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‘Gotham: Mad City’ Episode 1 ‘Better to Reign In Hell…’: Recap & Spoilers

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Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle. (Jeff Neumann/FOX)

Gotham kicks off the 2016-2017 TV season for Fox with the start of its third season, subtitled Mad City. That could describe the first two seasons of this show, which shows what Gotham City was like before Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) becomes Batman, at least according to showrunner Bruno Heller and his team.

Season three began with Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) in such a deep hole that we are left wondering how he could possibly be welcomed back to the GCPD. At this point though, he doesn’t even want to come back. He’s a bounty hunter now and tracking the human/animal hybrids Hugo Strange (B.D. Wong) created in the basement of Arkham Asylum.

Read on for a look at the episode, plus a run-down of who died.


Jim Gordon: Bounty Hunter

The episode opens with sunshine (a real rarity in Gotham), as Jim hopes to deliver flowers to Lee Thompkins. She’s happy, drinking wine and kissing another guy. Gordon walks away and there’s a cut to the family darkness of Gotham City. There, we see one of the animal/human hybrids Hugo Strange created. Jim shows up with a baton to fight the creature, who might just be Killer Croc. Thankfully, a gas truck drives into the creature, saving Jim and the pharmacy from any more damage.

After the title, Barnes and the Mayor are holding a press conference to announce that another Indian Hill escapee has been found. Valerie Vale is introduced as an annoying journalist who isn’t happy with the answers she’s getting. Meanwhile, in the police station, Harvey is trying to get Jim to rejoin the force. Jim won’t do it because he doesn’t want to have to listen to Barnes. “Gotham’s not my job anymore,” Jim tells Harvey.

Lucius Fox walks in on their discussion and we learn that he’s joined the police. Jim refuses to join Lucius and Harvey on the hunt.

Just as the Mayor insists that things are under control, but Oswald comes in and crashes the party. Oswald insists that the government is incompetent and takes the stage to talk directly to the people of Gotham. He tells the cameras that Fish Mooney is the real enemy. Barnes doesn’t buy it, since Fish hadn’t been seen… by them. “Find Fish Mooney. Until then, no one is safe,” Oswald says. On his way out, Oswald tells Jim that he’s surprised Jim hasn’t caught Fish yet, but Jim snaps back: “You haven’t made it worth my while.”

Oswald meets Barbara at the nightclub, where he praises Barbara for how she’s changed the club. Barbara tells Oswald that she won’t take up Oswald’s offer of protection. Tabitha shows up, leaving Butch near speechless. Barbara and Tabitha are clearly close now, and Oswald confronts them. He tells them he will give $1 million to anyone who finds Fish.

Selina pops into the nightclub, where she steals Butch’s wallet. Selina and Ivy walk down the alley, where she gives money to a homeless boy. The boy looks up to the camera… and it’s really Bruce’s doppelgänger.


Selina Is Now on Fish’s Team

In the second act, Bruce and Alfred arrive home, with Alfred really happy. Of course, Bruce is his regular brooding self, wondering if it was a good idea to leave Gotham at all. Alfred tries to get Bruce to relax.

Valerie meets Jim at a bar, where Jim is just trying to read the newspaper. Valerie lists all of Jim’s achievements, but she really wants more details on Indian Hill. She wonders why Strange was the only person arrested and why there’s no investigation into Wayne Industry’s ties to Indian Hill. She asks Jim if he really thinks Fish is alive. He hopes not, but the idea of $1 million from Oswald might get him to search for her.

Oswald meets Nygma in Arkham and gives him a really complicated present that Nygma solves in a minute. It’s clear that the two have been talking recently and Nygma doesn’t understand why Oswald has been friendly to him. “No matter what she’s planning, remember, Penguins eat Fish,” Nygma tells Oswald.

It looks like Selina is working with Fish, as Fish and her group head to a lab. A security guard tries to stop Fish, but the moment he touches her, she has complete control of him. She tells her to knock himself out and he does. (It looks like someone spend the off-season watching Jessica Jones.) She then collapses in pain. She needs a drug to survive.

