, but not as much — something the mayor is quick to point out. It seems Dent can be a bit two-faced in his friendships (heh. See what they did there). “Dent knows how to walk the line,” Mayor James says to Jim. “He knows where the edge is. You, Mr. Gordon, do not know where the edge is.” With Dent by his side, the mayor makes a public statement that Jim’s tactics drove Lovecraft to suicide.
As punishment, Jim is being sent to work as a security guard at Arkham Asylum. The one most upset about this announcement seems to be Eddie, who says he’s going to write a letter protesting this, and suddenly embraces Jim before running away distraught.
…And Jim and Harvey promptly begin making fun of him. *siiiigghh*
Jim says goodbye to Harvey, and they part on good terms.
Late one night, Cat visits Bruce. She gives him his possessions back (except for one). Before she leaves, she kisses him.
Alfred comes to Bruce’s side and remarks, “The old house seems very quiet without her.”
So many interesting things were introduced in these episodes. Harvey Dent, the Hush cameo, Copperhead, the sudden death of Lovecraft, Jim being assigned work at Arkham Asylum. But I think what stands out the most to me is Bruce finally meeting Cat. The baby bat and baby cat are just a joy to watch. And I love how their relationship already echoes the one they’ll have as adults. What especially amazes me is how the child actors on this show are every bit as good as the adult actors. That’s a rare talent to find in people so young.
It was also nice finally seeing Bruce return affection for Alfred.
Another thing that interested me is, when Oswald first talks to Liza after breaking into her apartment, he says, “You know who I am.” And she nods. I’m curious about how much these two know about each other. We’ve never seen them together in a scene before, yet they are familiar with each other. How much does Liza know about him and Falcone? Will Oswald eventually plant suspicion in Falcone against her? Or will Liza turn it around and instead plant suspicion in Falcone against him? I’m interested in finding out where their new connection will lead.
And we’ve recapped all ten episodes that have aired so far! Join us tomorrow, when we’ll take a look at the series so far and speculate on what might be coming up next on the show.