With the majority of the heavyweights in Batman’s Rogues Gallery already introduced on Gotham, it seemed inevitable that lesser villains would also make introductions. Such was the case on this week’s episode, presenting the debut of the series’ take on Mad Hatter. During last season, the character was teased inside of Indian Hill by Hugo Strange. There was an instance in which Strange briefly mentioned Lewis Carroll, which seemingly signaled the impending appearance of Mad Hatter. That has seemingly proved to be a clever diversion although his “Alice” does have a connection to the facility.
Jervis Tetch (Samuel Benedict) made his murderous presence felt as a skilled hypnotist/con man in his debut episode. Immediately from the get-go, this take on the character has proven to be much more in line with the darker takes from modern comics (sans the pedophilia). Considering the plethora of over the top maniacs running around already, this was a nice change of pace. Benedict’s delivery was calm and unsettling, which adds a lot to his hypnotist presentation. Granted, he was Mad Hatter almost in name only given the lack of Alice in Wonderland connections outside of his sister’s name. There’s definitely room for this to grow going forward.
One of the smartest decisions this episode made was incorporating Mad Hatter in Gordon’s bounty hunter persona. Tetch requested that Gordon find his missing sister Alice, who was a patient at Indian Hill. Gordon, who is officially a rundown shell of himself at this point, seemingly takes the job because of financial reasons only. Gordon’s reckless nature has proven to be much more fascinating in recent episodes than his entire tenure as an officer. In addition, this episode was the first in a long time where I felt that Gordon was in actual danger. The source of Tetch’s hypnotic is skill is not yet known but it’s already proven to be very effective.
Given the prior inconsistencies that have plagued this show, I shouldn’t be surprised that the Bruce clone storyline dropped the ball this week. Rather than allowing this storyline to play out gradually, the writing team jumped the gun within the span of a single episode. The clone, now calling himself “Five”, went from inquisitive houseguest to driven Bruce impersonator/Selina stalker. We still have not been given Five’s exact motives but the fact we’ve progressed this far already is concerning. Speaking of concerning, Bruce’s decision to let “Five” stay was a reach. He’s already aware that he’s been a target from various sides. What better way to get to him than for someone to replace him? Even though he made a deal with The Court of Owls, I question Bruce’s intellect to make no assumption about Five possibly being a threat.
When Leslie was re-introduced on last week’s episode, I shuttered at the possibility of yet another boring love triangle. For the majority of this episode, my fears were justified. Not only was Leslie’s new boyfriend a surgeon, it was also revealed that he is the son of Carmine Falcone. Carmine, who also made an appearance towards the end, helped add to the surprise element of this relationship. Neither he nor his son appear to have any malicious intentions towards Leslie. Then again, this is Gotham City so anyone can be a villain if the script calls for it. The Falcone family was largely absent during season two so hopefully this season will be a proper reintroduction to the mob elements Gotham was supposedly pitched on.
Three episodes into season three, Gotham has been both entertaining and occasionally befuddling. This is not a new precedent by any means; it just has a specific rhythm and reason now. Some characters are still reduced to one bit roles (Bullock and Butch are prime examples) and others have been used to their best potential thus far (Barbara). Hopefully, this whole Five subplot is dropped because it’s the element of this season that has produced the most indifference on my part. Ivy was entirely absent this episode and Penguin’s mayoral campaign is now in full swing. The bullets are loaded for an exciting revolver of episodes going forward. Riddle me this: will they hit their designated targets as the show advances? We have to wait and see.