A Look at “The Walking Dead” #133: “Impending Doom”

The Walking Dead #133- Cover

While The Walking Dead #133: “Impending Doom” isn’t as fast paced as the latter half of issue #132, I think this issue is important because of the individual character moments.

The Walking Dead #133- Dante questioned by the human walkers

Unlike previous issues, where we would pick up immediately following the issue before it, we start somewhere different as opposed to returning to Darius and the human walkers. I don’t think there’s a defined term for these people yet, if there ever will be one. We know they’re not too happy about Rick and company coming into their territory, but we still don’t know much about them, who they are, where they came from and why they do this. Again, I assume that will come over time.

Sure, part of you wants to flip straight to the portion of the comic that deals with Darius’ situation, but by doing so, you miss the little things. And like Rick, Carl, Maggie, Sophia and the baby just watching the sunset, those small moments show humanity starting to reemerge both after the apocalypse has hit and Negan’s fall.

The Walking Dead #133- Carl begins his apprenticeship

But let’s go to Carl. With his father gone, Carl is set to become his own man. We get a glimpse of him beginning his apprenticeship, and I think that’s all you really need since he’s just getting established at the Hilltop.

The Walking Dead #133- Carl and Sophia about to get dinner

Plus, he finally opened and read Anna’s letter. It’s no secret that she has feelings for him, but now we know that she’ll still be waiting for him if he ever decides to return to or visit the Alexandria Safe Zone. On the other hand, there’s still the possibility of Carl and Sophia’s friendship blossoming into something more. I mean, their friendship has been developing ever since they were little kids. So Carl the Apprentice is also Carl the Player. I don’t know if this will turn into some sort of awkward love triangle, but for the moment, it’d be nice for Carl to have some form of happiness outside of his apprenticeship.

The Walking Dead #133- Andrea speaks with Magna's crew

As for Andrea and Magna’s team…huh. That turned out to be rather peaceful. After it seemed like Magna would cause Andrea some trouble, their conversation looks to be pretty civil. They appear to have bought Andrea’s story at face value, which I found odd since they did not believe a word of Negan’s tale. Mind you, Negan’s tale was completely false, and it’s possible that Andrea comes off as more genuine and believable than Negan. Not too hard to do, really.

The Walking Dead #133- Eugene is ready to be a father for Rosita's child

And if we’re going to have an issue that has a lot of quiet moments, I am glad we spent some time with Eugene and Rosita. This relationship interests me for some reason. Despite not having many moments together, the fact that the two are together does catch my attention. Over time, both have become leaders in their own way, Eugene especially. Since Rosita is with child, it makes sense that Eugene would want to step in and be there for it, even though both know that he’s not the biological father. Eugene is making a wise move as opposed to taking the coward’s way out by throwing Rosita to the wind. He’s not that kind of person.

The Walking Dead #133- Jesus' crew attacked by 'walkers'

Then there’s Jesus and his crew. While I’m interested to see how Jesus will get out of this mess, I don’t think the tension was there. It didn’t just come out of nowhere like Darius’ situation did. I doubt a character as useful as Jesus would be killed off, and knowing how versatile this man can be, I’m sure he’ll find a way out of his mess.

A Look at “Gotham” Season 1, Episode 6: “Spirit of the Goat”

“Spirit of the Goat” was better than previous episodes of Gotham, in my opinion. Rather than more foreshadowing of the upcoming war, the episode put Bullock in the spotlight as a murder investigation gives him memories to his earlier days when he went by the book.

Spirit of the Goat- Flashback, Gotham 10 years ago

The episode begins ten years in the past. A man stares down his reflection while telling himself that he’s the spirit of the goat. He then dons gloves and a black Luchador mask before heading out to abduct a young woman.

Spirit of the Goat- Flashback, Bullock and Detective Dix, played by Dan Hedaya, prepare to confront The Goat

A police cruiser approaches an abandoned building and out step a younger Harvey Bullock and his then-partner, Detective Dix, played by Dan Hedaya. Dix isn’t keen on entering, but Bullock is dead set on capturing this Randall Milkie, who believes that he is the reincarnation of the goat. Three people have already died and Bullock does not want a fourth body on the GCPD’s hands. Dix reminds him of Gotham’s golden rule: there are no heroes. Makes sense.

The two enter and find a body, but the candles have barely melted. A noise under the floorboards grabs their attention. While Bullock heads down to find Mikey, Dix falls through the floor. Milkie bursts out and takes down Bullock, but Bullock fires several shots and downs Milkie.

Spirit of the Goat- Bullock sees Amanda Hastings strung up on bridge

We then cut to the present day where Bullock watches officers handle the body of a young woman suspended on the bridge. Nygma tries to tell Bullock about the riddle involving trying to get a wolf, a cabbage and a goat across a river, but Bullock isn’t in the mood. Or maybe he’s just bad at riddles. You decide. The body, identified as Amanda Hastings, has been left at the scene a little before 3 a.m. Bullock notes the similarity to the Goat’s original victim: he kills the first born. The exact same M.O. But Bullock solved this case, so it would have to be a copycat, right? Oh, where the hell is Boy Scout James Gordon?

Spirit of the Goat- Gordon and Barbara try to reconcile

He’s just trying to reconcile his differences with Barbara. She doesn’t want him to walk away from whatever he’s hiding. To Gordon, law and crime are so twisted and he may have gotten in too deep. He came to help, but Gotham City may need something else. Barbara wants to carry half of his load, though Gordon says it’s too dangerous.

Spirit of the Goat- Montoya and Allen canvass a waterfront

Montoya and Allen- remember them?- canvass a waterfront because they need to find a lead. That and, I guess, they don’t have anything else to do. They question a nearby homeless man about whether a shooting took place. One did, he says, and he identifies Gordon as the shooter. Montoya is just overjoyed at this. They’ve finally got James Gordon. I’m curious as to whether the legal system in Gotham City would be as quick to believe the words of a homeless man as Allen and Montoya are.

Spirit of the Goat- Gordon finally arrives at the crime scene

Boy Scout James Gordon finally arrives at the bridge, just in time to get an earful from Bullock. Nygma will let the detectives know when he learns of the autopsy report, while Bullock and Gordon pay a visit to Ms. Hastings’ parents.
Spirit of the Goat- Bullock and Gordon speak with Mr. and Mrs. Hastings about their daughter's death

The parents: Robert, played by Brian O’Neill, and his wife, played by Andrea Sooch, are distraught. Bullock and Gordon ask if Amanda may have had any enemies, though Bullock can’t help but notice that Amanda’s father, Robert, keeps clenching his fist. They then speak with the therapist, Dr. Marks, played by Susan Misner, about the father’s delicate nature.

Spirit of the Goat- Nygma heads to records annex, talks with Kristen Kringle, played by Chelsea Spack

Nygma enters the records annex, where Ms. Kristen Kringle, played by Chelsea Spack, works among folders and shelves full of case information. Nygma tries to lay on his version of sweet talk and wants to reorganize the files, as well as find the information on The Goat murder files, but Kringle already has everything in perfect order.

Gordon and Bullock head to the last building Amanda Hastings went to. CSI found no sign of an intrusion.

Spirit of the Goat- Oswald returns to his mother

Oswald Cobblepot heads home to his dear, sweet mother, who is just glad that he’s back with her and not involved with some hussy demon purse. No. Oswald just wanted respect, but he’s been to Hell and back in order to get it. Mom says that everyone else just envies him.

Spirit of the Goat- Bullock asks medical examiner to check Amanda Hastings' body for an incision

During the autopsy report, the medical examiner informs Bullock and Gordon that Amanda Hastings had been asphyxiated. Sounds accurate enough, but Bullock asks the examiner to look under the victim’s scalp for an incision and a penny. The examiner does just that and does indeed find a penny. Once again, this is just like Randall Milkie’s pattern. Ten years ago, Milkie sewed a penny to his victims. The problem is that the detail with the penny was never released to the public or press during the original case, so this can’t be a copycat. When Bullock relays this to his superior, Captain Essen tells Bullock and Gordon to pay Dix a visit.

Bruce and Alfred are also following the news on The Goat. Though Bruce isn’t all that worried about this, Alfred wants Bruce to leave town for awhile since Bruce is still a first born child. But Bruce has already his parents, so he figures there’s no one to take him from? Alfred is still right there, you prick.

Spirit of the Goat- Nygma reorganizes Ms. Kringle's files

Nygma has made adjustments Ms. Kringle’s system, much to her shock. She had everything organized the way she wanted. Not getting the desired effect he wanted, Nygma takes his folder and leaves. Edward Nygma: not a smooth talker or operator.

Spirit of the Goat- Gordon and Bullock speak to Dix about The Goat

At a retirement center, Bullock meets up with his old partner, who still refers to Bullock as Boy Detective. Well, at least he didn’t call him Boy Wonder. Dix and Bullock know that the records are sealed and neither of them talked. Dix believes that Milkie had a partner. Bullock doesn’t buy this conspiracy theory and heads off to talk with an orderly. Before Gordon can head off, Dix tells him to keep an eye on Bullock since he’s a loose cannon and wants to be a White Knight. Gordon just wonders if Dix is talking about the same Bullock.

The Goat makes his next move in the form of murdering a maid and abducting another young woman, Ember Copley, played by Beatrice Brigitte.

When Bullock investigates the scene, he calls Gordon and lets him know that the woman had plans to meet her parents at 9. Based on The Goat’s previous process of taking eight hours to murder his victims, the detectives don’t have much time. Gordon managed to retrieve a list of employees, but needs to narrow it down to anyone that would have access to both victims’ houses.

Spirit of the Goat- Barbara confronts Montoya

As Montoya leaves a court building, she’s confronted by Barbara, who says that Montoya has Gordon all wrong. Montoya is more concerned about Barbara getting killed for even being associated with Gordon. She advises her to leave because there’s now a warrant out for Gordon’s arrest.

With some help from Nygma, Bullock and Gordon narrow down the possible culprit to one Raymond Earl. The two detectives wind up at the same desolate theatre where Bullock supposedly once took down The Goat.

Spirit of the Goat- Gordon and Bullock investigate the old theatre

Inside, they spot The Goat and split up. Gordon nabs the girl while Bullock confronts The Goat. A fight breaks out and the two find themselves crashing down the stairs. Gordon eventually enters the fight and manages to subdue The Goat.

Spirit of the Goat- Selina Kyle sneaks into Wayne Manor

Because Selina Kyle still needs things to do, she slips into Wayne Manor while Master Bruce sleeps. Surprisingly, Wayne Manor doesn’t have any sort of security system, despite the children of Gotham’s one-percent being murdered. Selina doesn’t grope Bruce, but she does eye his crime web before swiping something and leaving.

