Knight Moves: Gotham Episode 405, "The Blade's Path"

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The Blade's Path

Ever since Butch Gilzean (DREW POWELL) was shot in the head, and we learned his true name was Cyrus Gold, fans have been waiting for him to resurrect as Solomon Grundy. Tonight, that wait is over.

As is typical in Gotham, no one is ever truly dead. Must be something in the water. That's certainly the case for Butch. He wasn't killed, but was put into a coma and kept at the hospital for six months. But space is at a premium, and if you've been there long enough, the hospital has a policy of transferring patients "upstate." Which is code for taking them by amulance to Slaughter Swamp and dumping their bodies into the water. But tonight there truly is something in the water: toxic waste, leaking from barrels that are clearly marked INDIAN HILL. (Isn't it nice of companies to plainly label their illegal dumping so it can be tracked back to them so easily?) 

At Wayne Manor, Bruce (DAVID MAZOUZ) is pondering, weak and weary, over a many quaint and curious volume of Doctor Winthrop's notes regarding the embalming knife that Ra's al Ghul (ALEXANDER SIDDIG) is so keen to get his hands on. Bruce has found the translations that the knife is meant for the one bathed in the healing waters. Bruce's interpretation of that, however, is that the knife is the only way to kill that person, and that this is why Ra's wants it so badly -- to destroy it and foil this prophecy. Bruce plans to take the knife and kill Ra's, but Alfred (SEAN PERTWEE) cautions him that he took a vow against killing; Alfred's been down that path already, and he wants to protect Bruce from following it.

While Bruce and Alfred attend Alex's funeral, Detective James Gordon (BEN MCKENZIE) takes Alfred aside to tell him, as a courtesy, that Nanda Parbat has demanded Ra's be released from Blackgate, claiming diplomatic immunity. Neither wants Bruce to know this, because they don't want him to do something stupid. Bruce, however, eavesdrops on the conversation, and immediately goes home for his suit and the knife.

At Blackgate, Barbara Kean (ERIN RICHARDS) visits Ra's in his cell. She's ready to break him out, but he declines and tells her goodbye. But Barbara's not ready to go yet. She says she was promised power beyond imagining for helping Ra's, and wants that delivered. Ra's then transfers some sort of power to her, which she doesn't understand, but which Ra's tells her she will come to see in time.

Back at Slaughter Swamp, a chalk-white Butch Gilzean pulls himself out of the waters--with a regrown hand! He has no memory of who he is, and approaches an encampment of tramps, singing along with a Victrola around a fire to the folks song, "Solomon Grundy." He fights them, gets some clothing, and takes his name from the song.

Under the Pax Penguina, Gotham's crime numbers have gone down, largely due to Penguin's licensing criminals. 86% of all criminal activity is now licensed, but Penguin (ROBIN LORD TAYLOR) wants the other 14%. He wants to make examples of the outliers. He is interrupted when Sofia Falcone (CRYSTAL REED) comes to him with an unexpected proposal: lunch. If he's seen with her, it will show others he has the support of the Falcone family, and he will then have 100% of the control he seeks.

Edward Nygma (CORY MICHAEL SMITH) is faring far less well than Penguin. The former Riddler is desperate to recapture the intellect he possessed before his brain was frozen and thawed, and now he can't even successfully rob a pharmacy without the clerk getting the better of him. He's looking for anything that can help him, including experimental drugs, but he's finding nothing. But in the alley, something finds him: Grundy! Ed recognizes Butch, and fears that Butch is looking for revenge on him and Barbara, but quickly realizes that Butch has (a) regrown his hand and (b) has no memory of anything. But Grundy realizes that Ed knows him, and latches on to him for help.

Bruce infiltrates Blackgate Prison to kill Ra's, unaware that all the guards have been replaced with al Ghul's own men. He gets close to al Ghul and draws the blade over his sleeping form, but then puts it away. Suddenly al Ghul is awake and chiding Bruce over being weak, and orders the guards to take him down below. Bruce is already in the sub-basement when Gordon and Alfred arrive, looking for Bruce and knowing that this is where he would go. They find him just as he's finished battling with Ra's, enraged and frightened by Ra's threats. It seems that what Ra's really wanted was release from his curse, and only the knife could kill him. He wants Bruce to kill him. But if Bruce doesn't, he promises he'll leave, let Bruce grow up, forget about him, and then come again and kill his wife and children in front of him. Gordon arrives just in time to see Ra's doing his best "Dracula in Sunlight."

Partnerships are forged in this episode that are going to drive things for the first half of the season. Penguin finally accepts Sofia Falcone's presence, as she deftly controls his Freudian connections to his mother, and Ed gets stuck with Grundy, who sees Ed as "smart" because he knows that fire can be put out with water. Ed's plan is to use Grundy in underground fight clubs to generate cash, and use that cash to find a cure for his mental acuity problem. And you won't believe who's tending wounds in the underground fight club!

And back at Wayne Manor, Bruce is preparing to burn his suit. Alfred stops him, stating that he knows they took up the vigilante routine to prepare for Ra's al Ghul, but that it's grown into being so much more than that now. Bruce, however, feels unworthy of the role. "I'm not the hero Gotham needs," he says, echoing sentiments from the Christopher Nolan films. But Alfred takes the suit and says if that ever changes, the suit will be waiting for him.



4.0 / 5.0