GOTHAM: THINGS THAT GO BOOM
Perhaps a better title for Things That Go Boom would have been Who's Zooming Who, given that it looked like everyone was playing a game of one-upsmanship trying to outdo the other in plotting and counter-plotting. Everyone seemed to be pulling a fast one on everyone else, to where at times it got almost a bit silly. Still, Things That Go Boom worked better than I thought, even if we get again more graphic violence than I think proper.
It's been an awful long day for Sofia Falcone (Crystal Reed), Mafia Princess. In the span of the day, she's rejected by Captain James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) despite having slept together the night prior, is taken hostage by her frenemy Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), nearly tortured by one of Pengy's hitmen, the Dentist (D. Barry Buddy Bolton) until she coerces him to let her go, only to be abducted by the Vixens, our beloved Bonkers Babs (Erin Richards), her former ex Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) and their protege, Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova).
It looks like Sofia's a goner, used as a bargaining chip between the Sirens and Penguin, but our dear master assassin Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) has a surprise for them: a bazooka straight at their club, forcing the four to flee. If Sofia thinks that Gordon can help her, she's in for a surprise: Gordon and Pengy make a deal where in exchange for not using the full force of the law, he will get Sofia out of town.
It looks as such until Pengy's little friend Martin (Christopher Convery) is abducted by Sofia's people. Pengy is desperate to get him back and sends Zsasz to bring her. She and the Vixens come to a secret meeting where an exchange is made: Martin for Penguin ceding total control of the underworld to Sofia. It looks like Pengy gives in, until he blows up the car that has Martin in it. With that, he unleashes war.
No worries, as this was staged, with Pengy sending Martin away. It looks like Sofia for once was taken off guard.
And that is just the main story. We get two others: Gordon investigating the real identity of Professor Pyg (Michael Cerveris), now revealed to be Southern serial killer Laslo Valentine and Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) attempting to juggle her morality with finding herself a leader in The Narrows. In the Gordon subplot, he finds that Valentine has escaped from Arkham. In the Thompkins plot, she manages to go far to get what she needs, and tells Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) that there really isn't anything wrong with him, physically. His inability to be a criminal mastermind is psychological.
Well, at least that part of Nygma's storyline is ending, though I'm not sure of seeing him return as the future Riddler would be good. I'm neither one way or the other, but I have not been a fan of Nygma and Butch Gilzean/Solomon Grundy that I'm happy we're closing that part out.
With all that's been going on, a part of me thought there were just too many 'twists' to be plausible. I know Sofia is a criminal mastermind, but at times all these 'I knew you'd do that, so I did this' was becoming almost laughable. I also thought, what if the Sirens hadn't come at that moment. Were they casing the joint? Maybe I missed something there.
When it comes to perhaps the most controversial part of Things That Go Boom (the blowing up of the car where Martin is), you either were or were not going to kill a kid. As I watched, I was not shocked, probably because I didn't think Pengy would kill a child. Let me rephrase that: I think Pengy would kill a child. I don't think Gotham would. We've had a lot of graphic violence on this show (I won't go into that 'they literally blew a man up' thing again), but somehow, the killing of a child would have been way too much even on Gotham.
Perhaps that is why I suspected that Martin's 'death' was staged, and I was proven correct. That doesn't make the suggestion of it any better, but given that Pengy would literally turn cannibal to save Martin, would meddle with Gordon trying to kill Professor Pyg to save Martin, now, now he would kill someone he clearly was attached to?
I wasn't buying that.
I also wasn't buying the Thompkins storyline, of her potentially murdering someone, even if he was a repulsive figure. Then again, given how bonkers she was last season, it's not beyond the realm of possibility, but I think she just slipped something to make Samson uncomfortable, not actually kill him.
I did like how Gordon continues to show himself to be more intelligent that the criminals, which is why he almost always gets the best of them. Again he shows that brains beat brawn when he tricks Pyg into revealing things he doesn't want to.
Things That Go Boom was not terrible, but I was not overwhelmed with it either. To me, it was somewhere in the middle.
Next Episode: Queen Takes Knight