Pena Dura boldly makes itself into my top 10 of Gotham episodes, so far. An arrival of a new character that has history with Jim. Gotham’s most experimental Professor makes an appearance. But the main focus on the episode is Edward Nygma, is he really the Haven Bomber?
Pena Dura has two Gotham regulars returning to the writers room and the directors chair. Iturri Sosa wrote one of my favourite episodes in season 4 “Let Them Eat Pie.” Mark Tonderai has been a great visionary in his direction on Gotham since Season 3. Both writer and director have had creative dealing with Professor Pyg and now they come together to bring us an outstanding episode.
Gotham has never held back on getting straight into the action and this episode is no different. Captain James Gordon and Detective Harvey Bullock are at the address of where the RPG have been sold. The seller isn’t particularly concerned the RPG he sold killed hundreds of people at Haven. But he does want information on who told Jim that he sold it. With his henchmen surrounding Jim and Harvey, there is another surprise arrival this time through the beautiful stained glass celling. An army abseil in to the building. With a shot to the head the RPG dealer is dead and Jim looks to see who has saved his life.
Shane West’s, Eduardo Dorrance has made an impressive arrival into Gotham. Straight away you can see a confidence in his swagger as he walks to Jim. These two have history, a believable friendship but an obvious rivalry between them.
Jim wants to know what the mission plan is. The mystery lady voice that Jim reports to get help is Secretary Walker, and Delta Force have arrived just like she promised. Delta Force will make the City of Gotham safe again. There is a good bitterness in Jim’s discussion with Eduardo as he feels it took the deaths of hundreds of people to get any help. Eduardo’s main focus is to eliminate all criminal threats. I felt also in the scene the control that Jim has managed to maintain in Gotham was already starting to be taken away from him as Delta Force are not really there for the people trapped in Gotham but to restore order.
The arms dealer kept a record of who he sold to. The entry in the ledger clearly shows Edward Nygma purchased two RPG. Nygma is definitely on Dorrance’s list. Harvey is asked to help set up a command centre back at the GCPD. What is so interesting is to see that Harvey feels he still has some fight in him to help to go after Nygma. But the importance which I realised while watching and to Jim. If this mission to bring in Nygma goes wrong, as Ed could be possibly ten steps ahead of everyone, Harvey is needed to take over everything and Jim needs him more then ever.
Master Bruce will always be a constant worrier over Selina’s new persona. When discussing what Selina did to Jeremiah with Alfred, even Alfred thinks Jeremiah deserved to die. It’s the fact Jeremiah made Selina a murderer that unsettles Bruce. Bruce sees this as being the same as Ra al Ghul making a murderer of him. Alfred reminding Bruce that Ra’s goaded him into stabbing him, Alfred sees him as no murderer. Selina went into killing Jeremiah with her eyes open and Alfred feels Bruce needs to respect this.
It was interesting to read everyone’s thoughts about how Bruce is protecting Selina. A lot of people felt he was babysitting her too much. But after watching the before mentioned scene with Alfred you can see why Bruce is so concerned by Selina’s actions.
Bruce finds Selina at the Sirens where there is a celebration of the death of Jeremiah. Bruce watches Selina drink back shots of alchol, just like he did when he was in guilt over killing Ra al Ghul.
Selina accuses Bruce of killing the vibes in The Sirens as she joins him at the bar. Selina finds it amusing that Bruce claims to knows her and the way she is currently acting isn’t her. Bruce is convinced he knows Selina better than she knows herself. By telling Bruce that she was in the ally on the fire escape the night his parents were murdered. Selina recalls with quivering emotion how she watched the man first shoot Bruce’s father then shoot his mother. Because of the great acting we get from Camren Bicondova and David Mazouz, as well as great cameras angles we get on Gotham the emotion in Bruces eyes tells us exactly how Bruce is reacting to what Selina is telling him. Selina wants Bruce to understand she did nothing that night not even scream to get help. Bruce understands that Selina was probably just a scared kid. In an instant change of tone to Selina’s voice she tells Bruce “No. You were the scared kid. Were not the same Bruce.” Selina didn’t care back then and she doesn’t care now. Leaving Bruce emotionally broken Selina goes to dance to her favourite song.
I like to think I have a bit of an encyclopaedic mind when it comes to Gotham. I don’t ever remember Bruce and Harvey having a scene together on their own. Bruce goes looking for Jim at the GCPD. Harvey can see something is bothering Bruce and asks if he can help. A small but very rememberable scene between these characters made me realise how important the need to do good is to Bruce. Harvey feels the same but it’s the little things that do matter. Like going through casfiles is an act of doing something even if someone doesn’t notices or cares.
