Editor’s Note: as this is a recap, it contains major spoilers for the season 3 premiere of Gotham. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya!
Fellow Gotham fans, we made it! The long summer has finally ended and Gotham is back on our TV screens, ensuring all is right in the world. Well, okay, a lot is actually pretty wrong in the world of Gotham—especially for our main guy Jim Gordon. And I’m back to recap all the gloom and doom for another season of the Fox/DC Comics drama, so let’s get right into things, shall we?
“Mad City: Better to Reign In Hell” opened with a Gordon making good on his season two finale promise. He went and found his ex Lee, but what he found was not the picture he was hoping for: she was happily with another man. The show immediately smash cut from his heartbroken face to six months later back in Gotham, where Gordon was now working as a bounty hunter for the GCPD for cash, bringing in the Indian Hill escapees. Turns out he had no interest in becoming a cop again. The breakup was clearly hitting him hard, though—this is the darkest Gordon we’ve seen on the show yet. But Lucius Fox is having quite the opposite experience: he quit Wayne Enterprises after uncovering how corrupt it was to work as a scientist for the GCPD, and he and Bullock are becoming the best of friends. But no one will ever replace Gordon for Bullock, because theirs is a friendship that will last forever. I ship it.
And there’s another new ‘ship to watch out for this season: Valerie Vale, a reporter for the Gotham Gazette, who was hot on the trail of the Indian Hill escapees story and won’t leave Gordon alone until she finds the truth. That means bugging him in his favorite bar until he agreed to help her on her story. Do we detect sparks flying? Can she be the one to bring a smile back to his face post-Lee? Here’s hoping.
Meanwhile, Penguin is still on the hunt six months later to find Fish Mooney, and he’s offering a cold million dollar reward to anyone who can bring her in—alive, dead or chopped up into little pieces. (Ew.) Barbara and Tabitha, who just opened a new club named Sirens, were very intrigued by his offer, while Butch couldn’t do anything but mourn his breakup with Tabitha. And Gordon was also very, very intrigued by Penguin’s cash offer. I think the only thing that can crack through Gordon’s tough exterior right now is the promise of a cash payout.
But Penguin was slowly going mad with his inability to find Fish, and constantly wondering why she didn’t kill him when she had the chance all those months ago when she escaped. And so, shockingly enough, he found solace in his weekly BFF chats with Nygma a.k.a. the Riddler, who was still being held in Arkham Asylum (he never got to take advantage of the Indian Hill mass jail break and yeah, he’s still pretty bitter about it). Riddler’s words of advice were simple for his old friend: Remember that penguins eat fish.
However, maybe Penguin won’t have to worry about Fish for long … turns out that all of the Indian Hill escapees were on the hunt for a certain pharmaceutical drug to help make Hugo Strange’s body modifications permanent, because as of now, they’re all slowly dying from their bodies rejecting the changes. Using Lucius’ help, Gordon tracked the drug to the warehouse that made it, and found Fish there with a goon trying to steal it. A chase ensued, and they got away.
Meanwhile, Bruce finally came back home to Gotham after a long time away with Alfred, gathering evidence on the shadowy group that had taken control of his company. He confronted the Wayne Enterprises Board of Directors with his findings—knowing that members of the group were in that very room—and threatened them to come forward or else he would release his evidence to the public. But his threat caused the Court of Owls to put a hit out on him. The episode ended with someone knocking out Alfred and kidnapping Bruce—but we’re getting ahead of ourselves!
Bruce knew his threat to the Board would have some backlash, so he tried to warn Selina to watch her back in case they came for her, knowing the two used to be close. I say “used to be” because Selina still holds a grudge against Bruce since he left town without saying goodbye so she brushed him off, but not before the Bruce Wayne lookalike from Indian Hill—who was trailing Selina after she helped him on the street—caught a glimpse of his twin. He was downright shocked, so it’s clear that he had no idea he had a lookalike out there. He became obsessed with finding out who Bruce was. Maybe he won’t be a villain after all like we all thought after the season two finale? Only time will tell.
At Sirens, some mobsters came calling on Barbara when they found out that Penguin “didn’t have their back,” aka Barbara and Tabitha refused to pay Penguin for protection. But what these old-fashioned, chauvinistic dudes didn’t realize was that Stabby Babs and Tabby don’t need any man to protect them: they protect themselves. So, naturally, they ruthlessly and joyfully murdered all the men that tried to extort them. Oh Stabby Babs, how I’ve missed you and your maniacal laugh. She also figured out the whole thing was set up by Butch, who was desperate to have Tabby back under his control and in his life. Is that a longing look Tabby sent back in Butch’s direction? Oh honey no, stay far away.
Back to Gordon’s new girl: Selina tipped off Valerie where Fish was going to hit next looking for that drug, and so she teamed up with Gordon to find her story while he would get to cash in on the million dollar pay out if he caught Fish. But sneaky Gordon just used her information to get the location of Miss Peabody (who was under witness protection with the GCPD in exchange for testifying against Strange), and then handcuffed Valerie to her own car so she wouldn’t follow him. Gordon knew that Fish was looking for Peabody to get either answers on how to fix whatever was hurting her or get revenge on Peabody for what Indian Hill did to her, and so he led the escapees right to Peabody as a trap. But it all backfired: Fish’s goons overpowered Gordon and kidnapped Peabody while Valerie got a photo of Gordon fighting an Indian Hill escapee with bat wings. Gordon caught the winged guy (Man Bat?), getting his GCPD payout, while Valerie got her story.
Interesting to note: After getting a lecture from Barnes on losing Peabody, Bullock confessed to Gordon that he liked acting as GCPD captain while Barnes was out. Is this foreshadowing for later? I like the sounds of Captain Bullock, don’t you?
Later that night at an abandoned warehouse, Peabody dropped some knowledge on her kidnappers: all their bodies are starting to reject the changes they went under in Indian Hill. Her advice: stop using their powers, and they will recover. Obviously Fish won’t stop using her powers of persuasion though. So the only person who can help them make their changes permanent is Strange. Fish decided that she wanted Strange to not only fix her, but also give her an army of people just like her. She then let one of Peabody’s old experiments kill her. Does that mean that with no one testifying against Strange, he’ll walk free? Yikes, that’s a terrifying thought.
And the episode ended with Selina’s friend Ivy getting caught spying on the Indian Hill escapees, and when she tried to get away, Marv, a man with aging powers, grabbed onto her arm before she fell and disappeared into a current. Is this how Ivy becomes a grown up version of Poison Ivy this season? We’ll have to wait and see!
What did you think of the Gotham season three premiere? Tweet me your thoughts at @SydneyBucksbaum!