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Recap / Gotham S2 E9 "A Bitter Pill to Swallow"

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Bruce tries to find out the information Galavan claimed to have on his parents' killer. Tabitha Galavan takes out a contract on Gordon's life with The Lady, who sends a group of killers after him. Edward Nygma treats the Penguin's injuries and asks for career advice in being a killer.


  • Bad Liar: Alfred sees right through Bruce's plan to sneak out and meet Silver, and tells him the fact he's terrible at lying is why his attempt to con Silver won't work.
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  • Call-Back: Barnes's story of executing a helpless prisoner by sticking a gun in his mouth and firing is the situation faced by Gordon when he takes down Flamingo.
  • Carnival of Killers: The Lady runs an association of assassins, whose rules include sending more killers after a target if the first one fails.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: The Flamingo looks a lot like Angry Joe.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: When Gordon is beating the crap out of Flamingo, the latter simply starts laughing.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Parks is killed when the Flamingo bites into her neck.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Barnes reveals that during his time in the Marines he'd killed a helpless prisoner and that act had haunted him for years.
  • Den of Iniquity: The Lady runs a gambling den and bar where her assassins hang out.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: The first assassin offers Gordon a caramel on the elevator, then attacks him with piano wire.
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  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Lady had originally banned Flamingo from her organization due to his cannibalism, but is desperate enough that she hires him back.
  • Faux Action Girl: Despite being hyped up as the toughest female cop in the GCPD, Parks ends up easily overpowered and killed instantly by the Flamingo.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Eduardo Flamingo the cannibal.
  • Foreshadowing: At the beginning of the episode, there's "Hahaha" graffiti over some sinister eyes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Gordon goes down to face Flamingo alone, reasoning that even if he does get killed, no one else will be put in the line of fire.
  • Heroic Wannabe:
    • Unfortunately, Bruce comes across as this in the episode. Alfred often points out how unprepared he is to take on serious villains.
    • Also, Parks is completely useless in the episode as well. Failing to help Gordon in any significant way and being easily killed by the Flamingo while escorting him to his cell.
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  • High-Altitude Interrogation: Gordon dangles the first assassin sent after him out a window in order to get him to talk, but Barnes stops him before it can go anywhere.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Barnes believes that there's no line between good and evil, only between those who follow and uphold the law and those who don't.
  • Honey Trap: Bruce attempts to convince Silver he believes in Galavan's innocence to gain her trust and try to con the information out of her.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Eduardo Flamingo eats parts of his victims.
  • It's Personal: Tabitha holds a huge grudge against Gordon for taking Barbara and her brother away.
  • Man Bites Man: The Flamingo kills his escorting guard by biting into her neck.
  • Moe Greene Special: Gordon kills the assassin holding Officer Parks hostage this way.
  • Mythology Gag: The lights outside Nygma's apartment are green and gives the apartment a green hue during the night, the color most associated with The Riddler. He's also wearing a green sweater and tie, the cut of which hearkens back to his appearance in Batman: The Animated Series.
    • Gordon's situation in this episode is quite similar to what happened in The Killing Joke. Including Gordon proving himself better than that.
    • Flamingo has a pink Skunk Stripe, referencing the color his comic book counterpart's hair and clothing.
  • No-Sell: When Nygma boasts to the Penguin that he's a mass murderer with a whole three people dead at his hands, the Penguin rolls his eyes and is clearly utterly unimpressed.
  • Reality Ensues: Although Galavan is arrested and sitting in Blackgate because of the statement of the freed Mayor James that accuses him of kidnapping and torture, evidence to corroborate it (and the other crimes he's been accused of orchestrating) still has to be found.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Tabitha wants Gordon dead so badly that she accidentally alerts him about Galavan's desperate attempts to stop him from interfering in his plans.
  • Rousing Speech: Villainous example as Nygma gives the Penguin a pep talk to convince him not to give up and that his mother's death freed him from his single major weakness.
  • Save the Villain: Nygma brought Penguin back to Gotham to treat his wounds.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Siege: Gordon, Barnes, and Parks spend nearly the entire episode holed up in Galavan's penthouse, holding off assassins.
  • Taking the Bullet: Captain Barnes intercepts an assassin's attack on Gordon and gets stabbed in his femoral artery.
  • The Unfettered: Nygma tells Penguin that the loss of his mother means the Penguin no longer has anything holding him back, just as Nygma's killing of Miss Kringle "freed" him.
  • Villain Ball/ Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Blinded by rage, Tabitha arranges for assassins to take out Gordon for what he did to her brother. However, this convinces Gordon that Galavan really is desperate to stop his search because he correctly assumes the assassins were meant to stop him.
  • Villainous BSoD: Penguin decides he's had enough with his mother being killed and his empire in ruins and decides to leave Gotham. He can't even bring himself to kill one of Galavan's mooks in revenge. By the end of the episode, however, Nygma's snapped him out of it.
  • Villainous Friendship: Penguin and Nygma form one in this episode.
  • Your Mom: When Gordon asks the first assassin who sent him, he cheerfully replies "Your mother".
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