“To Our Deaths and Beyond” sounds like it’s a strange twist on Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase from Toy Story, but it’s the title of the next episode of Gotham. There’s enough weirdness going on that there are going to be spoilers along the way, so be warned. It opens with Barbara in her new vault/museum she’s sort of inherited from Ra’s al-Ghul. Her contemplations of her new treasures is interrupted by an impromptu training session, and a lecture about to use the power Ra’s left to her.
Bruce and Selina are out cruising in the proto-Batmobile, and Bruce gets to show off a few of his toys. They meet up with Tabitha, who is desperate to get some help to “rescue” Barbara from her new setup. Nothing goes as expected, and Bruce and Selina meet up with a new group of troublemakers. They want something Bruce really doesn’t think is a good idea, and things take a turn that Selina, who is starting to feel guilty, didn’t see coming. It’s a bad scene for most of them, ending in a very unexpected return.
The GCPD are dealing with an unprecedented five bank robberies in one night. Gordon guesses this is one of Nygma’s schemes, and goes to talk to his best lead on that subject: Lee. Harvey makes some bad jokes and Harper offers a few comments on his sense of humor. Lee herself is distributing the proceeds from the banks, but it’s not exactly the sort of pay off the crew thing you’d expect. She and Riddler have a talk about his motives and what’s going on between them. It’s some interesting verbal fencing that borders on flirting, until Penguin and Solomon Butch show up. No one likes uninvited guests.
Selina is not happy with Tabitha, and actually speaks up for Bruce and calls him her friend, which may the nicest thing we’ve heard her say about him so far. The returned Ra’s is not at all happy to be back, and rages at his followers. The new group complains about Barbara’s leadership, and Tabitha finds out things aren’t going to go as smoothly as she hoped.
Penguin makes his case for why Lee and Riddler should be working with him and Solomon. Lee isn’t too thrilled by the idea. The discussion ends with no real clear resolution, although Penguin gets in some barbs on his way out. Barbara gets a visit from the awakened Ra’s, and isn’t inclined to grant his request. Barbara’s ideas about her past don’t at all match up with what Ra’s tells her ,and she gets into both anger and denial. The argument goes badly and Barbara hears some unpleasant views about her, and barely makes an escape, aided by Bruce with some truly heroic timing and a lot more forgiveness than I have.
Gordon goes to the Narrows to find Lee, and at least his unlikely recovery gets mentioned. Lee makes a few very dark comments about Sophia before going on to say she won’t help Jim find Riddler. Jim tries to talk her into helping him, and she just shakes her head, having her guards show him out.
Retreating to Wayne Manor, Barbara, Tabitha, Bruce, Alfred, and Selina try and figure out what to do about Ra’s and the warring ninja factions. There’s a lot of arguing, mostly about who gets to try and kill Ra’s. That’s when you know you’re having issues, when your assassination turns into a contest. They at least agree that they need the knife back that was such an important part of the earlier part of the season, but Bruce gave it back to Nanda Parbat. Barbara is all for storming the embassy to get it back, but Alfred comes up with a much better, and more fun, idea. The knife retrieval scene is part Mission Impossible and part comedy, but it’s fun to watch.
Riddler suffers a role reversal during an argument about his motives and feelings. The brilliant schemer may well be in over his head here. The other group meets up back at Wayne Manor (seriously, who hasn’t been out there by now?) to debate the future of the knife. Finally, the Sirens leave with the knife and the Bruce-mobile, a conflicted looking Selina along for the ride.
Shaken by his earlier confrontation, Riddler goes to Penguin and makes a deal that sounds bad for the leader of the Narrows. Barbara reveals her plan, such as it is, and Selina is far from impressed. Dubbing it “Suicide by Ra’s,” which is a great phrase, the cat-burglar takes off. Tabitha gives Barbara a pep-talk, and they go forward with this scheme.
Selina makes her way back to the mansion (how people who don’t have cars get back and forth so quickly I still don’t understand) to tell Alfred and Bruce what Barbara is up to. Selina reveals her motivation for trying to stop Bruce from re-killing Ra’s, and it’s actually kind of touching. Selina also shows more maturity and practicality than just about anyone else involved in this part of the story.
Gordon and Bullock interview a really obnoxious bank official, and figure out she’s been played. Sure enough, the heist is underway, although Lee gets more help than she was expecting. The main plot comes to a head at the Sirens’ club, when there’s a huge fight between Ra’s, Barbara and Tabitha, more ninjas, and eventually Bruce and Alfred. Barbara gets a much better idea of what her new ability is, just in time to be faced with a really nasty decision. Ra’s refuses an offer from Bruce which doesn’t bode well for the city, but then, what does?
Riddler and Lee have a falling out, which delights Penguin as he watches. There is another big double-cross, and something happens to betray an alliance and help out some of the downtrodden. Riddler offers some surprising insight about Lee, which gets interrupted when the GCPD finally catches up with the robbery in progress. The potential standoff with the police ends in a surprising way.
Barbara and Tabitha sort of make up from their latest spat. Those two really are the textbook definition of an unhealthy relationship. In addition to friendship she doesn’t really deserve, Barbara gets another surprise. Bruce and Selina have an actual sweet scene together which might have gone farther but for an ill-timed visit. The visitor talks about some bad things coming for Gotham, and Bruce’s potential in the future. If he survives.
What I liked: Getting the knife back was a great scene. I’ve been enjoying Cory Michael Smith’s portrayal of the Riddler, and I think he hit a new high, or at least a really interesting twist, tonight. I hope Bruce gets his car back, I’m enjoying the Bruce-mobile. Selina has some great scenes and choices tonight, and I liked her motivations for what she did.
What I didn’t: I get how toxic relationships work, I do, but Tabitha needs to get the hell away from Barbara. Maybe Solomon Butch should just carry her off. I’m not wild about Ra’s’ return, or the war of the ninjas.
Despite a few things I’d have happily lived without, it was a fun episode. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5.
Taking the week off: IMDB claims Lucius was in this episode, but I don’t remember seeing him.