Heroes continue to Rise in Gotham, as seen in “These Delicate and Dark Obsessions.” The episode opens with Catherine addressing the Court of Owls. Mostly, she laments the state of Gotham, and tells them a weapon to cleanse the city is being made. They vote, trying to be solemn but it looks silly to me, by holding up feathers, and decide to proceed.
I thought Bruce Wayne might be the weapon Catherine is talking about, since that’s who we see next. He’s still at whatever odd place he was dropped off at, high in the mountains of… someplace they haven’t identified, actually. Maybe Gotham’s version of Nanda Parbat, which Arrow is making use of so much in that series? Bruce is dressed in white robes, which could be either a beginners martial arts gi or some kind of monk’s robes. He talks to an old man who claims to be in charge and is the only person besides Bruce we see here. They talk in general terms about Bruce’s clone and the Court. Their conversation ends on the somewhat ominous note of the man telling Bruce to eat, because he’ll need his strength.
Back at the GCPD, Bullock is trying to rally some enthusiasm into the cops. There’s been no sign of Nygma, and they’re running out of places to look. Gordon is focused on his own mission, looking into the death of his father all those years ago. With some insight from both heritage and personal experience, Bullock provides Gordon with his next lead.
Out at whatever abandoned estate Ivy has so conveniently taken over, she’s pushing Penguin around in an old-fashioned wheelchair that looks like it should be in an Agatha Christie novel. Ivy, uncharacteristically, is in a bubbly, upbeat mood, ignoring Penguin snapping at her. His disposition doesn’t exactly improve when she refers to the plants as her friends. Penguin convinces her to take a message to Gabe, his former henchman that Penguin refers to as a “loyal moron.”
There’s a sort of Gordon family reunion in the next scene. Jim is at his father’s grave when he’s joined by his enigmatic Uncle Frank. Frank warns Jim that the Court has some kind of weapon on the way to Gotham, but he has no more detail than that. Fanatics in the Court want to cleanse the city, which doesn’t sound good at all, and this has happened twice in the past, which has me really curious. Just in cast that wasn’t awkward enough, Jim runs into Lee at Mario’s grave. She’s still a long way from forgiving Jim for what he did. Jim gets rescued, in a way, by a phone call. The lawyer that defended the driver that killed Jim’s father was paid for by Carmine Falcone.
A very overjoyed Gabe hugs Penguin. Ivy looks on, and tells Penguin that there’s something wrong. About as grateful as you’d expect him to be, Penguin repays her kindness by telling her it’s time to part ways. Gabe figures out that Ivy told Penguin not to trust him. As he knocks Penguin out, Gabe says Ivy is a smart girl. Penguin really doesn’t do well with the people he chooses to trust.
Bruce has a weird scene wherever he is, with the mysterious old man. Either the place is magic, or the old man has some powers or both. Bruce is possibly having a better time than Jim, who is at Falcone’s place, demanding answers about the lawyer. Weirdly, Falcone calls Jim “son” after being so furious at him moments ago. Jim gets told who ordered the hit on his father, and it’s a shocking development. But, if nothing else, this is also more confirmation of the Court’s existence .
Jim storms off to confront Frank about his new information. Frank tells him Peter, his father, was going to expose the Court, which doesn’t go well for anyone. The confrontation turns a bit violent, and Frank proves very able to handle himself. I guess it runs in the family.
Gabe, in true villain fashion, boasts about his plan to the captive Penguin. Gave isn’t going to kill Penguin, he’s going to auction off that pleasure. Things are looking grim for Penguin, and they get worse when his only ally, Ivy, gets herself captured because she’s too busy talking to herself to hear the thug coming up behind her.
I get it, more or less, but I’m betting Bullock doesn’t feel like thanking Gordon for telling him all about the Court. In his usual smart-ass style, Bullock comments that if the Court is running Gotham, they’re doing a horrible job. They talk about the weapon, and the need to take the warning seriously. With the Court having fingers everywhere, they are concerned about getting a warrant and keeping it secret. This gives Jim an idea, which worries Bullock. I keep flashing back to Harvey’s wonderful line about, “You think you’ve been careful up to now?” Given what Jim ends up doing, I don’t blame Harvey Bullock for being worried.
