Gotham has always been a violent series – and sometimes the violence does seem gratuitous – but it rarely reaches the gag-making proportions of this episode, A Bitter Pill to Swallow. If you have eaten lunch, prepare to lose it now.
We know there’s going to be as much violence as plot in this episode, because it starts with the revengeful Tabitha putting a hit on James Gordon. Cue a series of cameos of demented killers, particularly the cannibalistic Eduardo Flamingo, who likes to combine work with dining.
Need we say that we cried with laughter at Michelle Gomez’s portrayal of the mistress of hit-women? In full Missy mode, she brought a level of eccentricity to the performance that left us howling for more.
Meanwhile Gordon has been visiting Barbara in hospital, and has a heart-to-heart with Lee, but she still seems a rather underused character, limited to worrying about Jim, and patching him up when he gets battered.
More exciting is the new relationship between Ed Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot; as they settle into their Riddler and Penguin personas, Ed takes the lead, goading the weakened Oswald into ever more violent revenge fantasies. What a lovely couple, and what fun we’re going to have watching them blossom.
So to the drippy romance between Bruce Wayne and Silver St Cloud. She’s evil, that’s for sure, but is she going to turn good when the chips are down? Our betting is she will, despite Alfred’s attempts to put an end to the relationship. Maybe Selina’s reasoned intervention will have more effect.
On his way to Galavan’s gaffe in search of evidence, Gordon fights off a first assassin who tries to garotte him, but more are on the way; together with Barnes and rookie Parks, Gordon’s caught in a vicious gun battle.
There are some great scenes as the two men bond in the heat of battle, but Barnes is acutely aware that Gordon’s inner darkness threatens to overwhelm him; what we’re working towards, in effect, is the day when The Batman relieves Gordon of this burden. But that’s a long way off.
Meanwhile Gordon has to deal with Eduardo Flamingo, who casually offs three cops, but is subdued relatively easily by Jim, who resists the temptation to kill him. Would that he had; on his way to the pokey, Flamingo kills Officer Parks, in a particularly sick-making scene. Okay, the junior officers are just there as cannon-fodder, but they deserve some dignity even in death.
However, Tabitha’s plan has failed, and Theo tells her in the strongest terms to lay off, though it’s not entirely clear why – surely Jim’s death would just remove an obstacle to Galavan’s intentions regarding Waynecorp? Nonetheless, Galavan is awaiting the arrival of The Brothers, Father Creel’s monastic assassins, who prove their credentials by casually knifing a watchman at the docks. Despite being behind bars, Galavan’s still a whole heap of trouble, and with the arrival of The Brothers, his plans bear fruit.
We can’t wait to see how Jim and Bullock are going to deal with a bunch of superhuman assassin monks, and we can’t wait to see how Bruce will deal with the treacherous Silver. Both scenarios are going to require our heroes to step up in a way they have never had to before.
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