‘Gotham’ 3.04 Recap: “The People Have Spoken”

In the real world, our Presidential election has been dragging on for the better part of two years now, and even a mayoral race can last months. In ‘Gotham’, the whole campaign, from start to finish, is over in a week. I can’t think of too many other advantages to living in such a miserable place, but that sounds like a big point in its favor to me.

Of course, the results of that election may be a little frightening. Then again, we could very well wind up with a supervillain in charge of this country a month from now anyway.

The Mad Hatter

Alice Tetch is in police custody. Harvey interrogates her about the landlord she killed (which she says was an accident) and her crazy brother. Alice insists that she’s not a monster. She fears that her brother is coming for her and there’s nothing the police can do to stop him.

Lee takes a sample of Alice’s blood for testing. Alice warns her that it brings out the true nature of anyone it touches, which I suppose means it doesn’t necessarily drive everyone into homicidal rage the way it did her landlord.

Jim is still suffering aftereffects of being hynotized by Jervis Tetch, the Mad Hatter. While walking down the street, he hears a ticking clock noise and the sound of Tetch’s voice on a loudspeaker, which puts him back into a trance and compels him to step in front of a speeding truck. Fortunately, a bystander pulls him out of the way in time. Realizing that he’s still under a spell, Jim hunts for Tetch. He’s desperate enough that he even asks Barbara for help.

Tetch himself has set up a new base of operations at an abandoned carnival. Via hypnosis, he recruits the Tweed Brothers, a family of burly wrestlers in clown-themed luchador costumes (only in Gotham…), to be his henchmen.

Jim persuades Capt. Barnes to let him talk to Alice. She clues him in that the sound of a ticking watch is the trigger that puts him into the trance. As they’re speaking, the Tweed brothers arrive at the police station and cause a ruckus, fighting with cops. (Seriously, how many times does this place have to get invaded by bad guys before the GCPD sets up some security at the door?) In the turmoil, Tetch sneaks in and grabs his sister. When Jim tries to stop him, Tetch pulls out his watch, which causes Jim to freeze in place. A couple of the Tweed brothers are killed in the scuffle and one is captured, but Tetch escapes.

Worried that Jim can’t control his actions, Lee has him confined and puts him on 48-hour suicide watch. However, she also tips Harvey off to where Jim is being transported so that he can spring him. This makes me question what the point of this subplot is, other than to waste time.

With information obtained from interrogating the captured Tweed, Harvey and Jim head to the carnival, where they find that Tetch has dressed his sister up in a blue dress straight out of Disney’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ cartoon and surrounded her with teapots. He has also drained some of her blood and plans to disperse it into the city’s water supply. During their standoff, Tetch promises to release Jim from his spell if he’ll let them go. He also starts a metronome ticking, which makes Jim freeze while the remaining Tweed clowns keep Harvey occupied. Using only the force of his will, Jim breaks the spell on his own and shoots the metronome.

Alice tries to escape from her brother. In their struggle, she falls from a scaffolding and is fatally impaled on a pipe below. Tetch gets away.

By the time the GCPD arrives, Capt. Barnes is furious at Harvey for the mess he’s made of the situation. While the crime scene is being cleaned up, a drop of Alice’s blood drips down onto Barnes’ face.

Bruce and Five

When the Rolls Royce that Bruce Wayne’s clone “Five” stole is located downtown, Bruce realizes that he’s going after Selina, and is probably impersonating him. Indeed, thinking that she’s talking to Bruce, Selina asks for Five’s help in robbing an illegal backroom betting parlor. She gets caught in the attempt and is about to be tortured when Five comes to her rescue and beats up all the thugs. Selina is amazed. She had no idea that mild-mannered Bruce Wayne could be such a badass.

After their escape, Selina notices that Five has been stabbed. (He doesn’t feel pain.) When Selina takes a look at the wound, she sees a lot of older scars on his chest and realizes that the boy is not Bruce Wayne. He apologizes for deceiving her, and she’s very quickly cool with it. She stitches him up, and Five kisses her. He’s certainly a lot more assertive than Bruce Wayne ever was.

Bruce and Alfred eventually find Selina at her pigeon coop. Five pledges to leave Gotham forever and jumps off the building, landing on a car below. Somehow, he walks away unscathed.

Lest we think that’s the last we’ll see of him, Five is approached on his way out of town by Kathryn, the leader of the Court of Owls. She tells him that her group has been watching him for quite a while and has big plans for him. Her masked henchman then grabs the boy and injects him with a sedative.

Penguin

It’s election day in Gotham already. Among Penguin’s associates, friction is brewing between Butch and Ed Nygma. Ed spots Butch bribing an election official. He believes that Penguin can win the election on his own merits and doesn’t need to rig the voting. Penguin tells him to stay out of it. He wants to be mayor very badly and isn’t taking any chances.

Behind his friend’s back, Nygma goes to all the campaign officials and takes back the bribe money. Penguin is enraged. He thinks Ed just ruined his only chance of becoming mayor. However, when newscasters announce the ballot results, it turns out that not only did Penguin win, he did so in a landslide. The people of Gotham love him. Penguin never would have known that if Ed hadn’t taken back the bribe money. He’s both touched and grateful to his friend for showing him this.

In his victory speech, Penguin announces that Ed Nygma will be his Chief of Staff. This puts Butch, his former right-hand man, on the outs.

Episode Verdict

If the idea of a well-known (and even convicted!) crime kingpin who was recently institutionalized for criminal insanity being elected mayor of a major city seems a little absurd, remember that this is Gotham we’re talking about. That’s exactly the kind of town it is.

I approve of the Penguin storyline. If anything, I’m disappointed that the campaign portion is over so quickly. I’d have liked to see Penguin and Mayor James hurl insults at each other in a debate, with Penguin vowing to send his opponent to prison as soon as he’s elected.

The Mad Hatter stuff still does nothing for me. Everything about that character is just too goofy. Five also hasn’t amounted to much so far. I worry that even the Court of Owls won’t be able to make anything interesting out of him.

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