The Grace of Gilda, Part 5: Reexamining Gilda Dent in “Batman: The Long Halloween” (Part 1 of 2)
Note: This is the fifth part of my Gilda Dent retrospective, analyzing the complete history of the oft-overlooked woman who loved and lost Harvey Dent. New installments will be posted weekly! Previous installments can be found at the tag or in the following links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
Special thanks to my Henchgirl, who extensively edited the following critique. I’ve struggled for decades to articulate the following thoughts, and they wouldn’t be nearly as coherent if it weren’t for her. Also, if something is funny, that was almost certainly her contribution.
I assume pretty much anyone reading this retrospective will have already read Batman: The Long Halloween (1996-1997), as it’s still one of the most popular Batman stories of all time. On the off chance you haven’t, I will make this as accessible as possible, but it will include MAJOR SPOILERS for TLH and its sequel, Batman: Dark Victory (1998).
But let’s start with spoiling the twist ending for a whole different story: Presumed Innocent, the 1987 best-selling legal thriller by Scott Turrow which was turned into a 1990 movie starring Harrison Ford and Raul Julia. The film is especially important, as I strongly believe it served as the basis for Jeph Loeb’s reinterpretation of Gilda for TLH. You be the judge.
Presumed Innocent was a courtroom drama about a prosecutor named Rusty Sabich (played by Harrison Ford in the film), a married man and father who is falsely accused of murdering his young mistress. The entire story deals with him trying to prove his innocence even as his personal sins are aired in public. By the end, the charges against Rusty are dismissed, but the murderer is never caught.
A free man, Rusty goes home and heads down to his dingy basement workshop, where he discovers the murder weapon. That’s when he realizes--in a twist ending that was --that the murderer was his meek, mousy, almost invisible wife, played by Bonnie Bedelia.
In the novel, he figures it out on his own but never confronts her about it, only speculating as to her motives. She remains in the background, disturbingly enigmatic and unknowable beyond Rusty’s own theories. By contrast, the film’s final minutes give her the spotlight, wherein Barbara delivers a monologue in the third person, explaining how and why she did it.
She was consumed by loneliness and anger at the woman who threatened to destroy her family, while never blaming Rusty himself. She hated the mistress, the “destroyer,” who had seduced her husband. She wanted to leave enough evidence for him to know that she did it. She didn’t want him to be implicated for the murder, but it just got out of control. She was ready to confess up until the last minute, but like a “miracle,” he was exonerated and could return home. That was all she wanted, for him to be home with her again.
In both cases, Rusty and Barbara remain married for the sake of their kid, united by a dark secret and their mutual guilt. As far as Rusty’s concerned, his infidelity drove his unstable and neglected wife to kill, so he essentially was the murderer after all. At least, that’s the message imparted by the ending.
(Is it ever acknowledged that an unstable murderer and the philanderer who won’t turn her in are perhaps not the best people to raise a child? Of course not! Who cares about the kid they’re supposedly keeping their relationship together for? Not the narrative, that’s for darn sure!)
Six years later, DC published Batman: The Long Halloween, a maxi-series spun out of the successful Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween one-shots written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Tim Sale. Its title was a reference to the classic British gangster movie, The Long Good Friday, starring Bob Hoskins as a mob boss who loses everything over the course of one day. TLH expanded that idea to taking place over the course of a year, and the mob boss in question, along with many scenes and ideas around him, were directly modeled on Francis Ford Coppolla’s Godfather trilogy.
Beyond all the cinematic references, TLH’s biggest appeal was that it was a whodunnit told over the course of a year. A murderer kills mobsters on one holiday per month, leaving behind the murder weapon (a .22 pistol with a baby bottle nipple as a makeshift silencer) and a trinket corresponding to each holiday.
All this, set immediately after the events of Batman: Year One, with Batman fighting alongside Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent. Harvey was the obvious suspect, given the use of the .22 and many moments of him making extremely-unsubtle references to duality and the number two with half his face in shadow. On top of that, there were many meaningful closeups of him looking intense and sinister.
No one reading the comic ever guessed the identity of the real killer, since there was absolutely zero crossover between comic fans and people who watched/read Presumed Innocent. If that 1990 legal thriller had been some kind of pop culture landmark like The Godfather, then perhaps readers might have been clued in by Loeb and Sale’s curious decision to give Harvey and Gilda a dingy basement workshop.