Spirit of the Goat- Oswald takes a bath

Elsewhere, Oswald Cobblepot takes a bath. Mom is worried if her son is doing anything illegal, which he denies. She’s just concerned. Besides, there’s no one you can trust more than your mother. Good thing that Oswald found a police officer that he can trust.

Spirit of the Goat- Essen, Gordon and Bullock watch Raymond Earl

Raymond Earl sits in interrogation while Bullock, Gordon and Captain Essen watch. Earl isn’t talking and something is still eating at Bullock. Earl and Milkie have the exact same MO’s, but the murders are 10 years apart and the two never met. What is it that changed these two men and how would Earl know the detail about the coin? And why would they both decide to become The Goat? It’s like something found them. It’s only when Bullock notices Earl fidgeting a certain way that he gets a hunch.

Spirit of the Goat- Barbara packing

Barbara is packing when Gordon arrives. She lets him know that Allen and Montoya are onto him. She offers him the chance to come with her, but he won’t run away. He won’t have to, as Montoya and Allen are right there at the door to arrest him for the murder of Oswald Cobblepot.

Spirit of the Goat- Bullock speaks with Dr. Marks

Bullock heads back to speak not just with Robert, but also Dr. Marks. See, he knows that the Doctor has seen Robert a lot. What’s her angle? Hypnotism. Hypno-therapist, specifically. She’s worked pro-bono at some outpatient clinics for 12 years. Bullock asks about Raymond Earl since he’s a person of interest in the investigation. Robert Hastings kept clenching his fist, which led Bullock to do some research. If a patient has a compulsion to do something wrong, the hypnotist can put them under and introduce a physical moment like clenching a fist. The person does the motion instead of the impulse. For Raymond Earl and Randall Milkie- who Marks treated years ago- it’s possible that a hypnotist could turn them upside down and make their identities seem like a bad idea.

Marks is impressed, but Bullock isn’t done yet. He figures that she found a suitable borderline case like Randall Milkie and hypnotist the victim until they don’t know who they are, until Marks reprograms their identity. She did it as an act of therapy for Gotham. The city used to have hope, but the rich and powerful gunned it down in the street. Deep down, we all want to eat the rich. Just as Bullock goes to arrest Marks, she instructs Robert to attack Bullock. Though Marks attempts to make her escape, Bullock overpowers Robert long enough to shoot Marks in the leg.

Spirit of the Goat- Montoya and Allen bring Gordon to GCPD for the murder of Oswald Cobblepot

And Bullock doesn’t get enough time celebrate because Montoya and Allen arrive to throw Gordon into a cage for the murder of Oswald Cobblepot. Gordon denies any murder and admits to lying, but then Bullock is arrested as an accomplice. Essen isn’t about to let MCU arrest two of her officers, but guess who shows up?

Spirit of the Goat- Oswald Cobblepot lives

Oswald Cobblepot has returned. And needless to say that Bullock isn’t too happy with Gordon right now.

Now that was an effective cliffhanger. I’ll get to Oswald’s reveal later, but all in all, I quite enjoyed this episode for a number of reasons. As much as I enjoy the impending mob war, this episode benefitted from focusing mostly on its two main detectives. Much time last week went to the Maroni and Falcone camps, but here, most of the work is in the hands of Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue. Sure, the two don’t have as many scenes together as previous episodes, but for a show that’s about Gotham City, I appreciate the fact that we stuck with the detectives throughout most of it.

More than that, this episode had some actual detective work in it. Nothing mind-blowing or even that complex, but the little things: Gordon going out of his way to get a list of employees instead of just figuring it out on a hunch, Bullock reading up on hypnotism after noticing Robert Hastings clenching his fist, how he remembered the detail about the penny and incision, and Nygma used to help them narrow down potential suspects instead of just appearing to speak in riddles. Again, this is very simple work and I still wish Gotham placed more focus on the detective aspect of the show, but this was refreshing compared to Gordon’s random guesses.

Spirit of the Goat- Younger Bullock

Now I’ll get to Gordon in a second, but I think taking the spotlight off of him for an episode gave us a chance to get to know Harvey a lot better. We’ve seen him as a cynical bad-cop type who would kick back and watch Gotham’s criminal element tear itself apart. He has no problem using force or abusing his authority in order to get perps to talk and he’s more willing to accept Gordon as a partner after he believes Gordon murdered Oswald Cobblepot on Don Falcone’s orders.

But when we flash back to Bullock’s early days, we see glimpses of a man who believed in upholding the law. While the parallelism was far from subtle, we saw Bullock then behaving as Gordon is now. His drive to stop The Goat came from his failure to stop him before he murdered his latest victim. He’s more optimistic back, while his partner believed that Gotham City had no heroes. It’s interesting to see that Bullock wasn’t always a hardened cop, but I do hope we see more of what led him down this darker path. I can’t imagine him making such a sharp turn after dealing with one particular criminal.

Spirit of the Goat- Bullock's good side, paying for his partner's bill

I did enjoy learning that, despite Bullock’s rough and tough personality, we still see shades of a good man. I did like the scene where Gordon learns that Bullock has been paying for Dix’s care and makes sure that he still gets magazines to read, no matter how dirty. That was a nice moment.

Spirit of the Goat- Dr. Marks despises the rich

But neither The Goat nor Dr. Marks are that interesting, either. We don’t learn much about why The Goat has a ritual setup. Dr. Marks, like The Balloonman and Potolsky, is another person who has it out for Gotham’s one-percent. I think the audience knows at this point that many people in Gotham City do not like the upper class. It would be nice to get some different and more interesting ways to terrorize the city.

Spirit of the Goat- Nygma is not good at talking to women

Or terrorize your coworkers, as Edward Nygma unintentionally does this week. If he’s got the hots for Kringle, he has an awful way of showing affection. And if it’s meant to be awkward, their scenes succeeded on that front. I can’t say I was a fan of Nygma’s interactions with Kringle, but I did appreciate his level of involvement with the actual investigation, as he didn’t just show up to deliver the riddle of the week and flash creepy smiles. Oh, and his coffee mug has a question mark on it. Do you get it?

And speaking of smiles, I guess Gordon and Barbara have reconciled their differences? Yay? It’s strange how we’re to accept this has been handled off-screen when Gordon made it very clear that he would choose his work over Barbara. But at least they don’t appear to fully be back together- just mending broken bridges. It still seems soon, given how Barbara accepted that Gordon would not let her in. This relationship still isn’t all that interesting to me, partially because we haven’t had a chance to learn much about Barbara. If she’s not with Gordon, she’s clashing with Montoya.

Spirit of the Goat- Montoya and Allen literally have nothing else to do

Now here’s my awful transition onto Montoya and Allen. These two must not have much to do since they’ve been on Gordon’s case since and made little progress. You’d think they would be reassigned by now. So they take the word of a homeless man who might not have even been a witness to the murder, accept him identifying Gordon just through a picture- never mind a line-up- don’t ask any follow-up questions, don’t get a more credible witness and in no time at all, they have a warrant? What hell, Gotham City? How long would it take when you get credible testimonies? I chalk this up to lazy writing just to set up Montoya and Allen to arrest Gordon, leading to the ending confrontation.

Spirit of the Goat- Harvey reacts to learning that Oswald is still alive

Actually, on that scene, Bullock seemed to be much more willing to cover Gordon’s back if it meant preserving his reputation as a bad cop, that and he had no idea that Gordon lied about killing Oswald. I loved the buildup to Oswald’s appearance and Bullock’s immediate rage at learning that his partner was still a goody two-shoes.

Spirit of the Goat- Oswald Cobblepot has returned

Oswald himself doesn’t get much to do this week, but it seems like he’s ready to be his own man instead of being Maroni’s flunky. A shame. He just got that promotion, too. But if Oswald hadn’t opened his mouth to Maroni about who he really was and what he knew, he wouldn’t be at this point right now as he prepares to climb the crime mob ladder.

My only complaint: the scenes with Bruce and Alfred weren’t needed. We already know Bruce is still working on his crime web. Sort of a dick move for him to claim there’s no one to take him from, though. And Selina Kyle was just there. Hey, I guess the writers need to still think of things for her to do, but hopefully the item she swiped turns out to be important later.

Spirit of the Goat- Gordon's in trouble

“Spirit of the Goat” was a good episode. It minimized the cast, gave Harvey some well-needed background and had a well-executed stinger with Oswald’s public declaration that he is, in fact, alive. So Gordon didn’t do as the mob or his partner wanted, Montoya and Allen’s witch hunt has ended and there’s still an oncoming war. Gordon may no longer be arrested, but his troubles have just started.

A Look at “The Walking Dead” Season 5, Episode 3: “Four Walls and a Roof”

So Bob did get the last laugh after all. Last week’s “Strangers” introduced us to both Father Gabriel and The Hunters, ripped right from the pages of The Walking Dead comic. The group is split apart for the moment, but no time to relax now that they’re about to have a reunion with their old pals from Terminus.

Four Walls and a Roof- Bob laughs while The Hunters feast on his leg

The episode begins right where we left off with Bob and The Hunters. The continued threat of walkers threatening to break through the glass of the school behind them is enough to make them tense, but at least they have food for the time being. Gareth is ready to head out, but there’s nothing to head back to. He tells Bob of how bears survive: the bigger ones eat their cubs. That way, if they survive, they can just have another cub. Bob, however, finds this entire situation pretty damn hilarious. But he hasn’t lost his mind.

Four Walls and a Roof- Tainted Meat

He’s just been bitten! Oh, the poor bastards are feasting on tainted meat.

Four Walls and a Roof- Rick, Sasha and Tyreese search for Bob

Back at the church, concern grows over the disappearance of Bob, Carol and Daryl. She goes inside and throws the blame on Gabriel. After all, he just showed up- technically, they found him- and now three of their people are missing. Rick asks if he’s working with someone. Also, what’s with the foreboding message of “You’ll Burn for This?”

Gabriel swears that he has no connection with the recent disappearances, but he does reveal something he’s not proud of: since the breakout, he continued to lock the church doors. Yes, this kept him safe inside, but it also kept the congregation goers outside. Night after night they would beg Gabriel for shelter. Even as the dead approached, the people continued to scream and beg for mercy. They damned him all while being consumed by walkers. When the screaming stopped, Gabriel buried them all. Now he feels that these people have come to exact revenge as a punishment from God.

Four Walls and a Roof- Finding Bob

A noise from outside grabs everyone’s attention. They find Bob sprawled out in the grass, but more than that, an “A” has been painted on the congregation wall.

