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Gotham - Pieces of a Broken Mirror - Review

Like “Pieces of a Broken Mirror,” the spring premiere of “Gotham” starts with a singular event that several of the characters then splinter off from into different subplots. The resulting episode is a solid if not particularly sensational return.

The newly appointed Captain Gordon is in the Narrows searching for the missing Bullock at a brothel. While wandering around, he breaks up a fist fight in an alley and is stunned to find Alfred in the middle of it. Their conversation is then interrupted by an explosion in a nearby building, where Leslie is holding a meeting in her new role as the leader of the Narrows. And amidst the ensuing chaos, Ivy Pepper emerges from her cocoon. It’s a deftly shot and edited bit of business.

So let’s start with Gordon. With Bullock in the wind, Lucius Fox shows up to aid the investigation and quickly comes up with a clue when he notes the bomb was attached to an antique toy airplane. This sends them to a creepy-as-hell toy shop where they’re attacked by an oversized nutcracker with a machine gun in his arm. This sequence is kinda fun because of how Ben McKenzie and particularly Chris Chalk play Gordon and Fox’s dryly exasperated reactions to this latest bout of Gotham bonkersness. Anyway, the “Toy Maker” (and sidebar – some Wikipediaing revealed that he’s a villain that was created for “The Batman” animated series, but he is also clearly derivative of the well-known Superman foe the Toyman) escapes, but with the help of his son, Gordon figures out that the bombing was actually an assassination attempt on someone nicknamed “the Doc.”

Who’s “the Doc?” Well that’s Leslie, of course. At the meeting, she had been trying to advocate for the people of the Narrows to come together, to pull each other up instead of pushing each other down, and she and her allies suspect that whoever tried to kill her wanted to circumvent that agenda. It turns out, though, that the Toy Maker was sicced on Leslie by Nygma, whose Riddler alter ego is starting to reemerge. But that secret goes to the grave with the Toy Maker when Gordon mistakenly thinks he’s attacking Ed and shoots him dead. It’s a somewhat anti-climactic end to this A-plot. And I’m also not excited about Ed’s character regressing like this – the obsessive crush, the split personality, etc.

Some quick relationship updates. Gordon and Leslie come face-to-face for the first time this season and their reunion is, unsurprisingly, chilly. Also, Solomon Grundy is starting to remember his life as Butch Gilzean and, in a bittersweet scene, admits to Tabitha that he still loves her, aw.

On to Alfred. Now calling the Narrows home, he was sticking out like a posh sore thumb, but after helping evacuate people following the explosion, he wins over his neighbors, particularly a pretty diner waitress named Tiffany (Broadway star Caissie Levy, who really looks like a young Felicity Huffman). Alfred’s clearly smitten, but soon sniffs out that Tiffany is in an abusive relationship. And when he inserts himself in the situation, the boyfriend has a perfect patsy to frame when he later kills Tiffany. Gordon of course believes Alfred’s protests of innocence, but the evidence is pretty damning, so Alfred slips away to confront the boyfriend himself and – with a surprise assist from bartender Bullock – manages to turn the tables. As with the A-plot, this story wrapped up way quicker and neater than I was expecting. But I did like that it let Sean Pertwee play some different notes.

Lastly, let’s talk about Ivy, now played in “different flesh” by Peyton List of “Mad Men” and “Frequency.” She has apparently been in a cocoon in the herbal shop since we saw her chugging chemicals in the season’s second episode. And not only does she look different when she emerges, but she has new powers – her “essence” is laced with an extremely deadly plant-based toxin. I was very leery about the show recasting and reimagining this character yet again, but List is really good in the role. Ivy is captivating throughout, whether she’s sitting around in a ball gown eating ice cream, sneering at the Sirens, or coolly asserting her power over Selina once her childhood friend figures out who she is.

So that’s my take on the “Gotham” spring premiere. I promise you won’t get seven years bad luck if your share your thoughts on “Pieces of a Broken Mirror” in the comments section.

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