A huge spoiler was released just over a week before this episode aired. It was genuinely a huge surprise to the Gotham Fandom and myself as I thought one of my favourite reacurring actors/characters was gone forever. When I saw the photograph that Fox had released I thought someone in the fandom had made it. Andrew Sellon is back not as Mr Penn, but as The Ventriloquist. This Dc character for the first time is brought from the comics books to our television screens. In a recent interview with Gotham Tv Podcast, Andrew talks about his early career as a ventriloquist and magician. The Gotham fans saying as early as his first appearance in season 4 Mr Penn should become the ventriloquist. It was definitely considered and was definitely meant to be when the extra 2 episodes were ordered. If you would like to know more about Andrew Sellon’s time on Gotham and how he The ventriloquist was brought to life on Gotham here is the link to an exclusive interview with one of Gotham Tv Podacst hosts Derek O’Neil.
“Nothing’s Shocking” is an intriguing title as always for Gotham. This episode was definitely in the safe hands of Seth Boston, who returns as writer. Director Kenneth Fink, will alway be a favourite of mine since he directed my favourite episode from season 2 “Mommy’s Little Monster”, and from what I have heard has a warped sense of humour, which definitely comes through in this episode.
Two extra episodes were ordered by Fox, and this is one of them. Considering the structure of season 5 had already been written and nearly finished filming, the way this episode fitted in was a welcome breathing space. A chance to see what we are used to seeing from a 22 episode season. Character emotion, action and comedy.
Detective Harvey Bullock is the main focus as we get to see some more of his past cases. Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth decide to solve an underground mystery by themselves. Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot provide the comedy with their unexpected guest(s).
Barbara Keane’s nightclub is the only stocked bar in Gotham. Two older gentleman want a drink after they trade information. In her own diplomatic way Barbara agrees they can share a drink. A returning character from season 1 “Spirit of the Goat” Dix, Bullocks old detective partner walks up to the two gents at the bar. Defective Boggs and Detective Lewis recognise Dix, as they are also ex cops. Dix asks them if they ever think about the past? What they did to the girl? In a quiet discussion at the bar, Barbara sees them and is exasperated that her club is turning into the living dead. Dix brutally murders his colleagues by stabbing them in the necks.
Alfred Pennyworth asks a injured lady to repeat her story to Bruce Wayne. Dianne ( Jennifer Honka) lives with her family in the shelter on the West End. Since the river was poisoned by Jeremiah’s chemicals people came together. A few weeks back they heard a rumour about something moving under the building where it connects to the sewer. People started going missing, Hank her husband wanted to go and look for them. Dianne hit her head whilst searching as it was dark and now her husband is missing. Bruce reassures her that he will help.
Bruce questions if they should inform Gordon, but Alfred knows he is stretched. Bruces concern is that they don’t know what or who is down in the sewer. Alfred wants to get Dianne husband out of danger after all she did ask to speak to them. Alfred lets Bruce make the final decision on whether or not to find the husband. It’s a confident lets go and find him from Bruce.
Under the circumstances Barbara would not normally call the GCPD for murdered bodies in The Sirens. Harvey is curious what Barbara normally does with the bodies? She buries them and then finds out who killed them and then bury them. Barbara should not be telling a cop this but she knows they are living in a different world now. Jim is a bit irritated and wants to know why Barbara called them? Under a white sheet lays the bodies of Boggs and Lewis. Harvey instantly recognises them as they were cops before Jim. With Barbara explaining how another old fossil got into the club then knifed them. The Bartender said that they called him Micks…Hicks, both Harvey and Jim recognise the name as Dix.
Harvey doubts it was Dix because if we remember from season 1 he has been paralysed for the last 15 years. Barbara definitely saw Dix walking and there was no wheelchair. Harvey knew Dix moved into a new apartment a year ago and been meaning to check up on him. Again Harvey doubts this was Dix, and agrees with Jim that they need to talk to him.
