Last week on Gotham, the story of Mr. Freeze vs. the GCPD had come to a sort-of conclusion. With his wife, Nora, dead, Victor had no reason to continue. In fact, he killed himself in protest of the events of his life. But things took a twist and Hugo Strange brought him back, albeit a bit changed for the experience. Now, the focus of the show is shifting. We’re back to little Bruce Wayne and his search for the man who killed his parents. Will he finally discover the truth? Will he try to take the law into his own hands and kill the guy? Or will the Batman who swears never to kill anyone finally emerge onto the scene? Scroll on for all the details of ‘This Ball of Mud and Meanness’.
We begin and (almost) end with The Penguin’s side of things. Hugo Strange is continuing his experiments and the result seems to be a more passive, agreeable Cobblepot. He’s steering away from his evil ways and feeling true guilt… or so it appears from the outside. In the end, Cobblepot passes all of Strange’s tests and is declared officially sane. So out into the real world he goes, though what Strange has programmed into the poor guy’s brain remains to be seen.
The main part of the story, however, revolves around Bruce Wayne’s quest to find the man who killed his parents. He picks up the gun he ordered from Selina and it’s back to Alfred so that they can begin the hunt. Alfred is forced into a fight with a rather large man in order to get the information they need, which lands him in the hospital. So Bruce is free to handle things the way he wants to – with a bullet.
Unfortunately for Bruce, Alfred is wise to his game. He calls Jim Gordon to come see him at the hospital and then spells out the entire affair. So off Gordon goes to find Bruce before it’s too late.
Bruce ends up at a punk club, looking for someone named Jerri. She’s a singer with a Joker fetish, complete with make-up. When Bruce pins her down and tries to get the address of his parents’ killer, “Matches”, she tests him a bit. She explains, in a slightly Joker-esque way, that killing isn’t as easy as it seems. In the end, however, she gives him the information he needs and even distracts Gordon when the GCPD’s finest shows up to stop Bruce from fulfilling his quest.
When Bruce finally meets Matches, it’s not quite what he expected. After probing the man, lil’ Batman discovers that Matches is indeed the killer he’s been searching for. Matches won’t, however, tell Bruce who hired him. In the end, Bruce decides that ending evil with a bullet isn’t the best way to go about things and spares Matches. Although all that ends up doing is leaving the suicidal Matches to end his own life.
And the finale of events has Bruce running off to live with Selina on the streets. He wants to know how the world truly works and existing in the underworld of Gotham is the best way to do that.
There’s also a set-up involving Edward Nygma. When Gordon comes calling (courtesy of some nudging from Thompkins) about Miss Kringle’s death, the future Riddler takes it personally. He considers Gordon’s investigation a challenge, one that he must rise to. And so begins a potential battle of wits between Gordon and Nygma, to be seen in future episodes.
Though Gotham this week presented little in the way of explosions and action, it was probably the most solid episode this season. Bruce made tons of headway regarding his eventual transformation into Batman and both The Penguin and the future Riddler were involved in ways that suggest they’ll be back for some intriguing developments in the near future.
The big stink surrounding this week’s episode was the appearance of Lori Petty as Jerri, AKA the lady Joker wanna-be. Though she didn’t turn out to be the Joker at all (duh), she did present some interesting Joker-like qualities. The writers have been talking about making the concept of The Joker more important than the actual identity of the character and this week showed a bit more of which direction they may be choosing to go. We got to see a contemplative yet still seriously deranged “piece” of The Joker as played by Petty. She’s the second in the series of “Jokers”, though not one that Batman will likely have to fight in the future.
This gives rise to the idea that the insanity spread via Jerome (in that horrible television laughing scene from earlier this season) will take many faces and forms, though not all of them will be dangerous. The Joker is, after all, a Batman Universe character who has had dozens of incarnations over the last century. The writers appear to be paying homage to that in a way. If done correctly, this technique could carry with it the potential for some very fun versions of the Clown Prince of Crime. In Gotham, The Joker is more like a force of nature than an actual character and watching that force of nature interact with a young Bruce Wayne could turn out to be a ton of fun.
Or the writers could seriously screw up and turn it into a giant bag of dicks. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Next week, ‘Mad Grey Dawn’ looks to be quite the wild ride. Nygma begins to screw with Gordon by exposing his part in Galavan’s death and The Penguin returns home to his father, which should promise more than a few interesting interactions. Check out the trailer for that one below.