Wednesday, February 20, 2019

'Gotham' Recap: "13 Stitches" (5x06)

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means: it's time to reevaluate how much time you wasted on Monday and Tuesday before cramming as much work as possible into Thursday and Friday so you can enjoy the weekend.

Oh, and it's time for another Gotham recap, naturally.

This week's episode, "13 Stitches," focuses on two plotlines: the efforts of Gordon and his allies to fight Eduardo's takeover of the GCPD, and Penguin's unlikely team-up with Selina Kyle to stop a jewel thief.

Plot A: Expecting the Unexpected

The episode opens with shaky cam footage of Gordon running through the city while being chased by the (chip-controlled) Riddler. The Riddler shoots at Gordon, who ducks behind a car. A spray of glass from the window pierces Gordon's skin, but he keeps running, leaving a blood trail behind him.

The Riddler follows Gordon into an RV, where they fight. Riddler almost gets the best of Gordon with a chokehold, but Gordon manages to grab a nearby defibrillator and shock the Riddler, knocking him unconscious.

When the Riddler wakes up, he asks Gordon what happened this time. Gordon replies that he tried to kill him.

Gordon asks what Walker's planning next, but Riddler explains that he doesn't remember anything from his blackouts. He tells Gordon to let him go, but Gordon says the chip in his head is evidence against Walker and Eduardo, so unless he wants Gordon to rip it out by force, they need to stick together.

Over at the GCPD, Alfred asks Bruce how things went with Selina. Bruce says nothing, but his face is enough to tell Alfred that it didn't go well. Alfred says that it might be for the best. Bruce then changes the subject, saying that he called Alfred to the GCPD because of Eduardo's soldiers (who are practically swarming the place).

Alfred says that Gordon might've finally gotten the help the city needs, but Bruce points out that the people need food and medicine, not just more guns.

As he glances over the soldiers, Alfred spots a tattoo on one of them and tells Bruce that the motto of this unit is "Born of Blood." They have a reputation for carrying out military coups and assassinations, not humanitarian relief.

Bruce goes up to one of the soldiers and asks when a supply shipment is coming. When he presses him, the soldier tells Bruce that supplies are on the way (but he doesn't sound that convincing). Bruce asks where Gordon is. The soldier says they lost sight of him, so Eduardo's searching for him right now. The soldier asks if Bruce knows where Gordon is.

"Logically, he'd come here," Bruce says. "Unless there's a reason he can't."

The soldier decides to have him and Alfred taken to a "quiet place in the back" where they can wait for Gordon. Other soldiers take Bruce and Alfred away, but the second they go down the hallway, the dynamic duo beat up the soldiers and run off to find Gordon.

Meanwhile at the Sirens' Bar, Gordon catches Barbara up on everything that happened with Eduardo. Barbara replies that Bruce called her over the radio with a message that things are getting worse at the GCPD. Gordon says he'll reach out to Bruce to see if there's anywhere safe they can meet and make a plan. He asks if she can spare any people to help out. Barbara replies that they're all guarding her turf, but she'll go with Gordon.

The Riddler says he also wants to help, but Gordon says he doesn't trust him, even without the chip.

Riddler points out that he wants revenge for being used as a pawn and adds that Gordon shorted out the chip when he shocked him.

Barbara then notices the wounds on Gordon's neck from the glass and says he needs stitches. She says she can fix it up with her first aid kit, but Gordon says he needs to keep moving and that she should just name her price. Barbara says she just wants to help, but Gordon says that he's already been betrayed by Eduardo and doesn't want to give anyone else an opportunity to stab him in the back.

Babs points out that she led him to the arms dealer and let him hide out at her place.

"If I wanted to betray you, I'd have done it earlier," she concludes.

Noticing the tension between Gordon and Barbara, Riddler leaves to find the first aid kit. Barbara asks what it's going to take for Gordon to trust her. He replies that he doesn't know.

The conversation is interrupted by Eduardo showing up and saying that Gordon should listen to her, as "trust is in short supply." He says that when someone's in trouble, they always go to a familiar place (like their ex-fiance's club).

