Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock race against the clock when three of Gotham’s worst villains break out of Arkham Asylum; Bruce Wayne feels responsible for one of the villains and hatches his own plan to stop them. Meanwhile, Barbara Kean is faced with an offer that she can’t refuse.
Gotham S4 EP16 – ‘One of My Three Soups’
Written By: Charlie Huston
Directed By: Ben McKenzie
What You Need To Know:
Lee Thompkins has shot Sofia Falcone and put her into a coma. Jim was going to confess his sins regarding Sofia and her rise to power, but Bullock dissuaded him from that decision. Ra’s al Ghul had brought Barbara back to life and had transferred some mysterious energy into her. Jervis Tetch – the Mad Hatter – had lost his sister Alice during a standoff with Gordon. Selina Kyle sought out Bruce’s help in returning stolen jewels to their rightful owner after feeling guilty and responsible for Ivy’s actions. Jerome Valeska tells Oswald Cobblepot that he has something big planned for Gotham City once he breaks out of Arkham Asylum.
What You Will Find Out:
Jervis Tetch – the Mad Hatter – manages to break out of Arkham Asylum, along with Jerome Valeska and Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow. There’s some dissent between them because Valeska believes he’s the defacto leader of their group, but Scarecrow and Hatter both refuse to bow down to him that way. They decide that working together, for now, is in their best interests, and once they’re free of Arkham Asylum and ruling Gotham, then they’ll have their chances to stab each other in the back.
When Jim Gordon – back on the job for the first time following his release from the hospital after Sofia’s shooting him – arrives at the Asylum, Harvey fills him in on what happened. Eight-seven inmates from the violent ward had escaped, and while many of them had been rounded up, some of the most dangerous – child murderers, mutilators, cult killers – are still free, along with notable bad guys like Valeska, Hatter, and Scarecrow. Harvey tells Gordon that he needs to suppress the urge to confess his sins regarding Sofia and Professor Pyg to the rest of the GCPD because he has a job to do, and the team needs him. Gordon gives a rousing speech and plan of action to his team – watching each other’s backs being amongst the most important instructions he imparts – before getting a call from the Hatter himself, who bids him to come to a specific address. Bullock is sure that it’s a trap, but Gordon needs to investigate it anyway.
On the way to the address, Harvey idly wonders if Tech had hypnotized them over the phone, since they’re going there alone, and then praises how Gordon was with their squad earlier. When they arrive, they find a couple dressed like a bride and groom, standing in the midst of the street, surrounded by a bunch of parked cars. Gordon wants to go save them, but before they can move, hypnotized citizens pour out of the parked cars and come for Jim and Harvey. Hatter arrives and tells Gordon that all he wants is his sister Alice back, but because Gordon had robbed him of that option, he was going to return the favor by robbing him of the option of saving the couple. That’s when a giant wrecking ball drops from the sky and smashes the couple to a pulp. Tetch drives off, then, after having sung off a few rhymes that are clearly clues to what he has planned next, and the other hypnotized citizens start clucking like chickens.
Gordon and Bullock put the clues together and realize that a bunch of people are going to jump off of a building to their deaths, similar to the way that Hatter’s sister Alice had died. They race to the rooftop of a nearby building and find a line of people ready to jump, but not only that. Looking beyond that first group, they find that there are many people all across Gotham’s rooftops, ready to do the same because of Hatter’s hypnosis. They realize that the only way Hatter could have gotten to so many people was by hypnotizing them over the radio, so they try to figure out which radio station he’s been using. Tetch has covered his tracks well, though, so it takes some investigating – as well as Harvey throwing himself in harm’s way by locking himself into a car by himself and manually seeking out the station, getting hypnotized in the process – but Gordon has the information he needs and races over to the radio station. As he heads there, Detective Harper calls Gordon for an update, and he tells her to get all the cars out in the street because he’s going to have a message to amplify soon.
Gordon catches up to Tetch and tells him to tell everyone not to jump. When Tetch says it’s out of his hands, Gordon grabs Tetch and shoots him through one hand, but that doesn’t do anything. Tetch insists that if anyone – including Tetch himself – tells the hypnotized people to save themselves, they’ll jump before midnight. He does leave Jim with a parting gift, though. He tells the people listening to obey the next voice they hear before Jim knocks him out.
As midnight approaches, Jim can’t figure out a way to break Hatter’s hypnotism, so he tells the people that he can’t save them, but that they’re going to have to save each other. It’s just the command that the hypnotized needed to hear though because as the clock strikes midnight, they all stop their neighbors from jumping. Apparently, in Gotham, you can always save someone else, even if you can’t save yourself.
Later that night, after unsuccessfully getting any information out of Tetch regarding Valeska’s whereabouts or his plans, Harvey and Gordon meet up in Gordon’s office. Gordon doesn’t feel as though he belongs there anymore – he should be in jail, paying for his crimes regarding Pyg and Sofia. Harvey agrees but then says that the city needs Gordon, even if Gordon feels as though he’s become a liar. Gordon apologizes for having judged the way Harvey operated all these years and Harvey shrugs it off, telling him that there are no heroes there, a sentiment that Jim echoes back to Harvey.
