If this episode was to be summed up in one word it would be “repercussions”. After last weeks epic episode, Gotham dealt with the fallout from all that happened. From Gordon and Bullock, to Penguin and Fish Mooney, to Essen and Barbara, all was dealt with.
It’s great seeing that the walkout scene from before (where everyone walked out on Jim when Zsasz was in the station ready to kill him) was on point for much of the episode. As Bullock noted, all the other cops were treating him like he had the plague, and Gordon resented them all for walking out. This brought out the still shifting feelings from Bullock and Essen about Gordon. Bullock did help him, but he still believes in the system that worked before in regards to Falcone. Essen wanted to help him, but didn’t know if she should. By the end of the The Mask it was more clear about where their loyalties lied.
The villain of the week turned out to be a reference to a future villain of Batman. One Richard Sionis, complete with black mask! Fans will get the joke.
It was funny to see how the backbone of the story was a Fight Club type thing with a Joker-esque “you win and your in” kind of thing. It was gimmicky to be sure, but it had its moments. Especially when it was a three-on-one attack on Gordon with a bonus of $1 million dollars to whoever killed him. Only for all three, plus Sionis, to be taken down by Gordon. Warrior indeed.
The other interesting story concerned Penguin and Mooney as they each continued to vie for power. Each did their own unique moves, and each had inspiration from their mothers, which gave an interesting dichotomy to the proceedings. This furthers the storyline as now Mooney believes she has the ability to unravel Falcone, while Penguin now knows Mooney has someone close to him.
My personal favorite part of “The Mask” though was the Bruce and Alfred storyline. Not the least of which was because of the introduction of Tommy Elliot, who made a very different debut than his comic counterpart, but one that might be a bit of fun to return to now and again. The true takeaway here is that not only do we see the anger that Bruce has in him, but now he wants to get it out. But not through solving his parents murder, but by having Alfred teach him to fight. This is going to be good.
Their were two letdowns for this episode, Barbara and Nygma. The former continues to behave super irrationally, which makes her scenes painful to watch. One minute she’s drunk and almost shoots Jim, then she’s calm and gets mad because he can’t talk while he’s at work, then she flatout walks away from him. Really?
And then there’s Nygma, who again frustrates with his over-the-top personality that’s supposed to remind us of The Riddler he’s supposed to become. The problem is that he’s so annoying we don’t care. The only part I found acceptable was that he referred to the coroner as an ignoramus after finding an important clue. It’s good to see resentment towards his lesser intellect colleagues, but he still has a long way to go before being acceptable as a character.
In the end, “The Mask” was a good followup to “The Penguin’s Umbrella”, as it dealt with the fallout from that episodes encounters. With the return of a certain thief, and the arrival of a very powerful attorney coming up, Gotham seems to be on the right track to a great season overall.