As Bruce Wayne celebrates his birthday, Jerome Valeska plans a city-wide attack on Gotham City that could leave people wild with laughter. Meanwhile, Barbara Kean delves deeper into her new role as the leader of the League of Shadows.
Gotham S4 EP 18 – “That’s Entertainment”
Written By: Danny Cannon
Directed By: Nick Copus
What You Need To Know:
Jerome Valeska, who wants to kill his twin brother Jeremiah, has recruited Mr. Freeze, Penguin, Scarecrow, and a host of Gotham City’s other villains into a team called the Legion of Horribles, and together they are planning an attack on Gotham City. Bruce Wayne has made his amends with Alfred and is back on the road to becoming Gotham’s savior. Barbara Kean has been named Ra’s al Ghul’s successor as the leader of the League of Shadows.
What You Will Find Out:
The episode opens with a meeting being held by the new mayor of Gotham City, along with some of the city’s most important (but disposable) citizens. Because this is Gotham City and no mayor is ever safe, the meeting is interrupted by Mad Hatter and Mr. Freeze, who force the citizens into a truck where Jerome Valeska waits, alongside Penguin and some other members of the Legion of Horribles. The Mayor tries bribing every villain in the truck in an attempt to be set free, but no one takes the bait – not even former-Mayor Oswald Cobblepot. Given that they’re not going anywhere, Scarecrow shows the hostages the fate that awaits them and the rest of the city by testing the new laughing gas out on one of the members of the group. Sure enough, her face goes pale, her lips spread wide, and she starts laughing uncontrollably, terrifying the hostages.
While the terrorized hostages are being driven towards madness and whatever Valeska’s plan is, Bruce Wayne is being gifted a swanky new proto-Batmobile by Alfred, since its Bruce’s birthday and all. Bruce is touched and excited – even more so when Alfred shows him that his new car is bulletproof.
News of the mayor’s kidnapping as reached the GCPD, and Gordon and Bullock are trying to figure out where Jerome might be taking the hostages when Gordon is informed that Penguin wants to meet him at the back of the station – alone. When they meet, Penguin fills Gordon in on some of Valeska’s plans, revealing that whatever it is, it’s worse than simply wanting to take over the city. He doesn’t have all the details, because Jerome is only feeding bits and pieces to different parts of the Legion, and while Penguin doesn’t know what his role is yet, he knows that Valeska needs to be stopped. Before Gordon can get any more information out of Penguin, Bullock interrupts with Intel on Valeska’s location.
Sure, it’s the middle of the afternoon on what is presumably a weekday, but there’s a crowd gathered in Gotham City to witness a band playing. The concert doesn’t last long, because suddenly Valeska is there to crash to the concert and take over.
While Valeska takes over the concert, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, and Mr. Freeze break into a Wayne Enterprises lab to get more of the laughing gas made.
Gordon and Bullock arrive at the concert, where Jerome has set up his hostages. He tells them that he has two empty seats left – one for his twin brother Jeremiah, and the other for Bruce Wayne, who has foiled his fun before. Gordon tries to offer himself up in Bruce’s place, but Jerome is a man with a plan, and that plan doesn’t involve Gordon, so he kills one of his hostages to show exactly how serious he is about needing his brother and Bruce.
Not yet realizing that he’s about to be a lamb led to a potential slaughter, Bruce is served up a cake by Alfred, though he doesn’t have a chance to blow out the candles because Selina appears and beats him to the punch. So much for birthday wishes. He thanks her for coming for his birthday, though she tells him that she didn’t know it was his birthday – she only stopped by because she was in the neighborhood. She then goes on to tell him that she never bought his spoiled rich kid routine from a few weeks ago, and Bruce admits that she’s probably the only one who felt that way. Before they can continue their conversation, though, Gordon arrives with Lucius Fox in tow. They have a plan to stop Valeska, but they need Bruce’s help, which he, of course, agrees to give. Together, they go to find a reluctant, hidden away Jeremiah, who Bruce manages to convince to go with them.
While Bruce and Jeremiah go to Jerome’s hostage situation, Bullock finds out about the lab break-in and discovers the information about the gas.
Unfortunately for Bruce and Jeremiah, Jerome – crazy as he is – manages to be a couple of steps ahead of the GCPD and has his inmate minions kill the snipers that were meant for him. This means that Jerome gets to invite his brother and his enemy up on stage, where they take the seats saved for them and have the bomb collars attached to their necks.
Given that they have plenty of the gas now, thanks to the helpful people at Wayne labs, Hatter, Penguin, and Scarecrows are loading up a blimp. Realizing the full extent of Jerome’s plan, Penguin tries to talk the others down from the plan, which is when they reveal that Jerome had always expected Penguin’s betrayal. In fact, that was his part in the plan. With that revealed, Penguin is knocked unconscious and put on the blimp, with the gas and a pilot who has been hypnotized by the Hatter.
Back at what used to be the concert, Jerome taunts and teases his twin, trying to get a rise out of him. Sure, Jerome is the crazy one, but they’re identical twins, they share blood, so Jeremiah must be just as crazy. He challenges Jeremiah to attack him by giving him a knife and cutting him loose, but quickly takes his brother down when Jeremiah tries to attack.
