Gotham has trained me to expect a three-episode Jerome mini-arc about halfway through the season before the final arc kicks off. And I thought that was happening this season but we’re already in the endgame. Reportedly, Jerome’s in every episode through the end of the season which has to mean that they’re going big this year. Bigger than “rage virus infects the city and also ninjas show up” which is bigger than “everybody’s in Arkham Asylum and there’s also a nuclear bomb”. And that brings us to “One of My Three Soups”, which brings a favorite villain back to the forefront.
Arkham Asylum. A guard on the night shift checks out a disturbance in Jervis Tetch’s cell. She wears headphones so he can’t hypnotize her. He’s wearing his glorious newspaper top hat, by the way. The guard he did hypnotize earlier kills the other guard and escorts Tetch to Jonathan Crane’s cell. Scarecrow is mixing up a batch of something in the toilet, which is pretty great. He uses his toilet concoction to short out Jerome’s cell and we’ve got a Joker / Mad Hatter / Scarecrow team-up. Tetch instructs the guard to kill herself and they set to work letting everybody loose. The big three walk right out of the Asylum mid-riot.
Gordon and Bullock arrive on the scene to find 87 convicts escaped and the guards think Tetch put it together. Gordon figures it has to be Jerome, and they’re both right. Bullock tells him the cops need some inspiration and Gordon obliges with a rousing speech about rounding up the big three.
Hey, Ben McKenzie directed this episode. Maybe Gordon won’t get shot or beaten for a week.
Tetch calls Gordon and directs him to an address. If Gordon doesn’t show up, people die. Sure enough, out in the street, there’s a couple in wedding wear standing underneath a wrecking ball. Man, Tetch hates married couples. Then a bunch of hypnotized citizens show up to surround the cops. Tetch rants about his sister and says Gordon doesn’t get to save anybody anymore and he just straight up drops the wrecking ball on the couple and then drives off.
Bruce and Selina show up at GCPD and Selina is as confused as you are. He wants her to break into Gordon’s office and get Jerome’s file. Over at Sirens, Barbara continues freaking out after hallucinating Ra’s al Ghul. Her hand is full-on glowing now and she tells Tabitha that Ra’s brought her back to life, but the memories cause her physical pain. Tabitha tells her that pain is nothing to Barbara freaking Kean, and so she digs in. She remembers dying at Tabitha’s hand and then Ra’s finding her body and bringing her to the Lazarus Pit. Obviously she shouldn’t be able to remember things that happened after she died, but I think that indicates Ra’s is living inside her head now. Ra’s tells her that she will become the Demon’s Head and command the League of Shadows and I’m thinking nobody guessed that outcome when we first met the sad fiancee version of Barbara. Her hand stops glowing and she knows now that the League is coming.
Gordon and Bullock figure, based on Tetch’s rhymes, that they have until midnight, and he’s going to kill people the way Alice died – jumping to her death. And sure enough, they start to see hypnotized citizens lining the rooftops.
Harper spots Bruce and asks what he’s doing there, so Bruce goes on about how he needs to talk to Gordon because he needs a personal protection detail since Jerome will probably come after him. He slightly overplays it, which is all in the service of creating a diversion and it’s pretty funny. Selina gets the file, and they sneak away.
Bullock and Gordon try to work out how Tetch got to so many people – there are dozens, maybe hundreds ready to jump just in their immediate vicinity. Hey, this is sort of like that Doctor Who episode where everybody on Earth with a particular blood type was hypnotized to stand on the nearest roof and jump at the signal. Was it “The Christmas Invasion”?
In the file, Bruce finds that Jerome’s uncle owns a diner in town, so maybe he would have some ideas. Selina says it isn’t his problem, and Bruce gives the bad argument that people who want to be edgy give about how he could have killed Jerome, but he didn’t and so now he’s responsible for any further crimes. Which is nonsense, but Bruce is very young. It’s worth noting that he doesn’t use this as an excuse to kill Jerome, but to find him and return him to Arkham. Also, Selina tells him this is nonsense, which is nice.
Turns out the cops had the same idea and hit the diner. Uncle Zack assures them that he hates Jerome and hasn’t seen him. They leave, and Jerome climbs out from under the table, gun trained on his uncle.
Gordon and Bullock figure that Tetch is broadcasting via radio, but all the cars of the citizens who attacked them are on different stations. They guess that his command also told them to switch stations, which is pretty clever. Bullock locks himself in the car and starts checking radio stations. When he hits the one with the hypnotic command, Gordon will know. But then Bullock will climb to a rooftop to kill himself at midnight. It’s a risky move.
