Gotham: 13 Stitches

Bullock: "Nygma, you're a son-of-a-bitch!"
Nygma: "...not now Bullock!"

Oh how Gotham loves its hiatuses. Even in the midst of its final and condensed year, Gotham wouldn't dare pass up the opportunity to go on break for two weeks, with the same gusto that FedEx delivery men seem to have when knocking my lawn gnomes over. Still, after the wobbly ending 'Pena Dura' left us with, one thing I wasn't expecting out of the follow-up '13 Stitches' was for it to be an enjoyable and very witty installment. If I could, I'd leave the review at that too - it's just some darn fine entertainment.

The plot here is twofold again - one of them revolves around a surprising yet lovely team-up between Oswald and Selina to track down the jewel thief Magpie (who resembles a little too much Frank Reynolds disguising himself as 'Ango Gablogian'), and the other features quite literally every other main cast member united in a strike-back against Eduardo's task force, which has launched a coup against the GCPD at their headquarters. While there's not much here in '13 Stitches' to advance the over-arching plot (apart from a scene in the final five minutes featuring the elusive Walker), I realized I didn't actually mind that, because much of this episode, as stated above, was able to live up to its entertainment value by boiling down to three attributes - genuinely comedic moments, favorable character-gimmicks, or managing to rectify previous issues I've had with other recent episodes.

To give some specific examples, a lot of the humor comes from Oswald and Selina's dynamic (the Batman Returns vibes were a plus here as well) as they pursue Magpie (Sarah Schenkkan), who is also a droll hell-raiser herself. Nygma gets a few laughs here and there too, the best being him playing along at the command of Eduardo as if he was still under remote-control, while not-so-subtly winking at a bewildered Gordon.

Much of the cast got to shine yet again even with limited screentime. No where is that better evidenced than what we saw with Bruce this week. All in all, he probably has just under five minutes of screentime presence, but him smart-mouthing off to Eduardo's authoritarian force before later returning to assist in exposing his plans for Gotham in all-black and a trenchcoat reminiscent of a cape was wonderful. Nygma gets further opportunities to combine explosives with a riddle as part of a distraction ploy, and Selina actually smugly outfoxes Oswald for once, all so that she, as one would expect from Catwoman, can have a crack at taking possession of a valuable jewel Magpie has stolen from Oswald. And Oswald's ambition to leave Gotham behind and turn his attention to setting up shop in other cities was a very distinct turn for his arc, and even though it's pretty apparent Oswald will have to stick around in Gotham in order to face Batman one day, the notion of an extended vacation away from the melodrama of organized crime is something I feel Oswald deserves.

And as for amending some issues I've had in the past, '13 Stitches' wastes no time in the cold open with Gordon effectively impairing the controlling chip in Nygma's head, closing the door on the Nygma-murder-bot story. And in the end, the mysterious Walker appears to give Eduardo the final push towards transforming into the nefarious Bane. I'm stoked that the series is just going for broke with Bane's creation only two episodes after his debut, because Eduardo himself hasn't done much for me. He's nothing I haven't seen a dozen times before in a cocky mercenary character who thinks it's all business and nothing personal in his work. Walker's poppycock of a malicious agenda for Gotham City is something I may call into question in the future though, like for example, why she would tell Eduardo that Nygma was a pawn they could put under remote control, but not reveal the same of Lee, whose head Eduardo was definitely prepared to blow off not ten minutes earlier.

I guess it can't be helped that the above blurbs are really I can spout for '13 Stitches'. Think of the episode as a box of Mike and Ikes; it's a grand treat for a Thursday night, but we don't write paragraph after paragraph on the obvious facts of why a sugary snack tastes good...and now I feel as if I've carried the metaphor too far.

Aaron Studer loves spending his time reading, writing and defending the existence of cryptids because they can’t do it themselves.

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