(Actually, why does he even have a basement workshop? What does he make there? I think I see... paints? And a camera? And… a desk calendar? Wait, why are there three calendars? Why is there one literally hanging under the other calendar on the wall? Is that a jar of mayonnaise? This just raises further questions. Why is he topless?? That’s not proper workshop safety. What is even happening???)
Over the following months of murders, Harvey becomes increasingly intense and hardened between attempts on his and Gilda’s life and frustration at criminals like the Roman, Sal Maroni, and (checks notes) Bruce Wayne constantly eluding justice. Through it all, Harvey is one of the two biggest red herrings for the Holiday killings. And the other one was Alberto Falcone, who was “murdered” by Holiday on New Year’s Eve, leaving Harvey to be the only remaining obvious suspect. Eventually, he’s seen as the Prime Suspect by the other characters, even Gilda, who confronts him with one of the murder weapons she finds in their basement.
Harvey becomes consumed by the job, and gradually shuts out even his meek, mousy, almost invisible wife. Like other Gildas, she’s watching his change and is apparently helpless to stop the inevitable. Except here, that change isn’t limited to a hardened frustration with the law’s ineffectiveness and/or an underlying mental illness. Now he may already be the murderer he’s destined to become.
By the end of the year, from one Halloween to the next, that transformation is complete. After being scarred by Sal Maroni, Harvey reemerges as Two-Face and murders the mobster at the center of it all, Carmine “The Roman” Falcone. He turns himself in to his former allies Jim Gordon and Batman, and is sent to a hilariously-oversized padded cell in Arkham, with only one name on his lips. Well, what’s left of his lips, anyway.
Meanwhile, the true identity of Holiday has seemingly been revealed as Alberto Falcone: the Roman’s meek, mousy, almost invisible son who faked his own murder on New Year’s Eve. However, Two-Face cryptically mentions that there were two different Holiday killers, leaving Batman to suppose that he must have included himself by killing Alberto’s father--Carmine “The Roman” Falcone--on Halloween. It’s a serious reach for a detective to make, but eh, it’s been a long year, so they just accept that specious reasoning and move on.
And then, in the final pages, Gilda delivers a lengthy monologue to no one, confessing to a Harvey who isn’t there. In the basement of their home, Gilda burns the hat, coat, and weaponry of Holiday, which she does by sticking her hands directly into the furnace while somehow never catching fire or losing her confessional composure.
She was the original killer for the first three holiday murders. She killed mobsters so Harvey would have more free time to be with her, because apparently more murders equals less work for a busy district attorney. All she wanted was for Harvey to come home, so they could have a baby and start a family together. That was her entire motivation. That’s why she kicked off this whole bloody chain of events.
Gilda Dent was Holiday.
It’s a twist ending that shocked readers of the time. , Gilda was never even considered the long shot. The Gilda reveal blew minds as a masterfully executed twist at the end of a masterpiece, and it’s added to TLH continuing to be one of the most popular, beloved Batman stories of all time. It forever cemented Gilda as a femme fatale, the deadliest killer that Batman neither suspected nor caught, and it defines her character to this day.
Aaaaaaand it’s bullshit. Of course it was a surprising twist no one saw coming, because it never made a lick of sense. It worked only because we were all desperate for answers and Gilda’s monologue spoon fed them to the audience in a tidy little infodump.
You have to understand: The Long Halloween was an event. Not just one of the most hyped stories of nineties comics, but an operatic return to form for classic, noir-drenched superhero stories during the long hangover of the Image years. The early-to-mid nineties were filled with Liefeldian exxxtreme antiheroes, buxom leather clad bad girls and a hundred indie publishers that folded almost as soon as they sprang up, whether they published books based on popular licensed properties, original superhero characters or experimental stories. The Big Two--DC and Marvel--were aging warships in unfamiliar waters, fast drifting toward irrelevance, while hipper, more nimble publishers like Image, Chaos! and Top Cow set the trends, got all the hype and sailed smoothly.
