Hello and welcome to the second episode of Gotham, a show about white men and minority side characters and also men who are bats, presumably. When we last left off, Detective Jim Gordon told Tiny Batman that his parents’ killer was still at large and that he was gonna track him down even if that means interrogating every pair of shiny shoes in the city, and then the Penguin killed a guy for his sandwich. What a time to be alive in Gotham.
We open in Wayne Manor where young Bruce is doing the most pre-Batman thing imaginable: seeing how close he can hold his hand to a candle flame. The point is probably something about learning to understand/withstand/compartmentalize pain, but what it really is is self-destructive.
Alfred bursts in and is like “whatcha doin'” and Bruce is like “noooooothing,” but he is obviously lying and Alfred sees his burnt hand freaks out and then hugs him. :(
Starsweep over to the rough-and-tumblr streets of Gotham where the young thief who keeps turning up everywhere bats at a necklace in her hand, LIKE A CAT BECAUSE SHE’S CATWOMAN, JUST SO YOU KNOW. We also learn in this scene that her friends call her Cat (even though the episode is titled “Selina Kyle,” aka Catwoman’s real name) and that this show is about as subtle as spandex.
So Cat and some homeless youths dressed in last year’s Abercrombie and Fitch sweaters are chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool when a couple of guys “from the mayor’s office” who are up to no good pull up in a truck and offer them sandwiches and chocolate. (ETA: I just learned that the child snatchers’ names are Patti and Doug, like from the show Doug, which is hilarious.) One of the homeless male models asks Cat why she doesn’t want a sandwich, and she sings the Meow Mix jingle in reply and backs away into the shadows.
Obviously the Lutece twin-wannabes knock the kids out and abduct them, but not before an older homeless man is shot and a thrilling foot-chase ensues and the only person of color in this scene gets thrown through a restaurant window. Cat escapes, and I’m hoping this is the episode where someone tells her it’s because she has NINE LIVES BECAUSE SHE’S A CAT, LIKE CATWOMAN. It just feels inevitable, you know?
The next day, Detective/Eagle Scout Jim Gordon arrives on the scene to investigate the man who was shot, who was apparently also a veteran. Jim’s partner, Harvey Bullock, arrives shortly after to remind us that he’s still a shitty person and that Jim shouldn’t care about this murder because the dude was homeless. Sorry, Harvey, there are a million shows about shitty white dudes that everyone loves in spite of their shittiness, but this isn’t one of them.
Anyway, Jim is pissed that the first-responder cop didn’t preserve the crime scene because he was too busy checking out the restaurant where the kid “jumped” through the window. Jim posits that perhaps the shooting and the restaurant incident could be… related???? He’s right because his entire character is that he’s never wrong.
Fast-forward in time to the police precinct where our fearless detectives are questioning the homeless kid who got thrown through the restaurant window. FIRST OF ALL, it turns out that kid is played by Kyle Massey, aka Raven’s younger brother on That’s So Raven…
…so I’ve already found my favorite part of this episode.
The kids tells the detectives what happened and says that a) street kids have been missing for weeks but nobody cares about them and b) Cat can corroborate his story even though the cops don’t know who that is yet. Harvey threatens to beat him up unless he confesses to killing the veteran, so Jim is like “maybe don’t do that? It’s illegal?” So Harvey tells him to man up and pushes him, and Jim pushes him into this guy, and then this happens:
So he is probably the one who killed Bruce’s parents.
Meanwhile on the outskirts of this timeless city, the Penguin is trying to hitchhike out of the city. Two bros eventually stop, and even though they fuck with him a little bit, they seem like ok dudes overall. Don’t worry, though, we all know this isn’t going to end well.
After offering him a beer and listening to him talk about how one day he’ll return to Gotham stronger than ever, one of the dudes tells the Penguin that he walks like a penguin, so the Penguin STABS IN HIM THE NECK WITH A BROKEN BEER BOTTLE. DON’T PICK UP HITCHHIKERS. THE MORE YOU KNOW.
Back at the precinct, Harvey and Jim are fighting again but with the added bonus of the police chief. Jim argues that Harvey can’t actually beat up suspects because it’s super illegal, but the chief is like “yeah, but it’s Gotham, so,” which apparently means anything goes.
