Episode Title: Mad City: Smile Like You Mean It
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Written by: developed by Bruce Heller, written by: Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt
Starring: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Camren Bicondova, Erin Richards, Jessica Lucas, Chris Chalk, Drew Powell, Michael Chiklis, Jamie Chung, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cory Michael Smith, Morena Baccarin, and more
Episode length: 42 minutes
Another great episode, in which Jerome returns, and he shows why we missed him.
It was nice to see Cameron Monaghan back as Jerome on the show, he’s just so good as the proto-joker, its hard to imagine anyone else in the part being anywhere nearly as delightful. He’s going to be a hard act to follow. The episode was not all Jerome-centric though, there was more on the subplots of Selina’s mom and the aftermath of Penguin’s über public meltdown. It was, as usual, a buffet of melodrama and insanity stuffed with the sorts of events that make this show so addictive.
The narrative, as usual, has the GCPD running around, after the fact, trying to keep up with the current activities of their criminal counterparts and sometimes even arriving in time to prevent the horrific from actually happening. What is becoming glaringly apparent is that Jim Gordon seems to be in charge, not acting police chief Harvey Bullock. It would seem that Penguin, as mayor, has been so distracted that he has failed to appoint a new chief to replace Barnes, who is of course, safely tucked away in Arkham, because insanity.
The show has once again hit its pace after what I felt was an unfortunate choice in spending so much time focused, and dwelling on Jervis Tetch, the Mad Hatter. The show is once again spreading its time on several story arcs simultaneously, which seems to be what its better at doing, although it does sometimes go too far and spread itself overly thin. That was not the case with this week’s episode.
Here’s a recap laced with some comments (*warning, spoilers follow*)
Smile Like You Mean It begins shortly after the events of Ghosts left off with the arrival of Dwight (David Dastmalchian) and his band of merry pranksters Jerome worshippers arriving at the facility where his corpse is being stored in coffin-like containers featuring convenient windows in their surface making it easier to confirm whose remains they hold. They whisk away Jerome’s remains to the location prepared for his resurrection.
The crime scene is soon visited by Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue), along with a small army of uniformed GCPD only to find the place desecrated with the trademark grafitti of the gang plus a bonus prize of one of their number that got left behind. Their prize is wounded, but instead of taking him to a hospital, Gordon has hm taken to headquarters, and handed over to Lee (Morena Baccarin) the new ME, so they can interrogate him sooner and easier. Bending the rules is the new way of doing things to deal with problems in Gotham.
Next we visit Wayne manor where Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and Bruce (David Mazouz) have a visitor in the form of Cole Clemens (P.J. Marshall), the nasty customer that was threatening to kill Selina’s mom in last weeks episode. he’s demanding money or, he says, its back to the big house for Maria Kyle (Ivana Milicevic). Bruce is unflustered by his demands, he knows he can afford it and doesn’t hesitate to cooperate with the felon’s plans. Selina (Camren Bicondova) and her mom show up after and eventually she leaves with the money.
Dwight is shown in his lab which happens to be one of Gotham’s power stations and its a nicely depicted scene strongly reminiscent of Frankenstein’s laboratory from the movie classic with arcs of lightning-like electricity passing through the air, but its all to no avail since for some reason Jerome is not responding to the treatment and refuses to awaken. Dwight is frustrated and upset, and when his assistant reminds him that failure is not an option, and that his followers need to see the face of Jerome, he kills him out of frustration but is inspired by his remarks to come up with a grisly solution to his problem. he removes Jerome’s face surgically and fashions a morbid mask of his features for himself.
When he presents himself with his grisly prize his followers at first reject the notion of this substitute for the real deal of of a resurrected Jerome, but he gives them the old we are all Jerome speech and they come around to his way of thinking in pretty short order.
They take the party to a local tv studio and take it over taking hostages and making demands broadcasting the whole thing on the air as the city watches.
Meanwhile Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) wakes up from his public meltdown to find himself at home being visited by Barbara (Erin Richards) who is reading the headlines about what the reaction to his freaking out and telling him he not only losing his support as mayor, but his support as the crime boss of Gotham, and that he better get his sh*t together before he loses everything, and that only she can help. This is, of course, all part of the complex plot to destroy Penguin masterminded by Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) who wants revenge for Penguin killing his love.
Penguin seems to be falling for the manipulations hook, line, and sinker, until at the last moment he reveals he knows what Barbara is up to, or at least he thinks he does, because what he hasn’t figured out is that Nygma is behind the whole plot to undo him, So when he gets a call from Tommy Bones (James Andrew O’Connor) that Ed has been taken by his gangster rivals, he responds by falling right into the trap and orders his men to all go with him and walk right into it, But we have to wait until next week to find out what happens next.
Meanwhile Selina’s mom delivers the money to Cole and of course its revealed the whole thing was a con all along, and Maria Kyle was part of it, Selina bursts into the room because she suspected as much, and when she confronts him, it turns out that Bruce knew it too. Selina is saddened and royally pissed, and wants to take it out on Bruce, but when she was to fight him he easily rebuffs her attacks. This scene shows well how much bruce has grown and changed. He is no longer simply the boy after revenge , but a more sophisticated version of himself, now a young man and much stronger than he was. the training has been paying off, and we see a glimpse of the man on a mission he will soon become.
To cap things off there’s one more development meant o be surprise, but I have to confess i saw it coming, The corpse of Jerome is found and brought into Lee to examine, but while she’s out of the room Jerome suddenly comes back to life, She returns to find a dead cop on the floor and he takes her hostage. I knew I missed him, but didn’t realize just how much, his delivery of his dialogue was a remarkable treat and delightful to behold , even with his face bloody and wrapped in bandages, there was no mistaking it, Jerome was back baby and crazy as ever, and deadly as ever too.
After figuring everything out he asks the one question he doesn’t know the answer to “where’s my face?” it was a perfect moment in this show and one that should be recognized as such. Disguising himself as a cop, steaing a cop car and running over pedestrians on the way, Jerome sets out for the tv station after seeing Dwight on television wearing his features as a mask. After arriving, he manages to sneak away with a tv mobile broadcast vehicle with Dwight in tow after the GCPD invades the studio and rescues the hostages.
Jerome takes Dwight back to where he was reborn and after a grisly scene that depicts him stapling his face back on himself, He ties him up, surrounding him with a pile of explosives worthy of Wile E Coyote himself and broadcasts a prophetic warning to the city telling them he’s back and what he has been through, it left him changed, and he warns the next day will leave them changed too.
The final scene shows Gordon looking out over the city at night, where he sees an enormous explosion in the distance, quickly followed by sections of the city falling into darkness as they lose power. Jerome’s back baby and he let the world know with a flourish. Nicely played Gotham, nicely played.