‘GOTHAM’ Season 5 Episode 3 – “Penguin, Our Hero” Recap/Review

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Oh Gotham, where to even start with you? Genuine question here, as this show is so batshit crazy that it’s hard not to just sound like I’m writing a James Joyce stream of consciousness fanfiction about Batman villains. For examples of how crazy this show is you can go back and read my previous two recaps. Spoilers ahoy from here on out.

This show opens with Penguin getting out of bed, to be greeted by his own personal choir who literally sing his praises every morning.

Yes, you read that right, Penguin has a choir.

One of his choir collapses from exhaustion and Penguin’s pencil pusher tells him it’s because they’re all working double shifts to cover for the number of people he’s lost to Jim Gordon’s safe zone, which has been named Haven since last week. Penguin is then attacked by members of the Street Demons as revenge for last week’s massacre of their members by Ed. Who set it all up so it would seem like it was Penguin of course. Penguin and his goons easily defeat the Street Demons, and he points out to the surviving member that he wouldn’t have left evidence, he would have just killed everyone. The Street Demon replies “you’re right, that’s a good point. We didn’t really think this through” which made me chuckle.

We’re back with Selina now, who’s having nightmares about Jeremiah. She wakes up with a start and puts on her Catwoman outfit and leaves via the window. She gets to a rooftop and it looks like she can finally breathe. She doesn’t have cat eyes though, which she did at the end of the previous episode.

Jim and Harvey (I feel we’re on first name terms now after writing two recaps) are arguing about taking in refugees. Jim is willing to take in everyone but Harvey is concerned about their supplies. Bruce has given them a water purifier though, which is pretty nice of him. Not sure why he hadn’t done this before, it’s been months Bruce you selfish git!

A fight breaks out in Haven over supplies and Jim breaks it up. He gives a rousing speech about how great Haven is and tells them that the only rule is no violence.  For some reason, everyone is still dressed like extras from The Road and Jim is wearing a pressed and dry cleaned suit, tie, and freshly ironed shirt. Harvey takes him to one side and says something to the effect of “you’re a mess, you’ve not slept in days” to Jim even though he has better-looking hair than I ever have. There’s some stuff here also with the ex-slave child from the last two episodes, but it’s not very important to the overall plot. Harvey leaves Haven at this point to go get Barbara to help them defend it.

Selina wants to question the new arrivals to see if anyone knows anything about Jeremiah, and luckily for her, the first person she speaks to tells her that he’s in the Dark Zone.

This next scene is a repeat of the opening of the show, Penguin wakes up and we hear singing again but this time it’s one voice and it sounds terrible. He leaves his room to find all of his people have defected, including his dog. He says “I can’t believe they took my dog” and the one person who’s stayed with him, a very odd maid says “no sir, the dog went willingly” which made me chuckle. Penguin recruits the rest of the gangs by offering bullets and a common enemy and marches on Haven.

Jim and the GCPD meet him at the gates but have almost no ammo left. Penguin and the gangs start to approach and many of them are gunned down in a hail of bullets.

Meanwhile, Bruce and Selina are in the Dark Zone and come across the Mutants. Any comic book fans reading this will remember the Mutants from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns or maybe the animated movie of the same name. They even have the Mutant Leader, in a very accurate representation. Bruce takes on a gang of Mutants by himself while Selina takes the Leader. It’s a fairly brutal fight for her and she takes him down and just starts wailing on his face with the claws on her gloves. In the end, Bruce has to stop her, but the Leader points them in the direction of the Church of Jeremiah.

Back at Haven Jim says if Penguin and the gangs attack again they have the bullets to stop them, although the audience knows it’s a bluff. So does Penguin though, and he sends in a wave of men to prove it. Two out of three are gunned down, but then Jim and pals are out of ammo and they have to surrender. Penguin puts Jim in a jail cell and is pretty smug about the whole situation.

Selina and Bruce are at the Church of Jeremiah, where Harley is talking to a bunch of teens dressed like Church Teen stereotypes in white shirts with black ties. She’s talking about how top Jeremiah is and asks if they are brave enough to step up and meet him. A few say yes and go up some stairs at the back of the church, Selina comes in and asks to join them. Harley plays along with Selina and lets her go up.

The Street Demon leader is arguing with Penguin about the cut of resources and slaves from Haven and somewhere around here the Pencil Pusher character is killed. I think he was only given a name in this episode and he’s already gone, which shows you Gotham will kill anyone any time. I definitely don’t expect Barbara to make it out of this season. The Street Demons put Penguin in jail with Jim, where he is significantly less smug. Jim looks at him and says “I take it that didn’t go so well?”

We’re in Barbara’s nightclub now and Harvey is skulking around. He asks for her help and she says no, then he tells her Penguin is involved and she immediately tools up to leave. However little do either of them know that Penguin and Jim are currently teaming up again to try and escape the cell and take back Haven.

The slave boy steals the cell key and slides it into Jim and Penguin. There’s a great joke here where they realize they’re both handcuffed with their hands behind their backs, and can’t pick up the key. They eventually go back to back and squat down whilst looking very unhappy about it.

Back in the Church of Jeremiah (which has actual Jeremiah themed stained glass windows, because of course Jeremiah is still able to make stained glass portraits of himself in the No Man’s Land). Harley makes all the disciples stand in a circle and hold a gun with a single bullet, Russian Roulette style, to the back of the head of another person. Most of them pull the trigger apart from Selina and then Harley reveals she knows who Selina is because of her boss’ obsession with Bruce Wayne. A fight scene ensues between Harley and Selina, which Selina seems to have the upper hand in until Harley pulls a knife and jams it into Selina’s thigh then runs off.

Bruce interrupts Selina, saying she’s obsessed and going too far but Selina is having none of it. She handcuffs him to the wall and says she has to go after Jeremiah her way.

Penguin and Jim have escaped and they retake Haven pretty easily by just having the element of surprise and a gun each. To thank him for helping free Haven Jim says that Penguin can go free, then Barbara turns up to kill him. Jim steps in front of Penguin to stop her and just as it looks like she actually will go through Jim to get to Penguin Haven blows up around them. The explosions are pretty big and the resulting fires are blazing, making me think that very few could survive something like that.

This was another good episode in a season I can already tell will feel too short. SO much happens every week. It’s nice to see Gotham returning to its roots with Jim and Penguin working together too, as they bounce off each other very well. No Ed/Riddler or Alfred this week, which is a shame. I really did like the Mutants, especially the Mutant Leader looking very like his comics inspiration. The Church of Jeremiah stuff and the Harley stuff wasn’t great, but that might be my lack of interest in Joker/Harley stories showing through!

8/10

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