Butch and Nygma battle it out for Penguin's trust
Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown, and all that. Oswald Cobblepot can’t even enjoy his little victory party without being the target of several overlapping schemes. That said, it was awfully fun to get most of our cast in a room together, even if the floor of that room ended up showered in blood and broken glass. All’s fair in love and politics, especially where Edward Nygma and the Penguin are concerned.
Penguin’s old number-two Butch hasn’t taken his friendship demotion lying down, though he does spend a lot of time sulking in photographs. Instead, he’s been secretly orchestrating a piece of theater that will put him back in the lead with Penguin over that sniveling usurper, Nygma. While Oswald is distracted with feeding the homeless and paying homage to a statue of his beloved mother (pour one out for Carol Kane on this show), Butch hires some goons to dress up like the stamped-out bank robbers from Season 1, the Red Hood Gang. The GCPD puts this new crew into the copycat category.
Red Hood 2.0 make their debut in front of the press. Oswald stands next to the statue of his mother and tells the media about her kindness, belief in him, and immigrant drive to make a life for her son out of nothing. Then a black truck pulls up. Shots are fired into the crowd, though no one is hit. Instead, the Red Hoods target the statue itself, soundly decapitating poor Mrs. Cobblepot. If the Hoods or their boss wanted Penguin dead, he would be. They had a clear shot. And though he hasn’t been exactly private about his devotion to his mom, it’s curious that a group of random thugs would be interested in attacking his emotional state rather than his empire.
Butch still has pull in this town, but he is where he is because he’ll never get more than half a step in front of the rest of its crafty crooks. And then they’ll lap him. Barbara and Tabitha are the first to figure out that Butch is captaining the hoods. All it takes is a few hours in the freezer for one of his employees to talk. And Nygma isn’t far behind, though he does piggyback on some GCPD police work to get there.
Earlier, Nygma waltzed back into his former workplace with all the confidence of a diplomat parking in a fire lane. He’s untouchable, thanks to his status as Penguin’s confidante. And he’s also free. Free to be the remorseless, creepy, crazy-pants version of himself that he once struggled so hard to suppress. No one is happy to see him, least of all Lee, who decks him in the face “for Kristen.” (Surprised Barnes didn’t give her an official commendation for it, to be honest.) Nygma takes their distaste in stride. He finds the usually calm Lucius Fox coiled in the lab like a poisonous snake that’s ready to clamp down if Nygma threatens him or Bruce Wayne ever again. Nygma laughs him off and asks for an update on the truck the Red Hood Gang left behind in the Narrows. The carpet fibers in the interior contained potassium chloride along with the regular stuff. Nygma puts it together later when he’s using salt to lift a stain from Oswald’s party suit. (So domestic already.)
Back at the industrial laundry they call home, the Red Hood Gang are wondering why they just can’t kill Penguin already. Butch returns in a panic after Barbara and Tabitha show their hand. If they’ve figured out he’s pulling the strings already, how long will it take a mind like Nygma’s? He essentially tells the guys to scatter; they’d like to get paid first. Butch’s plan had been to mow the guys down when they raided the victory party, making a very public scene of his heroic loyalty to his own boss. But: desperate times. He blows them away with a machine gun just as Oswald, Nygma, and the rest of the inner circle are walking up to the building. Butch stands with the smoking gun in his hand, basking in the proud smile of his demented employer.
NEXT: CSI Gotham