Gotham returned last week with an episode that had a singular goal: turn Ed Nygma into the Riddler. This week’s episode, “Heroes Rise: These Delicate and Dark Obsessions,” is more scatterbrain, with three different stories getting almost equal time.
The events in “How The Riddler Got His Name” that are relevant to this week’s episode were Bruce getting kidnapped by the Court of Owls and replaced by his clone; and Jim reconnecting with Uncle Frank, who has invited him to join the Court. We also saw that Ed didn’t really kill Oswald, because it is really hard to kill main characters on Gotham.
In the new episode, Oswald and Ivy Pepper join forces to help him take out his revenge. Bruce is met by a mysterious monk who might turn out to be Ra’s al Ghul. Lastly, Jim investigates his father’s death and learns who might really be behind it.
Here’s a look at the action in “These Delicate and Dark Obsessions.” The episode is the first directed by Ben McKenzie, who plays Jim Gordon.
Inside The Court of Owls
The episode kicks off with a meeting of the Court of Owls, with Kathryn (Leslie Hendrix) announcing that Gotham has “fallen ill,” with crime constantly spreading. (What took them so long to figure that out?) They are building a weapon to clean the city and rebuilt from the ground up. The leaders of the Court want a unanimous vote to proceed, but Jim’s uncle Frank (James Remar) pauses. Eventually, he puts down his feather to vote affirmative. “Judgment has been passed. Gotham must fall!”
Bruce’s Story: Legends of the Hidden Temple
After the title, Bruce wakes up in a cell in a mysterious, snowy landscape. His door swings open, with a shadowy figure standing in the door frame. Bruce asks to see who’s in charge, and the man (Justified‘s Raymond J. Barry) claims that he’s the one Bruce wants to meet. Bruce asks if the Court of Owls is behind his abduction, but the man says the Court is just a “tool, nothing more.” People will notice he’s been abducted, Bruce says, but the man tells him that they’ve taken precautions to make sure no one will notice. He’s referring to Subject 514A, Bruce’s doppelganger, who was created by Hugo Strange.
Bruce knows Alfred will figure out that 514A is the clone, but the man tells Bruce that by then, it will be too late. They will have accomplished their goal. The man needs Bruce’s help. He leaves before giving any more details. “We’ll begin soon.”
After action in Gotham City, Bruce is still in his cell. His door magically opens, and he leaves. He starts running down the corridors… which never seem to end. He takes a turn, ending up in the same corridor where he started. As he walks past his cell, the mystery man asks, “Shall we begin?”
Bruce asks if this is all a maze. “Everything is a maze, Bruce. The only difference is whether we realize our place within it.” Bruce vows to find his way out eventually, no matter how long it takes. The man tells Bruce that it’s time to pick a direction for his life. Bruce says he’s not scared, but the man thinks Bruce is scared of something. The cell door slams behind him and the man tells him to sit.
Bruce and the mysterious shaman are sitting across from each other. He tells the man he wants to go back to Gotham, and the man says they have the same destination. The man shows Bruce a collection of pins with strange symbols on the bottom. They appear to glow. The man puts one to Bruce’s forehead and his eyes suddenly light up.
Inside Bruce’s mind, he’s back on Crime Alley, where his parents were killed. Bruce sees his parents, alive, at the end of the alley. As they walk past him, the murderer shoots. After the flash, we go back to the present. The shaman tells him that people can actually relive their memories as if they are living them for the first time. Bruce can’t understand how they were inside his mind, but the man says people are always “inside” their minds.
Why would the man take Bruce back to the moment of his parents’ murder? He says Bruce has never really left that alley or that moment behind. But if Bruce is going to accept what the shaman has to teach, he must leave that moment. He tells Bruce to rest, because they will try again soon. The door swings open, and the man leaves Bruce to think about this alone.