Four Walls and a Roof- Bob tells everyone how The Hunters abducted him

Inside, Bob tells the others about The Hunters feasting on his leg like they were proud of it. No sign of Carol or Daryl, though, but he remembers that The Hunters camp near a school. He also finally reveals his bite mark that he did, indeed, get while at the food bank.

Rick asks Gabriel about the location. The closest would be an elementary school that’s about a 10 minute walk from the church. The others discuss Bob’s condition and how soon it could be until he turns. After all, Jim lasted two days before everyone left him.

Four Walls and a Roof- Argument over leaving for Washington or staying to help fight

But, of course, Abraham wants to just leave for Washington. Now. There’s a threat to Eugene and he needs to be extracted. Rick isn’t about to leave and the two almost come to blows until Glenn intervenes. Everyone needs to stay together, he says, and he suggests that Abraham, Eugene and Rosita remain one more day. Tara even offers to leave with him if they stay and help them fight. No dice. He wants to head out right this second by using the bus they fixed up. Rick isn’t about to let Abraham take the bus, but Abraham challenges Rick to stop him. For a moment, Rick does nothing, but he soon approaches and the two almost clash again. When Glenn stops another fight from breaking out, Abraham eventually agrees to stay and help them fight, but only for 12 hours.

Four Walls and a Roof- Sasha with Bob

Bob attempts to humor Sasha by telling her that getting kicked in the face by Gareth made him forget about the pain in his leg. He didn’t tell her about his bite because he knew that she would focus more on his final moments. Bob wants to focus on the middle.

Four Walls and a Roof- Planning to strike back against The Hunters

The others prepare for their confrontation with The Hunters. Rick wants to make a move before they do. Sasha wants to be a part of the battle, though Tyreese advises her to stay with Bob in his final moments since she won’t get that time back- the same time that Tyreese didn’t get to spend with Karen. Sasha reminds Tyreese of how he reacted when he learned what happened. In spite of that, Tyreese found forgiveness. Sasha is clearly insulted at the idea of forgiving someone for what they did to Bob, but the decision is hers. She hands Tyreese a knife and tells him to put it through his temple when he stops breathing. Yup, that’s it. Not even a final goodbye or anything.

Four Walls and a Roof- The Hunters enter the church

Later, while one group leaves, The Hunters approach the church, which they find almost empty. Gareth isn’t taking any chances, though. He knows who is inside and who left. No need to hide, he says. As The Hunters get close to the altar, they have two choices on which door to enter. They don’t know which one everyone is hiding behind, but they get a pretty good clue when Judith begins to cry.

Four Walls and a Roof- Rick delivers his promise to Gareth

Shots are fired as the other members of the group enter the church. They force The Hunters to their knees. The Hunters are only alive because the others didn’t want to waste the bullets. Gareth is outmatched and knows it, but he tells everyone that Terminus used to be a good place. They used to help people until ‘they’ came in. People like Rick have no idea what it means to be hungry. The Hunters can just walk away, but Rick is certain that The Hunters would just eat anyone else they meet. Plus, he made Gareth a promise, so everyone goes to town on The Hunters. Well, that was painfully short.

Four Walls and a Roof- Saying goodbye to Bob

Everyone says their goodbyes to Bob, though he asks Rick to remain for a moment so he can thank him. Before the prison, Bob didn’t know if there were any good people left in the world. But Rick took him in.

Sasha then enters and asks why Bob is smiling. He just had a quick dream where she smiled back at him. All of a sudden, he goes silent. She removes her blade, but Tyreese enters and demands she hand over the knife. She does and then leaves so Tyreese can do the deed himself.

Four Walls and a Roof- Abraham gives Rick a map with the route to Washington

Abraham hands Rick a map of the route to D.C. that they’ll be taking. They’ll stick to it as long as they can. If not, Rick at least has their destination. So after the groups split up again, Rick finds that Abraham has written a note on the map, telling him that the world needs more Rick Grimes’. He then goes to help Tyreese with digging holes.

Four Walls and a Roof- Michonne and Gabriel talk about hearing voices

That night, Michonne sits alone on the church steps until Gabriel joins her. He’s still hearing the voices of the congregation. The voices won’t stop, Michonne says, but they won’t be calling for him all the time. She hears a noise and heads out to investigate.

Four Walls and a Roof- Daryl returns

Luckily, it’s Daryl. When asked about Carol’s whereabouts, Daryl just motions for the person behind him to come on out.

So after all the talk of not splitting up, the group is even more divided than they were last week. I can’t say I was disappointed in this episode, but I will say I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. Maybe that’s because I had such expectations based on last week’s episode.

Four Walls and a Roof- The Hunters wonder why Bob is laughing

I did not expect The Hunters to be dispatched of so quickly. It doesn’t help that the Terminus folks aren’t all that competent. I wonder how they managed to round up as many victims as they did back at Terminus. But after last week’s episode officially introduced us to this group as The Hunters, I thought they would be around for at least another full episode or two. They make rookie mistakes like sending their entire group to the church all at once. If Rick’s group has one advantage from being so big, it’s that they can divide tasks and people while still making sure each batch of people has muscle. Not so with The Hunters. At least, these versions of them. They’re small, disorganized and live to feast. Had they not even had a vendetta against Rick and company, chances are they would still be alive.

The Walking Dead #65- How to deal with The Hunters

Look, I know that the “Fear the Hunters” arc in the comic book wasn’t long, but we at least got to learn more about them and what they did to survive. Here, it’s all told through Gareth’s perspective for the sake of just explaining how they became hunters. In the comics, we learned what these people went through, who they ate and how they did feel some level of remorse. They also seemed a tad bit smarter. In the comics, Dale is left out as bait while The Hunters watch from the woods. The same could apply here since Gareth did know who was and wasn’t at the church, but I just find the television version of The Hunters to be less cunning or ruthless as their comic book counterparts. Plus, given how we got brief flashbacks of them being imprisoned, coupled with Gareth’s speech about what they must do to survive, I figured they would stick around for longer than they did.

The Walking Dead #66- Andrea, Rick, Abraham, Michonne and Gabriel after disposing of The Hunters

I was also surprised at how they were killed. In the comic, Rick threatens to eat them. Of course, he doesn’t, but The Hunters are still butchered and burned. The bludgeoning is still cool to see, but not as visceral as I would have liked.

Four Walls and a Roof- Abraham dares Rick to try and stop him from leaving

The Hunters aside, I did enjoy a lot of the group interactions this week. We got a taste of Rick and Abraham’s warring relationship, which was very prominent in the comics since Abraham pretty much served as the second-in-command. He’s still new to the group, but is under no obligation to remain. His priority is still getting Eugene to Washington, so he feels no need to fall in line with Rick’s orders, the way most of the group does. And when Glenn told Rick that choosing who gets to leave isn’t Rick’s call to make, you see that not everyone feels that Rick always makes the best choices. Rick is used to people challenging his decisions, yes, but I doubt he’s used to being dared to fight another person’s decision. The standoff between the two was well done.

Four Walls and a Roof- Gabriel reveals that he always locked the doors and kept his congregation out

Speaking of tense moments, I also loved Seth Gilliam’s performance when he confesses to letting his congregation die while he listened to them condemn him to damnation. Gabriel is a man with a lot of inner demons that eat away at him. He tries to hold onto his faith, but his resolve isn’t as strong as it once used to be. We watched him unravel as he let go of the guilt he’d been holding onto and it was a great scene to watch. I do wish the writers found a better way for Maggie to say the episode’s title, though. I hate when television shows do that.

With Bob gone, we’re one character short, but at least he got to go out peacefully. Ever the optimist and even when facing death, Bob managed to make the most out of a horrible situation. Not everyone can be an optimist during a zombie apocalypse. But with Gabriel on the scene, that’s probably one Negro character too many, if the past is any indication. Seriously, The Walking Dead, it’s all right to let a few live at a time. Plus, Bob did get to say the “Tainted meat” line, which just made me smile.

Four Walls and a Roof- Rick speaks with Gareth

My favorite sequence in the episode had to be The Hunters entering the church. It was well-paced, Gareth said just the right things to get under your skin and it had a great payoff when Rick and company revealed themselves. I did notice a slight nod to the comic books during this scene. Gareth’s finger is shot off, the same way one of The Hunters loses their finger when Rick reveals he did not come to confront them alone and has Andrea shoot off his finger from a distance. Again, I’m disappointed that The Hunters are already gone, given that we just got to know them as this group at the end of the previous episode, but now the door is open to find out what happened with Daryl and Carol in their search for Beth.

So The Hunters are through, Bob is gone and the group is divided once again. There was a lot of tension throughout this episode as the group tried to determine their next and hopefully best move. Again, while I like the action sequences and walker killing moments, The Walking Dead can be just as strong during character interactions where people are just talking about their situations. With the group’s resident optimism now dead, spirits won’t be as occasionally high as they were before. Despite being separated, I’m certain that everyone will find their way back to each other soon. For now, though, we’re left to find out next week just what in the world happened to Beth.

A Look at “Whiplash”

Whiplash- Poster

I hope that all aspiring musicians don’t go through this sort of treatment. But then, if they did, the quality of music would probably increase, if this movie is any indication. Whiplash is a strong film about an aspiring musician who strives for greatness. He’s pitted against a well known instructor that doesn’t give you a gold star or smiley face just because you performed the way he wanted you to. He doesn’t applaud because you did a good job. He will break you, but the question is whether you walk away or dust yourself off and keep on trying. This is Whiplash.

Whiplash- Andrew plays, but realizes he's being watched

The film begins with a slow pan down an empty hallway as we watch a young man play away on a drum set. This young man is Andrew, played by Miles Teller, and he continues to practice until he stops. He looks up and notices that he is being watched.

Standing across from Andrew is Terrence Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons. Rather than be impressed, Fletcher asks why Andrew stopped playing. Miles responds by playing some more, but Fletcher asked him a question, not to respond like a wind-up monkey. Fletcher then tells Andrew to play in double time, and Andrew does, but when he looks up, Fletcher is long gone.

Andrew is a first year student at the Shaffer Conservatory of Music. When he’s not trying to be the next Charlie Parker, Andrew spends his time at the cinema with his father, Jim, played by Paul Reiser, and eats around the raisinettes that he intentionally puts in their tub of popcorn. Andrew mentions to his father that Fletcher saw him. While Jim is supportive, he lets his son know that he still has options.

The next day, Andrew goes through the motions of his practice session with one group. He comes off as a loner, to be honest. When he leaves the classroom, he walks past another where he sees Fletcher directing a band.

