Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gotham Recap: What The Little Bird Told Him

Another week, another Gotham episode, and your Gotham Girl is back to take you through the very surprising events that took place in the show’s most recent episode, "What The Little Bird Told Him". As always, we would like to remind readers that Gotham contains adult content and viewer discretion is advised. Spoilers ahead.

 Last time on Gotham, we saw Jack Gruber, AKA The Electrocutioner, escape from Arkham Asylum with an inmate he experimented on named Aaron Helzinger. This week’s episode opened with the two of them visiting Irwin, one of multiple old partners of Gruber that betrayed him. Later in the episode, we see what’s left of Irwin as he stands in his shop, apparently brain-dead, scrawling the words “I will not betray my friends” over and over on the wall. Now that Gruber is out of Arkham, it looks like the first step in his plan is to take out all those who double-crossed him.

The GCPD is very concerned over the Jack Gruber case. So concerned in fact that Commissioner Loeb is making a rare visit to the station to oversee things. And even though he’s supposed to be working at Arkham, Jim Gordon also makes a surprise appearance at the station, claiming he should be the one handling the Gruber case. Harvey tries to hide Jim before the Commissioner sees him, but to no avail. Loeb calls both Jim and Harvey into his office. Inside, Jim says they need him for this case; he understands how Gruber thinks, knows what he’ll do next, and will help bring him in if they’ll reinstate Jim as an officer. The Commissioner agrees to give him 24 hours to find Gruber, but if he fails, both he and Harvey will spend the rest of their careers at Arkham Asylum. Harvey is upset at being dragged into this, and becomes even more so when Jim admits he has no idea what Gruber is going to do next; his claims were just an attempt to get his badge back.


The GCPD can’t find any records on a "Jack Gruber", which means it must be an alias. Eddie does some research and discovers the Electrocutioner’s real name is Jack Buchinsky. Jim and Harvey find out Buchinsky had multiple partners who betrayed him, and if they can find them, they can find him. Eddie recommends the two men wear insulated galoshes during their search that will protect them from any electrical attacks. Harvey declines, but Jim goes along with it. Dr. Thompkins — or Lee, as she asks Jim to call her — comes to the station to congratulate Jim on temporarily getting his job back. She has also brought a voodoo doll that an Arkham inmate and self-proclaimed sorceress made by request of Gruber when he was there. Gruber named the doll Mr. M, and it looks suspiciously like Maroni.

The Electrocutioner stages an electrical attack on Maroni’s restaurant. Jim arrives on the scene and finds Maroni recovering in an ambulance. He tells Maroni the GCPD knows that he and Buchinsky used to be partners, and that Maroni betrayed him. Jim offers to put Maroni into protective custody, in the hopes that keeping Maroni at the station will lure the Electrocutioner there. Maroni agrees after it’s pointed out to him that the capture of the Electrocutioner would get Buchinsky out of his hair as well.

The Electrocutioner, in order to get at Maroni, sends electricity through the station until everyone is unconscious.


Everyone except Jim, that is, who is wearing the galoshes Eddie gave him. A fight ensues, during which the Electrocutioner says Jim doesn’t really care about justice and only fights because he hates to lose. Jim agrees with him, and suddenly throws water at Gruber’s electrical device, shutting it down in an amusingly anti-climatic victory for the GCPD.

As a reward, Commissioner Loeb officially reinstates Jim. In a whisper to the Comissioner during the ceremony, Jim threatens what he’ll do if Loeb ever tries to take his badge away again. Harvey is a bit taken aback at this unusually aggressive move from Jim Gordon. Jim says he’s done being careful.


Lee comes to the station again, and finds Jim is living in the men‘s locker room, since he has nowhere else to stay. She tells him she came to get the voodoo doll back, but insinuates she just wanted to see him. Jim kisses her before being interrupted by the news of a shootout at Fish’s club.


