[This is a review of Gotham season 3, episode 10. There will be SPOILERS.]
With Captain Barnes locked away in Arkham after last week's episode, Gotham turns its attention to other matters with 'Time Bomb,' setting the stage for the show's fall finale. The episode saw the brimming rivalry between Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) bubble up, as the latter gets nearer to learning the murderous truth behind the new mayor. In recent weeks, the show has relied on its two strongest characters to keep the momentum running strong. However much their storyline leapt forward this week, it wasn't the one that really wowed viewers though.
Rather, Bruce (David Mazouz) and Selina's (Camren Bicondova) discovery regarding the Court of Owls -- and the fact that Falcone (John Doman) was ultimately revealed to be in league with them -- has re-energized what many assumed would be the major thrust of the season but which has taken a backseat ever since Bruce made a truce with the secret organization earlier this season. Now that the future Batman's resolve has strengthened to take them down, we should be in for an explosive episode next week. Yet, even Gotham's return to the Court of Owls plotline managed to be eclipsed by the major twist involving Mario (James Carpinello). Let's get into a bit more detail on the latest episode.
In true television drama fashion, all hell is poised to break loose on the very eve of Lee (Morena Baccarin) and Mario’s wedding, and the mention of Lee’s progress on the Tetch virus immediately should have tipped viewers off. Apparently, Mario himself is ultimately revealed to be infected, though it remains to be seen exactly how Gotham intends on pulling that one off. Likely, the series will merely flash back to Mario treating one of the victims and somehow getting exposed. From his very introduction as the upstanding son of Falcone, it was clear that the character was earmarked for treachery, though few would have seen it going down this way.
There’s two ways to look at the Mario-centric reveal that caps off the episode. First, we could view his infection with the Tetch virus as a surprising way to buck expectations that would see him enter the criminal underworld of his father merely out of necessity to protect his bride-to-be or out of jealousy towards Gordon. Alternatively, we could lament the fact that -- for two episodes straight -- Gotham has relied on the Tetch virus to transform seemingly honorable, good men into monsters. Had there been more of a break between Barnes’ downfall and Mario’s, perhaps that could have been overlooked, but as it stands, it feels like Gotham is replaying variations on the same story (again).
That being said, this does present the chance for the show to use Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) and his sister’s infected blood to unify the “Mad City” arc that will likely come to a close with the first half of season 3, at least if this year’s batch of episodes follows suit with last season. In any case, the race to find a cure if on, with both Barnes’ and now Mario’s fate hanging in the balance. You can bet that Tetch himself will have a part to play in how this story unravels. If not, that will be a disappointing waste of the best new character to emerge this season so far.
BACK TO COURT
Being holed up in Wayne Manor has never been Selina’s style. So, of course, she’s dying to bust out of there, if only to avoid a serious conversation with Bruce about their relationship. Unfortunately for the future Catwoman, she doesn’t have the powers that Ivy (Maggie Geha) possesses. It’s still early to say how well Geha’s version of the character fits the show, seeing as she is so dramatically different than Clare Foley’s. True, the show has (rather hamfistedly) established her out-of-left-field interest in plants and her knowledge of herbology, but it has done so in a blunt, inelegant way that is actually doing a disservice to the popular character.
At least Ivy’s decision to leave the mansion led to a welcome re-emergence of the Court of Owls, which was finally named on the show after nearly a full season and several appearances. By the looks of things, Bruce has decided to resume his mission to take down the organization that killed his parents, and considering the reveal connecting the Falcone family to the Court of Owls, it should be interesting to see exactly who else the group is connected to. Here’s hoping Gotham actually delves into them a bit more going forward and resists the temptation to sweep them back under the rug (as the show tends to do).
Nygma certainly didn’t waste any time launching his plans for revenge. “Time Bomb” starts out with his torture of Butch (Drew Powell) and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) already in progress. Though we did find out how Nygma tracked them down and abduct them, this particular plotline did feel a bit rushed. We know Nygma can be incredibly malicious when he feels he has been wronged (see his futile vendetta against Gordon last season), but perhaps the fact that he was operating from a place of pure emotion here caused him to go a bit further this time around, as far as wanting to prolong Butch and Tabitha’s suffering as long as possible. He does essentially go full Jigsaw this episode (even though we’re certain Tabitha’s hand will wind up reattached next week).
While Penguin was sorely absent from most of this episode, this allows Barbara (Erin Richards) the chance to step up in a big way and take control of a plotline for the first time in a long while. Though she has been a divisive figure among fans, Barbara appears to have really found her niche on Gotham, and it was a pleasure to watch her use her feminine wiles and devil-may-care attitude to find out the truth about Penguin’s feelings for Nygma. Now that she knows that Penguin is behind Isabella’s death, Gotham may be lining up for an all-out war between Penguin and the future Riddler. Fingers crossed.
Gotham continues next Monday with 'Beware the Green-Eyed Monster' at 8pm on FOX.