Season 2, Episode 9: “A Bitter Pill to Swallow”
Directed by Louis Shaw Milito
Written by Megan Mostyn-Brown
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Tonight’s the Night” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Son of Gotham” – click here
With Mayor Theo Galavan (James Frain) in cuffs, Gotham City’s turned upside down. Again. Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) goes to a bar where she orders a “Highsmith Royale.” She hands over some cash and gets let through a secret door at the side of the bar. Out back is a room where people gamble, so on. She meets with the Lady (Michelle Gomez) to find an assassin. She needs Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) killed. Speaking of Jim, he’s checking in on Barbara (Erin Richards) at the hospital; she’s in critical condition, in a coma. She’ll also be transferred to Arkham Asylum soon.
Elsewhere, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is taking care of Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), nursing him back to health. Or, well, I guess you could call it that. Seems like something a hell of a lot more sinister. No telling with Mr. Nygma.
Meanwhile, at Wayne Manor, Alfred (Sean Pertwee) is trying to keep Bruce (David Mazouz) from being around Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind), knowing she’s trouble, knowing that anyone involved with the Galavans is trouble. That doesn’t go over well with the kid. But Mr. Pennyworth’s trying his best.
Jim and Lee (Morena Baccarin) are having troubles. Those aren’t his biggest worries, though. An assassin comes for him in an elevator, throwing a garrote around his neck. He manages to fight the guy off, after a vicious few moments. He makes it upstairs to Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) and the others checking out Galavan’s digs. Then a phone rings on the hitman. The Lady is on the other end, but opts to say nothing. Gonna need a bigger hitman! At least a better one. This has the Lady resorting to extra measures, offering a hefty reward for anyone who kills Dt. Gordon before the morning comes.
Over at his apartment Nygma is taking care of Penguin. He advises Cobblepot: “You‘re a wanted man.” So, he has to stick around, whether he wants to or not. Edward begins confessing his murderous crimes. Sort of liberating for him. He wants Penguin to help him along his “new path.”
Barnes is questioning if Jim is having troubles, after the detective all but tosses his hitman out the window. They don’t have much time to argue about it, really. Not with armed men in the lobby coming for Gordon, more of the Lady’s employees. Fighting them off, Jim finds a monk’s cassock behind one of the walls. Worse than that, Barnes takes serious damage at the femoral artery from a knife.
After Penguin wakes from his latest nap, he discovers Edward has a “gift” for him – Mr. Leonard (Kelly Miller), an associate of Galavan. Nygma wants to give him some retribution for the death of his mother. A cherry little homicide. Doesn’t appear the little man’s interested. Too bad.
When all the rest of the assassins don’t work, the Lady calls Eduardo Flamingo (Raúl Castillo), a dangerous, dangerous man. He is especially nasty and cruel and efficient; also, a cannibal. Therefore, the perfect person remaining: “It‘s not a job if you love what you do.”
While Barnes and Gordon wait for medical attention, the Captain tells him about his military service. During a firefight, he did something terrible, killing a young man they’d captured. He knows what it is to cross that line, just like Jim worries about doing every day.
“There is no line. There‘s just the law.”
Edward is trying hard to convince Penguin to help him, by any means possible. Riddles, songs, memories. They talk about the latter, specifically Oswald’s memories of his mother singing a song to him before bed. She was his only champion, the only one who didn’t make fun of and ridicule him. But Ed tries to show him that losing the only thing he loved only means now he is a “free man” who cannot be bargained, bought, betrayed; it makes him stronger.
Looks like Barnes has to wait longer for the medics. Flamingo is there to kill and eat some cops. He calls up taunting Gordon, who decides on heading down to meet the assassin head-on. On the street, Jim finds dead police everywhere. He and Flamingo go toe-to-toe in a brutal fight. He gets the upper hand, though instead of blowing the guy’s head off he decides on arresting him.
Sadly Officer Parks gets her neck chomped at the precinct when bringing Flamingo the cannibal in for booking. In Blackgate, Theo isn’t overly thrilled to hear about all the shit Tabitha caused with her assassin scheme. Doesn’t matter, seeing as how Father Creel (Ron Rifkin) and his monk friends from the Order of St. Dumas are starting their descent upon Gotham at the docks.
After Penguin’s feeling better he decides it might be fun to play with Mr. Leonard after all. Ed’s keeping him in the closet, for safe keeping. So, the two psychopaths take him out for some entertainment. Shit.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce finds Selina (Camren Bicondova) trying to stop him from seeing Silver, too. She’s got proof for him. She tries acting all hard and careless. It’s obvious she cares for Bruce, Bridgit, a few people close to her.
Loved the concept of this episode, having Barnes injured and trapped up there while Jim had to take care of business. So much fun. Creepy, as well. And like always, there is tragedy, darkness, terror.
“The Son of Gotham” is up next.