Later that day, Andrew practices and pushes himself as far as he feels he can go. That ends up paying off the next day when Fletcher enters the class Andrew attends. Despite the instructor being there, Fletcher takes over. Well, there’s something I haven’t seen before. Fletcher tests various members of the band and correctly that the female first chair is only in the seat because of her looks. He works his way to the two drummers and is so impressed with what he hears that he tells the drummer, being Andrew, to follow him. First practice is in Room B16 at 6 a.m.

With a sudden rush of confidence, Andrew heads back to the cinema and asks out an employee he’s seen many times: Nicole, played by Melissa Benoist.

But when Andrew wakes up the next morning, he sees that his clock reads 6:03 a.m. He rushes to the classroom as fast as his legs will take him. He arrives at the classroom and finds it empty. In fact, he checks the schedule and soon learns that rehearsals don’t begin until 9 a.m. Well, at least he’s early. As the clock approaches nine, students file in and prepare themselves. Andrew, as the new drum alternate, is only there now to turn the pages for the core drummer.

Fletcher enters and the room hushes. Here, we see just how much of a presence Fletcher holds when he walks in and, without saying a word, has the band start and stop on command. They’re to practice a piece called “Whiplash.” But when the band begins, Fletcher stops the session. Someone is out of tune. No one rushes to identify themselves, though, so it’s up to Fletcher to go, one-by-one, and find out who is deliberately trying to sabotage his performance.

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He works his way to one particular student and fingers him as the culprit. When asked if he thinks he was out of tune, the student responds that he believes so, prompting Fletcher to yell at him for not saying so earlier. The student leaves. Only after this do we learn that the student Fletcher dismissed was not out of tune. The real culprit remains, but the difference is that the student who was out of tune knew he was, but didn’t say anything. The student dismissed didn’t know.

Fletcher speaks to Andrew in private to learn more about the new student. Andrew’s father is a less than successful writer and currently works as a high school teacher. His mom? She left. There’s not a single musician in Andrew’s family, but Andrew still loves to play and listen. So then, Fletcher advises Andrew to just relax and not focus on everyone else in the room. After all, Andrew is there for a reason, so he should have fun.

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Words cannot describe how tense folks in the cinema were as we watched the following scene play out. So it’s Andrew’s turn to show Fletcher what he’s capable of. He starts to drum a bit, but Fletcher immediately stops him. Not his tempo. All right, no problem. Andrew’s just getting used to the new environment and he’ll need to adjust. Easy. He tries again, but Fletcher stops him. This time, he says that Andrew is rushing. Again. Stop. Andrew is dragging.

The game of stop and go continues until Fletcher eventually hurls a chair right at Andrew! Andrew does dodge the chair, but he can’t get away when Fletcher gets right in his face and asks him one simple question: is he rushing or dragging? He then slaps Andrew hard and several times. Oh, but Fletcher isn’t done yet. He throws Andrew’s family history right back at him while berating his ability to play. Andrew sheds a tear, which doesn’t do him any more favors. Fletcher pounces, telling Andre w to say over and over each time that he’s upset.

Let’s take a minute to exhale.

Following this tense exchange, Andrew ignores a phone call from his father. Instead, he prints the composition to “Whiplash” and practices it so much that his palms bleed.

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Andrew gets a bit of rest on his date with Nicole, but he’s more focused on the music playing in the background than the woman in front of him. He eventually opens up, as we learn that he has trouble making eye contact. Nicole’s story? She currently attends Fordham University, but doesn’t know her major yet. That and she occasionally gets homesick. Andrew is at Shaffer because he believes it’s the best musical school in the country.

The time has arrived for a competition: the Overbrook Jazz Competition, to be specific. As the band prepares, the main drummer hands Andrew his folder to hold for a moment. So what does Andrew do? He sets the folder down for a few seconds to get a soda. In the span of a few seconds, the folder is now gone. The main drummer rages at Andrew to find it, but there’s no time. Andrew and the main drummer make their way toward Fletcher and the rest of the band. Even though the folder is missing, Fletcher blames the main drummer for even handing over the folder in the first place. There is a silver lining: Andrew offers to play because he knows the composition by heart. He proves this by practicing the composition. Then and there, Andrew is bumped up to the main seat. Come next practice after the competition, Andrew is Fletcher’s core drummer.

So, looks like smooth sailing for Andrew. Maybe. We’ll hold it there.

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Whiplash is one of the more visceral films I have seen this year, and much of that comes not just from the performances, but Damien Chazelle’s direction and writing that do a good job of building tension and giving us effective payoffs. I love the way the film is shot, and that’s a combination of effort from Chazelle, as well as cinematographer Sharone Meir and editor Tom Cross. We’re put right next to these aspiring musicians and watch their every move. There are a lot of close-up shots of fingers working their way along instruments the way they would caress a lover’s arm. We actually witness blood, sweat and tears stain musical instruments not for show, but because of the endless drive to push beyond limitation. And, of course, the soundtrack is very catchy and had me tapping my feet at times. I got a very big Cowboy Bebop vibe at times when listening to the music.

Whiplash- Blood on the drums

And therein lies one of the central messages of the film and one that I’m certain can lead to great conversation. At one point in the film, Fletcher tells Andrew that there are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job.’ Not everyone is a winner, contrary to what you’d find with teachers telling students that everyone is a winner and that there are no losers. People are too protected and coddled from failure because we want to believe that we are invincible. Fletcher looks for potential and has no regrets about his methods because his desire is to bring out the next Louis Armstrong or Charlie Parker. That won’t be achieved if every student who screws up just gets a pass and is told that they did a good job. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom in order to realize that the journey up is longer and harder than we thought.  If you draw blood on the way, the journey is still worth it.

Whiplash- Fletcher hovers over Andrew

Do the ends justify the means? I doubt someone like Fletcher could exist in real life and get away with what he does to these students. We know that he’s been working with students for years and only get a few instances of his work with musicians before he picked up Andrew. What the film asks us is do we believe there is a limit to our ability? In Fletcher’s mind, the answer is no. The movie pushes students beyond their physical and mental capability in the name of producing great music. Yes, there’s something to be said for an instructor who berates his students and makes three prospective drummers perform well late into the night until long after their palms bleed, but if they had all been told that they did a good job, the music might not be the caliber Fletcher wants.

Similar to Begin Again earlier this year, there’s a lot of commentary on the state of music, but specifically jazz. Fletcher derides the jazz he hears in a Starbucks and says that the genre itself is dying. The next Charlie Parker may not come around because society just accepts what an artist churns out as good. For masters of the craft, like Fletcher, good isn’t good enough. And not only must it be the best, but the performer must know and believe it’s the best.

This is not a film where the student and mentor bond over time and become so close that they can always swing by the nearby bar and grab a beer. It’s the opposite. Fletcher is a mentor, not a friend. So this is a pretty interesting change of pace from what we’d expect from a student-teacher relationship. It’s more Full Metal Jacket than Freedom Writers. Though I find Fletcher’s methods to be a bit unorthodox, I do agree his reasoning, particularly given his distaste for modern jazz. But I’ll get more into that when discussing Fletcher himself.

Whiplash- Nicole with Andrew

The film also looks at indecisiveness versus devotion, and this comes through mostly in Andrew’s conversations with Nicole. Like a lot of college students, Nicole doesn’t know what she wants in life. That could be one of the reasons why she has not yet declared a major. Right now, she’s just going through the motions of life. The same can be said for Andrew’s father, who had aspirations, but failed as a writer, so now he sticks to teaching instead. Andrew, however, knows exactly what he wants: one of the greats.

Whiplash- Andrew destroys drum

Miles Teller has determination written on his face whenever he steps up to a drum set and he turns in an excellent performance. Andrew literally goes through hell not just to please Fletcher, but to prove that he’s capable of becoming one of the greatest players around. I won’t describe what he goes through later on in the film, but Andrew is willing to put so much on the line at the expense of his body, even in extreme circumstances, that you wonder if he’s lost sense of himself. His answer would be no. He’s thinking just fine- he’s just not about to let anything or anyone- no matter how close they are to him- distract him from music. His quest for perfection comes at the expense of having what many would consider a normal life.

There’s a great dinner scene in the film where two of Andrew’s relatives are engaged in activities as Model U.N. and football. Andrew derides them, claiming that he is much better at his hobby than they are. Sure, we never see the cousins engage, but given Andrew’s ability on the drums, he’s not too far off. He comes off as arrogant and cocky, but he knows that he’s got what it takes to be an amazing player. He wants to be a success and not like his father, who would be the one to tell Andrew “Good job,” no matter how his son performed. For the sake of bettering himself, Andrew pushes away the people who love him. He’s not doing it out of spite. He just would rather spend his time immersed with his drums. His ego runs wild sometimes and he needs to be brought back to Earth.

Whiplash- Terrence Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons, watches Andrew play

And this is where Fletcher comes in. The man commands respect and carries great authority. He knows music and knows what sounds good. If you don’t, he will shine the greatest spotlight on you and point out your greatest insecurity for everyone to see. Crying won’t save you from him. His insults are just the icing on the cake. During one session, he tells one flute player to not act like a flute is his boyfriend’s dick and that he shouldn’t come so early. He has a tender moment where he speaks to a friend’s daughter and gives her a high-five. Before Andrew first performs for him, Fletcher has real warmth in his voice when he advises Andrew to not worry.

That’s how he gets you: Fletcher lulls you into a false sense of security before trapping you. The very room where the band auditions is almost like a cave. The moment the monster enters, those already inside can only cower and pray that Fletcher doesn’t make eye contact with them. And when you may be on the verge of turning in a great performance, Fletcher doesn’t smile and give you a pat on the back. There’s a great scene where he’s pushing Andrew further and further, but he does things like play other instruments while Andrew is drumming. All of this is done so Andrew stays focus, but also to see if he will break. When Fletcher finds your weakness, you are done. Coddling is not in his list of duties.

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And my goodness does J.K. Simmons just shine in this role. It’s scary how great of a performance he gave. It’s easily one of my favorite performances from an actor this year. He commands every scene he’s in and I relish every confrontation between Fletcher and Andrew, as Simmons and Teller work well off of each other. For every time that Andrew tries to push back against the abuse, Fletcher doesn’t give him a chance. Fletcher mostly dresses in all black and rarely cracks a smile. When he commands the band to stop playing, they will stop. Simmons is already a great actor, but this role just adds another great job for an already stellar actor. It makes me wonder what kind of insults Peter Parker would have to endure of J. Jonah Jameson really decided to let loose on him. Simmons has moments where he’s calmer, but he also has such energy for the majority of the film and, for my money, he’s the most memorable part of the movie.

