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.
An entire day passes, I guess, because it’s nighttime again in Gotham. The child snatchers are talking to one of the business owners about their deal where he supplies them with ATP and hides the kids in exchange for giant, sweaty piles of cash. He tells them that with the cops on their tail, they oughta pay him more money. They refuse, and wouldn’t ya know it, suddenly the business owener’s henchman has been ATP’d by the woman child snatcher. She says something about “the Dollmaker,” but before we get an explanation, the cops arrive!
Outside, Harvey is telling Jim he needs to learn to control his woman because she’s a high class, temperamental broad, so Harvey and I are no longer friends, at this point.
Jim and that asshat go inside and are greeted by the lady child snatcher, who lets them in so they can talk to the business owner, who in turn is being secretly held at gunpoint by the dude child snatcher. An old-fashioned, Western-style gunfight breaks out after about five seconds, and the child snatchers escape.
With the cops now assumed safely outside, the business owner instructs the janitor (?) to kill the kids, but DON’T WORRY, Jim is right there and takes the guy out right as he goes to shoot them. Who even knows where Harvey is, what’s important here is that Jim is the Ultimate Hero and that nobody’s moral compass is as true as his. Except for both of the queer women. But that is neither here nor there, apparently.
But before we can throw our hats in the air and freeze-frame like we’re gonna make it after all, the mayor is holding a press conference about how, because of this incident and because the child snatchers are still at large, they’re going to round up all the homeless kids and put them in child services. We see shots of kids in handcuffs, so we know this is for sure a terrible thing that’s happening. Cat is among those in cuffs, but hilariously, the best part of the scene is how terrified she is of the barking police dog BECAUSE SHE’S CATWOMAN. YOU GUYS. DO YOU GET IT. CAT IS CATWOMAN.
Anyway, America hates poor kids.
After the press conference, Jim tells the mayor and company that they’re all morally fucked, and everyone is like OH MY GOD SHUT UP, including me, even though he’s clearly right.
Later or maybe immediately after, Alfred pops by and asks Jim to visit tomorrow “at tea time” to check on Tiny Batman. Jim agrees and then probably immediately pulls out his phone to see what time is “tea time.”
Then there’s a tiny scene of Tiny Batman drawing fucked up doodles and listening to metal so we know something is wrong because no one listens to metal on TV unless they’re going through something.
Elsewhere, Cat is being put on a bus to go upstate to juvie. They ask for her name, but since as soon as she says it we’ll know she’s CATWOMAN, she instead demands to make a phone call to Jim Gordon.
They deny her request and shuffle her onto the bus anyway, where she comforts a crying kid so we know she’s ultimately a good person, but then WHOOPS suddenly the child snatchers are dressed as guards and are taking over the bus. Cat tries to run away, but when the lady child snatcher threatens to shoot her, she begrudgingly sits back down. Ruh roh.
Later, the mayor bursts into the police chief’s office because he somehow blames her for losing a busload of kids? She tells him it was probably The Child Snatchers(tm), but don’t even worry about it, dude, they’re working on it.
“Working on it,” as it turns out, means Harvey is beating the business owner with a phonebook while Jim watches, which means Montoya has officially pulled ahead of him in the moral compass contest. Score.
They learn the snatchers’ truck had a logo on it that the guy described as a blue plate with a fork. Good work, fellas, you definitely had to beat the shit out of someone for that dollop of information. After panicking for a while about a catering company serving children for dinner (obviously the truck couldn’t be a decoy, I guess?), Jim figures out that it’s actually the logo for Trident International Shipping.
The busload of kids has finally stopped at some sort of warehouse situation where the child snatchers are unloading the kids into cargo boxes that perhaps unintentionally remind me of like, gas chambers. After counting and recounting all the kids, the child snatchers are still one short, so the lady goes to check on the bus because obviously Cat is still on it. She manages to sneak by undetected, despite some loud sounds working against her, and creeps away, CATLIKE.
You know, Catwoman is bisexual in some of the comics. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Tiny Catwoman, I guess, because for pete’s sake, for a show with so many queer women characters, Tiny Catwoman is really the only one who’s done anything more interesting than making a phone call so far. I guess it’s still early in the game; I’m gonna try to keep the faith.
Anyway, one of the guards comes running in because Cat scratched his eyes out. While the others run after her, the lady child snatcher insists on inspecting his wounds and then shoots him when she sees how bad they are. They probably didn’t want to pay for his health insurance or something.
The lady child snatcher pursues Cat into what I can only assume is the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. They play cat and mouse for a bit, but this time, Cat is the mouse, DO YOU GET IT? Eventually, Cat is cornered, but Jim shows up to save her! Is someone keeping track of how many capable women Jim saves on this show? I think we’re at two so far.
It’s tea time at Wayne Manor, and despite being summoned in specifically to see Bruce, Tiny Bats is nowhere to be found. Instead, Alfred is discussing how concerned he is about Bruce’s mental health, especially since he’s started cutting himself as well. Tiny Batman pops up out of nowhere, and Alfred yells at him to stop sneaking up on people, which is actually amazing. Jim tells Bruce he should see professional help, but Bruce is like “no, I’m Batman, also can I throw money at those homeless kids you just saved?” so they talk about that instead.
Smashcut to the kids in new clothes being filed through Gotham PD on their way to juvie. Cat is begging an officer to 1. not call her Selina (ha), 2. not send her to upstate, and 3. let her talk to Jim. The officer accepts #1 but denies #2 and #3, at which point SHE THREATENS TO TELL PEOPLE HE TOUCHED HER UNLESS HE COOPERATES. First of all, what the fuck. Second of all, what the actual fuck. I guess it was in-character, but god, at what cost.
He goes to find Jim.
Back in the Penguin’s trailer/lair, everyone’s favorite villain is staring at his serial killer-style map of Gotham when his phone rings. It turns out that he’s holding one of the bros for a ransom, and since the bro’s mom thinks it’s a joke, the bro is about to pay the bloody price. Somehow I am less alarmed by this scene than I was by Cat threatening to lie about being molested.
Back at the police department, Jim and Cat banter and barter. Cat says she knows who killed the Waynes and is willing to tell Jim for the price of not going to juvie.
Will Jim agree to Cat’s deal? Will the Penguin kill that bro? Will we finally see more of Detective Montonya? Tune in next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!