While the cat’s away, the mice will play. And while Gotham City’s stringent police chief is locked up raving in Arkham, an opportunity presents itself. Word of Chief Barnes’ condition spreads quickly through the city, and plans that were perhaps on hold are set in motion. Penguin hosts a meeting of the five families at the mansion and proposes a steep increase in protection fees. The decrease in law and order makes half of Gotham vulnerable and the other half more than happy to take quick and lucrative advantage of that vulnerability.
Meanwhile, Lee and Mario are determined to go about the business of getting married. They have a pre-rehearsal tasting with Carmine at a restaurant operated by a former associate of the don. They haven’t chosen a honeymoon location yet, but Lee tells the men that she did take off of work. The timing is good; she liked and respected Barnes, and she knows enough about the virus to know that the man who committed those savage murders was not her boss. Mario looks at her with interest when she says that the lab has developed a test for the Tetch disease — one step closer to a cure. Later, the valet goes to pull Mr. Falcone’s car around and the vehicle explodes.
Fortunately no one is killed, but that was certainly the bomber’s intention. Jim has some questions for Falcone; all related to Lee’s safety. He fears that the attempted hit is a sign that Carmine is back in business, so to speak. The retired crime boss says he’s not and that the attack was probably provoked by an old disagreement. Jim pleads with Carmine not to retaliate. Whatever this war is, if it escalates, Lee will certainly be in more danger. Carmine grants Gordon one day before he does things his own way.
Back at the GCPD, Lucius approaches Jim and acting captain Bullock with information on the device that caused the blast. It’s professional stuff — a military grade explosive, not some clumsy homemade bomb. Bullock instantly thinks of a skilled ex-soldier gone bad. But when he and Gordon arrive at Fuse’s apartment, the man is already dead. His bedsheets aren’t pulled tight like one would expect of a military man; Jim reaches under the mattress and finds a file on his target. They all had it wrong. Mario is in the crosshairs, not his father.
So. Plan A: bomb placed in car. Plan B: machete-wielding motorcyclists attack busy hospital courtyard. Mario tucks and rolls, evading the assassins; Jim shoots at them until they drive away. Mario claims to have no idea who these people are nor why anyone would want him dead. Jim advises him to “lay low,” which would include not having a big church wedding with half the members of organized crime in attendance. Mario refuses to take Jim’s advice out of pride. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” he says, like Gordon invented this whole scenario to postpone Lee’s wedding a week or two.
Jim tells Bullock to keep a discreet eye on Mario (“Don’t look at him!”) while he goes to see the man’s father. Carmine also is at a loss for motive. “My son is the most decent person I’ve ever known,” he says to Jim. “He’s not like us.” Jim doesn’t buy it. Decent people don’t get moved to the top of a hit list for no reason; Mario must be keeping something from his dad to preserve Falcone’s sterling opinion of him.
Over at Alfred’s School for Wayward Children, Selina is poking at frittatas while Bruce searches the Wayne library for a match to the antique key they found in the emerald necklace Ivy pilfered. He’s also stewing about Selina denying their romantic whatever in front of Ivy. Both as a peace offering and to annoy the boy, Selina drops the key in a household rust-removing solution to see what’s underneath the grime. It’s the image of an owl, and Alfred and Bruce know immediately who the key belongs to. Alfred frets that Bruce’s possession of the key will be considered by Kathryn and the Court as a violation of the agreement they made to stay out of each other’s business. Just as they realize the danger they’re in, Ivy turns up missing, having used her wiles and her disorienting perfume on the butler in a deeply uncomfortable scene.
NEXT: Putting a pin in it