Remember Gotham? It’s finally back after three full months off the air with the new episode “Heroes Rise: How The Riddler Got His Name.”
Back in January, Bruno Heller and his team gave us a surprisingly strong trio of episodes, which saw Jerome Valeska return from the dead and Bruce Wayne inch closer to becoming Batman. The show’s third season finally returned tonight with a new subtitle – Heroes Rise – and Ed Nygma is here to deal with the fallout of makong The Penguin pay for killing the love of his life.
Now it’s time to return to Gotham City to learn how the Riddler got his name.
Ed’s Story: The Knight’s Tour
The episode kicks off with a professor getting into his lab. Ed’s already there, and pulls out a gun. The professor calls for help, but there’s no one around to hear him. Ed orders him to sit down. His riddle: “I can fill a room or just one heart. Others can have me, but I can’t be shared. What am I?” The professor guesses “knowledge,” but he’s wrong. Ed lashes out at first, but then calms down. He ties up the professor’s hands.
“I can be the member of a group, but I can never blend in. What am I?” The professor guesses a shadow, but it’s really an individual. Ed is disappointed. He’s already killed other members of Gotham’s intellectual community and this professor was next. When asked why he’s doing this, Ed recalls the moment that Oswald told him that there was no “me” without “him.” just before he killed him. Ed knows who he is, but he’s trying to figure out how to be him. He shouts out another riddle that the professor can’t solve. He turns on the gas and locks him in the lab. As Ed walks out, the building explodes.
Later, Ed sees in the newspaper that the police have no leads in Oswald’s murder. He takes a white pill, which makes him see a soggy Oswald sitting on the couch in the mayor’s mansion. Ed has been the public face of grief and the ghost Oswald wonders how long that can continue without the people finding out that he killed the mayor.
The ghost of Oswald also catches us up to the number of murders Ed has committed. He’s killed six people who have killed all those he thought could be his “life coach.” If he can find one person who can solve his riddles will help him learn how to be the villain he is. Oswald tells him that villains don’t need teachers. He didn’t have anyone’s help. “I don’t need a teacher. I need an enemy!” Ed says. He knows the perfect man to become his enemy: Jim Gordon.
Harvey Bullock, who’s still running the precinct, can’t believe that there’s a serial killer out there going after intellectuals. Lucius Fox tells Harvey that the suicides of these men are more than just coincidences. He insists that Harvey look into this, but Harvey says there is too much on the GCPD’s plate. They’re still finding bodies from Jerome’s night of mayhem and they still haven’t found Oswald’s body. Harvey won’t even let Fox call Gordon.
Then, a singing telegram delivery man dressed as grapes comes in and asks for Jim. He tells them there will be more deaths unless they can figure out this riddle. It’s a card with a maze drawn on it. Harvey still doesn’t believe that the intellectuals are being killed, but Fox says this is a clue for Jim. Fox figures out that it’s a drawing of the “Knight’s Tour.”
After his singing telegram is delivered at the police station, Ed watches over a chess tournament and flips a switch. The ghost of Oswald eats popcorn as he tells Ed that they need to talk. He tells Ed that Jim can’t help him. He needs to “face the truth.”
Suddenly, the police arrive, but there’s no Jim. Who solved the puzzle? Ed figures out that Fox solved the puzzle. As the chess players hit their clocks, the clocks zap them. Harvey yells at everyone to stop moving, while Ed laughs in the balcony.
At the police station, Harvey tells Fox that they haven’t found the criminal yet. Fox suggests that he has left another clue though, revealing letters and numbers on the bottom of chess pieces.
At the mayor’s mansion, Ed gets a call from the police. Ed is not happy that the call is late, and Fox rolls his eyes. Ed tries to mask his voice as he orders Fox to solve another challenge or many people will die. “Tomorrow, when the pawn’s on queen, you’ll find my next target in the belly of the beast,” Ed says. If he solves the clue, Fox will be one step closer to passing the test… and Ed will be one step closer to introducing himself to Gotham once and for all.
Harvey and Fox grill a “pawn” at the GCPD – a guy who runs a pawn shop on Queens Avenue. The guy insists that he doesn’t know anything about what happened at the chess tournament. Fox tells Harvey that they are ignoring the “belly of the beast” part of the riddle. But then the guy tells them that he doesn’t even run the pawn shop. A guy named Teddy Thereo, whose last name is the Greek word for “beast.” They rush off to find Teddy, but Teddy wasn’t in his apartment.