Edward Nygma is a character once he knows what is happening he can deal with it. Watching Ed in this episode go through emotional turmoil because he supposedly murdered all those people at Haven. Going back over his voice recordings and notes are no help whatsoever. When Jim and Eduardo turn up to arrest Ed within a few minutes of talking to Jim, Ed manages to convince Jim only for a moment that it’s out of character for even Ed to murder innocent people. As he only murders people that hurt him, excluding Miss Kringle and Officer Dougherty of course. Eduardo lets Jim decide, he decides for Ed to go on trial but Ed has already got his hand on a book and pulls it like a lever and the floor tile that Eduardo is stood on moves. It’s a pressure plate IUD and there are several throughout the room. Or is Ed bluffing?
Jim knows Ed doesn’t bluff and Eduardo tells the rest of the Delta Force to stand down. Jim now needs to solve the puzzle. Using items in the room to make over to the bookcase to find the adjacent book to deactivate the booby trap is a fun and tense moment. It’s a chess game strategy, Jim needs to find a book and he moves in a “L” shape like the Knight. The first choice of book isn’t correct but the second is a chess strategy book. Boldly pulling the book out a beeping sound deactivates the IUD.
Eduardo has a question for Jim in why he left the army for Gotham? “It grows on you.” Jim says with confidence. Harvey radios through for an update. Jim wants everyone to to know Edward Nygma is a murderer and did the attack on Haven. An announcement makes it out quickly around Gotham. Ed who is avoiding an angry crowd on the hunt for him hides behind a concrete pillar to be knocked out by someone.
Oswald Cobblepot’s reaction to Ed being responsible for Haven is probably the most surprising of all. There is genuine emotion at what Ed has done.
Gretel and her two sons are my characters of the week. Not only are they responsible for kidnapping Ed but they will be his executioners. Ed wakes up tied to a metal frame chair outside. Gretel who commands her sons to fire up an old car sends the electrical current through Ed, this isn’t a fast execution but a slow one. The family think that it is only fair that Ed pays for what he did to their Jojo. As soon as Ed catches his breath he asks who is Jojo? Jojo is the family dog and he died in Haven. Ed laughs at the reveal as he thinks that the deaths of 300 people are more important then their dog. Gretel scoffs in anger “we don’t care about people.” The sons cheer in agreement and Ed is electrocuted again but this triggers a flashback of Penguin saying “I Amy going to fix you Ed.”
The engine stalls so Gretel’s sons can’t carry on electrocuting Ed. Clever Ed sees this as way out and convincingly makes them believe he would rather die any other way then electrocution. Pretending to be relieved the fuel line is clogged, Gretel hears this and tells one of sons to unblock it. With another beg of no more jolts from Ed, Gretel signals to her son to turn the engine which ignites the fuel and sets one of the sons on fire. Ed still tied to the chair manages to rock and lift the chair and makes a run for it.
Oswald Cobblepot and Edward Nygma scenes are always highly anticipated as they are often full of strong dialogue, comedy and emotion. Oswald has feelers out looking for Ed. As he mutters away to Edward the dog, Oswald notices his gun has gone and the air vent panel is open. The burning question that everyone wants to know and so does Ed as he aims the gun at Oswald “did you name your dog after me?” In which Oswald doesn’t deny or confirm.
Oswald has no idea what Ed is talking about when Ed asks exactly what Oswald did to him. Ed is at a emotional breaking point as he blames Oswald for making him into a murderous puppet. Of all the things Oswald has put Ed through, Ed considers this the most cruel. Oswald is speechless for a moment and makes it very clear he still doesn’t know what Ed is talking about as he didn’t make Ed do anything.
By grabbing Oswald by his neck tie, Ed asks Oswald what he meant by “i’ll fix you” because Ed is sure that Oswald actually broke him. This does trigger Oswalds memory as it was the night the bridges blew up. Oswald actually saved Ed’s life that night. Ed has been stabbed and Oswald paid Hugo Strange to save Ed, and now Oswald is sure Professor Strange did something to Ed while he patched him up.
The important thing to Ed from the conversation with Oswald is that Oswald paid Hugo Strange to save him. Why? Oswald sees Ed as a friend and he wasn’t prepared to let Ed die. Here comes the logical side of Penguin, after Butch, Ed is only Oswald’s friend. Ed reminds Oswald what we are all probably thinking, “but you shot Butch.” Another logical moment from Penguin, “which is why I needed you!”
