My, my, my what a strange family history Theo Galavan has, indeed. Gotham finally revealed the history behind Theo’s centuries-old blood feud in Gotham City but not without totally confusing me regarding the DC Comics origin stories of the city’s First Families. But before we get to that, there was quite a bit of exposition in “Rise of the Villains: Scarification,” including Penguin’s plans to save his mother and the introduction of Bridgit Pike as the new, genderbent Firefly.
From the start of the episode, it’s clear that Penguin has lost his grip on power in Gotham City, and he’s not to pleased with his current position. Theo very clearly has the leg up on him by kidnapping his mother, and there’s nothing he can do to fix the situation, including trying to find a way to befriend the Galavan siblings. While Tabitha may be considered the more blunt of the two, it’s Theo’s words that have got to hurt the most. Not only does Theo not consider Penguin a friend, he also refers to him as a “tool” for him to use. He then very condescendingly shoos him off and opens the chest that Penguin brings him, which houses Wayne Enterprises employee Sid Bunderslaw. Bunderslaw is instrumental in Theo’s next steps for Gotham City domination and revenge. Or more accurately, Bunderslaw’s eye is what’s instrumental.
As Theo watches Tabitha do some gouging while clearly trying to suppress his disgust, Barnes and Gordon continue their rampage to improve the city and take down Penguin by targeting Penguin’s money at the count house. This almost proves to be difficult when one Penguin employee targets Bullock, Barnes, Gordon, and the rest of the Strike Force with a rocket launcher. Here we get quite possibly the best line of the night as Gordon tells Capt. Barnes that the Merc sells the heavy weaponry in the city but is always protected because its owners pay off City Council.
Capt. Barnes: “The City Council can suck my tailpipe.” (Do you think right about now, Michael Chiklis is wishing he were back on The Shield for a few minutes, just for the cursing rights alone? The cursing situation on Gotham and on Empire is absolutely ludicrous, but I digress…)
Penguin continues his descent into paranoia, anger, and crazy desperation over his mother’s kidnapping, as he mercilessly beats the employee who tells him about the count house raid. Somehow in the midst of the attack, Penguin comes up with a potentially brilliant plan.
Meanwhile Lee and Gordon talk about the Strike Force as Edward approaches the couple to awkwardly invite them for a double date with himself and Kristen. Gordon is obviously against the idea but Lee happily agrees and even invites the new couple over for some fondue. (Side note: Do people still have fondue dates? I need to get out more if it means eating melted cheese) As Gordon grumbles over not being able to escape, Theo approaches him with a request.
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Without straying too far from this recap, can I just admit how brilliant Theo is at playing the “reluctant hero” with Gordon? This guy is so sharp. Hitting Gordon with the vulnerability of killing a man for the first time is pure genius, and then somehow morphing that topic into a request to have Gordon back Theo with an official endorsement for mayor using the justice angle is seriously inspired. Despite Gordon saying no to his proposition at first, Theo clearly knows his audience well, and that deserves some applause.
As Theo plays the ultimately good guy out in the spotlight, Tabitha continues his dark mission, going to Penguin for an arson job, complete with Mr. Bunderslaw’s eye for assistance. Penguin plays up his paranoia as part of his big plan while Butch goes to visit Selina to get her help in meeting with the Pyke brothers, a.k.a. the best arsonists in town, who are still loyal to Fish Mooney. (Side note: Are we supposed to assume Fish could still be alive with all the references in tonight’s episode?) Let’s just cut to the chase here, the Pyke brothers are total “tailpipes,” as Capt. Barnes might say, they treat their sister Bridgit horribly, and, in my opinion, they do very little work when it comes to the actual arson being committed.
NEXT: Bridgit’s mission goes horribly wrong.