This Week on TV, Jan. 26, 2019

Spoiler Alert!

It was a one-two punch of riveting tension, drama, and the bitter mixture of victory and defeat.

I had to look again, and found, happily, that this was not the season finale of The Gifted. It’s coming though. Things are heating up! As if they weren’t hot enough already for our heroes!

As for Gotham, they delivered again, as they dealt with a truly soul-crushing event and its aftermath.

The Gifted

2.13 “teMpted”

Ah. I see.

This week’s flashback shows us that the human who betrayed Erg and Evangeline was, in fact, a woman that Erg loved. Small wonder he has issues trusting humans after that.

Fortunately, this week, it’s Erg’s turn to face his mistakes. I spent a great deal of time last week talking about how John’s overwhelming drive to fight is not always right, but just because Erg had a point does not mean he is entirely right either. His trust was severely betrayed, but he has let that get to him, and so he needs some refining too.

It’s fairly standard for the Morlocks to go out and steal supplies, and Clarice is particularly useful in that endeavor. Not only can she get them into anywhere, she can get them out again, quickly. If not for her, several of the Morlocks would probably have died on the latest raid, not to mention however many humans they took with them trying to fight their way out. As is, however, one was still wounded. With all the chaos, courtesy of the Inner Circle and the Purifiers, security has been severely beefed up, including more men patrolling more frequently with dogs and guns.

Glow gets shot.

And the Morlocks aren’t exactly abounding in medical expertise when it comes to things like, say, glowing blood. Erg is right about not taking her to a hospital, but they need help, so Clarice does what she has to: she goes to the Underground for help. In particular, Cait, who is the next best thing to an expert, and Marcos, who also has glowing blood, which he’s able to share with Glow, buying Cait a bit of time to work.

Erg is not happy. A woman he loved once betrayed them, and now here comes another woman, a human. Humans cannot be trusted!

Cait, however, has none of it. She’s going to help Glow, and that is that, and to hell with him trying to tell her who her people are. He can either let Cait help or let Glow die. His drive to protect his people wins out, and he allows it. Then he insists on going to the clinic with Clarice, only allowing Cait to come along because she has to. There, seeing the ruin of a clinic which was trashed by Purifiers because the people there, humans, risked everything to help mutants every day… well, that is even more shocking to him. His eyes are opened, and, unlike a number of other people, he does not force them shut again.

He sees, quite plainly, that he has been wrong, and he owns up to that. He let his hurt get the better of him, a decision which nearly cost Glow her life. So, he apologizes to Clarice, and does a great deal more in regards to Cait: he uses the dirt to mark her face with an “M.” It is a profound gesture, most especially as it represents letting go of his mistrust of all non-mutants.

That was a fairly good part of the day, I’d say.

Elsewhere, Lauren is trying to deal with the Frost-fueled Andy invasion of her mind via her dreams by staying awake forever. Because that is a wonderful plan, right? I mean, it’s not like a lack of sleep will actually hurt us worse and faster than a lack of food or water, right? Yeah, not her best idea ever.

Of course she can’t stay awake indefinitely, and when she falls unconscious, she sees Andy. Unfortunately, the Frosts are the ones directing what he says to her, every word. He’s let them inside his head, so he’s not really himself when he’s talking to her. Even so, they offer her something she thinks she can’t find anywhere else: understanding, a chance to be herself, to not be alone.

Reed really needs to step up on that score. He dropped the ball when he didn’t immediately tell her about his experiences with the music box, and in not telling her since. Now, drawn to the darkness, drawn to Andy, influenced on levels of her own mind that she can’t even grasp yet, she leaves, and Reed needs John to help him find her, so he can save her.

That isn’t so difficult, not with how Lauren draws attention when she steps in on behalf of innocent mutants being harassed by the cops, and not with how disoriented she is, not really knowing where she’s going. Even so, finding her is only half the battle. Reed has to dig deep and open up, tell her the truth, all of it that he knows. It works, but it was pretty close. Lauren, still being a teenager, still thinks that no one else can really understand her, but once Reed shows that he does… well, she comes back.

