Season 4, Episode 15: “The Sinking Ship, The Grand Applause”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Seth Boston
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Reunion” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “One of My Three Soups” – click here
Young Martin (Christopher Convery) is still under the care of Sofia Falcone’s (Crystal Reed) men. But he’s a tricky little dude, whose brain is always working. He’s been given a message, as well. All in an effort to free him. And who has come? Uncle Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) has sent The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith). After the explosion, they’re headed for “ice cream.”
The Narrows has “new management,” after Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) was ousted. In her place, Sampson (Stu ‘Large’ Riley) takes over, and things are a hell of a lot different than before; much nastier, and somehow more violent.
At the GCPD, Captain Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) discuss the former’s predicament re: Professor Pyg. What Jim needs now is a buddy, so he hands his old friend over the badge he used to wear. Thus begins a new sort of relationship, because Harvey isn’t ready to let the new captain’s transgressions go without justice. After all, Bullock faced the music on his faults, so why shouldn’t Gordon?
At Wayne Manor, Bruce (David Mazouz) comes across Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) rifling through his cupboards looking for food. She has problems with a “difficult” fence, from whom she wants to get back something she sold off. It’s the item she stole from the dead Wayne Enterprises scientist, Roland Charles. The young billionaire offers to help.
Bullock pops in at a candy shop to see Agnes (Waltrudis Buck) – “The Skinner,” one hardcore old lady – asking about anyone who might’ve been keeping an eye on Gotham City for Falcone in his last years. Across town, Sofia knows Martin is gone, and she dispatches Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) to go kill Penguin.
Speaking of, Penguin’s in the hospital ward at Arkham after getting knocked out by a guard. Right about that time, Harvey comes to see him; so do Zsasz, and Headhunter (Kyle Vincent Terry). This starts a showdown. Poor Harv can’t catch a break. First day back on the job and he’s gun-to-gun with Gotham villains. They’re interrupted, though, after an escape alarm is set off: Oswald slipped out during the chaos.
Selina and Bruce go to the pawn shop, where they meet Floyd the Fence (Lee Zarrett). A fight breaks out, prompting the Cat and the young billionaire to kick some ass. To his credit, Bruce does leave some cash on Floyd’s unconscious corpse before they shove off.
What a sight to see! Oz and Ed, back together. They head to visit Dr. Thompkins and her smashed hand. They’re not too enthused when they find she’s lost her authority in the Narrows. The Riddler plans on having Victor Fries (Nathan Darrow) make Penguin into a “block of ice,” like a “chilly Trojan horse” to trick Sofia. Not exactly Mr. Cobblepot’s idea of fun. So, Lee has her own ideas.
And so Nygma goes looking for Solomon Grundy (Drew Powell). Only Solomon’s remembered he’s Butch, and he remembers that the Riddler isn’t his friend. This is looking like TROUBLE.
Penguin doesn’t have time for Ed’s plans, so he heads off. He runs into Cpt. Gordon and Dt. Bullock, who are seeking his bookkeeper, Mr. Penn (Andrew Sellon). He passes over info, and Jim wants to let him go. Problem is, Harv has new ideas about justice. All breaks down when Zsasz and Headhunter turn up. More gunfire in the streets of Gotham. No surprise! This also gives Lee time to steal Penguin and get away, then they go see Victor about the ice cube plan after all.
SO MUCH GOING ON! Yikes.
Barb: “Grundy smell like old dentures”
At the Sirens Club, Butch drops off the Riddler for Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) and Barbara (Erin Richards). There are other issues over there. Ole Barb is having serious health problems. She nearly collapses from a headache-like pain, though insists there’s no problem. Remember her thing with Ra’s al Ghul? I bet it’s side-effects.
Nygma is being subjected to dental torture by Sofia and her people. He’s a tough bastard, lasting quite a while before ever coughing up a riddle. Nevertheless, an icy Penguin delivery from Mr. Freeze gets there in time to save Ed from more pain. The ice block’s set on a timer, and eventually Penguin is out, gun in hand.
Now everyone’s heading to find Penn.
In another part of the city, Gordon and Bullock find an unsettling resort where old people go to dress and act like babies. Including Penn. They get info about the bookkeeper, his allegiances, and his relationship with Sofia. Penn is the one who arranged for the Pyg’s trip to Gotham.
But things go haywire. Sofia and her men get there guns blasting; Jim takes a bullet. Yet another major firefight commences, as Cpt. Gordon sends Bullock off with Penn and takes on the gang of villains himself. After a while, Jim faces Sofia face to face and he’s run out of bullets. Who’ll save him? Lee motherfucking Thompkins, that’s who!
Rather than go anywhere else, Penguin makes it to the docks to save the Riddler from a bullet in the head. The little crime lord knows “trust is so very hard to find in Gotham,” and the only one he seems to trust anymore is Nygma. Ah, the beautifully fucked up, psychopathic, bisexual love story we deserve.
Jim wakes in the hospital, and Sofia’s in a coma. Also, Bullock convinces his friend not to confess about his role with the Pyg, because then he’d get to be “the martyr.” Instead, he must continue serving the GCPD, and living with his truth, so the city doesn’t lose the hero it needs. And down in the Narrows, Lee is reclaiming her legacy, one bloody, broken hand at a time.
More importantly, what’s going on with Barb and her headaches? She sees her hand begin glowing. Then she has a vision of Ra’s walking at her through the crowd. Oh, my. Compelling. I need more of that.
Finally, Gotham makes a bit of forward progress plot-wise. I love the show, just sometimes it can feel stagnant when there are so many stories happening at once, and so many characters to juggle. With Sofia out of the way – even if she’s only in a coma for the writers’ safekeeping – there’s a hole in the villainous world of Gotham City. Will Barb become a new villain with her Ra’s-inspired power? We’ll see.
“One of My Three Soups” is the next episode.