This Week on TV, Oct. 14, 2017

Spoiler Alert!

And the TV season is officially back and in full swing! Most of the shows I follow have already premiered, and this week added most of the rest, including all the Arrowverse shows.

In regards to that last, I have decided to officially drop Arrow from my weekly lineup. The premiere just didn’t hook me very well. I’ll still follow it, but here endeth my running commentary.

As for what I am commenting on, I believe I’ve finally worked out my weekend issues so I can go back to my old approach, without having to comment on last week’s weekend shows the next week. Here’s hoping!

And this was a pretty good week.

Inhumans is kind of hilarious with how bad it is, but it’s growing on me a bit like Supergirl did. I have two episodes to comment on this time, so it’s a long section.

The Gifted was excellent! It’s developing the characters by applying pressure to their circumstances. I am very much enjoying that show!

And Gotham… wow. That’s all I’m saying. Wow. I am so glad I kept watching that show after the first episode. 🙂

Inhumans

1.03 “Divide and Conquer” & 1.04 “Make Way… for Medusa”

So, things are… um… well… the plot is moving forward-ish!

Medusa is unfamiliar with technology, as evidenced by her talking to an ATM machine in an attempt to get money. For obvious reasons, that fails. So she breaks into a rich house (what, no security system?) to steal food, money, and clothes (which are fortunately in her size). She also reads the newspaper and sees Black Bolt on the front page. So she calls a cab to take her to the detention facility. (how does she know either what a newspaper or a taxi is?)

Karnak finally finds another person, in fact he finds three, two men and a woman. They tie him up and discuss what to do with the strange man who wandered onto their property where they’re growing illegal plants for drugs and talks about his king and his family with names that sound perfectly nonsensical. He tries to get himself out of the situation, but his ability is clouded, and it doesn’t work. The simple knowledge that his greatest strength, his mind, has been taken from him is shattering. How can he do anything for his family in this state? So he asks to stay with the three of them, and they accept. Oh, and the woman listens to him and is very good looking, but I’m sure that won’t be significant at all, will it?

Gorgon finds that his new friends were soldiers, trained and armed and capable. They refuse to let him fight his enemies alone, even and perhaps most especially when he tries to tell them that the enemy will be superior beings.

Speaking of, with Medusa having escaped, Maximus sends Auran some backup, including one Inhuman of terrifying reputation: Mordis. He is apparently second in power only to Black Bolt himself, and everyone is afraid of him.

I am just going to say, I kind of love Mordis! The scene where the other Inhumans are all wonder struck at the trees, and he rather forcibly suggests making a path so they can get through the woods faster. Oh, sure, says the girl. “Oh, sure!” he mocks. He’s like the genius with no manners trying to keep his patience while he deals with idiots.

Mordis was apparently locked away for being too dangerous, unlike Black Bolt whose parents refused to do so and got killed as a result. Before Maximus releases him, he consults with his new clairvoyant, who apparently sees visions of danger, especially. The visions don’t activate, so Maximus proceeds and hopes. He promises Mordis freedom in exchange for his service.

So, Auran, Mordis, and the others walk straight into an obvious trap, and get shot at with bullets and arrows, and bludgeoned by Gorgon as well. Mordis, however, turns the tide, because lifting his mask results in an energy beam blasting forward. Both sides take injuries, but with Mordis entering the fray, Gorgon picks up their wounded man and they run.

Black Bolt is in prison, and the guards have it in for him because when he accidentally flipped a cop car, a couple officers were injured. But there’s someone looking out for him, a rich man named Dr. Decklan or something like that. With a potential Inhuman in prison, he pulls some strings to get another inmate’s assistance. As the guards try to set him up for a hard time, this and other inmates take Black Bolt under their wing instead, much to their chagrin. A little riot breaks out, and Bolt escapes with his new friend, who turns out to be another Inhuman. They get outside, and a helicopter picks them up.

I am very suspicious of this Decklan fellow, a doctor with lots of resources interested in Inhumans. Black Bolt and his new friend may have just gone into enemy hands.

