Remember Scott Evil?
Yeah, Seth Green's character from the Austin Powers franchise. One of those characters designed as a throwaway joke which was, basically, that he was the only person in the group who thought like a real master criminal would, instead of the way criminals do in movies and television so that they can be easily thwarted, no matter the odds.
He knew that his father (Dr. Evil) wanted Austin Powers dead. So, when Powers was in their custody, he had a simple plan: Kill the guy! You can see above how his plan would have played out but, of course, he was ignored in favor of elaborate plots and Rube Goldberg death traps that always fail.
And so we come to the premise of this week's episode of Gotham.
"Welcome Back, Jim Gordon" was hardly unique in stretching the suspension of disbelief; just about every episode of the series has done that to one extent or another. Still, this episode required a lot of "whaaaa?" in the first ten minutes or so -- and it was all about the juxtaposition of Falcone and Penguin's crowning moment of awesome last week, with their absolute abdication of anything resembling common sense this week.
And it just kept going.
There are a lot of little, interrelated things here tied to Butch and Fish's escape from custody, but we're going to look at them separately, in part because each one is worth exploring a little and in part because it amuses me.
First of all, Butch should be long since dead.
He was surrounded by men with guns who wanted him dead. He was tied up in the back of a van and driven out to the middle of nowhere so they could dispose of his body. And the people who were in charge of that whole operation?
We saw The Penguin's long-gestating master plan pay off last episode, and Falcone, a smart and passionate man who had no problem strangling his would-be girlfriend to death on Cobblepot's word. These aren't people who are stupid, or who are taking chances.
But they let Butch live? The guy has managed to get out of more scrapes than Gordon has in this series, and he's a ruthless bastard with absolutely no loyalty except to Fish. In what world did it make sense to leave him alive?
And, yes, by putting him in that van, you're effectively leaving him alive. There was ample opportunity to untie himself and escape. There was nobody in the back to watch him and make sure he didn't get free of his bonds, to shoot him when he tried or to call up to the front and warn that he was free. He was given escorts half his size, who were then dumb enough to split up.
For no reason.
What was the reason they gave? "Oh, watch him while I take care of the furnace?" You couldn't do that while the guy was standing next to you with a gun to his head? You had to leave your partner alone with the hulking, furious man-mountain who wants you both dead?
We didn't see how he managed to overcome the first of his handlers, but you can guess it goes something like the guy opening the door and Butch immediately smashing into him,having run the length of the van when he started to hear the door opening.
But those guys are flunkies. Okay, whatever. The low-level guys? They make mistakes sometimes. They aren't the master planners that Falcone and the Penguin are.
So why wasn't Butch dead before they put him in the van?
The club had been shot up, there was blood everywhere, and all of Fish's people are dead. Clearly, Falcone had no concerns about being subtle. Why wouldn't they have killed Butch there?
It isn't as though they were taking him to grill him for information. First of all, they had Fish. Second of all, they knew that he was loyal to Fish to a fault. Third, they were sending him to be cremated.
Hey, geniuses! You know who's really easy to cremate? People who are dead.
There is literally no reason to put him in the back of the van while he's still alive. Hell, there's no reason to put him in the back of the van at all, since they had other bodies that were clearly either left there or had to be disposed of.
Yes, I understand that this is all in service of the plot and that bad guys do this to good guys all the time and blahblahblah. The problem? It's just too absurd and it's juxtaposed against last week's episode. It's fine to have your characters passing the Idiot Ball around a little bit, but when you depend on it to drive the whole episode you have to expect some commentary.
Here's another thing: this is just me being pragmatic and, again, isn't quite as WTF-worthy as the first point...but why would the drivers who were taking a condemned man to be cremated even know where another set of drivers were bringing his boss? Wouldn't you keep those two sets of drivers in the dark as to exactly what one another was doing...for exactly this reason?
If it was a common location for Falcone to use for such things, why wouldn't Butch -- a longtime and trusted member of the Family -- know about it? If it wasn't, why would Falcone tell the drivers? Is he really so cash-poor that he needed them to swing back around and give ol' Bob a ride home?!
Again, this kind of mistake might make sense...if Falcone and Penguin hadn't just played their cards super close to their vest and managed the biggest reversal of fortune of their careers. The fact that they just managed this incredibly complex double-cross, only to be undone by loose-lipped lower-level flunkies just seems not only anticlimactic, but really unlikely.
And stupid. Don't forget stupid!
And there are no guards?!
How would Butch even get in to rescue Fish? There isn't anybody guarding the building where you're torturing and presumably murdering a traitor who very nearly took down the don less than a day ago? Those drivers who dropped her off were clearly not the security because they said they were "just transpo." It was memorable in part because nobody has ever said "Transpo" before.
And "Bob" is apparently not a regular employee, since Fish didn't seem to recognize his name (remember -- she was an important part of the Falcone operation like...six hours ago!), so...wouldn't Falcone want him watched in case Fish bought him off?
Even if you weren't worried about the guy you just let live (when you shouldn't have) overwhelming his (wildly underprepared) guards and heading back to save his boss at a location you disclosed to literally the only two people in the world who could possibly sell you out, why wouldn't this major transaction merit at least an extra few sets of eyes?
Yeah, the implication is probably that Butch took them out and just didn't exposit about it...but that's a big assumption to make, especially when he's a single, injured guy approaching what should have been a remote and well-guarded location.
The only explanation here is that the entire plot isn't actually mind-boggglingly stupid, but actually an incredibly clever metaphor. Like Bruce Wayne playing Chess with himself in his big, empty mansion, Don Falcone is bored, he's listless and he's providing himself with a challenge by intentionally hobbling his own operations and seeing how much he can bounce back from and still win. The idea that he intentionally allowed all of this to happen is far more sane and believable than the notion that this wildly ingenious man we saw last week just...had a brainfart...and let the only two people who can conceivably be a threat to him right now walk right out of custody without bullets in their brains.
And the only cure for that kind of boredom, or stupid, or whatever it is? You need somebody to intervene and just say "NO. Pull the gun. Get it over with."0comments
You need Scott Evil.
Hat tip to Matt Adler for the Scott Evil joke that pulled all of this together into something coherent.