Jim shows up at the lab to confront Fish, who confirms that she is leading all of the Indian Hill escapees. One ambushes Jim, and Fish escapes. Jim tricks the escapee to survive.


The Court of Owls Makes a Move

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(Jeff Neumann/FOX)

After another commercial, Alfred tries desperately to cheer up Bruce. The two are sitting in a stark, wide-open office area. Bruce goes into the Wayne Enterprise board meeting. He tells them that he doesn’t really think Indian Hill was run by Strange alone. One member of the board scoffs at the idea. Bruce says he has some evidence and insists on meetings with each member of the board. He gives them 24 hours or he will leak the info to the press.

Meanwhile, the Court of Owls (the name hasn’t been uttered yet, but that’s what this is setting up) is told of the events in the board meeting. The leader tells Talon to kill Bruce Wayne and to make it quiet.

A gangster tells Barbara that it’s not a good idea to run a club in their territory. Tabitha shows up to kill them all and Barbara has a good laugh. As if you needed a reminder that little kids shouldn’t be watching Gotham, here it is.

Selina offers Valerie some information on the Indian Hill escapees. Valerie tells Jim that thinks Ethel, Strange’s assistant, could help, but she needs some information from the police. While this could provide some intrigue, it takes less than a minute in show-time. Jim goes up to Harvey, who readily gives him the info. Harvey just doesn’t want his bosses to know he’s helping Jim get Penguin’s $1 million.

Bruce meets Selina to warn her that the people behind the scenes might threaten her. Selina tells him not to worry about her… and the camera reveals that Bruce’s doppelgänger heard the whole thing.


The Meeting With Ethel Doesn’t Go As Planned

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(Jeff Neumann/FOX)

Jim gives Valerie the info and then handcuffs Valerie to the car. He’s not going to let her follow him to Strange’s assistant Ethel’s hideout. When he arrives at the building, he uses a cop car’s radio to tell two officers to leave the scene. And behind that door is Ethel, who wasn’t arrested because she testified against Strange. Jim thinks Ethel will help, but Jim has inadvertently led Indian Hill escapees to her and two of them take her away. Jim captures a third, who happens to have wings. (Man-Bat? Eh, why not?)

In Barnes’ office, Barnes tells Jim he’s had enough. He is also really disappointed in Harvey for helping Jim. Jim says he’ll try to help find Ethel, but Harvey tells him to stay away. Valerie shows up and is disappointed that he’d rather get a drink instead of finding Ethel or Fish.

Selina tells Ivy to stay on the rooftop. Bruce’s doppelgänger scares Ivy, who tells him that he looks like Bruce. The doppelgänger has no idea who Bruce is.

Oswald, Barbara and Tabitha have held one of the gangsters hostages. Barbara accuses Butch of sending the gangster to the bar to scare them. Oswald is annoyed and then shoots the gangster. Oswald is frustrated and agrees to let Barbara and Tabitha run the bar.

Ethel tells Fish that she needs to stop using the power, because her DNA rejects the power. But Fish uses her power to get the facts out of Ethel, who tells her that Strange is the only person who can help her. She doesn’t know where Strange is and Fish isn’t happy. Fish wants an army of powerful people, just like her. Since she doesn’t need Ethel any longer, Fish has one of her lackeys kill Ethel.


Ivy Goes Where She Shouldn’t Have

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(Jeff Neumann/FOX)

In this episode’s final segment, Ivy has followed Selina to Fish’s hideout. Fish isn’t happy and when Ivy threatens to tell police about the hideout, Fish has her soldiers go after Ivy. Ivy then falls down a sewer to some unknown location, while Selina cries.

Jim sits at a bar, while Barnes has police officers get ready. Meanwhile, Valerie develops her photo of Man-Bat. In the last scene, Alfred tells Bruce it was important to install a new alarm system. It must not be ready yet, as the Court of Owls’ assassin shows up. Talon and Alfred fight in the office and Alfred loses. The assassin abducts Bruce… and the episode ends!


Who Died?

Ethel Peabody didn’t make it past the season premiere. Also, Tabitha killed a few gangsters and Penguin finished off their leader.

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