Oh, and Medusa arrived just as the helicopter was leaving. They don’t see or hear her, but she is so close! Then the blond scientist woman shows up with a car, as she’s been waiting for a chance to talk to Bolt, so Medusa pulls her gun on her and orders that they pursue the chopper.

We caught a glimpse of the past in the memories of Bolt and Maximus. Apparently, Bolt didn’t want to be king, and saw little value in such a small kingdom, but Maximus did. Then Maximus turned entirely into a human in terrigenesis and was forever locked out, while Bolt gained a dangerous power, but his parents stood by him and protected him, their sole heir.

Now Maximus is king, he wants to do away with the caste system. He tries to recruit Crystal to his side again, and he seems to have gotten a hold on her, but she throws it in his face and runs for Lockjaw. He declares this as proof of why the people should follow him, because the rest of the royals all run away from the responsibility. So, Crystal manages to escape, but probably hands the upper caste of Attilan to Maximus as well as the lower.

Oh, and Lockjaw is still sedated, so he falls unconscious the moment they’re on Earth, just in time to be accidentally hit in the dark by a young man on his RV. (how much you wanna bet they couple up?)

Moving on to the next episode, then:

This week, things continued on more or less as expected. The show has the subtlety of sledgehammers and chainsaws.

After the skirmish, with its accompanying fatality, Gorgon and his new friends are fleeing through the woods, carrying their friend Lucky’s body. The humans insist that they can help Gorgon, but he finally refuses their help. He never thought he’d care for the fate of a human, but, warrior to warrior, they have shown him he was wrong. For their good, and to find and protect his family, he leaves them. He has no idea what he’ll do without Karnak’s keen mind to guide him, but he has to try.

Karnak, meanwhile, is learning some new things from his new female friend. She helps him learn about spontaneity, getting outside his own head, doing things you want without there needing to be a need. She takes him to the beach, to go swimming and kissing in the waves as she shows off her appealing figure. Then she takes him back to her tent. This woman does not hesitate to do what she wants, which is good for Karnak, who has always thought things through.

Karnak is useful to the drug-cultivating trio, but the ringleader is crazy and doesn’t trust him. His friend reminds him that he didn’t trust anyone at first, but the man answers that he needed them. The unpspoken insinuation is that he doesn’t need them anymore. The man is clearly crazy, and while Karnak and his new lady friend are busy that night, he kills and buries the other guy, who he does not trust and does not need.

Crystal is understandably upset after the guy runs his RV into Lockjaw, and he’s upset because she and Lockjaw were in the middle of the road. She uses her powers to keep him back, and he actually calms down and talks with her. They manage to get Lockjaw into a barn, and he calls a vet for him. The vet, it turns out, is an ex-girlfriend, and they have a spat even while she helps, but Lockjaw, being a very big dog, is mostly fine already. He just needs time to rest and recover. So, Crystal will be hanging around in his clothes, it would seem, which… how and why, exactly, did he have a girl’s t-shirt and shorts lying around? Small detail, that, like many on this show.

Then there’s Medusa, who now has an accomplice in the form of Louise, the blond woman who works at NASA. At first, Medusa is just forcing her at gunpoint, very impatient, bossy, and relentless. Medusa does not listen very much at first, forcing Louise to run a red light and shooting at a cop car with her laser pistol. Louise is absolutely giddy to meet someone from the moon, though, and ends up helping Medusa with everything she has. She tracks the helicopter that took Black Bolt to where it landed, though they have to evade cops and Medusa tries to leave Louise behind.

Louise, it turns out, has devoted her life to getting to the moon, because her father wanted to and never could. Medusa wants to be exactly the opposite of her parents, who apparently tried to lead a revolution and were “exiled” as a result. Somehow I doubt that word is so gentle as it sounds when the place one is being exiled from is the only living spot on the moon, which, as everyone says Medusa and Crystal’s parents are dead… yeah, I’m guessing it’s lethal. So Medusa doesn’t care about Louise’s motivation, but she does care about how Louise can help her reunite with Bolt, find the rest of their family, and get back to the moon.

