SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers for Gotham's "A Beautiful Darkness" linger in the shadows below!
Every once in a while Gotham takes a big step forward towards the Gotham City we've known prior to the prequel series' existence. "A Beautiful Darkness" is one of those episodes. But it also remains rooted in the specific version of Gotham City the show has established over four seasons.
WILL THE REAL IVY AND BRUCE PLEASE STAND UP
The two characters who take the biggest steps towards their classic counterparts are Bruce and Ivy, and they take those steps together.
The plot basically goes thusly: Ivy, discovering that Wayne Biotech is responsible for testing plants under the auspices of something called "Project M," manipulates Bruce and Lucius into telling her all about it.
Ivy poisons Bruce and gets Project M (which is basically Ra's Super Serum) and uses it to be even better at killing people and turning them into plants. Also, Bruce has a hallucination, during which he meets... Batman. Or, you know, "Batman."
One of the major concerns regarding the now twice recasting of Ivy Pepper has been that Ivy, who is ostensibly still a child in her mind, will be hyper-sexualized now that she's being played by a grown-ass woman. But what I find so compelling thus far is that, while the show acknowledges people's fascination with Ivy (every time she uses her perfume, everyone falls in love with her), the only thing Ivy loves is plants. Everyone tells her she's "so beautiful," but when Ivy says the line herself, she says it to her new killer plants.
To some degree there will probably always be something of the femme fatale to Poison Ivy, but what Gotham is getting right so far is revealing how means-to-an-end Ivy sees human attraction. Ivy only cares that people like her insofar as she can use that to further her own goals of plant supremacy.
In other words: Ivy's nuts. And that's... exactly where she ought to be.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne has been in full Bratty Bruce mode for a few episodes. But that ends tonight with a bizarre fever dream that includes:
- Bruce having his face surgically removed
- James Gordon with a mustache
- Lee dressed as Cleopatra?
- Harvey Bullock as a butler with a live chicken?
- Oh, and also Batman shows up.
Well, I say "Batman" but obviously Gotham can't go full, uh... BM. But we do see bats flying around, a bat-shaped cape, and a cloaked figure which we can infer (without Gotham getting in trouble) is meant to be Batman.
Bruce may have fallen off the Bat-wagon (was there ever a Bat Wagon in the comics?), but this was a very entertaining way to get him back on the path to capes and cowls.
HUMOROUS OBSERVATIONS TO ELICIT SOFT CHUCKLES FROM THE READER
- If Gotham doesn't want me to think of Ed and Oswald as inevitably romantic partners, they probably shouldn't have written a subplot where Ed writes Oswald a note that is essentially the Gotham equivalent of "Say my name." It was hot. No apologies.
- Sofia hangs out with Barbara. Sofia hangs out with Lee. Sofia hangs out with Jim. I just wanna get all these crazy kids together in one room at the same time (that isn't in a Bruce Wayne fever dream where Lee is Cleopatra for some reason) so the healing can truly begin.
- I desperately want to know why Harvey has a chicken in Bruce's dream. Is the suggestion that Harvey is being a chicken right now by hiding from his responsibilities at the GCPD? Is someone else being a chicken? Does Bruce just like chickens? So many poultry-related queries.
- When will Detective Harper be a character? I mean, I personally very much enjoyed her and the entire GCPD chasing Jim and Selina around because they're all in love with Ivy, but it would be nice for the only other named GCPD member to be fleshed out in literally any way whatsoever.
- Truly no one has ever made a better argument for how evil Jerome and Oswald are than when they had a fight in pantomime.
- Truly no one has ever made a better argument for how good Jerome and Oswald are than when they had a fight using a spork.
Anyway, word on the street is that we're headed towards a "No Man's Land" scenario by the end of this season. Can't wait to see what that means for all our characters -- and also for their fever dream chickens.