Halfway through its final season, Gotham is delivering some its best quality yet. ’13 Stitches’ kicks off right where the last episode left off, Jim on the run from a mind-controlled Ed Nygma. Taking refuge in an ambulance, Jim uses the defibrillator to knock Ed out, short-circuiting the chip in his. When Ed wakes he’s no longer under control. Like all the other times he was under the chip’s influence, he has no memory of his actions. Jim takes Ed to Barbara’s club to lay low while they figure out their next move.
At the GCDP, Alfred recognizes the military unit that’s been deployed to Gotham. They’re known for taking out coups or a dictatorship, a far cry from the supposed relief efforts they’re here to provide for Gotham. With their suspicions arose, Bruce and Alfred escape the GCPD.
Ed and Barbara offer Jim their help, but he’s reluctant to accept, having been burned too many times by them both. However, when Eduardo Dorrance and his men find them, it’s thanks to Ed pretending to be mind controlled and Barbara providing firepower that they’re able to escape. They met up with Bruce, Alfred and Lucius Fox, the latter conducting impromptu brain surgery to remove the chip in Ed’s head.
The chip has a log of the commands given to Ed, including the one to destroy Haven. The information is what they need to take down Dorrance and Senator Walker if they can get the evidence to the mainland. Unfortunately, the only place in Gotham they know off with a working antenna is GCPD headquarters, which is currently the base of operations for the military.
While Jim and his team have been planning, Dorrance was making plans of his own to force Jim’s hands. He has Lee Thompkins, Queen of the Narrows and Jim’s former fiancée. Dorrance proposes a trade, Ed for Lee. Jim accepts on a condition, the trade happens at Haven.
Jim, however, has no intentions of taking Ed, knowing the chip that was in his head is what Dorrance really wants. While Jim has Dorrance at Haven and distracted, the others go to GCPD. In a bomb suit, with a fake bomb, Ed stalls for time and distracts the soldiers. Meanwhile, Bruce accesses the antenna, broadcasting Walker’s commands to the mainland. Inside GCPD Alfred, Barbara and Fox gas the building, knocking out everyone.
At Haven, Jim and Dorrance fight it out. Jim antagonises Dorrance, blaming him for the death of the other members of their unit. Dorrance reveals they died as prisoners of war. He was the only man left alive when Walker found him. He also reveals why Walker had Haven destroyed. The politicians on the mainland have given up on Gotham as being to criminally corrupt until Jim established Haven. Establishing a safe place in the city for the citizens proved Gotham wasn’t overrun by criminals. This got in the way of Walker’s plans to cleanse the city so she ordered Haven destroyed. In their fight, Jim gets the upper hand, impaling Dorrance on rebar.
He takes Lee back to the GCPD, learning she has no memories from the past three months. The reason why quickly becomes clear. Lee was also operated on by Strange, becoming a second mind-controlled agent for Walker. Walker activates the chip, ordering Lee to kill Jim. Jim narrowly manages to shock her. But that’s not the last twist of the night concern the ladies in Jim Gordon’s life. While Jim’s telling Lee and Harvey about the mind control chip Barbara informs him she’s pregnant.
Also, after Bruce broadcasted the intel on Walker to the mainland, she is on the run. She comes to Gotham, finding Dorrance still clinging to life. Planning on Hugo Stange fixing him, she places a mask on his face that any Batman fan will recognize. Bane has officially arrived in Gotham.
Meanwhile, in another part of Gotham, Penguin has a Magpie problem. The Magpie makes her Gotham debut by stealing a diamond from Oswald. He enlists Selina, only getting her help when he promises the diamond to her. The Magpie, however, has a talent for making fake copies of her stolen items, which also have a tendency to explode. She locks Selina and Oswald in a room filled with potential explosives.
While in confinement together Selina figures out Penguin has a plan to leave the city. She wants out of Gotham as well. After killing Jeremiah, everyone in Gotham wants a piece of her to build their own cred. Penguin offers her an alliance if she can get them out. She does, easily and the duo returns to Penguin’s vault to find the Magpie injured from a trap. Penguin kills her for stealing. It was also meant as a warning for Selina if she tries to betray him.
The episode has one more twist up its sleeve before it can end. Jeremiah kidnaps Alfred and takes him to Wayne Manor to… clean it? Only time will reveal the full extent of Jeremiah’s plan.
This is easily the most completing episode of the season yet. The slowly revealing plots for both Walker and Jeremiah have been ramping out the suspense over the course of the past few episodes. ’13 Stitches’ keeps that building tension. Especially with the reveal for the greater motivation behind the Haven bombing.
This episode also gave the beginnings for Nygma’s and Jim’s alliance teased at the very start of the season. Ed was the scene-stealer with his moment with the fake bomb and pretending to be mind controlled. There have been times in the past where Ed’s genius was overlooked for his egocentrism so it was great to see both those elements of his character on display.
Lee is back! I was just being to lose hope that she’d be seen again. Gotham and the GCPD are in desperate need of a good doctor. They’re just letting anyone with a degree do brain surgery. Naturally, her return also marks more drama for Jim and Barbara. Given the timing, and the fact we know No Man’s Land last for a year, by the time the season ends James Gordon will be a father. It’s an amusing and compelling choice that will no doubt affect Jim’s actions going forward.
Bane was only teased, but going forward it will be interesting to see how he plays out as an antagonist. Thus far he’s been a foil for Jim. There haven’t been interactions between him and Bruce. Will that come later? Or are Bane and Jeremiah being set up as the foils for Jim and Bruce respectively?
As for the b-plot, Magpie’s appearance was lukewarm. It was exciting to see Gotham’s take on another Batman villain. But then her time was so short it feels like she was cut before she could leave any impact. However, she did spark an alliance between Selina and Oswald, so at least that can be her legacy.