Gotham Season 4 Episode 15 Review: The Sinking Ship, The Grand Applause

A super villain team up for the ages as the Sofia Falcone saga reaches a bloody climax.

This Gotham review contains spoilers.

Gotham Season 4 Episode 15

Gotham has always been a throw-a-bunch-of-stuff-together-and-see-what-sticks type of series. That has never been more apt than in this week’s episode. Check out this list of villains that appear in “The Sinking Ship, The Grand Applause:” Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Barbara Kean, Tigress, Solomon Grundy, Victor Zsazs, Headhunter, Solomon Grundy, Mister Freeze, that weird psycho dentist dude, Sofia Falcone, and Ra’s Al Ghul. Heck, Poison Ivy is lingering around as well. So how the heck can there be a coherent story with all those moving parts (keep in mind we didn’t even mention the good guys yet)? The answer is there can’t, as Gotham overloads to the point of farce. But to be honest, while the incongruity of the whole episode made me feel woozy, I have to admit it is all still good fun.

Also this week, it is evidently revealed the bullets don’t work anymore because Jim Gordon is shot like five times and doesn’t die while Sofia Falcone is shot twice, once right between the eyes, and also doesn’t die. Gordon is now Wolverine, I guess, but before we have to suspend our disbelief ever further, let’s break down the episode.

Everything centers on the hunt for Sofia Falcone. Falcone betrayed Gordon and Penguin, and has left Oswald Cobblepot locked up in Arkham Asylum. Falcone has also brutalized Lee Thompkins, breaking her hand and exiling her from the Narrows. This week, Penguin busts out of Arkham with Riddler’s help and plots with Thompkins to help bring down Falcone. Bullock and Gordon are on board as everyone is after Gotham’s newest crime lord. Riddler and Penguin come up with a whole bunch of plans to go after Falcone, first trying to get Grundy to join (he refuses because he’s Butch again) and finally settle on having a returning Mister Freeze encasing Penguin in a block of ice and delivering him Han Solo style to Falcone. Got all that?

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It’s all overly confusing and just lacks any sense of coherence as Bat villains step in and out of the story like a game of musical chairs. I’m absolutely shocked there was no place for Jerome in this mess, because hey, Jerome is always awesome. Anyway, Penguin busts out of his frigid trap but Falcone gets away. Gordon and Bullock fight Zsasz and Headhunter and it’s all a load of eye candy because the action on Gotham is always quality and well done, Gordon tracks Falcone down, a gun fight ensues, Lee kills Sofia because why not, Gordon is shot a bunch of times and doesn’t die, and Sofia is revealed to be in a coma because reasons and we wrap.


Now, Gordon could have just been shot once and the showdown with Sofia would still have resonance. I really dig that Lee saves Gordon, but I just can’t buy into Gordon being shot multiple times and not dying. And listen, I buy into ice people and plant women, so I’m not exactly cynical with my comic book media. I also was quite enjoying Sofia Falcone as this season’s big bad and I’m kind of sorry she has been taken out. I know, she’s in a coma and Ra’s Al Ghul is still in play so I’m suspecting Sofia will be getting a power upgrade shortly.

Speaking of Ra’s Al Ghul, can you believe that there was a B and C plot in this week’s overly busy episode? In the secondary storyline, Barbara Kean and Tabitha reunite with Butch. Now that Butch is in control of the Grundy persona, he promises Tabitha he will find a way to return to normal. Meanwhile, Barbara is suffering some fugue states and headaches. At episode’s end, she starts shining and hallucinates a visit from Ra’s Al Ghul, because I guess every Bat villain needs to appear this week. Well, that’s how you can get the Demon’s Head into the Falcone plot, I guess.

The tertiary story deals with Bruce helping Selina get the jewels back she stole from that family Poison Ivy went after a few weeks ago. Bruce and Selina kick some pawn shop heavies’ asses and succeed in their mission. The simplicity of this plot is a breath of fresh air when compared to the convoluted wreck the rest of the episode turned out to be.

But listen, the Penguin and Riddler together is always a delight and I’m not going to be too mad at a series that features Solomon Grundy in a prominent role. My Super Friends loving heart just won’t allow that. There are just too many inconsistencies to not call out. I mean, I know Lee has been through some stuff, but she has been established as a woman who reviles violence; I just can’t buy into the ease in which she shoots Sofia in the dome and then gleefully breaks someone’s hand with a hammer. I also can’t buy the unhesitating trust between Penguin and Riddler. Wasn’t all last season about the two trying to violently murder each other? I didn’t even mention the fact that Penguin’s bookkeeper, who also has some screen time this week because why not, has a dressing as a baby fetish. Oh, Gotham! At least we don’t have to deal with Bruce’s affluenza anymore.

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But it’s all in good fun and the hour flies by quickly. But wow, there really is no semblance of coherence on Gotham anymore is there? Thank goodness the scenery chewing characters and always excellent cast make this mess worth the viewing time.


2.5 out of 5