Gordon is forced to play a game of cat and mouse with the Mad Hatter while Cobblepot not only has to rule the city (legally and illegally), but he also has to deal with new feelings that have emerged.
While the Jervis Tetch, aka the Mad Hatter, was briefly shown last week on Gotham, this week it’s pretty much his show. The deranged hypnotist blamed Gordon for the death of his sister (even though his sister was terrified of his attachment to her) and as a result, is going to make Gordon’s life a living hell. From the beginning of the episode, he kidnaps a poor newlywed couple and forces Gordon to do the unthinkable.
Just as The Joker in The Dark Knight did, Jervis forces Gordon to choose who lives or dies multiple times this episode. In the beginning, he hypnotizes the newlywed couple as well as a poor child to commit suicide. The newlyweds are to jump off of a roof holding hands while the poor child is forced to walk into oncoming traffic. Gordon chooses the child and the newlyweds jump to their death. The stakes will be raised this episode! Like The Joker in the best Batman movie (ever), Jervis wants Gordon to prove that he has a dark side and capable of deciding who lives or dies by his own selfish design.
As Jervis has been in the shadows, he’s been studying Gordon from afar, and he knows that Gordon has a weakness. His weakness is his love of both Leslie Thompkins and new girlfriend Valerie Vale. We can all see where this game of cat and mouse will eventually end up.
Meanwhile, the police are also getting involved in these crazy scenarios. For someone who isn’t a cop, every case seems to center on Gordon. Both Captain Barnes and Gordon’s former partner Harvey Bullock. The only clue to their investigation is the “White Rabbit,” an albino person who is also hypnotized by Jervis. The White Rabbit cannot really say much as he is only programmed to give one response, a clue for Gordon. The White Rabbit is quickly put in lock up while the two continue their investigation. They know they have to find Gordon fast, or more bodies could pile up soon.
As Jervis plays a game of cat and mouse with the Mad Hatter, Jervis calls him to taunt him. Just as in The Negotiator, the best way to throw a bad guy who craves attention off his game is to not pay him any attention. During their phone calls, Gordon hilariously hangs up on him twice. Gordon turns the table on Jervis by telling him that he is the reason his sister is dead and if he truly wants to enact revenge he should just kill himself and not Gordon. However, Jervis has the last laugh by telling Gordon that he already has kidnapped Valerie Vale. Gordon knows that Leslie is next.
As Gordon calls Leslie, Jervis answers the phone, meaning that he has both of the girls of his life. Now where could they be? That’s another clue for him to solve. But before he can get to them, Jervis has yet another problem for him to choose who lives or dies. This time it’s strangers, but their professions hit close to home. The two people Gordon has to choose who lives or die is a doctor and a journalist, foreshadowing he will have to choose between Leslie (doctor) or Valerie (journalist). Gordon doesn’t choose and both men die as a result.
Gordon finally figures out where the two women are being held hostage, it’s at Leslie’s new home (her fiancé’s home), furthering to remind Gordon that he no longer is with Leslie. At the home, Vale, who wanted to get a story with Leslie related to the Jervis’ sister’s blood being investigated has a little bit of one on one with Leslie, but before the two can talk about much, they are separated.
Meanwhile, Oswald Cobblepot is having a newfound dilemma. We all know that his new chief of staff, Edward Nygma is playing mind games with him as well, but the new mayor is smitten by Nygma. This is an interesting turn for the narrative of the Penguin, whom never was gay in the comics, but on the show, he’s in love with Nygma. He spends most of the episode trying to muster up the courage to tell Nygma that he is in love with him. At first, he wants to tell him when Nygma is giving him a rundown of his day, then as a school when he is making an appearance with children, and then he makes plans to tell Nygma a dinner later on that night. I’m pretty sure that Nygma can see the writing on the wall and tells Cobblepot that he will bring some wine for their cozy “dinner date.”
However, when he goes to get some wine at a nearby liquor store shares a familiar face with someone from Nygma’s past. Nygma’s crush, and the woman he killed way back when, Kristen Kringle has a striking resemblance to a woman he meets at the store named Isabella. Isabella even speaks in riddles like he does, so this will surely throw a monkey wrench into Cobblepot’s plans.
Back at the house, Gordon arrives to confront Jervis. As Jervis’s hypnotized bodyguards ensure that Gordon isn’t armed, he didn’t count that Gordon would enlist Leslie’s fiancé Mario for help as well. Well, actually he did as the gun that Mario has access to didn’t work and he is taken captive and lured into the basement. Now Jervis’s trap is set and Gordon has to choose which one of his loves would live or die. At first, Gordon doesn’t make any choice, but when Jervis makes his intentions clear, Gordon makes his decision. He tells Jervis that he loves Valerie Vale more. To Jervis’s delight, he then shoots Valerie in the stomach. Gordon and Leslie are left to tend to an injured Valerie.
It’s not entirely clear the reason Gordon made his choice. He hasn’t been with Valerie as long as Leslie, but Gordon probably thought strategically. Leslie is the doctor. He probably knew that Jervis would shoot whomever he chose as a means of punishing him, and it’s better to keep a doctor alive to help save the other one. Of course, this is going to make an awkward conversation between him and each of these ladies. When he even tries to talk with Leslie about it at the hospital, she says “Jim. Not now.”
Overall, this was a solid episode as we get to see just how truly deranged Jervis is. He had a little bit of The Joker in him as he tried to play a long game of cat and mouse with Gordon. We got to see a little bit more development with Barnes as he’s dealing with his new abilities thanks to the blood getting into his eyes, and we even got to see Barbara Kean and Tabitha Galavan for a quick scene. No Bruce this week, so we’ll have to wait and see what’s going on in the world of the Waynes.
Next week looks to continue from this week as Jim appears to be having another hallucination thanks to The Mad Hatter.