Wednesday, March 21, 2018

'Gotham' Recap: "Reunion" (4x14)

Right now, you've probably reached the point in your week where you're absolutely longing for a gif-filled recap of the Batman equivalent of Smallville. Or maybe you're just surfing the internet, found this recap, and decided to read it because you've got nothing better to do. Either way, settle in, because it's time for another Gotham recap.

This week's episode, "Reunion," focuses on four plots: Ivy's attempt to turn all of Gotham's citizens into fertilizer (what else is new), Bruce's attempts to get Alfred back into his life, Lee's attempts to appease Sofia Falcone, and Nygma's attempts to quiet his other half.

Before we get started, let me just issue a warning for spoilers, violence, suicidal themes, and more plant-based murder. Settle in, folks. This is gonna be a bumpy ride.

Plot A: Little Town of Horrors.

Ivy goes to the Narrows looking for Harvey at the bar, but the other staff members say he's out. They ask if she wants to leave a message, and Ivy says she does—and she'll turn them into the message. She then takes out a flowery plant (the same one from the end of last week's episode) and blows its seeds at everyone around her.

Later, Lucius and the GCPD examine the aftermath of Ivy's killing spree at the bar. The victims all have the flowers sprouting from their bodies, and Lucius remarks that this new growth is more aggressive than Ivy's original toxin. He also adds that she increased the toxicity of the flower and used its airborne seeds to infect her victims. Gordon, remembering how Harvey killed Ivy's father, goes to check Harvey's apartment.

After Harvey wakes up, Gordon fills him in on Ivy's attack at the bar and how she wants revenge for her father's death. Harvey angrily snaps that Gordon can't blame him for this because he only shot Mario Pepper to save Gordon. Their argument is then cut off by a news broadcast of a video message sent in by Ivy. She tells the viewers that plants give life, but humans kill them in return. Ivy says it's human nature to do so and remarks that everyone she knows has either hurt or betrayed her. Her solution? Give the city back to the plants, starting with everyone who hurt her.

Harvey realizes that she intends to start with him, and Gordon says he should go to the precinct where he'll be safe. (Clearly, Gordon has forgotten about the six or seven times villains have invaded that precinct). Harvey says no. People have already died because of him, so he'll find Ivy himself. Gordon offers to come with him, but Harvey refuses.

While Harvey goes off on his own, Gordon heads back to the house that Ivy used as her headquarters for a couple of episodes. There are several pots lying around, and he notices that Ivy's been going through the gowns of the deceased owner. Selina, leaning by an open window, asks what Gordon's going to do when he finds Ivy. He replies that Selina should've told the GCPD where Ivy was staying, but Selina points out that he wasn't able to stop Ivy the last time they met, so he probably wouldn't have been able to stop her the second time.

Selina says she came back to try and reason with Ivy. Gordon says that Ivy is a fanatic, but Selina insists that Ivy is still her friend. Gordon says Selina needs to call him if she finds Ivy again or else stay out of his way.

Later on, Gordon gets a call from Harvey, who says he's got a lead on Ivy in the Narrows. Gordon meets up with him, only for Ivy to step out of the shadows. Harvey then draws his gun on Gordon, revealing that he's been hypnotized. Gordon drops his gun at Ivy's request, and she asks if he believes in fate. Ivy said that missing Harvey at the bar was disappointing but admits it's fortunate that he found her, as she was able to use him to deliver Gordon. Gordon says Ivy needs to get help, but she says she's got places to go and people to kill. Before leaving, however, she tells Bullock to shoot Gordon and then himself.

Gordon manages to distract Harvey by asking if Ivy's hair is more scarlet or auburn and then runs off as Harvey ponders the question. After shooting at Gordon a bit, Harvey reloads and says that Gordon always underestimated him. He adds that Gordon stole his job, but Gordon says that Harvey only got it because Essen died and Barnes went nuts. He also remarks that Harvey shot Patel and couldn't face her afterward. Gordon calls Harvey a coward, and Harvey reacts with rage. Gordon, however, manages to get the best of him and punches him out.

