‘Gotham’ 3.10 Recap: “Things Got Out of Hand”

Do you think the people of ‘Gotham’ celebrate Thanksgiving? Well, I do, which means that I struggled last week to keep up with the many TV shows I follow. Let’s try to catch up with this one before a new episode airs tonight.

Two days before her wedding to Mario, Lee is almost blown up in a car bombing. Assuming that this was intended as a message for Don Falcone, Jim is very surprised to discover that in fact Falcone’s son (Lee’s fianc√©), Mario, was the target. Even as Mario denies being mixed up in anything that would get him killed, Jim has to save him from a pair of biker assassins. Nonetheless, Mario refuses to cancel or postpone his impending wedding.

Later, Mario uses himself as bait to lure out the assassins. Jim arrests one, but Mario is overcome with rage and strangles the other to death.

Jim allows Don Falcone to question the surviving assassin in private. Falcone beats some information out of the man, then tells Jim that he knows who’s responsible and will take care of it. Falcone then meets with Kathryn, the head of the Court of Owls. He threatens her and demands that she leave his son alone, but she won’t be intimidated. She says that she has no interest in starting a war with Falcone, but implies that Mario may still be in danger from others.

This storyline ends with Mario spying on Lee. When he sees her kiss Jim goodbye, he goes berserk again and assaults some random punks on the street. The implication here is that Mario is infected by Alice Tetch’s blood. His symptoms match those that drove Capt. Barnes mad.

The Key to Success

Selina and Ivy both feel cooped-up in Wayne Manor. Bruce won’t let them leave because he believes he needs to protect them. Ivy sneaks out anyway and is almost immediately kidnapped. Bruce receives a ransom message offering to exchange Ivy for the key that they found in the antique necklace.

Selina cleans the varnish off the key and discovers a Court of Owls symbol on it. Naturally, she and Bruce assume that the Owls have kidnapped Ivy. Bruce worries that the group will assume that he’s broken his promise not to investigate them. He follows the ransom instructions to a meeting in a secret underground lair and demands to speak to Kathryn. As it turns out, the kidnappers are working against the Court of Owls, not for them. They’re called the Whisper Gang. Their very talkative and forthcoming leader, a man named Volk (Costa Ronin from ‘The Americans’), explains that the key will open a safe that holds a device of some sort that can destroy the Owls. Bruce proposes that they should team up.

Lest this development seem too promising for Bruce, Volk is attacked and killed by an Owl assassin before the episode is over.

Let’s Give the Boy a Hand

Barbara is panicked because Tabitha is missing. The last we saw her (back in episode 3.05), she sprung Butch from police custody. Barbara knows they’ve been hiding out together in the meantime, but Tabitha hasn’t been in contact lately.

That’s because Ed Nygma has captured them both and strung them up in chains to torture them for murdering his girlfriend, Isabella. Butch insists that he has no idea what he’s talking about, but Nygma doesn’t believe him. For such a brilliant criminal genius, Ed is kind of a dope.

Barbara first questions Penguin, and when that doesn’t get her anywhere, she bribes Penguin’s surly maid, Olga. It doesn’t take much to get the old lady to spill the beans all about how Penguin is in love with Ed. With that information, Barbara begins to piece together what happened. She tracks down Ed through a weird man who builds custom torture devices for the city’s criminal elite.

Ed just so happens to have recently made a purchase from that designer, a miniature guillotine just big enough to chop off a hand. He unveils this to Butch and Tabitha and puts forth a dilemma they must solve. He places one of Tabitha’s hands in the guillotine and then gives her a trigger button to hold. She has to choose: either lose a hand just like her lover, or push the button, which will send a lethal electrical shock directly into his brain and kill him. He describes this as, “The zap of heartbreak or the sound of one hand clapping.” He then sets a timer on the guillotine.

When Tabitha struggles to make a decision, Ed sweetens the deal. If she sacrifices the hand, he’ll let them both go free, with no further repercussions for Isabella. Tabitha apologizes to Butch for not being “in a love place,” but he tells her that he loves her anyway. Butch then confesses to murdering Isabella, and taunts Ed to kill him and let Tabitha go free. However, he says that he shot Isabella. Hearing this, Ed realizes that Butch doesn’t know that Isabella’s brake lines were cut. Butch must have told the truth earlier. He really didn’t have anything to do with Isabella’s death.

Listening to Butch try to sacrifice himself for her, Tabitha realizes that she loves him after all. She drops the trigger button and lets the guillotine slice off her hand. Just then, Barbara finds them. She sees what happened to Tabitha and lets Ed go to save her.

Barbara and Butch put Tabitha’s hand on ice and race her to the hospital, hoping the doctors can reattach it. Hearing more of the story from Butch, Barbara figures out that Penguin must have killed Isabella and framed Butch for it. As much as Butch wants to hunt down Nygma for payback, Barbara has a better idea. She’s going to start a war between Penguin and Ed and let them destroy each other.

Episode Verdict

I’m not sure how long ago this episode was filmed, but Morena Baccarin (who plays Lee) is currently dating Ben McKenzie (Jim) in real life and gave birth to their first child together in March of this year. I mention this only because it’s almost comical how frumpily Lee is dressed in this episode to hide either her pregnancy or post-pregnancy figure. I know we haven’t seen a lot of the character this season, but I don’t recall this issue being quite so obvious and distracting during the last couple episodes.

In regard to the plotting, I enjoyed the Nygma storyline and his game with Butch and Tabitha. However, I’m far less interested in Mario. If he’s being groomed as the show’s next big villain, I just don’t think I can give a damn about that. The Bruce Wayne stuff falls somewhere in between. It’s not awful, but I feel like that story thread is taking far too long to warm up or go anywhere.

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