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A Dark Knight: Pax Penguina Recap

Bruce stands atop a rooftop overlooking Gotham. He hears two muggers draw guns on a couple, puts on his mask, and jumps down. Bruce tells the muggers that they have one chance to walk away. When they try to shoot him, he takes them down. One of them insists that he has a license, and Bruce takes the license from him. It's a License of Misconduct, with an umbrella stamped on it. Bruce hears a fluttering noise overhead, pulls up his mask, and walks away. Up above, Ra's watches from the shadows.

A couple is holding their wedding reception at a club, and masked men come in and fire a shot into the ceiling to get everyone's attention. The leader orders everyone to hand over their valuables. Victor whistles to interrupt them, walks over, and says that he was going by and heard the ruckus. The leader, Merton, asks Victor what he wants. Victor says that they can't commit a crime without a license from Oswald, but admits that the word is just starting to get out. Merton insists that they're not handing over a share of their take, and Victor tells him that it's a problem. He shoots off Merton's finger and tells the others to drop the loot and leave. Merton says that Oswald hasn't heard the last of it, and the bride thanks Victor. He tells her not to bother because the robbers with licenses come in and rob the guests.

Oswald meets with the new mayor, Burke. He offers payment to Oswald, and Oswald points out that he's reduced crime since Burke took office three months ago. When Burke objects to Oswald's plan to unionize crime, Oswald yells at him to be quiet. He then says that he doesn't envy Burke or the new commissioner, and that's why he wants to help. Oswald tells Burke that he made Gotham safe but there will always be crime. He's offering crime in the hands of professionals with agreed-upon terms. Oswald tells Burke that he can accept an era of crime or prosperity, or a return to the good old days. He tells them that if one of the GCPD officers finds someone committing a crime and have a license, they walk away. Burke agrees for 1% of the take, and Oswald accepts and then leaves for the opening of his club, the Iceberg Lounge.

A thug is robbing a diner owner Frank when Jim comes in. The thug says that he has a Penguin approved license, and Jim slams his head down on the bar and takes his coffee to go. He drags the thug to the station and tosses him in holding, and the officers stare at Jim briefly. Jim goes to see Harvey, who is meeting with Oswald's representative Mr. Penn. Penn insists that compliance with the license is key, and warns that Jim has an office. Harvey says that he'll handle Jim and orders Penn out, just as Jim comes in. Jim shows Harvey the license and says that it's the second one he's seen. Harvey tells him that the commissioner has ordered anyone with a license to walk. He points out that crime was running wild until Oswald took control, and no officers have been shot. Harvey promises that they will put Oswald away once Gotham gets back on its feet. Jim warns that the longer Oswald deals with crime instead of the GCPD, the harder it will be to win the citizens back. Unimpressed, Harvey repeats his orders.

At the manor, Bruce shows Alfred the license. Alfred says that they must hold to their mission of preparing Bruce for Ra's's return. Bruce tells the butler that he feels responsible for releasing the gas, and that he feels he can make a difference in Gotham. Alfred warns that it's mission creep, and asks which objective is his priority. He tells Bruce that it's dangerous, but Bruce insists that he can do both and walks out.

At Arkham, Merton is brought in and Warden Reed greets him. Merton has Reed take him to Jonathan Crane, and Merton's man Grady Harris says that when he worked as an orderly there, he heard about the fear gas that Jonathan's father created. Merton figures that if they get hold of it then they can get it then they don't have to worry about anyone. Reed explains that Jonathan's fear response was injected by his father's injection, and he's haunted by the boogieman image it created. Merton pays Reed, who tells Jonathan that he's going with Merton and Grady.

Merton and Grady take Jonathan to his old home and Jonathan has them unearth the chase with his father's experiments. He insists that he doesn't know everything, but Merton tells him to make as much of the gas as he can. Merton's gang drags over a scarecrow and Jonathan hallucinates it as a burning-eyed demon.

Later at a bank, Merton and his men walk in. They're wearing gas masks, and spray some of the customers and staff with the gas, ordering the others to hand over their money. When the bank manager asks if they have a license, Merton sprays him as well. The manager sees Merton as a demon and screams in fear.

Long after the robbers leave, Harvey and the GCPD arrive to secure the crime scene. Jim figures that Merton was sending Oswald a message, and promises to find the gang since they don't have a license. He dares Harvey to fire him, and Harvey asks if he has a lead. Jim figures that someone is using the fear gas and got the formula from Jonathan.

Jim and Harvey go to Arkham, and Reed says that Jonathan's condition is frail and he can't handle the men who killed Jonathan's father. Reed insists that all of his staff are accounted for, and Jim explains what happened. Harvey tells Reed that if they tell Oswald that Reed was involved, Oswald will send Victor to "talk" to Reed. Reed immediately says that they threatened him and he had no choice.

Once Reed gives up Grady's name, Jim and Harvey go to Grady's apartment. They go in and find Grady sitting at a table. Merton ambushes them and Grady gets up, attacking them as well. They take down Harvey and Jim, and Merton says that he's an outlaw, not a criminal. He complains that Oswald is taking his livelihood and insists that they're better than Oswald. He and Grady leave, locking the door behind them.

That night, Selina walks into an alleyway and several punks go over to her and asks if she wants some company. They surround her and Selina asks them to let her go. When they refuse, Selina, attacks them with her whip and her fists. She takes them all down and Tabitha takes out the last one on one coming at Selina from behind. Tabitha says that she did well and they go to get pizza and return to their cheap apartment. Victor is waiting for them, and says that they need to have a license. He explains that Oswald figures that it's time to let bygone be bygones, and they should go to the club opening and get their licenses. Once Victor leaves, Selina says that if they join Penguin then she can move up. Tabitha refuses to work for Oswald and tells Selina to pack.