The episode sees the return of Kristin Kringle, when Eddie leaves a cupcake on her desk with a bullet sticking out of it. This greatly unsettles her, of course, and Eddie tells her it’s meant to be a riddle. Kristin has no interest in solving this riddle and gives the cupcake back to him. Later, Eddie explains the answer to the riddle to her, which reveals it was meant to be a sign of his affection.


Kristin Kringle is speechless. Detective Flass steps up, calls Eddie a pervert, and tells him to leave Kristin alone. Eddie apologizes. As he’s leaving, he hears Kristin and the detective talking about how weird he is behind his back.

We get a small glimpse into Barbara’s home life growing up, when she returns home to stay with her parents. They treat her very coldly, as if she’s an unwelcome stranger, and tell her she can only stay with them a few days. When they ask about Jim, Barbara lies and says the two of them are still together.


Meanwhile, a very dissatisfied Falcone is questioning his job and purpose in life. His only happiness seems to be Liza, who he doesn’t realize is a mole for Fish, and who he envisions as a reincarnation of his mother. Fish finally sets forward in her plan, which it turns out is to kidnap Liza and threaten to harm her unless Falcone steps down as Don. When Fish calls Falcone, claiming to be an intermediary chosen by the kidnappers, Falcone gets her to admit that she’s actually the kidnapper herself. Fish tells him if he leaves Gotham, he can take Liza with him and safely settle in the country. Falcone agrees. In private, Victor Zsasz offers to take Fish out so Falcone can remain the most powerful man in Gotham, but Falcone declines. He says he doesn’t care about power and respect anymore. Everyone wants him to leave Gotham and settle down with Liza, and that’s what he wants too.

Butch celebrates Fish’s apparent victory, but she gets mad at him, telling him Falcone was a great man. Fish says if she didn’t do this, someone else would have killed him, and she owes it to him to give him an easy way out. Liza admits to being in love with Falcone, since he’s treated her well when he could have done anything to her.

Oswald is on his way to tell Falcone the truth about Liza being a mole, when he‘s electrocuted in the attack on Maroni’s place. In his stupor from the shock, the infamous snitch accidentally snitches on himself to Maroni.


Once fully conscious, Maroni questions him on his loyalty. Oswald manages to convince Maroni he’s still on his side by claiming he was never planning to go see Falcone, but was instead on his way to visit his sick mother. Maroni lets him go, and Oswald finally gets to Falcone’s place. When he tells Falcone that Liza was planted on him by Fish, Falcone is initially angry and refuses to believe it. However, he is still suspicious. Especially since Oswald has never been wrong before.

Falcone and Fish arrange to meet. Fish says all he has to do is sign some papers, and she’ll hand over Liza, so they can leave Gotham together. Falcone demands to see Liza before he signs anything. Fish allows the girl to come out. Falcone asks Liza how long she’s known Fish, to which she responds that she doesn’t know her at all. Falcone says that a little bird told him otherwise, and that it would make sense for Liza to be a plant designed to remind him of his mother, as he and Fish had often talked about his mother in the past. Victor Zsasz and company, having killed all of Fish’s men, come in and hold Fish and Butch at gunpoint.

Falcone apologizes to Liza for having to be caught up in all this, and then strangles her to death. Fish attempts to stop him from killing the girl, but Butch holds her back. Falcone thanks Fish, as her betrayal has given him new devotion to his position and power.


Falcone orders that Fish and Butch be locked up. But before they’re taken away, Oswald is brought out. Falcone tells him he was right once again, and allows him to say goodbye to Fish one last time.


Final Thoughts: 

I don’t think I’ve ever had such mixed feelings on an episode before. It’s simultaneously the best and worst episode I’ve seen. In some ways, the episode is completely awesome. Some huge things happened, of course, as many of the show’s biggest subplots reached their culmination. Oswald went from almost completely ruining his own plans to finally beating Fish (though I’m sure she won’t stay beaten for long). And Liza went from being Falcone’s make-believe mother to being murdered by the Don, as her status of mole was finally discovered. I found it interesting that Fish was actually bothered by the girl’s death and almost made an attempt to prevent it. Up until this point, her affection for Liza has seemingly been mere manipulation. Perhaps it was more genuine than we thought.

