Stop Hitting Yourself Plot Summary:
Gordon (Ben McKenzie) gets an intriguing job opportunity, but at what cost? When Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) learns of Nygma’s (Cory Michael Smith) whereabouts, he puts pressure on Barbara (Erin Richards) and the gang to bring him in, while Grundy (Drew Powell) starts to remember his past life.
There has definitely been an effort made to up the emotional ante of Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) this season. While a little too emo at times, it was tough to see Bullock down in the dumps and kind of pathetic, although that was the point. Following the aftermath of last week, in which Bullock led his cops to an obvious trap, Bullock is guilt-ridden on the level of Batman. While this creates a crippling arc for Bullock, it also continues to put a strain on the relationship between him and Gordon, which has certainly been front and center this season.
The Bullock/Gordon bromance has always been one of the best parts to the show, both in terms of lighthearted comedy, and when they truly need each other to snap the other out of a funk, which we saw last season when Gordon got the Tetch virus. It only makes sense in Gotham’s fourth season they would add some tension. In this episode, Gordon fails to snap Bullock out of his funk.
Gordon is faced with a big decision at the beginning of the episode, which basically means stabbing Bullock in the back, which Gordon even makes reference to. You understand why Gordon may have to do this, but you also sympathize with how Bullock reacts when he’s essentially forced to revisit his fatal mistake from last week. This builds to a riveting scene at the end. While not easy to take, it was very effective to see two central characters put all their cards out on the table. Bullock especially has a brutal, but honest last line to Gordon at the end. This was a damn good scene. Credit also goes to the score. The Gotham score has always come through in big moments throughout the show’s history.
While the Gordon/Bullock scenes were heavy, we definitely got more lighthearted moments with Nygma. It looked like Nygma had raided Jim Carrey’s closet for that old Riddler neon jacket. Nygma decides to play up his current state of idiocy by mocking the Penguin in a completely absurd play for the Narrows. Cory Michael Smith was dynamic as ever.
This also leads to Grundy being very Grundy. He made some interesting choices to say the least in how he defeats his opponents. I’ve said it before, but I’m shocked at what Gotham gets away with sometimes on network television. Maybe it’s just me. Despite Grundy’s violent outburst, he starts to get flashes of his old life. This led to some big time reunions.
I said last week that the three-way interplay between Barbara, Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) and Selina (Camren Bicondova) showed a lot of potential. I was right. They all have superb chemistry. It was especially great to see Selina fire back at Penguin with no fear. Bicondova gives this little smirk to Penguin that was truly great. We’ll get to Penguin in a minute.
As I mentioned, we saw some big reunions. While the Tabitha/Butch stuff got a little repetitive, it was definitely effective. They’ve really used Tabitha well this season. I simply care more about the character. The more comical reunion was of course between Barbara and Lee (Morena Baccarin). Despite an unfortunate line of dialogue from Lee (to be fair, they call it out in the episode), she was left in a weird, but intriguing place at the end of this one. While the fight club scenes offered a lot of twists and turns, they were a bit clunky, especially in how Barbara leaves.
It’s always fun to see Robin Lord Taylor lose his cool as Penguin. We saw plenty of that. Stuff got bad for Penguin this week. Even more compelling though was Penguin’s bond with one of the orphanage kids (Christopher Convery). It was bizarre to see Penguin mentor a kid (yikes), but it absolutely showed a lot of promise for future episodes.
Speaking of the orphanage, as predicted, we see Sofia (Crystal Reed) pull all the strings. Sofia may not be pulling those strings for long though, as everyone she’s playing seems to be wise to her tricks. Her next move needs to be a big one.
Overall, another solid episode of Gotham. It will be interesting to see where Bullock is next week. And even though I’ve enjoyed dumb Nygma, enough is enough. It’s time. Let’s get Ed smart again. I’ve had my fill.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good)