While chaos reigns in Gotham, Bruce, having heard of Valeska’s escape from Arkham, contacts Selina and asks her to come to the GCPD precinct with him. Selina complies because she doesn’t want to be indebted to Bruce after he helped her out with the jewels last week, and after he fails at convincing her that she doesn’t owe him anything, he tells her that the slate will be wiped clean after she helps him here – that is, if she can help him. Selina scoffs at Bruce and breaks into Gordon’s office for him, though she balks when Bruce explains that he wants Valeska’s file. Still, a debt is a debt, and Selina sneaks in to find the file while Bruce waits. They’re almost found out by Detective Harper, but Bruce easily slips into his millionaire playboy role, acting convinced that Valeska has escaped just for him. It’s enough time for Selina to find the file and slip out of Gordon’s office, though she slams the door behind her to distract Harper. Harper turns to investigate Gordon’s office, but when she turns around, Bruce has mysteriously disappeared.
Bruce and Selina pore over the files they’ve absconded with and learn that Valeska has an uncle who owns a diner in Gotham. Chances are good that he’s there. Selina feels that Bruce is doing a job that’s meant for cops, and Bruce explains the guilt he feels over Valeska’s actions, as he could have killed him last year and didn’t. Selina scoffs and tells him that his ego is huge and that not everything is his fault or responsibility. Bruce gives her a long, lingering look and moves in close to Selina, as though he’s taken her words to heart and is giving up some responsibility. That’s not the case, though, as he opens the passenger side door and thanks Selina for her advice. Selina hesitates but finally gets out of the car and only leaves after making sure that they’re both even.
The cops have also discovered that Jerome’s maternal uncle, Zack, owns a diner in Gotham and they’re there, asking questions. They leave after he convinces them that he hates Jerome and that if he had been there, he’d kill the kid himself because he’d killed his sister, Jerome’s mother. They leave, but as soon as they do, Jerome pops out from under the table. He’d had a gun trained on Zack the whole time.
A little bit later, Zack has brought Jerome three bowls of soup – one hot, one cold, one just right – and Jerome plays Goldilocks with them. He discusses memories of their time at the circus and how Zack had punished Jerome for stealing cookies by plunging his hand into a hot pot of soup. Valeska finally decides on a bowl of soup, and as he starts to drink it, Zack tells him that there’s a reason why there were three bowls of soup – one for both of them and the third for his guest – a circus strongman called Lunkhead. Lunkhead comes seemingly out of nowhere and grabs Jerome, while Zack explains that he’d called on him as back-up because he figured Jerome would be heading there once he was free from Arkham. He takes the hot bowl of soup to the microwave and plops it in, heating it up, even more, explaining that the really hot soup was meant for Valeska.
Once the soup is ready, Zack pours it all down Valeska’s face and throat, burning him, but he’s stopped by Bruce, who has just entered the diner. Zack tells Lunkhead to go take care of Bruce while he deals with Jerome, but Jerome gets the upper hand on Zack and holds him down. He’s about to force feed Zack bleach before Zack gives up the information Valeska is seeking – a school named St. Ignatius, along with the school’s address. There’s something important there that Jerome needs. Valeska then kills Zack and watches Bruce and Lunkhead fight, enjoying the fact that Bruce had saved him, only to die.
But of course, that’s not going to happen, because while he points a gun at Bruce and Lunkhead, the gun is snatched out of his hand by a whip. Bruce knocks Lunkhead out and Selina playfully asks if Bruce still doesn’t need her help. She grabs the gun and points it at Jerome, ready to kill him, but Bruce stops her. Jerome manages to make his exit, and Selina tells him that Bruce should have let her shoot him. Bruce can’t let Jerome be shot though. Selina, who was just trying to save Bruce, tells him not to take on so much responsibility that he gets killed. When she leaves, he notices the address that Jerome left behind. He calls Gordon, who is having a drink with Harvey in his office, and tips him off about Valeska’s whereabouts. Though Gordon tries to dissuade Bruce, Bruce tells him that he’s going after Valeska, and that Gordon can admonish him when he meets Bruce at St. Ignatius’.
While the rest of Gotham falls into chaos, Barbara continues to have migraines. She’s spent the last few weeks hiding out inside the Sirens Club, reading all she can about mysticism and things, trying to find a reason for the brightly glowing hand, but she can’t find anything helpful. She also can’t figure out why Ra’s al Ghul would have brought her back to life in the first place when he didn’t even really know her. She tells Tabitha that there are memories that seem to be pushing their way into her mind, but every time she reaches for them, there’s a searing pain in her mind, and it hurts too much to get to those answers. Tabitha thinks that Barbara is stronger than that and urges Barbara to go for the memories. Barbara holds up her glowing hand and flashes back to the night she died and was resurrected and uncovers the memories. Ra’s had found Barbara to be strong and venomous, and so he had anointed her with the Lazarus water before making her drink some of it, resurrecting her. He knows that everyone hates her, and he has a surprise for her because she’s exactly the sort of person he’s been looking for. That surprise? Oh, nothing big. She’s just going to become the Demon’s Head and have the League of Shadows – an army of assassins – to command at her will. He believes that though the world is weak, Barbara is strong and that she should use the League to make the world more like her. Her hand, it turns out, is glowing because it’s a beacon, calling the League to her.