Eduardo tells Gordon that they could've been on the same side, "making the world a better place." Gordon points out that Eduardo had the Riddler kill innocent people, but Eduardo retorts that Gotham is a city full of criminals, and "sometimes you just have to clean house." Gordon says he won't let that happen, but Eduardo says he doesn't have a say in the matter.

The Riddler then enters, holding a large knife and robotically saying that he's been ordered to kill Gordon. He swipes at Gordon with the knife but winks to show that he's just putting on a show. Gordon plays along and stalls Eduardo by claiming that he has evidence that he and Walker were behind Haven, and if he (Gordon) dies, they'll never find it, and it'll get leaked out to the press.

Eduardo doesn't believe Gordon and orders Riddler to kill him. The Riddler lowers his blade and then spins around, throwing it into the head of a soldier. Riddler and Gordon then dive behind the bar and escape with Barbara after a brief shootout.

Eduardo then returns to the GCPD and says that they need every soldier searching for Gordon. One of his men, however, says that the holding cells are full and they might need men to stay and control the overflow. Eduardo replies that they're moving to "phase two." His men respond by taking prisoners out of the cells.

Bullock asks what's going on. Eduardo says that he's not "here to play nice or hold anyone's hand," but is instead in Gotham on a mission. He then shoots down the prisoners.

Eduardo asks if anyone has any questions about his mission. Bullock is shocked and says that he can't just go around killing people whenever he wants. Eduardo responds by having soldiers take Bullock away and saying that anyone who doesn't agree with his mission will be locked up.

Eduardo then gets a radio call from Walker. He fills her in on what's going on with Gordon, and she says that they can't have Riddler run free, given that the evidence is literally inside his head. She then tells Eduardo that she knows how to catch both Gordon and the Riddler.

Elsewhere, in what seems to be some sort of apartment or safe house, Gordon thanks Bruce for bringing everyone together and bringing supplies from Wayne Enterprises' research and development division. Bruce asks if Gordon's sure they should be working with Barbara and the Riddler. Gordon replies that "war makes for strange bedfellows" and says that it's good to have Bruce nearby, at least.

In the same room, Lucius manages to get the chip out of Riddler's head and Riddler thanks him. Lucius then plugs the chip into a computer and asks what he should be looking for. Gordon says they need to find anything that can tie Walker and Eduardo to the destruction of Haven. Lucius discovers that the chip has an audio log of every command sent to the Riddler and that he can trace the signal back to the computer it originated from.

The conversation is interrupted by a radio call from Eduardo. He tells Gordon that there's someone at the GCPD who wants to say hello. Eduardo then pushes a woman towards the radio—and the woman is none other than Leslie Thompkins, who seems terrified and asks Gordon what's going on.

(Look, Lee might not be my favorite character, but I cannot believe it took LITERALLY HALF OF THIS SEASON for her to show up.)

Eduardo says he found her in a "run-down hidey-hole on the north side." Gordon says that he needs to leave Lee out of this, but Eduardo points out that she's a criminal now, and all criminals are under a death sentence. Eduardo then offers to trade Lee for the Riddler. Gordon agrees and insists that they meet at Haven, so Eduardo can see the destruction he caused. Eduardo agrees, and the conversation ends.

Barbara points out that Eduardo won't let Gordon walk away alive, and Riddler yells at Gordon for agreeing to trade him. Gordon replies that he's going to give them what they really want: the chip, not the Riddler. Gordon then asks Lucius what it would take to broadcast the information from the chip to Bruce's contacts from the mainland newspapers. Lucius says that he already has a transmitter, but they'd also need a large antenna, which he doesn't have. Gordon says he knows where to find one: on the roof of the GCPD.

Meanwhile at the GCPD, Bullock is sitting in a holding cell and spots Lee. He asks where she's been for the past three months. She says she can't remember anything and doesn't know what happened to her.

Bullock promises that they'll figure it out, but before he can comfort Lee further, Eduardo takes her away.

