Plot: After a hit on the Falcone compound, Gordon (Ben McKenzie) must work fast to figure out who’s behind it before Carmine (John Doman) takes matters into his own hands. Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is in full revenge mode against Butch (Drew Powell), and Bruce (David Mazouz) is desperate to learn more about the mysterious key, while also keeping Selina (Camren Bicondova) and Ivy (Maggie Geha) safe.
Gotham literally began with a bang this week and never let up. This is easily the best episode of the season. This had everything: Twists & turns. Revelations. Sword fights. Romance. Death traps. Quiche. Hands. In all the hoopla, this episode had some of my favorite team ups, including a character I’ve been clamoring for to get more screen time.
John Doman as Carmine Falcone was one of my favorite characters from season one, and this was his best episode in a long time. What made Carmine such a prolific mob boss in Gotham for decades was his temperament. When Carmine needs to snap though, he snaps. One of the dynamics I loved going way back to the pilot is the Gordon/Carmine relationship. They have this weird respect for each other. Gordon knows the villainy in Gotham can get worse, just as Carmine knows there can be bigger threats than James Gordon. We know this eventually holds true on both sides of the spectrum with Batman and his Rogue’s Gallery. It was great to see these characters play off each again for multiple scenes.
This also felt like an old school Gotham episode as Gordon and Bullock have to solve a mystery instead of fighting against virus ridden maniacs. Bullock always manages to make me legitimately laugh, and he does so once again. There was a ton of action and plot in this episode, yet they still managed to get in some subtle Gordon/Lee (Morena Baccarin) moments. This week was truly packed to the brim.
Nygma continues to be the MVP of the season. Fueled by revenge, he goes full Riddler. Cory Michael Smith has found the perfect balance between sadistic Riddler and showmanship Riddler. In perfect Riddler fashion, he creates the ultimate torture scenarios for Butch and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas), messing with them physically and emotionally. Tabitha never did much for me last season, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed her character this year. This was Jessica Lucas’ best performance as Tabitha. And in a weird, twisted way, something good actually happened for Butch.
Speaking of the crazy couple, Barbara (Erin Richards) gets into the mix as well. I’ve talked all season long about loving crazy Barbara, but it was starting to wear thin. This is finally the episode where she’s heavily involved in a major plot. Richards nails it. It also sets up great motivation for future episodes, priming Barbara to make a major power play against Oswald (Robin Lord Taylor). Her three-way interplay with Butch and Tabitha is a delight.
Bruce, Selina and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) were another fantastic three-person team up. How can you not love the Selina/Alfred banter? For crying out loud, that quiche looked awesome! Just eat the damn eggs, Selina! This was one of the better Bicondova performances. She commanded the screen. You couldn’t write a better young Catwoman. You would think the teenage romance quibbles would be annoying, but the chemistry between Mazouz and Bicondova is too good.
If I had one complaint with this episode, it’s with Mario Falcone (James Carpinello). I like that his character is becoming more complex, but he’s just not grabbing me right now. The potential is definitely there though. Not only did a ton happen this week, but seeds have been planted for a fantastic second half to the season. There are going to be wars all over the damn city, and I can’t wait.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Really Great)