Once Harvey wakes up, Gordon asks if Ivy left any clues about her next target. Harvey says she mentioned something about people who get rich by murdering plants. Gordon remembers the clothes strewn around Ivy's house and surmises that she's going to some sort of charity gala. After learning that the Wayne Foundation Dinner is that night, he decides to assemble the strike force since Harvey says Ivy's got hypnotized henchmen.

Instead of going with Gordon, however, Harvey says he'll man the phones at the GCPD because he feels like he can't trust himself. He says he blamed Gordon for too long when he should've been blaming himself. Gordon, instead of taking that as a well-placed opportunity to apologize, merely says he'll call to check in.

After Bruce gives a speech at the Wayne Foundation Dinner (more on that in Plot B), Ivy steps onstage and introduces herself. The guests react with horror, but she tells them to stay seated and brings in gunmen to reinforce the command.

Ivy then examines the centerpieces, saying that they contain lovely crimson flowers. She plucks one from a table, revealing it to be the same toxic species she used at the bar. She then approaches a male guest and uses him as a demonstration of what her flowers can do.

Bruce, having left the dinner before Ivy arrived, runs into Gordon and the strike force. Gordon, after hearing screams from inside the main room, tells Bruce to leave. Gordon then storms the dinner with the strike force.

Back at the dinner, Ivy tells the guests that she's going to turn the room into a beautiful garden. Alfred steps forward to try and stop her but gets knocked out by a gunman. Ivy decides to kill him next, but the GCPD enters before she can get started. Ivy, somewhat miffed, tells her gunmen to kill everyone and exits before the GCPD can catch her.

Thankfully, they at least manage to stop the gunmen. So that's something.

She then returns to "her" house and rummages through her things before finding a small pouch that the GCPD overlooked (nice going, Gordon). Selina, stepping out of the shadows, says she heard about Ivy's attack on the Wayne Foundation. Ivy admits that it didn't go as planned, but Selina points out that she survived the GCPD's counterattack. She says Ivy's always been a survivor, and Ivy says she learned that from Selina.

Selina asks what's in Ivy's bag. Ivy opens it to reveal a tiny bottle containing the last of the Lazarus pit water she stole. Selina says that she's not going to let Ivy use the water to make more killer plants, and pulls out her whip. She uses it to grab Ivy's wrist.

Selina whips the bottle out of Ivy's hand, and they begin to fight. Ivy warns that one scratch is all it'll take to kill Selina and says there's no antidote this time. Selina, however, manages to grab the bottle and threatens to drop it. Ivy begs Selina not to break it and says she'll let her go. Selina, however, sets it under her boot. Ivy asks how she can side with everyone who hurt them and insists that the city spews out poison. Selina, however, replies that Ivy's insane and crushes the bottle under her boot.

Ivy grabs Selina by the throat, only to find that Selina's got a knife to her stomach. She asks if they're just going to kill each other, and Selina replies that it's one option. Ivy says Selina always thought she was better than Ivy. Selina says they were friends, but Ivy says it was a long time ago and she's a different person now. Selina drops the knife and says that she doesn't want things to end with them both killing each other. Ivy lets her go but says Selina had better stay out of her way.

Plot B: Self-Care is Putting on a Suit and Beating Up Bad Guys

Now to Wayne Manor. Bruce, in response to last week's hallucination, opens up the case that holds his vigilante gear . . . and throws his mask into the fireplace. Looks like he still doesn't want to deal with who he really is.

Later on, Bruce meets Alfred at a diner. He says that the annual Wayne Foundation Dinner is that night and that he thought they'd go together. Alfred says he didn't come to talk about the fundraiser dinner and asks what he really wants. Bruce says he needs help and that he can't figure things out on his own. Alfred says Bruce can't just waltz back into his life and expect Alfred to work for him again.

Bruce insists that he's changed, and Alfred says Bruce needs to prove it before he considers coming back. Bruce asks how, and Alfred says he needs to figure it out on his own. Bruce says he's asking as a friend, but Alfred says he's not Bruce's friend. He was his butler, and Bruce fired him.

