Last time we were in Gotham, Jeremiah proved he is just as sane as his brother by trying to kill Jim Gordon and leaving Bruce in a ditch with his dead brother.
This week, the day starts off on a bad foot for everyone in Gotham as the news goes around that Jim is suspected to dead. At the GCPD, everyone is worried about him. Everyone except Harvey, who’s sure Jim is going to strut through the doors any moment and until he does they need to keep on going. The rest of the force is on edge with him in charge after the Pyg incident; at least Harper has his back.
Jeremiah shows up in front of the GCPD, rocking a makeover for himself and Jerome’s former lackeys. He’s there to do what every unbalanced genius in Gotham does at one point or another, declare he’s about to destroy the city. Having planted bombs all over the city, he is ready to level it for the sake of his vision. But he isn’t the complete anarchist his brother was. He’s willing giving Gotham six hours to evacuate. Just to prove he’s serious, he blows up the clock tower.
At the Sirens’ Club, Barbara is having a moment of remembrance for the loss of the tower and Jim. Tabitha’s less dismayed by by the news. Oswald and Butch show up looking for allies. They know Jeremiah’s plan and they need the extra manpower, or as Oswald puts it, womanpower, if they’re going to stop him. And because Os does nothing without there being a bottom line, he has a plan to earn them some cash on top of saving the city.
Babara and Tabitha aren’t interested until Oswald lets it slip they need the money to find Hugo Strange and un-zombify Butch. Tabitha’s look is enough to convince Barbara. Well, a look, and a reminder she almost died fighting Barbara’s ex.
At the GCPD, Bruce turns up hoping to get confirmation that what he heard about Jim isn’t true. Also, Wayne Enterprises constructed the bombs, the city’s in danger, and he feels like it’s his responsibility. He suggests getting the schematics from Wayne Industries. Harvey channels his best Jim, telling Bruce the only thing he needs to worry about is staying safe. At that moment, Bruce ’s least favorite pal Jeremiah gives him a call from Alfred’s cell phone. Using his dear ole butler as a lure, he gives Bruce an address and a warning to not tell the police.
Speaking of police, Jim Gordon isn’t dead! He wakes up in a strange room with medical equipment, but he doesn’t have to wait long to find out his savior’s identity, as Lee walks into the room. The Riddler had his people following Jim in case he tried to get in the way of Lee’s break out. They were the ones to find him after the explosion and bring him to the Narrows.
With complete disregard for the fact he almost blew up, Jim’s already trying to get back to the GCPD. He found a page with a maze while in Jeremiah’s bunker and thinks it might be the key to unravelling his plan.
Lee instead takes the maze to the Riddler, asking him to solve it. He’s a little reluctant to help the man trying to put them in jail, but if they don’t everything goes boom, including the Narrows.
Bruce couldn’t turn to the cops, but he isn’t about to go it alone. He calls Selina for back up. Together they stake out the address Jeremiah gave him. It’s surely a trap, something Selina’s quick to point out. Trap or not, Bruce has to go in there to save Alfred. He goes in through the front door while Selina sneaks in another way. As Bruce makes his way in, a projector flickers to life. Bruce watches in horror as Alfred is beaten bloody on screen.
Back at the GCPD, Fox gets his hands on the schematic of the bombs. With the schematics, he learns they can disrupt Jeremiah’s signal to the bombs if they can find and destroy the core relay that links the signal of all the devices.
Turns out, Gotham’s finest are behind on the game because Barbara, Oswald, and company have already found the core relay and Jeremiah’s hideout. Oswald proposes a deal. Jeremiah demands 50 million from the city in exchange for more time before he detonates. He gives the money to them and they give him his core relay. But really, Oswald is just waiting until they get the money before killing Jeremiah and accepting Gotham’s praise as heroes.
Jeremiah seems to agree to the deal, until the moment he pulls out a rocket launcher and destroys the core relay himself. He has a backup plan that doesn’t need to the relay to set the bombs off. Now he’s pissed off and isn’t going to give the six hours he promised. In a surprising moment, Barbara’s the one who’s the most outraged that the people of the city aren’t getting the full time they were promised to evacuate. Jeremiah leaves for a safe place to watch the destruction from, leaving his men to kill Oswald and everyone else.
Bruce’s day has steadily gotten worse, which is saying something considering he woke up in a grave. He’s been searching the building, all the while videos of Alfred being tortured are projected onto the walls. The scene could have been lifted from the pages of The Killing Joke, only Bruce is the one being driven to insanity, not James Gordon. Bruce finds Alfred just a little too late. Alfred’s been dosed with laughing gas. Bruce can only watch as Alfred cuts a smile into his cheeks.
