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'Gotham' recap: 'Rise of the Villains: Mommy's Little Monster'

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TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Donal Logue, Ben McKenzie, Jada Pinkett Smith
Crime, ActionAdventure

There may have never been a man with more love for his mother than Oswald “Penguin” Cobblepot, a feat he has easily proven in the last few episodes of Gotham. Penguin finally succeeds in getting his mother released from her Galavan-sibling prison but not before Butch proves he’s no longer loyal. And what’s even worse, as Gertrude hugs her son, she’s stabbed in the back by Tabitha. As Gertrude goes down for good, Theo orders Butch to kill his former employer. Of course, Penguin finds a way to sneak out of his predicament and taunts Theo to get his hands dirty and kill him. Theo asks Penguin for his final words. But after snarling “I will kill you,” Penguin slashes Theo in the throat and jumps out the window to safety…for now. What an appropriate way to begin “Mommy’s Little Monster.”

We then return to Ed, who is very clearly in bad shape after accidentally strangling and killing the love of his life (RIP Kristen!). Ed continues to fight for his sanity, but unfortunately, Darkside Ed’s taunts get worse and worse as he takes Kristen’s body and replaces it with a riddle inside of a card. Ed realizes that his evil alter-ego visited the GCPD in the dead of night, “hijacking” Ed’s body for the job, but where is Kristen?

It seems that after Gordon agreed to endorse Theo in “By Fire,” Theo worked fast to make sure the news of the endorsement was aired to everyone in the city. At this point, Theo is basically guaranteed to become Gotham City’s mayor. Tabitha isn’t in the mood to celebrate. She’s looking to unleash a little hell. But Theo’s plan is still in motion, and it requires a little patience and help from Silver to eventually convince Bruce to sign over Wayne Enterprises to Theo before the Galavans take the poor boy out. I don’t know about you guys, but if this plot doesn’t show Bruce’s full Batman potential, I’ll be pretty damn disappointed.

Gordon and Harvey Bullock watch the same broadcast announcing the news of Gordon’s endorsement, but it’s pretty clear that while Gordon might be willing to give the man a good word or two, he still doesn’t fully trust him. (I’m still surprised that no one found Theo’s killing of Jerome to be extremely staged, but I digress.) Gordon asks Bullock why on Earth Penguin would want to take out mayoral candidates and burn a few buildings because it is most certainly not his MO, but Bullock chalks it up to Penguin being a unpredictable bad guy. Of course, Gordon’s faith in Penguin is tested when Barnes informs the partners that Penguin once again tried to off Theo.

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Barnes is not wasting any more time giving Penguin the opportunity to continue his alleged violent spree; he’s already siding with Theo on how to “protect” the people of Gotham and has finally gotten an arrest warrant for Penguin, courtesy of Harvey Dent, who has finally appeared in season 2 (despite being in a series regular this season). Of course, Gordon being Gordon, he’s not fully on board with the decisions made by his commanding officer and the future leader of the city. There’s a fine line between heavy policing to keep people safe and martial law. Gordon’s not quite sure Barnes and Theo understand this. But Theo tries to convince Gordon to remain on his side, but the tide is already shifting.

After the insane slap that Alfred planted on Selina, it’s interesting that she’s back to visit Bruce once more. But considering the stuff she went through with Bridgit, why wouldn’t she turn to the only other person she considers her friend? Selina attempts to tell Bruce about her drama but notices Silver’s purse and realizes her friend is not as alone as she was hoping. Bruce introduces Silver and Selina and leaves the room to let Alfred know Selina will be joining them for lunch.

The alone time between the girls offers Silver the chance to properly threaten Selina to stay away from Bruce in good ol’ villainous fashion. “You’re a piece of gutter trash. Would anyone miss you if you were gone?” Silver says. Selina stays for a bit at the awkward get together with Bruce, Silver, and Alfred (her taunt at Alfred’s expense about his slap was a real gem), but after a while, she just can’t take it anymore. She attempts to expose Silver for the two-faced villain she is, but Selina clearly doesn’t realize that attacking someone in order to show their true colors never works. In fact, it almost always backfires, and Selina is left with no friends after Bruce kicks her out. Bruce eventually heads back to Theo’s home to make up with Silver, as Theo attempts to show Bruce that they are not all that different. His plans are on track where Bruce is concerned.

