I see Arkham’s adopted a one-in, one-out policy.
Barbara’s been released into the wild, and Ed’s become the newest addition to the loony-bin lineup in last night’s “Into the Woods.” We’ll get to Barbara in a bit, but first, let’s go to the man of the hour, Ed Nygma.
Oh, Ed, this day has been a long time coming. Ever since the very first episode in which we learned you were working for the GCPD, we’ve been wondering when Jim Gordon would discover you’re the man behind the question mark.
All the tension between Jim and Ed, methodically built up by the writers over the past season and a half, paid off into one satisfying ending.
After escaping from prison, Jim is determined to find out who set him up. With Harvey’s help, he snags the recording of the call Ed made to IA about Jim killing Galavan.
Only problem is, the voice and call are distorted, and the only background sound Jim can pick up is a bird.
With few resources and even fewer friends, Jim goes to Ed to help him clear up the audio. Ed nervously offers his help.
(Side note: Kind of sad for Jim when one of his few remaining friends in Gotham is Ed.)
Jim tells Ed he thinks former Commissioner Loeb is behind the setup, and had some “psychopath” murder Officer Pinkney.
Uh oh. Jim used Ed’s trigger word. It the same word Kris Kringle called Ed when he confessed he murdered her ex-boyfriend, driving him to strangle her.
Hearing that word, his forehead vein bulges and his blood boils hotter than the tea kettle on his stove. Man, oh man, can Cory Michael Smith act.
“You say ‘psychopath,’ yet you’ve killed lots of people,“ Ed replies tersely. When Jim justifies that it was in line of duty, Ed asks, holding back all of his anger, “And a person who would kill in cold blood is a psychopath?”
He stares intently at Jim, then scoffs, “See, I knew the rumors weren’t true.” Jim, getting up from his chair, asks, “What rumors?”
“About you killing Galavan,” Ed replies matter-of-factly. “You would never do that. That would make you like the people you’re hunting. Sick. Diseased.”
Now Jim knows it was Ed who framed him, but he doesn’t say anything. They both sit down and listen to the tape again. This time they hear the cuckoo clock — the same cuckoo clock in Ed’s apartment that goes off only moments later.
(Side note: I love how Ed later says, “Did that little bird sing?” when asking Jim if Penguin revealed the burial spot. No, but it was the cuckoo clock that gave you away.)
The symbolism does not go unnoticed, and Ed says a riddle, which is fittingly about a clock. That’s when Ed presses a button wired to the chair that knocks Jim unconscious.
But why did he set him up? Jim doesn’t find out that it was to cover the murder of Kris Kringle until he miraculously escapes from being knocked out, tied up and shot in the leg.
Jim then hobbles to Selina’s place, where Bruce calls Alfred to take him to Wayne Manor. There, they come up with a plan to send Selina to the precinct and give a fake report to Captain Barnes on Jim’s whereabouts.
It’s enough to scare Ed, who drives to the forest where he buried Kris and unwittingly leads Jim right to her burial spot.
Jim, hiding behind a tree, cautiously approaches him, and asks him how it got to this point. When Ed says it’s because “it’s who he is,” Jim tells him he doesn’t believe that.
“Why Jim?” Ed strikes back. “Because it would make you incompetent to know that I was right under your nose the whole time? Or you don’t want to admit there’s a monster in all of us, because you of all people should know that!”
Jim doesn’t deny it — he’s accepted he has some skeletons in his closet. Instead, he tries to reason with him. But Ed has other plans in mind: one last riddle, the answer to which is death.
He points the gun he stole from Jim at his head, and is ready to fire. That’s when a half dozen police officers come out from the woods and arrest him.
But my guess is that he won’t be in Arkham for long as a subject to Dr. Hugo Strange’s torture, er, method. He’s almost too happy to release his “cured” patients.
See Exhibit B: Barbara (Exhibit A would be Penguin). Clearly a deranged patient with a bloodthirsty criminal background, Barbara should be behind padded walls.
There’s no reason for her release, unless, of course, the doctor himself is a madman. The name “Dr. Strange” is enough to answer that one.
I’m not sure if Barbara is cured (doubt it) or what havoc she’ll wreak. One thing’s for sure: Jim’s life is going to turned upside down the next time we see him, ‘cause guess who came knocking on his door?
No, not his sane ex, Leigh; his crazy ex, Barbara. With Jim’s luck, I wonder if Leigh will drop in while Stabby Babs is there.
More highlights from “Into the Woods”:
Best Harvey one-liner: “How’s my favorite sugar plum in IA?” — Harvey to one of his many ladies in GCPD. You know that smooth talker has a girl in each department.
Weirdest line: “It’s gonna be locked up tighter than a duck’s ass.” — Harvey to Jim about the IA recording.
Most self-deprecating line: “It’s because you’re Bruce Wayne and I’m street trash.” — Selina to Bruce, who told her he’s done with living on the streets. No, it’s because his Batcave computers are fixed, and he has work to do.
That said, the storyline of Bruce living on the streets with Selina is one of the best the show has had. Not only does it help develop his character as he transforms into Batman, but it creates another wrinkle in the Batman-Catwoman dynamic. Will their friendship rebound after this? Or will Selina’s chip on her shoulder and Bruce’s secret life push them apart?
Too good for his own good: Jim’s a fugitive with a $10,000 reward on his head, and yet he stopped a mugging, which, in turn, almost got him arrested. You can take the man out of the GCPD, but you can’t GCPD out of the man.
Man of his word: Jim Gordon, you’ve just cleared your name and proven your innocence. What are you going to do next? Rejoin the force? Reunite with your baby’s mother? Nope. He’s staying put in Gotham to find out who hired Matches Malone to kill Bruce’s parents. Sigh, what a guy.
Food fight: Penguin’s stepsiblings are the worst. They drop their barely eaten food on the ground and chuck biscuits at him — all of which he made and has to clean up. How that didn’t trigger his relapse back to evil Penguin mode amazes me.
I’m not saying I’m glad Penguin killed them, cooked them, cut them into tiny pieces and fed them to their unsuspecting mother (yuck), but I am glad I don’t have to see their goth-chic faces anymore.
Grossest moment: Penguin eating dinner with his slain and blood-soaked stepmother sitting across from him. Barf. This beats Fish Mooney scooping her eye out and stomping it on the ground as “Gotham’s” most stomach-churning scene, ever.
Case closed?: So they put the real man responsible for Pinkney’s death behind bars (Ed), but are they still going to investigate Galavan’s death? For Jim’s sake, let’s hope not.