Bruce decides to visit Selina at the Sirens' Club, but she points out that he was a jerk the last time they met. Bruce says he needs someone to talk to, and she says he should talk to Alfred. After reading his reaction, she curtly surmises that he tried and that Alfred didn't want to hear it. Selina says she's not going to hear Bruce out because she has to stop Ivy. All the advice she offers is that Bruce should tell Alfred he's sorry because whatever happened was probably all Bruce's fault.

At the Wayne Foundation, Bruce steps on stage to deliver a speech about the good the foundation has done over the past year. However, he stumbles over his notes when he sees Alfred in the crowd. Bruce then scraps his speech and begins to talk about how his parents wanted to help people and how devastated he was when they died.

After Bruce steps offstage, Alfred thanks him and says the speech meant a great deal. But he also says he can't help Bruce if Bruce doesn't accept who he really is. Bruce needs to look beneath the anger and pain and use those emotions to drive himself to help other people. And more importantly, he has to figure out how to do it on his own. Bruce, frustrated, says he was stupid to reach out to Alfred and leaves.

However, after hearing the strike force enter the dinner and engage the gunmen, Bruce goes back. He notices a gunman lying on the ground and dons his uniform, which includes a mask and a black hooded jacket. He takes down a gunman who almost shoots Alfred before removing his mask and telling Alfred he'll get him out of the building. Alfred, however, tells Bruce that this is who he really is and that he needs to help the other people in danger. Bruce nods and puts the mask back on.

The show then cuts to a gunman chasing Bruce into one of the backrooms. Bruce manages to take the gunman down and knock him out by hitting him with the butt of his own gun. Gordon sees him from behind and tells him to drop the weapon. Bruce (still masked) turns and tries to say something, but Gordon shoots him in the chest.

Seriously, Gordon. Ask questions first, shoot later. 

Thankfully, the jacket Bruce stole seems to be made of either kevlar or some other bullet-proof material. After falling to the ground, he gets back up and runs up a nearby stairwell. Gordon follows him onto the roof but finds it empty.

Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred bandages Bruce's hand and asks how he escaped. Bruce replies that he used the fire escape on the next building over. Alfred asks why he didn't tell Gordon who he was, and Bruce replies that he's not sure. (Although I have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with the fact that Gordon SHOT HIM IN THE CHEST.)

Bruce tells Alfred that he wants to help people, and if that means accepting the good and bad in himself, he'll do it. Bruce admits that it's what his parents would've wanted. Alfred says he's proud of Bruce, which leads to a heartwarming exchange:

Plot C: And You Thought Your In-Laws Were Bad

Seemingly picking up where the last episode left off, Sofia gives Lee a picture of Mario. She says that even though he's gone, Lee is still her family and that family is everything. Lee, however, guesses that Sofia didn't call her over just to talk about family. Sofia tells Lee that the Narrows is the only part of Gotham not under her thumb. Lee says that the Narrows have never been ruled by an outside leader but says she's willing to submit to Sofia. Sofia replies by asking for a 30% tax on all business in the Narrows, legal or otherwise.

Lee says it'll starve the Narrows, but Sofia says that they all have to make sacrifices and that she'll need an answer by the end of the day. Lee insists that it's impossible, but Sofia says she'll find a way.

After returning to the Narrows, Lee tells Ed about Sofia's tax, saying that it doesn't make sense because there's no money in the Narrows. He says it's about power, but she says it's more than that. Lee offered to submit, but Sofia asked for something she couldn't give. Lee says Sofia must be trying to punish. Ed replies that you can't fight an enemy if you don't know their motive.

Later that day, Ed addresses a group of the best spies in the Narrows and tasks them with finding out why Sofia wants to hurt Lee. The catch? They're all kids. Ed then offers his reward:

The spies find out that Sofia and Gordon had an affair, and Ed passes the news along to Lee. She assumes it must've been a failed power play on Sofia's part. Lee decides that the best way to win over Sofia is giving her power over Gordon—not to get back at him, but to protect the Narrows. The idea makes Ed smile, and he almost tells Lee something (perhaps that he loves her), before stopping himself.

