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The Balloonman Recap

Oswald takes a bus back to Gotham and admires the crime and filth around him, realizing that he's home. He passes by a TV that is running a newscast from the penthouse apartment of Arnold Danzer, a business magnate who is out on bail after bilking hundreds of investors out of their savings.

Inside, Danzer calls his lawyer and tells him to pay off whoever he has to, to get him off. He then sneaks out the back way and crosses a balloon cart vendor wearing a pig mask. The man confirms Danzer is who he is looking for and then fastens a manacle to Danzer's wrist. Danzer realizes that the manacle is chained to a large weather balloon hidden among the others on the cart. The masked man released the weather balloon and it drags Danzer up into the air, screaming for help. The news reporter hears the screams and runs over, and her camera crew gets Danzer on film as he floats up into the sky.

Jim and Harvey are called to the crime scene but Harvey isn't interested in bringing the killer to justice, figuring Danzer got what he deserved. They go back to the station and Lt. Bill Cranston approaches Jim and boasts about his reputation for roughing up suspects. He has a trophy from the Chamber of Commerce that he proudly boasts that he uses to beat suspects. Once Cranston goes back into the interrogation room, Jim asks Harvey where he's getting on the investigation. Harvey says that he hasn't bothered, pointing out that two men killed themselves when Danzer swindled them, and has no sympathy for the con man.

Davis Lamond from Juvenile Services stops by the station to turn her over to Jim, and explains that the next day they'll be moving her from the new building to the upstate prison. Jim signs for Selina and tells Lamond that she's helping him in an investigation. He then take her to the alleyway where the Waynes were killed, explaining that he promised Bruce that he'd find his parents' killer. Selina says that she was up on a fire escape when she saw the killer put on his mask. Jim doesn't believe her and Selina says that she pickpocketed a man two blocks over. The detective admits that the man reported a thief matching Selina's description, but wants evidence. She says that she dumped the wallet into the nearby sewer and Jim handcuffs her to the fire escape and goes down to look. Once he's out of sight, Selina easily picks the lock on the handcuffs, then goes to the manhole just as Jim finds the wallet. She tosses down the handcuffs and walks away before he can climb up.

Fish is at her club talking to Laszlo, her lover that Carmine had beaten, when Renee and Crispus come in and ask about Oswald. She claims that she hasn't seen him and Renee says that Oswald has disappeared and they figure he's dead. Fish tells them that word on the street is that Jim pulled the trigger, but says the important thing is to find out who could order Jim to kill a man. The MCU officers figure that it was Carmine, and Crispus wonders if Fish is trying to get revenge on Carmine for having Laszlo beaten. The club owner assures him that she just wants Oswald's killer brought to justice.

Oswald is on the street counting his money to buy a meal when a street thug approaches him and realizes who he is. He drags Oswald into an alleyway, figuring that he can turn him into Fish for a reward. Oswald insists that he's Gotham's future and stabs the man in the foot, and then kills him. He then takes the thug's wallet and goes over to buy a meal.

At Wayne Manor, Alfred playfully fences with Bruce using wooden sticks, trying to cheer him up. Once they're done, Alfred notices that Bruce has been going over the police file on his parents' murders, and Bruce admits that he bribed someone in the GCPD to get the files. He explains that he's looking for clues and Alfred, realizing that it's unhealthy, tells Bruce that Jim has promised to find the real killer. The butler insists that that he's sure that Jim will try to keep his promise.

Jim goes back to the station and calls Juvenile Services to tell them he lost Selina. Renee and Crispus approach him and accuse him of killing Oswald on Carmine's orders. They don't believe Jim's denials and he tells them that he has nothing to say to them unless they have some proof.

Oswald applies for a job as a busboy at an Italian restaurant. The manager figures that Oswald has never done the job and doesn't even have the right shoes, and Oswald eyes a nearby dishwasher's footwear.

At the station, Harvey tells Jim that James Gerrick, the owner of a weather balloon factory, has something for them. Jim tells his partner that the MCU thinks that he killed Oswald, and Harvey assures him that he's in the clear. He figures that Oswald got what was coming to him, just like Mario Pepper did, but Jim insists that the Waynes' killer is still out there.

As the dishwasher from the restaurant goes home, Oswald approaches him and asks what his shoe is. He's happy to hear that they have the same

Gerrick tells Jim and Harvey that he saw the balloon on the news and recognized it, and that an ex-employee, Carl Smikers, stole it and three others a month ago. To the best of the owner's knowledge, Smikers never mentioned Danzer.

That night, Cranston beats up a drug dealer and then goes out of the alley. A hooded hot dog vendor approaches him and tries to manacle Cranston to the cart. Cranston kicks him down and searches him, and is surprised to find a familiar piece of paper. As he takes it in, the Balloonman cuffs Cranston's leg and releases the weather balloon. Screaming, Cranston floats up toward the sky.

The next day, Bruce is reading a newspaper and refusing to eat. He shows Alfred the news story about the Balloonman, and Alfred, unimpressed, tells the boy that he has to eat and keep his strength up. Bruce says that he's not hungry and walks away.

After hearing about Cranston's death on the news, Barbara checks on Jim as he's going to work, and wonders if he's in danger now that the Balloonman is going after cops. He assures her that he isn't and tells her that he's unhappy that nobody cared about Danzer, but everyone is concerned now that the vigilante is targeting cops. Jim insists that everyone has to matter or people lose faith, and that when some of the become vigilantes. Barbara assures him that he's giving people and that he's a hero because he brought the Waynes' killer to justice.

