What delights do you have for us this week, Gotham? Rage gas, flamethrowers, and karate fights? Well, I think the only reasonable thing to do is… “Light the Wick”.
If this is your first episode of Gotham, I imagine the “Previously…” segment absolutely blew your mind.
We open at Arkham Asylum, for the first time in a while. Some orderlies are transporting Barnes and Jervis Tetch watches with delight from his window. Barnes breaks free and snaps some necks and Tetch loves it. Then, freaking Talon somersaults over the former captain and injects him with something. Barnes tries to fight him but passes out. Boy, we haven’t seen the Hatter in a while. I missed that creep!
Talon brings Barnes to Kathryn, who claims to be a fan of his work. She explains their plan to pass judgment on a wider scale and just need a little blood for a sample of the Alice Tetch virus. And performing the procedure is none other than Hugo Strange.
Lee presents her autopsy finding on Frank Gordon to Bullock. She ruled it a homicide, even thought he killed himself – she thinks there should be an investigation and Jim Gordon should be the lead suspect. Bullock insists that she’s making a mistake and she vows to expose Gordon.
Court Meeting! Gordon is present as Kathryn announces that Gotham’s end is imminent. She just needs everybody’s list of loved ones they wish to save from the purge. No guarantee they’ll be saved, but she needs to review.
Ivy goes to Sirens to look for Selina. Tabitha blows her off and gets really irritated with Ivy’s teen drama. Finally, she says she heard Selina fell out of a window and she should probably check the hospital.
Gordon hangs out in the court meeting room, picking fibers off of Kathryn’s mask and dusting for prints. An Owl catches him, but Gordon plays it off as making his list. We don’t see if he writes any names, and I would love to know that.
Ivy turns up at the hospital and perfumes a nurse into updating her on Selina’s condition. She says they’ve tried everything and all they can do now is make her comfortable. Ivy sends her away and promises to fix Selina. Man, Gotham General is pretty chill if they’ll let Selina (who definitely does not have insurance) have a private room. Back at the Court, we learn that Strange is a prisoner of the Court and that he “saved Fish Mooney even though she had one foot in the grave”. So not resurrecting her then – he must have fixed her condition from the beginning of this season and I think Fish will be back in time for the finale. And Strange has managed to weaponize the Tetch virus. He’s turned it into a gas and tests it out on some poor dope who immediately goes insane.
Hey, it’s Bruce! Arlo is overseeing his combat training – Bruce keeps losing a stick fight but Arlo assures him he can go home when he wins. See, he’s blinded by his rage. He needs to learn to control it. Once Arlo releases him from his pain, “nothing will be able to stop you”.
Bullock calls Gordon – they got a hit on Kathryn’s prints. Her last name is Monroe and she’s from a very old family. He’s also got her address, so Gordon goes to break in. He also tells Gordon he covered for him with Lee and also that Barnes was transferred out of Arkham and they don’t know where. Man, that is a lot of information.
Outside his apartment, Gordon runs into Penguin. (Who he thought was maybe dead.) He’s got Firefly with him for muscle and wants to know what happened to Ed. Gordon says Ed escaped custody and he doesn’t know anything more. But Penguin’s already figured that Gordon must have handed him over to the Court. Gordon tells Oswald to back off because he doesn’t know what he’s getting into. Penguin does not accept good advice, so he gives Gordon a burner phone and says he expects a call by the end of the day. Also, Penguin definitely thinks they’re still friends, which is awesome.
Gordon gets into Kathryn’s and starts rooting around. He finds a false bottom in a desk drawer and inside is a card with the Wayne logo – there’s a code printed on it. As he’s snooping Kathryn comes home so he just confronts her with the news that Penguin is alive and looking for the Court. He uses this to prove his commitment and demands to know what the judgment entails. So she tells him that they’re going to show the people of Gotham their darkest selves and then kicks him out of the house.
Gordon immediately calls Harvey – between the card and what Kathryn told him, he knows their plan. (He gets Bullock’s voicemail, by the way.)
Back at GCPD, Gordon tells Bullock and Lucius about the Tetch virus and the plan to weaponize it. Lucius manages to match the Wayne security card to an offsite lab. Ivy brings some plants and hypnotized nurses to Selina’s room and explains she has a plant that’s a “break in case of emergency” thing.
Arlo helps Bruce meditate and wants him to go back to the first time he felt rage at his parents’ murder. They have to go back and remove that destructive emotion. If they can do that, he has unlimited potential to be Gotham’s protector. But Bruce has to make the choice. Bruce accepts and the find themselves at the Waynes’ wake. He couldn’t handle it and went off to his parents’ room – there’s a whole thing where Thomas was supposed to be buried with his favorite cufflinks, but Bruce couldn’t let them go. They materialize in his hand, and Arlo leads him to a safe where he can lock them away. When he does, he passes out. Arlo is pleased at this because: “Together, we can make Gotham pay”. Oh, he’s not trying to help at all! We were right not to trust him!
Bullock and Gordon head to the secret facility and find a bunch of dead bodies. The Tetch virus test subject attacks and nearly kills Gordon before Strange jams something in the guy’s neck. He isn’t super cooperative but he reveals that the weapon is the device to disburse the virus. If they know the cops are onto them, they’ll use it right away so they basically have to let Strange go to cover for them. He’s playing both sides – if Gordon wins, he helped out. If the Court wins, then he’s loyal as far as they can prove. I love Hugo Strange so much.