When Barbara fills Tabitha in on this development, Tabitha scoffs in disbelief. She’s an assassin herself, and how can there possibly be an entire league of shadowy assassins. Barbara, sure that they’re coming to her, walks into the main lounge of the Sirens Club and commands the League to show themselves. Lights start flickering before turning off, and there they are behind Barbara and Tabitha, an entire group of men and women who were once under the power of Ra’s al Ghul.
They ask for the Demon’s Head and Barbara reveals her glowing hand to them, informing them that she is the Demon’s Head now. The men of the group are taken aback by this development – though women are allowed to serve the League, no woman has ever led it. One of the women points out that this was tradition, not law. Besides, Ra’s chose Barbara, and that choice must be honored. Or not. The man goes to kill Barbara, but she kills him first and then challenges the rest of the League if any of them want to try to take the title away from her. They draw their weapons.
Barbara realizes that the League is weak, though, and that’s why they need her. When she steps towards them, they all back away from her. She tells them that they’re weak because they’re afraid of change and afraid of taking orders from a woman. They had better bow down to her now, or things will get ugly. The League listens to their new leader, but as soon as they bow down, the lights flicker and everything goes dark. There’s a cacophony of gunshots and when the lights come up, all of the men of the League lay scattered on the floor of the club, dead. The Sister of the League have killed the men because they were weak and are now Barbara’s to command. They’re only the point of the spear, and many others will follow them – and Barbara. Tabitha thinks this is a terrible idea, because who knows what the League expects from Barbara, but now that this power is hers, Barbara’s going to wield it to the best of her ability.
Captured, Hatter is being carted back to Arkham Asylum but the transport is stopped by the Scarecrow, who has reacquired his fear gas while Gotham’s finest were occupied by Tetch’s distraction. Scarecrow gets into the back with Hatter while Jerome hops into the front of the transport and drives them to St. Ignatius, and whatever secret lays there.
What Just Happened?:
By far the most interesting and out of left field development in the episode has to be the fact that Barbara Kean is the new Demon’s Head and in command of the League of Shadows. Given her ties to Ra’s al Ghul, this should maybe have been a little bit more obvious, but it always seemed as though the plan was for her to use the energy he gave her to free him, not to take control of the League. She’s certainly come a long way from being an art gallery owner with a secret past, and it’ll be interesting to see what Barbara does with her newfound power. So far this season, women who have managed to gain power have lost control of it at some point – Sofia tried becoming the queen of the Gotham crime scene and ended up in a coma, Lee became the leader of the Narrows, and though that power was snatched away from her, she later found a way to reclaim it. It remains to be seen what route Barbara’s story will take with the League, but for now, it certainly seems as though her power has increased by quite a bit, and when Barbara gets power, that’s when things tend to become fun.
Bruce and Selina’s relationship continues to develop, and the writers are doing a wonderful job of Bruce being set down on the path of becoming Batman. He’s learning to put on a false public persona, and David Mazouz is really growing into the role here, pulling off the dichotomy of the public and private Bruce with élan. Bruce and Selina have a great chemistry going, and they always make a great team when it’s them against a common enemy, and seeing that dynamic continue is wonderful. One of the smartest things the show has done is giving Selina a strong moral compass, and the ability to fight through and survive anything that’s thrown at her. It’s made her a formidable ally in Bruce’s development, and watching them grow into young adults is absolutely fascinating.
Valeska continues to be a polarizing presence on Gotham – you either love him or you hate him – but the mystery of what he wants at St. Ignatius is compelling. Because of the recent recasting of the actor behind Scarecrow’s mask, there’s a certain chance that he’s going to play a far bigger role in the episodes to come, though it’s hard to see where all of this is going. There are endless possibilities, especially since Penguin and Riddler already have their own plans, and there’s every chance that Ivy could return to wreak havoc by the end of the season. Will all of the Gotham rogues come together somehow? That remains to be seen.
The episode had a couple of fun easter eggs and nods to Batman continuity, as they always do. This is the second time in the last few episodes where Bruce has mysteriously disappeared on a cop, something he’s liable to do more and more as the series progresses. The names of three minor criminals were also dropped by Harvey at the beginning of the episode: Ephram Snow, Daedalus Boch, and Erasmus Rayne, all of whom were killers in the comics. Barbara Kean herself becoming the Demon’s Head in a way echoes some alternative continuity stories where Black Canary becomes the Demon’s Head as well.
Final Thoughts: Gotham continues to be a fun, wild ride, one that’s especially enjoyable if you can get past the envelope-pushing network television violence and some of the more out of left field twists that the show can take. The cast continues to put in some stellar performances, with the central relationships of the series remaining as compelling as ever. While the endgame of the series was always a given – Bruce Wayne will become Batman – the rest of it is different enough that it keeps you guessing. Gotham is always a fun watch worth tuning in for.
Gotham airs Thursday nights on Fox. Check your local listings for times.
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