Also, with all the laws Louise is breaking for her, and loving it, Medusa likes her. So, she accepts Louise’s help.

Black Bolt and his friend from prison are whisked away from said prison to Decklan’s lab. He’s very non-aggressive about it, he’d just like to run some tests, to understand their genetics, and they’re free to leave at any time. Bolt agrees, but first makes it clear that he would like help finding his wife. The tests seem straightforward enough, and Decklan is amazed to find Bolt’s DNA has no traces of human left in them, as all the recent Inhumans on Earth do. With Bolt, he hopes to unlock the secret, the key to terrigenesis that can allow normal humans to become Inhumans, indeed, to become anything they like.

That, as it turns out, is a serendipitous saving grace. Decklan is actually in contact with Maximus, whom he knows as Max. Maximus wants Bolt dead, and is unhappy that Bolt has already made the news, but Decklan refuses to kill him. He doesn’t mention anything about morality, which makes me think he has no qualms with killing other Inhumans, but he says he needs Bolt alive to study him and unlock this key, which is something Maximus dearly desires for himself. So, Decklan wins that argument, but now Maximus knows exactly where Bolt is, and has his greatest desire dangling in front of his nose.

When he brings this possibility, of undergoing terrigenesis a second time, before the Genetic Council, they tell him no. An old friend of Maximus’ is on the Council, a man whose role was determined by his genetics just like everyone else. He did not remain a friend after Maximus became human, but he now argues against Maximus undergoing this for fear of his king’s life. Maximus takes that as a sign he has a loyal follower, but the rest of the Council, he has his guards beat and drag away to be “exiled.”

And this is the first instance where Maximus is clearly not working for anyone’s good but his own. He talks about changing things, making them better for his people, undoing the restrictions that bind people to predetermined roles, but that is all an extension of his own resentment towards such. The society of Attilan certainly needs to change, and Maximus could do it, but that basic desire, that sin of envy, is a gaping weakness which is already growing, like a black hole eager to consume everything. It’s already consumed the Council, and Maximus apparently does not forgive his old friend. He’s becoming unstable and he was already dangerous.

Back on Earth, Bolt and his friend are apparently not blindly trusting of their savior. They were shown a number of pictures of other Inhumans, which were clearly in the facility, so where are they? If they’re free, why haven’t they seen anyone else? What’s with the guards, and what’s with the chemicals? Who’s to say that these people who came her voluntarily aren’t being held against their will now? Bolt takes advantage of a moment to get the bottle he saw a guard filling a syringe with, and his friend identifies it as a poison. They’ve traded one prison for another, and waste no time getting out.

On their way out, they meet Auran and the others, including Mordis. Mordis is interested in a showdown with Black Bolt, but Bolt wants to avoid that. He seems like he’s about to surrender, but pulls a gas pipe instead (how did he know to do that?). If Mordis fires, huge explosion. It gets Bolt’s friend out of there, but Auran pushes onward. Explosion it is, though Medusa and Louise arrive in time for Bolt to get clear.

And the happy couple are reunited.

And then, a Mordis stirs, they grab the Inhuman whose echolocation can help them find the others and escape.

To be continued next week!

Gifted

1.02 “Rx”

Pressure, pressure, pressure.

Pressure is what hardens us, pressure is what destroys us, pressure that is constant, relentless, and ever increasing, pressure that threatens to crush us, pressure that suffocates and forces us to push back, pressure that breaks us. Everyone has a breaking point, and everyone is under pressure.

The first episode of the show introduced the pressure, and now that pressure mounts even while it’s elaborated on.

Polaris probably has the simplest and most straightforward pressure to deal with, namely: prison. It doesn’t get much more blunt than the complete loss of freedom, accompanied with isolation and physical abuse. She’s collared so she can’t use her abilities without suffering debilitating physical pain. She’s crippled and alone, and therefore vulnerable. She stands out even more when she washed her hair, revealing it was dyed black, but it’s actually green. She tries to make an ally out of another mutant, but she’s refused. Then the local big kid on the playground tries to make her submit, saying she runs the mutant crowd. Polaris sees through her, a small human, probably owes her scar to a mutant, enjoying the reversal. But when the inmates attack, she can still use her powers enough to make it costly, even if she can’t properly defend herself and gets bloodied for it, until the guards pick her up and toss her into isolation.

