Previously on Gotham ... Valerie Vale gets shot, Oswald loves Edward a lot, but Chelsea Speck just complicated the plot.
Now on Gotham ... Jim Gordon has a bad trip, Penguin tries to stop Ed's new courtship, and Jervis finally fails to give the GCPD the slip.
- Jervis Tetch plans to drug the high muckety-mucks of Gotham with Alice's blood. This will accomplish ... something. And Jervis will rule the day because ... reasons? I dunno. He cray cray. But before Jervy Wervy can take care of business, he wants to knock James Gordon out of the way, so he blows a drug called "The Red Queen" (hi, the name of our episode) into Gordon's face, causing Jim to hallucinate a bunch.
- Oswald is frantically on the phone with the police because Ed never came hom last night but, oops, Ed was just out with Isabella all night. Tee hee, they were talking about bones and riddles and BARF. They weren't actually talking about barfing. That was me. I barfed. The barfer was I. Anyway, Penguin is, bless him, emotionally crushed that Ed's attracted to a woman (gay man pain subplot, ahoy!), and Oswald does exactly what you'd expect -- he finds Isabella and tells her that Ed murdered a woman who looks exactly like her. Well? I mean... that's not a lie, y'all. Anyway, Isabella is either a plant or crazy (probably both) and stays with Ed anyway, thus leaving Oswald forever alone.
- Gordon, meanwhile, while visionland spends some time with hallucination-brand Barbara, who takes him on an elevator ride. He visits his perfect life with Lee and their kids (it's kinda like the Nexus from Star Trek: Generations but with less Christmas) before he ultimately winds up taking a leisurely drive with his dad. Jim has some serious dad feels. Big Poppa Gordon was a hero, you see. A real great DA. And also owns a fancy ring! Gotta have a fancy ring, man, or what kinda hero are you? Anyway, the ring has a code on it that reads "While we breathe, we shall defend." Guess Jim's been holding his breath for a while, huh? Well, he can breathe easy now, since he visit Barnes and re-enlists with the GCPD. Well, that was easy.
- All plots (save one) convene at the party for Gotham's elite, where Jervis tries to make every drink blood wine (not the cool Klingon kind, though), but the GCPD show up and finally take Tetch down. Katherine (of the mysterious Court of Owl Katherine's) is there talking with Oswald. She doesn't trust him, and neither does a mystery man whom Katherine seems to work for: Gordon's dad!
- Oh, and Bruce makes Selina some dinner. She shows up late. Riveting stuff.
- Jim visits Valerie in the hospital. It goes badly. Vale basically tells Jim that she knows he's still in love with Lee and that Jervis was right about how dangerous Jim is. Good for you, Vale. Jim is not great. You and your bullet-riddled guts deserve better.
- There's a side plot where we see Barnes slowly losing control of his cool while tracking Jervis. I like this version of Barnes, who knows he's doomed but is still trying to do right with whatever time he may have left. It's grim that he's written a new will and testament, but, hey, responsible, right? There's something emotionally powerful about watching a good man in his final moments.
- Erin Richards may only be playing a hallucination of Barbara this week, but her performance is stellar. She gets some great costumes, including a nun's habit. I know I'm not supposed to want those two back together, but Barbara is just so interesting, and she's maybe the best character on this show that really gives Ben McKenzie something wild and unpredictable to play off of. Certainly beats watching Jim make victims out of Lee and Valerie, that's for sure.
- The only bad plot was Bruce and Selina's, and it's only bad because it's boring. Will Selina show up to Bruce's painstakingly prepared romantic dinner? Yes. Of course she will. Duh. Will they moon over each other a bit but not really move the needle one way or the other? Yes. They're children. You can only do so much romance stuff with kids. Duh. Will these actors turn in a perfectly fine performance anyway? Yes. They're good actors. Duh. But that's what makes this such a bad plot -- it wastes their talents.
"Hey, Dany, how do you feel about the Oswald/Ed/Isabella love triangle this week?" Why, I'm so glad you asked, voice inside my head. I'm... provisionally okay with it. I think Oswald (while still being crazy, evil, and fun) remains very empathetic here. And he's certainly not the first gay boy to want someone who is potentially straight and unattainable. Lord knows, I have been on both ends of that situation, so I ain't against it as a narrative device. The provisional element is Isabella. There are a lot of hints here about how no one knows her and how she's unaware of recent events that suggests a mystery. Who is Isabella? I confess, I am a little intrigued. My only real beef is that neither Ed nor Oswald suspect she might actually be Miss Kringle given that they both know a bunch of dead people who came back to life last season. Do neither of them suspect that may have happened again? Really? These two paranoid delusionals? I don't buy it.
But otherwise, all the Gothamy stuff is in the violence and the wacky costumes, as per usual. A pretty standard Gothaming, all told.