A little bit later, Gordon approaches Haven and radios the rest of his team that Eduardo brought backup with him. Bruce tells the others that it's time to move out, and they leave the hideout.

Lee asks Gordon who the soldiers are. Gordon doesn't respond, but says he'll get her out of danger. Eduardo points out that Gordon didn't bring the Riddler as promised, but Gordon shows him the chip and says that the evidence is what Eduardo really wanted. Gordon then snaps the chip in half, but Eduardo surmises that it was probably a decoy anyway.

Gordon then taunts Eduardo, saying that three soldiers against one unarmed man is excessive and asks if Eduardo brought enough backup. Eduardo replies that he doesn't need backup, but Gordon points out that Eduardo used the Riddler as backup "to pick up your slack, like I used to."

He tells Eduardo that his recklessness got people killed and begins to name soldiers who died following his lead. Eduardo says their deaths aren't on him and points his gun at Gordon. Gordon asks if he's going to shut him up with a bullet. Eduardo replies that he won't do it with a bullet and tosses the gun aside to face Gordon hand-to-hand.

Meanwhile, Bullock and Alvarez try to figure out how to get out of the GCPD holding cells. The Riddler then enters the GCPD dressed in a padded suit with a helmet and carrying a suitcase. He announces that the kevlar on his suit can not only withstand bullets but also blasts that could level a building. The soldiers ask what's in his suitcase. He loudly announces that it's a bomb and says it's time to play a game.

The Riddler tells them that if anyone tries to leave, he'll set off the bomb. Bullock curses at him, but Riddler ignores the cop and tells the soldiers that the only way to deactivate the bomb is with a four-digit code. He then gives them a complex math problem to solve that involves calculating how many pallid beach mice will be left at the end of one year based off certain facts, including their reproductive cycle. He says that the answer to his math riddle is the shutdown code for the bomb, and they have two minutes to figure it out. He "activates" the bomb and the case starts beeping.

As this is going on, Bruce uses a grappling hook to get on top of the GCPD roof.

Lucius gives him instructions on how to transmit the signal. As Bruce works, a soldier comes up behind him and attacks him.

Barbara, who's waiting in a room with Lucius and Alfred, points out that the Riddler's ploy won't work for long, but Lucius says they just need to wait until the exhaust fans come to a stop and then they'll use the knockout gas.

Over in Haven, Eduardo and Gordon fight. Eduardo taunts Gordon, saying that he's really the one responsible for the destruction of Haven. He tells Gordon that Walker spent months trying to convince her superiors that Gotham was overrun by criminals and had nearly succeeded. But when Gordon set up Haven practically overnight, the powers-that-be decided that the criminal element of Gotham must not be that dangerous. Eduardo tells Gordon that Walker's superiors were almost ready to send in relief, which is why Haven had to be destroyed.

Gordon asks what Walker wants and yells that innocent people are dead because of her. Eduardo calls it an "acceptable loss for the mission." Gordon asks what the mission is and begins to beat Eduardo, but one of the soldiers steps in and begins to kick and beat Gordon. Eduardo then tells both soldiers to take Lee away and shoot her. He says that it's a merciful gift for Gordon, since he won't have to watch her die.

Still on the ground, Gordon grabs the gun that Eduardo tossed aside and shoots one of the soldiers. The other runs off with Lee. Eduardo grabs a metal stick from the rubble and knocks Gordon down with it.

Elsewhere, Lucius and the others are still waiting for the exhaust fans to slow down. He says that if they throw the canisters now, the gas will blow outside instead of inside. Lucius then asks Bruce for his status.

Bruce, who's in the middle of fighting the soldier and wrecking him hard, tells Lucius to give him a moment.

Once the soldier is down for the count, Bruce goes back to the electrical box, completes Lucius's instructions, and finishes broadcasting the signal.

Inside the GCPD, there's a minute left on the Riddler's "bomb." Bullock says he knows the answer. The Riddler tries to get him to stop talking, but Bullock insists that he remembers learning about pallid beach mice in a high school zoology class when he got in trouble and had to write an essay about the species—which has been extinct for several years, which means the answer to the riddle is zero.