The day after the chess attack, Ghost Oswald makes fun of Ed being nicknamed the “Chess Killer” in the newspaper. Ed brushes it off and the ghost tells him this is a bad idea. The ghost tells Ed that he has to admit that he’s lost without Oswald or he’ll destroy himself. This leads us to a musical number, because this show isn’t weird enough. Ed slams his hands on the desk to stop this torture and admits to the ghost that killing Oswald also killed part of himself. However, he will find a way forward without Oswald and be reborn.
At the morgue, Dr. Leslie “Lee” Thompkins tells Fox that they have Teddy’s body. Lee adds that his stomach has been crudely stapled shut, so Fox wonders if there’s something in there. She pulls out Harvey’s badge! Fox thinks the next target will be Harvey, who is practicing his commencement address to a new class of police cadets.
Ed shows up, and Harvey’s not happy to see him again. He says he’s going to give a few remarks in place of the mayor, but Harvey refuses to let a cop killer stand before a group of cadets. Harvey gets a call from Fox, but before he can answer, Ed wrestles Harvey to the ground.
Ed delivers his speech, telling the cadets that Harvey is “tied up.” He gives the cadets a riddle: “Light as a feather, yet no man can hold it long. What am I?” No one can answer, so he tosses poison grenades into the audience. “The answer is… your breath!” Ed puts on a gas mask, then leaves.
While he’s on his way out, Fox gets another riddle and the singing telegram delivery woman refers to him as “Foxy.” That lets him know that Ed is behind all of this. He calls Ed, who invites him up for another game to “win” the antidote for the poison. If he doesn’t come up alone, everyone will die.
The rules of the game are: Ed will give Fox three riddles. For each riddle he gets wrong, Ed will cut a piece of rope. If he gets all three wrong, Harvey will be dropped down a tower and the antidote hanging around his neck will be lost. If Fox gets even one riddle right, everyone lives. Fox agrees to the rules.
The first riddle is the same one Ed told the professor earlier in the show: “I can fill a room or just one heart. Others can have me, but I can’t be shared. What am I?” Fox says it’s “Love,” but the real answer is “loneliness.”
The second one: “I can be the member of a group, but can never blend in. What am I?” Fox says it’s a “snowflake.” Ed says this is wrong – the right answer is an individual – but Fox makes a case for his answer. After all, no two snowflakes are alike. Ed still cuts the second rope. Before giving the third riddle, Ed accuses Fox of not being a good enough enemy. He still delivers the third riddle: “I feel your every thought. I feel your every move. I’m with you from birth and I’ll see you rot. What am I?”
Instead of answering, Fox asks Ed what he did to Oswald. “Did you kill him?” Fox then gives an answer. “Reflection.” That’s correct, but Harvey still falls over, but Fox catches him before he falls all the way down. Ed then walks away.
At the mayor’s mansion, police barge in and find no helpful evidence, other than the portrait of Oswald with a green question mark painted on it. Ed isn’t at the mansion because he’s inside Fox’s car! Fox tells Ed that the antidote was juice and the gas was just plain old knock-out gas. What was the point? It was all just to have Fox play his game, Ed says. Fox asks why he killed Oswald and the others.
“Have you always been foxy, Foxy?” Ed asks. Ed says he’s always felt like there’s someone inside him that other people could fear. The only person who could see that is Oswald, but he had to die because he killed Ed’s girlfriend. Ed says he now knows who he is and how to be him. He thanks Fox for helping him figure that out.
Fox tells Ed that he’s just revealed himself to the city as a murderer. He tries to connect to the part of Ed’s mind that might not be insane. He tells Ed to turn himself in.”My actions seem mad to you… I just killed the best friend that I have ever had. My search for a teacher or an enemy… that was just me trying to hold on a little longer. But now I know who I am without him.”
“So who are you now?”
“Oh come on, Foxy. I’m the Riddler!” (Didn’t see that one coming did you?)
After knocking out Fox, he heads to the dock where he killed Oswald. He tells Oswald’s ghost that he really did care for him and was friends with him. The ghost tells Ed that no one will be afraid of “The Riddler.” Maybe not yet, but they will be soon. Ed then throws his pills into the water and he no longer sees Oswald. Ed puts on the Riddler’s trademark Bowler hat and walks towards the camera.
Bruce’s Story: Becoming Batman
After the Gotham title, we find Bruce recalling the moment his parents died to Kathryn (Leslie Hendrix), the spokeswoman for the Court of Owls. Well, actually it’s Subject 514A, the clone created by Hugo Strange. 514A impresses Kathryn well enough that the Court can put their plan into motion. She calls Jim’s uncle, Frank Gordon (James Remar), a member of the Court. She tells him that they are ready and he has to follow-through with his end of the bargain… or else Jim will have to die. Frank sees Jim arrive at his home.