That, too, is a fairly good part of the day, but it’s still heart-breaking at the end of it. Helping Lauren by necessity involved severing the bond between her and Andy, the mutant-enhanced bond between siblings. They inject her with the suppression serum, which is not known for being healthy and deprives Lauren of her and the Underground of her powerful abilities.

Andy feels it, the moment he can’t feel her anymore, and now, finally, despite having turned his back on his family some time ago, and despite being surrounded by the Inner Circle, by the Frosts… now he is alone.

Finally, we have what’s left of the Underground’s fight against the Inner Circle. It’s not going well.

Leaders from across the nation were wiped out all at once, and those that remain, while willing to fight, answered John and Marcos on the supposition that they had a plan, rather than more speeches and sermonizing. That’s not exactly unreasonable, ya know?

Lorna’s undercover mission is yielding fruit, but it’s getting more dangerous by the minute. She draws too much attention to herself, she skulks when she shouldn’t need to be skulking in the Inner Circle’s HQ, and she’s leaving tracks that can be followed back to her. So while she manages to get a list of several targets like the White House, the Pentagon, SS, etc. she also draws suspicious onto herself. She’s able to put up a formidable exterior, but that can only last so long, and she needs more time.

Marcos gets the idea, if they can’t pull Lorna out, then they ought to remove the biggest thorn in her side. Lorna is able to give him intel to that end, but it goes very south. He’s not alert enough and gets shot, after having given so much blood to Glow earlier that day, barely managing to stumble away as the car goes up in flames.

Yeah, that did not go well, and it pretty much guarantees that Lorna will be outed.

That could have been avoided if he hadn’t gone off half-cocked on his own. I mean, come on, at least bring your bullet-resistant best buddy with you!

So, Lauren is weakened in order to evade her connection with her brother, Lorna’s time is up, Marcos is badly wounded at a critical moment, John has almost no one left to work with, and the Inner Circle’s game is reaching an endgame. Meanwhile, the Morlocks are being hurt, and the only good news is that their leader allowed his head to be removed from his butt in the face of Cait’s fine, selfless example. Here’s hoping the Underground and the Morlocks can pull together to survive, if nothing else.

Gotham

5.04 “Ruin”

What a day.

There were, it turns out, survivors of the blast. But there were also three hundred and eleven fatalities, forty-nine injured, and two dozen missing, if I recall the numbers right. The little boy, Will, was among the dead.

That’s a heavy blow to take even in the best of circumstances, and the remaining people of Gotham have already been hammered in unbelievable ways. It brings out the worst in many… but it also brings out just a little bit of good even from surprising sources.

Barbara, for instance, had a chance to shoot Peguin in the back while he was reeling with shock. She chose not to. She also volunteers information, with no expected payment. Maybe she’s just looking after her own interests, but, then again… there are things that even monsters cannot countenance.

Penguin rather plays up both side of that. He, too, was left shocked by the explosion. He comes into the GCPD with men, guns, and bullets to spare, pushing his way into an alliance with Gordon, to bring the bomber to justice. But, really, he’s also looking to feed the masses their pound of flesh, to satisfy them and lure them away from Gordon’s camp and into his.

Even Riddler lends a hand. This is partially in exchange for a file he’s after, but he also makes it clear, when he’s nothing to gain by it, that he wants the bomber to face justice as well. Before then, he and Fox are able to figure out that the explosion wasn’t a bomb. It was an RPG, like the one that took out the helicopter, shot through the window into the basement, hitting the heating oil and setting it alight all at once. Following that trail, they find the RPG case on a nearby roof.

That, as it happens, exonerates the only suspect Gordon and Penguin have at the moment. They follow a lead from Barbara to find none other than Victor Zasz, armed and shooting at them. He maintains his innocence, but still shoots at them, though he doesn’t hurt any of them. Gordon and Penguin work together to take him into custody, but once that’s done, the partnership falls apart pretty quickly. Since everyone can place him at the scene, but also on the ground, it’s impossible for him to have fired the RPG from the roof. And, really, he obviously did take care not to actually hit any of the officers he was shooting at.

