[This is a review of Gotham season 2, episode 7. There will be SPOILERS.]
Theo Galavan's (James Frain) quest to take over the city reaches new heights on the latest episode of Gotham, and Penguin's (Robin Lord Taylor) mission to find his mother concludes, following last week's episode. Meanwhile, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) takes yet another step towards earning his full-on villain status. Let's discuss this week's Gotham, titled "Mommy's Little Monster".
GOTHAM'S NEW MAYOR
Early on, we learn that Theo has all but secured his place as Gotham's next mayor and the fact that his plan includes getting Bruce (David Mazouz) to sign over Wayne Enterprises. Moreover, his ward, Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind) appears to be in on the plan, with her job to ensure that no one else has influence over Bruce. She swiftly drives a wedge into Bruce's friendship with Selina (Camren Bicondova) and kisses him to further earn the young man's trust.
Meanwhile, Theo and Harvey Dent (Nicholas D'Agosto) re-establish that the GCPD's first priority should be bringing down Penguin and set up additional security at the victory party for Theo's election. Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) move in on Butch (Drew Powell), and during a shootout with Victor Szasz (Anthony Carrigan), Gordon gets Butch to confess that Theo was blackmailing Penguin the whole time. Later on, Gordon reaffirms to Theo that he's still committed to bringing down the city's monsters but is starting with him. At last, the show's primary hero has gotten wise to the widespread conspiracy going on behind the scenes.
Ever the devoted son, Penguin finally locates his mother, Gertrude (Carol Kane), but just as he exclaims that the Galavans will pay, they show up and -- with Butch now on their side -- quickly kill Gertrude, who lies in her son's arms in her final moments. Penguin escapes and, after a failed attempt to kill Butch, launches an attack on newly elected Mayor Galavan's victory party. Gordon nearly slips away with Theo in tow, but they're interrupted by Penguin, who proclaims that -- as Gordon suspected -- Theo killed Gertrude. Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) started shooting at them, and all the men slip away unscathed.
Thus far, we've seen Penguin fall time and again, only to rise to power. However, his mother's death is certainly the most personal defeat he's ever suffered on the show. Much like a recent tragic passing in Nygma's life (more on that in a moment), Gertrude's death will only further propel Penguin's fall to darkness. The character has emerged as a fan-favorite despite his often-despicable actions because of his unconditional love for his mother. Now that she's no longer a factor, it will interesting to see how his personal pain is reflected in his actions going forward.
RIDDLER IN THE DARK
A number of Gotham's most notorious villains are rising this season, but one of the most anticipated character arcs is perhaps the dark turn of Edward Nygma into the green-suited menace known as the Riddler. By far the best sign of this progression is the appearance of riddle at Nygma's apartment, complete with the character's signature question mark calling card. Following Kristen's (Chelsea Spack) death, Nygma's dark side sends him on a scavenger hunt to find her body, including a particularly gruesome discovery of Kristen's severed hand.
Nygma's fall has been one of the more drawn-out elements of the series. So the fact that he is finally developing into the force for evil that he is destined to become opens up a world of exciting potential story arcs for the character, including the much-discussed alliance between Riddler and Penguin. Finally, Nygma's admission regarding the "beautiful" feeling that accompanied nearly being caught by Leslie (Morena Baccarin) for Kristen's murder and the rush that came with getting away with it is a haunting reminder of just how dark and disturbing the show's Batman villains. Well-played, Gotham.
What did you think of "Mommy's Little Monster"? Share your thoughts on the episode in the comments section below.
Gotham returns with "Tonight's the Night" next Monday at 8pm on FOX.