A soldier types in the number and the case stops beeping. The soldiers then try to shoot down the Riddler. His suit stands up to the bullets, but the impact knocks him down. Luckily, that's when the gas comes through the vents. Riddler holds his breath long enough to grab a gas mask from the suitcase and slip it over his head while the gas knocks out the soldiers.

Over in Haven, Eduardo tells Gordon that the reason the soldiers he mentioned earlier (Ramirez, Johnson and Bolton) didn't make it out is because they were sent behind enemy lines and ended up in a hellish prison called Peña Duro. Gordon says he didn't know that, and Eduardo replies that no one did, because the government left them to die. He says that he was the only one who survived, and that prison is where Walker found Eduardo, rescued him, and gave him new purpose.

Gordon replies that all she did was make him her killer. Eduardo replies that Walker is the real killer and stabs Gordon in the chest with the metal stick. Gordon, however, keeps fighting and throw Eduardo back onto the rubble, where he's impaled by another sharp metal stick. Gordon then hears a gunshot and runs toward the sound. He sees Lee, standing over the soldier with a gun in her hand.

Some time later, Gordon returns to the GCPD and tells Alvarez to take Lee to his office. Bruce tells Gordon that he transmitted the audio logs, but until he hears back from his contacts, he won't know if they received the transmission. Gordon says that if the press get the messages, they'll certainly have questions. (Uh, yeah. Like how someone even invented a mind control chip to begin with.)

Bruce tells Gordon that he and Alfred will stick around for the night to help out. He then sends Alfred back to their apartment to grab what he can.

Elsewhere in the precinct, Barbara wonders where Lee's been for the past three months. The Riddler replies that he doesn't know and he's not sticking around to watch her "tearful reunion" with Gordon.

Said reunion takes place in Gordon's office. Lee asks what's going on and Gordon says he doesn't know. He says that he assumed she'd left Gotham. Lee replies that the last thing she remembers is Jeremiah destroying the bridges and she doesn't know why she didn't leave.

Gordon fills her in on the general state of Gotham, saying that they're cut off from the outside world without aid. He adds that while he's been trying to put on a brave face, he still feels lost and out of his depth. Lee says that it'll be okay and says that now that they're together, they can "put the pieces back together" and help each other.

She then tries to remember what happened the night the bridges blew. She begins to remember fighting with the Riddler and how they stabbed each other. She then remembers being taken somewhere that might've been a hospital.

(Not exactly a hospital, but close enough.)

Back in Haven, a homeless guy comes across Eduardo but is shot down by a woman who carries a gun and a briefcase. She comments that Eduardo had "so much potential" but wasn't up to the task she'd given him. Eduardo addresses her as Walker and asks what she's doing in Gotham. She replies that the press have recordings of her orders to the Riddler, so she had to come to Gotham to continue her work.

She then says that it's not yet time for Eduardo to die and she'll have Strange fix him in no time. She attaches some sort of glowing breathing mask to his face. Eduardo says "Jim Gordon" in a very distorted voice, and Walker replies that he's being taken care of.

"Nygma was never alone," she says. "There was a second operative." She then takes out another control device.

Back in the GCPD, Lee freezes up. Gordon asks if she's cold and turns around to find her a coat. When his back is turned, Lee's eyes roll back into her head in a very creepy way and then return to normal.

She then grabs a knife off of his desk and attacks Gordon, but he grabs a taser and shocks Lee, knocking her out.

Elsewhere in Gotham, Alfred steps out of the apartment and down the steps. He looks around, feeling as if something's off. He grabs his gun, but not in time to stop Jeremiah, who sneaks up behind Alfred and stabs him with a sedative-filled syringe.

Meanwhile, Gordon tells Bullock about Lee's chip and how she must've been Walker's back up plan. He adds that anyone who would play this kind of long game probably has other tricks up her sleeve. Lee asks what's wrong with her and Gordon says he can explain.