I love that the friendship between Jim and Harvey continues to grow, even though Jim almost lost Harvey his job this week. It’s interesting to see Jim start to get more desperate and break some of his own rules. And I also enjoyed the moment of rivalry between Oswald and Victor Zsasz. Brief as it was, this is the first time we got to see the two characters together.

However, the episode also had several problems. The biggest of which was the reveal of Fish‘s grand plan. After all the build-up and hints of complex layers, and waiting around for just the right moment to act, her fabulous plot against Falcone was nothing more than making him sentimental toward a young lady and then holding her ransom? It was very convenient that Fish happened to find a girl who looked exactly like Falcone's mother. And if she wanted Falcone’s connection to her to feel maternal, why did Fish insist that Liza be a good fighter or have skills in seduction? None of it really came together coherently.

What also surprised me was how out of character Fish was in this episode, overall. Not only was her plan filled with holes to the point that she basically set herself up for defeat, her reaction when she thought she had won made no sense. She refused to celebrate, claiming that Falcone was a great man, and that she was actually trying to save him from getting killed by his other men, by letting him retire. This is quite a different attitude than what she showed in a previous episode when she said — what was it again? Ah, yes — “Some day soon, I am going to kill that old man with my bare hands and my teeth.” Why the sudden change of heart?

I was also surprised they killed Liza off so quickly. Last time we saw her, she was being blackmailed by Oswald, so that she’d give him information on Fish. Did she? If so, what information did she give him? So much could have been explored there, but instead it was just left hanging.


This is the second episode in a row with no appearances from Bruce or Alfred. This week, there was no Cat or Ivy either. I’m still not a huge fan of Lee Thompkins, who I think has been rather bland so far; or of her budding romance with Jim. Barbara continues to be consistently awful, and the scene between her and her unsympathetic parents was a rather sad attempt to get viewers to feel sorry for her, and hopefully hate her less (It doesn’t work that way, Gotham writers. Viewers will most likely only side with her parents!) I was also surprised that Jim's new life at Arkham Asylum was over after only one episode.

I also found it a bit unlikely and random that the Electrocutioner’s traitorous partner just happened to be Maroni, one of the biggest Dons in Gotham. Especially since we’ve never heard about this connection before. It’s like the writers just stuck it in the episode because it was convenient for the plot, without any real thought to whether or not it made sense.

So, overall, “What The Little Bird Told Him” is a very mixed bag, but it was a mixed bag that I enjoyed greatly. Definitely an improvement from the previous episode “Rogues’ Gallery”.

Many viewers have been discussing the relationship between Eddie and Kristin, with mixed reactions. Some are angry at Kristin for being a snob and a bully. Others are angry at Eddie, who they say is displaying “classic nice guy behavior”, in trying to wear her down even though she’s made it clear to him she’s not interested. Personally, I don’t agree with either of these interpretations.

Kristin has not been particularly mean to Eddie. The fact she finds him “weird” hurt his feelings. But I think most women would react as she did if some strange man (as much as I love Eddie, I think we all need to admit he IS strange) rearranged all their files without permission, left deadly food around, and then made jokes about animals being killed violently.


Anyone would get creeped out by that. And I don’t think there’s any way to handle a situation like that without feelings being hurt.

As for Eddie being a “nice guy” and not accepting her rejection of his advances, Kristin hasn’t actually told him she isn’t interested in dating him. In fact, up until this episode she didn’t even know he wanted to date her. We haven’t seen what’s gone on between them off camera, but last time we saw the two together, his advances were misunderstood by her as an attempt to get her fired. When you flirt with someone, and they misunderstand you and think you hate them, of course your next step will be to try to clear things up and reveal your true intentions. Which is what he did this episode. When you add in the fact he seems to understand very little about what’s appropriate in human interaction, I really don’t think he has any idea how creepy his behavior comes across. He realized this tonight, and promptly apologized and backed off.

