Gothams Joker Returns but Poison Ivy Steals the Show
Stay on target NYCC 18: The Cast of Gotham On Bane, Batman and Saying GoodbyeDC TV Comes to NYCC, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Grin & More DC News Catwoman and Poison Ivy are back together, and for a second, it looks like things are back to normal between them as they team up to rob a house. Selina is a little weirded out by Ivy’s new perfume power, but she thinks hey, whatever works. She goes off to loot the rest of the house leaving Ivy alone to reveal what she’s really here for. She’s not primarily a thief. She’s a radical plant activist. The house belongs to a scientist at Wayne Biotech, where he experiments with plants. She wants revenge. Selina walks in on her scratching his throat with her poison claws, killing him. When Gordon hears a description of the two assailants, he’s surprised to hear that Selina was involved. Murder, as he says, isn’t her thing. He’s right about that. Selina isn’t happy about what Ivy did, and storms out. I guess she’ll be sticking with the Sirens after all.The person in more immediate danger is Bruce. He wakes up hungover and out of it after the previous night’s party. Ivy is there. The World’s Greatest Detective eventually figures out who she is, but not before she puts him under her spell. I would say this makes it clear he’s not Batman yet, but even Batman fell for this move a few too many times. Ivy gets the information she needs from him about Wayne Biotech’s plant experiments. We don’t get to hear it because writing good technobabble is hard, and it honestly doesn’t matter whether we do or not. Ivy is pissed about Bruce’s company’s treatment of her green friends. So she poisons him. Stakes established. This is the most interested I’ve been in Bruce’s storyline in a while.David Mazouz and guest star Peyton List (Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX)We do get to see what Bruce feels while under the influence of Ivy’s poison. It’s… seriously messed up. He gets visions of Ra’s Al Ghul brandishing a large knife. The hallucination introduces itself as Mr. Greenthumb, and cuts off Bruce’s face. Yes, it’s still weird that a show on network TV at 8 p.m., has seen two faces being cut off in as many seasons. Gotham really goes for it, I guess. The hallucinations continue and Bruce sees an impostor with his face throwing a Gatsby-style party in Wayne Manor. Everyone acts like they’re straight out of the 1920s too. Now, all I want to do is hear Jim Gordon’s mid-Atlantic accent again.The whole point of this hallucination is to get Bruce back on track. He’s been hiding his pain behind parties, booze and a general playboy billionaire lifestyle. Not very heroic. In his vision, he’s literally rescued by Alfred and brought to the alley where his parents were killed. Here, we get our first good glimpse of Batman. In all but name and ears. Though he doesn’t have the iconic silhouette, there’s no mistaking who this is. Hopefully, this is what it takes for Bruce to get his story back on track. He realizes the shadowy figure with the deep raspy voice is him, and it disappears into a swarm of bats. This may very well be the closest Gotham ever comes to giving us actual Batman. It looked cool enough that I’d be mostly OK with that. But with the way they’re progressing Bruce’s story, they’re going to run out of ways to push the cowl back. We’re rapidly approaching Year One as it is. (Though we did get Gordon with a mustache, so who knows? They may be willing to show us more of the Gotham we recognize than we assume.)Erin Richards, Robin Lord Taylor, Morena Baccarin and Ben McKenzie (Cr: David Giesbrecht/FOX)Finally, Gotham is making good on the cliffhanger it left us with at the end of last fall. We finally check back in with Penguin, who’s being terrorized by Jerome. Jerome wants a partner in clownish crime, but Penguin isn’t interested. He wants to make sure Martin remains safe. For that to happen, he needs to stay in jail. Unfortunately for Penguin, Jerome has grown himself a loyal following behind bars. Cameron Monaghan really nails the balance between charismatic and terrifying insanity. I’m not going to call him my favorite Joker, but he’s way up there. Jerome has his men accost Penguin and force him to perform comedy. Or try to, anyway. Penguin refuses, and Jerome just promises to try again the next night. It’s one of those “the beatings will continue until morale improves” type situations.He does get a little bit of hope, though. Nygma visits him, ostensibly to gloat. Even though he spends the whole scene bragging about how much better his life is now, it’s still great to see these two back on screen together. Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith still have electricity between them. They make every scene together so much fun to watch even if… no, especially because they collectively leave no piece of scenery unchewed. It turns out there was another reason Nygma came to visit Penguin. Nygma just didn’t know about it. After he leaves, Penguin finds a secret message. The Riddler, the man Penguin loved, is still in there. And he’s going to help him escape.Robin Lord Taylor (Cr: Barbara Nitke/FOX)Until that happens though, he still has to deal with Jerome. After failing to electrocute Jerome, and failing even harder to attack him with a fork (it’s a spoon that is also a fork!), Penguin finally plays Jerome’s game. It’s the only way he’s going to escape with his brain fully intact. He does a mime routine that’s actually pretty impressive, and Jerome joins in the slapstick to the joy of all his henchman. Once Penguin has Jerome inside his invisible box, he performs the most brutal beatdown of a person I’ve ever seen from a mime. And I’ve seen someone refuse to tip one for a photo in Times Square.After last week caught us up on where all the characters are, this episode really got us into the meat of the rest of the season. It’s still very much in set-up mode, but the story is picking up momentum now. It’s reveling in the things that are fun and good about Gotham. That odd mix of goofy camp and gruesome, disturbing imagery makes Gotham a place we want to return to each week. And if you come to this show for a Batman villain showcase, you couldn’t ask for much better than this episode. Jerome, Penguin and especially Ivy relished in their sadism, and The Riddler at least has a promising arc going. We might have to wait for the really twisted Jerome action, though. Gotham set up Ivy as the big scary villain for the next couple episodes at least. At the end of the episode, we found out why she was going after Wayne Biotech researchers. After successfully getting away with the strange green chemical, she creates a new weapon for herself. A flower that reproduces when people breath in its pollen. Fully grown copies then burst through their chests. This show isn’t letting up on the plant gore anytime soon. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.