Gotham's Mad City: New Day Rising starts a love story that needs to be told

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Oct 13, 2016, 9:12 PM EDT (Updated)

Previously on Gotham ... Lee returned to Gotham with a new man, Gordon turned suicidal over Lee with a little help from Jervis Tetch, Bruce's twin became even more twin-ier, and Oswald Cobblepot got Edward Nygma out of jail because they're boyfriends. I mean Oswald needs Ed's help as he runs for mayor. Sure.

Now on Gotham ... Jervis is still after Alice, Jim is still suicidal, Penguin is still trying to be mayor, and Bruce's twin is still Bruce's twin, which can only mean one thing -- Twinter is Coming.

Now that we're getting into the season proper, each episode feels progressively tighter, with more pinpoint-focused plotlines. That's great news for the plots that are good, and terrible news for the plots that aren't. But before separate the wheat from the chaff, when need to talk about ...


- Jim Gordon is still under the spell of Jervis Tetch. Each time he hears something that sounds like Tetch's watch, Jim attempts to kill himself. Alice says he should be better, but something deep within him is still spurning him toward self-destruction. And, yes, that something would be Lee's return to Gotham with new fiance in tow. After two separate suicide attempts, Jim is placed under Lee's care, who concludes he needs to be formally on 48-hour suicide watch. But not before she guilt trips Gordon for not bing their for her post miscarriage. Which ... he did. Kind of. But she'd already moved on? The timing is a bit weird. But what matters is that Lee still allows Harvey to bust Jim out of his time on hold so the two can go fight Tetch. We'll talk about how that wraps up in a moment.

- Speaking of Tetch, he will stop at nothing to break his sister who is out of jail. He wants her back, and it turns out that, though they are siblings, Jervis did still use his hypnosis powers to force Alice into wanting him. Sexually. Because incest rape is the only despicable place Gotham hadn't gone to yet, I guess. Jervis employs (hypnotizes) The Terrible Tweed Brothers, a luchador team who are Gotham's version of Dumfree and Deever Tweed from the Batman comics. Together they bust into the GCPD and kidnap Alice, almost getting Gordon to off himself in the process. Jervis wants to make sure Alice never leaves him by taking a LOT of her blood and threatening that, should she leave, he will release her blood into the world, creating an army of monsters. Also he dressed her in an Alice in Wonderland-style dress at some point. But, good news! Alice won't be trapped with Jervis because, after a fight with Jim and Harvey, she acidentally falls onto a pike, impaling herself. Oops.

- This wraps Gordon's suicidal storyline. Lee gives Gordon a speech about letting go of the past, which Jim takes to heart. Jim tells Lee he's happy for her, or at least trying to be, and the two of them seem on almost firm footing for the first time since Lee was first introduced.

- Meanwhile, doppelganger Bruce is hanging out with Selina. She tries to steal money from some bookies and almost gets herself killed in the process. Faux Bruce saves her, but reveals his inability to feel pain (and his scars) in the process, which means the jig is up -- Selina knows this ain't the real Bruce. But she feels something for this boy, and he for her. There's a kiss(!) before real Bruce finally shows up with Alfred to ask doppelhomeboy what's up. Faux Bruce basically says that Bruce is blowing it with Selina before announcing that he's peacing out of Gotham for greener pastures. Unfortunately, The Court of Owls has other plans and kidnaps him on his way out of town.

- Finally, we have Penguin's mayoral bid, aka the best thing happening on Gotham BY FAR. Penguin and Butch are already buying off election officials to ensure Oswald's victory, but Ed thinks that's a mistake. Ed tries to tell Oswald that he can win on his own, but Oswald isn't having it. So Ed takes it upon himself to demand the money back from every crooked official, telling them that Penguin wants to run a clean campaign. As Penguin is about to have Butch splatter Ed's brains on the wall, news comes through that Oswald has still won the election, without cheating. In what has been the most sincere moment Gotham has ever had, Oswald realizes that the people of Gotham actually love him, and it's heavily implied that Oswald and Ed love each other. You know. As men do. Gayly. All right, I'm pressing that last part, but Oswald does announce that Ed will be his chief of staff and the two of them hold hands on camera, smailing proudly. We may never get anything more than subtext, but they'll always be a power couple in my heart.

