Last week I said things were hotting up – this week they have reached absolute boiling point. We open with a recap on what happened last week: Oswald Cobblepot, in his continued guise of upstanding citizen, threw his hat in the ring against former mayor Aubrey James; Bruce Wayne’s doppleganger, revealed to be named “Five” drives off in Alfred’s car to find Selina; Jim narrowly escapes death at the hands of The Mad Hatter, Jervis Tench. All that was very exciting, edge of your chair stuff – but nothing compared to this week’s episode!
We open with Alice being interrogated by Bullock in the GCPD. It seems that her brother Jervis had kept her a prisoner for much of her life, and she escaped to Gotham, until she somehow ended up in Arkham and a prisoner again, this time in Indian Hill with Dr Strange. Jasper followed her to Gotham. This nicely segues into what Jervis is up to – he’s at an olden days style amusement park, where very helpfully the proprietor has consented to being hypnotised, and equally helpfully puts his head on the High Striker Strength Tester, while Jervis bashes his brains out with the hammer. Thankfully we don’t see the result of that, instead we move on to Election Day in Gotham.
Ed Nygma is in Oswald’s campaign office, concerned about what he and Butch are up to. He’s very suspicious of Butch, and likewise, Penguin’s chief henchman isn’t too keen on Nygma. Meanwhile, he tells Penguin that Arkham has left both of them stronger, a sentiment with which Oswald agrees, and he’s taken the liberty of framing both of their Certificates of Sanity. We can almost hear Butch seething as he knows his position is about to be usurped.
We’re back to GCPD and Barnes has both Jim and Bullock in his office, tearing strips off them, and demanding that Jim keep away from Jervis. I love these interactions, you know that the chief is going to come off second best, and he does, every single time. Seems Jim isn’t merely satisfied to be a bounty hunter, he’s close to becoming a private investigator. This leads to the brilliant interchange between Bullock and Barnes:
Bullock: “I bet I could make a kickass PI”
Barnes: “Get OUT!”
Still at GCPD, Lee is taking Alice’s blood. She’s resumed her full duties as police medical examiner. She asks Alice if she’s had her condition since birth, to which Alice says yes, that Jervis considers them to be two sides of the same coin – she has the blood and he has the mind. Seems he is a whole lot creepier than first appears; when they were young he had ideas that a brother shouldn’t have…which is why she wants him dead.
Jim finds he’s still under Jervis’s power: the beeping of the traffic signal recalls the ticking of his watch, and causes him to return to suicidal thoughts. He steps out in front of a moving truck, but fortunately he’s saved in time.
Alfred gets off the phone, their Rolls being found in The Narrows, in other words, Selina’s stamping ground. They set off to find Five, who is out with Selina. Selina is off to work, in other words, she’s going to rob a bar where there’s a book being run on the Mayoral election. She finds her way into a back room where all the money is being held, but is discovered. Suddenly, Five bursts in and gives everyone a beating. Who is he? How does he do that? Later she sees his scars and realises this isn’t Bruce. That doesn’t stop her enjoying it when he moves in to kiss her however.
Moving onto the actual election, Penguin is giving a speech, and boy is he good. Ed knows he can win this, and is therefore rightly concerned when he discovers that Butch is bribing officials. Butch, who this week is really the comic relief with his growing rage against Ed, decides to send some of his heavies after Ed, to keep an eye on him.
Jervis has hired some heavies of his own, The Terrible Tweeds, a boxing troupe of brothers. He quickly has them under his power and takes them to the GCPD and sets them loose, killing a few random police officers, in order to kidnap Alice. He reminds Jim that he’s got a “nagging impulse” and only he can remove it. After Tetch and two of the Tweeds get away, Barnes decides to put Jim on suicide watch, and has him cuffed to a chair in the medical room. This of course leads to a confrontation between him and Lee. Seems Jim finds sorry is the hardest word. So is love. Instead, he says, “The past is the past”.
After threatening a captive Tweed, Bullock locates the whereabouts of Jervis, who has his sister dressed in the traditional “Wonderland” costume. He’s been taking her blood, with the intention of using it for evil, and also for threatening Alice. Jim and Bullock burst in, guns blazing but Tetch starts a GIANT metronome, which of course, sends Jim off on one. It’s all good though. His chat with Lee has sunk in, and he realises he’s the master of his own destiny. He shoots the metronome, they capture the Mad Hatter – but not before Alice is somehow impaled on a giant spike, leaving a massive pool of blood.
It’s certainly all happening in this episode! Ed has been taking back all the bribes (virtual smoke pours out of Butch’s ears). The election result is called, and even without bribes, Oswald has romped in to a landslide victory. Gotham loves Penguin. He’s never felt this way before. He’s happy, Ed’s happy…Butch is….Butch is fuming.
The episode is wrapping up, Bruce and Alfred are chatting over a cup of tea, Bruce casually asking if Selina really thought Five was him when he kissed her. Jim goes to the GCPD and tells Lee that he’s fixed, he’s sorry, and although he’s not exactly happy for her, he’s trying to be. Meanwhile Oswald names Ed Nygma as his chief of staff (and we’re surprised Butch doesn’t self-immolate).
The episode could have ended on a happy note but no! It sets it up for next week to be even more exciting. Five, who has told Alf and Bruce that he’s going to go as far away from Gotham as possible, is approached by a car containing Catherine, the head of the Court of Owls. She makes him an offer he can’t refuse – all the harder to refuse because her masked minion grabs Five from behind and bundles him into the car. The last scene sees Barnes at the amusement park, contemplating a pool of blood on the floor. He looks up to find out where it’s come from and of course – takes a drop of the red stuff to the eye. This can’t be good, can it…
In summary – this week was a nice completion of the Mad Hatter and Alice story, with her death being quite unexpected. The friendship between Oswald and Ed is blossoming into quite a lovely bromance, and we can’t wait to see what Butch does next. Jim is clearly not over Lee, and it’s quite certain Lee isn’t over him either. Her fiance Mario didn’t appear this week, but given he’s the son of Carmine Falcone, we don’t think things bode well for Jim and Lee getting back together.
Final Grade: Is it possible to go higher than A+?
Last thought: Barnes knew Alice’s blood was poisonous, and that the puddle belonged to her. Why then was he fussing around it when he knew the consequences?