Oswald needs a moment and turns his back on Ed and exhales in frustration. With actual tears on his cheeks Oswald explains to Ed that if he really wanted him dead he would never do it in some back handed way. Ed raises his gun cautiously as Oswald walks forward towards him. The way that Oswald sees it if they are ever at odds with each other again, Ed will know without doubt that Oswald is his enemy. Oswald promises Ed this as a friend.
Ed sees this whole situation as a mess as he could of killed Oswald. Ed swears to Oswald if that day comes he will look him in the eye as he will stab Oswald in the heart. There is a silent agreement between them. Oswald thinks Ed needs to look on the bright side because if Hugo Strange did do something to him, then Ed isn’t responsible for Haven.
Will someone give Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith an Emmy! These two fine actors don’t get enough credit, they are continually enaging and mesmerising to watch on screen.
As Ed wants to know where Professor Strange is the GCPD and the army blow the gates to City Hall. Oswald ensures Ed will be safe at City Hall. But with a quiet word to one of his Henchmen, Oswald tells him to grab Nygma as the army is after Ed not him. Maybe Penguin isn’t fully standing by his friend after all!
Ed already decided to leave before the army and GCPD blew open the doors at City Hall. Oswald stands ready and prepared with his henchmen. Penguin welcomes Harvey and hopes he has a better supply of bullets then the last time they were in a stand off. Harvey wants Penguin to hand over Nygma. Oswald has a better idea he counts to three they leave or he will mow them all down.
Harvey asks Eduardo if they are good. Delta Force lower their weapons and are willing to let Oswald count. With nervous laughter Oswald tells Harvey he isn’t thinking clearly. Harvey tells Oswald to go ahead and count. Oswald looks between Eduardo and Harvey and you can see the confidence in their eyes. Oswald counts one and instantly his henchmen are taken out by snipers, with a red light aimed at Oswald he doesn’t bother to count two and Harvey asks “how’s that for better prepared. Where is Ed Nygma.”
Edward Nygma has made a visit to the Sirens to see Barbara as information is Barbara’s specialty. With the whole of Gotham looking for Ed she takes pleasure in teasing Ed that she will make a jigsaw out of his face. With a knife to his throat Ed asks Barbara if he is really that dumb. With the years of plotting and betrayals between them has Barbara ever known Nygma to do something so idiotically brutal as shooting a rocket into a building full of innocent people? Ed pleads that he not kill those people in Haven, well not exactly. Barbara sends her ladies away so Ed can continue to explain that Oswald took him to Hugo Strange when he was hurt. Barbara sees this as a weak excuse for murdering innocent people but Ed is convinced someone is controlling him. Why should Barbara help Ed? Because who’s working with Strange? Who would Force Ed to kill all those people? Information is Barbara’s lifeblood and Ed would be able to give her the best intel Barbara has ever had, if she agrees to help Ed.
With a punch to the face from Eduardo back at the GCPD, Oswald is asked again where is Edward Nygma? Jim reminds Oswald he is protecting a mass murderer and tells him not to look to him for sympathy. Oswald refuses to talk to Jim with Eduardo around. Jim nods to Eduardo to leave. Oswald chuckles to himself as he believes the saying, you can judge a man by his friends. Jim never being afraid to be honest with Oswald reminds him that he has no friends, he just wants Oswald to talk. Oswald sees Ed as someone who is taken advantage of and not a mass murderer. Puzzles and games are his thing with a odd killing here and there, but not hundreds of people. Oswald knows this so does Jim. So who set Ed up?
Jim wants information and Oswald wants to go home, but Eduardo won’t let that happen. Oswald reminds Jim that he thought he was in charge. Jim hates to admit it but Oswald is right. Even if Jim let’s Oswald go sooner or later the Army will come for him. Things may be changing in Gotham but Oswald is willing to take his chances.
Jim knows where Nygma is going. Even though it’s obvious to Eduardo, he pushes open the the interrogation room door to see if Jim let Penguin go. Eduardo has to ask Jim if he knows what he is doing. Jim bluntly responses “we know what we have to do right?”
