The last time we were in Gotham so was every character ever, and almost all of them were gunning for Sophia Falcone. Lee was the one lucky enough to take her down. The only people in the city who weren’t concerned with Sophia were Bruce and Selina. Per usual with those two getting together they found themselves in trouble and had to fight their way out. They even had time for a heart to heart.
This week opens with the beginnings of the plan Jerome Valeska had alluded to previously. The crazies he’s enlisted to help with his escape are none other than Jervis Tetch and Jonathan Crane. They use their unique talents, Tetch his hypnotizing abilities and Crane his chemical knowledge, to break out Jerome. Together they release all the inmates and waltz their way out of Arkham.
Jim’s stay in the hospital ended just in time for him deal with all this insanity. He’s still not sure if he can face his force, but Harvey reassures him they need him. Tetch calls Jim, giving him a location. He and Harvey know it’s a trap, but they have to go regardless. They’re greeted by a battalion of Tetch’s hypnotized zombies and a couple in a suit and wedding dress.
Jim is ready to play Tetch’s game to save them, but he doesn’t have a game this time. He wants to make Jim suffer for his sister’s death. There are no choices this time., just a wrecking ball falling on top of the couple. That’s taking the ball and chain metaphor to the worst level. Tetch makes his escape promising there is more to come.
Meanwhile, Bruce and Selina are in the GCPD, which is a madhouse, pun intended. Bruce wants Selina to break into Jim’s office and steal the file on Jerome. She doesn’t understand why he needs it, but she still picks the lock and slips in. The chaos isn’t a complete cover as Detective Harper notices Bruce. Looks like Alfred’s acting lessons are more than paying off. Bruce shifts beautifully from the privileged rich boy trying to buy protection, to a scared teenager all to distract Harper while Selina slips out with the file. Bruce does his own vanishing act the moment Harper turns away.
Back in his car with Selina, Bruce learns Jerome has an uncle in Gotham from his file. Selina still doesn’t understand why he won’t leave Valska to the police. Bruce explains he had the opportunity to kill Jerome before but didn’t take it; now he feels responsible for any damage he may cause. With her trademark sardonic tone, Selina points out to Bruce not everything is his fault.
There is a moment of tension between the two and you’re not really sure what it’s going happen until Bruce leans over… and opens the door for Selina. That was a cruel fake out Gotham. Cruel.
Jim and Harvey meanwhile, have been trying to figure out the next phase of Tetch’s plan. From the riddle he said as he left, Jim puts it together he’s planning on making people jump to their deaths at midnight. Why is it always midnight? He and Harvey race up to the roof of a building and sure enough, find people lined up by the edge. It’s not just serendipity the first roof they go to has people there. Tetch has hypnotized people all over the city and they’re all lining up ready to take a step out onto air when the clock strikes twelve.
It doesn’t take them long to put together the radio must be how Tetch is reaching so many people. They need to figure out which station he took over, so Harvey locks himself in a car and starts channel surfing. He falls under Tetch’s control, but not before he tells Jim the station.
Turns out Jerome did go to see his uncle. Good ole uncle was waiting for him with soup and the strong man from Jerome’s old circus, ready to help kill Jerome. Bruce gets there in time to stop them. He ends up fighting the strong man, while Jerome uses the distraction to interrogate his uncle for the name of a school.
After he gets what he wants he kills his uncle and is about to watch the strong man kill Bruce. Except Selina shows up just in time to save him. She steals Jerome’s gun and would have killed him off if Bruce didn’t stop her.
While everyone else in Gotham has been dealing with the Arkham escapees, Barbara’s been trying to stop her headaches. And her glowing hand. She’s confided in Tabitha, even telling her Ra’s brought her back to life. Tabitha gives her the push she needs to push past the pain and into memories laying just below the surface. She recalls Ra’s bring her back to life. Oh, and also him telling her she’s going to become the Demon’s Head and be the leader of the League of Shadows. Tabitha is skeptical that they’ve never heard about an international assassins’ guild before. But, seeing is believing and the League members appear in the Sirens’ Club amidst flickering lights.