Jim approaches Barbara an in an almost embarrassed way asks how she is feeling. Jim has been giving her space but they do need to have discussion as Jim wants to be part of the child’s life. Barbara isn’t so keen on Jim’s confidence but with reunification going to happen, Jim wants Barbara to start thinking about what kind of person she wants to be. This is a chance for Barbara to start anew. Being stubborn as always Barbara likes who she is. But does she? This is a fantastic, honest scene between Barbara and Jim and always so well acted by Erin Richards and Ben McKenzie.
A row of bells ring which is an alarm system for Edward Nygma to know when someone has entered his building. Dressed in overalls he is hard at work on the submarine. Oswald Cobblepot enters and Ed lowers his gun, Oswald is late. His priorities was to pick up some lunch and he met Dale, who uncannily looked like Gabe. Ed is getting concerned that their secret plan to get of the island is not so secret. Oswald assures Ed that Dale is trustworthy, because he’s mute and dumb as a post. Ed knows they are being watched that’s why he installed the alarm system. This bickering friendship is fascinating between Ed and Oswald. Penguin thinks by hiring muscle that will keep Nygma’s paranoid state happy but the truth is Ed is doing everything and Oswald is not really doing much. To make this scene even more funnier Oswald has decided to call the submarine SS Gertrude. The sonar is turning out to be more difficult then Ed antipicated. Oswald is confident Ed will figure it out. This hits a nerve with Ed because of course he will figure it out along with the navigation system, the oxygen exchange, and everything else that needs to be worked on. Ed saw this as a partnership. Oswald agrees it is because he has already done his part by stealing everything in Gotham which Ed gets half off.
The alarm bells ring and they are not expecting anyone. Penguin tells Dale to do what he pays him for, protect them. The door opens and is shocked to see Mr Arthur Penn. Oswald saw him get shot as he was there. The reaction played by Robin Lord Taylor is superb as its a mixture of disbelief and sheer joy to see Penn alive. Mr Penn wanted to come and see Oswald sooner but he wouldn’t let me. “He”? Oswald doesn’t understand who Penn means. Mr Penn opens a brown leather case and introduces Mr Scarface.
The Ventroilquest with his dummy Mr Scarface receive a mix reaction from Oswald and Ed. Oswald has seen some pretty weird things in time but Mr Penn being controlled by a dummy I think tops it all. What I was particularly eager to know if Mr Penn’s real name was going to be revealed as Arnold Wesker. Being part of a team like Dc world you get to interact with knowledgeable people who know the comics inside out. I felt because we had been given quite a detailed history about Penn in season 4, this reveal would not happen. But as always in Gotham’s very clever way of including origins of the characters Oswald calls Penn “Arnold” twice and gets corrected by Mr Penn very quickly as its made to look like Oswald doesn’t know his first name.
The continual scene unfolds with some incredible dialogue and on screen talent. Oswald finds it hysterical that Mr Scarface can be very persuasive. Ed just goes back to work on the submarine. Mr Penn confesses that he, Mr Scarface made Penn tell him about Penguins treasure. Oswald thinks Penn needs a much needed rest and see a psychiatrist before he returns to his duties. Of course there will be no back pay on the time he was gone. Oswald turns his back and in a deep gangster voice Mr Scarface tells Oswald to “shut his piehole.”
Andrew Sellon is voicing the dummy and his technique is superb. The conversation between Penn and Scarface is flawless as Scarface isn’t impressed with Oswald. Ed wants them both gone, but Scarface and Mr Penn are not going anywhere. Penn draws a gun and shoots Dale.
Oswald needs to understand what happened to Mr Penn after Haven. Mr Penn looks at Mr Scarface who gives him permission to sing his song. Penn woke up in the GCPD morgue, he was alone, he patched his wounds and crawled out. Hiding out in an abandoned magic shop where Mr Scarface found him. Scarface lets Oswald know how he used Mr Penn. Oswald claims this is a lie, but even Ed agrees with Mr Scarface its because what Oswald does. Mr Scarface wants Penguin’s treasure and he wants to be the boss. At this point Oswald can’t understand why a dummy wants to be the boss of Gotham. Scarface wants the key to the treasure room but why would Oswald do that because Mr Scarface is going to kill him anyway, then Oswald reflects why on earth is he having a conversation with a doll.
