Gotham is definitely veering towards stranger and stranger titles as the “A Dark Knight” season continues. This week’s is “One of My Three Soups,” which at least makes some sense before the end of the episode. It starts with a nasty breakout at Arkham, as Jerome, Tetch the Mad Hatter, and Crane the Scarecrow form a team that can’t be good for Gotham or its citizens. And they don’t go alone; they bring a good part of the other inmates along for the ride. I swear, if I lived in Gotham, I’d just move to almost anywhere else. Beirut, maybe.
In the aftermath, the GCPD show up to work the scene, with Bullock in charge until Gordon rolls up, back on duty far too soon after the serious gunshot wounds he suffered last time. Gordon and Bullock have not resolved their issues, and Bullock keeps twisting the knife about the lie Gordon is being forced to live, partially at Bullock’s insistence. Gordon rallies the cops with a good speech, with Harvey looking on. Gordon then gets a call from Tetch, and he and Bullock take off to go meet the madman.
As they get there, Bullock muses on whether they’ve been hypnotized already or not, and that conversation has some echoes of the rhythm between him and Gordon I’ve enjoyed so much over the past several seasons. Tetch has prepared for them with a mob at his command, a grisly death of innocents, and more torments for Gordon, who he blames for his sister’s death. Gordon has done a lot in his years on the Gotham police force, but Alice’s death is all Tetch’s fault, although he’s too insane to believe that.
Bruce and Selina pay a call to the GCPD. He’s using her skills to get a file he wants. As they plan their larceny, Barbara is in her own office, still plagued by vicious headaches. Tabitha wants to take advantage of the chaos in the city to go on a robbery spree, but Barbara isn’t buying. She gets a long flashback which shows her what happened with her and Ra’s, and then warns Tabitha that the League of Shadows is coming.
As if they didn’t have enough to deal with, the police are now working the ugly crime scene Tetch left behind. Gordon and Bullock puzzle out his latest teasing clue (what, has he been taking lessons from Riddler?) and figure out the next problem they have to solve, and it’s an ugly one. Tetch really doesn’t believe in the concept of innocent bystanders. Then again, how much “innocence” there is in Gotham is a matter of debate. Bruce and Selina manage their theft with a brilliant distraction job by Bruce, keeping Harper confused.
While Bullock and Gordon find out their problem is much worse than they thought, Bruce studies what little the police have on Jerome. He figures out where the madman might be going, and Selina, bored, says this is the cops’ job, not his. Bruce blames himself for Jerome’s actions since Bruce didn’t kill him when he had the chance. Selina offers some advice, they almost kiss, and she scampers off into the night.
As the cops follow up on the same lead Bruce found, and miss something important, Gordon and Bullock figure out some of what’s going on with their problem. Bullock makes a heroic sacrifice to get the rests of the information they need, despite Gordon’s protests. Bullock really is hard to figure out if you look at his character over time. At best, he’s inconsistent.
While Jerome’s visit takes an ugly turn, and we see cleverness and abuse runs in the family, Tabitha looks at Barbara like she’s insane as the crazed blond goes on about what Ra’s left for her. Barbara proves her story as the two get some unexpected visitors. Well, Tabitha wasn’t expecting them, anyway.
Bullock’s gamble pays off, as he manages to tell Gordon what he needs to know before joining the others at risk. Gordon races off to try and end the threat, calling Harper on the way. Harper tells him the situation has spread to some of the cops as well, putting even more pressure on Captain Gordon.
In a scene that will be repeated in variations over the years in comics, Bruce ends up walking in as Jerome is in a lot of trouble. Bruce ends up in a fair amount of danger himself as things go badly. Barbara presses her claim with her new friends, showing she’s just as vicious as ever. The crowd starts to turn on her, which isn’t looking good for either of the Sirens.
Jerome continues to be randomly violent, dealing with his family situation as he finds out something he needed to know. Jerome isn’t exactly grateful for Bruce’s help. For reasons I won’t repeat again (I’ve done this a lot), I don’t like the idea of Jerome as Joker, but the general attitude is there. Gordon manages to find Tetch, but that doesn’t end the peril to all the people, now including Bullock. The Hatter has left Gordon a nasty puzzle to solve in order to save the people.
Bruce gets some unexpected help from Selina’s timely arrival. They don’t agree on how to deal with Jerome, and that goes badly. The young heroes fight and the lunatic escapes. Again. She ends up leaving, after giving Bruce more advice. He finds a clue to follow up on.
Barbara and Tabitha’s situation is looking dire, when something unexpected happens. That whole mess keeps twisting and turning in bizarre directions, but then, that seems to be a trend where Barbara is concerned. She’s had a very strange character arc since the show started, that’s for sure.
Gordon gets a brilliant idea and solves Tetch’s problem, saving everyone in an unexpected manner. There’s a lot of congratulations going around, and they all rejoice. Bullock and Gordon meet up back in the office that’s belonged to so many different people over the run of the show. Bullock has a few things hidden around the office for them to celebrate with. Gordon laments he should be in jail, which I’m not sure is true. Bullock agrees, but points out Gordon saved a lot of lives tonight. Bullock took his chancy risk earlier because he knew, without doubt, Gordon would save him. The two of them make some small progress on patching up their rift. That gets interrupted when Bruce calls with a clue about where Jerome might be heading next. The show ends with some of Gordon and Bullock’s good work being undone.
What I liked: Despite my issues with Jerome being the Joker eventually, he is entertaining to watch. Tetch’s puzzle was nasty, and Gordon’s solution was brilliant, outside the box thinking. I liked both the Bruce/Selina scenes and the Gordon/Bullock ones. The entire diner scene was a good watch. The villain trio is a nasty team up.
What I didn’t: I don’t really like the new role it seems Barbara is going to play, but I don’t care that much about it, either. They never quite seem sure what to do with Barbara, and she’s wandering into various different roles apparently at random.
It was a good episode, with some decent action and plot twists. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5.
Taking the week off: I’m guessing Alfred and Lucius went out for drinks again. We also didn’t see Penguin, Riddler, Lee, or Solomon Butch.