She’s barely surviving, but she has hope in her friends.

Unfortunately, her friends have their hands pretty full right now. Not only does the Underground have the Struckers’ arrival to deal with, but Blink’s in pretty bad shape and her abilities are going wild.

After Blink opened up that last portal and held it so long before collapsing, it left her unconscious and having spasms. If there is one thing you do not want, it’s a mutant having spasms. As Xavier proved in Logan, a mutant spasms tend to include power spasms. In this case, a random portal opening up between Underground HQ and some street. It closes, but not before an oncoming truck gets sliced in two trying to avoid it. The people inside barely avoid getting turned into roadkill inside a building. Then it opens again, and the driver on the other side reacts by bringing out a shotgun.

That’s when Lauren steps up, hardening the air around the portal and forcing it shut, just in the nick of time. But it keeps happening, and Lauren does not possess limitless stamina, whilst the humans on the other side keep bringing in more people with more guns. When Lauren eventually fails to close one, Thunderbird and throws the first SWAT officer to invade back through the portal, and Andy mentally shoves the rest of them back, hard. Safe to say they didn’t make any new friends on that street.

Which… there is clearly something about that street, something important to Blink, but she doesn’t share even when she’s able to.

With the situation as it is, no one can bother thinking about rescuing Reed or Polaris right now. Super kudos to Thunderbird for his leadership. I can see why he’s a big shot in the Underground. He keeps calm, makes rational decisions on the fly while balancing several variables of an unstable situations, he expects to be heard and obeyed, and he’s the first on the front lines. It’s under his leadership that they decide on a course of action: the mutants must be ready to evacuate, but in the meantime he and the Strucker kids contain the situation while Caitlin and Eclipse go for the medical supplies that Blink desperately needs.

It’s a pretty decent bonding experience for everyone involved, especially the time between Cait and Eclipse. They are clever and work well, posing as a couple and using his earlier gunshot wound to get in, and then Cait poses as a nurse on duty to find what they need and abscond with it. Cait also has her eyes opened, concerning both mutants and herself. What she considers awful, Eclipse considers an especially good day. When the doctor who staples his wound shut talks as if mutants are domestic abusers, or when same doctor calls the police on them so soon, she is shocked, but from his perspective, at least he stapled the wound shut before calling the cops, and since they got away clean, he’s not complaining.

That’s the true “pressure.” Not the crisis at hand, or even the unjust incarceration, but the kind that mutants suffer every single moment of every single day, being labeled as freaks and threats. Eclipse asks Cait if she’d still be protecting her kids if they weren’t “her kids.” And she knows the answer. She’s already failed that test.

There was an incident at a bowling alley, where a bunch of humans were laughing at a young mutant girl. Her father was trying to defend her, as any father should, and he likely was especially furious because he didn’t know what else he could do for his little girl as she was going through this. But his temper partially made things even worse, and the girl lashed out for a moment. No one was hurt, nothing was broken, but people were still afraid of them.

ADD moment: I know people can be mind-numbingly stupid, but, still, bullying a mutant? Idiots.

Anyway, while this was happening, the kids wanted to do something, but Cait said it wasn’t their concern. She looked away, did nothing, kept her head down. Then Reed went over and convinced the girl’s father to take her and go before things got any worse. The victims were made to leave the bowling alley. The bullies were allowed to stay.

If that’s the best a mutant can hope for, in a world were Cait is unique for not abandoning her children the way Eclipse’s parents abandoned him, then small wonder Magneto attracted so many followers. Pressure like that would break anyone eventually.

