Title: Mad City: Look Into My Eyes
Director: Rob Bailey
Written by: developed by Bruce Heller, written by Danny Cannon
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
The Mad Hatter arrives in Gotham and Penguin runs for mayor in another eventful episode in the continuing story about the grim city.
The re-introductions apparently are over as Gotham, season 3, moves forward with its narrative, and the show seems to hit its pace once again in an installment that, in the usual manner employed by this series, hops around more than a bug on a hotplate.
There’s some new folks in town that are introduced by what they can do, while some old faces make a reappearance and add to the events that make this special city so charming. Can you feel the warmth and friendly glow the city emanates?
Here’s a recap, laced with some comments (*warning, spoilers follow*)
As the episode opens, we find ourselves at Sirens, Barbara and Tabitha’s swank and popular new nightspot where we find a stage magician performing, more specifically a hypnotist who goes by the name the Amazing Jervis Tetch, who we all know is also known as the Mad Hatter, destined to become a regular member in good standing of Batman’s villain gallery in the future.
Tetch is shown performing the standard cliched hypnotist’s gag of making people behave as barn yard animals onstage, much to the delight of the crowd, who behaves as if they have never seen such a thing before. Barbara is especially interested in the possibilities of getting someone to do anything you want them to do.
Tetch soon reveals his real agenda of robbery and murder when he hypnotizes a member of the audience whose beautiful wife is wearing a very expensive looking necklace. He leaves a subliminal message in his victims mind, which he triggers later with a phone call. The victim of his hypnosis is ordered to kill his wife, and after hiding her body kill himslef also. By way of introductions this one leaves little doubt what Tetch is capable of and what he is willing to do, but there is little in the way of why he does what he does.
Meanwhile, across town in Wayne Manor we find Bruce and Alfred coming to grips with dealing with Bruce’s recently arrived doppelgänger, who seems harmless enough and Bruce, kindhearted lad that he is, invites him to stay as long as he needs to, but Alfred is not so keen on the idea. The longer he hangs around the more stuff we learn about him, for example when he burns himself on a candle when reaching for some bread he seems unaffected by the experience, apparently experiencing no pain.
Later he shows a natural talent for boxing and surprises Alfred with his ability, and when Alfred manages to land a punch that bloodies his nose, he once again seems to feel no pain. This kid behaves really strangely and later when Selena arrives to ask Bruce to help her find the missing Ivy he is seen teaching himself to imitate Bruce’s voice. Later in the episode he cuts his hair, and steals some of Bruce’s clothes and one of the cars, in order to find Selena and invite her for a ride and something to eat. its not clear whether this faux Bruce has a sinister agenda or not, but he certainly lacks in good manners.
On another front, we find Gordon at his place as Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung) is leaving after their night of passion, and he seems to want to her to come back again and makes some vague promises to try to fix the place up, but she makes it clear their hook up was just that, only a physical fling to her that was casual sex and should be taken for nothing more.
Tetch shows up at Gordon’s and wants to hire him to locate his sister, Alice (Naian González Norvind), who he is desperate to find. He explains she has a strange condition, for which he was foolish enough to leave her in the care of Hugo Strange to treat, which makes it likely she’s one of the Indian Hill escapees. He hands Gordon a wad of bills big enough to choke the proverbial equine and Jim takes the case.
Later when Gordon stops by the GCPD he encounters Lee (Morena Baccarin) who says she has moved back to Gotham with her fiancé Mario Falcone (James Carpinello), yes, that Falcone. They are both very civilized about the way things have turned out. She tells him Barnes has offered her her old job back, but she hasn’t decided yet what her answer will be.
When Gordon is treated late for head wound by Mario, who is a doctor. Jim casually mentions if Mario ever hurts her, he will be forced to hunt him down and kill him. There’s another scene with Lee at a restaurant where, when she is having dinner with Mario, another guest arrives, Its Don Falcone (John Doman), who it turns out is Mario’s dad. This was apparently devised to be a big surprise, but its something that has been known for awhile now by fans of the series and is, in fact, old news.
We meet Tetch’s sister Alice who is cowering in her apartment while the landlord is pounding on the door for the rent. He enters and begins yelling at her, but suddenly decides maybe they can make a deal, and tries to force his affections on her. he has some sort of strong allergic like reaction after kissing her and collapses. Later when Jim shows up there looking for her he hears the landlord going bezerk where he is locked in a closet, and when Jim frees him he attacks him like a wild animal, Alice arrives as this going on and shoots him.
She seems concerned about whether any of his blood got on Gordon, and explains he was infected by her. When Gordon explains he is looking for her because he was sent by her brother, she wants nothing to do with Tetch, and gets upset at the mention of him. She also seems to have the ability to start fires spontaneously and escapes when she sets fire to the landlord’s body
Meanwhile, ex-mayor James (Richard Kind) is seen making a public announcement that he will be taking over the position again until elections are held to choose a new mayor for the city. While he is making his announcement Penguin shows up with a group of his loyal deadbeats, and arriving with a flourish he condemns the mayor’s attempt to ease himself back into office unchallenged, and is loquacious in reminding the gathered crowd what a lousy job James did before as mayor, and while doing so, announces he is running for the office himself, and calls for elections to be held asap.
Returning home, Butch is voicing doubts about Penguin’s decision to enter the mayoral race, but gets a huge surprise when they enter to find the place is already set up and running for that purpose. Its buzzing like a hive of activity complete with posters. banners. and phone banks full of volunteers.
When he gets a call to meet with James privately, Penguin arrives at the appointed location in a restaurant, and when James provokes him into getting excited, he stands up and is immediately surrounded by restaurant workers with guns. Penguin seems unperturbed by this, and when he gestures it turns out the restaurant full of customers all work for him, and they all have guns too, making it a standoff. Penguin uses his leverage to ask for one thing, he thinks maybe he does need more help to achieve his goal.
We see him next at Arkham, where he is visiting the new director of the looney bin, and he makes thinly disguised threats to coerce him into releasing Edward Nygma who seems confused by his release, and standing outside the gates of the place after his release he is questioning what, or who, is behind his sudden change in fortune, until Penguin pulls up in a limo and pops his head out of its window. Nygma smiles knowingly. The odd couple of crime is back together again.
Finally we have Gordon reporting to Tetch that he found his sister, but lost her when she started the fire and escaped, he tells Tetch his next stop is the GCPD unless he explains what’s really going on. Tetch draws Gordon to the roof of the place, and quickly hypnotizes him, getting Jim to drop his gun and get up on the edge of the roof.
Alice arrives in time to save Jim and begins to threaten to kill her brother unless he leaves her alone, and lets Gordon go. She shoots but misses, but the gunshot has the effect of snapping Gordon out of it, and he nearly falls when he wakes up on the narrow ledge, but Alice helps him get back on solid footing, and he thanks her putting some cuffs on her.
So there you have it, like I said an eventful episode. I was relieved the show’s creator’s have put the whole Hugo Strange, Fish Mooney, storyline to rest for now, and finally seem to be moving forward and establishing new storylines for season 3. It was good to see Nygman back, after his long absence from the show. I look forward to seeing what they have planned for him this season in his new altered persona as the Riddler.
The whole storyline with Bruce’s doppelgänger is intriguing, and while it seems the obvious route of mistaken identities is will be forthcoming from it, I think there is more in store to make it interesting
Overall it was a very entertaining episode, filled with, along with some amusing moments, the usual blend of mystery, action, and surprises with lots to ponder until next week’s edition perhaps supplies some answers to the mysteries left dangling by this one. It’s official, season three has begun. Happy viewing.