Stay on target
Can you believe Gotham has already reached it’s halfway point for the year? This year’s midseason finale has its flaws but still turned out to be one of the better episodes this season. Now that we know that Mario is infected with Alice Tetch’s blood, it’s no surprise that he’s hassling the doctor who came up with a test for the virus. Well, he does more than that. He imagines the doctor is Jim Gordon and crushes his head with his bare hands. The next morning, Jim and Bullock investigate the crime scene. Gordon thinks Barnes had something to do with the murder and Bullock says the stress of Lee’s wedding that day is causing Gordon to see things that aren’t there. Until Gordon figures out that the doctor was testing Alice’s blood, that is.
Gordon investigates the doctor’s lab and finds that his keycard was just used 20 minutes ago. He instructs the security guard to call the police and runs to the lab. He finds a dead doctor on the ground before being attacked by Mario. After knocking Gordon out, Mario says he plans to make Lee hate Gordon before he kills him. He writes the word, “Arkham” on Gordon’s hand. After coming to, Gordon goes to Arkham Asylum to speak with Jervis Tetch, the Mad Hatter. He demands the name of the person Tetch infected with Alice’s blood. He traps Tetch into giving up a clue by repeating rhyming riddles and figures out that Mario has been infected.
He has Mario brought into GCPD for testing, but the test comes back negative. Gordon reasons that Mario broke into the lab to figure out how to beat the test. Gordon goes to Lee’s house to warn her and finds Mario waiting for him. Mario says that he’s afraid that a part of Lee still loves Gordon. When Gordon tries to make Mario come with him, Mario reminds him that he’s Carmine Falcone’s son. Victor Zsasz appears behind Gordon, holding him at gunpoint. It turns out to only be a temporary setback as Zsasz was only instructed to hold him for a while.
Morena Baccarin as Lee (Credit: Jeff Neumann/FOX.)
Gordon runs to Lee and tries to warn her about her fiance. She knows he thinks Mario has Alice Tetch’s virus and she think’s he’s just acting out of jealousy. Gordon realizes that that’s exactly what Mario wanted and Gordon confesses to Lee that he loves her. He tells her everything that happened after he got out of prison and asked her not to marry him. Lee hates him for telling her all that and says that after they get married, they’re leaving Gotham and never coming back. As Lee marries Mario, Gordon tries to off Carmine Falcone’s goons, but they outnumber and overpower him.
Lucius figures out how a person could beat the test and finds that Mario’s blood contains high levels of a drug that can mask the virus. Bullock gets a search warrant and calls Gordon. Once they find proof that Mario covered up the virus, Gordon tries to contact Lee and finds out that she and Mario ducked out of the reception early. He convinces Carmine Falcone to tell him where they went, promising to bring him in alive.
At a secluded Cabin, Mario asks Lee to assure him that she doesn’t still love Gordon. Lee says that a part of her will always care for him, she loves and married Mario. Mario pretends to be OK with that, but the rage starts boiling up inside. Gordon arrives just as Mario is about to stab Lee with a knife. He shoots Mario in the chest, breaking his promise to Falcone. The knife falls off the deck into the water and is washed away.
Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle and David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne (Credit: Jeff Neumann/FOX.)
Meanwhile, Bruce and Alfred learn that Volk and Dimitri have been killed by Talon, the Court of Owl’s assassin. Alfred reasons that the Court already knows Bruce has gone back on their deal. Bruce vows to do what he can to take the court down. They plan to break into the Court-controlled building that contains the safe later that night. Selina is obviously worried about Bruce, but she says it’s just hunger. Later, she tells Alfred that she felt like they were being watched.
Alfred relates Selina’s fears to Bruce and Bruce thinks she’s just mad that he told Ivy they were dating. Alfred is about as tired of the teenage romantic drama as we all are. That evening, when the Whisper Gang doesn’t show up, Alfred is about to go home. Selina shows up and offers to break into the building. Once inside, she has Bruce hang on to a tightrope so she can bypass the alarmed floor and open the safe. Inside, she finds a glass owl. Just as she grabs it, Talon attacks Bruce. Bruce uses an explosive charge, allowing him and Selina to escape. Alfred meets back up with them and tries to fight off Talon. Just as Talon gets the upper hand, a mysterious woman hits him from behind with a vase. She reveals her face and Selina recognizes the woman. She’s her mom.
Nygma still hasn’t figured out that Penguin is responsible for Isabella’s death. He thinks the culprit is one of the mayor’s enemies seeking to weaken Penguin by weakening his right-hand man. The Riddler sure sucks at riddles when he doesn’t want to see the answer. Barbara gives him a helpful push via an obviously fake “Penguin!” cough. Nygma doesn’t believe that Penguin killed Isabella, or that he’s in love with him. Barbara asks if he doesn’t owe it to Isabella to find out.
Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma. (Credit: Jeff Neumann/FOX.)
Nygma tests the theory by resigning from his post and explaining to the Penguin that he wants to become more than friends. The Penguin is overjoyed by the news and confesses his love for Nygma. Nygma stops him, explaining that he was only talking about becoming business partners and leaves. Later, after fantasizing about stabbing Penguin in the neck, he tells Penguin to remember that he was his best friend. He then meets up with Barbara, Tabitha, and Butch to make a deal. They help him destroy Penguin, and he helps Barbara become the queen of Gotham’s underworld.
While this wasn’t the most exciting midseason finale that Gotham has had, it was a great episode nonetheless. It had some great tension, brutal fight scenes and set some high expectations for the second half of the season. The war between Riddler and Penguin is now in full swing; Gordon made himself an enemy of Falcone (and probably Lee) and Bruce is about to take on the Court of Owls head on. The final scenes felt rushed, though. Maybe if the first few episodes of the season hadn’t been so slow, they would have had more time to reach the cliffhanger more organically. As it is now, it felt too easy for Gordon to find where Lee and Mario had gone, and a little implausible that he’d get there at that exact moment. But this is Jim Gordon we’re talking about. He’s never had the best luck or timing.
John Doman as Carmine Falcone. (Credit: Jeff Neumann/FOX.)
Gotham‘s last couple midseason finales felt like the stakes were much higher. They felt like events. This one didn’t quite accomplish that, but still managed a very good episode in its own right. And hey, it did its job as far as setting up the back half of the season. I can’t wait to see how crazy things get when the show returns in 2017.