Gotham Season 1 Review “The Mask”

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I’ve heard of “Fight Club,” but this was ridiculous. If you thought trying to find a job in this economy was bad, just try getting one at the high finance firm run by Richard Sionis (Todd Stashwick, late of “The Originals”), where the top three contenders for the position fight it out- sometimes to the death. Such was the case in the latest episode of “Gotham,” in which a perhaps overzealous contender killed his competition- but not before said guy chomped off his thumb!

Said thumb incident led the man to everyone’s least favorite shady doctor, underground sleaze Dr. Felton (Frank Deal, “Law & Order: SVU”), who gave Gordon and Bullock the firm’s business card that the guy dropped and it was off to the races. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Sionis was running a dubious practice- if his office full of weaponry and freaky masks (hence the title) wasn’t enough indication, then an office populated by people with bruises and broken noses and the like was.

Unfortunately, though Gordon found the guy with the missing thumb and promptly arrested him, Sionis sent in a lawyer to clam him up before he could sign a confession, but not before he could blab about the office fight club shenanigans. So, Bullock and Gordon teamed up to investigate Sionis’ various property holdings, with Gordon drawing the short straw and getting tasered by the man himself, when he stumbled upon the office of choice. Next thing he knew, it was time to do some fighting of his own, with decidedly higher stakes this time around than a mere office position: whoever killed Gordon first bagged a cool million.

To his credit, Gordon held his own and kicked all three guys’ collective butts before Sionis himself jumped in for some action- and proceeded to also get his ass handed to him as well. Damn, Jim! Anger issues, much? That attitude may have served him well in this case, but back at home, not so much, as Barbara reached her tipping point- or should I say her tipsy point?- and packed her bags and bailed after nearly blowing Jim’s head off because of her PTSD after the whole Falcone affair last week. He might have taken out a roomful of dudes, but he’s no match for a drunken angst-ridden wife, that’s for sure.

Meanwhile, Liza was starting to get attached to Falcone, who treated her more as a friend than a girlfriend, and hadn’t yet tried anything untoward- as we know, probably not without good reason, as he knows more than he let on about Fish’s antics. He might not know about Liza just yet, but with the Penguin’s newly-attained info he should figure it out soon enough. Fish fed her some phony baloney story about one of Falcone’s men killing her prostitute mother and managed to keep her on the job in the short term, but I’m guessing her days as a double agent are numbered.

She better hope that Falcone is the forgiving sort- but I’m guessing not. Either way, she did seem to have completed the mission Fish gave her to steal the last few pages of his journal- or did she? We never did see it, so is it possible either the journal was fake and a plant- or even that Falcone intercepted her already and fed her some fake pages to dupe Fish on his behalf? We already know he knows more than he lets on, so it’s entirely possible he already knows Liza is there on her behalf and turned her on Fish, likely without giving her much of a choice in the matter. We shall see.

On the Bruce Wayne front, it was time for him to get back to school, and it did not go especially well, as young master Wayne ran afoul of a bully by the name of Tommy who had some decidedly sick questions about his parents’ murder, which Bruce didn’t take kindly to. So, naturally, Bruce slapped the crap out of him- and then got her butt handed to him. Jim Gordon he ain’t- yet.

Cut to: Alfred taking Bruce by Tommy’s after school, where he proceeded to take his newly-acquired late father’s watch and use them as ad-hoc brass knuckles and return the butt-kicking favor to Tommy. Alfred had to stop him before he got a little out of control, but you could definitely see the future Batman starting to emerge, to be sure. Later on, he asked Alfred for some fighting lessons, which he was all too happy to oblige him in. And so it begins…

That was about it, but that was enough. This wasn’t quite as riveting and excellent all around as last week’s episode, but that would have been a tall order under the best of circumstances. When all was said and done, though, it was a solid enough episode, I thought, with some great character moments for Bruce, Alfred, Gordon and Bullock throughout. (I especially enjoyed Bullock’s impassioned speech to the precinct when Jim turned up missing.) The villain was appropriately nefarious, and the main plotline was primo nuttiness of the pre-Bat-verse “Gotham” variety that we’ve been slowly been accustomed to, with equal helpings of twisted humor and dark underpinnings. In short, another winner.

What did you think of “Gotham” this week? Did you like the main villain? Or did you think it was too much of a comedown after last week’s stellar episode? What do you think will become of Liza? Is Falcone onto her already? Is she double-crossing Fish? Or is Falcone using her to feed Fish bad info without her knowledge? How long before Bruce puts someone into the hospital? Place your bets below and see you next week!