Gotham Recap: Raiders of Lost Arkham

Gotham Recap Arkham Turf War

A week ago I asked if making Arkham (namely, its iconic and always creepy asylum) a “character” on Fox’s Gotham would serve to prime the freshman drama’s narrative engine.

This Monday’s episode, titled and very much about “Arkham,” answered with a strong yes.

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Spinning a story about the fight for Arkham’s redevelopment served multiple purposes. Most obviously, it gave us something “tactile” and specific for the warring crime organizations to clash over and grab a piece of — Falcone gets to build the low-income housing, while Maroni gets both the contract to spruce up the asylum and a chunk of land for a waste disposal site.

But more interestingly, the lousy, wishy-washy and simply unappealing deal that the mayor signed off on for Arkham rubbed young Bruce the wrong way. For after delving deep into his folks’ files on the matter — Thomas and Martha wished to replace the asylum with a cutting-edge mental health care facility — Bruce was aghast to see the abomination that plan had been watered down into. Rather than offer a new hope, “Everything they’ve worked for has fallen into the hands of criminals,” the lad lamented. “Not everything — you’re alive,” Jim corrected. And, the detective believes, it’s still “worth trying” to save Gotham.

This episode also took major strides in propelling the Penguin closer to power, as he (somewhat predictably) orchestrated a “hit” on Maroni’s restaurant, one where the mild-mannered dishwasher would play hero — to the mob’s mound of money. Oswald celebrated his promotion to manager by treating his accomplices to fresh — poisonous — cannoli.

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Meanwhile over at Fish Mooney’s club, there was an odd bit of psychosexual something going on, as she auditioned female singers to… what, exactly? Seduce men? Seduce her? That sequence led to a showdown between the two finalists, one who had pipes, the other possessing great pluck. The feistier of the two emerged triumphant, and seems destined to play some vital role in Fish’s larger plan.

Lastly, there was pre-marital drama on tap for Gordon and fiancée Barbara, who is getting fed up with his late nights, long hours and refusal to talk about “Oswald Cobblepot.” Barbara comes clean in her own right, revealing the year-long relationship she had with Montoya and explaining why she concealed it from her husband-to-be for multiple reasons. But when Jim steadfastly kept mum on Oswald, Barbara laid down an ultimatum: “Let me in, or let me go.”

What did you think of this week’s episode, “Arkham” — the first in three weeks to not have some “colorful” Baddie of the Week?