In the Narrows, the Riddler is letting jealousy get the best of him. He finds the time to have a tit for tat with Jim over Lee when the city is at stake. Jim doesn’t help things much when he taunts that the only reason Lee would be someone like him is if she wants something. However, the Riddler did actually solve Jeremiah’s maze. He uses it to figure out where the bombs are located, and he plans to use the information to get amnesty for himself and Lee. Jim doesn’t have time for that, sucker punching the Riddler out cold.
Barbara, Tabitha, and their army of assassins make quick work of Jeremiah’s goons. With their plan up in smoke, they call GCPD to warn the city about the shortened time frame. Jeremiah let just enough slip about his backup plan for Fox to figure out another way to stop the bombs. They just need to deactivate one of the bombs before Jeremiah hits the trigger. Right on cue, Jim walks in with the locations of the bombs. They find the nearest one and Harvey heads out ahead of the bomb squad.
Selina, meanwhile, comes across the Scarecrow, which leads to a kickass fight between the two. Scarecrow is the one who retreats, but he’s sure it’s already too late for Bruce. It’s revealed Bruce has been breathing in fear gas since he entered the building.
Right now Bruce is trying to fight off an insane Alfred. Bruce’s pleas fall on deaf ears and he watches helplessly as Alfred falls to his death. Selina turns off the gas and finds something important. She gets to Bruce just in time to stop him from jumping to his death after Alfred. Only it’s not Alfred, but one of Jeremiah’s men. Selina found the real Alfred; the one Bruce saw was a hallucination.
Elsewhere in the city, Harvey finds the bomb, but the bomb squad isn’t going to get there in time. Deactivating it is up to him. Fox talks him through disarming it while the rest of the GCPD listen in quietly. Harvey gets through the first parts without losing a limb, but Jeremiah threw in a curveball. He altered the design, putting in a failsafe that looks exactly like the kill switch. Fox doesn’t know which one he should take.
Harvey, ever the gambling man puts it all on fate. For what feels like the first time this season, he gets a lucky break. The bombs go quiet and disaster is staved off for another day in Gotham. He returns to the GCPD to a hero’s welcome.
Jeremiah meanwhile has lost the confidence of his men when they learn Jim is still alive and his bombs failed. So he kills them all. Running a solo operation now, he goes back to the drawing board. But he’s not alone for long. Ra’s Al Ghul finds him, offering a partnership. Ra’s wins Jeremiah over with the one thing they have in common: an unhealthy obsession with Bruce Wayne.
Barbara and company are having a drink after the day they had. Oswald doesn’t want to hang around, but Butch has reached the end of his rope. He’s no closer now to a cure than he was when he joined Oswald. Os lets it slip he knows where Strange is, but didn’t tell Butch because they don’t have any way to pay him. Who needs money when you have Tabitha and her persuasion skills?
Jim turns up in the Narrows to speak with Lee. He wants her to leave the city. If she does, he’ll turn a blind eye to her crimes. He admits he still cares for her and because it’s a television drama the Riddler is standing nearby where he can hear and see everything.
Back at Wayne Manor Bruce, Selina and Alfred revel in their victory. After teasing moment after moment between Bruce and Selina for most of the season, the two finally kiss. It’s hardly their first kiss, but after everything they’ve been through together recently, it’s a much needed moment of brevity.
Just when I thought the worst of The Killing Joke allusions were through, Gotham has one more card up its sleeve. Jeremiah shows up at the manor, shooting Selina at point-blank range in the stomach. Bruce really needs to get better security at his place.
It was wonderful and horrible to see Gotham take on The Killing Joke.
Did they have to adapt that part of The Killing Joke? One can only hope getting shot in the gut is as much as they draw on the source material. I don’t want to see Selina crippled because Jeremiah wanted to drive Bruce insane. Worse yet, I don’t want to see her die for Bruce’s character arc. Especially not after she’s grown so much into her own this past season with Tabitha and Barbara as mentors. The promo shows her talking as they take her to the hospital, so here’s hoping she’s going to be okay.
Another low of the episode was Jim, Lee, and the Riddler. Lee and the Riddler’s relationship is complex and intriguing enough on its own. Bringing in the far overused trope of love triangle drama kills the momentum the relationship has built so far. Lee’s storyline has thrived in the Narrows and this season has proven that Jim and Lee are more interesting as reluctant allies than they were as romantic partners.
But those moments are small stains on what was otherwise a fun build up for the finale. Jeremiah is cold and pragmatic where Jerome was loud and unpredictable, but they both share a fondness for showmanship and spectacle. Why else would Jeremiah show up wearing a fedora and sunglasses and then use a rocket launcher of all things to destroy his own device.
Even if their plan failed, Barbara and Oswald were fun to watch work together. Their characters shine through when they’re allowed to show their empathy for the city. Even if they are ultimately trying to save themselves.
As for interesting duos, Jeremiah and Ra’s are going to be a formidable team. No doubt all of Gotham is going to have to come together to take them on.
Gotham pushes on to its finale promising an action-packed episode. Look out next week for the final episode of season four.