Naturally, there’s the one dude who doesn’t want to accept that Barbara was Ra’s Al Ghul’s choice as his successor because she is a woman. Sighs. He gives a whole spiel about never having a woman as the Demon’s Head before. Another league member, a woman, points out that it isn’t a rule. He still tries to kill Barbara to take her place.
She stabs him with his own dagger. Have I ever mentioned how much I love Barbara? All the other members seem ready to fight her for the title, but she takes a few steps forward and they all shrink back. She realizes why Ra’s choose her to lead. He saw a strength in her that the league lacks. Her words strike a chord with some of the members, spurring them to douse the lights and murder every other member of the league in the room. When the lights come back on only the women remain standing. They pledge themselves to Barbara.
Elsewhere in Gotham, Jim’s at the station where Tetch is broadcasting from. He calls Harper, telling her to get speakers out into the streets and ready to broadcast. He gets the drop on Tetch, telling him to change his commands to save everyone. But Tetch saw this coming and had a contingency plan built into his commands. If anyone tells them to save themselves they’ll jump anyway. He even gives Jim the option to do it himself, giving the command to ‘obey the next voice you hear’. The clock strikes midnight. Jim can’t tell them to save themselves, but he asks them to save each other. Everyone on a ledge steps forward, even as they cling to their neighbors to pull them back. Jim’s words work.
Back at the precinct, Harvey pulls out a bottle of whiskey to celebrate with Jim, though he is still haunted by Sophia. Harvey reminds him why he can’t come clean: Gotham isn’t a city of heroes. He doesn’t need to be a hero to be what the city needs.
Tetch, however, doesn’t even make it back to Arkham. Jerome and Crane, sporting new threads, stop his transport and set him free. Turns out Tetch’s city take over was a distraction for Jim and the police while Crane got his fear gas and Jerome got the information he wanted from his uncle. The trio drive off into the night, no doubt more chaos is right around the corner.
Bruce having found the information Jerome’s uncle wrote down for him calls Jim to share it with him. In spite of Jim’s best efforts, he can’t convince Bruce to not look into it further.
Look Out Gotham, Everyone’s Out to Play… Also… Assassins
The main plot of stopping Tetch this episode never felt as dire as it should have been. Even Gotham wasn’t going to kill half the city in one fell swoop. The reveal at the end that it was all a distraction made it easier to digest the over-the-top plan that ultimately had no consequences. Except for that one couple; it really sucks for them. Jim breaking Tetch’s control by asking everyone to save each other was such a warm, genuinely uplifting moment. It’s not the kind of happy victory that’s seen often on Gotham. It’s refreshing. Especially, when Gotham has been really up front with it’s more gruesome side recently (like actually watching Lee’s hand getting smashed).
Jerome was a delight. His trademark wit never grows old.
“St. Ignatius. The school’s St. Ignatius,”
“Got it! …Lost it. Write it down.”
He has this balance of cunning determination and chaos for the fun of it that makes him unpredictable and terrifying. There’s no telling what he’ll do to achieve his plans or when and why his goals with change.
Despite coming out of nowhere, I could be more excited for the League of Shadows. I’m a 110% here for Barbara being in charge of a group of lady assassins. (I feel like Arrow should be taking notes. A spinoff with Nyssa? I’d watch that.) Though the whole ‘doesn’t want a boss who’s a lady’ thing felt a tad overt and out of place.
Gotham’s always had interesting, female characters, several of whom are in or were in positions of power. The series’ has never felt the need to point out they were women. There have been three different Queens of Gotham. Lee’s running the narrows. Barbara, Tabitha, and Selina have clout with everyone in Gotham’s underground. Maybe if that League member had been in Gotham before he’d be more amenable to a lady being in charge. I’m still all here for a group of lady assassins though. I can’t wait to see where Barbara goes with this.
So, Ed and Oswald are working together again. There’s a new terrible trio roaming the streets. Barbara has assassins at her disposal. Oh, and Ivy’s still out there somewhere. Those aren’t even the makings of a war. That’s just pure chaos. Gotham better hold on, because there’s a whole lot about to happen in this city.
Next episode promises villains galore and a tag that reads ‘Who is the Joker?’. Is it finally happening? Is it!?