At a meeting with Sofia in the Narrows,  Lee offers Sofia something more valuable than the tax: information on Captain Gordon. She offers to tell about crimes he's committed, but Sofia says she has her own dirt on Gordon. Lee points out that whatever it is, Sofia obviously hasn't been able to use it, or she already would have. Sofia replies that there's a better way to make Gordon fall in line. Her men then grab hidden weapons from the room and shoot Lee's men.

Sofia reveals that she planted the guns through Sampson (the Narrows leader who opposed Lee in 4x10), who she'll have replace Lee as the leader of the Narrows. She then tells Lee that since they're family, she'll only do one hand. Sofia then proceeds to stab Lee's hand repeatedly before telling her goons to throw Lee out on the street so that the people of the Narrows can see their fallen queen. I can only assume that Lee is silently asking herself:

Gordon later receives a call informing him that Lee is in the hospital. He finds her unconscious with her hand bandaged up. The doctor says Lee wouldn't say who hurt her, but Gordon says she doesn't have to; he already knows who's behind it.

Later on, Gordon meets up with Harvey, who says Gordon saved the day. Harvey says there's a reason he's the screw-up and Gordon's the captain, but Gordon says that he screwed up. Gordon tells Harvey about how Sofia was behind the Pyg and how he covered it up. He then tells Harvey that he's going to take her down.

Plot D: Me, Myself, and I Don't Get Along.

As Lee meets with Sofia, Ed Nygma looks through bottles of pills in his place back in the Narrows. His other half, the Riddler, taunts him and says that the pills can't keep him at bay. As Nygma sorts through his mail, he finds a letter from Penguin.

The Riddler then asks Nygma, "What has two eyes but can't see?" Nygma offers no reply.

Later on, the Riddler remarks that Nygma's gone over the recommended dosage for his pills. He tells Nygma that he's only getting stronger and that soon he'll get out and kill Lee. He says the only way for Nygma to get rid of the Riddler is to kill himself. Unfortunately for the Riddler, Nygma agrees and decides that it's the only way out.

After Lee tells him about using Gordon as leverage to appease Sofia, Nygma goes to a stairwell and ties a noose from the ceiling. The Riddler yells at him, telling him it's a crazy plan, but Nygma says it was the Riddler's idea and slips the noose around his own neck. The Riddler begs him to stop and tells Nygma that he gives up, but Nygma says he still has to go through with it. The Riddler, however, insists that there's a way out, a way where no one gets out and Lee doesn't die. Nygma decides to listen.

What's the Riddler's plan? Having Nygma voluntarily commit himself to Arkham, apparently. As Nygma fills out the paperwork at the asylum, the Riddler repeats his earlier question, "What has two eyes but can't see?" Nygma says he doesn't care, but the Riddler says he should.

Before Nygma can argue the point further, Penguin enters.

The Riddler mocks Nygma, saying "Who has two eyes but can't see what's right in front of him? Edward Nygma!" Nygma says he came to save Lee, not free the Riddler, and insists that Lee believes in him. Penguin, however, says he sees the other version of him, the one whose name he wouldn't speak. But this time, he'll say it, because he needs his help. He needs . . . the Riddler.

After a few seconds of inner conflict, Nygma embraces the title, pushes up his glasses, and says "Shall we get to work?"

The Verdict

Plot A: I'm hoping this will be the last episode for a while with Ivy in the spotlight. Don't get me wrong; I like Peyton List's portrayal. However, I think that Gotham doesn't do so well when dealing with mini-arcs that focus on a particular villain (Mad Hatter is a prime example; Professor Pyg is a possible exception). Suffice it to say that Ivy's plan to turn Gotham green is getting a little old, although that may be less a problem with the show and more a problem with the character. Poison Ivy has always been a pretty boring villain to me (in any incarnation), because she's always after the same thing: plant-based world domination.

While not impressed with the Ivy storyline on its own, I'd say that the highlight of Plot A was definitely how it interwove with Bruce's story in Plot B. Bruce might not have gotten to face Ivy head on, but he still made an effort to deal with the fallout of her attack.

