WARNING: SPOILERS below for Gotham Season 4, Episode 12: "Pieces of a Broken Mirror."
Gotham is back with a three-pronged attack. It's been a few months since we last saw the most mentally-unstable city in the history of comic book adaptations, so naturally there's a need to catch up on as many characters as possible. But not Penguin and Jerome. So, if Penguin and Jerome sitting in an Arkham Asylum tree was plot thread number one in your heart, sorry -- that's not until next week.
However, this week there is plenty of Gordon, Harvey, Lucius, Alfred, Lee, Ed, Barbara, Selina, Tabitha, Butch and, oh, yeah... Poison Ivy.
Probably shouldn't bury the lead on that -- the third incarnation of Ivy finally showed her more-adult-than-ever mug. Kind of a big deal? And yet it happens in the midst of everything, because...
IT'S A SMALL, SMALL (GOTHAM) WORLD
Gotham City is, has always been modeled in many ways off of New York City. Gotham, the show, is the modeled after NYC more than most on account of... it films there.
And if you know anything about New York, especially Manhattan, it is that most of the respective neighborhoods are densely packed. So rare is the time when only one thing is happening at a time.
In Gotham's Narrows (which I guess is supposed to be Alphabet City or Inwood or Harlem, maybe), Lee is giving a rousing political speech to the impoverished of that neighborhood when someone tries to blow her up with a toy plane.
At the same time... Alfred Pennyworth is getting into a fist fight with some angry diner attendees. They are angry because Alfred is... British? I guess?
At the same time... three gutter punks (maybe the Narrows is Union Square, I dunno) run afoul of Ivy as she emerges from her mystic cocoon. Ivy touches a dude and he is, huge shock here... poisoned.
But the major event is the explosion. Gordon is also there for some reason, so he and Alfred rush people out of the building. Somehow Lee and Jim don't see each other, and also Ivy sneaks out unseen, too.
It's kind of an interesting move, to have all of these major events shake up within a two block radius of each other. I'm not sure it works, but it is definitely an interesting concept.
If we're being really critical, the limitations of this episode are not the close quarters, but of some of the half-baked executions.
I'm sorry, Gotham. I love you. But Lee's speech is the most basic Bernie Sanders "don't be bad to each other, because rich people are evil" series of vague pronouncements I've ever heard. Lee should really stick to working the clinic, the smokey eye shadow, and those banging bangs. Soapbox Lee is not the best Lee.
And I will also say that "Alfred meets a nice lady only to be accused of her murder later because her boyfriend is a dick" was not thrilling. And that nice lady gets the $#@! kicked out of her and the results are unnecessarily graphic.
As for Ivy -- she's fine. I'm sure there will be further sexualizing of a character who is mentally still supposed to be a teenager, but, from what I've seen, the sexiest thing she has done so far is... wear a nice dress? Otherwise, she's mostly just poisoning people, squatting in an apartment, and telling Selina that they should work together to "Make Gotham our bitch." Okay, Ivy.
Honestly, of the three plots all surrounded around one explosion, the biggest reveal is that, Nygma, who has been Lee's strongest advocate (he's in love with her, it's fine), has fractured completely, and, it turns out, The Riddler was the one who hired The Toy Maker (or The Toy Maker's Dad, more likely) to bump off Lee. Because, since this is Gotham, Ed and Riddler are in a cold war over who is the real Nygma. Totes normal. Happens all the time. Me and my dapper green suit got into a fight just last week over who got the last breakfast muffin. So I get it.
HUMOROUS OBSERVATIONS TO ELICIT SOFT CHUCKLES FROM THE READER
- Okay, but who came up with that Gotham City Sirens ad? Why '80s hair? You know what's funny: Selina is the least into it, but she was the only one who already had huge '80s air. I think this was all her idea in the first place and she just frontin'. I can say frontin' btw because the '90s are back.
- I like that Butch sees Tabitha again and is, like, "Don't look at me, I'm a monster." My dude, you look exactly the same except your hand grew back and you're even whiter. Is this really lowkey meta? I mean... white men are monsters is kind of the Big Mood of 2018, so I guess he's technically right?
- I know everyone was fixated on Alfred getting into a bar brawl and then Harvey showing up at the last minute to save the day, but isn't it weird how Harvey goes to the john and doesn't have someone else watching the bar? Doesn't seem very professional is all I'm saying.
- Is anyone else 100% fine with Lee being extremely icy to James? Gosh, do I hope that lasts forever. Because eventually he has to get back together with Barbara (I mean, right?) and that is a way hotter proposition the yet another go around with two characters who care way too deeply about everything all the time.
Anyway. Gotham is back. This episode was a little weird but, good news, next week's episode is straight up cray cray in the bray bray. There's pantomime -- all I'm gonna say.