At the station, Essen demands a report on the cop killer. Jim tells her about Smikers and Harvey assures the captain that if they can find him, he'll get him to cop. Concerned, Jim doesn't believe that Smikers is the Balloonman given his ignorance of Danzer, but figures that he's connected to the vigilante. Essen dismisses them and Jim reminds Harvey that he didn't kill when the Balloonman was just targeting conman. Harvey says that it's a matter of self-preservation now and hits the street, talking to prostitutes and beating up drug dealers.

Oswald goes back to the restaurant with his new shoes and the manager hires him. The man warns Oswald to keep his mouth shut and then goes to greet the owner, mobster Sal Maroni.

Harvey tracks down Smikers to his apartment and a woman answers the door. When she realizes that they're cops, she yells at Smikers to run and then tackles Harvey. Jim brings Smikers down and then draws his gun and orders the woman to surrender. She does and Harvey punches her unconscious.

Lazlo warns Fish that if Carmine finds out what she did, he'll come after her. Fish thanks him for his concern and dismisses him, and tells one of her thugs to have Butch arrange an accident for Carmine's girlfriend, Natalia... and to eliminate Lazlo because he's too depressing.

Barbara comes out from the shower and finds Renee waiting for her. Renee says that she still has the apartment key from when they were together and figures that Barbara is high. Angry, Barbara tells her to leave and Renee insists that Carmine had Jim kill Oswald. Barbara doesn't believe it and Renee tells her former girlfriend to look in her eyes and see if she's lying. Renee's former lover asks if Renee is going after Jim because he's her fiancé, and Renee says that while she can't make up for what she did when they were together and she was drinking, she still cares for Barbara and figures that she deserves better than a killer and a crooked cop. She kisses Barbara, who tells her to get out. As she goes, Renee tells Barbara to ask Jim where he was on the night Oswald disappeared.

Jim and Harvey question Smikers, who insists that he had nothing to do with the Balloonman murders. He admits that he stole the weather balloons but sold them to pay off loan sharks. Smikers never saw the face of the man who bought them. Harvey points out that Smikers has committed the perfect crime, and an exasperated Smikers tells them that the weather balloon will eventually pop when they hit the upper atmosphere.

A woman is walking her dog on the streets when Cranston's body falls out of the sky and splatters in front of her. Later, Jim and Harvey arrive to check out the scene and Jim gets word that the Balloonman targeted Cardinal Quinn, an accused pedophile. An officer finds Cranston's trophy, shattered to piece and wrapped in a piece of paper. The paper has Jim's name on it, and Jim realizes who the Balloonman is.

At Maroni's restaurant, Maroni is talking to one of his men about the situation with Arkham and how he can use it to overthrow Carmine. The man doesn't get it and Maroni notices Oswald listening in. He approaches the busboy and Oswald assures him that he didn't hear anything, and that he's Italian on his mother's side. Maroni appreciates the sentiment and tips Oswald, and tells him not to say anything about what he might have overheard. The news reports the attack on Cardinal Quinn and Maroni tells Oswald that killing priests isn't good for business.

At the station, Jim tells Essen that Lamond didn't show up at work and isn't at his apartment. He knows Lamond is the Balloonman because the form he signed earlier for Selina was on Cranston's body. Jim figures that Cranston found it on the vigilante and took it before he was killed. Essen is desperate to find the Balloonman and Jim assures her that they have the man's photo out. Once he and Harvey are alone, Harvey admits that his people on the street haven't turned up anything. They figure that Lamond is storing the balloons somewhere safe, and Jim declare that the man is at an abandoned building.

The partners drive to the old Juvenile Services building, and Jim explains that he remembers Lamond talking about it when he dropped Selina off. They find an open gate and go in, and find the van Lamond used to transport his cart, with a weather balloon attached. Lamond gets the drop on Harvey and holds a gun to his head, and tells Jim that he should be helping him. Jim insists that they can't have vigilantes enforcing the law, but Lamond reminds him that people like Danzer, Cranston, and Quinn are above the law. When the mayor rounded up the children, Lamond realized that the entire city government was corrupt and he couldn't take it anymore. He tells Jim to decide who he's really fighting for. When Jim hesitates, Lamond shoots him and Jim ducks for cover. Harvey manages to disarm the vigilante and attach the last weather balloon to him. Rather than let Lamond die, Jim grabs him and the weather balloon carries them both up. Harvey has no choice but to shoot the balloon to save his partner.

Carmine visits Fish's club and she assures him that there's no hard feelings. The mob boss mentions that his girlfriend Natalia was mugged, and promises to make the mugger and whoever gave him his orders pay with their lives. Carmine then asks Fish if she's heard that Maroni was involved, concerned that he might mess up his Arkham arrangement. She hints that Maroni might have been and Carmine tells her to keep her eyes open.

As the medics take Lamond away, he tells Jim that he's only the first vigilante that will strike back because the law won't do its job. Jim promises that he will, and asks Lamond who he was saving the last weather balloon for.

Bruce is watching a newscast on the Balloonman and tells Alfred that the vigilante was a criminal because he was a killer. Alfred tells him to try and eat something and leaves. As Bruce picks at his food, the reporter on the news wonders who will now defend the people of Gotham.

When Jim returns home, Barbara asks him what's wrong. She says that he can tell her anything, and Jim says that Gotham is sicker than he realized. The Balloonman told him that it didn't matter who his last target was, because all of the corrupt authorities deserved to die. The city embraced the vigilante because they feel the same. Barbara wonders if Jim would ever kill someone, and a shocked Jim wonders if she thinks he could. His fiancée assures him that she knows he wouldn't, just as there's a knock at the door. Barbara opens it and Oswald greets Jim, saying that they're old friends.

Written by Gadfly on Jun 26, 2019

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