As for Harvey and Gordon, I'm glad that they seem to be working together again, even if it does feel a bit sudden (more on that in Plot C).

Plot B: Finally, the dynamic duo (of sorts) is back together again. It was great to see Bruce get back into a suit, although I would've like to see more of him fighting gunmen at the benefit, as well as a longer chase scene with Gordon. Oh well. I'm sure they'll meet again, sooner or later. Still, this marks the first meeting of the future commissioner and the caped crusader. I almost hope Bruce holds a grudge against Gordon for shooting him. I mean, I would too.

As for Alfred, I was initially annoyed that he refused to hear Bruce out, but Bruce was a complete jerk to Alfred, so his reaction felt justified. And even though I was a little miffed that Bruce's speech wasn't enough on its own to win Alfred back, I agreed with Alfred that Bruce needed to figure some things out on his own. Alfred has always been Bruce's moral compass, but he can't lean on him for everything. There are some choices you can only make on your own.

I do think it's interesting that this version of Alfred almost seems to encourage Bruce's vigilantism, whereas several other versions (looking at you, Jeremy Irons) have tried to persuade Bruce to settle down and lead a peaceful life. But it makes sense. In season one, Alfred told Gordon that Thomas Wayne left him with instructions to let Bruce choose his own course. Over the past four years, Alfred has seen Bruce grow up and go through search after search for the truth. He's seen that the only thing that makes Bruce happy is solving mysteries and fighting criminals. If that's his course, Alfred's not going to keep him from it.

Plot C: The Sofia and Lee plot, while not exactly boring, was pretty predictable. Sofia has been nigh unstoppable this season, so I had no doubt she'd be the one to triumph in this episode. I was, however, a bit surprised that Ed's "spies" were able to find out the truth about Sofia and Gordon so quickly. I was also surprised that Lee would offer to give up Gordon like that. Still, it all came to no avail. Sofia Falcone has so many back-up plans it's insane. I hope someone knocks her off her throne soon, whether it's Gordon or Penguin or whoever else.

As for Gordon's side of things, I'm surprised that Harvey was so quick to apologize to him. After everything they'd been through, I thought Gordon should be the first to apologize. And once he did, I expected Harvey to be more ticked off that Gordon knew about Pyg working for Sofia (especially since Gordon didn't make it clear that he only found out after Pyg had killed all those police officers). Still, it's nice to see that there's hope for this friendship. Harvey Bullock is a great character, and it's a shame when he gets tossed aside or put through a painful plot. I'm hoping the writers ditch the angst and go back to Gordon and Harvey kicking butt together.

Plot D: Once again, I love the back and forth between Ed Nygma and his alter ego. Every time Nygma tries to combat the Riddler, the Riddler finds a way to outwit him and get control. I'm sad to see the (probable) end of Lee and Nygma's friendship, especially since she could really use his help right now, but it'll be fun to see what Penguin and the Riddler do next.

If I had one complaint about this episode, it's that Penguin was acting a bit hysterical. I would've preferred to see him address Nygma smugly, but perhaps in a more reserved way. Then again, two months in Arkham and bullying from Jerome Valeska is probably enough to shake a person's composure.

Overall: "Reunion" pretty good episode. While Plot B may have been my favorite storyline, I'd probably say Cory Michael Smith was the MVP of this episode. I could watch that man talk to himself for hours and not get bored.

While this episode did have a few more plotlines going, they still wove together nicely and didn't feel too disjointed. I did find A and C a bit boring, but they worked together with B and D (respectively) well. My favorite part of the episode was probably Bruce suiting up again. I hope to see more of that in the future.

Speaking of the future, next week's episode will be "The Sinking Ship, the Grand Applause." (Sometimes the titles make sense, sometimes . . . they just don't.) Come back next week for another recap. In the meantime, comment below with your opinions on "Reunion." What was your favorite part? Are you glad the Riddler is back in control or sad for Ed?

Until next time, have a good week, and don't listen to visual manifestations of your subconscious.


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