TV Review: Gotham - Season 1 Episode 17 "Red Hood"
Episode 17: "Red Hood"
Synopsis: Following several bank robberies, Gordon and Bullock investigate the Red Hood gang. Selina Kyle continues to bond with Barbara, and Fish Mooney tries to reclaim her position in the underworld.
The GCPD: With The Joker potentially introduced last week, GOTHAM ups the ante by introducing another potential candidate for the prime villain with this week's episode. Opening with a bank robbery somewhat reminiscent of THE DARK KNIGHT's first scene, we meet a crew of criminals with a member excited to show off his brand new red hood. Feeling invincible, he cracks jokes and somehow avoids a clip of bullets, all of which he says is due to the hood. As the GCPD arrives, he throws the stolen cash in the air saying it is returned to the people of Gotham. Turns out it may have been planned in advance despite some seeing this new masked villain as a sort of Robin Hood.
Reviewing the surveillance footage, Bullock and Gordon find the criminals casing the bank for a week and see one of the crew wearing the uniform for an auto body shop. At the shop, the crew turns on the "Red Hood" for almost costing them their score, but he is adamant it is good luck and sets them apart. As he rambles about it, a bullet rips through his chest, killing him, while the leader grabs the hood and puts it on himself. Gordon and Bullock soon arrive at the shop but it is vacated since the night before. As Bullock asks for the dirty details about Dr. Thompkins, Bullock stumbles across the dead crewmember in the fridge. While assuming he was the leader and the crew is done, the crew robs another bank and asks only for their insured money. As some bank patrons ask for money like the last hood did, the new one succumbs to their demands and spreads the wealth.
Looking over the new footage, Bullock says more people will follow the gang because of the money they share and Gordon theorizes they could go on forever as long as someone dons the hood. An eyewitness, Mr. Chang, arrives and says he saw the bald leader when he took off the hood and the cops organize a line-up. At the line-up, the bald guy is easily picked out. But, instead of booking him, the cops decide to tail him back to the crew and see if they turn on him and thereby catch them all in the act. Following the bald guy, Clark Destro to his apartment, Bullock and Gordon wait outside. Clark goes inside and the stuttering crewmember is there having ransacked the apartment looking for the hood to pull of a job of his own. Clark says no and is shot, the hood taken from him. Bullock and Gordon charge in and demand the names of the crew. As he lays dying, the cops learn Destro has a stack of denied loans for a pastry shop and that the robberies are revenge since the banks don't care about the little people of Gotham.
The last three guys in the crew head to the last bank but before they can enter, the GCPD surround them outside. The crew open fire on the police. Two are taken down but the one in the hood remains standing. He pulls out another gun forcing Bullock and Gordon to open fire, riddling him with bullets and killing him. As Bullock says he needs a danish, Gordon gets the call about Alfred.
As the hood sits in a gutter, a young boy picks it up and ominously puts it on. He then points his fingers like a gun at the cops and pulls the trigger.
At Wayne Manor: The doorbell rings in the middle of a rainstorm. When Alfred answers the door, he sees his old friend Reginald Payne whom he has not seen in twenty years. Reggie turns out to be a homeless former special operative who served in the military alongside Alfred. Bruce walks in and offers Reggie his home for a few days. The next day, Bruce arrives from a run and Reggie asks who is helping him train. When Bruce says Alfred, Reggie takes off his coat and spars with the young man. Reggie takes Bruce down which angers him and he runs at the older man. Alfred looks on disapprovingly as Bruce hits Reggie in the face as hard as he can, drawing blood, but Reggie asks for more. Bruce says he is so much bigger, but Reggie tells him to use anything to take him down. Alfred steps in and says the methods do not fit into their curriculum and sends Bruce to the shower. Bruce says no and walks away. Alfred tells Reggie he has never raised a child and nothing prepares you for it. Reggie apologizes for overstepping, but Alfred says they need to keep their past in the past.
As Reggie and Alfred talk in the kitchen, Bruce brings them a bottle of wine. Alfred at first refuses, but Bruce says it is okay for the occassional drink. Alfred gives in and pours them each a drink. Reggie then tells stories of Alfred in the service and a time he killed a snake. Reggie then shares that he was in the air force and took covert missions. Reggie hints at one time they lost a man and Alfred seems disapproving. Bruce asks for the story which had Alfred captured by enemy forces during a sandstorm. He fought off twelve men before being taken. Alfred then ends the story and Bruce heads up to bed. Reggie asks why Alfred is hiding his true self from Bruce and that he is a cold blooded, lethal war dog. Alfred then tells Reggie he left clean clothes and packed a lunch for his departure the next day. Reggie then says he sees the faces of the men they killed when he goes to sleep and Alfred concurs.
