Gotham recap: Wrath of the Villains: Mad Grey Dawn
Ed sets Gordon up to take the fall for a terrible murder while Penguin meets his long-lost father
Is anyone else genuinely confused by the turn of events on Monday night’s Gotham? After a rather slow start to the episode, “Wrath of the Villains: Mad Grey Dawn” kicked into high gear in the last five minutes by exposing that Gordon did kill Theo Galavan through a perfectly orchestrated set up by the man who should now most certainly be called the Riddler, Edward Nygma. And if that wasn’t enough, the episode then sped through the entire trial process and instantly sentenced Gordon to prison for his crimes. I have been consistently baffled by the pacing of this show.
Everything in “Mad Grey Dawn” starts and ends with Ed. Because he is much too paranoid for his own good, Ed has concocted a whammy of a way to ruin Gordon’s life simply because he’s worried the good detective has suspicions about Ed’s involvement in Kristen Kringle’s disappearance. Ed begins the episode by setting off fireworks at a Gotham museum to scare tourists and art aficionados out of the museum so he can steal a painting and defile a few others with his soon-to-be signature green question mark.
Bullock and Gordon investigate the crime, but before they make their way to the museum, Barnes lets Gordon know that Internal Affairs is looking to reopen the Theo Galavan case against him as they have received an anonymous tip from someone claiming to have seen Gordon shoot Theo, instead of Penguin. As Bullock and a now-shaken Gordon make their way out to check out their new case, Ed confronts Gordon and tells him he is ready to be interviewed about Kristen, but Gordon is too preoccupied to focus on Ed’s ex-girlfriend’s vanishing act. He does manage, however, to try and comfort Ed on his way out, promising to find out what happened no matter what.
As the quest to ruin Jim Gordon continues with Jim himself about to fall into trap after trap, Penguin has decided to make the rounds and visit old friends and perhaps right a few wrongs. It’s time first for a reunion of Butch and Penguin. Butch is very obviously not excited to see his old boss who cut of his hand for the sake of his mother, but surprisingly Penguin is neither shocked nor has any reaction to the fact that Butch is now working with Tabitha. He doesn’t even buckle to Tabitha’s attempts to get a rise out of him by talking about his mother before she died. In the end, Butch decides on a little bit of compassion as Tabitha urges him to kill Penguin regardless of the fact that Arkham has changed him: “I believe in an eye for an eye. We’ve all lost something, including him. We’re square you and me.”
But Tabitha won’t let Penguin just leave without any punishment, and her idea of really sticking it to the once King of Gotham isn’t torture or violence: It’s to truly turn him into the bird that he is by tarring and feathering the poor guy. Arkham seems to have really worked for him because when he later visits Ed to reunite with his old friend, he doesn’t seem worried about the punishment at all.
Gordon meanwhile is stressing immensely about the possibility of IA reopening the Galavan case and asks Bullock to find out what his contact at the office might know. The detectives learn that the painting that was stolen by the question mark robber was of little value while two other paintings in the museum of considerably higher value were defaced instead of taken. Gordon very quickly realizes that the paintings are meant as a code for the police to find out the criminal’s next target: Gordon figures it’s at the railroad station, and he’s correct. Ed makes his way there to plant a bomb and continue his “Take Gordon Down” scheme.
Gordon and Bullock make their way to the station and discover one of the lockers painted with a green question mark. Gordon picks up a randomly placed crowbar at the scene and busts the locker open too find the bomb Ed neatly placed, which is scheduled to blow before the bomb squad can make it. Gordon and Bullock clear the station and move the bomb to a location where its blast does little damage. But the case is still wide open as neither the detectives nor Barnes can understand what this mystery criminal is really after. If only they could tap into Ed’s paranoia to understand his brilliant — excuse me — insane plans.
As for Ed, he’s still miles ahead of anyone who could ever catch him. He asks a seemingly random officer Pinkney for his signature on a chain of custody form and then taunts Gordon (without him actually realizing it) by telling him he saved the day. Gordon continues to trust whom he believes is a friend and asks Ed to run forensics on the case. Just what Ed needed as he pockets the crowbar for his own nefarious purposes. At this point, is Ed so immersed in his paranoia and alter-ego insanity that he just can’t realize Gordon is nowhere near close to realizing Ed killed Kristen?
