Previously on Gotham ... Gordon and Vale got laid, Fish Mooney got gone, Bruce got a new roomie that is also his exact double, and Ivy got sexy.
Now on Gotham ... Penguin gets mayoral, multiple people get hypnotized, Lee gets connected with the mob, and the audience gets a story with five plots or less. Yay!
Going into the third episode of Gotham this season with "Mad" in the title, we finally get to meet the Mad Hatter, Jervis Tetch. And much like Hugo Strange last year, it's easy to see right away how Tetch's skill set could play merry havoc with the citizens of Gotham.
But also, "Mad City: Look into My Eyes" features some other important chess pieces being moved along the board, AND there's the return of someone from season one that will either make you really happy or really angry. Or really ambivalent. See, we offer viable third-party options here at the Blastr dot com ... UNLIKE AMERICA #RonPaul2012, am I right?
And on that note, yes, there's still politics afoot this week, albeit a bit subdued. Not that I'm complaining. Do we really need Gotham to be a weekly reminder that the real world is getting more and more like this wacko version of Gotham City every day?
Anywho. Plot, anyone?
- Barbara and Tabitha host a hypnotist, Jervis Tetch, at their club. He's got a big ol' top hat. Wonder if it's a visual clue of some kind ... meant to indicate the established Batman villain he'll be playing, maybe? NAH. He convinces some people to squawk, oink and woof before getting a doctor man to stand on the back of a chair as though defying gravity. Without doubt, suggests Tetch, the human body can manage all manner of amazing feats. I don't think that's how physics works, but hey. Tetch also whispers a bonus suggestion while the doctor is still entranced. Did I mention Tetch says he can only make people do what they secretly desire? No reason to bring it up, really. Well, Tetch does, later, have the doctor kill his wife and then himself so Tetch has a cool pad to stay in and some loot to sell. I guess it was just that doctor's fantasy to kill his wife and himself? Way to be a downer, show.
- Meanwhile, Jim Gordon wakes up to discover Valerie Vale putting her clothes on after their night of ... passion? Sure, why not. Turns out that Jim wants Valerie to be his lady, but Valerie was just looking for a booty call. WHAT A RELIEF. Meanwhile, Lee returns to the GCPD to take back her old job. Jim walks in and they are boringly awkward toward each other. Fortunately, Jim gets a new case. From Jervis Tetch, actually. Hey, he can pay, right? Tetch is in search of his sister, Alice (GET IT?!), and doesn't "trust" the GCPD to find her. Well, that's fair. Tetch says Alice is sick and reveals he sent her to Arkham with a hearty "Oops, my bad!" So Jim takes the case and immediately asks Selina if she knows where Alice is. She does. Selina knows everything. Except where Ivy is. So Selina is, like, "Yo, keep an eye out for my bro, Ivy" and Jim's says "np." Fist bump. Note: there is no actual fist bump, but it's heavily implied.
- So ... Alice. Her blood makes people crazy? We see one guy try to rape her (because we always need more scenes like that on TV to push the plot forward, god knows). Her blood gets on him. He goes crazy, hence the "her blood makes people crazy" thesis. Also, Alice gets her blood on a bar and so she burns the whole place down? Kind of an intense solution, Alice. Eventually Gordon finds her, but she does not want to link back up with Jervis on account of he is obviously A BAD GUY DOT EDU. Alice follows Jim back to Jervis anyway, though, and good thing, because Jervis has hypnotised Gordon into leaping from a tall building. Gordon wanting to commit suicide enough to be hynpotised into doing it? Now that's one downer I totally believe. Anyway, Jervis get away after Alice shoots at him point blank and misses REPEATEDLY. Plus side, Alice lifts Gordon up from dangling on the side of the building because I guess evil blood makes you a terrible shot but super strong? Cool, cool. That's that plot temporarily resolved.
- Hey, remember when Selina asked for Gordon's help finding Ivy? Well, she asked Jim because Bruce turned her down. You see, Bruce is very busy helping out his doppelganger who he knows basically nothing about. And what he does know is that his clone is covered in scars and can out-box Alfred somehow. Nothing suspicious there, though. Oh, except for the part where Bruce's double cuts his hair to look like Bruce, steals a car, and then finds Selina to offer her his help finding Ivy while he pretends to be Bruce. Remember when Bruce didn't trust anyone last season? What did we learn, Bruce? Doppelgangers are always evil. That's just science.
- Hey, remember Lee? Well, she is engaged, because why let the bed get cold, I guess. And she's engaged to a doctor named Mario. Falcone. You know. Son of Carmine. Falcone. Don Falcone. He's Don Falcone's son. What a time to be alive. Anyway, Mario briefly meets Gordon when Jim needs some stitches and they sort of bro out briefly. Mario's like, "I'm marrying your ex, but we cool, tho?" And then Jim's all, "Whatever, I don't even know you, but blessings et cetera? Peace, I gots to brood." Yeah, it's real touching. The upshot of which is Lee and Mario getting dinner with Carmine who apparently thinks Lee is very beautiful. That also means Carmine thinks Lee will probably bring Mario to ruin. Beautiful faces launching ships and all that. Yeah, he's real sentimental, that guy, with his allusions to pretty women being responsible for men foolishly going to war and destroying themselves and everyone around them in the process. Cupid, that Carmine. What a guy.
