Bit slower episode than previous weeks but that’s alright as it’s been a roller coaster ride! The recap gives us a nice synopsis of what to expect from this one: Bullock confronts Jim, saying he’s a cop in everything but name; Barnes is still being haunted by Alice’s blood, and turning into The Incredible Hulk in stages; Ed and Oswald are no longer just two, but have been joined by another, Ed’s love interest, Isabella; and then there’s Lee, Jim and Valerie: who does Jim really love?
As with the rest of the episode titles this season, this week’s, “Red Queen”, references “Alice In Wonderland”. We open on Jim by Valerie’s hospital bedside, where she is recovering from the bullet to the stomach she endured last week at the hands of Jervis Tetch. Valerie says it’s all over between her and Jim, because he clearly only said her name because he really wanted to save Lee. Alright then…that’s not what it looked like last week, but that’s alright, it’s been a pretty so-so relationship, and we can all see that once Lee returned to Gotham City Jim was going to set his heart on her again.
Val adds that Tetch was right, Jim is nothing but trouble. The quote is a nice segue over to the other side of Gotham, where Jervis is making a deal with a crazy-haired person, talking about the blood virus he hopes to inflict on the City. Mr Crazy Hair has laid out a number of jars across what appears to be a chessboard; suddenly Tetch grabs a jar containing some red powdery substance, and the Hair guy names it “Red Queen”, a psychotropic drug, to be used very sparingly and carefully. Of course saying this to Tetch is like waving a red (queen) rag to a bull, and he takes it from the other man and leaves, but not before blowing some in his face, and leaving him literally gaga. We’ve not mentioned it previously, but Tetch is prone to poetry, and as he leaves, he says,
“This city torn apart by me
So I’m purging it into insanity.”
Moving right along it seems Ed and new found love, Isabella, who looks a great deal like his former (and dead) love, Kristen Kringle, seem to have moved along quite a way in their relationship, sitting on the stoop in front of her apartment, kissing. A passing paper boy throws the morning news at them, and it seems this is still only the morning after the night before; it’s 6am, they’ve known each other for twelve hours, and he invites her to dinner back at the Mayor’s mansion. Suddenly it occurs to him the reason he had been in the liquor store the previous night was to buy a bottle of wine for his date with Oswald: he quickly gets back home, to find Oswald calling the police to file a missing person’s report. Oswald’s hopes of love with Ed are seemingly dashed, when Nygma tells him he’s fallen in love with a girl he’s just met. Can we say, trouble in Paradise?
Tetch meanwhile has burst into the morgue, where he and his goons steal Alice’s body. This can’t be good.
More romance in the air. Bruce is cooking up a storm in Wayne Manor, for his impending dinner date with Selina Kyle. Alfred’s not impressed, but nonetheless he knows his place, and what’s more, there’s no saying “no” to Master Bruce. Selina arrives, but late, and the pair both say they feel a bit weird about their relationship but it looks like they’re going to give it a go. It’s a bit of a filler in the episode, but hopefully it’ll lead into something more later in the season.
Meanwhile back at GCPD, they’re all set to find where Tetch has taken Alice’s body, but Barnes tells Jim, who of course is hoping to cash in, that he’s barred from the case unless he wants to rejoin the force. He gives him a choice. “Either be a cop, or don’t.” Well I guess that’s made it clear. As an aside, Lucius Fox informs Barnes that all the rats which had been treated with Alice’s blood became violent about two weeks afterwards. Chances are very high then that we’ll see Barnes going right over the edge next week.
Mario, whose happy days with Lee must surely be numbered, tells her he wants Jim out of their lives. Jim pops up and suddenly Mario has to be back in ER, leaving him with Lee. Lee has also worked out that Jim saved her life by saying her name, and knows the implications of that.
Oswald, now burning with jealousy over seemingly being spurned by Ed, goes to see Isabella, on the premise of finding a book about the prominent citizens of Gotham. In casual conversation with her, he lets on that Ed had once been in Arkham, and although she hadn’t been aware, she did however know that people are generally sent to Arkham for murder.
Jim is still at the hospital, where he’s watching over a sleeping Valerie. He goes to leave, and spots Tetch in the corridor, and immediately takes chase. At some point Tetch, who declares he’s going to dismantle Gotham from the top down, gets a dose of Red Queen into Jim, who thereafter starts hallucinating.
Oswald attends the Founders’ Day dinner, where he runs into Tetch, and spills his wine. He later chats with the mysterious Catherine, who informs him that she has been watching him for a very long time. The plot thickens.
Jim’s mind is a very strange place. He’s facing his inner demons, but it seems the first one is Master Bruce, warning him that he doesn’t have much time, before pushing him over the balcony at GCPD. Next he’s fighting a war, with Penguin at his side shouting at him in German. Barbara takes over at this point, putting him in a lift and sending him off like an amalgam of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. He meets his wife Lee, and their two children, Frankie and Julie, who are dressed in the peculiar anachronistic 1950s style popular in the programme. He returns to the lift and Barbara, which is by now a padded cell with electrified bars, and after threatening him with a piece of broken glass, they go to the basement, where Babs hands him a key – to use if he wants or not. It’s up to him. It turns out to belong to his father, and the pair have a long overdue father/son chat which could never have happened, as Gordon Senior had been killed in a car accident when Jim was a boy. He does come to the realisation however that his father wasn’t perfect, and that he should return to the force. His father says the secret is to live by the motto on his (Senior’s) ring: “While we breathe we shall defend”.
Meanwhile, at the Founders’ Dinner, Tetch and his flunkies have arrived, and tell everyone to drink their wine, which he has cunningly laced with Red Queen. Thankfully Gotham City’s finest arrive, and Barnes gets angry – you won’t like him when he’s angry – first punching Tetch and then threatening to throttle him. Tetch realises that Barnes carries Alice’s blood. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next week.
Back at the hospital, Mario races in after a nurse alerts him to the sight of Jim’s prone body on the floor. A jar of Red Queen is next to him, and he automatically knows what to do. Jim recovers, goes home, and finds his father’s ring, before going to GCPD and telling Barnes he wants back in on the force.
The episode could easily have ended at this point, but we’re left with a cliffhanger of Catherine in conversation with a mysterious male voice about Oswald, saying that he has potential. The man replies, “Judgement is coming Catherine. For all of us.” That would be scary enough – but the man is wearing a ring – just like Jim Gordon’s father’s ring. What could it all mean?
Final Grade: B. Slow to pick up in parts.
Last thoughts: Who is Isabella? Why did Mario agree to move to Gotham with Lee? Why did Lee want to move to Gotham anyway? How come Jim didn’t know the Gordon family motto?