Jerome reminisces with his uncle and we learn the guy abused him all his life, including dipping his hand in boiling soup. Zack is not phased by any of this because his friend shows up – a huge dude who used to be a strongman at the circus where Jerome grew up. Zack calls him “Lunkhead”, which is demeaning but in an old-fashioned way, Lunkhead kicks Jerome’s ass with little difficulty. And now Zack has some more boiling hot soup for his nephew.
Barbara and Tabitha talk about the League of Shadows only to find that there are dozens of assassins waiting in their office. Bullock finds the station and then decks Gordon on his way to the roof. Man, Tetch thought of everything. I missed that creep and his forethought.
Gordon calls in to Harper and tells her about Tetch. He tells her to spread radio cars all over the city, ready to amplify the signal on his order, and Gordon heads to the radio station. Zack pours the hot soup down Jerome’s throat and then Bruce shows up, telling him to stop. He tells them to call the cops, and Zack orders Lunkhead to release Jerome and go after Bruce. So he starts trying to beat a child, and then Jerome attacks his uncle, demanding unspecified information.
The League of Shadows seems split on whether or not Barbara can be the Demon’s Head, and one vocal dissenter tries to kill Barbara. She stabs him and then everybody pulls a knife. Jerome tries to make his uncle drink bleach and finally he gives in and says “the school is St. Ignatius”. Jerome: “Got it. (pause) Lost it. Write it down.” Hee! Lunkhead finally gets the upper hand and starts choking Bruce, only stopping when Jerome shoots Zack in the head. Jerome acknowledges Bruce’s role in saving him but says it’s ridiculous that he tried to help. Then he tries to decide whether it’s funnier if he saves Bruce or if Bruce is choked to death by the guy he stopped from killing Jerome. He settles on the latter and makes Lunkhead continue to strangle Bruce at gunpoint. On the bright side, Gordon arrives at the radio station and puts a gun to Tetch’s head before he can give the order for mass suicide. That’s our “bright side” at this point.
Gordon gives the order to the patrol cars to start broadcasting. At gunpoint, he tells Tetch to instruct everybody to step back from the edge. He says he can’t do that, so Gordon shoots a hole in his right hand. Well, there’s our hand mutilation for this episode! Tetch explains that part of the command requires them to jump if anybody tells them to save themselves. Man, that was a carefully worded hypnotic statement. They die if he does nothing, they die if he tries to stop them.
Jerome cackles as Lunkhead works over Bruce, until Selina show up and rescues Bruce. Then she tries to shoot Jerome and Bruce stops her. Jerome gets away in the confusion. Bruce finds the napkin with the St. Ignatius address, and I bet we find out what that whole deal is next week.
The League of Shadows have their knives out and they’re ready to kill Barbara and Tabitha. Barbara stands defiant and her hand starts to glow. They bow to her once the glowing starts, then the lights go out and the bullets fly. The female assassins killed all the men and pledge their allegiance to Barbara. It’s less of a League, but they claim there are hundreds more. Man, remember back in Season One when they didn’t know what to do with Barbara’s character and I kept saying Erin Richards was awesome and needed a better character and then things went nuts? Now she’s freaking Ra’s al Ghul and I believed in her the whole time.
The clock begins to strike midnight and the jumpers move forward. Gordon has an idea and says into the microphone “save each other” and everybody pulls somebody else back from the edge. It’s a really nice move, though I’m not convinced that they would have listened to Gordon. We just won’t look too deeply into that, OK?
Back at GCPD, they have Tetch in custody, but he wouldn’t tell them anything about Jerome’s plans. Bullock and Gordon celebrate with a drink until Gordon gets morose again about how he became Captain. Bullock agrees that Gordon should pay for his crimes, but also that he saved hundreds of people tonight. “Feet of clay are hard to carry around. That’s what the whiskey’s for.” Bullock tells him there aren’t any heroes and then Bruce Wayne calls. He reports back about Jerome and St. Ignatius and then says he’s headed to the school. So now Bullock and Gordon have to head out to stop him from doing anything stupid.
Scarecrow and Jerome attack Jerome’s prison transport and rescues him. They even have a real top hat for him. And everything is going according to plan.
–I know I’ve been light on the commentary lately but time is tight and most episodes of Gotham just have me giggling with glee anyway. We’ll talk in more detail when time permits.