Meanwhile, Penguin wakes up to find himself on the blimp and, realizing that the pilot is still under Hatter’s hypnotism, knocks him out and calls Gordon, who instructs him to steer the blimp towards the river. Laughing fish is definitely less of a worse outcome than laughing Gothamites. Right after this, Gordon makes his move on Jerome. Bullock and some of the GCPD attack the inmates on the roof while Bruce frees himself and joins the fight, taking Firefly out of the equation.
Gordon chases Jerome up to the roof, and Jerome tries to have the gas released, not realizing that Penguin has diverted that particular attack. Gordon shoots at Jerome, who falls off the roof, but is saved by a pipe, which he was quick enough to grab. Gordon tries to help him up, but Jerome doesn’t take his hand. He explains that he’s an idea now, and that he will live on in Gotham, and with that, he plunges – laughingly – to his death.
Across town, the sisters from the League of Shadows are getting tired of Barbara doing next to nothing with the power that Ra’s al Ghul has bequeathed her. Taking down small-time gangs like the way they have been doing lately is not what the League of Shadows was meant for. When asked if Barbara is ready to discover what the rest of this role means, she readily agrees, even though Tabitha thinks all of this is a bad idea. Soon enough, Barbara and Tabitha are taken to a secret room – opened with Barbara’s nifty glowing beacon hand – where she finds a bunch of old artwork and statues. The most important thing in there, though, is a painting of Ra’s al Ghul, posing with a woman who vaguely resembles Barbara. Tabitha doesn’t see the resemblance, though Barbara’s easily buying into the story that this is the destiny she was always meant for. She tries to get Barbara to think rationally for just a second but Barbara, who hasn’t been rational since the first half of season one, turns on Tabitha and has the League of Shadows lead her out of the room because they are no longer a team.
Outside, Tabitha challenges the sisters to a fight and she manages to hold her own for all of three punches and a couple of kicks before she’s ganged up on by the sisters of the League and taken down. Down, but not out. Tabitha is helped up, then, by a couple of mysterious men who were watching her get beaten up, and she learns that they’re another faction of the League – one who believes that none of this is what Ra’s al Ghul wanted. Given her own agency, Tabitha may have wanted to learn more and team up with them to learn what they wanted, but unfortunately, she isn’t given that choice when she’s drugged and taken away by the men.
While the authorities determine that Jerome is indeed dead, Bruce offers Jeremiah a generous grant to fund his project, since it’s such important work. Jeremiah shakes Bruce’s hand, thanking him, and a friendship is born. Or not, because when Jeremiah gets back to his place, he finds a Jack-in-the-Box, one final gift from his late twin. Doing the thing that he definitely shouldn’t do, Jeremiah opens the box and gets hit with laughing gas. This isn’t the same laughing gas that Jerome was going to use in the city, though. This is a special dose that Jerome had specially made for Jeremiah and boy is it a doozy. Jeremiah’s skin starts to go clown-make-up-white and his smile arcs into a familiar, foreboding gash of a smile as he starts to laugh a scary, familiar, foreboding laugh.
And thus, Gotham’s Joker is born.
What Just Happened?:
Four seasons in, just as Bruce is finally becoming close to becoming the Bat – he has a proto-Batmobile now and everything! – Gotham finally trades in the proto-Joker for what might be the real Joker. The real surprise is the twin brother revelation, which still takes some getting used to, given how recent the reveal was, and how quickly they passed the torch on from Jerome to Jeremiah. I almost expected them to really stretch out Jerome’s pursuing Jeremiah and slowly driving him mad, but Gotham has always preferred wham storylines to ones where changes in character are slowly built up and arced towards.
One of the best parts of this episode was the examination of how different criminals operate in Gotham City. On the one hand, you have people like Jerome, Hatter, Freeze, and Scarecrow, who want to rule through fear and chaos, and who don’t really have any humane boundaries that pull them back from being truly terrible people. On the other hand, you have someone like the Penguin, who wants power and recognition and riches, but who still wants a stable, sane city to rule over, and who will work with the police to achieve that goal before turning back to serve his own needs and ends. With Jerome out of the picture, it’s now Penguin’s Legion to convert to his way of thinking, though he probably wouldn’t be able to sway them to his side, if their reaction to his outrage at Jerome’s plan is any indication.
Power-hungry Barbara is always fun to see – especially when she makes sure that her wardrobe is reminiscent of both Ra’s al Ghul’s fashion style (the neckline of her suit) and the Bride’s from Kill Bill (that athletic striping down the sides of her suit) – but it’s not exactly evident where this story is going, except for a bad end for Barbara. Every time she gets too power hungry, it never works out well for her, and it’s hard to imagine that it will this time too. Clearly, the show is setting up a return of some sort for Ra’s al Ghul, but one has to wonder if this is ultimately going to push Barbara into some sort of battle with either Lee Thompkins or Sofia Falcone, or both. They’re all after power, after all, and they’ve all crossed paths with each other multiple times already this season.
Final Thoughts: Another wild, fun installment of Gotham as the series heads towards the last few episodes of the season, Gotham continues to feel as confident as it has when it returned from its midseason break a few years ago. Some longer-running plotlines are finally paying off, and it’ll be fun to see how they all intersect as we head towards the season finale.
Gotham airs Thursday nights on Fox. Check your local listings for times.
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