Tick tock, it's Owl o'clock on Gotham Mad City: Time Bomb

Previously on Gotham ... Barnes in an asylum, If there's a man, Ivy can beguile him, and if there's a Jim Gordon in the house, I revile him.

Now on Gotham ... the Owls are hunting Falcones for sport, Barbara's got a Nygma to thwart, and all plots are converging on the Court.

THE PLOT

- With two days to their wedding, Lee and Mario find themselves in the crossfire of what seems to be an attack on former mob boss Carmine Falcone. But looks can be deceiving, and it turns out it's the Court of Owls who are on the offensive, and it ain't Carmine they're after -- it's Mario. But why? That's the mystery. And while Gordon tries to defend Mario for the sake of Lee, the woman who got away, the Falcones remain cagey. Carmine knows Kathryn, and Mario knows something, too, at least according to one of the Court's assassins. But while we see Lee finally kissing Gordon goodbye for the last time (fingers crossed), Mario watches from the shadows only to reveal the titular time bomb: Mario's infected with the Alice Tetch virus!

- And while he's not supposed to engage with the Court anymore, Bruce Wayne has found himself with a key with an owl's face on it, thanks to Ivy and Selina. Knowing the danger his involvement with Kathyrn could pose, Bruce resolves to hand over the key. Of course he doesn't really have a choice, since Ivy has gotten herself kidnapped by the men who want the key. Are they with the Court? No. This is the Whisper Gang who believe the key Ivy found unlocks a safe which holds some sort of weapon that can take down the Court of Owls. With the opportunity to get out from under their thumb, Bruce agrees to work with the Whisper Gang in order to discover the location of this mystery safe. Unfortunately, the Whisper Gang gets murdered by the Court. Doh!  

- Meanwhile, away from all things Strigiformes, Penguin's gang meeting is interrupted by a very angry Barbara Kean. Seems her fellow Siren, Tabitha, has disappeared along with Tabitha's kinda boyfriend, Butch. Butch? Dating Tabitha? Give him a hand, folks! It's funny, see, because he's only got one... you know what NEVERMIND. Anyway, Babs is convinced that Ozzie knows where Tabitha and Butch are, but he insists he doesn't. Surprise -- he totally knows. Ed, who is convinced Butch is responsible for the death of his "beloved" (Ed's term, not mine), Isabella, is torturing both Butch and Tabitha until they confess. Of course there's nothing to confess, because Penguin killed Isabella, so that's our plot -- Barbara and Ed figuring out what the audience already knows. And they do in entertaining ways. While Babs dominates an S&M bondage gear salesman, Ed electrocutes Butch before chopping off Tabitha's hand (for a matching lack of a set). And while Ed is more befuddled than ever when he realizes Butch is innocent, Barbara (who found out earlier that Oswald is in love with Ed) has finally put all the pieces together. And as the gang turns up to a hospital with Tabitha's hand on ice for some emergency surgery, Babs hatches a plan to take Penguin out of the picture and take over the gangs of Gotham.

THE GOOD

Erin Richards runs away with this episode. Her portrayal of Barbara has been entertaining for a while, but it feels like the Gotham writers have finally come up with a plot to drive her actions forward -- Babs wants to rule the underworld of Gotham. I have no idea why she wants to rule the underworld of Gotham, but by GOD I'm jsut glad she finally wants something other than Jim Gordon. Could Barbara be a good crime boss? Hey, she can't be any worse at it than Oswald. And, let's be honest, Barbara's the only one who cares as much about her wardrobe as Oswald does. Bonus points for putting a dude in the stocks and literally whipping his ass, though. I think that gives Babs an edge over Oswald that I only wish he'd try to compete with.

THE BAD

Who is Ivy? What does she want? What are her likes and dislikes? How am I, the viewer, supposed to feel about her? I have no idea and we're getting to the point where it's more than a little ridiculous that Ivy has remained so nebulous as a character. This week she's a plot prop because she gets kidnapped, and the only other thing she does is seduce Alfred. Hi. Alfred is an old. Ivy is a tween in the body of a woman. That's G-R-O-S-S. I get that there's not a lot of room for Ivy in the plot right now, but if we could just find a way to make her jive with literally anyone or anything on the show, that would be swell. Have her eat food with Selina or cheer up Bruce with what a dumb ass she is? I dunno! Anything. Literally anything but having someone with a child brain act like a seductress before getting kidnapped. Please.

THE STATE OF THE GOTHAM

It's been a while since I used this space to goof on elements of the show, so we're gonna change things up a little and see how it plays. Let's get caught up on where things sit with Gotham. This week, I would say things are sitting pretty comfortable. Criss cross applesauce. After last week's botched experiment in makign Barnes into a cartoon character, it feels like Gotham's third season is finally finding its footing. We've had The Court of Owls in the background since the end of season two, so it's a relief to finally see their tendrils weave their way around all the other plot threads. Penguin and Babs upcoming fight for the gang turfs of Gotham will be connected to the Court in some way. And we know Jim's dad is involved with the Owls in some way, too. Bruce, of course, has a direct connection to the Court because they, ya know, are responsible for his parents' death. Even Mario Falcone has a part to play. And how about that reveal that Mario's got the Tetch virus? That's a good play because it raises a lot of questions -- when did Mario get the virus, how did he get it, is he being affected by the virus differently and, if so, why? And how does all this relate back to the Court of Owls?

Gotham as a show tends to mill around aimlessly with occasional moments of wacky excitement. At the end of last season, Indian Hill proved a way to bring all the wacky together into one place making for the best Gotham has ever been. If this Court of Owls story can grab a little bit of that same magic, there's a chance Gotham can be great again. Just like America! Unlike America, though, I can actually see it happening. Optimism!

Before we sign off, though, it wouldn't be a Gotham review of mine if I didn't touch on the Oswald/Ed love plot. What is there to say, really? It's tragic and it sadly mirrors the mentally unstable plotline that plagued Barbara and Renee Montoya's story way back in season one. Once again, a potentially fruitful gay romance is thwarted by betrayal and insanity. I get that Oswald and Ed are villains, but did it really have to go down this way? Let me answer for you -- no, it didn't. 

Why can't two people of the same self-identified gender make it happen in the city of Gotham? And if, somehow, Oswald and Ed do get together despite all the torture and murder, what kind of relationship will that be? Is there a way to turn this mutually emotionally abusive thing into something beautiful? Depending on who you ask, it worked out pretty well for Spike and a certain vampire slayer named Buffy on some other show you may have heard of. So maybe there's hope? From a story perspective, at least there may be something interesting that will come out of Oswald finally coming out of the closet. Maybe. Although if Barbara pushes him out, I'm gonna be real mad.

Anyway. As we approach the mid season finale, fess up -- is this season of Gotham working for you or not? What do you like? What do you hate? Which character would you torture to death if you could? Stipulation: your answer cannot be me. I am not a character on Gotham... that I know of.

Next week -- Selina's mom, maybe?

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