This week’s Gotham is called “Blood Rush,” which, given recent events, is a bit ominous. It was also the name of a weird semi-spinoff of Arrow that featured Felicity and Roy Harper, so I guess DC TV is reusing their titles. There are a lot of interesting twists and turns, and things are looking bad for one of our characters.
The episode opens with Barnes getting a surprise when he’s on his way home with some groceries. He sees something suspicious and follows up like a good cop. Then his affliction from Alice kicks in, and he gets a lot less cop-like. The one lead he gets in his somewhat unorthodox interrogation is a guy called “the Toad.” Presumably this is a variation of Mr. Toad, a Batman villain created by Grant Morrison.
Lee and Mario have a scene of not quite domestic bliss to start their day. Good natured kidding about Mario’s father Carmine Falcone’s out of control engagement party gets a lot more serious. As with most things on Gotham, the problem is Jim Gordon. Mario is worried about the entire mess with Lee, Vale, and Tetch, which is completely understandable. She does her best to reassure him, which is a bit undercut by her telling him Gordon’s back at the GCPD now. To his credit, I don’t think Mario even entertains the idea of being sorry for saving Gordon’s life.
Gordon doesn’t even get to his desk for his first day back. As he looks around at the chaos of the huge squad room, Bullock meets him coming in and says they have a case. There’s a good bit of the banter between the two that I’ve missed for a while now. Their case, of course, is the ugliness left behind from Barnes’ episode at the top of the show. It’s a confusing scene, considering what the criminal was doing when Barnes found him.
In a very different couples-having-breakfast scene, Nygma and Isabella are talking about her upcoming librarian conference. It seems to be going well until Isabella is having problems with her contacts and puts on glasses, making her look even more like the late Miss Kringle. Nygma has a very bad reaction to this, and you actually end up feeling bad for him as he has his semi-breakdown.
Barnes himself knows he’s having problems, and goes to see Tetch. I’m not sure how he thought this was going to go, but it was fairly predictable. Tetch is smug and annoying and seems to be in control, despite being in the stereotypical black and white striped outfit and being cuffed. Tetch gives Barnes a preview of what he can expect from his condition, and it’s not pretty.
Also not surprising is Lee and Gordon having an awkward moment as they run into other for the first time since he’s come back. They both handle it maturely, so points to the writers for no needless drama. Lee tells him about the engagement party, and that she thinks he did the right thing in coming back to the police.
Bullock is doing his best to fill Barnes in on the investigation, but Barnes is suffering some of the symptoms of his infection, for lack of a better term. He finally snaps out of it when Gordon comes back in. Barnes surprises them both by announcing he’s taking lead on the case. As the detectives leave, recurring support character Alvarez brings Barnes a file he wanted on the Toad. I’m actually impressed Alvarez has managed to survive all the chaos at GCPD, both from the internal strife and the various attacks.
Thoroughly rattled by breakfast, Nygma goes back to Penguin’s mansion. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I don’t think most Chief of Staffs live with their boss. Even without Penguin’s feelings, there’s a weird dynamic here. Nygma finally decides that he can’t bring himself to break up with Isabella, and asks Penguin to do it for him. Boy, was that a mistake. It’s an ugly scene, not surprising given Penguin’s stake in things.
Barnes’ descent into madness is continuing. He goes looking for Toad in yet another seedy looking bar. Is that Gotham’s major industry? The attempt at investigating goes sideways when the thugs try and get rid of him, and Barnes shows some of the advantages of his condition, at least in combat. He does get results, give him points for that. Barnes ends up finding the bad guy behind this bizarre case, and has a lot of trouble making himself do what he’s supposed to.
Gordon, Bullock, and Fox share info on the case. Fox points out the strange aspects of what was required to kill the man, Paulie Pennies, from the opening scene. Barnes comes back in with his suspect, making a lot of cryptic comments. You can see how hard he’s struggling. I really feel bad for Barnes in all this. Gotham is just not good to good guys.
Because there can’t be a peaceful event in Gotham, the engagement party has all manner of surprises. Barbara Kean managed to sneak her way in, and has a weird talk with Lee. Barbara might be the top of list for people that need to go back to Arkham. Barnes is there, too, and tries to reassure Lee. Of course, Barnes has his own episode there as he finally starts giving in to his madness. Barnes also has a barbed conversation with Carmine Falcone.
As the party goes on, Nygma and Isabella have another scene together. It goes from a touching show of faith to… umm…. something really weird. They really are perfect for each other. Which, given the way Gotham works, isn’t a good sign.
The party gets even more complicated when Gordon and Bullock show up, following up on another lead in the case. No one is really happy to see them there, and I don’t think they really want to be there either. Mario finally shows that his patience has limits and Gordon handles it really well. Barnes has his breakdown, and spends some quiet time with his hallucinations. This is going to get ugly, especially when Gordon starts figuring out what happened. Speaking of ugly, Penguin takes some drastic steps after learning that Nygma is back with Isabella.
What I liked: Nygma and Isabella are good together. Their scenes were really good. I like that Lee and Gordon are acting like mature adults. Mario is a good man dealing with a really stressful situation. Barnes is trying so hard to fight and suffering for it.
What I didn’t: Penguin. Just everything. He’s well acted, the scenes are good, but I am coming to loathe him more and more. Barbara’s about in the same boat on my list. Tetch is still around.
Missing this Week: I like that they’re smart enough to not cram everyone in every week. A salute to Bruce, Alfred, Selena, Butch, Tabitha, and Ivy for their week off.