Gotham: Destiny Calling/heavydirtysoul


The Gordian Knot approach isn’t always best, Bruce…

Gotham’s third season wraps with a double header, “Destiny Calling,” and “Heavydirtysoul.” The two episodes bring a lot of forces into play and leave us remarkably few cliffhangers, but bring a lot of things together. And there’s a surprise reveal at the end about one of the characters. So, yeah, beware, there will be some spoilers here. Read on at your peril.

The shows open with a series of scenes showing the Tetch virus loose in Gotham and how bad it’s getting. Even for Gotham, this is ugly. Although the burning train in the background of one shot might look familiar to those who use Washington DC’s Metro system.

The GCPD is being run ragged, with hopped-up virus sufferers pulling off feats of superhuman strength the beat cops can’t keep up with. Gordon, in a really impressive display of willpower, gains control over the virus, at least for now. Harvey, wisely, takes Jim’s gun and shares there’s been no word of Lee since the bomb went off.

Bruce is in holding after the events of last time, with Alfred looking in on him through the one way windows. Gordon and Bullock point out the various reasons Bruce might not be happy to see Alfred about now. Fox turns up with some good news for once: Professor Strange is making progress on an antidote according to notes Fox found. This is when Bullock breaks the bad news about Alfred’s unorthodox deal with Strange, who is once again on the loose. Fox also warns Harvey this is an accelerated version of the virus, and Gordon won’t be able to fight it long. As all this goes on, Strange makes his way through the swarm at the train station to get a ticket and get out of the chaos. That’s when he gets grabbed by Fish Mooney and her crew.

The usually well-educated Riddler is mixing his history badly as he talks about Nero and Troy, which isn’t quite right, as he looks out on the destruction of Gotham. The ever-insane Barbara Keen is convinced this is her chance to take over Gotham’s underworld, and isn’t happy when Ridder says he has no interest in that, just killing Penguin. Finally, they strike a deal that bodes ill for just about everyone.

The train station is a mass of confusion in a sea of people trying to escape. Fish is grilling Strange about the virus, and his safeguards for it. Gordon and Bullock arrive, just in time for Gordon to get a distracting, taunting call from Lee, who is still trying to drag him over to the dark side. Eventually, Gordon and Bullock catch up to Fish and company, but Fish has a surprise up her sleeve. Mr. Freeze goes on the attack, first disarming the detectives, then putting an ice wall between them and Fish’s crew. Gordon goes into another virus frenzy, and Fish comments that it’s nice to meet the real Jim Gordon at last. First Lee then Fish, does everyone think Gordon’s a psychopath with a badge?

There’s a short scene of a sullen Bruce, still in interrogation, where Alfred tries, and fails to reach him. Bruce warns that someone else is coming. Strange, meanwhile, becomes the object of an ugly game between Freeze and Firefly. He gets “saved” by Penguin, who has his own ideas on what to do with the professor. Penguin has neither forgotten nor forgiven his time in Arkham.

Gordon punches through Freeze’s ice wall, eventually, which impresses Bullock. Bullock is a lot less happy about Gordon ripping the door off his car. Back at GCPD, the virus is getting to some people we know now, and that’s not going to go well. Alfred tries again to reach Bruce, then gets distracted by chaos in the squad room from more infected. By the time Alfred gets back, Bruce has picked the cuffs and escaped, once again showing signs of the man he will become.

At Sirens, Butch tries to get Tabitha to see that Barbara isn’t good for her, but Tabitha isn’t ready to give up yet. Tabitha interrupts herself when she sees Lee there. Lee isn’t in the mood for small talk, and is cuttingly insulting to Butch and Tabitha both, then knocks Butch around a little before delivering her threat to Barbara Keen.

While Bruce wanders the streets amid the madness, and Alfred and Bullock shadow him, Fish and company are working with Strange to get his cure for the virus. They find Strange’s stash, but then a group of ninjas find them. When Fish looks at him, Strange says he has no idea who they are, and the ninja leader demands the antidote, which Strange has said is enough to cure all of Gotham when properly diluted. A fight breaks out between the ninjas on one side, and Fish, Mr. Freeze, and Firefly on the other. Gordon, riding the virus frenzy again, arrives in the middle of the fight and stabs Fish, breaking the antidote vials and really upsetting Penguin. Well, the antidote is gone now, but Strange claims he can make more, so there’s still some hope.

Somebody, somewhere, thought it was a good idea to move Jervis Tetch out of Arkham during all this chaos. Butch and Tabitha take advantage of this utter stupidity, and grab Tetch for their own plans. He was probably better off in the asylum. Riddler and Barbara look on and plot more badness for Gotham in general.

Bruce finds an odd, temple-looking building and goes inside. After finding a secret passage and going down an eerie corridor with lurking, creeping figures, Bruce finds the mysterious figure behind all his recent adventures. I guess they really liked Nolan’s Dark Knight movies, because somehow or other, Ra’s al-Ghul has decided Bruce is worth watching. Why a nearly immortal villain is so interested in a kid that can’t even vote yet is unclear. And Ra’s and Batman didn’t meet in the comics until quite a while into his career, after Dick Grayson had been Robin for a while.

