Gotham, now back in full swing, is really rolling on all cylinders. Every story they tell is emotional, shocking, or tremendous fun. Sometimes, all three! This week we met the Mad Hatter, and every character was involved in a compelling tale. It was an all-around enjoyable episode.
This week on Gotham: The Mad Hatter (Benedict Samuel, The Walking Dead) hires Jim Gordon to track down his sister, Alice. Leslie Thompkins returns to town with her new fiance, and both encounter Jim at random. Bruce welcomes his doppelganger into his home, with mixed results. Selina seeks help looking for Ivy. Penguin announces his candidacy for mayor.
This. Episode. Was. Crazy. There were so many twists I did not see coming. First of all, I love that they’re visiting the plot from Batman Returns, with Oswald Cobblepot running for mayor. As eerie as it is that this is coming at the same time that fear-monger politics rule the real world, it’s a lot of fun, frankly, to watch Robin Lord Taylor do anything as Cobblepot. “Mad City”, indeed. Also, Butch is scared of politicians? *insert laughing emoji* That’s amazing. But what I”m really excited to see is a potential Penguin-in-office scenario, especially since (forthcoming spoilers) he’s now sprung Nygma from Arkham. I may not want to live in that city, but anyone in public office advised by Butch and The Riddler is someone I’d definitely watch on TV.
The saga of Jim and Leslie, though, was probably the most compelling story of the night. It was just beautifully told by the director and writers. Her arrival at the GCPD, Bullock trying to keep Jim from seeing her, and that heartbreaking moment when Jim and Harvey turned around to face her. Every minute of their interaction was sad. Then, when Jim runs into Mario (her fiancee) later, there was a whole range of emotion packed into that one conversation. It was beautifully acted by Ben McKenzie on all counts.
Of course, the biggest surprise of all also stemmed from that story, when Mario turns out to be the son of Carmine Falcone! Carmine is concerned about Leslie’s history with Jim (as he should be), but all I could think about during that scene was how great it is to see him again, and how Leslie is certainly headed for trouble that Jim can save her from. I’m team Jimle, or Gordompkins, or whatever people are calling it. But hey, I’m enjoying the ride either way.
As a villain, the Mad Hatter was a really fun addition to the show. Benedict Samuel was a great choice for the role, and the Hatter is a perfect addition to the madhouse that is Gotham right now. Not only did he have a fun introduction, but his brief hypnotism of Jim revealed some heartbreaking truths about our favorite protagonist. Everything Hatter-related worked really well. I especially liked that bit when he hypnotized Barbara and she almost killed him. Of course, that’s just my misguided affection for Barbara seeping through.
The only part of this episode I could do without is the Bruce doppelganger. If I were Alfred, I would’ve just taken some of Bruce’s clothes, cut some of the kids hair myself, and taken him out back and put him down. Then I would’ve told Bruce he ran away. But of course, Alfred ignores the warning signs and now there’s a straight up Bruce impersonator out there. I’m sure that was the purpose he was created for at Indian Hills. It was a compelling story, but it was more creepy and annoying than interesting or relevant. Hopefully the payoffs will be stronger down the line.
Ultimately, I found this to be an enjoyable episode. Cobblepot was fantastic, Jim’s story was an emotional roller coaster, Leslie & Falcone returned, Nygma was freed, and we met the Mad Hatter. It sounds jam packed, but each story was told with ease and little flash. Very well done.
What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know in the comments!
Gotham airs Mondays at 8/7c on FOX
Gotham Season 3 Episode 3 Review: "Mad City: Look Into My Eyes"
Jim and Leslie are reunited, The Mad Hatter is introduced, and Penguin announces his candidacy for mayor on this week’s excellent episode of Gotham.