Bruce tries to surprise the shaman by tackling him from behind, but the man easily overpowers him. He then points the needle at Bruce, who apologizes and begs to not have to see his parents’ murder again. But the man makes Bruce (and the audience at home) watch it all over again. “No!” Bruce yells, and then his parents and younger self disappear. Bruce tries to fight the shaman in the vision, but it doesn’t go so well and he lands on his back.
“I have so much to teach you Bruce, but your pain blocks you from what I need you to become … who Gotham needs you to become.”
Bruce wakes up, with the blood from the vision still on his lips. The lesson is that the pain that haunts someone from the inside can haunt you in the real world. Bruce says that he still has no idea what this man wants from him.
The man tells Bruce that they have tried to stop the cycle of crime that plagues Gotham, but it hasn’t worked. “People are afraid and fear breeds hopelessness,” the man says. He tells Bruce that he has something to fix Gotham only he can provide. “A protector, Bruce.”
Bruce says he can’t fix Gotham by himself, adding that no one can. But the man suggests Bruce become a “symbol against fear, then Gotham can be reborn.”
Jim’s Story: A Drunk Driver Who Can’t Drink
In Gotham, Harvey Bullock is still running the precinct. He asks Jim how his uncle was, but Jim is distracted. Jim asks if there’s been any word on Ed’s location, but they haven’t heard from him. Harvey notices that Jim is looking at the records of Michael Ness, the drunk driver who hit and killed Jim’s father when he was just nine years old. Ness was convicted, but was killed a month into his sentence in the prison. (Things like that happen in Gotham all the time.)
Jim noticed in Ness’ medical files that Ness had “chronic persistent hepatitis.” He wanted to ask Dr. Leslie “Lee” Thompkins about it when she came in, but Harvey surprisingly knows that it’s a “non-progressive form of liver inflammation.” Harvey says that anyone who has the disease shouldn’t drink alcohol at any kind, but Ness was drunk the night Jim’s father was killed. It doesn’t make sense. Harvey explains that if Ness drank even a little bit, he would have been dead before he got behind the wheel. Jim tells Harvey to do some digging into this, and then leaves!
Jim went to his father’s grave, where he meets Frank. He tells his uncle that he thinks Ness wasn’t really drunk and someone doctored the records to make it look like he did. Jim asks Frank what he really wants from him. Frank reveals that the Court of Owls has a mega-weapon on the way to destroy the city. Jim is stunned by this revelation. Why would the group controlling the city want to destroy it? Frank says they’ve done this twice before in the city’s history. “It’s no bluff.”
Frank says he has no idea how to stop this weapon and doesn’t even know what it is. Jim offers to help him find out, but Frank declines because he doesn’t want the court to discover him. “Be careful, Uncle Frank,” Jim says as Frank leaves.
Jim then spots Lee looking at Mario’s grave and walks over to her. It’s a little awkward, since Jim killed Mario. He then apologizes for approaching. Lee says she noticed him before and asks who Frank was. Jim doesn’t lie about it and tells her that they reconnected.
Lee says she’s been coming to Mario’s grave a lot lately. She recalls seeing a man in his 90s, all dressed up to visit his wife’s grave. The man smiled, and Lee couldn’t understand why the man would smile. She then realized that he shared a whole life together with his wife. Lee never had that with Mario. “I’m sorry,” is all Jim can say. Lee asks Jim how he can possibly move on and continue to live his life. “I wish I could do that,” she says as she walks away.
Jim gets a phone call from Harvey, who found out that Ness was a “career scumbag.” That’s no surprise, but Harvey found out that the lawyer who got Ness a plea deal was paid by Carmine Falcone!
At Carmine’s house, the gangster storms down the hall to see Jim. He accuses Carmine of killing his father and tells him what he’s discovered. They really do have something to talk about. When asked if he ordered the hit on Jim’s father, Carmine denies it. He respected Jim’s father, much more than his son. Carmine can confirm that it was a hit ordered by the Court of Owls. He asks Jim what he knows about the Court.