While the ongoing Batman (and Batfam) books were lurching from one convoluted, multi-title spanning crossover to the next, TLH felt like Batman: The Animated Series for grown-ups. It became the comics equivalent of must-see-TV, like Twin Peaks or The X-Files. Except of course there was no real water cooler to chat around and discuss our theories. Without the central hub of easily accessible internet, there were few gathering places for most comics readers to pick apart stories. Usenet existed, message boards existed, but even dial-up wasn’t common in most homes by then. We were basically limited to chit-chat at the local comic shop--if you were lucky enough to have one--letters to the editor, and the “pen pal” section of Wizard magazine if we wanted to connect with each other.
You can imagine how readers, suffering serious edgy crossover fatigue, felt at the time. Here was a meticulously planned maxi-series, a story with a definite end point, spread across a full year like a twelve course meal. No random crossovers or obscure tie-ins. All the classic villains. Gotham-focused. Gorgeous art and a sweeping, if comfortingly familiar, narrative. And at its heart, a mystery for us to solve--and for most of us, it was a mystery to solve alone.
We were dying to know whodunnit for a full year! And when the digestif arrived--Gilda’s confession--we all scarfed it down immediately.
But eventually it just...didn’t sit right. Not all readers feel that way, of course--TLH is still very popular and beloved, for all those reasons I just listed. Even if the plot is shaky on re-examination, it still serves as a beautiful snapshot of the Batman universe. The mood is there, the stage is set and all the players are on their marks, unburdened by decades of inconvenient continuity, even if they might look a bit thin to those who know them well. It’s a perfectly fine First Batman Comic, if you find it in a Hot Topic, Barnes and Noble or on Amazon. I won’t judge you if you like it. It has its merits!
That said…Oo-De-Lally, is that plot shaky! And now we’ll get into why!
See, Jeph Loeb is the J.J. Abrams of comics, using a labyrinthine mystery-box style and lots of “shocking” twists to create a sense of brilliance and depth from a load of horse hockey. Fans have known this for years from his Marvel work, but few have retroactively reconsidered that TLH was never much better. While the Gilda twist gives the sense of everything being tied up in a neat little bow, the slightest tug shows that there’s nothing inside the box.
To explain, let’s reexamine the Holiday killings and Gilda’s scenes together, and see if they match up to her narrative. In the process, let’s actually look at Gilda as a character, given what we’ve already seen of Gilda-types from decades past, to understand just what Loeb incorporated and what he discarded in crafting his twist--which wasn’t even his twist.
Gilda is introduced as the meek, worried wife of Harvey, anguished over the mob-killing of Richard Daniel, a Roman-affiliated banker who was gunned down in front of his wife. After a scene where a mysterious person customizes a .22 at a workbench alongside a rubber baby bottle nipple, a scene skips and we get that page with Harvey in front of an identical workbench, as Gilda fears for his safety.
Then, shortly before Halloween, we cut to the murder of Johnny Viti, the mobster who killed Richard Daniel. The gun, the punctured nipple, and a jack-o’-lantern are left next to the body. This was Holiday’s first murder.
In this first case, Gilda being the killer fits just fine. In an equal shootout, Gilda wouldn’t have stood a chance against an experienced killer like Johnny, so this makes perfect sense. An amateur like Gildla totally could’ve committed this murder. And yes, it makes sense that she’d leave behind a flashy clue (a Jack o’ Lantern for Halloween) to try throwing off Batman and the cops. She lives in Gotham, so why not make it look like a supervillain?
The real question is how the hell she got a gun in the first place. One might suppose that either she or Harvey purchased it for home defense, but there’s nothing in the text to support that. The fact that the killer filed off the serial numbers suggests it may have been a legal purchase with a paper trail, but you’d think Harvey would notice if their household .22 was suddenly missing. And Batman certainly would have noticed if Gilda had bought a .22 legally right before people dangerous to her husband started dropping dead.
There is another possibility, of course. That it was an illegal gun purchase, which would necessitate Gilda--the meek little housewife--somehow arranging and negotiating a shady gun deal on the sly. But hey, this is Gotham, so maybe it’s possible.
We do learn that there’s a man in Chinatown who has been producing numerous identical guns. A mysterious client ordered an identical, custom-made .22 pistol once a month, up until the point when the Gunsmith himself becomes a Holiday victim just before Sofia Falcone can track him down. It’s never explained why an illicit gunsmith working out of the back of a tea shop would make guns with serial numbers which would then need to be filed off by his clients to even be useful. Maybe he just likes making things as inconvenient as possible for the criminals who buy from him. That seems like a reasonable business decision.