Bruce visits Jim at the station and notices the blood on him from the beating. He shows Jim the license and asks if Jim is going along with it. Bruce figures that Oswald has a master list connecting the crimes to the criminals who committed them, including crimes that haven't been committed yet. Jim warns that the judges are going along with the scheme and it would be impossible to get the list. Bruce figures that Jim hasn't given up, and Jim explain that he's tracking an unlicensed gang. However, he figures that when Oswald captures them, it will show that the city doesn't need the GCPD. Bruce suggests that Jim use Oswald to get to the criminals, and Jim admits that he doesn't know how. When Jim turns his back for a moment, he glances back and discovers that Bruce is gone.

Oswald meets with reporters and tells them about the opening. One reporter asks if he acquired the club from Barbara, pointing out that no one has seen her for months. A reporter asks him about the rumor that Oswald is issuing crime licenses, and Oswald points out that the crime rates are at the lowest levels ever and insists on talking about the clubs. He has Ivy turn on a spotlight revealing Edward frozen in a block of ice. Oswald claims that Oswald had a brain disease and had to be frozen until they could find a cure. Jim comes in and asks if anyone told Edward he was being frozen. Oswald insists that he has affidavits from Edward's doctor, and Jim tells him that the gang that has the fear gas isn't afraid of Oswald. When Jim tells Oswald that it's the beginning of the end, Oswald promises him that he's going to find the gang and crush them, and Jim walks out.

Merton and his gang are soon watching a news report about Oswald's statement. The leader vows that Oswald is going down and has Jonathan confirm that he's finished the new batch. Jonathan begs him to get rid of the scarecrow, and Merton tells him to spend some time with the scarecrow. They lock Jonathan in a closet with the figure.

At the Lounge, Oswald looks at the frozen Edward and says that he has banished his emotions. He wonders which of them is frozen. Ivy joins him and pints out that Edward is the frozen one, and Oswald tells her to leave him.

At the station, Jim organizes teams to watch the Lounge and arrest the gang. Harvey finally backs Jim's orders. Once they leave, Jim wonders if they can trust the officers. Harvey points out that Jim baited Oswald into calling out Merton's gang, and Jim goes to get the gas masks.

Jonathan pounds on the door, and imagines the scarecrow talking to him. He hallucinates it advancing on him.

In the locker room, the officers come in and tells Jim that since Oswald has been cracking down, life has been good. Jim asks what happens when Oswald gives out licenses to murderers, but realizes that he's wasting his breath. He puts down his gun and attacks them, but they quickly outnumber and beat him.

At the Lounge, Bruce and Alfred arrive and admire Edward. Bruce thanks Oswald for everything that he's done for the city, and asks how the licenses work. He assures Oswald that anything he says will stay between them, and points out that if crime had been licensed three years ago, his parents would still be alive. Oswald tells him that Penn provides all of the details and walks off. Bruce tells Alfred that now they know who has the list, and then sees Selina across the club. Victor approaches her and says that it's a package deal, and Tabitha joins them and says that they're both in. Once Victor leaves, Selina sees Alfred watching and turns away.

Harvey finds Jim and discovers that he's been beaten. Jim tells him that they can forget about backup, and the two of them head for the Lounge.

Merton and his men watch from the Lounge kitchen. Oswald and his men find them and Oswald says that he has something special planned for them.

On the rooftop, Bruce finds Selina balancing on the edge. He apologizes for what he said at the hospital, and she tells him to come up and talk to him. Bruce does so and Selina tells him that he was a jerk. He says that he's not sure he'd choose Tabitha as a mentor, and Selina doesn't care. After a moment, Bruce compliments her on her dress. Alfred comes out and says that they have a bit of a situation downstairs, and Bruce heads down.

Oswald and his men bring out Merton's gang and Oswald tells the guests that without him, they get men who want to bring fear back to the city. He advises everyone to tell their friends and family that it's Oswald that keeps them safe, not the GCPD. Ivy looks on and walks away. Meanwhile, Bruce tells Alfred that they can stop Oswald's men in the parking garage. Alfred tells him that there's a time for masks and a time for Bruce Wayne. Bruce asks Oswald what he's going to do with the gang, and Oswald says that he'll do the dirty work that no one else will. The boy says that he understands but he still wants Alfred to turn them over to the police. Oswald refuses.

Ivy turns off the lights. Merton and his men grab their captors' guns and break free. Jim and Harvey arrive, while Merton grabs a canister of gun and sprays Oswald in the face. Tabitha disarms Merton, and Oswald hallucinates Edward confronting him. Alfred disarms another thug and turns to aim his gun at victor just as Victor aims his gun at him. Jim and Harvey arrest the gang, and a screaming Oswald begs them for help.

The next day, the newspaper runs a photo of Oswald, asking if he's a penguin or a chicken. Jim worries about Jonathan, and Harvey says that they'll find him but warns that the other cops won't help him.

Penn is working in his office when the lights flicker. The masked Bruce confronts him and demands the list of licenses. When Penn refuses, Bruce yanks it away and walks out. He takes to the roofs and sees some robbers with licenses breaking into a store. Bruce falls through the skylight just as the GCPD arrives and arrests them all as Bruce removes his mask.

Grady escapes and goes back to the apartment. He tells Jonathan that he has to make more of the fear gas, and finds Jonathan wearing the scarecrow outfit. He says that the Scarecrow is the only person there and sprays Grady in the face with the fear gas.

Written by Gadfly on Sep 22, 2017

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