NEXT: Ed’s dark transition is almost complete


Ed finally makes it into work (what is the business day situation at the GCPD?) and desperately searches for Kristen’s initials to get some kind of clue as to where her body could be. Finally he finds Kristen’s hand in the vending machine under “KK,” and Darkside Ed continues his mental torture with yet another riddle.

He finally finds her body in the morgue just as Lee walks in and sees Ed peering over the body. Somehow, Ed is able to convince Lee that he is just checking the body to confirm some notes he made on a Jane Doe case and then quells further suspicions by changing the subject and asking Lee for advice about an “argument” he and Kristen shared.

Ed makes it back to the ME’s office to finally take care of Kristen’s body as Darkside Ed appears. But this time, it’s not about taunting his other self. Instead he makes Ed realize that while Kristen’s death might be tragic in his eyes as he loved her, he actually enjoys the killing, hiding the body in plain sight, and not getting caught. Darkside Ed gets closer and closer to Ed until finally the two merge into one, and Ed reveals, “It was beautiful.” Is The Riddler finally born?

Theo wastes no time at all putting together a press conference to draw Penguin out so that Tabitha can finally kill him. It’s an obvious, yet genius plan, especially when Theo taunts Penguin at the press conference with jabs about his mother. Because Penguin clearly believes that no time is like the present (and considering the revenge rage that’s clearly about to burst inside of him), he tells his crew that tonight is the night to finally kill Theo.

Meanwhile Harvey discovers that Butch has started his own crew, and Gordon believes it’s possible Butch is finally ready to take down his old boss. (As we already know, he most certainly is.) But before Gordon and Harvey can head out, Lee stops by and hands Gordon a key to her apartment. Is it just me, or has Lee’s role so far this season been so limited to her being Gordon’s girlfriend that it’s actually a shame to see how much Gotham is wasting Morena Baccarin’s potential? Let’s hope she gets a bigger story line of her own quick.

Gordon and Harvey head out on their mission, and Gordon finally tells Harvey about his Penguin-and-Theo suspicions. He knows Penguin well enough to realize that these acts of violence against mayoral candidates and the Wayne Enterprises buildings are nowhere near his style. His suspicions are confirmed when Butch reveals how Theo kidnapped Gertrude to trap Penguin into doing his bidding after Gordon and Harvey threatened to leave Butch to Zsasz who attempts to take Butch down for Penguin. Of course before they can confirm his story or find out anything else, Zsasz opens fire, and Butch escapes. Thankfully Gordon and Harvey are able to stay alive and keep Zsasz at bay by open fire with a few of Butch’s machine guns.

Theo goes ahead with his celebration party despite Penguin and his posse getting ready for their revenge. Penguin tells his crew that no one but him is allowed to take Theo down, even though no police officer would ever allow him to get within 100 feet of the guy. Gordon and Harvey figure out that Gertrude hasn’t been seen at her place in weeks, and Gordon surmises that Butch might be right and that Theo might have even killed Gertrude himself.

But of course, Penguin has already made his moves. His gang heads toward the party as the Strike Force snipers watch but are ordered not to engage at the target. Tabitha shoots down a person she believes is the Penguin, but the bird man has clearly thought this plan through — all of his men are dressed in Penguin attire and walk toward the party with limps, making it impossible to properly ID who the real Penguin is. Before Gordon can tell the rest of the Strike Force to engage, the fake Penguins descend on the party, killing anyone in their path to Theo. Meanwhile, Tabitha is discovered by one of the Strike Force officers, and she takes him down with the heel of her boots.

Penguin finds Gordon as he attempts to drive Theo off to safety and refuses to put the gun down, despite Gordon confirming that he knows Theo killed Gertrude. Tabitha takes a shot and hits Penguin in the shoulder, but he escapes. Theo makes yet another press conference about forging ahead on a new path for Gotham, all while Silver continues to manipulate Bruce and Selina watches from afar. Gordon confronts Theo and tells him that he’s going to continue cleaning up the city, but his plan is to now start with Theo himself. Theo tells him the words are pretty bold considering he now runs the city, but we know Gordon well by now. He doesn’t back down from a fight. And that means Theo will have to try and take him down as well. Looks like Gordon’s work with Penguin is all but guaranteed to come out now.