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'Gotham' recap, 'LoveCraft'

Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee
Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee (Jessica Miglio/FOX)

"Don't ever mistake bravery for good sense."

That's the lesson that Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon learned the hard way as nice guys. But as the only nice guys the city has, they tough it out and ignore good sense for the good of the Gotham.

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"LoveCraft" takes us to the midseason break with a few major milestones for Bruce (first fight with a villain, first kiss), and a few major setbacks for Jim (no job, still no fiancé). Add that to some action-packed fight scenes and nail-biting cliffhangers — it's everything you could want from a midseason finale.

Over the past few episodes, the writers have woven in more storylines about the Waynes' murder. As we pull the thread to discover who killed them, it's not clear when the mystery will finally unravel, but I'm glad it wasn't in the midseason finale. It would have felt too abrupt to learn now.

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We might not find out who was really behind their murder by the end of this season, and that's all right. With how deep this goes, we'll likely be learning about all the different players for the next couple seasons. But even if we do finally discover who was responsible, will justice for the Waynes ever prevail in a twisted city like Gotham?

Doubtful. Tearing down corruption in a city determined to retain its seedy ways is about as likely as Selina giving up pickpocketing.

Jim gets a harsh dose of reality when he goes to arrest Lovecraft.  "When it comes to the crunch, I'm nobody — just like you," Lovecraft tells Jim. "And the people who really and truly run this city watch you huff and puff and run around crusading and they are laughing at you!"

Even harder is staying incorruptible when your job and life are on the line.

The assassins staged Lovecraft's murder to look like Jim had shot him, since his gun was lifted while he was unconscious. The mayor, as scrupulous as ever, spins the story, saying that Lovecraft was driven to suicide, thanks to Jim and Harvey Dent's investigation.

One of them is going down, the mayor decides. And in a town whose foundation is based on a crooked mayor, crooked police department and crooked legal system, only those who keep up the crooked appearances will be spared.

Dent knows a thing or two about hiding the ugly truth. He might put on the nice-guy façade, but deep down, the White Knight's just as shady as the rest of Gotham's thugs. He just knows the right side to show at the right time, from fighting for a good cause with Jim, to being "at the disposal" of an unethical mayor.

"He knows the edge," the mayor says. For now.

This gradual chipping-away at Dent's glossy persona is what makes his character arc so fascinating. After all, it's not just Dent's temper that makes him become Two-Face. Once he's pushed over that edge, he'll be a vicious scumbag like the rest of Gotham's finest.

Jim, on the other hand, won't play nice. He might have been "thrown out and disgraced," as Ed Nygma so delicately put it, but he wasn't going out without standing up for the truth: Lovecraft was murdered by the assassins, and not driven to suicide.

That's not the story the mayor's telling the press. He has his reputation to protect and Jim's to destroy. This is how it works in Gotham, but Jim isn't with the program. He stands up, looks the mayor right in the eyes and says, "Mayor James, kiss my ass!" Bravo, Jim!

Even when he's faced with this overwhelming injustice of his name being smeared, he still does the right thing and presses forward. He could quit the force, but he decides to take the position as a security guard at Arkham. Yikes, that's rough. But if anyone can handle those psychopaths, it's Jim.

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Now that Jim's gone, Bullock needs a new partner. I nominate Alfred. After fighting the team of assassins that invade Wayne Manor, he plays detective for a day with Bullock.

Sure, in the real world, no way would they bring a civilian, even if he is an ex-marine, on the field or into an interrogation room. But factual accuracy aside, who cares? He and Bullock make a pretty dynamic duo.

First he's paying off a witness to make him speak, then he charms Fish Mooney into making a few calls to find where Selina usually hangs out. OK, so maybe Alfred's the dynamic one and Bullock's still the rough-around-the-edges one, but it still works. If this butler gig doesn't work out, I could see a Bullock and Alfred spinoff. Wuddya say, Fox execs?

MORE HIGHTLIGHTS FROM "LOVECRAFT":

BEST HARVEY ONE-LINER: "Dammit, Alfred, save your cheese. I can beat the truth outta this kid with a roll of quarters!" See? These two are gold!

BEST SELINA ONE-LINER: "It's like the mall, but for street kids and without the crappy music." Cat's starting to out-zing Harvey. She's got sass and spunk. I like her.

MOST HYPOCRITICAL LINE: "Stay calm," Dent says to Jim. You're one to talk, Mr. "Unexpectedly Blows Up In Your Face" Two-Face.

BEST FLIRTING GAME: "Kids go up there to make out all the time," Selina says. "I'd like that," Bruce replies. Of course you would, Bruce.

WORST FLIRTING GAME: "How do I look?" Ivy asks Bruce as her eye twitches. Was she trying to bat her eyelashes? Next time practice in the mirror first.

MOST RANDOM ARTIFACT: No, not the $2K gold pen or that sweet business-card holder Selina swiped from Wayne Manor. A payphone that exists and only cost a dime. Uh, what time era is this show set?

BEST COMEBACK: "She wants your head," Penguin tells Falcone about Fish Mooney. "So do half the people who work for me," he glares at Penguin. Don't think he's not onto you, Mr. Cobblepot. He sees you coming for the crown. Likewise, Fish is convinced Falcone's a fool and won't figure out she was the one behind the armory robbery. He will soon enough. Her little demure fembot Liza is a "ticking time bomb," and she'll need a plan B.

LOST LOVE: Where was Barbara? Let me guess: You didn't know she was missing either, huh? Sad that even her affair doesn't make her interesting. Or are she and Jim completely done and this doesn't count as an affair? Again, still not enough to make her interesting.

MOST FORSHADOWING QUOTE: "Maybe you should take him with you," Bullock says to Jim when Ed Nygma says he's going to miss him when he goes to Arkham. Little does Bullock know! I really hope Ed embraces his Riddler persona and gets sent to Arkham while Jim is on duty there. I wonder who else we'll see there? This might have been the worst thing to happen to Jim's career, but the best thing to happen to the show.

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