Bruce starts to learn that his nameless captor isn’t just some randomly crazy old man. With a variation of acupuncture, the man takes Bruce back to the fateful night in the alley when his parents were killed. It’s shockingly real and jarring to Bruce, who is in no mood to listen to the man’s cryptic comments about memory at this point. Again, I don’t blame him. That must have been amazingly traumatic for Bruce.
Jim’s bright idea is asking a favor from his ex. That’s a dicey proposition for someone in a normal situation. For Jim, with the ex in question being Barbara, it’s worse. But, she decides to pitch in with all her manic insanity, and Tabitha comes along for the ride. They eventually uncover the existence of a Dock 9C. Even being “interrogated” by Tabitha and Badagara’s tender mercies, the luckless man they’re asking doesn’t want to talk at first. They get a small bit of information but then the Talon shows up. The Court’s expert killer makes short work of all Barbara and Tabby’s thugs, as well as the man they were interrogating. Barbara and Tabitha wisely flee at this point. They did learn that whatever the weapon is, it’s already in Gotham.
Penguin is seething at this latest reversal, but Ivy seems supremely unconcerned. After extorting a promise to be nice from her fellow captive, Ivy gets them free via her mind controlling perfume. The actress is doing a decent job of occasionally reminding us that this version of Ivy is very attractive young woman with a child’s mind, and a lot of that comes through both this episode in general and this scene in particular. Her “super” really illustrates it well as she gives her new slave instructions. Once the tables are turned, Penguin talks about his own version of an auction. It’s not one that bodes well for Gabe.
Catherine addressed the Court, and decides that Jim Gordon must be killed. While all this goes on, Gordon shares Barbara’s information with Bullock. In addition to the weapon already being in the city, the crate had the Indian Hill logo on it, which Harvey calls the Freak Factory. Uncle Frank calls, seems genuinely surprised to learn that the weapon is in the city already, and asks for a solo meeting with Jim.
Penguin learns some unpleasant things with Gabe under Ivy’s sway. His temper runs the way it usually does, and I think we’re done with Gabe now. Ivy makes an interesting suggestion for what lies in Penguin’s future. This is going to get very interesting, although likely not good for Gotham.
Jim’s meeting with his uncle starts off as something like an emergency briefing about the state of the Court. Frank gives him a lot of information quickly about what the Court is doing next, how they’re reacting. He then, finally, offers what I’d call definitive proof which side he’s on as he pulls off his next scheme to get the Court to trust Jim. It was dramatic, it surprised me, and it made a lot of sense in retrospect.
Bruce has another scene with The Man With No Name. Nameless talks about what Bruce needs to do, and what Gotham needs him to become. He also talks about Bruce becoming a symbol, which sounds like part of his origin in some versions. Clearly, this is the big lead up to at least part of Bruce’s training to become Batman. I’m not sure who this man is supposed to be. The obvious answer is that he’s some version of Ra’s Al-Ghul. The reasons I don’t think it are that 1) Ra’s was never part of Batman’s origin until the Christian Bale movies, so it’s not exactly something they need to recreate, and 2) With Ra’s being such a big part of Arrow, I don’t know that they’re going to want a different version on another tv show so soon. Things end with Jim doing just what you always tell your kids not to: taking a ride with a stranger.
What I liked: I end up not liking her appearances a lot of the time, but Barbara (and her sidekick Tabitha) were used just about dead perfect here. Ivy’s handling of Penguin’s situation was nicely done. I’m intrigued by whatever mess Bruce is in. I’m not as wild about the Court of Owls storyline, but it’s being done well.
What I didn’t: It seems like it’s a little early to start Bruce’s training, at least as far as the show goes. I also think it’s a bit weird he hasn’t tried a bit harder to get the name of his teacher/captor.
Taking The Week Off: This week, cast members on vacation include Nygma, no doubt resting up after last week’s exploits, Selena, and Alfred, probably spending time with Bruce’s clone. Butch also doesn’t join Tabitha and Barbara.
There was nothing really spectacular this episode, but nothing really bad either. I’ll give it a solid 3 out of 5.