Later in the night, Alfred hears noise on the main floor of Wayne Manor and finds Reggie stealing. Alfred says he could have given him money but Reggie says he is in big trouble and Alfred doesn't want to know. Alfred tells him to put the bag down and leave. Reggie asks if Alfred brought a gun and that there is no other way and stabs Alfred in the stomach, saying he is so sorry and leaves him bleeding on the floor. Bruce rushes in and calls 911.
Gordon arrives at the hospital where Bruce tells him that he cannot lose Alfred, the only family he has left. Bruce collapses in tears and Gordon embraces the young man as Alfred lays in the hospital bed. At Wayne Enterprises, Reggie tells the board of directors that Bruce has nothing concrete, just cobbled together theories. Reggie tells them that now is the time to make a move on Bruce while Alfred is indisposed. The board then slips Reggie an envelope of money and thanks him for his service and will not need him again. Reggie says Bruce is a good kid but it falls on deaf ears.
Fish Mooney: Fish continues her ascension to meet The Manager at her prison. Walking past the injured and bandaged in cells, Fish meets a man in glasses (Jeffrey Combs) who tells her to sit. He says he manages the facility, but The Doctor owns it. Fish walks out having not met the man in charge, but The Manager says he was given orders to tend to her demands. Fish demands the Doctor's name which is revealed to be Dr. Dulmacher (to be played by Colm Feore). Fish tells The Manager that she will remain in charge of the basement until Dulmacher sits with her and discusses terms. The Manager offers FIsh to his private room for a shower and new clothes and they can then discuss anew.
Washed up, Fish and The Manager discuss how to proceed. Fish asks who is buying the body parts and he says people buy them across the globe as well as Dr. Dulmacher's experiments. Suddenly, two orderlies brandish restraints and The Manager says Fish has two options: they kill everyone in the basement or they take Fish's eyes now. Fish says there is one more option and grabs a spoon, gouging out her own left eye and stomping on it. Holy shit.
The Penguin: At Cobblepot's club, a terrible comedian drives more patrons from the bar when the bartenders tell The Penguin that they are out of alcohol. Butch tells Penguin that the booze comes from Maroni who hates him and will not send it to the club to help. Penguin sets off to find alcohol. He scopes out a warehouse with only two of Maroni's workers and prepares to take them out when GCPD arrive and confiscate the liqour. Butch pops up and tells Penguin that the cops are with him and are just uniformed thugs. Now stocked with drinks, Butch pours Penguin a drink. Penguin checks for poison but Butch tells Penguin he is no longer playing the sidekick and is truly in business with him. They drink and Penguin sees Butch's hand shaking as he pours another. Penguin asks if Butch misses Fish and says he does as well. Butch says she got what she deserved.
Other Characters: At the penthouse, Selina finds Barbara on the balcony drinking and thanks her for letting them stay. Barbara tells Selina she is becoming a beautiful woman and offers to help clean her up. She offers any of her clothes to Selina and Ivy. She picks a dress and shows Selina in a mirror how pretty she is and it is something she can use to her advantage, as powerful as any knife or gun. Selina then turns on Barbara and asks what good it has done her.
Review: I actually liked this episode quite a bit thanks primarily to the fact that it didn't feel like it was a forcefed version of the comic book Red Hood. Instead, we are given what you could look at as a prequel to the real Red Hood. The origin here is more of the hood itself and how it gained a mythology in Gotham City which is what I think many of us hoped this entire series would do with the Batman cast of characters rather than the childhood origins of them all. The Wayne-centric storyline was the highlight this week as we got the great David O'Hara as Reggie. While I am not entirely sold on the Wayne Enterprises conspiracy theory the show is building, the backstory for Alfred has always been a fascinating one.
Penguin's storyline was short but did offer some forward progress for the villain as he begins to find ways to build up his club and therefore his underworld prowess. Penguin has always been one of this show's strongest characters and that shows through in his limited screen time. We also get a very disturbing set of time with Fish who does one of the most graphic things we have seen so far on this show. I am very interested now to see just who The Dollmaker ends up being in the grand scheme of GOTHAM as we haven't heard his name since the second episode of the season. Once again, the weak link this week was the Barbara Kean section as it served no purpose but to slightly build up the sex appeal of the future Catwoman, Selina Kyle.
Overall, this was the strongest episode of GOTHAM in weeks, primarily due to the fact that it didn't feel like it was forcing characters upon us. The Red Hood is still very much a possible recurring character and one I hope haunts the series for a time to come. The biggest shortcoming this week were the cackling hints to The Joker, but those were minor and easily forgiven.
Next Episode: "Everybody has a Cobblepot" airs March 2nd: While Gordon seeks information about the recent controversy with Commissioner Loeb, Fish's allegiance with the prisoners is questioned when she appears to join forces with Dr. Dulmacher. Meanwhile, after an attack close to home, Bruce deals with the aftermath.