Carmine isn’t a member, but he does their bidding. “Everyone does the court’s bidding. Some of us just know it,” Carmine says. When Jim asks for the name of a specific member of the Court who asked that his father be killed, Carmine says Frank ordered it!
Jim surprises Frank at Frank’s apartment by putting a gun to his uncle’s head. Frank reveals that it’s true that he ordered the hit on his father. Since Jim’s father Peter wanted to expose the Court, he became a risk that needed to be dealt with. Frank tells Jim that he can shoot him now or help him take down the Court. Jim decides to arrest his uncle instead, believing that his father would have wanted justice. While cuffing his uncle, Frank says that stopping the Court is all that matters. He knocks Jim to the ground, takes his gun and points it at his nephew.
“Dock 9C,” Frank says. That’s where the weapon will arrive and that’s all Fran could find out. Frank tells Jim that he has to find out when the weapon arrives without the Court find out what he’s doing. “Make a choice, Jim,” Frank says as he leaves a bewildered Jim on the ground.
Jim tells Harvey all about the Court and its weapon. “A secret organization that controls all of Gotham? If that’s true, someone should tell them they’re doing a pretty terrible job,” Harvey says. Harvey tells Jim that he’s got to follow the lead, but says he’ll support Jim if he wants to go after his uncle. But it’s clear that Jim has decided that going after the Court is more important. He tells Harvey that they can’t use the usual channels to investigate, so no warrant or calling a judge. Who can raid the docks without GCPD connections? Barbara, of course.
With the power chords of “Love Hurts” playing, Barbara is in full command of the underworld. She’s now calling herself “Barbara Queen” (sounds a bit like “Harley Quinn”?). She picks up the phone and it’s Jim on the other line. “Let me guess, do I hear a favor coming on?”
Later, Barbara tortures a dock worker to get the truth about Dock 9C. The man thinks she shouldn’t ask questions about 9C. After sticking a needle in his chest though, he tells Barbara that a box has arrived. It has the Indian Hill logo stamped on it. She wants the man to give the people expecting the box a call, but then there’s a noise from outside. One of Barbara’s goons goes out to check and there’s a big scream.
A man comes forward with a sword and slashes through all of Barbara’s goons. Barbara and Tabitha get out, but the dock worker is beheaded. By the way, the sword-swinging man is a “Talon,” one of the Court’s assassins.
At the Court, Kathryn asks Frank what Jim knows about his father’s death after he confronted Carmine about it. Frank says that Jim only knows what Carmine knew and there’s no direct evidence to lead him back to the Court. Kathryn is puzzled by the timing of Jim’s investigation. Frank says he knows that Jim won’t stop until someone pays for his father’s death. Kathryn is disappointed, since she thinks Jim would have made a great ally. “James Gordon must be killed,” Kathryn says.
At the precinct, Jim catches Harvey up with everything that happened on the docks. Barbara reported that the Court’s weapon has already shown up. Harvey and Jim are concerned – they didn’t think the weapon would have arrived already and they have no idea what it is. Barbara said it had the “Indian Hill” logo stamped, which makes them really concerned.
Jim then gets a call from Frank, who says he didn’t know the weapon was already there. Frank tells Jim to get to his house quickly. We see a shot of Frank staring at a gun.
When Jim shows up, he has his gun drawn. He finds his uncle drinking and holding his own weapon out. He tells his nephew that he’s supposed to kill him. But Frank insists that Jim must join the Court to learn what the weapon is and replace him. “It’s the only way.”
Frank tells him that Kathryn will call soon and he wants Jim to pick it up. He wants Jim to tell her that he blames him for his father’s death and “I deserved what I got.” Frank then kills himself, right in front of Jim.
Jim goes to his father’s grave and puts the picture of his father, himself and Frank on the ground. Kathryn finally calls and Jim picks up. Jim lies, telling her that he killed his uncle. Jim says it’s time they meet and a limousine is already at the graveyard. The episode ends with a slow-motion shot of Jim walking into the darkness of the limousine.
