Gotham Review: Five Standout Moments From A Bitter Pill To Swallow


Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Gotham episode A Bitter Pill To Swallow

Greetings Batman fans and welcome to another Gotham episode review! This week we are going to explore five moments from A Bitter Pill To Swallow that really stood out to me. These are not necessarily the five most important moments, just the ones that stood out the most to me. I have numbered the moments in the order they appear in the episode instead of trying to number them in order of importance.

Next: #1:....Tabitha Galavan Puts A Hit On Jim Gordon

Standout Moment No. 1: Tabitha Galavan Puts A Hit On Jim Gordon

In the opening scene of the episode we see Tabitha Galavan, who has not been arrested with her brother, enter an empty bar and request a very specific drink. It turns out that this bar is the front for a secret club of professional hitmen. It’s pretty clear from the moment she sits down with the woman in charge who her intended target will be, although her motivations turn out not to be what I expected. We learn much later on in the episode, just before the very end in fact, that Tabitha went against her brother’s wishes to put a hit on Gordon. In fact, he expressly told her not to do anything, but Tabby has grown so attached to Barbara Kean that she wants revenge on the man she feels is responsible for Barbara’s critical condition.

I actually thought that Theo had ordered Tabitha to hire an assassin, as he just had Barbara Kean attempt to kill Jim in the previous episode Tonight’s The Night. Therefore the significance of this moment actually changes from the beginning of the episode to the end. At the beginning of the episode this scene is meaningful as it shows that Theo Galavan is still determined to get rid of Jim Gordon, and that his reach far exceeds the bars of his jail cell. It also sets up the plot for most of the episode, as Gordon, Captain Barnes and a rookie cop are holed up in Theo Galavan’s apartment fending off trained killers for most of the episode. But at the end of the episode we find out that Tabitha putting a hit on Gordon is significant because it means she is willing to disobey her brother on certain matters, and because she has actually put her relationship with Theo in jeopardy as he threatens to cut her throat should she disobey him again.

Next: #2:....Nygma And Penguin Bond With A Song And A Murder Victim

Standout Moment No. 2: Nygma And Penguin Bond With A Song And A Murder Victim

In the previous episode Tonight’s The Night, Edward Nygma stumbles upon a grievously injured Oswald Cobblepot hiding in a trailer deep in the woods. Throughout this episode as Nygma works to nurse the ailing Penguin back to health he makes several attempts to befriend and cheer up the king of Gotham. Penguin wants nothing to do with Nygma or anything else for that matter for most of the episode, as he has fallen into a depression due to failing to kill his mother’s murderer, Theo Galavan. As Penguin is resting in an effort to heal, he often talks about his mother in his sleep and at one point even hums a song she used to sing to him every night. Nygma, recognizing the song, is playing it on his record player and singing along the next time Penguin wakes up. He is able to finally cheer Penguin up and the two kill one of Galavan’s lackeys together while singing the song Mrs. Cobblepot sang to her baby boy.

I find this moment to be significant because it signals something I was hoping for when I saw last week’s episode, a team up of The Riddler and Penguin. The two quirky villains have cemented their friendship in the spilling of blood and I can’t wait to see the kind of havoc the two can reek together as soon as Penguin is healed. I suspect the two will stick largely to the shadows for now as Penguin still has a long way to go to recover, and because the writers will likely be focusing on the havoc that Theo Galavan and his mysterious ‘brothers’ will be causing for now. We may not see Penguin and Nygma go out on the town until after the show returns from it’s winter break.

