As the season finale approaches, things get really interesting, in several senses of the word, for the people of Gotham. “Heroes Rise: Light The Wick” was one of their better episodes in my opinion. They cleverly drew on their own history, bringing back both past characters and events to weave an advancement of the current plots.
The episode opens in Arkham, where nothing good ever happens. There’s a running joke that no one would still live in Gotham with all the things that have happened there over the years; that’s even more true for working at Arkham. We do see Captain Nathaniel Barnes, still suffering from Alice Tetch’s plague, the Mad Hatter, and a Talon. It’s an odd combination that gives us a good fight and even some dramatic narration. Barnes is taken to the Court, where Catherine tells him they have similar goals: the judgement of Gotham. But she needs something from Barnes, and apparently Professor Strange is going to help her get it.
Lee Thomkins, bound and determined to do something about James Gordon, brings her report on Frank Gordon’s death to Harvey. He’s surprised to see it labeled as a homicide. Lee is furious, sure that Harvey is part of whatever big coverup she is sure is plaguing the GCPD. When Harvey doesn’t help her, she storms out. Lee is storming a lot lately, actually.
Catherine tells the Court that all they are going to focus on now is the judgement of Gotham. Somewhat ominously, she tells the members to submit names for approval. There are a few ways you can take that, and none of them are really good. While Catherine is plotting doom and destruction, Ivy is trying to find her missing friend, Selena. Eventually, she gets a hint from Tabitha at Sirens to go check out the hospital, and that Selena isn’t doing well.
Gordon is taking a lot of chances at the Court. Back in that same meeting room where everything happens, he gets clever and takes prints off Catherine’s mask. When another member comes in, Gordon covers by asking about the names. The nameless Owl tells Jim that loved ones will be spared from the coming judgements. That sounds positively Biblical.
Ivy uses her skills to get in to Selena’s hospital room and hears the news. Upset, Ivy decides she’s going to take care of Selena since the nurses have already written her off. Ivy’s not the only one hard at work. Strange is complaining about Catherine both holding him captive and hovering over him. He does manage to demonstrate that he’s already had some results.
Off in the mountain fastness of Wherever The Hell, Bruce is being trained by Nameless Man. It’s some kind of paired stick fighting, possibly escrima. As Bruce and some guy duel (hey, there is someone else here!), Nameless keeps preaching that pain and anger aren’t strength. When he releases Bruce from those things, no one will be able to stop him.
Harvey has gotten Jim’s prints run, and Catherine is Catherine Monroe, a very wealthy Gothamite. I kind of wonder why her prints are on file. Generally, you only get hits on prints from criminals (sure, she is one, but has she been arrested? I’d bet against it), military, or professions that require printing, like law enforcement, private investigators, or bonded couriers. Somehow, I don’t think Catherine’s been any of those. At any rate, Jim heads to her place after Harvey gives him the address. Harvey also passes on the news that Lee is pushing hard on the Frank Gordon case and that Barnes is missing.
Gordon doesn’t get far. In fact, he manages to get out his door before Penguin and Firefly confront him. Penguin isn’t stupid, whatever his other flaws are. He’s put together that Nygma was publically demanding answers about the Court and then disappeared. Penguin doesn’t buy the “Nygma escaped” story. He leaves a phone with Gordon and demands to be put in touch with the Court before he goes public, something he knows they don’t like. Sure, threaten the secret society. That seems wise.
Gordon waits for his chance and then breaks into Catherine’s place with ease. He manages to find a card for somewhere at Wayne Industries before he gets cornered. Bluffing his way out, he tells Catherine that he came there to tell her about Penguin’s threat. Curiously, Catherine doesn’t seem all that worried that Gordon figured out who she is and where she lives.
Going back to his allies, Jim meets up with Bullock and Lucius Fox. They are brainstorming about what’s coming next, and Gordon is sure it involves the Tetch virus from some not so subtle hints Catherine has dropped. They realize why Barnes has suddenly gone missing, and Fox ponders the pass card. He thinks he’s narrowed down where Catherine might be working on the virus.
Ivy is filling Selena’s rooms with special plants, using temporarily mind-controlled nurses for labor. Her worry about Selena is actually kind of sweet. From sweet to a lot less so, Nameless Man makes Bruce relive another painful scene from his past: his parents’ wake. Bruce was furious that people were talking about him instead of his parents. Nameless can’t keep his stories straight. He’s been telling Bruce he’s going to make the boy into Gotham’s protector, and then ends this scene by saying they’re going to make Gotham pay. That’s a protector?
