Bruce Wayne is visiting his butler and father figure, Alfred Pennyworth, in the hospital. Alfred is recovering from a stab wound that his treacherous friend from the army, Reginald Payne, gave him while stealing files from the Wayne mansion. Jim Gordon pays Bruce and Alfred a visit at the hospital and tries to find out what happened, but Alfred keeps the knowledge to himself and claims that it was too dark to see the criminal. Jim leaves, after which Bruce asks why Alfred kept the information from Jim. Alfred explains that he refuses to tell the police about what happened because it is between him and Payne. Alfred attempts to escape the hospital, but he is clearly too weak to walk around and Bruce orders Alfred back to his hospital bed. Bruce becomes worried about him and decides to gather information about the incident himself.
Meanwhile, Fish Mooney, who had to stab out and destroy her own eyeball last episode, also finds herself regaining consciousness in a hospital bed. Doctor Francis Dulmacher, known as the elusive “Dollmaker,” has overseen her recovery and replaced her empty eye socket with a new ice-blue eyeball that doesn’t match her original color. He is at a loss of what to do with Mooney, a previous prisoner of his basement, and when she decides for him that she wants to be his right-hand, he places upon her a “test.” He demands the guard that she had taken hostage in the basement be brought back to him, and also instructs Mooney to help him regain control of the basement prisoners and harvest them for organs again. He shows Mooney one of his physically mutilated victims (who now looks like a female Frankenstein), the office manager who tried to take Mooney’s eye last episode, as an example of what she should expect should she fail him. Mooney is, to say the least, disturbed by the Dollmaker’s threat, but is confident she will prove herself.
Back at the Gotham Police Department, Harvey Dent and Gordon are speaking with police captain Sarah Essen about corrupt police officer Arnold Flass’ exoneration. All three of them agree that his pardon is suspicious and despicable, and are discussing ways that Flass could be brought down again. Unfortunately for them, Flass has nearly all his grounds covered by police commissioner Loeb. Not only did Flass literally get away with murder, he also managed to get Loeb to back him up as a candidate to run for president of the police union. This fact disgusts Gordon and in a bout of anger for justice, he storms into Loeb’s office, accusing him of “perverting the system” and allowing Flass to get away with murder. However, from his meeting with Loeb, Gordon finds out his partner, Harvey Bullock, presented false evidence to exonerate Arnold Flass.
Gordon later confronts Bullock about his false evidence, which Bullock defends by admitting that Loeb forced him to falsely testify because Loeb has blackmail-worthy information on him. In the past, Bullock was held at gunpoint by a criminal and had to kill the offender to save his own life. He argues that Jim was lucky his victim, Oswald Cobblepot aka “The Penguin,” faked his own death and came back to Gotham. Bullock goes on to explain that plenty of the other cops in Gotham have “Cobblepots” (meaning people they had to kill out of necessity) of their own, and the only way the cops keep their dirty secrets safe is if they follow Loeb’s orders. When Gordon says he wants to end Loeb’s corruption, Bullock warns him that it would be suicide. Gordon doesn’t listen and follows through with his plan for justice.
Jim meets Harvey Dent at a diner later that day to discuss how to alleviate the corruption going on with Loeb. Gordon also speculates that Loeb has leverage on the businessmen and politicians of Gotham, giving Dent a suspicious glance. Dent insists that Loeb has nothing on him and mentions an incident in Loeb’s past regarding his wife’s death. Apparently, Loeb’s wife fell down a flight of stairs and died 20 years ago, but nothing ever became of the case, bringing them back to square one. As Dent is lamenting about Gordon’s partner, Bullock’s, necessary betrayal, he gets an idea.
They find and question Loeb’s old partner, Griggs, for information, but he is more or less mum. He does tell them to speak to a bookkeeper named Shi Lu. The two blindly take his advice in hopes that they can get somewhere with their case and pay the man a visit, who is operating his bookkeeping services in the basement of a Chinese restaurant. However, their visit goes terribly wrong and instead of getting information, the two nearly lose their lives as they run away from a gang of knife-weilding chefs and waiters. Just as Dent and Gordon are cornered and believe their time is up, Bullock (who was purposely excluded by Gordon from the visit) comes to their rescue as their getaway driver.
They explain to Bullock that Griggs had sent them to see the bookkeeper, and the three of them come to the conclusion that Loeb now knows about their plan to take him down. Bullock takes the investigation of Griggs into his own hands by holding his head out of the door of the moving car. Bullock’s classic bad cop method proves successful and they discover that they have to speak to someone who is close to both Loeb and Falcone. That someone ends up being the last person Jim wants to see: the Penguin.
They meet the Penguin in his nightclub, where they ask him if he is willing to help them find Loeb’s files. When he asks what is in it for him, Jim throws down that he’ll owe the Penguin a favor, no questions asked, which Bullock warns will be a bad idea. The Penguin mulls the information over in his head as he proceeds to tell them about a special wine named “Madre di Dios,” which also happens to be Don Maroni’s favorite. It’s a random piece of information that may or may not come in handy. It does have to do with Don Maroni, so it’s possible it could turn up in future episodes… Since the Penguin likes information so much, he also requests to be alone with Loeb’s files for a few minutes to take what he wants. Jim agrees as long as he doesn’t touch the cops files, and much to Bullock’s dismay, the three team up to find the place Loeb keeps his secret files.
In the meantime, nerdy romance continues as Edward Nygma (the future “Riddler”) continues to pursue Kristen Kringle. His method of doing so? Giving her “gross” fun facts about pheromones in human secretions. He informs her that her ex, Arnold Flass, was released, and speculates that since Arnold and Kristen’s romance wasn’t intellectual (due to Flass being a “gorilla”), then pheromones must have played a part. As he is explaining that Flass is a terrible person, Kristen stops him by assuring him that she’s not getting back together with Flass. Nygma is hopeful again and takes this to mean that he has another shot at asking her out.
