In Gotham, the segment of the season continues with “Heroes Rise: All Will Be Judged.” The show starts with the very odd couple of Penguin and Nygma, locked in adjoining cages that look like huge bird cages, prisoners of the Court of Owls. I really have to wonder, where would you even get cages like that? I mean, seriously, who makes those? The two of them argue and bicker, and it’s entertaining to watch.
Out at Wayne Manor, the house is filled with the sounds of alarms. The Clone wanders in to the study (where something like 90% of the action at the manor happens), where he sees the telltale open window that is Selena’s favorite entrance. Selena and the Clone exchange a few barbed comments and then start fighting. They’re both very good, and the Clone only gets the upper hand when Alfred comes in and distracts the young cat burglar. This is when Alfred figures out what’s going on, and does decently in his own fight until he pauses, too. These two need to go back to combat training. While this goes on, Bruce and his Nameless Mentor arrive at a deserted mansion on the outskirts of Gotham.
Lee has a very disturbing dream about Mario that results in her taking it out on an innocent glass of wine. While she tries to shake that off, Gordon and Bullock try to figure out where the Court might have a “secure location” if they’ve been around for hundreds of years. With off-screen help from Lucius Fox, they work out that Catherine owns some property near the docks that seems to have some kind of hidden room. Bullock also admits that he’s jealous of Fox’s intelligence, but that may have just been a comedic throwaway line. The place proves to be the usual dingy, rundown, abandoned warehouse kind of scene, and Bullock laments that they never have to go search a place he’d like to go, like a brewery or strip club. They find a really badly hidden door and discover a largely empty room. In the center is a crystal owl like the one Bruce and company stole a while back. Their search is interrupted by the sudden appearance of the crazed ex-Captain Barnes, now decked out in black leather, weird face paint, and toting an ax as a replacement for his missing hand.
Not knowing that he’s busy fighting crazy people, Alfred is trying to call Gordon while Selena nurses her injured head. Selena refuses to help find the missing Bruce, and Alfred goes off on her. I’d agree she had that coming. Alfred finishes his diatribe by telling Selena to never come back to Wayne Manor as he stalks out of the room. Leave the thief you just ticked off alone in the big mansion, that’s a great idea.
While Bullock winces as medics treat him and tries to get a lead on the missing Gordon, Penguin and Nygma bicker more, initially about the width of the blade Penguin is sharpening to kill Nygma with. They argue a lot more, and then Penguin, despite being drugged by Nygma, foils Nygma’s escape attempt, smiling while Nygma gets beaten by the guards.
Bruce and the Nameless Mentor go through another round of trying to lock away Bruce’s pain about his parents’ deaths, which Bruce can’t manage to do. Gordon, meanwhile, finds he is strapped to a chair so that Barnes can try him for… not supporting Barnes’ killing spree, I guess. Catherine is also there, shaking her head over her disappointment about Gordon betraying her. That’s Jim, letting everyone down by trying to prevent the citizens of Gotham from being murdered. Who does he think he is, anyway? Catherine leaves after more vague threats about Gotham’s future.
Lee goes back to Arkham to visit the Mad Hatter, who has taken to speaking in rhyme. They spar with each other, and he lays out his motivations for infecting Mario. It’s a decent plan, in its own twisted way, and Lee has definitely fallen for it. She comes to a disturbing realization about what’s been going on.
Penguin and Nygma both manage to put aside mutual hatred long enough to realize they’re not going to get anywhere if they keep getting in each other’s way. They agree both to work together and to a six hour truce after they escape. They’re both very intelligent men, so I’d say they have a good chance at making it out.
Bruce gets taken down Memory Lane via magic needle again, but this time we see Nameless’ memory, not Bruce’s. Apparently, the killing of the Waynes wasn’t sanctioned by the Court, and Nameless actually killed the man who ordered it. Nameless then tells Bruce the Court must pay for its crimes (despite the fact that he’s clearly a high-ranking member) and asks if Bruce will help him.
Barnes puts his ax-hand on dramatically, although he was wearing it earlier. Did he take it off to put it back on? He tells Gordon that things could have gone so differently, if only Gordon hadn’t decided to stand against Gotham and Justice. Gordon manages to appeal to their bond as fellow soldiers and law enforcement to die with his badge on, and uses Barnes coming close to pull off a pretty slick trick. Barnes babbled earlier about Lee coming to see him, and now is enraged at Jim’s trick and the sudden arrival of the GCPD. Barnes, still hopped up on the Tetch Virus (the gift that keeps on giving) plunges several stories, then gets up and runs off.
Gordon is freed but Barnes is still on the loose. A frustrated Bullock gets off my favorite line of the episode: “There’s a nut job running around Gotham in a leather jumpsuit with an axe for an arm. I know this is Gotham but c’mon people do something!” he exhorts the squad room. Gordon wants to go bust Catherine, but apparently Barnes’ Strike Force has been around just off- screen all this time, and they’ve already picked her up. This is when Alfred arrives with news of Bruce’s disappearance, and Alfred, Gordon, and Bullock compare notes about the Court. This “secret” organization is becoming pretty damn well known. They collectively figure out the crystal owl Alfred helped steal is important, and he goes to get the pieces.
Penguin and Riddler enact their escape plan, which goes off without a hitch. Score one for the bad guys. Catherine proves utterly uncooperative when Gordon tries to question her, but oddly doesn’t request a lawyer. She also laughs at his belief that she’s the leader of the Court. If she’s not playing mind games with Gordon, I guess that makes Nameless the leader. Catherine’s tune changes when an enraged Alfred learns she’s there, and plays a bit worse than bad cop. Just because things weren’t chaotic enough, this is about when Barnes shows up and attacks the GCPD.
Barnes wades through the cops, using a combination of knockout gas and his virus-enhanced strength. While Bullock was warning the others about Barnes being there, the nutjob apparently went climbing, as he suddenly drops from the rafters of the squad room. He wipes the floor with Bullock, Gordon, and Alfred. Catherine overplays her hand, and he ends up backhanding her, which I have to admit was a little satisfying. Gordon finally manages to down Barnes with a particularly desperate move. The GCPD does love their shotguns.
Penguin and Riddler actually honor their truce, after terrifying a few local homeless guys. Gordon and company try to put the squad room back together. Lee comes in for another very odd scene with Gordon. She still blames him for everything, despite what Hatter told her, and then makes a few cryptic comments. This is also when we find out Barnes killed Catherine, which was really not clear at all from the scene.
Bruce and Nameless go through the “lock away the pain” ritual again, and this time Bruce manages it. From what we see after that, it doesn’t look like this is going to go well for Bruce. Barnes, naturally, escapes again, to Bullock’s (and my) annoyance. Lee steals something and then does something amazingly stupid to end the episode.
What I liked: Riddler and Penguin actually make a great team when they aren’t trying to kill each other. Bullock keeps getting the best lines and reactions. Alfred’s tirade at Selena was well-earned. I won’t miss Catherine the Smug. Hatter’s rant to Lee was actually on the diabolically brilliant side.
What I didn’t: Selena isn’t being cool or aloof, she’s being a brat. Lee’s been acting weird for a while now, and this episode she went past that to loony. The “hidden” room of the Court’s was really obvious. Why is Bruce trusting someone who helped kidnap him and hold him prisoner? Can we keep Barnes in custody for more than five minutes?
Taking the Week Off: The Tabitha/Butch/Barbara trio are nowhere to be seen. Neither is Ivy, the other “army of freaks” members, or Lucius Fox, despite being mentioned a lot.