Gilda could have procured the gun and its subsequent copies from the Gunsmith, then killed him when Sofia Falcone (the Roman’s daughter, pictured above) was getting too close. But this necessitates the D.A.’s wife getting in good with the Chinatown underworld, which is highly bloody unlikely.
I’m not saying it’s impossible Gilda could have such connections, maybe even carried over from the life she had before she married Harvey, but there’s no indication of that in the writing. She doesn’t go into Chinatown to buy groceries, visit a friend or grab some takeout. We have no evidence she’s even been to Chinatown, much less that she knows its seedy underbelly. It’s much more likely that Alberto was the client, given his father’s connections to the Gotham underworld, and he didn’t want his sister finding out because… reasons?
All the same, it’s unlikely that Gilda would have bought the gun from the Gunsmith, since she’s filing off the numbers herself. You’d think any reputable black-market arms dealer would already sell their wares pre-filed. Wherever she got the gun, it probably wasn’t from the Gunsmith. Again, it’s Gotham, the streets are probably lousy with guns just lying around. One way or another, she had a gun, and she filed off the serial numbers.
Then there’s the use of the rubber nipple as a cheap silencer. If Gilda did buy the gun from a shady Gotham dealer, you’d think she could also buy an actual, more reliable silencer. Maybe that wasn’t an option, or perhaps she purposely wanted to use the rubber nipple to make sure it looked like a lone killer rather than a mob hit.
Using rubber nipples is a real method, often used with deer hunting rifles rather than pistols, but it requires being securely fastened to the barrel and a hole cut in the tip. Let’s assume that Loeb, lacking the kind of internet we have today, didn’t know those details. That’s fine, just a minor inaccuracy.
Do all these details even matter? In a straightforward story, such logistics can be overlooked, with disbelief suspended as necessary. But this is a murder mystery in the old-fashioned whodunnit style. It’s a story that is constructed to involve the reader as detective, have them piece together clues, and see if they can guess the culprit before the revelation. If the author withholds information, the reader cannot fairly play along. Whether or not this makes a bad mystery (or even a bad story) has been debated amongst mystery nerds for literal generations. As such, it’s up to the individual reader to decide if they’re fine with TLH being a dressed up as a .
So whatever. Let’s just accept that she had a gun. We can also accept that she didn’t need to be proficient with firearms given Johnny Viti’s vulnerable position and the close range. We can furthermore accept that she used the (as Batman puts it) “cheap but effective” method of using rubber nipples as part of her murderous DIY aesthetic.
Listen, I don’t want to give Loeb credit for forethought, since it’s obvious he didn’t hammer out all the details in this plot, but: if I wanted to backwards engineer a reason that makes him look clever, I’d say the baby bottle nipples are not random, but rather they symbolize Gilda’s desperate desire to have a child and her anguish over what’s implied to be difficulty conceiving. As such, the rubber nipples should have been the big clue that Gilda was the killer. To be clear: that probably isn’t what happened, because AFAIK Loeb has never suggested any such thing at any point in any interview for a quarter of a century since publication. But if you’re a bullshit artist trying to write an essay on this series, there’s some untapped symbolism for ya. Have fun.
So. Let’s just go with the idea that, one way or another, Gilda killed Johnny Viti to protect Harvey and give him a break from work. Because that’s how crime in Gotham works. You kill one mobster, it just stops! Enough that the DA stops being busy!
After Dent pisses him off one too many times, the Roman hires a quintet of Irish killers to murder the D.A. and his wife. Because Irish and Italian criminals are long known for their frequent, peaceful collaborations. But okay, let’s accept that the Roman convinces some Irish gangsters to do his dirty work, not caring that it’d bring more heat down on the Irish mob and do their rival a favor. Suspension of disbelief. Harvey is their common enemy. It’s not impossible.
This was the big first issue cliffhanger, despite the fact that Harvey obviously wasn’t going to die. I suppose the suspense was in whether or not Gilda would make it.
Yes, they both survived, despite taking the full brunt of an explosion powerful enough to send the front door flying alongside a partially-liquified jack-o-lantern. This survival is never explained, never given “good thing we decided to leap out into the backyard at the last second like that scene in ” reasoning later on.