Again, Fletcher doesn’t act this way just because he can. He truly believes that talent comes from pushing students beyond their limits. He sees it as a necessity. The next Charlie Parker probably won’t become the next Charlie Parker if he’s not taken beyond his breaking point to awaken his true potential.

Whiplash is a very gripping film. It questions whether we endure cruelty and abuse for the sake of unlocking great talent. And is it really abuse, or a necessity? Should we intentionally push ourselves, at the risk of extreme harm, if we can somehow get closer to that talent we crave? This is a fantastic piece of cinema that hits all of the right points, has great music and direction and is not your conventional student-teacher film. It also has one of the best finishes in a film that I’ve seen recently. Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons both deliver stellar, top-quality performances that I hope earn them some form of recognition- at the very least, nominations, as they are both on their A-game throughout the entire film. It’s a hard movie to sit through at times and I’ll tell you now that this movie isn’t for everyone. For me, it’s one I would watch over and over again and I highly recommend Whiplash.

A Look at “Gotham” Season 1, Episode 5: “Viper”

This guy’s drug has got nothing on The Count’s vertigo. In “Viper,” the citizens of Gotham are none the wiser when they’re randomly given a substance from a man they’ve never met and soon realize that they should have more milk. Whoops.

Viper- Alfred watches Bruce construct a crime web about the mob and the Waynes

The episode begins with Bruce taking up a new hobby: creating a crime web. He’s still looking for a connection, though Alfred finds the effort pointless since it won’t help Bruce get his revenge. Bruce insists that he just wants to know how Gotham works. How would the likes of Falcone and Maroni get such big shares in the Arkham deal? If that were the case, Bruce feels that Wayne Enterprises should have done something about it. At the very least, Bruce’s new hobby doesn’t involve burning himself.

Viper- Maroni wants to rob Falcone's casino

Maroni isn’t pleased with Frankie’s efforts at attempting to rob a casino in Falcone’s territory. Now that Maroni has a piece of Arkham, a casino should be easy, but it’s not. The point is just to get under Falcone’s skin by hitting him where it hurts.

Viper- Giving is good

We then get a bit of honesty in the form of a man playing a guitar. His sign reads “Why lie- I need money for drugs.” It’s always nice when Gotham City can have even the slightest bit of honesty, you know?

Observing him is another man whose name will become important later. He drops a vial into the man’s guitar case and heads on his merry way.

Viper- Bat is no match for the viper

The man breathes in the vial and makes his way to a convenience store. Inside, he downs a carton of milk like it’s the first thing he’s had to drink in years. The owner doesn’t take too kindly to this, but his bat is useless against the intruder.

Viper- Bullock introduces Gordon to the best burgers in Gotham

Bullock attempts to introduce Gordon to the best burgers in Midtown, but Gordon suddenly sets his sights on a rather pointless appearance by Selina Kyle, as she makes off with a man’s wallet. When Selina makes her quick exit, Gordon and Bullock conveniently hear the alarm going off from a nearby convenience store. All right, why was Selina trying to be stealthy in broad daylight?

Viper- Owner tells Bullock and Gordon about the man on the drug

Whatever. The store is now in ruin, but the owner soon emerges from his spot. He explains to the officers that his ATM was stolen, but it sounds unlikely that one man could escape a store with an ATM, but without the use of a getaway vehicle.

Viper- Fish isn't Liza's mother

Fish’s new…er, fish, Liza, played by Makenzie Leigh, isn’t a fan of Fish’s taste in music. She wants some excitement in her life. Patience, Fish says, as Liza is Fish’s secret weapon.

Viper- Bullock and Gordon report to Captain Essen about the drug

Gordon, Bullock and Captain Essen watch the surveillance footage in amazement at this unknown man lifting an entire ATM with his bare hands. The two detectives found the vial in the man’s guitar case and it does contain traces of a drug. Nygma will have a read tomorrow. Meanwhile, the two plan to head out so they can ID the man.

Viper- Falcone assembles his Mobsters of Doom, Nikolai speaks his mind

Falcone assembles his Legion of Doom- I mean, Mobsters of Doom- I mean, Mob Squad. He tells them that they didn’t lose, but Maroni didn’t win either. The Arkham project was a business decision. One mobster in particular, Nikolai, played by Jeremy Davidson, calls for pushing back against Maroni, but Falcone won’t have that. Neither will Fish, as s he and Nikolai have a spat, though it’s soon ended by Falcone.

Viper- Woman recognizes Benny from photo

And then Gordon and Bullock engage in what’s got to be some of the worst detective work shown so far: they take a photo of the man and literally go asking people on the street if they recognize him. Aren’t there more officers on the force than these two? Can’t they put out an all points bulletin? Release the man’s photo to the press? All right, whatever. One woman identifies the man as Benny and she’ll give up his location…for the nominal sum of $20. She’ll have to settle for $10. Bullock and Gordon’s cover story is that Benny came into an inheritance. Why the police would want to speak with him about that, I don’t know.

Viper- Bullock and Gordon confront Benny

Gordon and Bullock head to the location, which is littered with empty milk cartons and other dairy products. They soon find Benny, but he looks worse than before. His body hurts and he needs more. He tells the officers that he received the drug from a man with a mangled ear. When Bullock goes to arrest Benny, he’s overpowered. But the second Benny lifts the ATM, his bones collapse within and he’s soon crushed.

Viper- Handing out drugs like candy

That night, the mystery dealer literally hands the drug out to anyone he can see, including the woman from before. And the people just accept it! What’s incognito?

Viper- Alfred wakes up Bruce and informs him about the Wayne Enterprises luncheon

Bats are nocturnal, and so is Bruce Wayne. Not for long, as Alfred soon wakes him up to inform him about an upcoming charitable luncheon hosted by Wayne Enterprises. Bruce accepts the invite. He’s got some questions for the board about the Arkham project. If there’s a chance mobsters received shares from the Wayne Foundation, there’s the possibility that Bruce’s parents were involved, but he can’t think that they would do that. Alfred applauds Bruce’s detective work, but keeps his promise to not chuck all of the paperwork into the fire.

Bruce then watches a breaking news report on the “Viper” drug that has struck Gotham. It gives users a euphoric sense of a power for a few hours until they then die a horrible death.

Viper- Nygma explains Viper to Bullock, Gordon and Captain Essen

And users are having a field day at GCPD. Nygma makes his way to Essen, Bullock and Gordon to give his analysis: the Viper drug activates unused DNA. The body burns calcium from the skeletal system as fuel, leaving the body craving for dairy products to replace the missing calcium. The body cannot keep up, however, so the bones crumble while the person suffocates and dies. Nothing like this has ever been seen before, which would explain Nygma’s excitement.

Captain Essen believes that since there haven’t been any new reports in a few hours, it’s possible the drug has been exhausted to its limit. The problem is the dealer isn’t even dealing- he’s just giving the problem away. Bullock is fine with letting the worst of Gotham’s criminal element fight it out. The Captain isn’t sitting with that. This is also no easy drug to make. According to Nygma, it could only be done in a state of the art laboratory. The best of the best is WellZyn, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises. Essen can’t possibly see them being behind this.

Oh, and an officer comes crashing through the window just in time for the prostitute from before to crumble and die. Fascinating.

Viper- Oswald tells Maroni about a janitor he knows at Falcone's casino

Maroni watches the news about the drug. He still wants to hit Falcone’s casino, though Frankie still believes they could lose a few men. Oswald overhears this and Maroni calls him over. When asked about his name, Oswald says that everyone there calls him “Penguin.” Really? When? When did that ever happen? Oswald knows a janitor who runs the boiler room and says that Maroni’s men could get access to tunnels that few know about. The janitor just needs proper persuasion. Maroni likes this Oswald kid. He’s humble, but has some player in him. Feeling honest, Oswald tells his story about once working for Fish, being privy to details of the Falcone Family business and almost getting killed. It sounds funny until Maroni slams his head against the table.

Viper- Taylor Reece, played by Margaret Colin, discusses Stan Potolsky

Back at GCPD, the officers get a visit from Taylor Reece, played by Margaret Colin. Reece works public relations for WellZyn and wants to help. When asked about the man with the ear, she confirms it is indeed a former employee and current drug handler: Stan Potolsky, played by Daniel London. Potolsky worked as a biochemist for several years, but became frustrated that he didn’t get to do more important work. He resisted any sort of help. There was also an incident last April that involved him cutting off his own ear after getting into an argument with a supervisor. The attempt was not very successful. After Potolsky had been terminated, he didn’t even bother clearing his desk. He just vanished off of the grid. Gordon thinks that Reece is in on it, given how quickly she came to GCPD, but she denies it. Plus, Potolsky is a smart enough man that he can make his own lab if he wanted to.

Gordon wants to comb the city for Potolsky, but Bullock has a better idea: all points bulletin. Now why didn’t they do that the first ti-oh, forget it.

Frankie approaches Gordon about their mutual friend, Oswald Cobblepot. And if Gordon doesn’t come along, Oswald’s head will be sent in a bag to Falcone. As the two leave, Gordon goes through what must be the calmest kidnapping I have ever seen.

Viper- Gordon awakens before Sal Maroni and his mobsters

He awakens before Maroni and a bloody Oswald. Maroni has just heard the most amazing story and wants to hear Gordon tell the exact same tale as Penguin. If they match up, Maroni is a happy man. If not, someone is lying and that someone will die. Gordon sings like a canary and discusses the Wayne murders and his role as a pawn in a conspiracy. If Falcone, the MCU or GCPD even knew that Oswald lived, chances are Gordon would already be dead. Maroni is pleased. Most cops would freak out, but now Maroni is happy that he has a weapon to use against Falcone. He’ll keep quiet about this, but if he needs Gordon, he will call him.

Viper- Gordon returns to find a box of Potolsky's stuff on the desk

When Gordon returns, he finds Bullock going through a box of items that belonged to Potolsky. Obviously Bullock didn’t do a very good job, as the first photo Gordon plucks out leads them to a professor at Gotham University.

Viper- Potolsky's professor talks about the drug

This professor knew Stan as a student and the two kept in touch. Stan’s’ research led him to dark moral corners. He’d been designing pharmaceutical weapons to be used by combat troops. Viper was just the first batch. “Venom” took its place. Potolsky appealed to his bosses to end the program, but no dice, so he went to Thomas and Martha Wayne. WellZyn eventually revived the program after it had been shut down.

