Title: Mad City: Anything For You
Director: T.J. Scott
Written by: developed by Bruce Heller, written by Denise Thé
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
In the aftermath of Penguin’s election as mayor of the grim city, a crime wave ensues that could lead to civil war amongst the city’s criminals.
If the citizens of Gotham were hoping for more peaceful times in their turbulent city after the election of the Penguin as mayor, they have a harsh lesson in store regarding the way things work in the dark metropolis in the way of a violent reality check.
The episode this time around takes the series usual route of hopping from one storyline to the next and then back again to tell its story. The main plot line surrounds the ill advised notion by Butch Gilzean he can win back his spot at the top of Penguin’s buddy list by attempting to make himself into a hero by being a villain. The episode is a lighter in nature by virtue of the somewhat silly premise its based on.
The season, after spending the first two episodes wrapping up storylines from season two, and reintroducing us to the menacing town, has finally settled in to the sort of story telling for season three, that made last season so memorable, entertaining, and fun.
Here’s a recap, laced with comments (*warning,spoilers follow*)
The town is still in a celebratory mood following the election of the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) as mayor, and a big party is planned to take place at the city’s favorite new hangout, Sirens, the nightclub owned by Barbara (Erin Richards), and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas).
Meanwhile we find the man of the hour standing before a statue of his dead mother weeping and asking if she is proud of him because of what he’s accomplished. He is joined by Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) who reassures him she would indeed be proud, playing on Penguin’s insatiable need to be reassured and to receive approval for everything he does.
Next we find him making a speech on the steps of city hall about his mother and how she always made him feel safe and protected. As he’s making his speech a group of men armed with machine guns arrive and abruptly change the tone of the gathering from pleasant to panicked, when they start firing their guns. Shooting at the statue, they decapitate it. They are the Red Hood gang brought back to life just in time to ruin Penguin’s fun and spoil the party.
Penguin is naturally upset to see the statue of his mother defiled in this manner, he utters the oath he so often uses in these situations and promises to make them pay for this. he quickly assembles a meeting of his criminal cabinet and orders them to find those responsible in no uncertain terms. The people attending this meeting include Barbara Kean, and Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan)
We soon find out that Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell) is behind it, and has plans to make himself Penguin’s best buddy again in a clever scheme (for him) to bump Nygma from the top spot he thinks should be his. Nygma, of course, figures out exactly what’s going on and being more clever than Butch sets him up for a colossal fall in public later in the episode.
Next we find Jim (Ben McKenzie), and Valerie (Jamie Chung), having coffee as she prepares to leave and informing him she can’t come back to stay that night because that would be three nights in row, making their relationship a thing. I’m not certain where she gets her ideas about modern relationships, but that’s a new one on me. Even though she’s obviously very fond of Jim, because she does keep coming back for more, she seems determined to keep some sort of distance from him in their relationship, becuase she’s a modern independent woman, etc., and that’s the rules.
As for Jim he seems to understand there’s no point in trying to argue with her reasoning, and plays along with her way of doing things at least for now.
Bruce (David Mazouz), shows up at Jim’s shortly after this and wants to hire him to look into what happened to Ivy as a favor for Selena (Camren Bicondova). Jim advises him to talk to Selena and tell her how he feels. Bruce makes no mention of the Court of Owls business, apparently planning on keeping his promise to drop his investigation, even though the Owls seem to be plotting to replace him with his double.
We join Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) at GCPD headquarters, and he’s feeling the effects of being exposed to Alice Tetch’s blood. Nygma makes a big entrance announcing he’s the new liaison with the mayors office regarding just about any crime he takes an interest in. Nygma makes no attempt to disguise his delight in the irony of the situation, and responds to Barnes displeasure at seeing him there by threatening to have him fired if he doesn’t cooperate.
Meanwhile Butch has upped the ante in his game of deceit by having his gang target and attack everything the Penguin tries to do to follow through on his campaign promises. Butch gets found out pretty quick by Tabitha and Barbara, who he makes a deal with to not expose him, at least not yet.
Its just about party time when Nygma confronts Butch with the fact he knows its him behind the violent activity of the newly resurrected Red Hood gang, and he makes him an offer that includes killing Penguin and taking over control of Gotham as his partner. and that poor sap Butch falls for it.
We join things at Sirens as the party is getting going, Bruce and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) arrive and soon Bruce spots Selena who is working the crowd and stealing to her heart’s content. I have to wonder what she does with all that money she steals, and what happened to her allegiance to Fish Mooney? But these are mysteries for another time.
Selena gets grabbed by a woman she doesn’t recognize, but who seems to know her, its Ivy, of course and she’s having too much fun messing with Selena’s mind to tell her who she is yet. Selena is shown puzzling and brooding over the encounter as Bruce approaches her and tells her he wants to talk to her
Selena and Bruce are on the roof alone and he divulges what little he was able to find out about Ivy, and Selena agrees it not much and rudely adds he must be the real Bruce because he’s so boring. Bruce awkwardly tries to express his feelings for her and wants to know if she feels it too. She torments him, of course by not acknowledging the truth but chooses to toy with him instead and kisses him which leaves him even more confused. Poor Bruce, he has a lot to learn about women, and he couldn’t have picked a more perfect teacher.
While all this is going on, the party is in full swing and Penguin starts to make a speech when he is interrupted by Butch dressed as a member of the Red Hood gang, he has a gun given to him by Victor Zsasz, who apparently is working with Nygma now. Butch makes his dramatic entrance and actually attempts to shoot Penguin, but his gun is loaded with blanks, and Zsasz wounds him to slow him down.
Nygma seizes the moment to expose Butch for the traitor he is, and Penguin once again utters his oath to make Butch pay for doing this. Barbara is laughing through the whole scene, she delights in discord and violent conflict like always, but Butch isn’t done yet.
When Tabitha arrives after fighting off some goons who were holding her captive in her own place she provides a distraction that allows Butch to get the drop on Zsasz and overpower him, and managing to get his hands on Nygma he proceeds to strangle him nearly to death before Penguin saves Nygma’s life by breaking a bottle over Butch’s head.
Butch is in police custody and in an ambulance soon after. Its Tabitha to the rescue as she is shown donning her attire from earlier in the series when she was a more deadly version of her self and following the ambulance on a motorcycle its obvious what she has in mind, and sure enough she hijacks the ambulance and rescues Butch.
When Barnes gets the news about the hijacked ambulance he jumps up from his desk and and realizes a few moments after, he no longer needs his crutch. The effects of the blood have reached the first stage.
The last scene of the episode shows Tetch with a woman he has captive and dressed up in a costume like Alice In Wonderland. he abruptly kills her by stabbing her in the neck, and then uses a pen to write Jim Gordon’s name on a place card in blood, teasing what is to come.
Another great episode, a little less complex than some of them are, but still a very entertaining edition that did a good job depicting the world after the election of the Penguin as mayor. It seems like the role of Penguin has shifted somewhat, he has gone from being really dark to being relegated to being an almost comical and pitiable figure of a character who has been reduced to shouting threatening oaths while the real darkness of the show has been handed off to Tetch and Nygma.
It also occurs to me that in this situation different criminals will be obligated to choose sides in the conflict between Butch and Penguin, a situation that could lead to a civil war of sorts amongst the city’s criminal element, which, of course, will get everyone else involved.
Like always the show left me eager for more, and learning how the plot lines play out next. Gotham remains one of my favorite genre shows on tv, surpassed only possibly by Westworld, which is a totally different thing. Its still early in the season, so things could change with the possibility the other comics based series could rise to the occasion and usurp the king. Happy viewing.