I don’t think either party is to blame in this situation. At least, so far. That will change soon, I know, as Eddie is destined to become the Riddler on the show. And once he descends into his villainous persona, his awkwardly handled moments with Kristin will be the least of his problems when it comes to his behavior and morality. Kristin’s rejection of him, however, may play a big part in adding to the bitterness that drives him to become the Riddler. As will Detective Floss, most likely — the man who stood up for Kristin, who Eddie will most likely come to view as a rival to beat in the riddle of Kristin’s heart.

What’s To Come: 
(Speculation and spoilers on upcoming episodes)

Gotham fans have been given a lot of glimpses lately as to what’s coming up on the show, and it looks like there’s a lot of cool stuff to look forward to.

Fish has lost her power, but not her place on the show. In the preview to the next episode, we see her facing torture. Meanwhile, Oswald will be taking control of Fish’s nightclub.


I expect to see plenty of hilarious (and probably embarrassing) moments there, once he starts putting on shows and bringing his mother to the club.

I’ve become resigned to the fact that Oswald’s mother, Gertrud, will most likely be killed at some point on the show, and probably quite soon. I haven’t read any interviews that stated so; but, as his only family, I always knew she could very easily be used by some villain or other to get revenge on Oswald. And it was basically confirmed to me in this episode when Oswald says to Maroni, “I swear on my mother’s life. May God strike her dead with horrible torment if I’m lying.” I’m sure the Gotham writers won’t be able to resist the irony of holding him to this statement.

Fish will get her revenge on Oswald for taking her down, and that revenge will probably be to tell Don Maroni that Oswald secretly works for Falcone. Maroni already suspects this; and when it’s confirmed, he’ll be all too glad to strike Oswald’s mom dead with horrible torment as punishment for his betrayal. Especially since Oswald has talked about his mother constantly in front of Maroni, and Maroni was the one who gave him the nickname “The boy who loved his mother” in the first place. Maroni knows it’s the best place to strike.

I’ve written before about how the scenes with Oswald and his mother are basically my favorite part of Gotham. So I think there will definitely be a great aspect missing from the show once she’s gone. But as much as I don’t want this to happen, I don’t see any way around it. I can only hope it will be delayed as long as possible so we can explore their relationship a bit more; and that, when it does happen, it’s handled properly. I don’t want the death to occur at some random point off-screen, only for Oswald to have a brief angry moment after receiving news about it via phone call. If Maroni (or anyone else) is going to kill Gertrud, the show runners should squeeze all they can out of that scene. Have it take place on-screen, with Oswald present and unable to stop it; and have his anger be the catalyst for some more drastic action he’ll take in a following episode. If handled this way, it could turn out to be quite a brilliant moment on the show, rather than just a waste of Carol Kane’s potential. I’m looking forward to seeing which direction they decide to go. Fingers crossed!

It will also be very interesting to see where Oswald’s characterization will go after her death. We’ve never seen him in a position where he doesn’t have her influences — good and bad — in his life. And without her to rely on, he’ll be searching for a new safety net. I wonder if this will push him to rely more on his connection with Jim?

The more I read, the more it looks like Eddie won’t be going bad during a season dedicated exclusively to him, but this season. In fact, probably within the next few episodes. Episodes 15 and 16 are my guess. I’ve heard an actor has been cast as a young Eddie for those episodes, so it looks like we’ll probably be getting an Edward Nygma backstory as well.


Robin Lord Taylor has also now confirmed in multiple interviews that his character and Eddie will indeed have a scene together — and a pretty spectacular one, at that — also sometime within the next few episodes. So we won’t have to wait long to find out how Oswald and Eddie get along on the show.

We’ll see an episode featuring the parents of Robin — Batman’s famous sidekick, as well as a Scarecrow two-parter. There will also be an appearance by the Red Hood, a title infamously used by the Joker and other characters in the comics. Is this another Joker red-herring, or could he turn out to be the real deal? (My bet is on the former.)

In other news, Gotham has already been renewed for a second season. So we have plenty of Gotham to look forward to!


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