Gordon can’t help but notice the professor’s lack of moral outrage over a formal student committing murder, but it’s because he planned this with Stan, who soon plans to deliver a statement. Bullock goes to arrest him, but is again overpowered until Gordon downs him with two shots. As the professor dies, he vows that Wayne Enterprises must pay and speaks of altruism. When Bullock asks what altruism is, Gordon responds with “charity.” Hey, wait a second!

Viper- Alfred and Bruce arrive at the Wayne Foundation luncheon

Yep, Gordon figures it must refer to the same luncheon the Wayne Foundation that Bruce and Alfred are currently attending. As Stan heads up to the roof to put his plan into action, Bruce meets with Ms. Molly Mathis, played by Sharon Washington, who was close with Thomas Wayne. Sounds good, but Mathis herself is not a board member. In fact, no board members are in attendance because they’re much busier. Middle management like Mathis attends in their place. Bruce brings up the irregularities he’s found in the Arkham project and still wants to speak with the board.

Stan appears on the monitor and admits to making drugs for WellZyn. Bullock rushes in and clears the room just as gas begins to filter in through the vents.

Viper- Gordon confronts Potolsky

On the roof, Gordon confronts Potolsky, who has already accepted his fate. Before jumping to his death, he tells Gordon to look at Warehouse #39.

Viper- Bullock and Gordon investigate Warehouse #39

So Gordon and Bullock do just that, but find nothing. However, they are not alone…

Viper- Oswald is good to his word

Oswald Cobblepot, true to his word, sits with Frankie and Maroni just as Maroni’s men emerge from the casino for a very successful heist.

Viper- Nikolai and Fish plot to take down Falcone

Oh, Fish and Nikolai plot to take down Falcone.

Viper- Falcone and Liza listen to music

Speaking of Falcone, Liza reminds him of his mother.

Similar to The Balloonman, Potolsky is someone who wants to put a spotlight on Gotham’s elite class and show how corrupt they really are. But he preys on the common folk when he hands out the viper drug like candy. They seem to have a more physical impact on the body compared to The Count’s Vertigo drug on Arrow, but I digress.

Viper- Bruce looks through files

I think using Wayne Enterprises  as something potentially sinister is a good idea. So now Bruce does have a reason to be as involved as he is this week. That’s fine with me, as he would want to get to the bottom of any irregularity that could involve his parents. It would certainly make him more committed to doing the right thing as opposed to the show giving us blatant symbols of him being inspired to become a vigilante. Plus I did appreciate the final moment where Alfred decides to help him with the investigation.

Viper- Fish and Nikolai

If there’s one thing I liked about this episode, it’s watching the growing division between Falcone and Fish as she tries to screw him over. I found her little spat with Nikolai odd since it seemed like they’d been warring for a long time, but this was our first time meeting Nikolai. Not until the end did we see that it was all an act. Between this and using Liza, Fish is playing as many hands as she can when going after Falcone.

Viper- Oswald cleans glasses

At least she’s a bit more subtle in her approach this week, unlike Cobblepot, who learns the hard way that honesty is not always the best policy. His honesty toward Maroni not only earns him some abuse, but he’s now dragged Gordon into Maroni’s circle of weapons to use against Falcone. Oswald tries to be cunning and work his way in. After all, he just got a promotion, so it makes sense that he’d want to work his way up the ladder if he feels he’s on Maroni’s good side. But saying too much put him in danger. Had Gordon told a different tale, Oswald might have found himself in the water again.

Viper- Gordon tells Bullock about altruism and charity

And speaking of Gordon, I’m still not a fan of his convenient hunches. I mean, describing altruism with the word “charity” and then figuring out that Potolsky would be at the Wayne Foundation charity? What are the odds of that? How would Gordon even know about the charity in the first place? It’s not like he had any time to breathe in between the case and getting held up by Maroni in, again, one of the calmest kidnappings I have ever seen. I’m curious as to how no other officers or even bystanders reported a missing detective.   But then, this is Gotham City. Maybe Gordon going missing was a blessing in disguise to the GCPD.

Viper- Gordon finds a photo of Potolsky

Then there’s the box of Potolsky’s stuff. The very first item that Gordon finds is a photo of Potolsky with some random person. And Gordon happens to take a good look and figures that it must be a professor, just based on the book shelf? And more than that, Bullock had that box in front of him the entire time Gordon had gone missing. Are we to believe he never even looked through it?

Their detective work wasn’t all that great, either. They actually just go asking random people on the street if they’ve seen the guy. Aren’t there other officers on the force who could help them with this? And later on in the very same episode, Gordon wants to look for Potolsky on foot, but Bullock suggests putting out an APB. Why didn’t they just do that the first time?

Viper- Selina Kyle's random appearance

Selina Kyle’s appearance was pointless this week. She seemed to pop up just to remind us that she was still out there when we’re plenty aware of that. And Gordon yelling out to her with burger in his mouth wasn’t a good way to make sure she stopped.

So not a bad episode, but not great. Again, the idea of making Wayne Enterprises more sinister than we’d believe is a good way to keep Bruce and Alfred involved behind the scenes as they try to uncover how and why the mob may have been in cahoots with the organization. Fish and Maroni simultaneously trying to take out Falcone is building to looks to be an intense mob war. GCPD needs to start utilizing more than just Bullock and Gordon, though, because they aren’t all that good at their jobs. They just happen to get very lucky. Or poor writing. One of the two.

A Look at “The Walking Dead” Season 5, Episode 2: “Strangers”

Everyone’s back together, so that means tons of walking around and looking for nothing, right? Not quite. After last week’s fast paced action, we slow things down with “Strangers.” The group has beaten one nightmare, but now they’ve got to deal with multiple situations on multiple fronts.

Strangers- Tara and Rick pound it out

The episode begins with everyone regrouping before getting ready to head out. Rick lets Tara know that he’s aware of her saving Glenn’s life, after he saved hers. That’s just the way it works with Rick and pals. Oh, and Tara wants to pound it out. Why? I have no idea. The plan is to head out at sun-up.

Strangers- Carol and Tyreese talk

Tyreese asks Carol if she talked to Rick more about what she did at the prison. She hasn’t, and Tyreese feels that she should since the others will accept her for what she did. Carol feels that they don’t have to, though. What Tyreese isn’t ready to discuss is Lizzie and Mika. That, he’d rather forget. Well, all right, I guess. Later that evening, Rick does admit that he owes Carol everything. I guess Karen and David are behind them for now.

Strangers- Daryl talks with Carol

Then it’s Daryl’s turn to talk to Carol. In fact, he does most of the talking since Carol doesn’t want to talk about what happened. She can’t. Not just yet. She just needs to forget.

Later on, Daryl returns to the group with food in tow, but he can’t shake the feeling that someone may be watching them. Everyone will keep moving forward until they find a vehicle to commandeer. But the sound of a man’s scream grabs their attention. They eventually head to his aide.

Strangers- The group rescues, and then questions, Father Gabriel Stokes, played by Seth Gilliam

We cut to a Negro preacher atop a rock as he tries to fend off some walkers. Rick and pals arrive and make quick work of the roamers before bringing down the preacher. This is Father Gabriel Stokes, played by Seth Gilliam. Rick immediately begins questioning the man: does he have any weapons? How many people has he killed? How many walkers has he killed? But, Gabriel says, the good Lord abhors violence and he apologizes for his sins every day. Though Rick still has his suspicious, Gabriel takes the group to his church.

Strangers- Group emerges after checking church

They arrive and check inside, but find little out of the ordinary. Abraham found a short bus around back that doesn’t work, but could still be fixed. Supplies are necessary, but Rick isn’t about to split everyone up, and the others follows in line behind him.

Strangers- Gabriel tells Rick how he survived for so long

Back to being questioned, Gabriel tells Rick that his supply of can foods came from a local can food drive. When he ran low, he began scavenging at most nearby locations except for one that has been overrun by roamers. Gabriel offers to draw up a map, but Rick forces him to come along.

Strangers- Rick tells Carl that he doesn't trust Gabriel and asks why Carl does

Rick then speaks to Carl alone. If it wasn’t obvious already, Rick doesn’t trust Gabriel. But then again, Rick doesn’t trust a lot of people. He wants Carl to stay on his guard, but Carl doesn’t think that every single person they run into is going to turn out bad. They don’t have to be afraid or hide. More than that, they can still help people in need. Regardless, Rick advises his son to stay alert, protect Judith and- this is important- keep in mind that he is not safe, no matter how clear things may appear to be.

Strangers- Bob is optimistic, Gabriel leads group to food bank

So Gabriel leads the group of Rick, Bob, Sasha and Michonne to the food bank. Bob is optimistic that Abraham’s plan to get to Washington will pay off and the world will return to the way it was. They may be living in a nightmare, but nightmares end. Rick is more cynical, accepting that the world around them is their reality. He also hasn’t decided on whether to go along with Abraham’s proposal yet.

Strangers- Daryl and Carol find abandoned car

Daryl again tries to pry Carol open, but she’s still not looking to talk. Daryl tells her that everyone can start over. After all, she saved their lives, but Carol tells him that she just got lucky. As the two check their surroundings, they spot an empty car and decide to leave it alone for backup. For now.

Strangers- Glenn found some silencers

Glenn, Tara and Maggie do their own exploring. After tripping over some boxes and a mop, Glenn manages to find some silencers in a mini-fridge. That’s one way to hide them, I suppose. Why didn’t they take the mini-fridge? Surely it couldn’t be that heavy.

Strangers- Rick and company find the food bank and walkers

Gabriel and company arrive at the food bank and find a swarm of walkers wading around in water. Surrounding them are shelves filled with canned goods. Probably not good canned goods, but they’ll take what they can get. There are holes in the ceiling as well, meaning water has been leaking in for quite a long time.

Strangers- Group uses shelves to block walkers

They wade in and use shelves to block the walkers while grabbing supplies. One particular walker spooks Gabriel to the point where he backs up against a wall. Bob is dragged underwater by one walker, but Sasha quickly kills it.

As they head back, we learn from a quick talk between Rick and Michonne that she never even owned her former sword. She just found it and got plenty of practice when it was just her and the walkers. She still misses Andrea and Hershel, though.

Strangers- Carl observes markings on the walls of Gabriel's church

Back at the church, Rick finds Carl observing scratch marks and cuts on the walls, as if someone was desperately trying to get in. Oh, and a not so cryptic message of “You’ll Burn for This.” Someone had plenty of time to carve that in.

Strangers- Abraham toasts to the survivors

That evening, the group feasts upon the food. Abraham toasts to them: the survivors…but he asks: is this all they want to be? Living day by day? They have plenty of strength, but just living as they are is another form of surrendering in Abraham’s eyes. If they get to Washington, they’ll find infrastructure and refuge. They can restart their lives and be safe. By Judith’s motion for unanimous consent, everyone is on board for Washington.

