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"Arkham" (Aired October 12, 2014)

Samantha Wessel

So far in “Gotham,” the word Arkham has been alluded to with little explanation. We know that Thomas and Martha Wayne were working on a plan involving Arkham, and that it has become a point of contention between Falcone and Maroni. This episode gets into it, and allows Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock to become their full crime noir selves.


The episode begins right where “The Balloonman” left off, with Oswald Cobblepot paying a visit to Jim at his house. Jim, none too pleased to see Oswald, considering he told him never to come back to Gotham, takes Oswald outside. Oswald tells Jim that he may be the last good man in Gotham. Oswald, as a thank you to Jim for sparing his life, offers to help him. He tells Jim that he will give him information about things that are happening in Gotham, particularly with this impending “war” Oswald keeps talking about.


My least favorite thing about “Gotham” is the murder of the week thing. While I get that the “Gotham” writers feel the need to include this formulaic element, I hope things get a little less episodic, and that more plotlines become woven through each episode. This isn’t a CBS show, so the CSI formula isn’t needed. Anyway, I digress…


A man, who we come to find out goes by Richard Gladwell, kills a city councilman with a double-edged spike. When Jim floats a theory it is a political hit, Bullock shoots it down saying it’s easier to bribe council members. So Bullock and Jim begin questioning people, and as usual, Bullock suspects the first guy while Jim knows the first answer is never the right one. Going through evidence from the crime scene, Jim finds an Arkham development plan, and decides to pay a visit to Wayne Manor to see if he can get more information.


Alfred tells Jim that with the Waynes gone, Falcone took over the plan and he stands to make a lot of money if it passes. Jim realizes that Councilman Jenkins was killed because he supported Falcone’s plan, and Maroni is trying to destroy it.  Bruce comes in and tells Jim that his parents were fighting to get a new asylum built, he doesn’t want their dream to die. Jim tells Bruce that if Maroni and Falcone begin fighting over Arkham, it could be a citywide gang war, the type Oswald was talking about. As he’s talking to Bruce, Bullock calls Jim telling him another councilman has been abducted, this time, and one that backs Maroni. We then see this councilman lit on fire and killed inside the Arkham Asylum. How apropos.


Meanwhile, the Mayor holds a press conference to announce the development of Arkham. He says that before their deaths, the Waynes had a plan to build affordable housing for Gotham’s poor. The plan was to tear down Arkham Asylum and build a new mental health facility. The Mayor says even though the Waynes are gone, he still wants it to happen.


At the crime scene of the second councilman’s murder, Captain Essen concedes that Jim was right in his guess that the councilmen’s deaths concerned politics. Jim then fills Bullock and Essen in on his idea that this is a war about Arkham. Bullock is suspicious of Jim’s sudden insight into the inner workings of the criminal side of Arkham. Luckily, Ed Nygma arrives to keep Jim from having to answer Bullock’s suspicions. Nygma tells Bullock and Jim that the same hitman is working for both Falcone and Maroni, killed all three victims.


Bullock and Jim go to see Minks, a prisoner in Gotham City Penitentiary. Minks tells Bullock and Jim about Richard Gladwell. They’re off to his office to try and track him down. When they arrive, Gladwell takes off, prepping his weapon to kill Jim. Harvey finds evidence on Gladwell’s desk that confirms he killed the councilmen. They also find a piece of paper with the letters “C,” “L,” and “M” on it.


At Wayne Manor, Bruce awakens from a nightmare about his parents’ murder. He asks Alfred for more files about the Arkham development plan. He’s looking for a connection between the councilmen’s murders and the murder of his parents.


At Maroni’s restaurant, Oswald’s manager catches him looking at Maroni’s men counting large stacks of money. Later that day, the restaurant is robbed by a group of men with pantyhose on their faces. Oswald’s manager is killed, and the bags of money were stolen. When Maroni’s men arrive, they find Oswald in the walk-in freezer with some of the money he tells them he was able to save. When Maroni arrives he believes that Falcone is the one who hit the restaurant. Maroni thanks Oswald for saving some of the money, and promotes Oswald to restaurant manager.


After his promotion, we find that Oswald staged the whole robbery to help move himself up the ranks. He brings cannoli as a thank you to the men who pulled off the robbery. And of course the cannolis are poisoned. Oswald has to eliminate any unknown entities that may mess up his ultimate plan. God damn I love how manipulative and calculating Oswald is.


When Jim gets home that night, Barbara has had a DRAMATIC change of heart. Last episode she was supportive of Jim and believed that he couldn’t have murdered Oswald. But now, seemingly out of nowhere, she’s accusing Jim of keeping secrets from her and asking about Oswald Cobblepot. Jim realizes that Montoya is the one that filled Barbara in on Oswald. Barbara tells Jim that she and Montoya used to be in a relationship. This takes Jim completely by surprise, and he accuses Barbara of lying to him.  


At Fish Mooney’s place, Fish is auditioning new singers. She tells the first girl auditioning that the job involves more than just singing, and orders the girl to seduce Fish. The girl does a very poor job at the sudction. Fish wants to use this new girl likely to help seduce and take down Falcone. Fish isn’t entirely pleased with the first singer, so she tells Butch to find her another girl The second girl, Liza, does a much better job of seducing Fish than the first girl. And considering we find out her name, we know she’s going to be the one who gets the job. Sure enough, Fish has Liza and girl number one fight it out, and Liza wins.


After Liza’s audition, Bullock shows up to ask Fish if she can find Gladwell.  Fish tells Bullock that if Maroni gets even a piece of Arkham, it will show that Falcone is old and weak. Fish tells Bullock that if Falcone goes down, she’ll be ok.


Meanwhile, Jim is still at the police department when he gets a call from Oswald. Oswald tells Jim that the next hit on the Mayor will happen that night. Jim is off to the Mayor’s house and finds that the three police cars sent to protect the Mayor are empty. As the Mayor is grabbing some items that he apparently can’t leave the house without, Gladwell arrives. Right as Gladwell is about to stab Jim, Bullock shows up (gee this seems familiar). Gladwell still goes to kill the Mayor, but Bullock and Jim kill him.


Following the incident with Gladwell, Barbara shows up to the police department to apologize for not telling him about Montoya. She tells him she doesn’t want any more secrets, and asks about Cobblepot. Jim tells her he can’t tell her about his work anymore, in an attempt to keep her safe. She gives him an ultimatum: he is going to either have to tell her about his work or things aren’t going to work out. Seems fair. I mean, there’s no possible rational reason he would want to not tell her every little detail of his work. It makes me question Barbara’s motives, and at the very least, makes me dislike her. A lot.


The Mayor then holds a press conference announcing that the two Arkham plans have been merged: it will be a site for low-income housing and waste disposal. Mayor James says that the Arkham Asylum will be retrofitted and reopened. Maroni is thrilled that he’s getting a piece of the Arkham plan. Fish tells Liza that Falcone took a hit from the plan, and she’s thrilled.


At Wayne Manor, Bruce is not happy about the new plan. Jim tells Bruce that the Mayor was caught between Maroni and Falcone, and out of fear for his safety, gave Maroni the contract to rebuild Arkham Asylum and a waste disposal site. Falcone gets the low income housing part. Jim tells Bruce that the compromise may have prevented a gang war. Bruce tells Jim that everything his parents worked for is falling into the hands of criminals, but Jim reminds Bruce that he’s still alive, and it’s not too late for Gotham to be saved.