With her perspective changing, Cait arrives with Eclipse back at HQ just in time for the disaster to reach critical mass. Portals are opening and closing rapidly all over the place, with a light racing between them almost too fast to see. Nobody’s hurt yet, but the place is getting wrecked, everyone’s evacuating, and her children are in the middle of all that. Eclipse is ready to brave the danger himself and leave Cait outside, as safe as possible, but he doesn’t have her knowledge. If he gives Blink the wrong dosage of the drugs, things could get even worse, which says something. So she goes in, and has to jump through a portal just to get to the center, where Thunderbird remains with Blink. She talks calmly to Blink, administering the drugs, saving her life and ending the crisis.

Her courage is growing, as is her grace under pressure. In the aftermath, she’s talking with her children, and for once she takes the lead, telling them it’s their turn to assume responsibility for this ongoing fight. The three of them haven’t been welcomed in yet, but they’re on the threshold of really joining the Underground.

Unfortunately, Sentinel Services still has Reed, and the lead agent, Turner, is applying pressure to the max. He threatens to throw Reed into the proverbial hole, he fabricates greater charges like outright terrorism, he even brings Reed’s mother into interrogation, for Reed to watch. He’s pushing hard, acting like he’s the next best thing to omnipotent in this situation. And he’s clearly driven, talking about his daughter, who was killed in the “July 15” incident, whatever that was. He neither knows nor cares if it was a good mutant or a bad mutant who killed his little girl. He’s going after all of them.

But, ah! Reed knows this playbook, which gives him insight. Turner overplayed his hand, and Reed sees through it: he’s desperate. Turner let Underground operatives slip through his fingers, in addition to the loss of several spider sentinels, very expensive. He needs a win, and he needs it soon. Reed being his last, best, and only chance, he pushed with everything he had, and in so doing, he revealed his weakness.

So Reed responds with both a carrot and a stick, assuming dominance as he sets terms. The stick: his mother, and anyone else associated with him, goes free now, and his family is kept safe and free. He goes down alone, he takes the fall, no one else. And the carrot: Turner wants the Underground, which Reed will help him get.

It’s understandable, choosing to do whatever it takes, make any sacrifice, to protect his family, even if it be the entire world and himself, but, ultimately, what Reed is doing is selfish. He’s turning against the people who just took his family in, the freaks that he has helped ostracize, like in the bowling alley. Where Cait is learning to look beyond herself, Reed is focusing inward, looking after his own alone. It’s understandable, and it’s so very human of him, and, honestly, I’m not sure I’d do any better if everyone from my mother to my wife to my children to every single person I know were under threat from the SS. I like to think I would, but, as Turner said last episode, “Things change when it’s your kid.” Either way, it’s a deal with the Devil.

Unless Reed is playing the system and getting into a position of power which he can use to undermine the SS, but I don’t hold out much hope for that. Reed doesn’t strike me as being quite such a mastermind as that, or so selfless.

So, Polaris is suffering in prison, with only a threadbare hope that her friends will come save her, while her friends are dealing with crises and are facing the danger of the man whose family they just took in turning on them, even while the man’s wife is turning to align with them.

And there’s some doctor investigating old mutant-related incidents involving siblings. There was some other collapsed school a few decades ago. He’s put something together, something Turner and SS will find valuable. But what?

Gotham

4.04 “The Demon’s Head”

Gotham does “intense” rather well. Like setting a pot to boil on high, but not quite so high as to boil over… yet.

After the auction, knowing Ra’s al’Ghul wants the knife, Bruce takes it to an expert historian to uncover its mysteries. Alfred is hesitant, especially when the old man’s grandson, Alex, walks in. Knowing their enemy will not hesitate to kill, having to get outside help is bad enough, especially letting the knife out of their sight overnight. But now it’s not just the professor, but Alex too? Alfred has a bad feeling about that. Bruce can’t see any other way, though. They need answers, they need knowledge, and the power it grants, if they are to survive challenging Ra’s. They move forward.

Tragically, Alfred’s misgivings turn out to be accurate.

