Episode nine, “A Bitter Pill To Swallow” was a fairly decent episode with a big drawback. We begin the episode on a bit of a high as the previous episode ended with the arrest of Galavan and his sister getting shot. Tabitha, with her tail between her legs, seeks help to get rid of James Gordon. Seems she’s not as tough as she thinks she is. She’s also still a pretty worthless character, someone needs to send her back to wherever Tigresses come from. Even though she’s lame as lame can be her asking for help is what this episode was all about. She met someone referred to as The Lady, to have Jim Gordon removed from Gotham and any sort of life on earth. This “Lady”, could she be Lady Vic? Lady Elaine Marsh-Morton is an English noblewoman who isn’t all that noble. She’s secretly an assassin, bounty hunter and mercenary. That’s quite the trifecta. Whoever this “The Lady” is, we do know she has a Rolodex full of hitmen for hire and that’s what she does, hires hitmen. Tabitha asks The Lady to take care of Jim Gordon and The Lady obliges. She hires a man for the job and is perhaps a bit over confident in his abilities.
The first (sorry, that may be a bit of spoiler) hitman she sends in to do the job meets up with Gordon in an elevator. At first this scene seems so cliché and almost laughable at the thought that we wouldn’t get that he’s the hitman. Even Gordon makes a face, like the guy was wearing some cheap aftershave called Cliché for Hitmen. Check that stuff out, Marky Mark will soon be doing advertisements for it. As overdone as the fight in the elevator scenes are this one was actually done well. Artistically speaking the angles and lighting were great and the choreography of the fight scene was very well done. Since the first hitman was unable to do the job The Lady sent in reinforcements. Jim Gordon really earned his bad mo-fo status in this episode. He takes out every would-be assassin and still takes time to uncover some clues about Galavan.
The Lady then has to go to extreme measures in order to get this job done. She calls up a former employee, Eduardo Flamingo. Flamingo is played by Raul Castillo who you may know from the show, Looking. He’s a good actor but as Flamingo he looks like a cross between the guy who played Richie Valens’ brother in the movie La Bamba, and Alexandra from Josie and the Pussycats. Eduardo Flamingo was a character first introduced in Batman #666 where he looked like a cross between Prince in Purple Rain and one of the Backstreet Boys. He’s a highly skilled hitman with a quirk, he enjoys eating the faces of his victims. This is something that’s hinted at in the show when he’s first introduced. Then it’s explained that his face eating fetish is why The Lady was no longer hiring him. Desperate times call for desperate measures and she hires him once again. The fight scene between Flamingo and Gordon was also great, it’s what happens after that may have taken the show a bit too far.
The audience has already been given the information that Flamingo is a cannibal. The idea and visuals have been planted in our brains, but to go ahead and show it, that’s just too much. Leaving horrific things up to the imagination is much more powerful than actually showing it. Any good horror movie enthusiast can tell you, people’s imagination is far scarier than any villain could ever be. Showing him in the act is just for shock value.
Aside from all of that, this episode did have other good parts. Alfred finally put the smack down on Bruce and his Bedazzled Beast of a girlfriend and put him in his place. Alfred is finally become the cunning butler he should be. He’s no longer playing the bumbling servant. He informs Bruce that he’s not nearly ready to be the mastermind that he thinks he is. For good measure Selina pops in to tell him the same thing.
Nygma and Penguin are beginning to build a beautiful friendship and it’s about bloody time. It’s also about time we get to know Azrael. We’ve been teased with his presence all season long and at looks like next week we’ll finally get to know more about him and the Sacred Order of St. Dumas.