Oh, and Tara tells Maggie who she really is and how she was in cahoots with the Governor.

Strangers- Rick still doesn't trust Gabriel

Rick thanks Gabriel for his hospitality, but then quickly says that he knows Gabriel is hiding something and that if he puts Rick and his folk in danger, he’ll kill him. Rick, quit being an asshole for one night, huh?

Strangers- Daryl and Carol hide as car passes by

Carol is back at the car with Daryl not too far behind. A car rushes by and Daryl immediately recognizes it as the one that apparently made off with Beth. The two hop into the car and take pursuit.

Strangers- Bob weeps

Bob takes a moment to weep outside, but that moment is short lived, as he’s soon knocked out.

Strangers- Bob awakens before Gareth and The Hunters

He awakens to find himself surrounded by Gareth and other familiar faces from Terminus. Gareth tells Bob that he didn’t want to hurt him, but Rick and the others took away their home. Now they’re out on their own and trying to survive. Essentially, they’ve devolved into hunters. What they did isn’t personal, though. They would have done it to anyone. At the end of the day, they have to eat. If it’s any consolation to Bob, however…

Strangers- A man's gotta eat, The Hunters feast on Bob's leg

…he tastes a lot better than Gareth imagined.

Hell yes! Enter The Hunters!

This was a damn good follow-up to “No Sanctuary.” While I enjoyed the fast, frantic paced action, The Walking Dead, I feel, is stronger during its more human moments. With the group almost completely reunited, this episode could have easily settled into the groove of everyone just wandering around and exploring. Luckily, this episode doesn’t do that and there are a lot of elements of “Strangers” that I enjoyed.

Strangers- Michonne doesn't have a sword anymore

Robert Kirkman himself wrote this episode and his influence is apparent in the dialogue. Like the comic, we got some very brief moments of character development and growth through brief conversations. They never dragged on too long and while there were some I enjoyed more than others, we got the gist of what characters felt through their exchanges, such as Daryl trying to get Carol to open up or Rick asking Michonne about her sword. By the way, I did get a chuckle out of Michonne instinctively reaching for her sword and not having it anymore.

This episode was about second chances, a fresh start, hitting a reset button, so to speak. Everyone has spent so much time apart that the main priority is to stay together. Sure, they want to move forward, but they don’t want to split up again, even though, by episode’s end, that’s exactly what happens anyway.

After everything they’ve been through, I will admit it’s nice to see everyone just interacting. Sure, some of these moments I find a tad bit sappy, but it’s a change of pace from the carnage and walkers.

Strangers- Rick doesn't trust Gabriel

One constant theme of the show is trust, and the group has constantly been tested on that. Who can they trust? How suspicious should they be? Who can’t be trusted? And is everyone bad? This came through in Rick’s conversation with Carl. Rick has every reason in the world to be suspicious of every new person he meets. Hell, in the pilot, Morgan didn’t even trust Rick at first, even though Rick knew absolutely nothing about the zombie apocalypse at the time. Trust is not something that comes naturally for anyone in this world. It’s earned, and in Rick’s eyes, it’s a hell of an uphill climb to earn his trust not just because he’s naturally suspicious, but because he wants to protect his family. You can never be too careful.

Strangers- Carl trusts Gabriel

And Carl knows this, but he’s more optimistic and doesn’t immediately label everyone as a target or threat. Plus, even though he knows Gabriel may be hiding something, he’s more willing to give people a chance.

The world has hardened Rick. When Bob talks about the world returning to the way it was, he speaks to Bob as if he were delusional. At the same time, it doesn’t hurt to hold onto some memory of the world before the apocalypse.

Strangers- Gabriel looks at photo

That’s what Gabriel has managed to retain with his faith. Sure, everyone else may not fly that way, but he has something to hold onto. The fact that he’s such a straight arrow gives Rick even more reason to suspect him.

Strangers- Rick knows that Gabriel is hiding something

In fact, Rick seems to have comfortably settled back into the role of leader after questioning it in previous seasons. He asks Gabriel question after question even though, for the moment, Gabriel has nothing to hide. He never lets his guard down, even when he thanks Gabriel for letting everyone stay in the church. Again, Rick has a reason to be suspicious. He analyzes a situation, assesses it and, when he’s ready, he’ll make his move- making him an ideal choice for the leader. But perhaps he’s a bit too distrusting. He wants to protect everyone, but they’ve proven more than capable of handling themselves. I just wish he wasn’t so quick to assume the worst of Gabriel. He’s not always cold, though, as evidenced when we see him playing with Julia.

Strangers- Maggie forgives Tara for some reason

By the way, I call foul on both Rick and Maggie accepting Tara as quickly as they did. Sure, Tara saved Glenn’s life, but she was still part of a group that was responsible for Hershel’s death. Given how big of a deal it was when the Governor cut off Hershel’s head, I would think Rick and Hershel’s daughter would show some sort of reaction other than welcoming them with open arms. I mean, they didn’t even hesitate.

It is strange how Tara chose this moment to talk to Maggie about what she did. I would think Maggie, knowing little about Tara, would have questions for her. Similar to Tyreese forgiving Carol for killing Karen and David, I think Maggie forgiving Tara came too quickly. She doesn’t know Tara that well, but she does know that she spent a lot of time with Glenn while they tried to find her. Wouldn’t that warrant questions as to where she came from? It just seemed like a convenient way to put Tara on good terms with everyone else. Also, I question how she blindly falls in line with the others and follows Rick’s orders to stay together, even though she barely knows him.

Strangers- Daryl throws water to Carol

I appreciate Daryl trying to get Carol to talk about what she’s been through. Ever since Daryl went out of his way to look for Sophia, it’s clear that Carol is the one person he cares the most for. It makes sense that he’d want to know what she’s endured, but he isn’t being forceful, either. He’s taking his time because Carol isn’t quick to let people in. But at least the two have a hopeful shot at finding Beth.

Strangers- Optimistic Bob

And speaking of hope, if The Walking Dead- whether comic or television show- has shown anything, it’s that optimism means something bad is about to happen. Bob was a lot happier than usual in this episode.

Strangers- Bob has a moment with Sasha

He has lovey dovey moments with Sasha and talks of the world going back to the way it was. And now he’s lost a leg. Now, given how this all played in the comics, I get the feeling that Bob may end up getting the last laugh against Gareth and company, but I won’t spoil anything. Let’s save that for next time.

Strangers- Gareth likes the way Bob tastes

Meanwhile, I’m so happy to finally see The Hunters take center stage as the current antagonists on the show. I thought Joe and the marauders from last season would turn out to be The Hunters, but given the cannibalism witnessed at Terminus, this makes a lot of sense.

Strangers- Comic book Hunters Part 1

Strangers- Comic book Hunters Part 2

And Gareth’s dialogue to Bob about him tasting good is pretty much ripped from the comic. We know how big of a threat the Terminus folks are and we know what they lost as a result of the group’s actions, so I’m interested to see how the show will handle them. And I’ll admit, it was damn gruesome sight watching The Hunters feast on Bob’s leg. Oh, but we’ve only just started with these people. And it looks like Tyreese didn’t turn into a killer after all…

All in all, this was a very good episode penned by the series’ creator. It had its share of tense moments and times where the characters could just be people. The introduction of Father Gabriel is a welcome addition, though he seems a bit more timid than his comic book counterpart. With Bob’s fate left in the balance while Carol and Daryl leave to find Beth, the group is once again scattered while The Hunters prepare to feast. Color me excited.

A Look at “Gotham” Season 1, Episode 4: “Arkham”

Never trust Oswald Cobblepot’s cannoli.

Arkham- Oswald introduces himself to Barbara as Peter

The episode begins directly following the ending of “The Balloonman,” with Oswald showing up at Barbara’s doorstep. Oswald attempts to make small talk with Barbara under the guise of being an old work friend named Peter, but Jim cuts the conversation short and takes Oswald outside.

Arkham- Oswald offers to help Gordon

Outside, he’s livid at Oswald returning since Falcone could kill them both, but Oswald couldn’t just stay away. Gotham is his home, as terrible as it is. He offers to help Gordon, who knows very well that he has a small circle of friends he can trust. Plus, no one would go looking for a dead man, so Oswald can remain invisible in Gotham. There’s still a war coming, but war is just politics by other means. In addition, money talks. What does it talk about? Arkham. Think it over, Gordon.

Arkham- Councilman Ron Jenkins, played by Evander Duck, and an aide are stopped by Richard Blackwell

We then cut to a parking structure where Councilman Ron Jenkins, played by Evander Duck, and an aide are leaving for the night. They’re stopped by constituent Richard Gladwell, played by Hakeen Kae-Kazin, who tells the council member that he’s voted for him in every election. How sweet. He has an invention to show and it will only take a minute. When he assembles the device, he tells Jenkins’ aide to put it close to his eye, and he does. He ends up with a blade to the eye. But still, Gladwell really did vote for Jenkins. Well, that’s one less vote you can count on. And that was the final tale of Councilman Ron Jenkins.

Arkham- Captain Essen assigns Bullock to the double homicide

Surprisingly, we don’t end up with a crime scene investigating immediately following the murder. Instead, Captain Essen briefs Bullock on the double homicide. It’s his case to take, even though Alvarez hasn’t handled a case all week. Alvarez, however, has pulled double overtime, so quit being lazy, Bullock. The medical examiner’s report isn’t ready yet, but they do know that the councilman and his aid had their valuables stolen. Essen’s initial thoughts? Wrong place, wrong time.

Arkham- Fish gets seduced once

Fish holds auditions for the next American Idol-I mean, she’s looking to recruit. The woman in question has a nice enough voice, but Fish wants her to seduce her as well. Pretend she’s a boy. It goes well enough, but Fish wants Butch to keep looking for a weapon.

Arkham- Bullock and Gordon interrogate Nicky, played by Flaco Navaja

Bullock and Gordon interrogate Nicky, played by Flaco Navaja, who is apparently the Crown Prince of Parking Lot Muggers. Shut up, Gotham. But Nicky denies it, saying he was on sabbatical, despite Bullock claiming that he has witnesses putting him at the scene.

Gordon heads out, positive that they have the wrong person, and finds a box of evidence on his desk. Inside are plans for the Arkham District Development Proposal.

Arkham- Mayor James giving a press conference about Arkham Development Proposal

We then cut to Mayor James giving a press conference about this very proposal. The Waynes had a plan to build affordable housing in the district. As for Arkham Asylum, it will be torn down and a new health facility will be constructed in its place. One reporter notes that an opposing plan is gaining traction: do away with Arkham altogether and use the land for waste disposal. James endorses the Wayne plan.