- And on the totally unrelated side of Gotham, former mayor, Aubrey James, is about to accept the "privilege" of being reinstated as mayor after the whole Theo Galavan oopsie daisy. But, hark, what is this? Penguin shows up and demands that there be an emergency vote because he's going to run for mayor! Gasp! So Penguin starts his campaign, whose slogan is "Make Gotham safe again." Subtle. Aubrey asks for a meeting with Penguin at a restaurant. Guess who brought guns? Did you guess "literally everyone?" Congrats: you have watched five seconds of Gotham at some point. Penguin has the most guns, though, and therefore wins? I dunno. All I can tell you is that Penguin forces Aubrey to get Edward Nygma released from Arkham. Penguin says he needs Edward for his campaign. Campaign is slang for being sexy boyfriends. Yeah, I didn't know that either, but what other conclusion can be drawn? Oswald and Edward are the most obvious of boyfriends and if Gotham was just them making out it would be the best show on TV. Alas, such tender moments will have to remain the work of our collective fan fictions. For now.
And that's the episode. Yup. Gotham sure is still wacky. But is it good wacky? Bad wacky? Wacky wacky? All of the above? Time for the multiple choice!
- Benedict Samuel is our Jervis Tetch and that is some stellar casting. He's a perfect blending of creepy and charming. The scene where he invades the home of the doctor he'd hypnotised is genuinely unsettling and even a little scary. A Gotham villain that can actually make the audience scared? That's something long overdue. So well done, Benedict Samuel. I'm excited to see what unexpected things you'll do with the words on the page.
- I tell you that Valerie Vale pulling a "yeah, no" on Gordon's attempt to play house with her literally had me sighing in relief. If there's one thing Gotham does not need, it's another Lee. Here's hoping Valerie is at least keeping Jim at arm's length for a little while. She'll be able to grow and develop much better solo.
- I know that many of you will be annoyed to see Don Falcone back on screen, but I'm actually really glad that John Doman is still in the mix. However boring Season 1 was, I sincerely believe Doman put every ounce of himself into the material. Some of the most emotional stuff in season one comes from Falcone, and that's all thanks to John Doman. So kudos to the producers for realizing they have a real talent there and hanging on to him.
- The moment when Penguin andd Nygma are reunited on the outside of Arkham is just wonderful. Cory Michael Smoth and Robin Lord Taylor have such tremendous chemistry. All slashy desires aside, the episodes to come will be the better for having the two of them playing off one another. There's a joy in their shared performance.
- More confirmed slashy goodness? Barbara and Tabitha. Tabitha gets visibly annoyed when Jervis hypnotizes Barbara into loving him. Because Barbara is only supposed to love Tabitha. Any time you want to let them be an actual couple, Gotham. Any time... but I'll take the bait for now.
- Alice. What are we doing with this character? Why was there a sexual assault scene? Wht point did it serve? Nothing. Stop making your women into victims, Gotham. It's boring. You've been doing it for two seasons now. Get a new schtick. This one's tired. At least Alice kind of saves the day in the end, but I worry about where her story is headed.
- Lee. Why are you here? What is your story? Why is you being defined by yet another man? Oh, Lee. Lee, no. Be a person, Lee. You is boring, Lee. Please. Something, Lee. Anything, Lee.
- Why, after two seasons of being so paranoid, has Bruce gone soft? Is he just a sucker for a pretty face that is his own face? I don't buy it. Alfred knows what a bad idea it is to trust Bruce's doppleganger. How does Bruce not see this? It's not just that it's stupid, it's that it doesn't fit his character. If they'd let the clon be good for longer, maybe it would be different. But Gotham rushes things along and sometimes that makes for character inconsistencies. This definitely falls under that category.
- When Tetch hypnotizes Barbara into loving him, he spurns that love and she tries to shank him. Tabitha explains, "she's a bit sensitive to rejection," which is the understatement of the century. Bless your little heart, Barbara. You so crazy, sometimes I want Gotham to have a crossover with Empire just so you and Cookie Lyon could... I don't even know what you could do. Anything could happen. Whatever it is, I want to see it, though.
- Penguin running for mayor is a hoot. Oswald has this line: "Gotham is rife with crime, Butch. Who better than a criminal to clean it up?" Anyone, Oswald. Literally anyone. But, smart move adorning your office with a portrait of your dad, Paul Reubens, aka someone everybody likes. You know, if Donald Trump hung a portrait of Paul Reubens on his wall ... nah. That wouldn't change anything. But it does make Penguin pretty endearing. Also, the part where Penguin arms a granny with a gun to help him take down Aubrey James? Priceless. Basically everything involving Penguin running for public office is the most Gotham thing ever.
- Bruce's doppelganger has a name: 514A, or "Five" for short. That's right -- a mysterious child with mysterious abilities who was kept in a secret facility and has a number for a name. THIS IS A HIGHLY ORIGINAL IDEA. Obviously Gotham ripped this idea off ... from Married ... With Children's Seven! That's right. Enjoy that deep cut. But, yes, it's hard not to feel as though someone at Gotham thought Eleven from Stranger Things was really cool and, hey, we could use that idea maybe! You're imagining Eleven showing up in Gotham City now, aren't you? Eleven and Five could eat Eggos together. Selina shows up? More Eggos. Gordon's like, "Le'go my Eggo!" canned laughter! Did I just write the perfect episode of Gotham. I did. You're welcome.
Anyway, next week Jim Gordon is still under the spell of Jervis Tetch. Also politics. Also Barbara and Jim Gordon aka my favorite straight couple who are crazy on this show. Wanna set it up, Batman '66-style announcer?
Can Jim Gordon not shoot himself in the head? Could Penguin be a worse mayor than any of the terrible ones Gotham's had already? Why haven't Oswald and Edward made out yet? Why, God, why? All those questions and more to be answered next time: same Gotham time, same Gotham station. Be there!