Penguin and the masses, however, want that pound of flesh. Gordon gives a great speech in Zasz’s defense, but it’s just the latest in a long line, and he’s lost their hearts. So, he and Bullock have to take Zasz away by force, and release him into the city instead of taking him to jail. Zasz is cocky about the whole ordeal, taunting Gordon about how the city will always belong to the bad guys. Gordon responds by offering a shootout, which Zasz declines, illustrating Gordon’s point that the city, in fact, does not belong only to the villains.

Bullock really did not like Gordon asking him to do that, give Zasz a gun to kill them with. Can’t say I blame him!

That’s not the usual, sane Gordon talking. That’s Gordon after one of his worst days yet, where he lost people under his protection, including children, after promising them safety, and then lost his own legitimacy when he lost the hearts of many of the survivors. It’s so bad that he actually kisses Barbara when she comes to him with a lead on an RPG merchant.

You know, between Barbara, Lee, Vale, Sofia Falcone, and now Barbara again, I’m starting to wonder about Gordon’s taste in women.

It turns out the RPG bomber is even closer than one might think. Riddler wakes up with a note to himself he can hardly make out, with a number that led him to the GCPD looking for a file on an inmate, but that was literally a dead end. Then he happens to see a little old lady through a window across the street from the roof the bomber used, and goes to ask if she saw anything, only to find that her room number matches the number he wrote on his hand. The lady confesses that she saw him shoot an RPG into the building and make it explode, which seems to be confirmed when she hits him on the head and his memories of the event come back to him.

I grow more and more confused about what happened to him after last season’s finale. (and more and more curious about where Lee is) Whatever it was, he’s now doing terrible things without his own knowledge, like attacking the gangs and blaming Penguin, and now blowing up a building Penguin was in. Why is his other side gunning for Penguin like that?

Unfortunately, while Barbara’s merchant lead yield fruit, Riddler, looking after himself as usual, forgets that desire for justice he had moments earlier and throws the only witness of what he did out a window. Poor old lady. 😦

Elsewhere, Bruce was left cuffed overnight, it seems. I could swear he’s capable of picking locks like that, but either way, he’d better have that skill down pat before he becomes Batman. Selina is long gone, and some thugs show up for Bruce with wrenches in hand. Fortunately, he does well enough for a moment, and was able to activate a beacon to summon Alfred to finish up. The butler imagines his young master needs to learn that he can’t save Selina from herself, but they still need to go after her.

It turns out Jeremiah is behind that tunnel digging project of a couple episodes ago. And either that wasn’t Bane after all, or Bane had a very short career on the show. The man tries to tell Jeremiah that they can’t make the schedule, which is odd and disconcerting, most especially because it’s supposed to be a tunnel to the mainland, at the same time a mysterious benefactor is promising Gordon help of some sort. Coincidence? I am terrified by the likelihood that it’s not.

Whatever the scheme is, Jeremiah kills his foreman and drives his workers into the ground. Oh, and he dances around with Harley as she gives him a report on the previous evening. A bit unlike him, but so’s that inane muttering and giggling, so I think his supposed grasp on sanity is slipping even further away. And as Selina, in disguise, sees this little display, she finds her opening. Harley Quinn, after all, has a mask and a cloak to hide her figure. Just swipe those, approach Jeremiah with no one the wiser, and slide a knife into his gut. Several times.

Yeah, no way Gotham is going to make things that easy. I would be disappointed if that was the end of the Joker, but it is satisfying to see Selina rule like that. Now if only she had a way out in mind, being surrounded by his fanatical thugs. That’s when Bruce and Alfred catch up and rescue her.

So, Jeremiah seems to be dead, but I’m not counting on that, and involved in some larger plot, Lee is still unaccounted for, Selina got her revenge and nearly got killed for it, Bruce and Alfred barely pulled her butt out of the fire, Zasz is loose, Riddler is crazy and leaving mountains of corpses behind him, his more sane side desperately trying not to get caught, Penguin is on the rise again atop the rage of a mob, Gordon just suffered a mighty blow to his spirit, and he’s kissing a surprisingly helpful Barbara of all people.

In a word: craziness. Exactly what we’ve loved about this show. 🙂

 

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