Arkham- Oswald sees Maroni's men head in back with bags of money

At Bamonte’s, Maroni arrives to celebrate this lucrative land deal while men head in the back with some suspicious looking bags. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Oswald.

Arkham- Bruce reads Arkham plan to Gordon and Alfred

Gordon requests from Alfred any information regarding the Wayne plan for Arkham. It’s for the Waynes in name only. Falcone would profit if the proposal passes. Councilman Jenkins also backed it. Gordon figures that Maroni is responsible for the murder because he’s the only one strong enough to oppose Falcone. How he arrived at that conclusion so fast, I’ll never know. Bruce comes in and asks whether the plans would be related to his parents’ murders. Thomas and Martha Wayne fought to give Gotham hope. He doesn’t want this dream to die with them. Before this conversation can continue, Gordon receives a call from Bullock, who lets him know that Councilman Zeller has been abducted.

Arkham- Richard Gladwell preparing to burn Councilman Zeller, played by John D. Haggerty

At Arkham Asylum, Councilman Zeller, played by John D. Haggerty, is brought in an oil drum by Richard Gladwell of all people. Gladwell is just here to send a message from his customer. He fills the drum with gasoline, leaves a trail and lights a match.

Arkham- Bullock, Gordon and Captain Essen at crime scene investigation at Arkham

All right, now we get an immediate crime scene follow up- Captain Essen is even there this time. It can’t be a coincidence, but she and Bullock figure this is about more than the land vote. Zeller and Jenkins were on opposite sides. Gordon figures Maroni had to strike first. He had Jenkins killed to change the vote his way, then Falcone had Zeller killed to send a message. As Essen leaves, she plans to post guards with other council members, as well as the mayor. Bullock asks how Gordon knows so much. That’s a good question. Rather than answer it, Gordon motions to Edward Nygma behind the two detectives.

Arkham- Nygma has a paradox

Nygma has a paradox. The medical report on Jenkins and his aide found the two suffered from fatal puncture wounds to the skull through the eye socket. The woman was a sort of metal spike. Councilman Zeller also suffered from a spike wound. Sounds like an unlikely coincidence. Hence, the three had to have been killed by the same person. Sounds crazy, right? Welcome to Gotham. Bullock has a source.

Back at the restaurant, the manager warns Oswald about sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong when he watches Maroni’s men counting money.

Arkham- Bullock and Gordon head to the Gotham State Penitentiary and speak with Minks, played by Brad Calcaterra

Bullock and Gordon head to the Gotham State Penitentiary and speak with Minks, played by Brad Calcaterra. Bullock delivers two cartons of cigarettes, so this must be important. Minks guesses the hitman’s weapon of choice and has even heard of him by reputation. He identifies Gladwell by name, telling the detectives that he works at the Lanky building in midtown.

At said building, Bullock can’t help but notice Gordon on edge recently. The two ask for Gladwell. His desk is further back in the main hall, but Gladwell overhears and heads into a supply room. When Bullock and Gordon finds Gladwell’s desk empty, Gordon heads toward the room while Bullock investigates the desk. Gladwell assembles his weapon in anticipation while Gordon gets closer and closer.

Arkham- Bullock shows Gordon the newspaper clippings Gladwell had on Jenkins and Zeller

Bullock calls him away with the evidence they need: newspaper clippings on Jenkins and Zeller. The two head toward the supply room together and scare the daylights out of a woman with a box of paper clips. Well, maybe she shouldn’t be walking around with boxes of paper clips! The two do find one noteworthy item: a slip of paper with the letters C, L and M on it.

Bruce awakens from a nightmare about his parents’ deaths. He asks Alfred for additional files about the Arkham plan to see any other connections.

Arkham- Oswald hiding with money

Robbers burst into Bamonte’s and kill the manager, along with anyone else they see. They swipe a bag and flee just moments before Maroni’s men arrive. One follows some bloody footsteps and finds Oswald hiding in a locker with a bag of money.

Arkham- Barbara and Gordon discuss secrets

Because Gordon doesn’t appear to have what we’d call friends, he again goes to Barbara with his problems. But she isn’t too pleased about his long hours and late nights because they make her worry. She thinks that he has secrets and doesn’t like that. Gordon isn’t about to spill on who Oswald Cobblepot is, though. Gordon correctly figures that Montoya stopped by, so Barbara admits that she used to be a in a relationship with Montoya. However, it only lasted a year and Barbara was the one who ended it. Needless to say, Gordon is not happy. Not because Montoya is a woman, but because Barbara lied to him.

Arkham- Maroni appreciates Oswald for saving his money

At Bamonte’s, Maroni plans his retaliation against Falcone. He has Oswald brought before him and lets him know that saving the bag of money did not go unnoticed. Oswald’s getting a promotion to restaurant manager! I mean, the position did just become vacant.

Gordon looks over the note, but Bullock has bad news: the real Richard Gladwell died five years ago in his apartment. No one noticed it because he always paid his rent on time and this hitman assumed his identity while no one batted an eye. Bullock does have a solution for the note: Complete Waste of Time. See, that doesn’t work because the letters are C, L and M, not C, W and T. He leaves the take on the case his way.

Arkham- Fish gets seduced again

So Fish holds a second audition. She asks the singer if she wants to be a woman with power, money and respect. Who wouldn’t? Fish again asks to be seduced, and she is, but as the woman leaves, Bullock enters. Fish can help find the hitman over time, leaving Bullock to owe her a big favor.   However, she thinks the hunt is a waste of time since Falcone will just get someone to take his place. He can’t afford to lose the vote and if Maroni wins, it will show that Falcone looks weak. She’s a bit too excited at that, Bullock notices, but Fish always has a plan B. Those are important.

Gordon gets an unexpected call from Oswald about another hit coming for someone who backs Falcone. Even though there are officers present, Oswald tells Gordon that there are ways around law enforcement. In Gotham? Easily. Gordon gets a list of officers working protection and looks at the three assigned to Mayor James: Officers Campos, Lazenby and Martins. He leaves the department and informs Bullock.

Arkham- Gordon shows up at the mayor's house to let him know about the hitman

He arrives at the mayor’s home and finds an empty police cruiser outside. After informing the mayor of the assassination plot, Gordon and the mayor plan to break for the mayor’s sister’s house.

Arkham- Bullock and Gordon down Gladwell

Too late. Gladwell arrives, forcing the two upstairs into the mayor’s secret room within a room. A fight breaks out, but Bullock arrives just in time. Before Gladwell can finish the job, Gordon and Bullock put him down.

Arkham- Gordon chooses work over Barbara

Barbara drops by the police department and apologizes for not telling Gordon about Montoya. She doesn’t want any more secrets, but Gordon still has no intentions of telling her about Oswald. It was a mistake to discuss work and he won’t make that error again. Barbara decides she can’t live like this and gives Gordon an ultimatum: let her in or let her go. Without saying a word, Gordon makes his decision and Barbara takes her leave.

Arkham- Fish holds tryouts

Fish holds tryouts for the two women. Surprisingly, there’s no broken pool cue. The second girl wins.

Arkham- Oswald brought cannoli

Now in a brand new suit, Oswald meets up with the robbers from earlier and congratulates them on a job well done for a convincing set-up. To celebrate, Oswald brought cannoli.

Arkham- Gordon and Bullock watch results of Arkham vote

The results of the vote are in. Gordon and Bullock watch as Mayor James announces that the Arkham District will be developed into low cost housing and the land can be used for waste disposal. As for Arkham, it will be reopened.

Arkham- Gordon tells Bruce that compromise may have averted war

Gordon is now at Wayne Manor- that was fast- and both he and Bruce don’t think this is good for Gotham. This compromise may have helped avert war, though Bruce still isn’t pleased. Everything isn’t in the hands of Falcone and Maroni, though.

Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot collects.

So we’ve got another random killer this week. Not a vigilante, but your average, hired assassin with an odd weapon. We don’t learn much about the weapon. Heck, we don’t learn much about Gladwell at all. Who hired him? How was he able to take over someone’s identity for so long with no one noticing? Why use a distinct weapon and potentially draw attention to yourself? And better yet, why work in a public building where everybody knows your name? A lot of blanks left unfilled. At least with David Lamond, we learned a few things about him before he became a vigilante.

Arkham- Barbara leaves GCPD

So Barbara and Gordon are no more, it seems. This would seem like a big deal, but as an audience, we haven’t learned much about the two of them together for this to be that upsetting. Hell, aside from her conversation with Montoya, we’ve only seen Barbara when Gordon needs to talk about his troubles. We dug a bit into her backstory, but as a character within this interpretation, she’s not well-defined. Only four episodes in and we’ve already got a breakup. The show must really want to go ahead and get Gordon with Essen.

Arkham- Bullock asks how Gordon could know so much about the murders

Speaking of Gordon, Bullock touched upon something that never got addressed again in this episode: Gordon’s convenient hunches. Gordon has not been in Gotham that long compared to other officers on the force. It’s strange that he would automatically assume that Maroni is the only one in Gotham strong enough to take on Falcone. He’s right, sure, but it just seems like he figured that out with little to go on. There should be much more detective work involved instead of Gordon just having an a-ha moment.

Arkham- Fish helps her new pet

Not sure what to make of Fish’s new pet so far, but at least these tryouts seem less violent than the Joker’s. Oh, and there’s a Crown Prince of Parking Lot Muggers? No, Gotham! What’s with these shows just casually dropping references like that and thinking it’s cool or subtle? Arrow does it. The Flash does it. Gotham is next in line.

Arkham- Oswald tells James about the upcoming war

Cobblepot was, again, the best part of the episode. He’s slowly working his way up the crime mob chain by playing multiple sides and it works to his advantage because, as he mentioned, no one would go looking for a dead man. At the same time, he’s able to get on Maroni’s good side. He knows Gordon won’t kill him because Gordon is a good man and, if Selina Kyle is an indication of anything, Gordon will need all the help he can get. Though not the main character, Cobblepot is clearly one of the main players and Robin Lord Taylor’s performance continues to stand out.

This episode, though not as interesting as “The Balloonman,” did have its moments. It’s always nice to see Arkham Asylum, knowing that it’s going to be a key factor in the series. There are still gaps, though. Gladwell being a mystery isn’t all that interesting when the detectives themselves point out how he could have floated under the radar for so long. I wasn’t invested in Barbara and Gordon’s relationship enough to care that they’re no longer together. And Fish really wants to be seduced, doesn’t she?