Harvey suffers zero injuries, but Gilda is sent to the hospital. How the hell he made it out completely unscathed while she’s totally wrecked is beyond me. What, did she valiantly throw herself on her fridge of a husband to protect him from the explosion? I choose to believe that’s what happened.
We see her on Thanksgiving night, where a worried Harvey sits at her bedside as she rests. Gilda appears to be in a coma, or at least in critical condition given Harvey’s anguished position at her bedside. The best case scenario is that just resting, but she’s still bedridden one month later after taking the full brunt of an explosion that destroyed their house, so uh… probably not.
That same night, the four men behind the bomb celebrate Thanksgiving in a lavish hotel room. The Holiday killer enters with a room service tray and encounters the quartet, who pull for their guns and leap into action. Here is where circumstances should be different. They’re armed, they’re alert, and they’re all likely more experienced than that stooge Holiday already killed, Bathtub Johnny. And they all ended up just as dead.
Could Gilda have done this? Even assuming that she’s not as injured as she looks (despite the fact that she should be pudding), there are many logistical steps that Gilda would have had to take in order to pull this off. These include, but are not limited to:
1.) Pulling out the life support equipment
2.) Slipping out of hospital undetected with her butt exposed in the gown because her clothes were probably burned off
3.) Somehow hitching a ride home to the suburbs despite having no cash
4.) Grabbing her Holiday togs and weapons (including a new, second gun) from the charred ruins of her probably still smoking basement
5.) Buying or otherwise acquiring a friggin cornucopia
6.) Somehow traveling back to the city
7.) Tracking down the bombers’ location...somehow
8.) Slipping into the high-end hotel undetected
9.) Opening a door which was presumably locked, as hotel doors are
10.) Shooting all four armed and alerted killers with precise killshots before they could return fire
11.) While using a friggin’ .22 peashooter pistol which is not even a semi-auto
12.) Leaving the hotel undetected
13.) Ditching the hat and coat, possibly requiring a second return trip to the house
14.) Slipping back into the hospital undetected
15.) Hooking herself back up to the IV and life support equipment
16.) All without alerting Harvey in the chair at her bedside
Could she really have done some or all of the above, all within the space of a couple hours, with absolutely no nurses noticing that she was gone? Seems pretty fuckin’ unlikely to me, and a lot of those steps would also have applied to Harvey as well, unless he kept the equipment hidden somewhere nearby.
This really does seem like a perfect case where someone like Alberto, known to the mob but chronically underestimated, would have been a better fit. What’s more, Alberto could have been motivated to silence these hired goons before they implicated his father. After all, they were charged and then released on bail, thanks to the Roman’s influence. Nipping them in the bud would be a prudent measure by a son looking for his father’s approval.
But okay, despite all the above, let’s say it was Gilda. Loeb says it’s Gilda. Fine. Loeb intended us to retroactively accept this possibility when reconsidering the next issue, where we see Gilda stand out of her wheelchair a month later on Christmas Eve. It’s meant to be the red flag everyone missed, the clue that hinted at the twist, since she could really walk all along! After all, Loeb would reuse “the one in the wheelchair did it” plot point as the big twist in the sequel, Dark Victory.
Here we see a deeper glimpse of Gilda’s ostensible motive: she wants a baby. She has no life, no interests, no job, no hobbies, and she sure as hell isn’t a sculptor or a lawyer. Knowing where this is all going, we know that her life revolves around having a family with Harvey. I’m not the best person to critique this from a feminist angle, (My Henchgirl, reading this over my shoulder: “But I am! FUCK THIS!”), but it strikes me as being a rather… shall we say, “old-fashioned” take for a female character’s entire motivation.
Maybe one could argue that she’s subverting the trope by being a killer, like a housewife version of . Or maybe it’s just yet another case of hoary old housewife/femme-fatale tropes by a male writer, just like Scott Turrow did with Presumed Innocent. I’m leaning towards the latter.
Moving on, Gilda goes upstairs, blissfully unaware that the Joker has broken into their house and is fighting her husband. I guess the new place has some great insulation.
Looking for the Holiday killer for his own wacky reasons, the Joker hurts and threatens Harvey, leaving him in a heap for a horrified Gilda to find. They’ve had this house for literal minutes and already there’s a killer breaking in, making everything bad again! Whether or not this Gilda’s a murderer, she’s going through a lot here even before Harvey’s downfall. That’s worth keeping in mind as we press forward.
