Gotham S3E14 Review – “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies”

WARNING: Full spoilers for “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies” ahead.

In its winter finale, Gotham gave us quite a spectacle in one of the most chaotic and enjoyable episodes yet this season. Edward’s plans for revenge against Oswald were finally carried out in a brilliantly Riddler-esque way. Cameron Monaghan once again stole the show as the delightfully psychotic Jerome, who kidnapped Bruce with every intention of killing him in the most public and gruesome way he could devise.

The episode opened with the entire city going crazy all at once following the power outage and the GCPD just barely keeping it contained. Jim and Harvey had their hands full between keeping Jerome’s “disciples” in check and dealing with the riots springing up across the city. All the while they had to figure out what Jerome’s next move would be, which meant Jim had to speak to Lee and be reminded, yet again, that he killed her husband. It’s understandable that she would still be upset about it, but having her say something about it every time the two are on screen together is starting to wear a little thin.

Meanwhile, Oswald was finally reunited with Edward only to discover that he had been played all along. Edward’s initial trap, while a ruse in itself, made for a wonderful tribute to his comic book counterparts love of elaborate mechanisms of death. Once Oswald seemingly caught a lucky break and escaped, his first reaction was, in true Penguin form, to call up his men and hunt for Ed. However, upon returning home he is greeted instead by Butch and Tabitha. Watching Tabitha remind Oswald of his mother’s murder was truly chilling to watch. You could see the anger and pain in Penguin’s face as he stood there completely at her mercy. That anger was matched only by Edward when the two finally faced each other with all of the cards on the table. Edward’s accusations that Oswald is incapable of loving someone else rang true, as the vicious gangster consistently makes selfish decisions. Oswald wanted to deny it but ultimately couldn’t. Ed was right and his desire for vengeance was justified. The final scene between the two showed that Penguin may have come around, if only because there was no other way out, but Ed’s anger over Isabella’s death was too great. With Penguin gone (for now at least), it’ll be interesting to see how the city will react to the power vacuum he is leaving behind. I can’t imagine he’ll be gone too long, not  many people stay dead in Gotham these days.

On that note, Jerome’s triumphant return last week set us up for the most exciting parts of this weeks episode. The long-awaited face-off (pun intended) with Bruce began with Jerome and his cronies breaking into Wayne manor and abducting Bruce whilst leaving Alfred for dead. I was impressed seeing Bruce play for time by convincing Jerome to make the execution more public. Jerome ate it up despite the fact that he knew exactly what was going on. Taking Bruce to a twisted version of the circus, the poor young man had to bear witness to one grisly murder after another. Jerome was clearly trying break his spirit, but, to Bruce’s credit, he remained stoic and unafraid. I have to give credit to David Mazouz for really making it seem like this character will one day become the Batman we all know and love. He displayed controlled anger and resourcefulness even in the face of certain death. Luckily, Jim, Alfred, and Harvey showed up right on time to save him. The confusion they created allowed Bruce to lead Jerome to a house of mirrors for the final showdown. This fight was brutal and Jerome didn’t stand a prayer. Bruce’s training really showed as beat his opponent to a pulp, stopping before he killed him, and allowing Jim to make the arrest. The emotion displayed here was powerful but even more impressive was the control that Bruce exhibited. His last scene with Alfred showed the origin of Batman’s “one rule” and I haven’t seen Bruce more determined than he was in that moment. It’ll be great seeing where this newfound sense of focus will take Bruce moving forward.

Overall I enjoyed this episode. We got great payoff on the Nygma vs Cobblepot front as well as seeing Jerome once again try and fail to kill Bruce. I could have done without Lee’s snarky comments to Jim, but other than that it was a solid episode leaving plenty of unanswered questions to look forward to. Is Jerome going to break out of Arkham? Probably. Is Penguin really dead? Probably not. What will Edward and co. do in the meantime? Harder to say, but you can bet there will be no small amount of betrayal and (most likely literal) backstabbing. I’ll rate “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies” 4/5.

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