Season 4, Episode 5: “The Blade’s Path”
Directed by Scott White
Written by Tze Chun
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Demon’s Head” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Hog Day Afternoon” – click here
Ole Butch (Drew Powell) a.k.a Cyrus Gold, is being dumped “upstate” where all the old Indian Hill radioactive waste and other nastiness is dumped, too. Over at Slaughter Swamp. Yes, we’re about to start seeing some Solomon Grundy action! You betcha!
At the GCPD, Dt. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is dealing with Captain Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) and all the crime licenses, he’s also worried about Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig), recently sent over to Blackgate.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is brooding, he’s constantly pouring over information looking for a way to how to defeat Ra’s; maybe the immortal man is looking for the knife because it’s the only thing that can kill him. He knows the warlord will not stop, even with Alfred (Sean Pertwee) trying to help him assuage the guilt without running into something else over his head. And Alfred also warns him: “Taking a life, never mind how justified, will lead you down a darker path than you can ever possibly imagine.”
Shitty news for everybody – diplomatic immunity could have Ra’s extradited within the week from Blackgate Penitentiary. This also puts Jim and Alfred at odds, as well as might drive Bruce to do something rash. The young billionaire is suiting up that night, knife in tow. Oh, man. This will get tricky, possibly even bloody.
Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) goes up to Blackgate, visiting Ra’s. She plans on getting him out, though he’s only called on her to say goodbye. She’s not happy, she wants all that was promised to her when they began their journey. So, he gives her power through touching his palm against hers through the glass of his cell. Hmm. Mark me down as intrigued.
At Slaughter Swamp, a hideous creature emerges, it was once Butch. Nearby there are people camping, drinking, singing along to the Solomon Grundy rhyme. The creature walks in on them, and then he beats them all brutally. Finally, another of my favourite villains appears. This is absolutely going to cause problems.
At his lounge, Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is upset to hear there’s still a few percentages of crime not covered under his “Pax Penguina” system of licensing. He wants examples made in the streets. However, soon he gets called upon by Sofia Falcone (Crystal Reed). She wants to merge Penguin’s business with the Falcones, thus getting everything back under the crime boss’s umbrella.
Poor Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is searching the city, he wants to get his “cognitive abilities” back to their previous glory. He is truly losing his shit. He’s not doing well on either end of the spectrum, from smarts to villainy. Oh, it’s a long way from where he was as the Riddler a short time ago. Worse, he’s stumbled onto Solomon in an alleyway. He remembers Butch, even if Butch doesn’t remember himself. Uh oh.
Bruce gets himself inside Blackgate, then right into the cell of Ra’s al Ghul. He is prepared to kill the man with the sacred blade. Then, decides not to take the man’s life. A mistake, as the immortal warlord wakes, confronting him. He believes the young billionaire’s not ready yet to be his heir. Sadly, Master al Ghul has servants everywhere, including the prison. A few guards apprehend Bruce. Getting scary now. So, Alfred and Jim have to go in looking for him when they discover he’s missing, putting them in a troubling situation.
After Ed wakes up he finds Solomon, asking for simple answers. Nygma is half mortified, half intrigued by what’s happened to Butch since last they saw one another. He’s not getting away easily, though. Grundy wants answers, and he needs a “friend,” while Ed can’t even figure himself out. A bunch of men show up for Solomon, putting Ed in the way. Luckily, the big guy has super strength.
In the dungeons of Blackgate, Bruce wakes to Ra’s. The immortal finally holds the embalmer’s knife, after centuries. He reminisces on the Lazarus Pit bringing him back to life, the first time he held the dagger; he saw a vision of Bruce back then, his heir. Now, he wants Bruce to kill him, and become that heir: “Set me free.” Things are getting sketchy upstairs. Both Alfred and Jim are suspicious of the guards, figuring out they’re servants of Master al Ghul. The two men fight off the fake guards, looking for Bruce.
At a restaurant, Penguin and Sofia sit for dinner. The daughter of the mob boss has already setup an interest night with the owner, Janos Szabo (Demostehenes Chrysan), an old Falcone ally. While eating, Oz is rendered emotional by some of the goulash, leaving early; it was his mother’s recipe, Sofia hunted it down. The mob daughter goes to the lounge, wanting to mend things with Penguin. They do a bit of bonding over parents, which subtly might be making Cobblepot reconsider his business relationships. What’s more, Sofia ingratiates herself to the man by helping ease the pain of his mangled foot.
In the Blackgate sub-basement, Ra’s still keeps urging Bruce to kill him. The young refuses. The immortal says if he isn’t killed, then Bruce will go on, live a life. But someday Ra’s will return to kill everybody he loves. Suddenly, the boy stabs him with the knife, Ra’s begins withering away to a corpse. The butler and the detective get there when it’s too late to stop him.
The guilt returns for Bruce. Although Jim advises that there are ways out of that guilt, including not succumbing to killing again, no matter what. He tries keeping the kid on course. As always, that’s a tough sell. At the mansion, Bruce wants to burn his crime fighting suit, to give it all up. Alfred tells him that he “can make a difference.” Doesn’t matter, because the boy believes he’s taken a “dark path” that nullifies him as Gotham’s hero. He’s only a young man. He has plenty of time for growing up. Until then, Alfred’s keeping the suit, sticking by him.
Ed has found a way for him and Grundy to make some cash, to get them on their feet, get him back to being smart. They’re down at a club where people fight in a ring. Nygma sets up Solomon for a match. Oh, can’t forget there’s a lady running the place – it’s Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). WOW! She’s back, mama. And better than ever.
Yes, there’s lots of wild stuff happening here! I love Gotham, so, so much. Just the perfect prequel to Batman and all these other villains. Can’t wait for more.
“Hog Day Afternoon” is next. Love the title, as usual.