- Oh, and Barnes gets some of Alice's blood in his eye, so now he's crazy, probably. Okay. Sure.

All right. Lots of stuff here. Let's talk about what worked, what needs work, and what needs to stop right now.


- After having been the worst example of women as props, Lee finally carves out a little life of her own, even if we don't see as much of it as I'd like. She's got her job, she's keeping everyone at the GCPD from not dying after the nth time criminals showed up to terrorize the joint. But, more importantly, Lee is setting boundaries between herself and Jim Gordon. She wants him to be mentally well, but their time together is over. She calls him out for not being there without dehumanizing him. Lee might be the most mature person in Gotham right now. I'd bet on disappointment later, but for now at least, it's Lee who was the strong one, Lee who saved Jim's life, and Lee who also knew when to walk away, too.

- Meanwhile, Barbara is probably the only woman who actually wants Jim and they continue to make a kind of delightfully perverse sense together. However crazy Barbara may be, and however much of a gritty vigilante Jim may be, they seem to keep returning back to each other, seem to each still want the other to be safe. Their relationship is just so weird. I like it.

- But the best of all is Ed and Oswald. Their relationship is being written and played so well and with such dimension. There's a moment early during a speech where Oswald talks about how his mother was the only person who believed in him, even when he didn't believe in himself. I know he's supposed to be the Trump, but murderings and torture be damned, Oswald is more likable than Trump could ever dream of being. And Ed pays off the speech so well. First, when Oswald says he doesn't care about winning fairly or not, Ed gives that riddle: "I can't be bought, but I can be stolen with one glance. I'm worthless to one, but priceless to two. What am I?" The answer, of course, is love. And when Penguin wins the election on his own merits, he realizes what the riddle means, that love cannot be bought but that he has somehow earned it. And then, best of all, when Oswald asks how Ed knew how the election would turn out, he tells Oswald that he believes in him, even when he doesn't believe in himself. It's a throw back to Oswald's speech about his mother that can leave no room for doubt -- Ed and Oswald love each other. And now Ed will be Oswald's chief of staff, which should raise some eyebrows considering he's a killer, too. But, for now, who cares! This is great.


- What can even be said of Alice Tetch? She is a prop, not a person. She is there to cry and be scared, to be used by the police, by Jim Gordon, and by the writers to push the plot forward. And, worst of all, she is used by her own brother as a sexual object. For a show that wants to get political, Gotham has woefully missed the opportunity to call out the most galling aspect of the 2016 election - that there is a man who could be president that proudly promotes sexual assault against women without apology. This story of Alice as sexual abuse object and nothing more only feeds that narrative. So if Gotham really wants to make a political statement, they need to do it by giving their women some agency and stop making them all abuse and rape victims. The took a small step forward with Lee this week, but a huge leap back with Alice. Consistency, Gotham writers -- get you some.


- Ed and Oswald have defied all odds and become what I can only describe as one of the most original love stories in TV history. But right now I don't see much chance in that bromance becoming a romance. And I'm going to use this section usually dedicated for silliness to make a plea to the creators of Gotham:

Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot are Gotham's power couple, and it's time for this show to take a real risk and let that subtext become text. If Gotham is a show where all bets are off, where anything can happen, then let Ed and Oswald fall in love and be a couple. Two complex, villanous men in love, working together to control the city of Gotham? We've never seen anything like it before, and who knows when the opportunity will come again? Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith have such amazing chemistry together. They are the reason, even moreso than the writing, that this love story is so palpable. Use their talents to tell progressive and original stories.

If you agree, then make sure you tweet @robinlordtaylor and @mister_CMS to tell them what great work they're doing with the hashtag #EdwaldIsLove. And then tweet @GothamTVWriters with the same hashtag and tell them it's time to make it official: make Edwald a thing and not just a meme. Support the LGBT community by giving them exciting, fun characters to root for and give audiences in general one of the best and most unexpected storylines of the 2016-2017 TV season.

And then make sure you come back next week to see what madness might happen next on Gotham.

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