Nygma thinks Oswald deserves everything he gets. Ed carries on telling Oswald some truths about how he is an opptunisit, his loyalty is shaky at the best at times and Oswald will hurt anyone to get what he wants. Ed starts talking to Mr Penn, but Scarface reminds him he is in charge. Ed has a question for Mr Scarface, what is he going to do when he gets his tiny wooden hands on the treasure? Where are they going to go? Ed goes to offer Penn and Scarface room on the submarine. Oswald objects, Mr Scarface tells him to be quiet as he is listening to the smart one. Ed continues how does Mr Scarface feel about submarines?
Ed has brought himself and Oswald time as Penn and Scarface where going to kill Oswald. Ed wants Oswald to keep them busy and wait for a signal. Ed doesn’t have a chance to tell Oswald the signal as Mr Penn explains they have discussed their options, and the submarine sounds like a good idea. Because they need Ed to keep building the submarine, Mr Scarface is still going to kill Penguin. In his familar polite tone Mr Penn apologises and wishes things could of turned out differently. Oswald wants Arthur to listen to him. Mr Penn accuses Oswald of manipulating him but what about the dummy? Oswald has never asked Mr Penn to kill anyone. With everything they went through, Sofia Falcone, starving, well Penn was and Oswald welcoming him into his home. Penguin agrees he hasn’t been a good friend to Mr Penn in fact anyone. Penguin gets quite emontial as he admits that is why he is alone. But he always saw Mr Penn for what he was and valued that. Mr Scarface just sees Penguin as a liar and thief, and he will take and take. But its Mr Penn carrying on telling Oswald how he worked him to the bone, and forced him to be his puppet. No more as Mr Penn aims the gun at Oswald, Ed presses a button which rings out the sonar. In a fight for the gun Mr Penn has Oswald on the ground and Ed gets his gun back and shoots the head of Mr Scarface. Mr Penn drops the gun and thanks Mr Cobblepot for freeing him. With another shot from Ed, Mr Arthur Penn is dead, again. Oswald is horrified why Ed did what he did. Ed accepts Oswald for the person that he is. Oswald accepts Ed for the cold logician that he is. That’s why this friendship between Ed and Oswald is great. As friends they should both agree that the lunatic that Mr Penn became had to be stopped. In a bizarre happy ending Oswald comes to the conclusion that maybe they are meant for each other.
The continual story of what Jeremiah’s chemical have done is fantastic. As Alfred and Bruce investigate the sewers, Alfred sees a hand and with a closer look its a forearm that has been bitten off. There are marks on the ground where the rest of the body has been dragged. Using their torches for guidance through the sewers Alfred and Bruce hear growling. A man lunges at Alfred and desperately tells them that he is coming. This is Dianne’s husband Hank. As he pants with exhaustion he explains that he barely got away. The growling gets louder as Hank tells Bruce and Alfred everyone is dead. Bruce’s batteries run out in his torch as the killer knocks Bruce to the ground. I think I am safe to say that this character is based on a killer croc. He grabs Hank by the leg and drags him away growling, Alfred shouts after him to hold on. The mutated man stands roaring and Alfred is shocked by the size of him. Bruce’s theory of the toxins in the river must of drove him mad. Alfred is now full on fighting the mutant man and he cuts Alfred on the leg. Bruce sees some blades on the ground and throws them at him. Alfred can’t stop hitting the mutant and he grows weak as Bruce pulls him off.
The Nurse at Gotham hospital says that the man from the sewer will never recover. The toxic chemicals had done irreplaceable damage to the brain. Bruce thinks they should of gone to Gordon from the start as himself and Alfred were reckless. Alfred doesn’t agree as they took decisive action and saved a mans life, reunited a family. Too many people are suffering in the city and they need someone to protect them. Bruce and Alfred look at each other for a moment and Bruce agrees but he feels there are better ways to find absolution. Alfred doesn’t quite understand what Bruce is saying. Bruce knows Alfred blames himself for what happened to Wayne Manor. Alfred didn’t destroy their home, but he feels like he did, as he wasn’t strong enough to fight Tetch or Valeska. Alfred sees this as a weakness because Bruce has just lost his last tie to the past, and Alfred must never be that weak again. Bruce sees being part of a family is so they can be strong for each other. Alfred asks “when did you get so smart”? Bruce “I had a good teacher”.
