Gotham recap: Penguin's freaks assemble and someone takes a fall

Contributed by
May 8, 2017

Warning: this is a recap for the Gotham episode "HEROES RISE:THE PRIMAL RIDDLE" and there are a lot of spoilers. A bunch happens in this episode. Just be aware and don't @ me like no one told you.

The short version: While Barbara convinces Riddler to chase after who secretly runs Gotham, Jim Gordon must decide whether he can do what it takes to become a member of the Court of Owls. And while Penguin and Ivy build the ranks of their freak army with Mr. Freeze and Firefly, Bruce 2 confides his secret to Selina with deadly consequences.

The good: Return of the freaks, Jim joins the Court, Selina's shocker

I think the truth of Gotham will usually be that, where goes the Penguin, the fun will follow. And this week continues that by adding two old cast members back into the mix in the form of Victor Fries and Bridgit Pike, aka Mr. Freeze and Firefly.

Firefly especially is a hoot. Post escaping Arkham, she seems to have gotten a job at some sort of ... smelting plant? I guess that makes sense? Fish gotta swim, birds gotta eat, and fire villain gotta work in the smelting industry? Anyway, Bridgit's boss treats her bad enough that she's willing to align herself back up with the fine folks who took her memories and tricked her into thinking she was a fire goddess. That's a pretty bad boss. So Bridgit sets him on fire. Maybe she's a pretty bad employee, come to think of it.

Naturally, Victor and Bridgit don't exactly get on like a house on fire (see what I did there?), but if we can't watch Rory and Snart do the fire and ice thing on Legends of Tomorrow, I'm glad this corny trope was trotted out to maximum goofiness on Gotham.

James Gordon sure is in a pickle. Which, at this point, is good. Seems like when everything is fine, Jim is morally ambiguous anyway, so the show might as well give him a reason. And while I'm still unsure why the Court wants James in their Owl Squad, I think it at least makes narrative sense to have him shacking up with the bad guys. The crazier things get, the more interesting Jim becomes.

And speaking of crazy, I am more than a little surprised that Gotham seems to be going full movie Catwoman. Bruce 2's desperation as he faces the end of his life would naturally bring him to Selina, but I didn't think he'd push her out a window when she didn't instantly fall in love. But as those stray cats began to circle Ms. Kyle's body, I was reminded that Batman Returns' Catwoman is still kind of my fave. So I'm holding out hope we'll get something wild from Selina like that, and not "is really good at basketball now for some reason" Selina from the Halle Berry Catwoman movie.

The bad: The Riddler needs to calm himself, Barbara losing control

I said this with the last Riddler episode, but there's something I'm just not so sure about when it comes to Cory Michael Smith's performance whenever he goes full camp. I want to like him stabbing Hamlet through with a sword. I want to like that very much. But, again, this change in behavior, simply now that he's called The Riddler, feels unnatural, even for Gotham. Maybe it's just me. But I think there's a balance that can struck between who Ed was with Penguin, and who he is without. I did like Riddler's meeting with The Court of Owls, though. So there's that.

I'm also not so sure about Barbara losing her control over her own people so soon. Maybe this is Gotham's way of setting Babs up to be Harley Quinn? It just feels like an awfully quick turnaround. I was so enjoying Queen Barbara, and was looking forward to her and Tabitha being something more than queer bait. It could still happen, I guess, but I just wasn't into the creepy triangle of Barbara, Tabitha, and Butch at all this week.

Lines of the night

Nothing really struck me, to be honest. So, you tell me: what were your favorite lines from tonight's episode?

Lingering questions

WHAT'S IN THE BOX? Is it Gwyneth Paltrow's head? Can it please be Gwyneth Paltrow's head? Asking for a friend.

How much time has Bruce 2 got left? How will Selina come back from the dead, and what will she be like once she's inevitably resurrected? Who else might join Penguin's army of freaks, and what will happen when Penguin and The Riddler finally come face to face?