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Recap / Gotham S2 E14 "This Ball of Mud and Meanness"

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Hugo Strange continues to subject the Penguin to his "therapy". Meanwhile, Alfred and Bruce follow their lead to Matches Malone.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Ate His Gun: How Malone kills himself after talking to Bruce.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Malone has killed so many people that he doesn't even remember the Waynes until Bruce prompts him with a few details of the event.
  • Call-Back:
    • The first view Bruce has of Malone is his shoes, the sight of which was very important in the pilot episode.
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    • Dr. Gerald Crane's fear serum is apparently part of the "treatment" that Strange is subjecting Penguin to.
  • Call-Forward: Nygma starts to use a green question-mark as his trademark.
  • Death Seeker: When Bruce finally has Malone at gunpoint, he realizes that Malone wants to die, which dissuades him from going through with it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Malone won't kill babies. He'll kill women and children, but he'll charge a lot more for that. Goes even further as he reveals that he has become suicidally depressed over all the evil he's done and his lack of punishment for it.
    • Miss Peabody has no problem psychologically torturing people or with the experiments Strange is running in the basement, but even she questions the wisdom of putting the Penguin back on the streets without even informing the police.
  • I Gave My Word/My Way or the Highway: Cupcake insists that Alfred fight him before he'll give up the information on Malone. When Alfred wins the fight, he keeps his end of the bargain.
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  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Bullock complains that Alfred is flatly admitting planning to commit murder in front of police detectives.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Strange uses the fear serum in his treatment of Penguin. In the comics, he actually used the fear toxin before Scarecrow ever did.
    • "The Mutants" was the name of an apocalyptic gang in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Alfred's fight with their leader, in fact, mirrors one that an aged Batman had in the comic.
    • Two members of the Mutants fight each other, with one member blindfolded and trying to find his opponent with a game of Marco Polo, only they use the name "Solomon Grundy" instead.
    • Jeri resembles Harley Quinn, particularly the Arkham video games version of Quinn.
    • She asked "what time is it?" Overall her twitchy manner and scarred clown makeup make her something of a Distaff Counterpart to the Ledger Joker.
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    • She at one point even forces Bruce to point the gun in his hands directly at her forehead, just like the Ledger Joker did during his conversation with Harvey Dent in the hospital.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "Ball of Mud and Meanness"? Surely that means Clayface will be introduced in this episode, right? Nope.
  • Not Worth Killing: Bruce finally comes to this realisation when he meets Matches Malone.
  • The Paranoiac: Nygma convinces himself that Gordon suspects him of Miss Kringle's murder and that Gordon's denial of having done anything to look further into her disappearance is a trap to catch him, even though Gordon was telling the truth; he'd spent the time chasing after Bruce and, other than idle curiosity, hadn't yet had any real reason to look into the story of her running off with her boyfriend.
  • Secret Test of Character: Strange tests the effect of his treatment by putting Penguin in a room with a knife and a bound inmate who had beaten him up earlier. Penguin uses the knife to free the other inmate from his bonds.
  • Suicide by Cop: It becomes pretty clear after a while that Matches wants Bruce to kill him.
  • The Un-Reveal: We never learn who hired Malone to kill Bruce's parents.
  • Walking the Earth: Bruce leaves to live with Selina on the streets as he's realized that if he wants to have justice in Gotham, he has to know all of Gotham, not just the parts of it his privileged background gives him access to.
  • Would Hit a Girl / Would Hurt a Child: Malone, but only if he gets paid extra.
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