Gordon and Bullock follow up on Fox’s information and find the right lab. They also find a lot of dead guards. The reason for that shows up a moment later: one of the virus test subjects. Bullock and Gordon are losing this fight badly (they should have just shot the guy), when they get an unexpected savior: Hugo Strange. Strange injects the guy from behind while he’s strangling Gordon. Strange gives them some information, and makes a few decent points about why they shouldn’t take him in just yet. Bullock admires the way his brain works in spite of himself, which was funny to see. Gordon tells Harvey to get what Strange gave them back to Fox, while he goes to set up a meeting with Catherine.
Bruce’s fighting has gotten better since Nameless has apparently gotten him to lock his emotions away. While I get you shouldn’t fight mad, fighting with no emotion at all isn’t a really good idea. Planning that way, sure. But fighting? That doesn’t really work. Bruce gets really into it this time, and I feel bad for his sparring partner, Nameless II. They’re really not big on names here at Wherever The Hell.
Gordon gets a test from the Court. They are going to test the new virus in aerosol form by setting it off at a gathering of the Daughters of Gotham. They’re some high society group Catherine decided would make good victims. You have to wonder if they didn’t let her in a while back or something. Gordon gets told to watch the test, and that if he interferes, Talon will kill him. Then, in true supervillain fashion, she leaves after giving Gordon a lot of information. Gordon secretly uses Penguin’s phone to call him and leave hints about where they are. It was good move on Gordon’s part.
Fox locks up the new data and samples from Strange. Then Lee walks in and tries to recruit him for her cause. Lee is disgusted when Fox defends Gordon. When she really loses it is when she gets to the line, “How many people does he have to kill before you see what I see?” Pretty much anytime you get to “only I can see what’s going on,” you sound like a raving lunatic even if you happen to be right. Lee says Fox is just like everyone else here and walks out.
Gordon tries to play his undercover part, but, despite what Lee is ranting about, he’s really not going to sit there and let them gas a room full of people. With a muttered “Screw it” he goes after the Talon. Gordon’s good, but Talons are borderline superhuman, so that goes badly. Gordon’s getting his ass kicked when Penguin and Firefly finally show up. Talons are good, but not notably fireproof. Penguin is still ranting about wanting to meet the Court, and Gordon points out that, “since you just torched their assassin, they’ll probably be in touch.” Gordon goes on to save a girl from the chaos of the gas attack. Weirdly, he hauls her behind him and then closes these fancy metal scroll work doors. It’s a nice visual, but those doors aren’t going to stop the gas.
Catherine gets a call that clearly sets up the relationship between her and Nameless Man. She is NOT the top dog, or owl, at the Court. Nameless and Bruce will be leaving tonight, so I guess they’ll be back in time for the finale. While this goes on, Penguin rants at his place, wondering where “Ivy and the human popsicle” are. Sounds like he’s losing control of his freak army already. That was quick. He’s in for a worse surprise when a Talon shows up.
Ivy’s efforts have finally worked and Selena comes around. Ivy is thrilled, then worried when Selena drags herself out of bed. She’s going to Wayne Manor because she has to kill someone. I really hope we don’t get the low comedy of Selena getting there just as Bruce returns and she mistakes him for the Clone.
Gordon visits Lee in her office, which, all things considered, is brave of him. Lee is packing up. Considering what she believes is happening, that’s actually her most rational move. I can’t say I blame her. She continues to deny Mario was about to kill her, and I guess the crack Gotham Crime Scene Investigations folks never managed to find that knife. After more arguing, she leaves with the stereotypical box to show she’s quit her job clutched in her hands.
Catherine notices the drawer Jim found the pass card under isn’t quite pushed in all the way. That was sloppy, Jim. Somehow, that one drawer lets her figure out everything Gordon did. While she seethes, Penguin gets stuffed into a big cage. In the cage next door is Nygma, who is surprised to see Penguin alive. Penguin lunges for him but can’t reach, which might be a good thing for Nygma at this point. Catherine decides it’s time to up the stakes, and turns someone loose to kill Gordon.
What I liked: Using the Tetch virus as a weapon makes perfect sense, and waiting to spring Barnes until they have their dispersal system was really smart of the Court. Gordon managed a few slick moves, too, like calling Penguin. Strange had perfectly sound motives for saving, but not going with, Gordon and Bullock. Lee’s decision to go also made a lot of sense. Ivy’s friendship for Selena was shown really nicely.
What I didn’t: Catherine’s leap of logic about that drawer came out of nowhere. I kind of wish we’d get some names, or at least hints, off where Bruce is. This freak army of Penguin’s is falling apart fast. Did the Talon kill Firefly? I don’t see why he’d let her live.
Taking the week off: Barbara and Butch were both nowhere to be seen in the one quick visit to Sirens. Alfred also was off screen, presumably taking care, and growing suspicious of, the Clone.
I think this was a pretty good episode, maybe one of their best. I’ll go a low 4 out of 5 for this one. The pieces are falling into place for a hell of a season finale.