What a mad city Gotham is indeed, isn’t it my dear Alice?
Living up to Gotham’s season motto, “Mad City”, the third episode of this season cranks the crazy meter up a few notches.
Let’s start off with Benedict Samuel’s debut as Jervis Tetch, a.k.a. the Mad Hatter. Teach arrives in Gotham in search of his missing sister, Alice (Naian Gonzalez Norvind), while performing at Barbara’s nightclub and hypnotizing, robbing and killing the odd rich Gothamite. Tetch hires Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) to hunt down Alice, which inevitably becomes his downfall. Samuel brought a cunning, demented and driven performance that you would anticipate from someone portraying the Mad Hatter. Samuel successfully pulls off the idolization of Alice, the usual prime drive for Tetch’s character. It was impressive seeing, what is usually an older villain, in a younger state that manages to make the character somehow more cryptic and menacing. One thing Gotham has down by season three is introducing key villains, and this especially shows with Jervis Tetch’s introduction.
While on the hunt for Alice, who turns out to be yet another escapee from Indian Hill, Jim Gordon finally runs into Lee Thompkins (Moreena Baccarin), who’s returning to the GCPD. Not only the GCPD, but to Gotham permanently with her new fiancée, who is revealed to be none other than Mario Falcone (James Carpinello), the son of the ex-mob boss Carmine Falcone (John Doman). Unknowing of who he truly is, Jim is treated by Mario at the hospital after a mishap while hunting Alice, ending the conversation with a threat that if harm were to ever come to Lee, he’d be answering to Jim. McKenzie has always played the brooding, justice driven Jim Gordon well the past few seasons, and while it’s a nice change in pace to see a more laid back Jim this season, it’s comforting to see McKenzie shift his character back to what Jim used to be driven by. With the return of the Falcone’s back in Gotham however, it will be interesting to see if there are any ramifications to Penguins criminal empire.
Speaking of Penguin, Gotham has yet another mayoral race, with none other than Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) running against Mayor James for the position. Penguin has gained more support from Gothamites over the past few episodes; after his alleged killing of Fish Mooney, Penguin uses the newfound popularity fittingly, seemingly turning aspects of his crime empire legit in the eyes of some in Gotham. Penguin has attempted to always make some legitimate business as a front, such as his first club, which was really version one of the inevitable future, infamous, Iceberg Lounge. Since Barbara is in the club game, this seems to be the only logical step for Penguin to take with no other adversary in sight as of yet. Getting straight to business, Penguin uses his candidacy as leverage to get his best friend, Edward Nygma (Corey Michael Smith) released from Arkham deemed “sane”. The dynamic between the pair have been one of the more enjoyable aspects of the show since they met in season two, giving both what they desire, a friend and strength. Seeing what these two will come up with in the coming episodes will be sure to be, well, mad.
Pushing on the boundaries of insanity is also Bruce Wayne’s clone (David Mazouz), or Five, as he was called at Indian Hill. Seen last episode as no more than helpless, we get to see more of the inner workings of Five’s personality. We see him spy on Bruce and Selina talking, demonstrating hand-to-hand combat expertly, adjusting his vocals to match Bruce’s and then proceeding to cut his hair and impersonate Bruce. Nothing good comes from Indian Hill, and it’s high time Bruce and Alfred learn that lesson as Five lures Selina to god knows where. Mazouz has stated that he’s had a fun time playing the dual character roles, and it shows in his performance. Being able to portray someone opposite to his usual somber yet fiery Bruce Wayne gives the young actor a chance to try out some new things, and it seems to be making Bruce’s character as a whole stronger.
All-in-all this was a fun episode this week. Edward Nygma is finally a key player again, the Mad Hatter promises to be a thrilling addition to Gotham’s rogues gallery with a strong performance from Benedict Samuel, and whatever Five is planning is sure to gain the attention of the Court of Owls. What a “Mad City” indeed.
Gotham: Season Three Episode Three – “Look Into My Eyes”
Directed by: Danny Cannon
Written by: Bruno Heller
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, Sean Pertwee
Guest Starring: Benedict Samuel, Naian Gonzalez Norvind, John Doman and James Carpinello
Fox: October 3, 2016, 8 p.m. EST