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Following last weeks gripping season three premier, Gotham falters on its second episode, wrapping up open questions nicely yet leaving a bitter aftertaste.
After last week’s premier, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) had been kidnapped by the Court of Owls, Ivy had been seemingly killed by one of Fish Mooney’s (Jada Pinkett-Smith) fellow Indian Hill inmates, creating mass panic throughout Gotham.
This week’s episode opens where it left off, Bruce coming out of his chloroformed slumber across the table from, who we’ve been lead to believe, runs the Court of Owls. Kathryn (if that is her real name), reacting to Bruce’s outing poorly, threatens him to cease investigating into Indian Hills, Wayne Enterprises and his parents’ murder, or his loved ones will suffer the consequences. Without an ace up his sleeve, or keen Batman intellect yet, Bruce agrees to Kathryn’s demand, and is returned back to Wayne Manor and Alfred. It seems the Court will be the bigger player this season, as it looks like they have their fingers in every facet of Gotham.
Fitting the episode opens and also ends with Bruce; his promise to the Court will be called into question already as his clone, an escapee from Indian Hills last season, breaks into Wayne Manor, revealing himself to Bruce and Alfred. It feels a little early for Bruce to be meeting his Hugo Strange doppelganger already, but what else was the clone to do after finding out who he looked like last episode?
Bruce’s clone isn’t the only one trying to figure out who he is, as we see a not-so-dead Ivy was ashore somewhere outside Gotham, slowly regaining her memory and having aged to a young adult, due to the Indian Hill’s inmate’s attack last episode. After being found by a trucker and brought back to his place, where Ivy visibly frets over the man’s dead plants. In an attempt to cheer her up, the man throws out the fern she was distraught about, to which she promptly uses it to kill him. Following her own words, “I’m different inside and out”, Maggie Geha’s new, more poisonous, Ivy, will certainly uproot the character as we’ve come to know her, and her future relationship with Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova).
Meanwhile, Fish Mooney hunts for Hugo Strange (BD Wong), while the GCPD hunt pursue her, along with bounty hunter Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung). Jim and Valerie attempt to seek out Selina, only to end up turning to Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) at her club for help.
Once again Richards alone brings meaning to the “Mad City” tag for this season of Gotham, managing to send chills down my spine with the ease and comfort she has with her character this season. Richards manages to pull an almost inhuman delight to allowing her characters insanity to flow freely.
After getting help from Barbara, Jim discovers that Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) has been kidnapped by Fish. Obviously using Bullock to find Strange, Jim alongside the GCPB rush to the government location Hugo Strange is being held. However, word spreads like wildfire in Gotham, and shortly not only the press but Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) with a mob of Gothamites. Calling Penguin to use the mob as a distraction, Jim makes a deal with Fish to release Bullock in exchange for her to flee with Hugo Strange. During her escape, Fish crosses paths with Penguin finally.
One of the things I loved from season threes premier was Penguins bloodlust for Fish’s head on a plate. Not only walking straight into GCPD to disrupt a press conference, but gaining mass popularity with the public was a different side of Penguin, and I liked it. Now, however, after Jim basically serves Penguin Fish (pun intended), he doesn’t blow her head clean off her shoulders. Questioning her as to why she didn’t kill him last season, Fish says, “of everything I’ve done in my life, the best thing is turning Oswald Cobblepot into the Penguin.”
It’s like she knows how to control Pen…. Oh, wait, she does know how to bend Penguin to her will. She already knows he has mommy issues, she doesn’t know his mother is dead. Both of these key factors, and that Penguin probably see’s Fish as a mother figure, both made sense yet brought the episode down a little for me. Fish’s statement had enough conviction that anyone still mourning the loss of a mother would succumb to her words. I was ready for Penguin to come through the woods, manic Robin Lord Taylor smile on his face and blow Fish’s head clean off, proceeding to parade her body through the street. Then again, Fish knows how to play games, and it seems likes she still knows how to play the king of Gotham like a fiddle. Also, why would Penguin confront Fish alone? Where was Butch who is always at his side?
The episode ends with Jim and Valerie finally breaking that awkward sexual tension they’ve had since the season premier, a whole one episode ago. Their kindling relationship seems to be moving headlong in the fast lane, and thank god Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) has decided to return to Gotham to put a stop to that. Jim seems to still not come to terms with the fact Lee was with another man a few months ago (minus the Valerie make out session), so whether he’ll try to sweep Lee back into his arms is hard to say. However, it does feel a little too early to bring Lee back to Gotham.
After last week’s thrilling season premier, Gotham comes in a little shaky in episode two. With what feels like jumbling too many twists and turns all at once, episode two still manages to shine some much needed light on some parts of this seasons key players, but light also creates shadow. All in all a solid plot driven episode, but ultimately ending leaving slightly lacklustre.
Gotham: Season Three Episode Two – “Burn The Witch”
Directed by: Danny Cannon
Written by: Ken Woodruff
Starring: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Robin Lord Taylor, David Mazouz, Cory Michael Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Michael Chiklis, Jamie Chung, Camren Bicondova, Erin Richards, Jessica Lucas, Morena Baccarin, Maggie Geha and Sean Pertwee
Fox: September 26, 2016, 8 p.m. EST