Gordon get a call from Kathryn – she wants a meeting. Bullock goes off to give Lucius the research that Strange turned over. Over in what might be Nepal, Bruce defeats his sparring partner and says he feels nothing.
Kathryn meets Gordon in a room above a Daughers of Gotham social event. They’re going to detonate the rage bomb and drive everybody at the party violently insane. And this is just a test. Gordon’s test is this: He has to be there and watch it happen. If he interferes or tries to stop it, Talon kills him.
Gordon tries to make conversation with Talon, which cracks me up. Even better is his second plan. He pocket dials Penguin and tries to give him clues through his one-sided conversation. (“This place used to be a bank, right?”) It takes Oswald a while to get it, but Gordon manages to get some information out.
Back at GCPD, Lee yells at Lucius for helping Gordon. Hey, maybe she’ll believe it from the smartest guy in the building! Lucius explains that Gordon is saving the city, but she doesn’t buy it. Man, if she’s not going to believe Lucius…
As time ticks down, Gordon says “screw it” and hits Talon with a vase. Gordon’s good in a fight, but Talon kicks his ass. And just as he’s about to stab Jim, Firefly arrives and lights him up. A fireball blasts Talon through the window and onto the floor of the party, which is a good start in getting everybody out of the blast radius. Penguin shows up and tries to make some demands, but Gordon tells him about the bomb and runs off. He can’t stop it, but he manages to get everybody out of the building (after running back in to save a little girl) and seals the doors as it goes off. The gas is contained and the day is saved. This one day. Don’t bet on any future days.
Arlo calls Kathryn, and she calls him “sir”. He tells her that he and Bruce will be leaving tonight. Penguin rages in his mansion and something unseen takes out Firefly. In the hospital, Ivy has filled Selina’s room with plants and finally she wakes up. Still woozy, Selina gets ready to leave – she says they have to get to Wayne Manor where she has to kill somebody. Well, Deuce. It’s not like she’s going to kill Alfred.
Over at GCPD, Lee packs her stuff up and says she’s resigning. Gordon poisoned the whole place and took everything from her. Even when he explains that he killed Mario to save her (again), she says Mario was only poisoned so Tetch could get to him. That’s not a bad point, but you can’t blame Gordon for the bad guys hating him.
At home, Kathryn seems to figure out that somebody tampered with his desk. Elsewhere, a new Talon tosses Penguin in a cell. He yells a lot and gets the attention of the guy in the adjoining cell. You guessed it – the Riddler. Awesome. And then Kathryn goes to see Barnes, who is strapped down. She tells him that Gordon betrayed her and she’s going to need his help. Barnes busts free and promises that he’ll be Gordon’s executioner.
I love the way they keep emphasizing “Executioner” like they’re invoking an established villain. There ain’t one, unless you count the guy who appeared once in 1953 and had a completely different gimmick.
–I liked this episode a whole lot, as you can probably tell. I love the build to the season finale and they way they’re pulling everybody back into the story. I hope we can count on Mad Hatter getting out of Arkham soon so he can participate in the villain war. And I really thought Barnes was just going to be forgotten, but I’m really looking forward to him just going all out homicidal.
As I said, it really seems like they want us to think there’s a famous Batman villain called the Executioner and that’s who Barnes is becoming. But the Executioner is too obscure for an appearance in LEGO Batman. He’s below Zodiac Master and March Harriet! It doesn’t matter, of course. They don’t need to connect Barnes to a comic villain to justify his role in the story. That said, I kind of wish they’d leaned into making him the new Blockbuster, but that’s a name that’s much harder to work into badass declarations.
I’m not sure how I feel about Ivy’s greatly accelerated plant skills, but I’ll let it slide. They did enough to establish her as a prodigy early on and now that she has resources and isn’t scrambling for food and shelter, she can develop that knowledge more. I’ll allow it, but you’re on thin ice. Of course, I think we can agree that plants reviving Selina is better than the magic cats we thought we’d end up with. And yes, it is hilarious to me that they did the Batman Returns setup and had it amount to nothing. They didn’t even have somebody find her in the alley, surrounded by cats. That scene actually amounted to “cats stood near her after she fell out a window”, but we spent a week thinking they were going the Tim Burton route and we were, to be honest, kind of worried about it.
I didn’t notice it last week, but they recast Firefly since last season. It’s kind of hard to spot when she’s in a head-to-toe costume and she has the facial scars. I hope the original actress was cast in something else because I always feel sorry for people who are recast (unless they did a bad job or are terrible people). And how badass was it when she shows up just in time to take out Talon? Firefly is great. I sort of miss the “fire goddess” bit from the end of last season, but that version would never have joined Team Penguin.
Yes, Oswald and Ed locked up together is great. Every story beat they’ve shared this season has been so much fun and I like the idea that Riddler could join the Freak Army. All I want is for all the villains to take down the Court of Owls!
Bruce’s story is interesting – taking away his rage is the kind of thing that seems like a good idea, but their point is that Batman needs that anger. I’m not a fan of psycho Batman, but that anger is important, especially when he turns it outward. He’s not angry at his parents’ murder specifically, but angry at crime and anybody who hurts people for their own gain. Take that away, and he’s not Batman. They’re handling this really well, and if I didn’t know they’d cast a different actor as Ra’s al Ghul, it would be a neat twist for Arlo to be Ra’s.
Next week? Things get crazier!