The real Bruce is at Wayne Manor, with Alfred teaching him how to fling knives at a target. That’ll come in handy when he’s throwing Batarangs around. Alfred keeps talking, throwing off Bruce’s concentration. That’s part of the lesson through – he has to learn how to fight while noise continues around him.
Alfred thinks there’s something more on Bruce’s mind, probably how Bruce left things with Selina. Bruce says he’s not unfocused because of Selina. Then, Alfred shows him a note she left. Selina wants to meet him tomorrow, but he refuses.
The next day, Bruce finds Alfred making Shepard’s Pie in the kitchen. He learned the recipe from a woman he had a fight with, but they got closure. Now, Bruce has a chance to gt closure with Selina and Alfred suggests he take it. Bruce thinks about it, picks up the letter and tells him he’ll meet Selina.
While waiting for Selina, Bruce sees a couple of punks beating up another kid. He interrupts them and puts his hands in the air, so one of the punks searches for Bruce’s wallet. Selina shows up to beak this up. Bruce asks if they can talk somewhere, but she refuses. He tries to apologize, but she doesn’t buy it. “You don’t belong here,” she tells him.
As she walks away, Bruce asks why she wanted to meet him if she was going to be this way. Selina is confused about the note. She says she never left a note and walks away, leaving the punks to beat up on Bruce. He turns on “fight mode” and starts beating them to the ground.
Bruce finds himself walking down an alley and bends over to wipe his bloody nose. He finds 514A behind him. It turns out 514A sent that note from “Selina.” He stabs a needle in Bruce’s neck, knocking him out. “This is what I was made for… to be Bruce Wayne!” the clone says.
That night, Alfred is drinking alone, listening to a radio report of what happened at the police station. We hear that Ed is still on the loose, as “Bruce” walks in. Alfred senses that something is up right away. This new “Bruce” is a little too cheery.
Jim’s Story: Family Reunion
Over 10 minutes into the episode, and we finally get to see what Jim is up to. He’s meeting Frank, who he hasn’t seen in years. Before he can tell Jim what’s been going on, Frank needs to know that Jim trusts him. Since they’re family, Jim agrees to trust him. (Bad idea!) Frank tells Jim that he’s done something in the past he wish he hadn’t done – which is break from Peter, Jim’s deceased father. He wants to make things right between himself and Jim.
Later, Frank takes Jim hunting. Jim is not happy that his uncle still hasn’t talked about what happened between him and Peter. Frank asks Jim if he’s heard about the Court of Owls. Jim tells him to pretend that he hasn’t, so Frank tells him the story of the Court. Frank tells Jim that both he and his father were members. In fact, they have invited Jim to join.
Jim can’t believe that his father was a member of the Court. Frank says they thought they could do good by joining and the Court lied to them. He claims that the Court thinks he’s still a loyal member. Peter saw through the Court’s lies though and killed him, Frank claims. Jim doesn’t believe his uncle. After all, he saw with his own eyes that his father was killed by a drunk driver. Frank says it was made to look that way and Peter was killed because he was making trouble.
Jim still can’t believe all this. Why did it take 20 years for Frank to suddenly show up? Where was he when Jim and his mother needed him? Frank says he was sent overseas to prove his loyalty to the Court. He said the Court will kill him if he didn’t do it. But now that the Court wants Jim to join, he’s ready to come clean to his nephew. “You can help me destroy them from within.” (This sounds like Darth Vader’s speech in The Empire Strikes Back.)
On The Next Episode
Just before the episode ends, we find Oswald alive! He’s in Ivy Pepper‘s home, an abandoned estate. Ivy’s been helping him stay alive for weeks. “I just remembered, there’s someone I need to kill!”
Next, Jim going into his uncle’s cabin. Frank isn’t there, but he finds a picture of himself as a kid with his father and uncle. “Help me honor his memory,” his uncle wrote on the back.
Frank meets with Kathryn to give her an update on Jim. “I won’t let you down,” he says. She tells him that the clone is in place and Bruce Wayne is elsewhere.
Bruce wakes up in a white outfit in a prison cell. He looks outside a window and sees snow-capped mountains. He’s not in Gotham anymore.
The next episode of Gotham will air on May 1 and is called “Heroes Rise: These Delicate and Dark Obsessions.” In this episode, Gordon will learn more about the Court of Owls and how his uncle and father are connected to it. The mysterious group has run Gotham for centuries and has an idea to take the city in a new direction.