The conversation is cut short when Ed The Scientist, aka the future Riddler, comes in to say that the kid who was thrown through the restaurant window had high levels of ATP in his blood, which is an amazing thing for a scientist to say, since, if I recall from freshman biology, ATP is basically just the kind of energy that mitochondria in every cell produce. But not in Gotham!
Ed explains that here, ATP is “a fast-acting knockout drug. Used to use it at the old Arkham Asylum.” So the kid wasn’t lying, and the detectives are on the case. The police chief warns them not to talk to the press about this, which means obviously the press is going to find out.
We slip n slide on over to Fish Mooney’s place, bearing in mind that since the murder happened on her turf, the detectives are going to need her permission to investigate the crime. Mhm. The nightclub is in full swing, and a really cool girlband is finishing up a set, and suddenly it seems wildly unfair that this show follows a bunch of cops and not a super cool band that plays in seedy clubs.
Just as the evening is hitting its peak, what to my wondering eyes should appear but Don Falcone and a shit ton of henchmen. Don is here to confront Mooney about something the Penguin said before he “died,” specifically that the Waynes’ deaths will disrupt the tenuous structures upholding Gotham’s criminal underbelly and that Mooney had plans to take down Falcone.
Obvs Mooney denies it, so Falcone calls over Mooney’s lover/waiter Lazlo (who a quick wikipedia search tells me is probably Professor Pyg) and then has his henchmen beat him up. Womp womp. Sorry, Lazlo, you never had a chance. MOVING ON.
Later, Mooney is talking to Butch, presumably her #2, about how as soon as she has the resources, she’s going to kill Falcone with her bare hands and her teeth. Yeeeeeeeesh, so I guess Lazlo wasn’t just some punk she was banging on the side — this shit is personal. Also she’s gonna fucking kill the Penguin once she finds out how not-dead he is. She’s having quite a day!
A BLESSING ON ALL OUR GAY HOUSES, WE HAVE FINALLY REACHED A DETECTIVE MONTOYA SCENE.
Detectives Montoya and Allen are questioning the Penguin’s mother in her apartment about the disappearance of her son. While she is convinced that he’s a good boy who is almost certainly in the clutches of a woman, Montoya and Allen are confident that someone found out he snitched to them and knocked him off. Allen says that these things happen to snitches, but Montoya, a woman after my own heart, says that doesn’t mean they should stop looking for his killer. Damn, you guys, she’s gonna bring the whole city to its knees single-handedly, if there’s any justice in the world at all.
Speaking of the man of the hour, we hop in our pickup trucks and head out to the country, where the Penguin is pulling the murdered bros’ truck into a driveway/mechanic’s shop situation. After a brief conversation with the dude who lives (works? I don’t know what this is supposed to be) there, it is determined that the Penguin will live in the trailer for $100 a week and that his new landlord WILL NOT SEE THE BRO BODIES IN HIS TRUCK.
Tiny baby scene: The homeless models who got kidnapped earlier in the episode wake up in a dungeon with some other homeless models. No ones knows where they are, but one of them supposes that they’re all dead.
And on that cheery note, we flit on back to Mooney’s with Jim and Harvey so they can ask her about the child snatchers but mostly so Mooney can comment on how Jim is a part of their Sinner’s Club for killing the Penguin. She tells them there’s a “buyer overseas” who will take anyone “young and healthy” but that no one knows what they want the kids for, which is, uh, uniquely horrifying? This show is so weird because it’s so over-the-top that it’s almost campy, but then every once in a while, it’s about things like selling children into slavery.
We whiz forward in time to Jim and Barbara’s apartment where the couple is eating takeout, which I am only noting here in order to point out that Jim was eating his with a fork but Barbara was using chop sticks, so.
Jim tells her about the child snatchers, and she’s like “you should call the press anonymously” and he’s like “naaaaaah,” and she’s like “ok” and then calls them herself. She tells him it was the right thing to do. He agrees. Not since Battlestar Galactica has a show so blatantly faced moral quandaries.
The next day (assuming it wasn’t too late when Barbara called and the newspaper stopped the presses and had time to write up a quick story and print again), we see this headline on the Gotham Gazette:
The police chief is not happy. Neither detective admits to calling the press (which is accurate), and Jim tells the chief that they’re pursing the ATP lead and narrowed it down to three companies. After the chief walks away angry but satisfied, Harvey tells Jim he could barely tell he was lying about calling the press and blah blah blah why aren’t there more Barbara/Montoya scenes.