And thus concludes another episode of The Bad Guys Always Win.
From the return of Fish to Ed’s killer new gig for Hugo Strange, “A Legion of Horribles” set up what is sure to be an explosive finale of Hugo Strange and his monsters vs. everyone else. Tonight, we also caught a glimpse of Hugo’s employer (henceforth known as the Masked Lady), and what his monsters can really do.
Last week saw the second death of Theo “Azrael” Galavan just as Selina came face to face with Bridgit, whose mind was just scrambled enough into believing that she is a fire goddess hellbent on destroying anyone in her path. Things thankfully don’t go according to plan; Selina knocks Bridgit out cold and takes her flamethrower to try and burn her way out of Indian Hill. She quickly realizes this effort is unsuccessful, and what’s worse, Bridgit is back on her feet and unharmed from the flames Selina shoots at her. Selina cuts her losses and chooses to play along with Bridgit’s brainwashed new identity by asking to be the “fire goddess’ servant.”
When Selina doesn’t show up to meet Bruce, our future Batman realizes how royally screwed he is and immediately runs to Gordon for a rescue mission. Gordon, meanwhile, is waiting for new Acting Captain Bullock to finish his Azrael press conference. This entire exchange deserves to be re-lived:
Bullock: Regarding last night’s nocturnal activities, the suspect calling himself “Azrael” led a one-man assault upon Wayne Manor, whereupon an altercation ensued in which said suspect was blown up by a person or persons unknown. So he’s dead. Any questions?
Reporter: Can you confirm that the man known as Azrael was in fact disgraced Mayor Galavan?
Bullock: Well, seeing as how the suspect is now meat dust, positive identification would be difficult.
Reporter: How long are you acting captain?
Bullock: Until literally the second someone else wants the job.
Reporter: Who killed Galavan?
Bullock: Which time?
Bullock and Gordon then disagree over the method for how they should go about taking Hugo down. Now that Bullock has real responsibilities in the GCPD, he finally understands that you can’t just go busting down doors whenever and wherever you want to get justice. The system just doesn’t work that way, as much as Gordon likely wishes it could.
Bullock’s press conference is getting an interesting viewership as the mysterious Masked Lady makes a call after Bullock’s words to let an equally mysterious person know that Strange is “losing control.” “We need to gather the court,” she says forebodingly.
The Masked Lady’s not wrong. Hugo is far off the rails, and even Peabody seems worried. Hugo’s trusted right-hand woman reminds Hugo that with the patient Basil, he has now reanimated seven subjects in 12 hours. Peabody believes their employers will shut down their research because they have yet to bring someone back who has retained their memories. Hugo, however, asks her what is better than being able to control the minds of their subjects. What he should have said is, “What’s better than controlling their minds and making them do my bidding with their newly added creepy abilities?”
While Hugo readies what is sure to be his army, Alfred is giving “Master Bruce” an earful about putting Selina in danger with his own reckless behavior and mission. While the harsh lecture is probably warranted, now is clearly not the time. They have to figure out how to save Selina because the GCPD just can’t get the job done. If they come loudly knocking at Hugo’s asylum door, he’ll have the chance to cover his tracks just like he did when Bullock and Gordon had a warrant to search his office.
Lucius tells the gang that there’s likely a secret lab where Hugo is conducting his experiments, and Gordon realizes it has to be in Arkham somewhere. So a plan is formed: Bruce and Lucius will enter the premises asking for a “tour” of Arkham because the Wayne Foundation essentially funds the whole operation. Meanwhile Lucius will use his handy-dandy pocket radiation reader to find where the entrance to the secret lab is located, and Gordon will sneak in to find and rescue Selina as Bruce provides the distraction. It’s a plan riddled with flaws, but we’ll get to that a in a bit.
First we have to talk about the resurrection of a badass queen.
NEXT: “My name is Fish Mooney, bitch, and you better tell me what the hell is going on.”
Before the (not so) Great Selina Kyle Rescue of 2016, Hugo tends to one last patient ready for reanimation: the fallen favorite Fish Mooney. Hugo tells his Indian Hill employees to raise the voltage for Fish up to 200 and injects her with cuttlefish DNA. And once again, much like Jon Snow, one who was dead has now been reborn — but Fish is the first patient who is actually able to retain her identity, memories, and more importantly, her sass. Hugo then promptly locks her up.
When Fish is visited later by an Indian Hill employee providing her dinner, she grabs his hand to demand a grilled cheese sandwich. A strange wave is transferred from Fish’s hand to the employee, and moments later, he returns with the grilled cheese because Fish told him to bring it. Who’s excited to see what Fish does with her new powers?
Bruce and Lucius, meanwhile, make their way into Arkham, with Lucius helping Gordon sneak in after them. Bruce goes with Hugo for a little chat while Lucius is given a tour by Peabody. Gordon, meanwhile, uses an expired badge to casually walk into Arkham undetected, but is this seriously his plan? The guy was part of a high-profile trial and incarceration mere weeks ago; does he not realize he’s one of the most recognizable faces in Gotham? Clearly the security guard at the door knows him and obviously only lets him into the building so that Hugo gets the upper hand once again.
Bruce and Hugo talk about Thomas Wayne’s “moral principles” vs. Hugo’s science. At first, Hugo only hints at disagreements between the two former friends, but he pretty much owns up to his part in Thomas and Martha’s murders. Hugo begs for Bruce to turn back like he begged Thomas, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned from “A Legion of Horribles,” Bruce is certainly his father’s son. Hugo takes Bruce, Lucius, and Gordon from their respective locations and places Lucius and Bruce together
And then there’s Ed. Despite his terrible attempt at escape just last week, Ed ends the episode back on top (kind of). After putting Ed in a room with a known cannibal, Hugo and Peabody finally give Gordon’s former friend the chance to make good on his offer to take Gordon down once and for all. He quickly becomes the tormentor of Lucius and Bruce as he asks them to tell him what they know about Hugo Strange’s plans and whom they told. If not, they will be killed by a poison gas.
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Hugo watches Bruce from a monitor in his office and reveals to Peabody that he likes the boy. “He reminds me of Thomas, whom I miss, ironic as it might seem.” Suddenly the Masked Lady appears on the screen to scold Hugo for his monster experiments when she and his other employers clearly paid him to reanimate someone with their identity. Hugo reveals that one positive result has come from the experiments, and he gets the smallest leeway to keep going, provided he cleans up his messes. Time to clean up Gordon.
Alfred warns Bullock of the Selina Kyle escape gone wrong, and Bullock brings a small GCPD army to find his friends at Arkham. But Hugo’s once again ahead of the good guys. Hugo chains Gordon in one of his labs and locks his head in a device filled with white liquid. Nothing happens to Gordon, but when Hugo brings Basil out and places the device on his head as well, it’s clear what’s about to happen. Basil is likely an iteration of the DC Comics supervillain Clayface, whose skin is malleable enough to change identities. When the device opens and Gordon is staring back at himself, we know that Hugo Strange and his monsters are even more formidable than we could have imagined.