While Gordon’s demotion to Arkham Asylum security guard initially seems like it’s going to be dull and a waste of his talents, he is quickly proved wrong when he discovers an unresponsive inmate whose brain had been fried by excessive and archaic electro-shock equipment. The director of the asylum, Dr. Gerry Lang, insists that the discovery stay in house for fear of interference from the police. The asylum is already underfunded and understaffed, so Lang wants to avoid negative attention at all costs lest he loses what few resources he has to care for the patients. However, when a second victim turns up, this one only able to quote Shakespeare on a loop, Gordon takes matters into his own hands and calls Bullock to help investigate. As Gordon studies the asylum records, Bullock interviews Dr. Lang. They both discover that Nurse Dorothy Duncan is actually an Arkham inmate who had been living in the basement until the asylum was reopened. As she tries to escape, she releases all the inmates into the hallway but gets trampled to death in the stampede.
Just when Gordon thinks the case is over, the coroner reveals that he discovered electro-shock burns on Dorothy under her hair during his autopsy – which means that Dorothy wasn’t the one experimenting on patients. Back at the asylum, a previously peaceful inmate – now with electro-shock burns on his head, kills a security guard. An inmate, an intelligent Hannibal Lecter type psychopath named Jack Gruber, is revealed to have been the culprit and escapes Arkham after killing Dr. Lang. Lang lives long enough to tell Gordon that it was Gruber all along, giving him a note that Gruber left for him. In the note Gruber proudly admits to the experiments and boasts of his successes, also saying that Jim interested him and that he hopes to see him around.
There’s some debate about this Jack Gruber character, who doesn’t match up to any villains in the comics. He might be an original character for the show, or a new name attached to an old villain, or perhaps an amalgam of things. Either way, the Arkham setting and the new inmate of the week sort of thing benefits the show greatly. I could watch Gordon hang out at Arkham with the crazies for ages. Plus, there’s a potential new love interest with Dr. Thompkins, who in the comics is a close friend of the Waynes and a great friend to Bruce after their deaths. Whether any of that is used or whether they just pulled the character’s name out of hat is something we’ll just have to wait and find out.
Given Cobblepot’s tendency to overstretch himself, it was only a matter of time before he overstepped his bounds within Maroni’s organization. If there’s one thing you can say about the Gotham mob it’s that they respect those who work hard. Penguin takes it upon himself to raise the “taxes” on the local fishermen, but when they refuse and Penguin gets arrested he has a hard time getting in touch with his boss. Finally, Maroni comes to bail Penguin out, giving him a speech about hubris. Penguin, as he is so good at doing, misjudged his power in raising the taxes without Maroni’s consent. Maroni chastises Penguin for taking too much from the people who work the hardest for the city and get so little back. Penguin humbly apologizes, manipulating himself back into Maroni’s good graces. Maroni, however, makes the mistake of telling Penguin, “You’re a smart monkey. But you’re still a monkey, and I’m the zookeeper.” The icy hatred in Penguin’s eyes pretty much seals Maroni’s death, especially considering Penguin gave little thought to dispatching those who similarly disrespected him.
Fish Mooney is still angling for the boss position when Falcone goes down and is doing some negotiating among the various men in the organization who lay claim to the job – based either on seniority or gender. Butch’s childhood friend, an ambitious boss claiming he’s not only next in line but the best man for the job, tries to get Butch to leave Mooney’s organization and join his. For a while it looks like Butch is considering it, partly because he and his friend have always been as close as brothers. Butch accepts his friend’s offer, only to kill him instead. What Butch’s feelings might be for Mooney or why his loyalty to her is so strong is another question. What is it about Mooney and their history together that would make Butch kill his own best friend? I would be more interested to see the origin of his loyalty to Mooney and why it’s stronger than family.
Barbara and Montoya
After Barbara left Gordon, saying that she couldn’t take the constant fear and danger, she reunited with Montoya as they briefly reignited their relationship. Unfortunately, Barbara turned back to drugs and alcohol, forcing the now adamantly clean Montoya to break things off with the unstable Barbara. Montoya, now feeling that Gordon is a good and trustworthy man, suggests that Barbara call him. Barbara eventually does call him, but the unthinking young Ivy who answers the phone makes her think that Gordon is already with another woman.
Selina and Ivy
If there’s one thing we know about Selina it’s that she is imminently capable of taking care of herself. The newly homeless Ivy, of course, is not so adept at survival. When Selina discovers a sickly Ivy desperately trying to stay dry in the rain, she takes her to Gordon’s apartment – which has apparently been empty for the last few days – to warm her up and make her some hot food. Selina knows better than to answer the phones of the apartment’s she’s broken into, but when Gordon’s phone rings Ivy decides to answer it and play a wicked game. She puts on an adult voice, suggesting to the delicate Barbara on the other end that she’s been keeping Gordon “busy”. When Gordon finally arrives home after the case, he finds Ivy’s empty and dirtied soup bowl on the coffee table, taking it as a possible sign that Barbara had returned but that he’d missed her in his absence.