In the aftermath of the Falcone incident, Gordon feels betrayed and angry at his fellow policemen for abandoning him. Meanwhile, a business man is found dead with someone else’s detached thumb in his mouth. The investigation leads to Richard Sionis, a ruthless businessman who owns half of Gotham, and his unusual hiring methods.
Two men in suits and black ski masks fight each other in an office, using office supplies as weapons. One man kills the other and it is revealed that he is being watched on a TV screen. The dead man is found later, dumped under a bridge and with the other man’s severed thumb discovered in his mouth. The victim’s mother reveals that her son had been looking for office work. Further investigation of local underground surgeons reveals that a man without a thumb was attended to and dropped a business card from Sionis Industries.
When Gordon and Bullock check out Sionis, everyone in the office has some kind of visible injury, making no secret of their clandestine activities. When they interview Sionis, who is unsurprisingly obsessed with masks, he condescendingly answers the questions but does little to hide his probable involvement. Afterwards, Gordon notices a blood trail on the floor leading to the men’s room and finds the guy with the missing thumb. When they take him in, he reveals that Sionis has been pitting applicants against each other in a fight to the death to determine who gets the job. Before he can make an official statement, however, a Sionis lawyer shows up and intervenes.
Gordon goes to check out a lead and discovers three men in cages, waiting to fight. Sionis sneaks up behind Gordon and knocks him out. He arranges a match where the applicant who kills Gordon gets the job and a million dollar signing bonus. Meanwhile, Bullock notices that Gordon has gone missing and tries to enlist the help of his fellow officers to check likely addresses, but to no avail. He makes a speech to the GCPD about the loyalty they owe to a fellow, and when Essen volunteers her help, other officers start helping too. Essen arrives at Gordon’s location just in time to see him finish off Sionis after single-handedly beating up the first three guys. Gordon promises Bullock that he will never stop fighting for Gotham, which Bullock finds really aggravating.
Gordon’s deal in this episode is that he’s angry and mistrustful at the rest of the GCPD for abandoning him to Zsasz last episode. Everyone in turn is just as mad at Gordon, I think mostly because he makes them feel ashamed of themselves and uncomfortable for being so cowardly. In any case, Gordon refuses to use the GCPD resources, instead taking every part of the investigation on himself. He’s constantly angry and looking for a fight, which affects his home life with Barbara, who is herself traumatized from her ordeal with Zsasz. Gordon has plenty of rage to spend, too, which is made abundantly clear when he beats up everyone, including Sionis, in the office fight.
Somewhat randomly, Barbara seems to have left Gordon by the end of the episode. Sure he’s been short with her and somewhat preoccupied, but it seems like a pretty drastic move. She has a right to be annoyed, but I think he reasons for leaving go deeper than that. She asked to share Gordon’s life, danger and all, and while she proved herself brave and strong in the face of the crisis, she is having trouble adjusting to the aftermath. It’s Gordon against the world, which means that she’s against the world too. I think she’s a little overwhelmed and not getting any support from Gordon when she needs it most.
Cobblepot is moving up in the world. He has his own thugs who guard him, and he performs his own covert information gathering missions. He visits Mooney to give her a brooch as a peach offering, but really is there to find out who has his old job. He has the guy kidnapped and finds out what he knows. It isn’t much, it turns out, but he does know that Mooney has an insider working with Falcone. This, of course, is Liza, who seems to be having second thoughts about her mission.
Bruce reluctantly returns to school only to be harassed by a boy about his dead parents. Bruce slaps him for speaking about his mother, but is uncomfortable with fighting. Alfred takes Bruce to the boy’s house so that Bruce can punch him in the face, effectively putting the boy in his place. This boy is Thomas Elliot, who will hold a grudge against Bruce for years to come – not so much for this, but because Tommy had tried to kill his own parents to inherit their fortune and escape their abuse. Tommy resents Bruce because he got everything that Tommy wanted without even trying. Tommy goes on to seemingly become a close friend of Bruce’s, only to become the villain Hush and betray him.
Bruce admits that he liked hurting the boy, and that he’s angry all the time. He asks if that anger will ever go away, but Alfred doesn’t have an answer for that. Bruce asks Alfred to teach him how to fight, and Alfred agrees. In fact, Alfred almost seems relieved when Bruce asks him to teach him to fight, as if he’s finally been asked to do something he knows really well. It’s no secret that Alfred is struggling with the role of guardian, but ask him to teach fighting and he seems right at ease.
Selina shows up again, caught by the cops escaping a shop with an armful of furs. She drops Gordon’s name again to get out of trouble, but what she’ll have to offer him and how honest she’ll be is anyone’s guess.
I’m wondering if Richard Sionis is meant to be the classic Black Mask character from the comics or if he’s perhaps the father of Roman, the Sionis that becomes the Black Mask. Roman Sionis should be roughly the same age as Bruce at this time and is another rich boy who hates his parents and resents Bruce Wayne. There’s a lot of that going around. But considering Richard’s obsession with masks and his deranged nature, this just might be the Black Mask story the show is going for.