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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A familiar threat spells disaster on a disappointing Gotham

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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Never Mind The Bullocks: Good stuff from the ol’ gumshoe this week. Not only does he actually get insightful with Lee—“you’re not crazy…you’re hurt”—he also delivers a deadpan response to Hugo Strange obviously playing both sides in the battle between the GCPD and the Court of Owls. “You logical bastard,” is all he can muster up.
  • For awhile now I’ve been working under the assumption that the Court of Owls plot to “cleanse” Gotham hasn’t been working because nearly every story where Jim Gordon is the focus tends to be dull. As the season nears its end though, it’s becoming clear that the larger problem is that the Court are a bunch of faceless, personality-less villains. Who is Kathryn? Why does she want to cleanse Gotham so badly? Who are all these other feathered members? A little more backstory when it comes to the Court could go a long way.
  • No Barbara this week, which is once again tremendously disappointing.
  • The Bruce Wayne storyline is in a rut. While moving him away from Gotham for awhile is a solid concept, the show isn’t doing much with it. All we’re getting is the same old tired training/enlightenment cliches that don’t serve much purpose in the larger story, or even add much to the character growth of Bruce Wayne.
  • Was anyone else confused by Gordon’s decision to call Bullock right after he left Kathryn’s building? And was anyone else even more confused that she seemed to be watching him and yet not all that suspicious about his sudden phone call?
  • It’s really a shame to see the Lee Thompkins character reduced to nothing more than a madwoman in the back half of this season. There used to be layers there, but now there’s just exaggerated emotional freakouts.
  • Between “you’ve done it. You’ve weaponized the virus,” and Gordon explaining in detail why Strange can walk away from an arrest, Gotham sure does love its exposition this week.
  • So, Selina was definitely hurt when she was pushed out of the window by the fake Bruce Wayne. Ivy comes to her aid in the hospital with some sort of healing foliage, and now she’s out of her coma and off to Wayne Manor to kill that stupid clone.
  • People on Gotham keep waking up from some sort of trauma and remembering that they have someone they want to kill.
  • Finally, Nygma and Penguin are reunited, but it’s not exactly romantic. Not that it would be after the former tried to kill the latter, of course. Still, both Penguin and Nymga are locked up in the Court of Owls’ dungeon, which would suggest that they’ll have to work together to get out. Hopefully that means those two once again become the masterful duo they were at the beginning of the season.
  • One of Gotham’s more intriguing long term relationships is between Gordon and Penguin. They’ve been in each other’s orbit for a long time, and they’ve been both reluctant partners and sworn enemies. It’s one of the few relationships on the show that has some nuance to it, and truly explores ideas of morality and “good vs. evil” within this world.
  • As the episode comes to a close, Kathryn has found out that Gordon has betrayed her and the Owls. So, she rolls out her newly acquired weapon—Barnes, in all of his Tetch Virus-infected glory—and lets him loose, telling him to kill Gordon. That’s the cue for Barnes to deliver a ridiculously silly line about “judgement” and being an executioner.
  • It sure seems like the last few episodes of the season are threatening to repeat much of the same arcs from before the winter hiatus. Barnes is dangerous, Gotham is threatened on a massive scale, Gordon and Lee are at odds; we’ve been through this before, so here’s hoping that Gotham has enough left in the tank to make these storylines feel fresh as the finale creeps ever closer.