This leads to a lot of questions from Bruce, and a confrontation between Ra’s and Alfred, who manages to get captured. Bruce gets pushed into doing something fairly dramatic, that gets fixed by the convenient presence of one of Ra’s’ storied props. It does seem to break Bruce free of Ra’s’ hold on him at least.

Gordon looks over a trashed squad room at the GCPD while the news drones on about the chaos in Gotham. Lee calls to taunt him and try further to seduce/corrupt him. Now she wants to leave the city, and wants him to come with her. She’s shifted her look a lot, and is reminding me of Elvira with tamer hair. This is about when Bullock strides in and talks about Barbara making demands to the city council. Bullock and Gordon hatch a plan to draw the Riddler out of hiding.

Gordon calls Nygma and company, and sparks more squabbling among them. Butch is still trying to get Tabitha away from Barbara, and I feel bad for him trying so hard. Nygma takes advantage of the distraction and slips away with Tetch, provoking another temper tantrum and insult storm from Barbara. That woman really needs to learn when to shut up.

Penguin is not at all happy about being used as Riddler-bait, and rails at Gordon about it. Bullock is just generally worried, which makes perfect sense with everything going on at present. Riddler has taken an extra precaution in the form of a strategically placed hand grenade. Tetch himself is thrilled at learning Gordon is infected. This unstable situation gets made much worse when Tabitha, Butch, and Barbara show up, guns blazing. Barbara mocks Gordon, and Gordon then does something a bit drastic to get work on a cure going.

In all that chaos, Penguin managed to capture Riddler again, and they trade snarky comments while Penguin drives off in Bullock’s police car, Riddler cuffed in back. While Riddler tries to get free, Barbara says she, Butch, and Tabitha should split up and go to one of their safehouses. Tabitha and Barbara share a long kiss, which is likely not helping Tabitha think any clearer.

I’m still not quite clear on how Tetch’s blood is contributing to the cure, since it was his sister that had the virus, not him. He’s just screwy on his own. But, somehow or other, the GCPD lab techs are using it to make a cure, although just now they have limited doses, which Gordon promptly steals and runs off with. Does anyone NOT have their own agenda this episode, aside from Bullock?

Bruce is crying at the hospital, worrying about Alfred, who is in surgery. Selena drops by for unclear reasons, and the two of them have a loud, vicious, and pointless argument. The only reason for the visit seems to be to set up that the two of them are really mad at each other because… the writers said so?

Gordon tries to cure Lee, and she’s not interested. She wants him to stop fighting the virus and the darkness inside him. They end up making out, cure forgotten. As this is going on, Penguin and Riddler have a wide-ranging argument/discussion about their respective lives, during which Riddler gets free and turns the tables on his captor. Again. These two just need to give up; they never seem to get anywhere.

Gordon and Lee manage to slip the police guards at the train station (Why is everyone on trains now? Even if they closed the airports, there are still roads and the docks.) and then get confronted by Bullock. Bullock and Gordon end up fighting, and Bullock pulls off a clever trick. This lets Gordon cure both Lee and himself on the train. They’re going to miss the trip.

There’s a reckoning of sorts among the Barbara/Butch/Tabitha crew. It gets ugly and the cast has been thinned out by the end of it. There’s also a surprise reveal about one of their real names, which is a big hint of what may be coming next season to comic fans. I didn’t see it coming at all, I’ll say that much.

Bruce has a teary scene by Alfred’s bedside which doesn’t really go anywhere. Riddler and Penguin have their final showdown (for the season) and we see the ugly spot one of them will probably be spending a good bit of next season in.

Later, Alfred wakes for a reunion with Bruce. Selena apparently gains a new mentor. Penguin plans his new club– the Iceberg Lounge, which is a familiar name from the comics. Gordon gets more bad news from Lee, although I’m not sure when the last time she gave him good news was. Bullock and Gordon tease each other a bit, showing their friendship survived the ups and downs of the two episodes. And we see a very familiar looking crime foiled by a new crimefighter. That should be interesting next season.

What I liked: I’m really hoping this is the end of the Tetch virus. It keeps coming back and I’m about sick of it. I won’t miss the Barbara/Butch/Tabitha alliance. Bruce seems to be making strides towards his destiny. If anyone we’ve seen so far on the show could fight the virus, it makes sense to me that it’s Gordon. Bullock in general is always enjoyable. At the risk of sounding shallow, I enjoyed Lee’s “evil” look.

What I didn’t: I don’t get why Ra’s needs to be part of Bruce’s origin. I didn’t like it in the movies, and I don’t like it here. How is Tetch’s non-infected blood part of the cure process? What was the point of Selena coming by the hospital to yell at Bruce? I’m not a huge fan of the ongoing Riddler/Penguin feud.

It was an odd conclusion. I’ll give this long finale a 3 out of 5. It’ll be interesting to see how some of this pans out next season.