For a guy who likes to go around judging everyone else, ‘Gotham’ former police captain Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) really ought to look in a mirror sometime. Leather padding, buckles and black eyeliner? You sir, are guilty of major crimes against fashion.
Penguin and Nygma open this week’s episode, locked in cages by the Court of Owls. Penguin vows revenge against his former friend for shooting him, but Ed doesn’t feel threatened. Equally pissy with each other, they trade insults. Nygma shoots Penguin with a tranquilizer dart he stole off a guard. Before he passes out, Penguin makes a lot of noise drawing the guards, who beat on Ed.
After Penguin wakes up, the two men call a détente and agree to work together to escape. They’ll put their mutual enmity on hold for six hours. Luckily, their guards are complete idiots who fall for an obvious ruse in which Penguin stages his own death. He and Ed overcome them and bust out. They reach the street and grudgingly keep the truce and part ways.
Too Many Bruces
Having quickly recovered from her coma, Selina breaks into Wayne Manor and attacks Five. They fight, and he knocks her out. Alfred rushes into the room and notices that the boy was stabbed but doesn’t feel it. He immediately realizes that he’s not Bruce Wayne, but the clone. The two of them also fight, and Five overcomes him as well.
By the time Alfred and Selina wake up, Five is gone. Alfred doesn’t care for Selina but says that he needs her help finding Bruce. When she refuses, he kicks her out of the house.
Around this time, the real Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham. While having another vision/memory, The Shaman encourages Bruce to let go of the pain of his parents’ murder by symbolically locking his mother’s pearls in a safe, but he can’t quite do it. The Shaman is disappointed.
The Shaman then conjures one of his own memories, showing that he did not order or condone the Waynes’ murder. In fact, he believes that the Court must be brought down for its crimes, and he needs Bruce’s help to do it.
Wait… what? Doesn’t the Shaman run the Court of Owls? This entire storyline makes no sense to me.
Bruce eventually complies with the Shaman’s instructions and puts the pearl necklace in the metaphorical safe. He says that he no longer feels anything about his parents’ murder. The Shaman is pleased. He calls in another Talon ninja (I guess they’re all named Talon) and demonstrates his control over the man by ordering him to cut off his own finger. The ninja complies without hesitation. Bruce is now brainwashed and under similar control.
Jim and Harvey search the basement of a building owned by Kathryn, looking for the bombs that will disperse the Alice Tetch virus through the city. All they manage to find is a crystal owl statue. When they shine a flashlight through it, the statue projects a map of Gotham onto a wall. They believe this will tell them the locations of the bombs. Unfortunately, they’re interrupted by Barnes in his ridiculous get-up as The Executioner. He attacks them with a concussion grenade, destroying the statue.
When Jim comes to, he’s chained to a chair with Barnes and Kathryn looking over him. Barnes puts him on a kangaroo trial and sentences him to death by beheading. Jim asks for his badge back for his final request as a condemned man. As Barnes leans in close to him, Jim pulls the pin on one of the grenades on his costume. Barnes tosses the grenade, but the delay is long enough for Harvey to come to the rescue with a bunch of cops. They save Jim, but Barnes escapes.
Back at the GCPD, Jim and Harvey scramble to deal with Barnes when Alfred arrives to tell them all about Bruce’s kidnapping and the clone. Part of the story involves the other owl statue that Jerome smashed. Jim asks Alfred to go fetch the pieces. He wants to try to put it back together.
While waiting for that, some officers arrest Kathryn and bring her to the station. Jim interrogates her about the bombs, but she won’t talk. Alfred then returns. Furious at the sight of Kathryn, he barges into the interrogation room and stabs her in the hand, demanding to know where the real Bruce is.
Kathryn doesn’t have time to speak before Barnes invades the station, tossing bombs around. (This is the 63rd episode of the series, and I’m fairly certain that the GCPD building has been invaded by villains at least 50 times. Seriously, this place needs a major security overhaul.) Jim, Harvey and Alfred try to evacuate, bringing Kathryn with them, but she calls out to Barnes. This leads to some fighting and shooting. Barnes’ suit has body armor built into it, and nobody thinks to shoot him in his totally exposed and unprotected head.
Barnes is determined to kill Jim Gordon. Kathryn orders him to stand down and get her out of the building to safety. Barnes doesn’t like being bossed around. He judges her guilty on the spot and decapitates her with the silly axe blade attached to one of his hands. Jim then grabs a shotgun and blows off that hand. The stunned Barnes reels, and Jim knocks him out with the butt of the gun.
During cleanup from this mess, Harvey gets a cop to reassemble the owl statue. Shining a light through it, the bird displays another map of Gotham.
Jim and Harvey receive word that Barnes already escaped from his prisoner transport. In even worse news, a sample of the Alice Tetch virus is missing from Lee’s lab.
Lee has nightmares about Mario and continues to blame Jim for ruining her life. She visits Jervis Tetch in Arkham and asks why he infected Mario with the virus and not Jim. He explains that he wanted Jim to suffer, and this was all an elaborate plan to make the love of his life hate him. It’s a good thing Mario didn’t succeed in killing her, I guess.
You’d think this would serve as confirmation for Lee that Jim wasn’t at fault for what happened to Mario, but no, she loathes him more than ever. She steals the blood sample and injects herself with the virus on purpose.
This is a very frustrating episode. The Shaman plot is needlessly confusing. Does this guy run the Court of Owls or not? Why would he want to destroy it? Isn’t he behind the plan to destroy Gotham? Why bother training Bruce and turning him into a brainwashed automaton when he already has Five under his control and taking Bruce’s place?
What was the point of Nygma surrendering to the Court only for him to wind up in a cage and break out a couple episodes later? That storyline seems like a total waste of time.
Finally, and most annoyingly, Lee’s motivations for hating Jim and deliberately infecting herself with the virus are totally incomprehensible. Everything she’s learned points to Jim only trying to protect her. She has seen firsthand how the virus destroys its victims’ minds and knows that there’s no cure. Her actions are unfathomable, except as a lazy screenwriting contrivance.