Things are heating up in Gotham, with the established path from the first two episodes being well and truly trod this week, as well as some interesting character additions.
*There be spoilers beyond this point*
After a lengthy catch-up introduction, the episode opens up in Barbara and Tabitha’s club, where a mysterious-looking hypnotist is releasing people from their trances. He’s got a look about him that makes us think of Johnny Depp if he was crossed with Benicio de Toro; fairly exotic, yet mysterious. Oh, and deathly pale. Immediately we wonder what he’s up to when he asks for a volunteer, and casually checks out the jewel-encrusted bling on the neck of one of the patrons, and asks her partner to accompany him. His chosen subject is a doctor in a flash suit, and he asks if he’s ready to do something impossible. The audience gasps as he tells him to stand on a chair – and then tells him to stand on the top of the chair, then while up there, on one leg – “after all, you weigh nothing at all”. Barbara interjects from the audience asking if he can make people do whatever he wants: he says he can only make people do what they secretly wish they could do. I don’t know about you, but nothing would compel me to secretly wish I could stand on the back of a chair…but anyway. After releasing the doctor from his hold, he whispers something along the lines of, “your castle, my home”. Our suspicions are aroused about this one.
We move on to Wayne Manor, where Bruce’s döppelganger is still in residence, much to Alfred’s dismay. Bruce asks his name, and he replies, “Five”. This was actually the first in a serial number, and he had no actual given name beyond that. Bruce’s sympathies are aroused, and he tells Alf the boy is staying. Alfred’s not happy, and insists they discuss it with Lucius. Meanwhile, Five burns his arm but feels nothing. What does it all mean? He later gets one of seven bells knocked out of him in a boxing match with Alfred (after having first knocked maybe four out of Alf), and although his nose bleeds, he doesn’t feel it. There’s a scar on the back of his neck that he’s not too keen on explaining as well, and later, when Selina comes over for a bit of hand holding with Bruce, döppleganger Five is hiding in the wings sucking up everything he can about Bruce’s mannerisms.
After a nice reveal that Valerie has stayed over at Jim’s house, and isn’t overly keen to pursue their relationship further. This is just as well, because Lee is back at work at GCPD, taking up where she left off, and bringing with her a fiance, a doctor at the local hospital. Naturally a confrontation between Lee and Jim occurs, much as Harvey tries very hard to prevent it – but we know these two are star-crossed lovers, and we don’t hold out much hope for the fiance.
All this is a nice segue to the Other Doctor, who has received a call in the middle of the night from you guessed it – creepy hypnotist guy, who mutters the same thing about “your castle, my home”, and tells him to open the door and let him in, which he does. Mrs Doctor wakes up, and well, without spoiling too much, only one person wakes up in the morning.
Here enters a nice little sub-plot, perhaps to elicit some sympathy from the viewers for this mysterious character. He is in Gotham, looking for his sister, cleverly named, ‘Alice’, and played by Naian González Norvind. Meanwhile Alice is living in a divey flat with a sleazy landlord who offers to “work something out” with her in exchange for the rent she’s fallen behind. Of course, it doesn’t end well, and there’s blood drawn. Alice appears to have some sort of powers: sleazy landlord goes crazy. Later Jim is asked by the man, whose name is now established to be Jervis Tetch (played by Australian actor, Benedict Samuel) to help find Alice, and refers to her “condition”, which seems to be a poison in the blood. Keep this in mind!
Remember we said last week that Penguin was doing a fine job of appearing to be someone with a sense of civic duty? Well it all came to a head this week when former mayor Aubrey James announces he will be resuming control of the City. Penguin (followed by his ever present rabble) declares his own interest in the position, and forces an election. Butch isn’t happy. He’s not keen on politics and even less keen when Oswald turns his mansion into a political campaign office.
To wrap it up, there’s some great ideas in this episode, with the ensemble cast pretty much fighting it out to see who is going to put in the most memorable performance. Penguin as usual is brilliant, but then again, I might have a little crush on Robin Lord Taylor. Brilliant also is Jim, but the show must go, and quite rightly so, to Benedict Samuel as Jervis Tetch. He’s spooky and creepy, and you know there’s something not quite right about him.
Final grade: A+ Gotham shows a lot of imagination.
Additional thought: Why doesn’t Jervis Tetch hypnotise Alice so she doesn’t have the blood condition anymore?