Taking an early break, Gotham’s winter/mid-season finale (whichever term you like) is called “The Green-Eyed Monster.” A few of the plots rush towards their big cliffhanger, although I only found one of them to really have a lot of suspense in it. It was a pretty good episode… right up until the end.
The show opens in the Gotham Bio-Lab, with a dutiful scientist hard at work on the Tetch virus. He goes out for a drink and has a great evening. Kidding, of course. This is Gotham. His night out gets rudely interrupted by someone with a vested interest in the virus. Dr. Mario Calvi is really busy just before his wedding day. I wonder what he’s getting his best man…
While Bruce and his co-conspirators plot what to do next, Gordon, of course, catches the case of the scientist with the crushed head. Not being an idiot, Gordon links it to Barnes’ recent super-human strength. Occasionally being a bit of an idiot, Acting Captain Bullock first tries to take Gordon off the case, then says it can’t be connected since Barnes is locked up at Arkham.
In what I think is the most interesting plot this week, Barbara goes to visit Ed Nygma. While at times I find Barbara annoying, she’s brilliant this week as she stirs the pot (and plot) by telling Nygma who was really responsible for Isabella’s death. Nygma is understandably reluctant to believe this on several levels, but Barbara is great at manipulating people, and she’s actually telling the truth this time.
Bruce’s Burglars scope out the Court’s townhouse. Most of them are worried. Selena is bored and hungry. Then again, break-ins are nothing new for her. Gordon goes to the Gotham Bio-Lab to check on the dead scientist’s work, and finds out someone is already there using his pass card. Gordon, naturally, charges in on his own, gets ambushed, and knocked out. Mario has some decent reasoning behind not killing Gordon on the spot and even leaves a clue for him.
Eventually, the rest of the cops show up and there’s another good Gordon/Bullock/Fox scene. I’ve always loved the Gordon/Bullock interaction, and Fox manages to be a good addition to the mix. Following up on his clue Gordon pays a visit to Tetch at Arkham (man, the guy’s like a cockroach. You think he’s gone and then…). The scene is well done, but compulsive clue-giving has always been more Riddler’s thing than Mad Hatters. And really, who does the “uniforms” at Arkham? First Barbara had that dress and now Tetch has a hat?
Bruce is trying to learn to walk a tightrope. Why he think he needs to do it with a skilled cat burglar right there, I don’t know. Selena is bored by all this and she and Alfred have a chat about what’s going on and Bruce’s motivations before she wanders off. Bruce asks Alfred about this later, and wonders if it’s because he called her his girlfriend. Alfred looks properly annoyed and frustrated.
Gordon has had Mario arrested (on what charge, I’m curious) and tested for the Tetch virus. After three different tries, Fox tells Gordon the bad news; Mario’s clean. Mario is smug, but semi-gracious. He leaves after he and Gordon exchange taunts about Leslie.
Nygma can’t get the doubts out of his head, and decides to explore Barbara’s story. It’s a really well done scene, with good performances from both Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor). Despite his being a ruthless killer, you have to feel a little bad for Penguin. Well, same for Nygma actually. It’s a very homicidal household, really.
Worried about his ex, Gordon tries to go warn Lee directly. Mario, one step ahead again, has Lee’s phone and is waiting for Gordon at Lee’s place. When things go bad between them, Mario plays a trump card- Victor Zsasz (I really want to smack whoever came up with that name). Victor keeps Gordon there just long enough, then lets him go. Sign that Gordon’s not thinking clearly- Zsasz is a killer wanted for many crimes and Gordon just leaves him lying there on the way out.
After a scene of Nygma fantasizing about killing Penguin, Gordon finds Lee at the church. It’s a really dramatic scene that Mario also anticipated. Between Gordon’s natural intensity and Mario’s manipulations, Gordon comes off looking like a lunatic. Lee ends up slapping him hard and saying she and Mario will be leaving Gotham after the wedding. When Gordon won’t listen to her, she appeals to her about-to-be father-in-law: Falcone.
In some nice cuts back and forth, Lee walks down the aisle (escorted by Falcone, which is odd) as Gordon tries to deal with the thugs. Gordon does well, but he’s having a bad day and is pretty outnumbered. Gordon’s tough, I’ll say that for him. It’s a nicely executed tension building scene.
Bruce and Alfred return to the Owls’ House, and debate what to do next. Selena finally shows up and says she can handle the tightrope. Duh. Bruce asks if this means she’s his girlfriend after all. She quite rightly tells him to shut up (hormones later, Bruce) and we see someone else is watching.
While Fox finally figures out how Mario beat the test, Bruce’s Burglars put their plan in motion. Some of it is pretty slick. Some of it isn’t. Bruce hasn’t been training THAT much, there’s no way he’s holding up one end of a line Selena is walking on, no matter how good a motivation she gave him. The adult Batman, maybe. Teen Bruce? No. Their plan runs into complications in the form of the Talon, who about beats all of them until they get help from a figure from one of their pasts.
At Sirens, the bar that finally has a name, another faction meets up. Nygma, Barbara, Tabitha, and Butch are plotting, and it bodes ill for the mayor, probably anyone in his organization, and maybe Gotham in general. If they manage to not kill each other, this is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
The really big cliffhanger I have serious issues with. It involved Lee, Mario, and Gordon. I’m trying not to do spoilers here, so I’m going to have to be a bit vague. Gordon has a tense meeting with Faclone that shows just how determined Gordon is to handle this by himself. The final bit of action and how something was dropped just felt really staged and artificial. It’s also going to create a LOT of problems for one character in particular. I guess we’ll find out in January (wow, that’s a long break).
What I liked: The Gordon/Bullock scenes continue to be the high-points of each episode. Fox fits in well. There was some good Bruce/Selena stuff as well. Alfred is trying so hard to both help and protect Bruce, and I feel bad for him. The Nygma/Barbara alignment is really dangerous. Mario was a very clever opponent this week, although I do wonder how he managed to plot out some of that stuff.
What I didn’t: There’s just no way Bruce held up the rope like that. I don’t see how the Talon was so hell-on-wheels formidable then went down like a chump. And, as I said above, the final bit of action just really didn’t ring true and some of the big cliffhanger should be resolved by a halfway decent evidence tech.
Taking the week off: Pretty much just Ivy. I don’t know if she’s on the run from the Court, got caught off-screen, or found a good sale at a nursery somewhere.
This was a good episode that was kept from being great by a few small flaws. I’ll go 3.5 out of 5 and wish them a happy winter break.