Ladies and gentlemen, meet Dr. Dulmacher (Colm Feore). Fish meets the twisted surgeon for the first time as well, and quickly wins him over with her spirit. She suggests that he make her his right-hand woman; he suggests she take a look at her new (and electric blue) eye. Dr. Dulmacher soon escorts Fish, who meets one of the good doctor’s organ recipients, through the facility. After a brief Frankenstein-inspired speech, Dulmalcher concedes to grant Fish a conditional position in charge of the prisoners. There’s also a particularly creepy (and kinda funny) scene revealing Dulmacher’s newest creation: his former head of security, whose literal head now resides atop a body with the torso and limbs of a woman. Weird.
The first order under Fish’s new rule is for the prisoners to return the doctor’s guard as a show of good faith. Her second is to offer up a few of their own as a sacrifice, and the prisoners nearly revolt thanks to her betrayal. Next on the docket, the doctor is planning Salsa night, and welcoming Fish to Upper Management. He also reveals the location of his mad hospital: a very isolated island.
Back at the GCPD, Gordon is sweating bullets over the news that the higher ups in law enforcement have let Flass walk on the murder charges and are now sponsoring him for President of the police union. The Commissioner is in on it, as are the DA, city judges, and the Mayor; Gordon’s got his work cut out for him. (At least this will give Gordon a chance to take down Flass like he did in Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One”.) Then, in one of Bullock’s best character turns this season, Gordon witnesses a confession tape revealing Bullock admitting to providing falsified evidence to implicate Flass in the crime.
Gordon asks Bullock directly about why he lied. His partner reveals that he was once put in the same position as Gordon had been when he either had to execute Cobblepot at the end of the pier, or get executed himself. This is how Commissioner Loeb keeps his officers in line, but Gordon (of course) refuses to play the game. Instead, he brings the news to Dent in the hopes that they can root out Loeb’s evidence and leave the Commissioner powerless. Gordon’s not being completely honest with Dent, however, since he keeps the dirt on Bullock to himself. Talk of partners does trigger an idea in Dent’s mind, and they drag Loeb’s old partner Griggs out of the woodwork. It doesn’t take long for Gordon and Dent to crack him and get a lead. Gordon decides to leave Bullock out of the loop on this one.
Gordon and Dent pay a visit to Xi Lu (Perry Yung) to interrogate him about his connection with Loeb. Before they can get any answers out of him, Lu’s team of unassuming bean-counters draw knives and chase the lawbringers into the alley. Luckily, Bullock shows up to rescue them before they get carved up. Not only does he save them, he uses his particular brand of Bad Cop tricks to scare Griggs into revealing that Loeb was in league with Falcone. (I picked a helluva week to stop writing up Bullock’s story arc…) They head to the one person who might just know where Loeb/Falcone are keeping their evidence stash: Penguin.
Penguin’s Rise to Power
Though Penguin’s club acts are still looking pretty awful, at least he’s got Gotham’s foremost Good Cops under his slippery thumb again. He leads them to a barn where Loeb’s stash is likely hidden; the only problem is that it’s currently occupied by an elderly couple. (Ten bucks says they aren’t as cordial as they appear to be.) They soon break out the big guns and open fire on Gordon, Bullock, and Penguin, but couldn’t hit the broad side of their own barn. Having subdued the old folks, the coppers head upstairs to the attic and find a strange young woman, who claims to be Miriam Loeb (Nicholle Tom), the Commissioner’s daughter.
They try to wheedle out the location of her father’s stash, but Miriam is three kinds of cuckoo. Their guess is that Miriam was the only witness to her mother’s murder at her father’s hands when she was younger, and her description of how she kills starlings is eerily similar to how Mrs. Loeb died. Then again, perhaps Miriam has been nutzo since long before her mother’s death; she confesses to using a candlestick to “stop her [mother] from singing” and ruining her night. And in television’s creepiest meet-cute, Miriam is lovestruck when she lays her eyes on the bird-like Penguin.
Better than any actual scrap of evidence, Gordon presents Loeb with one of his daughter’s bird necklaces. The Commissioner cops to Miriam’s condition immediately. Gordon uses his knowledge of Miriam to blackmail Loeb into doing what he wants, otherwise he’ll land Loeb’s daughter in Arkham. They work out a deal: Loeb will stay on as Commissioner, will give up Bullock’s blackmail file, and will try Flass in a real trial. And though Loeb refuses to give up the other files, he does put his public support behind Gordon for President of the union.
Bullock is now out from under Loeb’s thumb, but Gordon finds himself under Penguin’s instead. Bullock warns him to be careful in his dealings with the mobster. Speaking of Cobblepot, he offers the elderly couple just one ticket out of Gotham, and then watches as Marge beats and strangles her husband to death in order to keep herself safe. Too bad for Margie, Penguin blasts her with his last remaining shotgun shell.
Alfred’s conscious again to start the hour, and it looks like he’s got his wits about him. When Gordon asks if he or Bruce know who attacked him, Alfred plays dumb and Bruce takes the hint to do the same. The caretaker essentially tells his ward that if anyone’s going to take Reggie down, it will be him. Bruce stands up to Alfred when the wiley old salt tries to walk out of the hospital after a near-death stabbing. With Alfred laid up, will Bruce attempt to take vengeance into his own hands?
No, not yet anyway. Bruce is reading Alfred a particularly morbid bit of writing when Cat pops in for a visit, along with a hug and an apology. He confides in her about his plan to track Reggie down and figure out who put him up to the hit.
Well, we finally got to see Bullock’s bad side again, but it was only for a fleeting moment. Now that his slate’s been cleared, I fully expect him to join Gordon on the straight and narrow. What’s interesting (for once, on this show) is that Gordon is now trodding paths that Bullock once trod, while hoping to avoid his partner’s fate. I guess we’ll have to wait until Gotham returns in April to see how far their paths diverge.
Rating: ★★★ Good — Proceed with cautious optimism
(An explanation of our ratings system follows here.)
Nygma: “Fun fact: The human species attracts members of the opposite sex through pheromones in spit, sweat, and urine.”
Penguin: “What would you expect, Detective Bullock? A sign saying, ‘Super-secret blackmail horde’?”
Miriam: “I started making jewelry.” Bullock: “What’s it made of?” Miriam: “Bones.”
Gordon: “It’s a new day in the GCPD.”