NEXT: Gordon is so ridiculously screwed
Just as Ed is examining his soon-to-be weapon, Penguin arrives at Ed’s door for his little visit. Ed is initially extremely happy to see his friend and the man who helped him fully realize his evil potential, but once he realizes how much Arkham changed him, his happiness turns to discomfort. “To be honest, the new you is kind of freaking me out,” he tells Penguin before he kicks him to the curb (politely, of course).
Penguin then heads to his mother’s grave and apologizes to her tombstone as a man from her past, Elijah Van Dahl, arrives to pay his respects as well. Penguin meets the man, played by the incomparable Paul Reubens (who doesn’t get quite enough time to shine tonight but will likely do so in future episodes), and they quickly discover they are father and son. Rather than shy away from this new discovery, Elijah accepts Penguin with open arms and invites him into his family. The women in the family — led by Melinda Clarke — throw hella shade at dear Oswald, a story line that is bound to yield some deliciously dramatic moments very soon.
Penguin and Gordon go through some life-altering changes, but so does Bruce. Bruce offers to help Selina to steal money from Butch Gilzean’s men who are running a magic mushroom empire in their basement with the help of Ivy, who makes a quick but fun little return to the series. Because what’s a little theft if you’re stealing from criminals? The robbery goes south very quickly as Butch’s nephew Sonny catches Bruce and Selina in the act. Bruce stands up for Selina and offers to take her punches, while implementing Fighting 101 lessons he learned from Alfred. But he later reveals to his new roomie that the fight really did change him, that he feels unbreakable, but Selina tells him that no one can truly be unbreakable.
Ed’s plans in the meantime are going perfectly according to schedule. He visits Officer Pinkney at his home, stating that Gordon is right behind with a few questions. But while Pinkney turns away, Ed kills the poor man with the crowbar Gordon used earlier during the railway station bomb scare.
Gordon tells Lee that IA has reopened the investigation into Galavan and that he is now the prime suspect, and she tells him that she knew he lied to her. Gordon reassures her that he will find a way to get through this terrible phase in their lives, but there’s no way that’s possible. (P.S. Is anyone else getting tired of how little use Gotham is getting out of Morena Baccarin? She’s too good to be ignored.)
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As Gordon stays up late trying to find out about the question mark criminal’s next move, he gets a lead from Bullock that he decides to check out alone. Of course, the tip is from Ed, which leads Gordon to Officer Pinkney’s apartment. He discovers Pinkney’s body just as Barnes makes his way to the apartment, as well, stating that he received a message from Pinkney to talk about Gordon. Barnes drags the good detective back to the station, and Gordon reveals that someone is setting him up.
Barnes tears holes through all of Gordon’s possible defenses: Bullock’s tip sheet was quickly changed by Ed to omit any mention of the address that turns out to be Pinkney’s apartment, the murder weapon has Gordon’s prints because he used it earlier in the bomb scare, and the sheet Ed had Pinkney sign earlier that day was the tip that led IA to reopen their case against Gordon. Barnes believes he has Gordon dead to rights on Pinkney and Galavan’s murders — all signs point to Gordon trying to cover his tracks.
The scene quickly shifts to weeks later as Gordon’s trial has already concluded. The jury has unanimously found him guilty, and the judge sentences him to 40 years in Blackgate. Lee tries to be strong for Gordon, but Gordon pushes her and the baby away. As news of Gordon’s trial radiates around Gotham, suddenly Barbara wakes up from her coma in Arkham. Odd timing or some kind of twisted fate that draws these two together?
Bullock tells Gordon he’s going to find out who really set him up, but at this point, all hope seems to be lost. Readers/commenters: Is it even remotely possible that Ed made an error that Bullock will be able to find? Percentage-wise, how close is Bruce now to his future Batman alter ego? Why isn’t Morena Baccarin getting better material? Can the pacing be any crazier on this show? So many questions, so few answers.