‘Gotham’ 3.09 Recap: “Tonight I Am the Law”

The way ‘Gotham’ is going, it looks like all of its characters will wind up imprisoned in Arkham Asylum eventually. Did the city even bother building a regular prison for criminals who aren’t insane? There don’t seem to be any of those around.

While investigating the murder of Dr. Symon, Jim Gordon shares his suspicions about Capt. Barnes with Harvey and Lee. Harvey is skeptical. He can’t believe that their by-the-book commander would ever break a rule. However, it does seem odd that he took a sick day all of a sudden. Barnes, meanwhile, has gone full Judge Dredd. In an empty warehouse down at the city docks, he strings up three random criminals in nooses and, of only his own authority, sentences them to death.

After returning to the police station, Barnes asks Jim for updates on the case. Jim lies and tells him that Symon didn’t say anything before he died. Barnes floats a theory that the murder was a Mob retaliation and makes Jim accompany him on a quest to track down an enforcer known as “Sugar.” Jim feels very intimidated during the ride, especially when Barnes repeatedly needles him with questions about how much he’s learned.

The two cops roust Sugar, and Barnes straight-up murders the man in cold blood right in front of Jim. Then he swings his shotgun in Jim’s direction. He says that he knows Jim has been investigating him, and he confesses to the recent murders. Barnes insists that he’s not sick, even as Jim figures out that he’s infected with Alice Tetch’s blood. Barnes says that the blood has finally allowed him to see things as they are. He argues that the justice system is broken and the city needs vigilantes to clean it up. He asks Jim to join him, but Jim refuses. Just as Barnes is about to shoot him, the two are interrupted by some of Sugar’s friends. When Barnes turns to shoot at them, Jim runs and leaps through a window.

Jim is able to make a call to Harvey while playing a game of cat-and-mouse with Barnes, but loses his phone afterwards. Barnes eventually catches up to him and claims that he’s framed Jim for the recent murders he committed. However, as a GCPD S.W.A.T. team arrives, Harvey demands through a megaphone that Capt. Barnes surrender. While he’s distracted, Jim jumps Barnes. They fight until Jim gets his gun. He warns Barnes to stand down, but the captain doesn’t. Jim has no choice but to shoot him. He’s careful not to make the shot fatal, though. Barnes is wounded but will live.

At the end of the episode, Captain Barnes is locked up in Arkham, crazily chanting “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!”

The Wrong Side of the Tracks

I guess we’ve seen the last of Isabella after all. When we last left off on a cliffhanger with her heading toward an oncoming train in a car with no brakes, I figured that she’d find some way out of the situation. Apparently not. Ed gets a call to identify a corpse at the GCPD, and sure enough it’s her.

Ed is heartbroken and spends most of the day wallowing in his misery. Penguin gets annoyed and basically tells him to get over it. Ed decides that he needs to visit the site of the crash to say a proper goodbye.

The official story is that Isabella must have fallen asleep behind the wheel, but Ed finds it very suspicious that she’d fall asleep only four blocks from her home. A blind beggar at the scene tells Ed that he heard screaming before the crash. After learning this, Ed (who used to work in forensics) heads to the auto impound to look at Isabella’s car. It doesn’t take him long to determine that the brake line was cut, which any halfway competent investigator should have seen. He concludes that someone with influence must have paid off the cops, and he has a good idea who that is.

Ed storms into the mayor’s mansion to reveal what he’s learned. Penguin hems and haws as he tries to think up a cover story, but he needn’t bother. Ed believes that Butch murdered Isabella as revenge against him. Relieved, Penguin agrees that this is the most logical conclusion and promises his friend that he’ll help make Butch pay.

Pretty Poison

Now a full-on sex vixen (which makes me very uncomfortable given that the character is still underage), Ivy uses her feminine wiles to seduce an antiquities dealer. The scent of a perfume she’s made out of plants with hallucinogenic properties puts the man under her spell enough to trick him into letting her inside his vault, where she steals a necklace with a big jewel in the center. The dealer comes around and chases her out of the house.

Ivy then intrudes into Selina’s pad and, after toying with her friend for a minute, reveals who she is. Selina is shocked, but quickly figures out how this happened.

Selina calls Bruce over to fill him in. Just as Ivy starts to explain that she thinks she’s in trouble over this necklace, a group of masked men wielding crossbows break into the building, sending Bruce, Selina and Ivy on the run. After they escape, Selina is mad at her friend for stupidly causing so much trouble. Bruce suggests that she needs to return the necklace to the antiquities dealer. When Ivy balks at that, he offers to buy it from her so that he can do it. Because Ivy is still basically a child with little concept of how much things are worth, all she demands for it is $5,000. Bruce probably carries more than that in his wallet as walking-around money.

Unfortunately, as soon as the trio arrive at the dealer’s shop, they find him dead on the floor, an arrow through his eye. Clearly, he was murdered by the same men who chased them. Selina and Ivy argue about what to do next, during which one of them throws the necklace. It shatters on the floor, revealing the jewel to be a fake. Inside, a key was hidden. This must be what those men were after.

Bruce brings the girls home with him to Wayne Manor, assuming they’ll be safe there. He must have forgotten about all those times the mansion was invaded by various villains. We can expect that to happen yet again as well. When the masked baddies search Selina’s pad, they find a hidden stash with a newspaper article about Bruce in it. Now they know that these two are connected.

Episode Verdict

This is a pretty run-of-the-mill episode of ‘Gotham’, nothing particularly remarkable or terrible about it. I enjoy that Michael Chiklis got the chance to let loose a little, but his storyline is a pretty big clich√© and I’m sad that he had to be written out that way. (I’m assuming that he’s being written out for a while, anyway.)

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this episode is the fact that Jim rejects the notion of vigilante justice and believes that the only way to clean up the town is to work within the system. That sets him on his course to become police commissioner, obviously. However, even though Capt. Barnes is portrayed as a villain here, his mission is not very far removed from the one a certain Caped Crusader will eventually take up. You know, minus the murder part.


  1. NJScorpio

    I hope to see Barnes come back as a full fledged villain. He’d carry half a season or so better than The Mad Hatter. Perhaps he will even evolve into one of the classic Batman villains. He’d make an interesting Bane!

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