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Recap / Gotham S2 E1 "Damned If You Do..."

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Gordon has been busted back to uniformed patrolman and Penguin has taken over as king of Gotham. But a new evil begins to make its presence known in the city.


Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: You really can't blame Alfred for flipping his lid when Bruce tells him that he's building a bomb.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When told that Jim would have to collect a debt for Penguin in order to get his job back, Bruce asks Jim if he's sacrificing the greater good for the sake of his dignity.
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  • Bad Boss: Theo doesn't bat an eye at turning Zaardon into a human gas bomb.
  • Birds of a Feather: Jerome figures that he and Barbara are this, since they both killed their parents.
  • Blatant Lies: After getting a call from Barb, Jim claims it was a sales call. Lee (predictably) doesn't buy it.
  • Boobs of Steel: To date, Tabitha Galavan is the most well-endowed female character in the show; she's also strong enough to pull down a man twice her size.
  • Complete-the-Quote Title: The title is the first part of the saying "Damned if you do, damned if you don't".
  • Cutting the Knot: After spending weeks trying different combinations to open his father's secret office, Bruce decides he's had enough and blows up the door with a homemade bomb.
  • Dark Action Girl: Tabitha acts as her brother's main enforcer, being skilled with guns, whips and knives.
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  • Deal with the Devil: Gordon does a favor for Cobblepot to get his detective job back, but he's unsure if he did the right thing.
  • Decapitation Presentation: During his and Cobblepot's nighttime visit to Loeb, Zsasz shows him what's left of his bodyguard.
  • The Dragon: Tabitha is Theo's right-hand woman, doing all the hands-on dirty work.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Theo speaks in a fairly polite manner, but is unrepentant about the chaos he's planning to cause.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Tabitha's outfit of choice is all tight leather and leaves little to the imagination.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Unlike the villains of the first season, who wore their motivations on their sleeves, the audience is completely in the dark about what the Galavans want to do with the city.
  • I Got Bigger: David Mazouz has gained height, which is very noticeable after a several month break. In the pilot, he was very much shorter than Ben McKenzie and easily seen as a vulnerable kid. When Bruce Wayne shakes hands with (and directly challenges) Jim Gordon in this episode, not only is he more confrontational, he's approaching physical equality.
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  • Large Ham: Zaardon, the Galavans' mook, spends every second he's on screen chewing the scenery.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: As part of his psychotic break, Nygma's split personality is presented this way.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Penguin makes it very clear he'll kill Loeb unless he retires, so that he can't screw with Gordon again after he's reinstated.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Subverted. Bruce tries for a month to figure out the passcode to his father's secret room, but ultimately resorts to blowing it open. It's only afterwards that he finds out the code was his name.
  • Race Lift: The various incarnations of the comics character Tabitha Galavan is based on have all been Caucasian, but she's played by African-Americannote  Jessica Lucas on the show.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!:
    • Bullock's left the GCPD after being demoted to beat cop, and is now working as a bartender.
    • Gordon initially has this attitude after being fired, but changes his mind after getting chewed out by Bruce.
  • Sex for Services: Strongly implied that Barbara does this with Sionis in exchange for a telephone.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The opening montage uses the classic Lou Reed song "Perfect Day" against a backdrop of people looking sad and tired.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Oswald and Victor have such a moment when they're intimidating Loeb, with very successful results.
  • Thrown from the Zeppelin: When Sionis refuses to work for the Galavans, Theo has Tabitha kill him.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Bruce is not very polite in this episode.
  • Villain Team-Up:
    • Tabitha Galavan breaks out several inmates from Arkham at her brother's behest to have them form a villain gang.
    • A smaller scale example, but Selina is apparently working for Penguin now.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Even though he's only recently arrived to Gotham, Theo Galavan is already well-regarded enough to stand in for the Mayor in public events. But nobody knows he is secretly a villain.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Jim tells Bruce that he can't keep his promise to solve his parents' murder because he's not willing to compromise his morals to get his job back, Bruce is... less than understanding.
  • Whip It Good: Tabitha uses a bullwhip as her Weapon of Choice.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Barbara tries to pull this on Gordon, claiming that Leslie is the crazy one and attacked her. Jim doesn't buy it.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Subverted! Alfred claims "there must be a million combinations" for the lock. Bruce tries codes up to six digits long; if that's the maximum then the number of possible codes is 1,111,110.
  • Yandere: Barb makes a dirty deal to get her hands on a phone to try to convince Jim that she's innocent. When he understandably doesn't believe her, she calls Lee to tell her that she hopes she dies screaming.
  • You Owe Me: When Penguin asks why he should get Gordon reinstated, Jim points out that he saved his bacon last episode. Penguin however won't do something for nothing.

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