They continue Gotham’s current season with “A Dark Knight: A Beautiful Darkness.” This one opens with Ivy 3.0 and Selina robbing a rich family by making use of Ivy’s new influence power. Selina is perfectly happy to wander through the house and commit various types of larceny, but Ivy has an ulterior motive for coming here. This ends with Ivy stealing something herself, a murder, and an upset cat burglar.
Over at the GCPD, Gordon encounters Chaz Carmichael, a mob figure who seems to think he’s going to get out of the holding cell he’s in by invoking Sofia Falcone. An annoyed Gordon brushes him off as Harper comes up with news about something new he needs to see. This, of course, leads us back to the scene of the opening crime, with descriptions of the two thieves and a unique body. Lucius Fox claims ignorance of all this, but then calls Bruce Wayne to warn him they may have a problem.
Ivy and Selina have an argument over the death, and Selina storms off, which seems to actually hurt Ivy’s feelings. Ivy consoles herself by talking to the plants, which doesn’t help reassure anyone with doubts about her stability. She then goes to pay a visit, finding Bruce suffering from a nasty ‘morning after’ out at the manor. Considering Bruce is going the playboy/partier route and he fired Alfred, the manor actually looks a lot better than I expected. She gets very insistent about something called Project M, and Bruce, after looking very worried, recognizes her just before she puts the mental whammy on him.
At Arkham, Penguin is not adapting well to life inside. He’s getting the classic set up for “newbie being bullied” in the cafeteria when Jerome makes his presence known. Jerome expresses disappointment that Penguin has been there a while and not killed anyone or escaped. Penguin seems to be fairly well crushed and cowed by his incarceration, and isn’t up for any of that sort of mischief or mayhem. Penguin explains why he’s toeing the line, and Jerome tells him that Jerome is determined to find the “fun guy” he knows is in there, after telling a nasty story about a guy he shocked a few times too many.
Ivy learns what she wants from Bruce, then scratches him to subject him to a slow and lingering death as she takes off in pursuit of this mysterious Project M. Bruce has some really weird visions under the influence of her toxin, including a return of a villain from the past and some really surreal scenes.
Gordon goes to Sirens to try and find Selina. Barbara is her usual unhelpful self, and Gordon gets another surprise when Sofia turns up there. Gordon and Sofia argue over the nature of their arrangement, which ends when he sees Selina come in. He takes off in pursuit with a really entertaining crack from Barbara on his way by.
Penguin gets abducted within the Asylum and suffers through a weird meeting with Jerome and his mob. Selina’s flight from Gordon almost becomes literal until he pulls her back. They talk about the robbery, the death, and the new Ivy. Selina tells him just enough to figure out Lucius lied about Project M.
Fox’s examination of the body from the opening scene gets interrupted by Ivy herself turning up and placing him under her spell. Bruce keeps hallucinating, going through a nightmare version of a party with twisted versions of people he knows, including Gordon with a moustache, a second Bruce, and an unlikely candidate to replace Alfred.
Selina and Gordon get to the GCPD and their petty squabbling stops as they learn that all the cops are bespelled by Ivy. Since neither Selina nor Gordon are big fans of the plant-girl, they manage to offend some sensibilities before they figure that out. They flee the squad room to try and find Fox.
Penguin gets a surprising visit from Ed, and they argue a lot. That ends with Ed taking off and Penguin getting some slight hope for his future. Selina and Gordon get a lead on where to go to find Ivy and Fox, but have to outrun the rest of Ivy’s enslaved cops.
Jerome and his thugs go after Penguin again, but the mastermind is feeling more himself and has a few surprises for them. Penguin pulls off a few clever tricks, and he and Jerome have the strangest fight ever, partially involving a much-mocked performance form. Bruce continues really not enjoying his trip through Ivy’s acid nightmare as a familiar face turns up.
Fox brings Ivy to the hidden project, and the plant lady learns she was wrong about a lot of things. They’re working on a variation of something that’s been a long-running staple of one of Batman’s foes. Bruce, still tripping, meets the ghost of Gotham’s future.
Gordon finds Ivy and Fox and there’s something of a standoff for a bit. She comes up with a way to divert Gordon, telling him that Bruce is dying but Gordon can save him with her antidote. After a short confrontation with Fox, Gordon manages to get what he needs and races off to Wayne Manor as Ivy makes her escape.
Bruce has more visions in a setting familiar to Bat-fans before Gordon finally wakes him up. Gordon talks Bruce down from his trip, and commiserates over having darkness inside. After Gordon leaves, a shaken Bruce makes a desperate, pleading phone call.
As a storm builds over Gotham, Gordon returns to the GCPD and a very embarrassed Harper says they’ve all recovered. Gordon has a telephone confrontation with Sofia that doesn’t sound good for the future. Penguin and Jerome have a weird chat in Penguin’s cell as he sends out a letter to an old ally turned enemy. The show ends with Ivy playing with her new toy.
What I liked: While Bruce’s acid trip was nightmarish, it carried a lot of interesting hints about the future. And I’m in favor of anything that ends this ridiculous rift between Alfred and Bruce. Barbara got off several great lines in her short scene. I’m amused that Ivy was so very wrong in several of her assumptions. Selina being so appalled at the needless death was very in character for her.
What I didn’t: I don’t like Fox lying to Gordon. I really don’t like Jerome being the proto-Joker, no matter how far this show is divorced from main Batman continuity.
It was a good episode with some interesting developments. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.
Taking The Week Off: Giving credit for weird appearances in Bruce’s nightmare, there’s still no sign of Tabitha and Solomon Butch.