Synopsis of 2×07 Theo is elected the new mayor of Gotham City and is targeted by Penguin after Tabitha kills Cobblepot’s mother. Gordon realizes Theo has manipulated the GCPD and the city and threatens the new mayor.
This whole of “Mommy’s Little Monster” could fit under the broader “What Dumb Bullshit is Happening in the Galavan Subplot” label. As I’ve said since just about the first episode of the season, Galavan’s entire plot depends on every person in positions of power going against their best interests, better judgements, or even the most obvious choice. Theo, and Gotham more broadly, continues to operate under the idea that everything the villain has done is in service to a larger plan, one that he’s meticulously mapped out and and planned for every possible discrepancy but it sort of falls apart in this episode.
I mean, I still totally don’t buy the idea that Gothamites would vote for a guy who stabbed a child in the neck on live television but at this point, we’re basically way beyond realistic, understandable logic. He clearly isn’t planning to himself get stabbed in the fucking neck this episode but hey whatever. Writing competently motivated plots is hard and takes slightly longer than the Gotham writers tend to plan for. Here, he gives the go ahead to murder Penguin’s mother in a move that gives him nothing but another problem to deal with in a rage-filled Cobblepot. It’s maybe the most clearly idiotic thing this incredibly idiotic character has done.
For the sake of my own sanity, let’s just look at what exactly Theo’s plan is. He’s created a threat of villains to menace Gotham before building himself as a hero when he kills one of them. He believes this will lend him a sense of legitimacy to Gotham’s voters, despite just moving to town two months ago. This is, in and of itself, incredibly stupid but that’s not even the whole thing.
Galavan also is working to secure a place at Wayne Enterprises as part of his complicated, not quite explained yet, plans to take revenge on the Wayne family for the clan’s generations past crimes. In order to do this, he’s pushed Silver St. Cloud closer to Bruce in order to make him trust in the family more and more. This is also, total nonsense. As previously established, Bruce doesn’t have any power on the Wayne Enterprise board and has been manipulated over and over again by those who do. The idea that he could do any selling or hiring seems ludicrous at best.
The only person who puts any thought into this absolute fucking nonsense is Jim and he shows how transparent this bullshit is. Gordon’s a smart guy but he’s a gut thinker, not one accustomed to putting puzzle pieces together on his own. If he can put this together, literally every other character should, maybe short of Bullock. By the time the pair get the straight answer from Butch, it becomes even clearer that everyone should have been realizing the answers to this long ago. Galavan’s plan has always been one leaky mouth short of falling apart at the seems and Butch proves just how easy it is to bring this whole house of cards down.
Despite knowing the facts on Penguin’s recent actions as well as Galavan’s role in those actions, Jim still goes through with the ridiculous, increasingly obvious manipulation by Theo. He sets up endless defenses for the new mayor and does nothing to even question Galavan’s actions. He should know by now that Galavan pushing for martial law and a more militarized police force would be another part of the villain’s schemes but nope.
That would be too much logic for an episode of Gotham. Instead, he wanders through Theo’s party like a dope, doing the bare minimum to look into his suspicions. That’s up to and including the moment when he reveals he thinks Theo is a murderer and still does nothing. The two share a threatening moment at the episode’s end but it’s as toothless as the two’s plotting throughout the episode. Both appear as uninformed and foolish as the 44 minutes proceeding that one. What’s to make a viewer think they’re capable of more?
It’s worth noting Nygma’s plot here too. It’s at least more clearly, thoughtfully written than Theo’s, but not by much. Ed’s being played by his darker side, a Tyler Durden figure who owes more to the character in this year’s atrocious Fight Club 2 comic than the superior book or film. There’s a host of tonal problems to the plot, namely a jaunty musical number in the midst of Ed’s investigation but the more pertinent issue is the use of death.
Gotham has vastly turned Kringle into a woman in a refrigerator, using her solely as a stumbling block of a corpse on the way to Ed’s transformation into the Riddler. It’s ill considered and obvious, another in the endless list of woman in refrigerators that exist only to characterize comic book men.
There are a few redeeming moments in this episode. A sitcommy moment between Lee and Jim earns a few well deserved laughs and Penguin’s attack plan, in which all of his shooters are dressed as him, is probably the most clever thing anyone does in this episode. As usual, these moments don’t make up for the episode’s bigger problems. Theo and Nygma’s stories notwithstanding, this episode still features another particularly uncomfortable mass shooting and a very silly moment between Silver and Selina which ends up being funny for all the wrong reasons. All in all, it leads to if not one of the show’s worst, then at least one of it’s dumbest, most perfunctory hours.