A gang commits a string of bank robberies. One of the robbers who wears a red hood encounters a lot of luck – first dodging a bunch of bullets from an old security guard and then escaping the police by throwing money into the crowd outside. He insists that the hood is good luck and that whoever wears it should be the leader, so one of the gang kills him and takes his hood. As Gordon investigates, the Red Hood Gang becomes local celebrities. Gordon notices one of the gang wearing a shirt with the logo of a garage on it, finding the body of the murdered robber at the garage. Meanwhile, the gang commits another bank robbery with the new leader, who is goaded into tossing money into the crowd, continuing the folk hero impression started by their first heist. Their success builds up a superstition among the gang that the good is powerful. Gordon and Bullock are concerned that as long as the red hood exists that this gang can go on forever.
An eye witness sees the face of the gang leader and picks him out of a line up. Gordon lets him go in order to lead them to the rest of the gang, figuring that the gang is beginning to turn on each other. Gordon and Bullock follow him home and respond when he is gunned down by one of his crew who demands the use of the red hood. When they investigate, they learn that the leader is committing revenge robberies at the banks that turned him down for a business loan, and learn the location of the next robbery. Despite the insane confidence given to the robbers by the red hood, the police create an ambush and gun down the new leader when he tries to outshoot them. Gordon carelessly drops the hood in the street in his hurry from the scene after he is told Alfred is in the hospital. A kid comes along and picks up the red hood, putting it on and pretending to shoot at the police cars.
I sincerely hoped that last week’s Joker origin story was a red herring and that this week was going to be the real take. I thought for half a second that the first thug to wear the hood was going to be the real Joker, but his death quickly squashed that theory. To be honest, I think he would have made a much better Joker and this the start of a much better origin story. Plus, it would have matched up with at least one Joker origin story in the comics – in which the Joker is chosen as the fall guy in a heist, marked out by his red hood and is accidentally pushed into a vat of chemicals by Batman, turning him into the Joker.
Mooney is taken upstairs to negotiate with the boss, but is actually faced with a go-between, played by the always excellent and geeky pleasure that is Jeffrey Combs. She refuses to negotiate with anyone else but with the leader of the facility. Mooney is allowed to bath and change, then returns to talk with the go-between. She still refuses to negotiate with him and can only find out that the leader of the facility is named Dollmaker. Mooney tells him that until she can talk to Dollmaker, no one will leave the basement and that all harvesting of human parts will cease. The go-between suggests instead that he take her eyes and see how long she can last in the basement. Instead, she takes a spoon, gouges out one of her eyes and stomps on it, rather than let him take them from her. Its probably the only thing Mooney ever did by halves.
Despite Butch’s presence, Cobblepot is still struggling to run his club. As a terrible stand-up comic sends the patrons running, the bar runs out of liquor because Maroni controls the wholesale liquor industry in the neighborhood and has been block its sale to Cobblepot. As Cobblepot takes a couple thugs to rob a liquor truck, but before they can Butch shows up with a couple of thugs disguised as policemen and confiscate the shipment. Back at the club, Cobblepot says he misses Mooney, despite everything, and asks if Butch does too. Butch, oddly, says that Mooney got what she deserved. What the heck did Zsasz do to Butch to destroy his dedication to Mooney? Or is he just biding his time for when Mooney returns?
Bruce, Alfred, and Reggie
Reggie, an old army friend of Alfred’s, turns up at the door of Wayne Manor, destitute and in trouble. Alfred invites him in to reminisce and Bruce ends up insisting that Reggie stay for a few days. Reggie, of course, causes some trouble – first teaching Bruce to fight dirty and then revealing some of Alfred’s shameful war stories. Alfred tells Reggie to leave the past in the past, that knowing Bruce has made him a better person and that he’s doing his best to raise him. While Alfred and Reggie clash, their friendship is obviously very deep, having been through a lot together. Despite Reggie’s behavior and eventually being caught stealing valuables from the manor, he still offers to help when its revealed that Reggie is in big trouble. Instead, Reggie stabs Alfred and leaves him in critical condition, then reports to the board at WayneCorp about the status of Bruce’s investigations. Reggie says that, with Alfred in the hospital, it would be a good time to “move” on Bruce, but then reminds them that Bruce is just a good kid. They board pays Reggie and ignores his mild protests.
Meanwhile, Gordon gets a call about Alfred’s attack and rushes to the hospital. There he sees Alfred on life support with Bruce standing by. Bruce tells Gordon that he can’t lose Alfred, that he’s the only thing he has left. Gordon comforts Bruce as he cries. I doubt that Gotham will kill off Alfred – especially since he plays such a huge role in Batman’s reign as crime fighter in the comics – but it would be a pretty dumb decision for the show to kill off one of its best, and most unused, characters. Sean Pertwee is wonderfully subtle and complex as the stoic butler with a humorous edge and a violent past – it would be a terrible shame to lose that aspect of the show.
You know, I think this was one of the best episodes in a long time. There weren’t too many storylines or character appearances gumming up the works, and the various plots seemed to flow pretty seamlessly around each other. I think the scene between Barbara and Selina was pretty unnecessary – other than, perhaps, to illustrate Barbara’s misguided dependence on her looks to get through life. She tries to give Selina a makeover, thinking that a little glamour could change her life around. In fact, Selina is lightyears more capable than Barbara and has absolutely no need or desire to trade on her beauty.