Before he can, however, Barbara enters the office and says she needs to talk to Gordon. He says it's not a good time. She responds by reminding him of the "good time" they had in this very room a few nights ago.

Gordon tells her to leave. Barbara responds with two words: "I'm pregnant." She then leaves.

The final scene is in a place that appears to be Wayne Manor. Jeremiah pulls a bag off of Alfred's head. Alfred says that he's supposed to be dead.

"Sorry to disappoint," Jeremiah replies.

Alfred says that if Jeremiah hurts Bruce, Alfred will "bite his face off." Jeremiah replies that Bruce will "be along shortly." He then wipes some dust off of a nearby table and says that the house is in "desperate need of some good, old-fashioned butlering." Alfred asks how he escaped, and Jeremiah replies that he dug a tunnel under the river.

Jeremiah then smiles and says that "Today is the big day."

Plot B: To Catch a Thief . . .

Over in city hall, Penguin notices that someone has opened the hatch to his underground bunker/vault. When he enters, he finds an oddly-dressed young woman searching through his jewels and valuables and talking to herself about what she'll take. Penguin cocks his gun at her. She responds by gracefully flipping over his head.

Penguin asks how she found out about his vault. She replies that she was on a different job when another thief hit the mark before her, so she followed the thief back to Penguin's turf, where she found the vault.

Penguin spots a rather large, blue-ish diamond in her hand (one that belongs to him). He then asks what's in her other hand. She reveals another, identical diamond and throws it at him. It burns his hand and he drops it. The decoy diamond then goes up in an explosion of smoke, giving the woman time to get away.

Some time later, Penguin enters a dark building. On his way down the hall, two terrified figures run past him. He steps into a room where Selina Kyle is eating cereal. He notices two bloody, severed fingers on the table beside her.

Selina asks what Penguin wants. He warily asks what the other guys wanted before they lost a couple of fingers. Selina replies that they were trying to kill her and that they're not the only ones. Ever since she killed Jeremiah Valeska, every killer on the street has been trying to kill her to make a name for themselves, so she needs to find a new place to hide out.

Side note: in an interesting way, this scenario is a reverse of one episode of Batman: The Animated Series called "The Man Who Killed Batman." In the episode, a small-time criminal named Sid seemingly kills Batman (completely by accident, in fact) and has to deal with the fallout of his actions. At first, every criminal in Gotham treats him like a king, until they start to realize that if they kill the man who killed Batman, they'll be seen as the toughest guy in Gotham. The Joker is also particularly angry that he wasn't the one to kill his arch-nemesis and tries to kill Sid in retaliation.

All that to say, killing either Batman or the Joker usually leads to more trouble than it's worth.

But I digress; back to the episode. Penguin tells Selina that if she can help him find someone he's looking for, he can let her stay in his fortress at City Hall. He explains that a thief tried to replace one of his jewels with an exact replica that was a bomb and asks if it rings any bells. Selina asks if the woman had white hair, a feathered collar, and resembled a "goth chicken."

She explains that the thief's name is Magpie and then asks why she should help Penguin find her after he murdered Tabitha. Penguin replies that Selina believes in "an eye for an eye" and points out that Tabitha "made her bed" when she killed his mother. Selina considers this, and then agrees to help him, on one condition: she gets the diamond.

Penguin laughs and refuses her request, but Selina says that without her help, he'll never find Magpie, and then everyone in Gotham will think it's okay to steal from Penguin. Penguin sighs and agrees to the deal.

Selina leads Penguin to Magpie's hideout, a room covered in messy piles of shiny trinkets. Magpie sees the two of them and then tries to run away, but Selina catches her leg with her whip. Magpie notes that she's heard of Selina and how she's famous for killing Jeremiah. Magpie then mutters that it's not a big deal and that she could be famous too, if she wanted.

Penguin says she won't have the opportunity and points his gun at her. Magpie says he should be careful, since this workshop is where she makes her bombs, meaning that anything in the room could be an explosive replica. Penguin says she's bluffing. Magpie responds by throwing a ticking watch at him. When it hits the ground, nothing happens; it's just a regular watch that she stole. Magpie then runs out of the room and locks them in.