BD Wong makes his return as the experimental Professor, Hugo Strange. He scolds two men who are wheeling in a body bag for being late and the last body they procured for him was gangrenous. Hugo gets a bit of a surprise when Ed pops out of the body bag. Professor Strange in his polite manner tries to have a conversation with Ed. But Ed wants to skip the parts where Hugo made him into a killing machine and take control of his alter ego. Ed wants answers to why Hugo Strange made him kill all those people in Haven? Strange is genuinely surprised that Ed was responsible and finds it most interesting. Hugo Strange doesn’t know anything about Ed’s alter egos but he does confess when he was sewing up his knife wound, he may of tinkered with his grey matter. Strange has put a chip in Ed’s brain. This allows Ed to be controlled remotely. Hugo has no control he gave it to others. He agrees to Ed that he will write it down so if ever asked he can honestly say that Strange never told Ed. Hugo tricks Ed into thinking he is getting something to write it down but he sprays Ed with solution to temporary knock out his neural functions. But Strange is mystified at how Ed new he was being controlled, so he decides to open Ed up again to take a look under the hood.
So Ed has a chip in his head. This did make me frown as I wasn’t expecting this reveal. But after watching the scene and looking at it from Hugo Strange’s perspective, he was given a contract and he just happen to have Ed there who is known for having a double personality. Also Professor Strange knows Ed from Arkham Asylum. I’ve always known that Hugo Strange would be connected to what has happened to Ed and its a great twist.
As Hugo is stapling Ed’s incision in his head he explains to Ed that the chip got overloaded but everything is updated now. Hugo is going to let his handlers know. As a surprise to Hugo, Jim asks him to expand on that. Strange claims he helping a man with a medical condition but Jim doesn’t buy into that. Jim demands Ed is woken up immediately, this happens with another spray and Ed wakes up screaming.
The contract is explained by Hugo and its revealed that Eduardo Dorrance has the remote control for Ed. Hugo is escorted out by Delta Force as Jim wants to know what is going on. Eduardo refuses to share any details with Jim as it’s part of the ops need to know moments. Dorrance could not say anything until they had Ed in custody because Secretary Walker wants Ed dead. Walker is behind everything and controlling Nygma. Jim doesn’t understand why she would want to destroy Haven. Eduardo doesn’t ask questions he just follows orders and Walker wants Jim to put the bullet in Edaward Nygma’s brain. Naturaly Jim refuses but this is a proof of loyalty to Walker so she can move forward with the final relief plans.
Jim wants reasons and truth for the devastation of Haven. Eduardo reminds him that it’s not time for reasons and truth. It’s Jim chance to be part of the mission. Again Eduardo hands Jim a gun for Ed or he will put a bullet in Jim. Jim can see now that his old friend would rather put a bullet in him over some bureaucrat. Eduardo sees it as the mission comes first, Jim always told him that. The answer is still no from Jim and he drops his gun and punches Eduardo and makes an escape through the open hatch in the wall where Hugo Strange discards dead bodies. Eduardo uses the remote to give Ed his next orders. Ed knows Jim Gordon, Ed knows the city, find him then kill him. Ed obediently takes the gun and follows Jim through the window in the wall.
Oswald carries his dog Edward to a wall which is a secret passage. Carefully Oswald carries Edward down a steep narrow staircase. When he switches the light on there is large room filled creates and antiques. Oswald tells Edward that it’s time for a change of scenery. Very Intriguing!
Jeremiah Valeska survived his stabbing by Selina. Ecco removes some bricks to reveal his resting place. As Ecco encourages Jeremiah to wake up she is startled to hear Jeremiah say “ouch” as his stitches must be sore. Ecco reminds Jeremiah that it would of never of happened if he had worn the armour that Ecco had prepared for him. In a very funny moment and just shows how bonkers this couple is, Jeremiah thinks the bullet in Ecco’s head has made her sentimental. He tells Ecco to give her head a shake and you can hear the bullet rattling around in her head. Jeremiah had to let Selina stab him once. Ecco gets it, Selina and Bruce need to think that Jeremiah is dead. Anyhow Jeremiah is hoping Ecco has news, which she does. The tunnel they have digging doesn’t lead out of Gotham but straight into Wayne Manor. Jeremiah walks out of the fireplace to be greeted by a surgeon, who informs Jeremiah that the bandages are ready to come off. Two people are sat in chairs with their backs to the camera. As the doctor reveals his work Jeremiah is so so pleased at his work. Jeremiah is overcome just how beautiful the people look and Jeremiah just loves family reunions.
This episode of Gotham was perfect in every way and the season is going along at a good pace to get questions answered. Goodness knows what the next seven episodes have in store for us but I really can’t wait.
My overall score for Pena Dura 10/10.