The professor is just telling Alex what he has learned when it happens. By translating the Cuneiform etchings, he understands the words, and so understand the knife’s place in history. The words speak of the knife being used to kill the immortal one who rises from the waters, and all shall fear the Demon’s Head. It refers to an old warlord , Ra’s al’Ghul, who ravaged an ancient kingdom, but left his throne and promised to return. Whether the story is real, there are people who believe, people who will kill for the knife. The professors imagines that Bruce Wayne has gotten himself into something far more complicated and dangerous than he knows.

But the danger comes to the man and the boy at that very moment. Someone knocks, and the professor wisely gives the knife to his grandson, instructing him to get out of sight. Ra’s enters, and wants the knife. Not finding it, and noticing the ball cap which indicates Alex’s presence, he simply kills the man. But Alex pulled the fire alarm first, to bring the cops, so Ra’s cannot loiter. He passes right by the boy on his way out, which does stretch things a bit, considering how accustomed to the dark he must surely be.

Gordon and his new associate Harper are going over the crime scene when Bruce arrives. Bruce is shocked by the murder scene he comes upon, but shares information about Alex, and also about Barbara Keene. He tries to convince Gordon to let him come along, as he feels responsible for this mess, but Gordon refuses. He goes to talk to Barbara himself, and notices Barbara’s change in personality, and how affluent she’s suddenly become with a mysterious backer bankrolling her. Bruce crashes in, having followed Gordon, and drops the name of Ra’s al’Ghul.

Bruce might be having an off day due to the murder, but that was hardly subtle.

Gordon knows the name now, and has Harper try looking into it while he and Bruce find Alex. Bruce puts the details together and guesses he’d hide in his grandfather’s private room at the library. He’s right, and they catch up to Alex just in time. Ra’s sent some big man and a rabid person who acts like a dog, named Anubis, after him. (I couldn’t help but think of Clegane and Gollum) Gordon barely manages to hold them off, Bruce barely manages to get Alex out, the boy getting bitten along the way, the boys get separated from Gordon, and the hunters vanish.

Gordon heads back to the precinct, getting every officer looking for Bruce and Alex while he and Harper try to get ahead of this. They’re just talking about Ra’s when the man himself shows up, dressed like a professor, supposedly an academic of some authority in a very small country, Nanda Parbat. Gordon acts fast and thinks faster, realizing Ra’s would assume the police now have the knife, which they don’t because Alex hid it just in case, like a smart boy. He uses that to listen to the enemy’s cover story, that they want to claim the knife for its cultural significance, but with a competing claim out there, they decided to buy it discreetly via Barbara Keene. There’s an element of truth, involving a man who cannot die, but it’s unbelievable to Gordon, who may be familiar with freaks and monsters, but has never encountered anything mystical.

Then Alfred comes storming in, frantic to find Bruce, and he instantly punches Ra’s upon sight, so Gordon has to take a moment to get him to back off. It’s only an instant, but an instant is all Ra’s needs to search Alex’s backpack, find the knife isn’t there, and vanish without a trace. Just how does he do that?!

Alfred and Gordon lock horns for a moment, because Gordon wants to know what’s going on and Alfred can’t say. Gordon searches the backpack too, and puts two and two together, but leaves Alfred behind under Harper’s supervision.

The two boys, meanwhile, have been bonding. Bruce tends Alex’s injury, and helps Alex keep going by sharing about when his parents were murdered, and he was so afraid. Alex doesn’t need to be ashamed of being afraid, it’s normal. Alex talks about how people were talking about Bruce after that, that he was weird, but Alex thinks he’s cool… if also, yes, a little weird. The boys are becoming friends in their moment of trouble, so Alex shares where he hid the knife: in an exhibit, in plain sight, right where everyone would overlook it. He switched out the ancient box that was in there instead, which is what Gordon finds and gives him a trail to follow.

Gordon catches up again just as the boys have gotten the knife and are being pursued by Clegane and Gollum again, and the fight is definitely going the way of the bad guys until the big guy throws Gordon into a saber-toothed tiger skeleton. He grabs a bone to use as a weapon, and the dog-guy stops, wanting the bone, which Gordon throws out a window, so the man jumps out, falls, and presumably dies. The big guy, Gordon brought down by plunging a big tooth into his flesh. Bruce and Gordon win.