The Joker moves on to the Roman’s penthouse, where he kills a few guards and threatens the mob boss for the lulz. He manages to slip past the Roman’s main bodyguard with a deck of cards to the face, and leaves the hapless goon on the front steps as he drives off. Which is when Holiday strikes again.
If you’re wondering about that last panel, Holiday is shaking up a snow globe, leaving it alongside the weapon. Gilda fits this killing for the same reasons she could have killed Johnny Viti. It’s not much of a leap to imagine that she followed the Joker, intending to kill him (good luck with that) for hurting Harvey and narrowly missing him. And she also picked up a snow globe somewhere along the way. Then, she saw the distracted Falcone man just sitting there, ripe for the plucking, and killed him as a consolation prize.
It works, so long as we accept that she could have been skilled enough to follow the Joker undetected all the way into the city. Unless the Joker did notice and just thought it was funny. As with Johnny, there’s enough leeway here to accept it as plausible. At least, plausible enough to accept it and move on.
But here’s where it gets complicated again. The next killing was a week later, on New Year’s Eve. This time, the victim is the story’s other big red herring: Alberto Falcone, the “good son” of the crime family. Underestimated and creepy, Alberto was telegraphed as the obvious suspect from the get-go. And then, in a shocking twist, he’s murdered, thereby eliminating him from the list of suspects! You know, like Tommy Elliot in Batman: Hush.
Even when I read this at thirteen years old, I knew this was suspicious as hell.
For the first time, we don’t see the Holiday killer, just the gun going off. There’s no wound. He just hunches over and vanishes, presumably going overboard. I’m not sure how to account for the gallons of blood in the water, but maybe the blood wasn’t really there and it was just artistic license on the part of colorist Greogry Wright. That, and/or blatant misdirection on Loeb and Sale’s part.
This is the pivotal “murder” in Gilda’s finale confession. This is the one she didn’t do. No, this is where Gilda suspects Harvey of shooting Alberto, based solely on the fact that he later came home with wet hair, despite wearing a hat. Everyone knows it’s completely impossible that he could have taken his hat off in the very obvious snow. He glues it on every day before work and must pry it off with a crowbar every night when he gets home.
Gilda said this was the moment she realized Harvey had killed Alberto. The wet hair. Not wet clothes or waterlogged shoes. Not the smell of fishy salt water clinging to him. Wet hair. Hair that could not have gotten wet any other way. To her, this meant that Harvey knew that she was the killer. Somehow, he’d supposedly figured it out, either through deduction, spousal telepathy, or doing the Rusty Sabich thing of finding the murder weapon in the creepy basement. Or maybe he just woke up in the hospital, saw she was missing, and didn’t start screaming and trying to turn the hospital upside down to find out who kidnapped his injured wife. “Welp, guess she’s on a murder spree. Suppose I’ll go to the hospital cafeteria for a sammich!”
If Harvey learned Gilda was the killer, he could have confronted her, or even just talked with her before deciding whether or not to turn her in. Instead, Gilda’s narrative requires Harvey to be as supportive as he is uncommunicative, taking up the mantle to become Holiday himself, the two of them united in a dark secret to protect one another and have a family--without ever exchanging words about it at any point, onscreen or off. In this sense, Loeb also incorporates the book version of Presumed Innocent, having husband and wife play house while living with their unspoken truth and mutual secret.
What’s more, according to Gilda, Harvey went on to continue being the Holiday killer, wiping out all the mobsters who were keeping him so busy at his job, even while he was too busy at said job to be home with her. This seems pretty counterintuitive to Gilda’s theory, but sure, let’s go with it. She stopped being Holiday, suddenly and at random. After she’d already dragged herself out of the hospital to commit five murders. After she’d followed the Joker and committed another. She quit, even though she was healed up and Harvey was in even more danger than when she’d started. She quit because reasons. And Harvey, somehow intuiting that she’d given up murder without talking to her about it, decided to take the job at the exact moment she quit, just in time for a major holiday. Yes, this makes sense. We can accept this. She certainly did.
… If you detect a subtle note of sarcasm on my part, that’s because there’s a major flaw in this whole theory. Namely, that Alberto is still alive, having faked his death. We’ll examine his role along with Gilda’s greater arc in the next part, since I’ve already maxed out LJ’s content limit.