‘Gotham’ gets psychedelic this week as the show maybe, hopefully (but probably not) brings the Mad Hatter storyline to a close. Can we please be done with this guy already?
Valerie Vale has survived her gunshot. She wakes up in the hospital, tells Jim she knows he was using reverse psychology to trick Jervis Tetch into shooting her instead of Lee, and breaks up with him. “You’re nothing but trouble,” she says, and isn’t wrong about that.
Tetch visits a kooky chemist who gives him an “accelerant” that will make the effects of his sister’s blood manifest much more rapidly. While there, Tetch also takes interest in a psychotropic drug called Red Queen that the chemist says was a failed experiment. He warns that it will fry the brain of anyone who tries it. That sounds great to Tetch, who blows some of the powder in the chemist’s face to tie up that loose end.
Tetch and his two goons next invade the city morgue and steal his sister’s corpse. Tetch later drains all her blood and adds the accelerant to it. “Isn’t science marvelous?” he muses.
Arriving at the morgue crime scene afterwards, Harvey and Capt. Barnes quickly deduce who was behind it. When Jim offers to help, Barnes kicks him out and tells him not to interfere in their investigation. Even Harvey agrees with Barnes. “Either be a cop or don’t,” he snaps at his friend.
Capt. Barnes gets more bad news when Lucius Fox informs him that all of the lab rats used for testing Alice’s blood eventually went violently homicidal. He says that a cure is years away. Barnes expresses concern about what Tetch might be planning to do with the blood, but continues to hide the fact that he was exposed to it as well.
Lee also sees right through Jim and knows that he saved her. However, he denies it and claims he actually tried to save Valerie.
While checking in on Valerie in the hospital again, Jim spots Tetch at the end of a hallway, taunting him to follow. Jim chases him through the hospital, where he’s lured into a trap and dosed with the Red Queen drug in order to sideline him while Tetch interrupts a Founder’s Ball banquet that will host many of the city’s elite, including the new mayor.
Jim spends the rest of the episode tripping balls. He has an elaborate dream where he meets Barbara in an elevator. She acts as his spirit guide and drops him off at various dream destinations, including being in a war where he and Penguin are both soldiers, Bruce shooting him, and having a happy family with Lee and two kids.
While interrogating a hospital employee he believes gave Jervis Tetch access to the morgue, Capt. Barnes turns psychotically violent for a moment. Harvey has to pull him off the guy, who then offers up the info that he saw Tetch driving a catering van.
At the Founder’s Ball, Tetch dresses as a waiter and puts one drop of the tainted blood into each wine glass. Penguin mingles with Kathryn, the leader of the Court of Owls, having no idea who she is. As everyone sits down to eat, Tetch and his goons storm the room with guns and demand that everyone raise a toast. (This seems like a really stupid plan. He could have just waited for them all to drink the wine on their own.) Fortunately, before anyone drinks, Barnes and a squad of cops bust in. Barnes goes hulking mad, which Tetch sees and thinks is hilarious.
Lee’s fiancé Mario finds the unconscious Jim, recognizes the drug he’s been dosed with, and administers an anti-psychotic antidote just in the nick of time. Before he snaps out of his delirium, Jim dreams of meeting his dead father, who encourages him to follow the “Gordon Code” and tells him that the answers he seeks are in the inscription on his (the father’s) ring. Jim then wakes up to find Mario hovering over him. He notices a Band-Aid on Mario’s neck, which he considers important, though I’m not sure why.
Barnes arrests Tetch and ships him off to Arkham Asylum. I’d like to think this will be the last we see of him, but I’m sure he’ll be back later.
Jim digs through an old box and finds his dad’s ring. The inscription reads: “While we breathe, we shall defend.” Jim takes this as a sign that he needs to become a cop again. He goes to Barnes and asks for his old job back. Barnes welcomes him back to the GCPD. Apparently, becoming a cop in Gotham is as simple as asking for the job. That must explain a lot of the corruption in the department.
The episode ends with Kathryn talking to a new shadowy mystery man in the Court of Owls. He’s wearing an exact duplicate of the ring Jim found. Is this supposed to mean that his father isn’t dead after all, or just that he was a member of the Court of Owls?
Riddles, Riddles, Riddles
Ed Nygma and Isabella, the lookalike twin of Miss Kringle, hit it off so well that they spent the entire night talking on the stoop in front of his building. She even likes his riddles. They part in the morning with a kiss.
When Ed finally makes his way to the mayor’s mansion, he finds Penguin in a panic worried about him. Penguin is relieved to see him again, until Ed blurts out that he met someone and is in love.
Penguin spends the next few days trying to insinuate himself back into Ed’s affections by suggesting that he’s jumping the gun with this new woman, and that the only reason he thinks he’s in love with her is because she looks like Miss Kringle. However, Ed believes that this is the universe’s way of giving him a second chance.
When Penguin learns that Isabella is a librarian, he pays a visit to the library under the pretense of needing a book about Gotham history. He introduces himself to Isabella and none-too-subtly works it into their conversation that Ed was only recently released from Arkham Asylum and that, oh yeah, he’s also a murderer. He assumes that should do the trick of scaring her off.
Isabella is shocked at first, but agrees to another date with Ed. He confesses everything to her. She says that she’s still in love with him anyway (and acts like she’s actually turned on by his criminal past). Penguin is once again heartbroken when he walks in on them kissing.
Honestly, Jim’s drug freak-out fever dream is disappointingly pedestrian. The symbolism is very heavy-handed and simplistic, especially in the way everything ties directly into the plot. Jim getting his job back just by asking for it is also far too easy. Doesn’t Capt. Barnes hate his guts?
There’s nothing outright bad about this episode, but I’m just tired of the Mad Hatter. I hope he really stays locked away for a while and we can move onto the next thing.
I had more interest in the Nygma storyline this week. That Isabella’s going to turn out to be a real freak.