Until Ra’s shows that he has Alex hostage.

Gordon is ready to trade the knife for the boy, but Bruce won’t. There’s too much to explain, and it doesn’t make sense, about Ra’s killing Alfred and bringing him back to life with magic water, but the point is: they can’t let him have the knife. Ra’s actually likes the sound of that, telling Bruce he’s “finally starting to see clearly.” But, to test his strength, he kills Alex right there, for Bruce to see. And then he surrenders, ready to be arrested.

Bruce is crushed, and Gordon doesn’t know what to make of the situation. Still, he tries to comfort Bruce as best he can, to assure him that he is not responsible for Ra’s choosing to kill Alex. But Bruce won’t hear him. He takes the responsibility, and the guilt, squarely onto his own shoulders. His choices put Alex in danger in the first place, and it was his choice to not give up the knife. It’s his fault. Alex and his grandfather were both killed just because they were caught in the crossfire of the war between Bruce and Ra’s al’Ghul.

Ra’s didn’t get the knife, but he definitely triumphed over Bruce and Gordon this day, and when he’s taken to Blackgate prison, he is smiling.

Elsewhere, Penguin is dealing with two problems simultaneously. One is Nygma, who is trying to be the Riddler again, but is spouting gibberish instead of riddles. He calls Penguin out to meet twice, to settle things, but his riddles are stupid, and he just gets the amateur rappers he pressed into service tortured and killed for it. Finally, he shows up at the Lounge, screaming in fury. Penguin is there, waiting, and mocks him for not being the Riddler anymore. He’s just Nygma now. A nobody. Penguin even refrains from freezing Nygma again, letting him live as a pale shadow of what he used to be. That is his ultimate revenge, letting Ed spin forever in misery.

And what misery it is, with Nygma having to start again with that most basic question: who am I?

Small detail: petty revenge tends to be rather self-destructive. Penguin may be paranoid, but he still hasn’t learned to be careful.

Speaking of which, on to the second problem: Sofia Falcone and the lingering Falcone loyalists who are in hiding. He invites her to his club, to make himself plain that he suspects her, as she pleads complete innocence. He lets her go, and she shortly finds herself visited by three Falcone capos (how have any of them survived the tumultuous changing of regimes these last few years?). She keeps insisting that there is nothing to discuss so they should leave, when Penguin walks in and summarily has the three men killed and buried. He trusts Sofia now, or at least that she’s not plotting a coup with the support of the old order, so he lets her live.

But she points something out as he’s leaving: he’s stupid.

Falcone wouldn’t have simply killed the three men. He would have used her to gain their support, healing another fracture within Gotham’s criminal kingdom. Falcone ruled Gotham not by tearing everyone down, but by building up those people who were useful to him, which is exactly how Penguin gained his power the first time around, if I recall rightly.

Penguin doesn’t listen, preferring the “new” way. As if simply killing one’s enemies was anything new.

Sofia even shed some tears for her would-be supporters, but things more or less went according to her design. She sacrificed three lives, and convinced Penguin she was not a threat to him. She’s in.

Gordon doesn’t much like that, but he’s been guilty of manipulations himself, and he knew fighting Penguin would not be bloodless. But Gordon once emerged from that darkness, and it’s a shame to see him apparently venturing back into it again. Sofia’s proving excellent at manipulation, with Penguin’s paranoia apparently eased and Gordon being drawn ever more strongly towards her, so much that he takes her right there on her couch.

So, Penguin let Nygma live instead of killing him, and he killed men he might have used, and, third mistake of the day, he’s been tricked by Sofia, who has Gordon in her clutches. Gordon makes it through his first wandering through a Ra’s al’Ghul conspiracy, but Bruce is devastated and has no more answers than he had before, as Alex wasn’t able to pass on his grandfather’s insight before he was killed too.

Very rough day.

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