Harvey feels bad for not visiting Dix as often as he should. Harvey admits this whilst stood outside his apartment. A blast from a shotgun makes a massive hole in the door. Dix lets Jim and Harvey in, Harvey has to ask does he always answer the door like that? Well you can’t be too careful in Gotham. Jim takes a look around the apartment and sees a open suit case almost packed. Jim asks if Dix is planning on taking a trip but he just likes to keep one packed just in case. Dix has heard about Boggs and Lewis being murdered. When asked where he was that night, simple he was home alone as he can’t leave his wheelchair. Dix pulls his trouser leg to lift his non responsive limb to show he is still paralysed. Being a detective him self, Jim asks what does it look like if he walked into an apartment with a gunshot through the door and a case packed? Dix thinks either they are responsible or they think they are the next victim. Jim asks what Dix’s connection was to Bogg and Lewis. Dix looks up at Harvey who slightly shakes his head to say don’t say anything. Nothing he only worked with them. Bullock explains that the four of them worked on a case when Harvey was a rookie. The case was a woman who killed her husband and as far as Harvey can remember it was a open and shut case. But one thing Harvey and Jim can agree on is that Dix didn’t walk into The Sirens and kill Boggs and Lewis. As Jim is rounding up the evidence which still points to Dix there is a knock at the door. The person who looks like Dix is at the door and headbutts Harvey. As Harvey grabs his jaw the face falls off in Harvey’s hand. Harvey is stood there with the skin of a face wondering what the hell!
Jim has pulled the files on the case that Harvey, Dix, Boggs and Lewis worked on. The name of the woman who killed her husband is Victoria Cartwright. Detective Harper gives Jim the file and he gives Harvey a chance to explain the case before he opens the file. Victoria Cartwright was a banker. She led a boring life, until she snapped and put a two bullets in her husband. Jim feels the story is a little rehearsed. With no physical evidence she was convicted because of evidence given by her seven year daughter Jane. With this case being 20 years ago, where is Jane now? Harvey thinks Clayface could be involved. I know as the viewer Basil Karlo aka Clayface isn’t involved and so does Jim. The family’s old home is in the green zone, Gordon and Harper decide to go and have a look. Harvey is benched by Jim to keep on eye on Dix.
Harvey and Dix have a catch up in the captains office. Harvey sees this as mess. Dix thinks Boggs and Lewis are idiots because they knew Dix can’t walk. Bullock asks the question to Dix does he think the Cartwright girl has said something? Dix would not know. We have always seen the softer side to Harvey as he genuinely cares for people he knows. He has made past mistakes and doesn’t pretend that he is perfect. Making sure Dix he is getting enough food and medicine after the bridges went down. Dix teases him with saying no he isn’t. Dix does tell Harvey that the Cartwright girl is dead. A friend of his was a guard at Arkham. Jane was an imate there for a few years and died, so she can’t be connected to the case.
Jim and Harper with a GCPD Officer approach the Cartwright family home. It looks abandoned, not as creepy looking as the Crane residence. Someone is watching from an upstairs window. The officer goes to look upstairs whilst Jim and Harper look downstairs. The house looks abandoned even before the bridges blew. There are photographs with some of the faces scratched out. The brave GCPD Officer is being watched by a woman in a white mask. She hits him over the head which makes the light fitting move above Jim and Harpers head. The lady touches his flesh and she changes into the GCPD officer. The special effects of her transformation is superb.
Jim and Harper are now upstairs looking around and Harper notices someone has been living there. A door creaks open and Jim asks The Officer if everything is okay? He agrees it is and steps forward, Jim notices the real body of the officer tied up on the floor. Jim knocks the imposter to the ground and she starts to shout “no” and places her hands on her face as she transforms back. Whoever she is she doesn’t want anyone to see her face.
