“I’m sorry, mother. Please forgive me,” sobs Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) as he cradles his dying mother (Carol Kane) in his arms after walking into a trap set up by Theo (James Frain) and Butch (Drew Powell) in season two episode seven of FOX’s gritty comic-book inspired crime series Gotham.
It seems Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) actually did cure Butch of the mind control Penguin had him under and the three of them set poor Penguin up to be murdered along with his mother. As Theo orders Butch to finish the job and kill Oswald, Penguin asks Theo, “What? Don’t you have the guts to do it yourself?” Reacting to the taunt, Theo walks over and sighs, “Very well,” and asks Penguin if he has any last words to which Penguin says with a murderous smile, “I will kill you,” and slashes Theo in the throat with the same knife Tabitha flung into Gertrude’s back. Oswald then runs and jumps through a window, escaping the assassination attempt.
Meanwhile, Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) wakes up to find the body of Miss Kringle gone and his psychotic other half laughing, telling him he’s left him clues where he can find her body. Ed realizes that his evil side went to the GCPD sometime last night after reading one of the riddle cards left where he had laid Kristen’s lifeless body. The hunt is on to find her corpse before someone else does and implicates Ed in her murder.
Back at Theo’s home his Ward, Silver (Natalie Alyn Lind), tells Theo he has nothing to worry about with Bruce Wayne and that she has him wrapped around her little finger. This is good news for Theo whose plan is to get young Bruce to sign over Wayne Enterprises to him before he and his sister get rid of the kid.
At the GCPD, Gordon (Ben McKenzie) asks his partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) if it makes any sense to him why Penguin would try to kill the candidates for mayor and also be behind setting the fires in Gotham. Bullock just shrugs and says that Penguin is an unpredictable thug and nothing he does surprises him. Theo walks into the precinct with District Attorney Harvey Dent swearing out a warrant for Oswald’s arrest for trying to kill him and basically gets Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) to okay what amounts to Marshall Law. This does not sit well with Jim who shows his concern and also starts to suspect maybe Theo isn’t what he seems to be.
At Wayne Manor, Selina (Camren Bicondova) has slipped in one of the windows in the study to visit Bruce (David Mazouz). He turns and is both surprised and annoyed to see her. “You have something against using the front door,” he asks, to which she replies, “No, just the big ape who answers it.” Selina begins to try to tell Bruce about what happened to her and Bridget last week, in desperate need of his friendship, but Bruce is of no mind to listen and in fact wants her to go. This is because he already has company. Silver is at Wayne Manor for lunch with Bruce and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and walks in, faking being sweet to Selina and tells Bruce to go and tell Alfred there will be another for lunch. Once Bruce is gone she tells Selina that she can see she is nothing more than gutter trash and for her own good she should never visit Bruce again. She ends the confrontation asking Selina,
“If you disappeared is there anyone who would miss you?”
During the lunch Selina tries to play it cool but can’t stand Silver’s two-faced ways and tries to expose her for the fake that she is. But with a few false tears from Silver, and Bruce already being upset with Selina for not trying to see him for a month, it backfires horribly and Bruce takes Silver’s side and kicks Selina out.
Ed finally gets to the GCPD searching for clues to find Kristen’s body. After following the riddles his evil half left for him, Ed finds Kristen’s lifeless body in the morgue just as Lee (Morena Baccarin) enters the room. Luckily, Ed fools Lee by telling her he’s just going over some notes he made on a Jane Doe case and distracts Lee further about his strange behavior by asking for relationship advice, saying he and Kristen had a fight.
Theo holds a press conference to draw the Penguin out of hiding to try to get him to try to kill him. Oswald, still grieving and furious over his mother’s death, makes up his mind that Theo must die tonight.
Meanwhile, Harvey and Gordon discover that Butch is starting his own crew and they figure he might just try to take out his old boss so they go to pay him a visit. While interrogating Butch, who admits Theo was the one who hired Penguin to set the fires and kidnapped Gertrude to make him do it, Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) and a handful of killers show up outside the small building Gordon, Butch, and Harvey are in and prepare to open fire on behalf of the Penguin. “Jim, we gotta go!” yells Harvey as the bullets spray into the building. Thankfully, Jim and Harvey remain unscathed. The two detectives then use the extra fire power they found in Butch’s place, two high-powered machine guns, to drive off Zsasz and what’s left of his hit squad.
Penguin and his flock of look-alike hit men walking with limps close in on the party Theo is using as bait for the hit and Gordon, Harvey and the strike force – along with other Gotham police – are there when a massive firefight occurs. Tabitha ends up killing one of the members of the strike force when he tries to arrest her. As Gordon tries to get Theo to his limousine and out of harm’s way, Penguin finds them and points his gun at Jim who is standing in front of Theo. Penguin tells Jim that Theo killed his mother to which Gordon answers, “I know,” which alarms Theo who keeps telling Gordon to shoot the Penguin. Tabitha takes a shot from a rooftop and hits Penguin but only in the shoulder. Penguin then gets into a car and drives away, making his escape.
Theo holds yet another (yawn) press conference about being the new leader of Gotham as Silver and Bruce watch it on the television. Silver kisses Bruce, bringing him more under her spell and poor heartbroken Selina watches from afar.
In the last scene of the episode, Ed’s evil self reappears getting Nygma to realize that even though he loved Kristen he enjoyed even more killing her. Hiding the body in plain sight and not getting caught was real fun for Ed. As the two merge into one, evil Ed asks Nygma how it felt when he got away with the murder even though Lee almost caught him to which Nygma replies, “It was beautiful.” The Riddler has arrived!
Gotham Season 2 Episode 7 Review:
Action-packed and intense, season two episode seven titled “Mommy’s Little Monster” finally has Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock realizing what and who Theo is all about. The episode also sees the birth of one of the best villains in the Batman universe.
The stand-out performance in this episode goes to Cory Michael Smith as Ed Nygma aka The Riddler who plays wonderfully both the geeky, panicked police medical examiner trying to cover up his crime of passion before being discovered and the dark, evil, sociopath side who is calmer, smarter and enjoys all aspects of killing and hiding the crime by turning it into some sort of sick treasure hunt. It shouldn’t be long until the Riddler fully emerges as one of Gotham’s main villains, perhaps even going up against Theo and Tabitha or maybe even The Penguin.
With Jim and Harvey finally on the same page about Theo’s true motivations and Theo about to unleash Barbara after Gordon, here’s looking forward to episode eight.