Episode Title: Mad Grey Dawn
Original Airdate: 3-21-16
On Gotham I’m actually making some real headway towards catching up to today’s current episode. The biggest thing about this episode is that it features Paul Reubens as Penguin’s father, and something that I had completely forgotten about was that he also played Penguin’s father in Batman Returns. Having recently seen him in both Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday and a revisit to Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure it was a little bizarre to see him do a complete 180 and play a seemingly normal character. There’s also a little bit of penance for both Penguin and Gordon while Bruce continues to use what he learned in the previous episode in his quest to understand the underworld. Though if I didn’t know that this was still a ways away from the end of the season, I would have thought that this was a set up for a big time jump going into season 3.
I’ve talked before about how this show creates parallels between Penguin and Gordon and right now both characters are seeking penance for their past transgressions in different ways. But not only that, but both characters are having their penance forced upon them through outside forces. Penguin is having his penance through his Hugo Strange Arkham brainwashing as he tries to make amends to Butch and Galavan’s sister. Meanwhile Gordon gets framed for a murder he didn’t commit, but it was done unintentionally to pay for the cover up of the murder that he really did commit but never really paid for. Nygma’s Riddler persona has been building up slowly for quite a while now, but in this episode it really comes out in full force and his plan to frame Gordon was both ingenious and pulled off flawlessly. The one downside is that this is likely only going to end one of two ways: Nygma gets caught and sent to prison, which is unlikely considering where his character is, or that Gordon stays in prison which is also highly unlikely. So I don’t quite know what would be a satisfying conclusion where everyone gets out of this unscathed. Aside from that, I liked seeing Gordon finally come to realize what he had gotten himself into and it puts him in a place where he needs to turn around and make it right. Penguin’s penance on the other hand doesn’t feel quite so natural as he’s not exactly acting like himself. Not only that, but he ends up getting rewarded with a potentially loving and wealthy family. Though I don’t fully buy into the whole story at this point.
Checking into Bruce’s adventures in the hard knock life, it’s a little bit on the iffy side. I do still like to see where Bruce is able to go, and David Mazouz gives a slight hint of Taylor Durden from his fight with the bar owner as Bruce gets his face handed to him by Butch’s nephew. We also get to see the return of the young Ivy who has been cultivating mushrooms for the drug trade. It seemed like it was a little bit too soon for Bruce to use Alfred’s lesson from just the previous episode on how to defeat a larger opponent, but what did work for me was how he described how the pain felt to Selina afterwards. But the main focus of this episode was really all about Gordon and Nygma and again if I didn’t know any better I would have thought that this was setting things up to jump ahead to an older and more trained Bruce Wayne farther along on his way to becoming Batman. But for now he still has a long ways to go.