Several skin masks are laid on the table at the GCPD interview room. Jim is trying to find out the identity of the girl. She refuses to talk and Jim threatens to remove her mask if she doesn’t. Jim knows her history after her mother was convicted and how she ended up in Arkham. Jim asks what happened to Jane? Her mood changes and she explains a lot happened to Jane. She was taken from Arkham and taken to Indian Hill so Professor Hugo Strange could do lots of experiments on her. Hugo Strange was fascinated by the power of change, the way a chameleon does. He wanted humans to have that power to be able to change hair, skin and bone. All it takes is a single touch and the body becomes a mirror. When its done she sheds her skin and starts anew. Jane remembers everyone who she has touched even Jim Gordon. To her Jane Cartwright is dead, she did die in Arkham and that was when Jane Doe was born. So why would she kill all these cops? Jane tells Jim to ask his friend. Jim leaves the interview room as Jane manages to manipulate the bones in her wrist to free herself from the handcuffs.
Harvey is moving Dix to a quieter place so they can talk. They did a bad thing but Dix doesn’t want to discuss it anymore after all they did put a killer in jail. Harvey starts to remove his tie and asks Dix if he got what he deserved. Is this the real Harvey? They made Jane into a murder and Harvey is going make sure that never happens again. Fake Harvey starts to strangle Dix.
Jim is looking for Harvey when Barbara arrives with some information from her bartender. The killer said “the kid is guilty too.” Barbara wants to continue the conversation they had before about being a known criminal. Dorrance had a list and Barbara was on it. She wants to know when the government arrives will she be arrested? Jim doesn’t know. The way Barbara sees it she will got to jail and Jim will get to keep the baby. Jim doesn’t want that for Barbara, she wants Jim to promise if she goes straight then she will be in the clear.
Jim sees Harvey and asks where he took Dix. Harvey hasn’t taken him anywhere. They go to the locker room where Harper saw them go and Dix is dead on the floor. Harvey’s locker is open and Jane has taken his clothes. Jim needs to lock down the GCPD in order to find Jane. Harvey is still next to the body of Dix and looks terrified.
Barbara comes running in asking for Jims help becaue she has been attacked. Jim wants to know if its the real Barbara. Another Barbara arrives. The first Barbara accuses the second one of being an imposter and Jim should shoot her. The way the second Barbara says “its me you idiot” is obvious it is her but the question Jim asks where did they first meet reveals the imposter as the first Barbara. Real Barbara elbows fake one in the stomach but Jane escapes.
Harvey goes alone to the Cartwright house he calls out Jane’s name. Behind a curtain Jane is stood at the back of the room. Harvey apologises as it was his job to protect Jane and he let her down. Jane starts to talk about how Harvey made her into a killer and his friends have to face the consequences. Jane has a gun to kill Harvey, but she asks Harvey to shoot her as Jane died years ago. Harvey wants to see Jane’s real face from behind the mask. Is this because he can see what a monster she is? Hugo Strange destroyed her face but Harvey destroyed her soul. Jane puts the gun down so she can remove her mask. Her face is perfect and its a sad tale how she was made to believe she looked like a monster. Jane goes to shoot Harvey but he shoots quicker and Jane Cartwright is now dead.
To finish this fantastic Harvey Bullock centric story he confesses all to Jim. Victoria Cartwright killed her husband, she admitted it after being arrested but later recanted it. But the physical evidence wasn’t there. Harvey was a new cop and wanted to make detective so he leaned on Jane to get a statement out of her. Her mother was guilty and later Harvey found out the husband beat the mother and Jane. Jim tells Harvey about the bartender overhearing “the kid is guilty too.” Jane meant Harvey as a young cop. Harvey knew something was wrong and was told to keep his mouth shut and after a while Harvey stopped feeling it. Harvey went down that path for a long time until he met Jim. However much Harvey has changed he can’t change the past he made Jane a killer. Jim wants to know what Harvey wants from him? Forgiveness? Because he won’t get that. In another beautiful acted scene between Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie its subtle not over dramatic, Harvey just needed Jim to know.
Another extraordinary episode from Gotham and one I will alway remember for different reasons. Another predictable 10/10 for this episode.
“The Trial of Jim Gordon” is the title of next weeks episode. Gotham are keeping it in the family as Ben McKenzie has written the episode and Erin Richards makes her Gotham directing debut.