Oswald’s Story: A Man’s Best Plant
So it turns out that Ed didn’t really kill Oswald Cobblepot and Ivy Pepper is keeping him alive. She’s wheeling him around a greenhouse at an abandoned estate. Oswald isn’t quite as incapacitated as Ivy thinks, and he demands she stop doting over him. She ignores his wishes.
Oswald asks her about all the plants, and Ivy says they are her friends. “You know, plants make better friends than most people,” she says. “And some of them help save your life.” Oswald breaks the mug of broth she hands him and insists she take him back to Gotham. He wants to be plotting revenge and build an army, but he’s stuck hanging out with a crazy plant lady. Ivy tells him that no one’s stopping him and would help if he wasn’t such a jerk.
Oswald calms down for a moment and tells Ivy that he needs her to get a message to Gabe, his bodyguard, a “loyal moron.” After finally adding “please,” Ivy agrees to do it.
Later, Gabe gives Oswald a strong hug and tells him that Barbara is now running their operation. But Oswald doesn’t want to hear it. He needs to build an army to take back the city and exact his revenge. Gabe says he’ll start building the army.
While Gabe’s on the phone, Ivy says she doesn’t trust Gabe. Oswald insists that Gabe is loyal. Ivy offers to use a scent to get Gabe to tell the truth, but Oswald wants to move on. Oswald laughs in her face, even though she saved his life. She can’t understand Oswald’s blind trust in an idiotic bodyguard.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you are a bit of a freak,” the man who is called ‘The Penguin’ tells Ivy. After she storms off, Gabe asks, “Did she tell you not to trust me?”
“Yeah, why?” Oswald replies. And then, pow, right in the kisser. “Smart girl,” Gabe says.
Gabe now has Oswald tied to a chair. The two sit across from each other. Gabe decides not to kill Oswald because he wants to auction that right off to the highest bidder. A group of thugs arrive at Ivy’s estate. She hasn’t left and sees what’s happening. One of the goons puts a gun to her head.
Gabe’s goons also tied up Ivy. While they eat cannolis, Oswald begs Ivy to let him in on her plan of escape. For obvious reasons, she doesn’t really want to tell him unless he decides to be nice. Ivy pus her plan in motion. She asks one of the goons if he’d let her go if she had information on Oswald. The man leans over and gets some of Ivy’s perfume on him. The perfume makes the guy do everything she asks – which is kill them all. After another blood bath (how many people have died in this 45-minute episode?), Oswald takes a gun to Gabe’s head. He tells Gabe he’ll auction Gabe off, piece by piece.
Oswald has Gabe organize the pile of dead goons as Gabe tries to explain his decision to betray him. He was not happy that Oswald didn’t give him a promotion once he became mayor. Oswald admits that this is a valid point. Oswald offers Gabe a chance to be loyal again, and the goon falls to his knees to thank him. He has Ivy use her perfume to make sure Gabe will really be loyal again. “No,” Gabe says right away. Gabe reveals that he was never loyal, he only followed him out of fear. Oswald takes this as a compliment, but then Gabe tells him that no one has ever respected the Penguin. They’ve all seen him for what he really is – an umbrella boy and a freak. This really sets Oswald off and he then takes some gardening tools to stab Gabe to death.
Oswald begins burying the goons himself and he apologizes to Ivy for going overboard. She asks Oswald if he’s going to give up his plans for revenge. But Oswald knows he can’t take on Barbara or Nygma by himself. Ivy suggests they use the Indian Hill monsters who are still on the loose. “An army of freaks.”
On The Next Episode of ‘Gotham’
Now that it looks like Jim is going to infiltrate the Court of Owls, he has a chance to stop their weapon – whatever it is – from destroying Gotham. Meanwhile, Bruce will learn more about the Court’s plans, which also puts him on the path to becoming Batman. Oswald will put together is own “Legion of Doom” to take out his revenge on Ed. The next episode, “Heroes Rise: The Primal Riddle,” airs on May 8.