Next: #3:....Gordon Puts His Gun In Eduardo Flamingo's Mouth

Standout Moment No. 3: Gordon Puts His Gun In Eduardo Flamingo’s Mouth

The final killer sent after Jim this episode is a cannibal named Eduardo Flamingo, who arrives at Galavan’s apartment building just as Barnes’ and Gordon’s backup gets there. He single handedly takes out all four cops on the street and then declares that he will eat Gordon’s fellow officers before killing Jim himself. Jim was already on edge, having dealt with four trained killers with just himself, Captain Barnes and a rookie, and of course trying to keep Captain Barnes alive long enough for EMTs to get to them. Gordon makes the decision, against Barnes’ wishes, to confront Flamingo alone on the street while the rookie Officer Parks stays with Barnes to keep him from bleeding out while they wait for help. During his scuffle with Flamingo Gordon quickly gets the upper hand and repeatedly punches his would be killer in the face. In a moment of rage as Eduardo lays on the ground laughing at Jim, Gordon roars in anger and shoves his gun in Flamingo’s mouth.

Throughout all of season two so far Gordon has been courting darkness, and stepping over the moral line that he set for himself, things he would never have been willing to do in season one he has been doing left and right in season two. I really thought for a moment here that he was going to kill Flamingo, blow his head off just like Barnes did to an escaping POW during his time in the army. It becomes clear however, that Barnes’ words about there being no line, that any man is capable of anything in the right moment and that it is the law that separates us from the animals has hit home, and Gordon arrests Flamingo just as the EMTs and more cops arrive.

Next: #4:....Eduardo Flamingo Kills Officer Parks

Standout Moment No. 4: Eduardo Flamingo Kills Officer Parks

It seems that not even an hour after holding his gun in Eduardo Flamingo’s mouth Gordon regrets not having just killed the man when he has the chance. Unfortunately the cops were apparently unaware that they were dealing with a cannibal, who is just as dangerous unarmed and with his hands cuffed behind his back as he is normally. In one swift savage moment Flamingo whips around and sinks his teeth into Officer Parks’ jugular as she escorting him through the GCPD to a holding cell. As a group of several cops surrounds and beats on Eduardo to get him off of Officer Parks, he manages to maintain his grip on her throat as they sink to the floor and she quickly bleeds to death in the middle of the GCPD surrounded by her fellow officers desperately trying to save her.

The significance of this moment, other than another of Barnes rookies being killed, or a cannibal killing a cop within the GCPD with just his teeth, is ultimately Gordon’s reaction to the news of Parks’ death. While Eduardo Flamingo is being brought into the GCPD Gordon is at home with Lee having his scrapes and bruises looked at and having a much needed discussion about his behavior of late and how he’s been toying with his darker side. Just when it seems that Lee has broken through to Jim and they are making some progress, they receive the news of Officer Parks’ death and Gordon’s expression immediately hardens. It is clear that any progress Lee was making with Jim is lost with this news and he is only going to get darker now.

Next: #5:....The 'Brothers' Arrive

Standout Moment No. 5: The ‘Brothers’ Arrive

In the final moments of the episode, the Order Of St. Dumas finally arrives in force in Gotham. They are greeted by the priest who visited Theo Galavan a few episodes back, and immediately descend upon and murder a security guard on the docks in order to keep their arrival a secret. These are monks from the same religious order who took in Galavan’s ancestor when he fled to Europe after the Waynes cut off his hand and ruined his family.

I chose to highlight this moment because this arrival signals something big for Gotham in the very near future. It also means that soon (by the fall finale I hope) we will learn who this monastic order is. As I mentioned in an earlier review, most fans seem to believe that this group is either the League of Shadows, or the Court of Owls.

Next: Gotham: Nygma Finds A Confidant

I personally think it could also be the Crime Syndicate, who follow the teaches of the Crime Bible, the same group who once tried to kill Batwoman in a ritual sacrifice for being the ‘twice named daughter of Kane’. In the story of the ruin of Galavan’s ancestors they mention that one of Gotham’s ruling families was the Kanes, and the Crime Syndicate is basically a religious group. I hope that this isn’t the Court of Owls as they should have been in Gotham the whole time, as they secretly rule Gotham for hundreds of years by Batman’s time. I realize that Gotham is taking some creative licenses with Batman’s history but I hope that this is not one of them. I’m very excited to see which secret group the brothers turn out to be and what kind of havoc they will reek on Gotham.