Gotham Season 3 Episode 16 Review

(SPOILERS ahead for episodes S3x15 and S3x16) The last episode of Gotham left off with the Edward Nygma finally finding his identity as the Riddler, Bruce being kidnapped on the orders of the Court of Owls and replaced with his clone A-514. While James Gordon was introduced to his uncle Frank, and more importantly the Court of Owls, and how they rule the city.

This episode which is the directorial debut of Ben McKenzie starts with the Court of Owls meeting about what drastic measures are to be taken about Gotham’s future. Here the Court of Owls is given more of a background than in the comics a shadowy conspiracy of rich to try and control Gotham City and keep it crime-ridden for the sake of it. In Gotham, the Court actually shows a desire to rule Gotham and are willing to use similar motivations like Ra’s and League of Assassins, that the city needs to be cleansed to be saved, and that the criminals are a plague, not the status quo.

Throughout the episode Gordon gets suspicious that his uncle Frank (James Remar) isn’t telling him everything, and upon investigating the criminal who was convicted of killing Jim’s father by drunk driving, Gordon finds out there was no way the driver could have been drunk and that he was defended by one Falcone’s lawyer before dying soon afterward. After finding out Falcone was merely paid off and that he does the bidding of the Court, Gordon learns that it was his uncle Frank who arranged for his father’s death. While pursuing leads on the Court he finds about a super weapon in a dock, owned by the Court, so Jim is forced to enlist the help of Barbara, who currently controls the Gotham underworld to find the weapon. Barbara finds it only be forced to flee when attacked by a Talon, who kills off her henchmen.

Jim in his pursuit of Frank ambushes him, but Frank who manages to turn the tables and knocks Gordon out reveals both that he regrets killing his brother and has a plan to get Gordon into the Court, by killing himself. Katherine and the rest of the Court had started to suspect Frank, and know that Gordon is on to them, so Frank tells Jim to say he wanted revenge on Frank to take down the Court. Jim is last seen entering a Limo to be taken to the court.

James Remar’s portrayal of Frank Gordon, Jim’s secretive and ambiguous, uncle was amazing. I was unable to tell whether or not he was sincere in his loyalty to the Court or his plans to thwart them with Jim until the very end. While Jim has had some shades of moral ambiguity here and there, this would be the first time he’s forced to play as one of the bad guys, and chances are may have to do some horrible things to fully earn the Court’s trust.

The storyline with Bruce and a character only known as the Shaman (Raymond J. Barry) presents us with Bruce’s his first challenge that he cannot truly comprehend. While Bruce has dealt with Theo Galavan, Jerome, and the Court while maintaining his composure even in the face of death, the Shaman and his actions prove to be on a whole another level. Bruce’s time with the Shaman leaves him confused and shocked, as Bruce is forced to realize that he cannot escape where he is imprisoned and second, that There exists an another world in one’s mindscape, and near the end of the episode that serious injury sustained in ones mindscape could hurt him in back in the real world.

It’s the first time that we see Bruce in a situation that he cannot come to terms with or control, as the Shaman forces Bruce to face his parent’s murder in his own mind. When they come back to reality Bruce just backs away in fear, and confusion, there is no defiance from him this time. Bruce who has remained face strong in the face of death many times before is reduced to begging the Shaman not use the needles to relive that memory again, when Bruce tries to ambush him and fails in another attempt to try and escape. Bruce is left at his most vulnerable, he knows from the Shaman the Court is responsible for his predicament and that the Shaman intends to train him, but any attempt to resist or rebel fails. Bruce must train, but he knows full well things could happen in Gotham to Alfred, Selina, and even his own identity that he has no control over in trying to stop this time.


What I have to say is the most interesting storyline explored is the relationship between Cobblepot and Ivy, considering Cobblepot and Ivy are complete opposites in both intelligence and maturity. While Ivy and Penguin’s relationship seems to have parallels to him and Nygma, with Cobblepot being saved by a redhead with a preference for green. the differences in characterization make it less of a retread and more something new entirely. Whereas Oswald and Nygma could relate to both being able to relate to one another, Ivy and Cobblepot, basically sees Oswald treat Ivy with disrespect considering her freak.

Cobblepot when he wakes up once to go back to his usual MO of immediately taking revenge on those who wronged him, in this case, Nygma Barbara and Tabitha. However Oswald’s plan to get Gabe to gather an army goes south, Ivy has a feeling that something is wrong and but is ignored by Cobblepot who hypocritically brushes her off as a freak, while Ivy happens to be right, she is captured by one of Gabe’s henchmen and sat next to Cobblepot. Ivy has a plan to save both their lives, using her perfume to get an armed delivery man to kill Gabe’s henchmen, but only if Copplepot decides to treat her nicer. Gabe under Ivy’s perfume admits both that he and the other members of the mob only followed Cobblepot out of fear, and that Copplepot treated them as idiots and passed them over. Gabe finally ends up killed by Cobblepot after calling him a freak, while mulling over the need for an army, since the Mafia is not an option anymore, Ivy chimes in that she knows where she can find an army of freaks.

So, Cobblepot gets the idea from Ivy to use other freaks to build an army which, is quite fascinating as we see Oswald is forced even further outside the traditional mafia which he had some pull. Now Oswald must rely on other people, who he has to treat like equals to get what he wants even if in that case reluctantly, which looks to create the opportunity for more character development for Oswald making him into a better leader in the process.

This episode marks the appearance of another Talon who does not disappoint, with a fine display and acrobatics and taking down taking down Barbar’s armed thugs with only a sword and winning. It was good to see a return of both the use of detective work on Jim and Harvey’s end, and to see what Barbara has been up to since recently taking over the Gotham underworld. I personally loved how the more mystical aspects between the Shaman and Bruce didn’t seem out of place, but fits right into Gotham as it is quite well. It’s also nice to see Ivy showing some quick thinking despite her earlier characterization of lacking in common sense, or just knowledge of subjects outside of Botany. Overall I thought the episode was great and that Ben knew what to really focus on in expanding and creating new storylines, but I do wonder how that focus will continue in the following episodes.

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