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Gotham - Mommy's Little Monster - Review

A death in the family has sparked many of “Gotham”’s storylines. The murder of the Waynes and Bruce’s desire to both avenge them and protect their legacy at Wayne Enterprises. The erasure of the Dumas clan from Gotham’s history and the thirst for vengeance it created in the Galavans. And that’s particularly true for the Penguin in this week’s episode, “Mommy’s Little Monster.” It’s another strong installment in what’s shaping up to be a pretty good sophomore season.

As was strongly hinted at last week, the Galavans have used Butch to lure the Penguin into an ambush and, to punish him for his insolence, murder Gertrud (bye, Carol Kane!) right in front of him. Robin Lord Taylor is great in this scene, playing Oswald’s grief and rage as his beloved mother dies in his arms. Rather inexplicably, he is able to escape before the Galavans can kill him too. Tabitha wants to hunt him down herself, but Theo – having officially been elected mayor of Gotham City – decides to use his new powers to pit the GCPD against his web-footed foe.

But either because success has made Theo sloppy or because the show is more than halfway through this arc, Gordon is starting to have doubts about Galavan. Despite Bullock’s assertion that the Penguin is an “abacus of crazy,” Gordon can’t help thinking that his recent behavior – assassinating mayoral candidates, burning down buildings – is out of character for his “old friend.” These suspicions grow when he and Bullock later talk to Butch (and sidebar – I find it highly unlikely the Galavans would have let him live, given what he knows about them. But I also thought it was charming that the independent crew Butch was trying to start up was reminiscent of the Falcone/Maroni mob era), who points his stump at Theo. Gordon is then forced to wonder if Galavan’s meteoric rise wasn’t circumstantial, but in fact carefully orchestrated.

Things come to a head at Theo’s victory celebration. Cleverly, the Penguin has his henchmen dress and waddle just like him, in an effort to evade Tabitha (who murders another of the Strike Force cops by jabbing her stiletto heel through his throat) and the police so he can get close enough to Galavan to kill him. The parade of Penguins crashing the party makes for a very fun visual. Unsurprisingly, this all ends in a Mexican standoff involving Gordon, Galavan, and the Penguin and it quickly becomes clear that Jim believes Oswald’s claims that Galavan is the mastermind behind the city’s recent troubles. And because he’s Gordon, he immediately and impulsively lets Galavan know that he’s on to him, which is why it looks like Theo sics Barbara on his new enemy next week.

A small sidenote before moving on to the subplots. After noting in last week’s review that he hadn’t appeared in any episodes so far this year, Harvey Dent (Nicholas D’Agosto) makes his season two debut in “Mommy’s Little Monster.” Dent seems firmly ensconced in Galavan’s camp, providing the legal paperwork to expand the scope of his mayoral powers, giving him an exuberant introduction at the party. Curious to see how his role in this story evolves.

The question as to whether Silver St. Cloud is an active participant in her guardians’ plans is answered in the affirmative early in the episode, when Silver smugly brags that she has Bruce wrapped around her finger. Galavan wants her to be the only voice in Bruce’s ear, to build a trust they can manipulate when the time is right. This is put to the test when Selina – still smarting from what happened in the Firefly arc – pays a visit to Wayne Manor. The claws quickly come out and, though she should be smarter than this, Selina falls right into Silver’s trap, bitching her out in front of Bruce so Silver can play the victim. Bruce sides with Silver, but given how she feels she failed Bridgit, I can’t see Selina abandoning him when she knows that Silver is up to something. Also, Selina gets an awesome line when she sees Alfred again (“That smell really does slap you in the face.”).

Lastly, Kristen Kringle’s death leads Edward Nygma to play himself in a game of riddles. He comes to the morning after and discovers that his split personality has spirited away the body and has left clues as to where he can find it. Cory Michael Smith does a good job playing Edward’s sweat-drenched panic as he follows the trail, including a macabre moment where he uncovers Kristen’s severed hand in a vending machine behind packages of ladyfingers (heh!). When he finally finds it, his split personality badgers him into admitting that the thrill of outsmarting others and getting away with his crimes was “beautiful” and they seem to merge, with Edward setting out to dismember the body with a smile. I wonder what the show has planned for Nygma now (I have a bad feeling it doesn’t bode well for Leslie).

Now that I’ve put “Mommy’s Little Monster" to bed, drop down into the comments section and tell me what you thought of this week’s “Gotham.”