As they stand in the room, trapped, Selina says that Penguin was stupid to seek out revenge on Magpie, especially since diamonds are worthless in Gotham. She then realizes that Penguin's not trying to sell his jewels in Gotham; instead, he's stockpiling them because he's planning to go to the mainland. She asks why he's leaving. Penguin replies that there's nothing left for him to conquer in Gotham.

"I've done all I can here," he says. "Some things, twice. There's nothing left for me here anymore."

Selina says she wants to go with him so that she can get away from the people who want to kill her. She says that she doesn't want to be the killer of Jeremiah Valeska; she just wants to be herself, and she "can't do that in Gotham anymore." Penguin, however, doesn't want to take her with him.

Selina asks if he'd let her come with him if she could get them out of Magpie's workshop. Penguin agrees, and she asks for half of the money when he fences his jewels. He tells her that she's only getting 10% and a promise that he won't kill her when they get to the mainland. She says it's a deal.

Selina then goes running at the door and kicks it open. She tells Penguin that Magpie said anything in the room could be a bomb, but not the room itself. The two of them then leave to track down Magpie.

They find her back in Penguin's vault, lying on the ground after triggering one of Penguin's boobytraps, which shot her in the gut. She tries to beg for mercy, but Penguin kills her with two shots from his gun. Selina says the "buckshot in her gut" should've been enough for him, but Penguin says that he just wanted to remind Selina what happens when people try to steal from him.

The Verdict

Plot A: While the action in Plot A was good and the plot developments will likely return in future episodes (since Eduardo is clearly the show's version of Bane and Jeremiah is clearly up to no good), neither of those topics are the main thing I want to discuss about this part of the episode.

No, I'm interested in one thing only: Barbara's pregnancy.

Personally, I love this twist. It's a way to hint at the birth of Batgirl (or James Gordon Jr., depending on the child's gender), and while it was a bit of a shock, it felt earned. Barbara's concern for Gordon and her loyalty to him throughout the episode completely pay off at the end, when we learn that she's carrying his child.

While I can't say whether the baby will bring the couple back together (especially now that Lee's back in the mix), it'll be interesting to see how they handle this development and how Barbara might change as a character if she decides to raise the kid. Hopefully she'll at least lay off the drinks and try to stay safe for the time being.

As for the stuff with Eduardo, it was fine. I don't really care too much about him and Walker at the moment, but I might change my mind when I find out what their big mission is all about. For now, they're just another pair of big bads trying to take control of the city away from Gordon.

One last note: the scenes with Jeremiah were so short that I decided to include them with Plot A rather than make them a separate section. There's not a lot to discuss on that front, but I've included the trailer for next week's episode if you're excited to see what he's up to.

Plot B: While this plot was mostly more filler comic relief than Plot A, I still really enjoyed it. Selina and Penguin have interacted a couple of times over the seasons, but I think this is the first episode where they've gotten to play off of each other one-on-one, and it was a blast (pun completely intended). It's funny to watch Selina's casual, cocky demeanor get under Penguin's skin as the two work together. I wouldn't mind if we saw more of this duo in the future.

That being said, I doubt they'll make it to the mainland. Even if they do, the flash-forward from "Year Zero" makes it clear that Penguin will end up in Gotham again, sooner or later. Still, I wonder if the characters will try to say their goodbyes to their former friends, allies, and enemies before they leave town. It'd make for a few good scenes, even though I suspect something or someone (Walker and Eduardo, perhaps) will keep them from leaving the city.

Overall, I enjoyed the episode. It was one where I kept screaming and laughing and yelling at the characters every other minute, which is exactly what I want out of a good comic book show. This season's been a rollercoaster so far and I'm loving it. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I can't wait to see what happens next.

Next week's episode is called "Ace Chemicals." Until the next recap goes up, stay away from acid pits in chemical factories. And remember, kids: handrails are there for a reason.


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