Judging from the preview at the end of last week’s Gotham, I had a strong feeling that Barbara was going to bite it this week. Given that she fell out of a cathedral window last night, It appeared that I was correct in my assumption. Shockingly, she is still alive. We are told that “bushes broke her fall.” The problem with this decision is twofold. First of all, it removes all of the emotional impact of her apparent demise. Secondly, this information is presented following a commercial break of all things. I’m honestly unsure as to where this leaves Barbara going forward. Could this be the incident that reverts her back to sanity? It’s unclear but I hope it’s done with significance.
As much of a cop out as I found her survival to be, I enjoyed her cat and mouse game with Gordon. Admittedly, it’s borderline derivative of David Fincher’s Se7en. She willingly allows herself to be arrested and she escorts Gordon and Bullock to an unknown location in a cop car. They are also under the careful watch of Captain Barnes and the GCPD Strike Force. The homages settled down towards the latter half but it was kind of obnoxious during the first half of the episode. I did find the “wedding from hell” to be a well-directed sequence. Like Jerome, Barbara was just a pawn in Galavan’s master plan. If everything went according to her will, Gordon would have died along with Leslie. Despite some cliché ridden dialogue, it was a fun climax to behold.
Like I said earlier, I hope this episode leads to worthwhile payoff. Even beyond just Barbara and Gordon. Leslie is the third point in this bizarre love triangle. She tells Gordon that “they need to talk after all this is over.” There’s been a wedge between Gordon and Leslie for much of this season. Perhaps the occurrences of this episode drive this wedge even further. I do like how Leslie is acknowledging Gordon’s reckless nature. She even went as far as to question Gordon’s decision to oust Galvan last episode. I was doing the same thing and I am glad she didn’t let it slide.
The biggest surprise for me this week was how I found Bruce’s scenes to be the strongest moments of the episode. During a meeting with Galavan, Bruce is presented with a dilemma. If he agrees to sign over his stock in Wayne Enterprises, Galavan will give him the evidence needed to place Thomas and Martha’s murderer behind bars. In hindsight, I thought this made Galavan appear thick headed. Wouldn’t it have been more likely for Bruce to agree if he gave him the information before offering to buy his stock? Bruce freely declines the offer and doesn’t sign the paperwork. After the police arrive to arrest Galavan, he tosses the evidence into the fire. This begs the question as to whether or not Galavan was bluffing. I guess we will never know.
Luckily, Alfred is the one who acknowledges the questionable moral dilemma that Galavan presented. During their discussion, Bruce and Alfred share a terrific scene together. Bruce asks Alfred if he’s wrong in his quest for closure and revenge. It’s genuinely touching when he breaks down and cries in front of Alfred. When Bruce questions his family legacy, Alfred poignantly remarks that Bruce, not his company, is the real Wayne legacy. It’s a solid scene for both characters and one that counters the reveal that Barbara survived.
Nygma’s attempt to bury Kringle’s body was a worthwhile addition to this episode. Now that his two halves have merged, we’re seeing the genesis of Riddler come to fruition. He’s more puzzle-centric but still more of a murderer than coordinator. As much as I hate fan service, it was a cool reveal to see him encounter Penguin at the end. This could make for some exciting moments down the line. It wasn’t as ridiculous as their first encounter in season one. I do question though how Penguin was able to find Nygma’s picnic given his current condition. Then again, sometimes it’s not worth overanalyzing something if it provides you with the thrill of anticipation.
Looking to get caught up on Gotham? Click the link below to read last week’s recap/review.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8:00 EST on Fox.