He later approaches Kristen with a bouquet behind his back, but to his dismay finds out she has dinner plans with her new boyfriend, Tom. Apparently he knows Nygma as the “riddle” guy, and tries his to stump him with a riddle about a clock. As Kristen and Tom leave, Tom jokingly promises that next time he meets Nygma, he will find a riddle to stump him. Nygma glares at them as they are leaving and tears the bouquet to pieces as creepy music plays in the background. The Riddler’s time may be coming soon…
Selina Kyle (I’m sure you all know who she is), better known as “Cat,” comes to check in on Bruce and Alfred at the hospital. Cat explains that their friend Ivy (the future “Green Ivy”) saw Bruce at the hospital and told Cat, who wanted to make sure Bruce was okay. She gives him an adorably sympathetic hug, and Bruce explains to her that he is trying to connect the dots to Alfred’s injury. Bruce suspects that Payne was there because of him, due to the meeting Bruce had with Wayne Enterprises about his investigation of them. He concludes that they sent someone the Waynes “trusted” to spy on them and retrieve Bruce’s files. Bruce believes that if he finds Payne and discovers who hired him, he could possibly solve his parents’ murders. Even though Cat warns Bruce that he’s in deep, she offers her help.
Back at the Dollmaker’s clinic, Fish descends into the basement again, and lies to the people about giving them better living conditions. The people have realized that they have been mislead in trusting her, and realize that she is on the Dollmaker’s side. Nevertheless, she manages to retrieve the Dollmaker’s guard and also harvests a couple more people for him, justifying her actions by claiming: “Their sacrifice means your survival, and my promise remains the same.”
Later that night, the Penguin takes Bullock and Gordon to an farm house in the middle of nowhere, and are greeted by an old and inconspicuous couple. The three claim that they are sent by Loeb to inspect the house. The old couple tells them they’ve been living in the house for about 20 years as they sit at the table and talk over tea and cake. The couple gets suspicious of them and the situation quickly gets more awkward as they begin hearing mysterious “raccoon” activity from upstairs. Their inspection goes awry when the old lady begins shooting at the intruders with a rifle. Clearly they aren’t just paranoid homeowners, they are very much trying to conceal something. Gordon and Bullock manage to get the old couple under control and go upstairs to the attic to investigate while the Penguin is left to watch the couple (bad idea).
To their surprise, they find Loeb’s adult daughter Miriam locked in the attic. They sit down with her and hold polite conversation with her for a bit. Just as Bullock begins thinking it is a waste of time, Miriam shows the detectives her “jewelry,” made of starling bird bones. She describes how she kills them, and it appears to be a tip off to her mother’s death. Miriam admits that she made her mother fall down the stairs and the cops deduce that her father had covered up the death. Gordon and Bullock are pleased to finally have found Loeb’s “Cobblepot,” but just as their realization sinks in, the two hear the door of the house open, and quickly go downstairs to investigate. The Penguin was unable to fend for himself and had let the old couple escape. Miriam has followed the detectives downstairs and sees the Penguin, remarking that she likes him because he “looks like a bird.”
Gordon pays Loeb another visit to his office and throws Miriam’s necklace of starling bones down on his desk without a word. Loeb explains Miriam’s insanity, and reveals that since he loves his daughter, he has tried to keep her out of Arkham, the corrupt mental institution of Gotham, by locking her in the attic and covering up her murder. Gordon tries to blackmail Loeb into giving him the police files by keeping Miriam hostage. His plan doesn’t work when Loeb states he will resign from office to keep Miriam out of the mess. Gordon stops him from resigning, not wanting Flass to take his place, and instead tells him to send all of the police files, including Bullock’s, sent to Harvey Dent, who will decide who to prosecute. Loeb disagrees with Gordon’s statement, and while he allows Gordon to have Bullock’s files, he refuses to give him the rest because doing so would make him “a dead man.” Gordon agrees to retrieve Bullock’s file, and also agrees to keep Miriam away in the attic, but also asks one more thing of Loeb…
Commissioner Loeb makes Detective James Gordon President of the Policemen’s Union. Jim promises his audience “a new day in the GCPD.”
He meets Bullock later in the locker room, who apologizes for not being able to make it to Jim’s celebration. He hands him his file and tells him that it’s everything Loeb had on him. Before Jim leaves the locker room, Bullock gives him a piece of advice. “You know, you tell yourself you’ll just do this one bad thing, and all good things I do later will make up for it. But they don’t. There’s still that bad thing. The Penguin’s gonna come asking for that favor. Be careful,” he warns.
Cut to the Penguin at his nightclub. He is in the presence of the two old people from earlier, who want to escape Gotham to avoid punishment by Loeb. He tells them he only found one train ticket to Arizona, and watches as two fight over it while he drinks “Madre di Dios.” The old lady strangles her husband to death, only to be killed by the Penguin, who was intending on killing them both but claimed he only had one bullet to spare. I wasn’t sure whether the scene was supposed to be grotesquely comical or frightening, but nevertheless it showed just what a messed up criminal the Penguin is.
The last scene we are left with is Fish Mooney’s promotion to “upper management” in the Dollmaker’s island clinic. When the Dollmaker asks her how she achieved her task, Mooney responds with: “Hope is a carrot, easily dangled in front of the desperate, doctor.” The doctor tells her she has earned her “carrot,” and takes her to a new room with a view of the water, a potentially easy escape route. This may well be a new “carrot” dangled in front of Mooney’s eyes. One that the Dollmaker doubts Mooney will take because he can trust her not to run away from the clinic. We’ll see how long his trust lasts…