Season 3, Episode 1: “Better to Reign in Hell”
Directed by Danny Cannon
Written by John Stephens
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Transference” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Burn the Witch” – click here
Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) walks up to a nice house in a beautiful neighbourhood. Before knocking on the door he hears Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) inside. She’s with another man, happy, laughing.
In Gotham City, a pharmacy’s broken into during the night. The pharmacist tries using a shotgun to drive out the intruder. Except the intruder is a huge man with spiked, scaly skin. This monster runs into Jim, whose baton is no match for this beast. Lucky for him a truck takes the guy out in the road.
During a press conference, Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) tells everybody about the “escapee from Indian Hill” that broke into the pharmacy, causing havoc in the streets. We discover Jim’s now a bounty hunter, despite Dt. Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) wanting him to come back to the GCPD. He’s been out hunting monsters, while Barnes and returning Mayor Aubrey James (Richard Kind) are trying to keep Gotham under control. Hard when reporter Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung) is sticking it to them in the press. Later, Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) brings information for Bullock to start digging into about the drugs the man was after in the pharmacy.
More fanfare at the precinct. Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) turns up to tell everybody of the danger. He makes them, and the citizens of Gotham, aware of the return of Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith). The city’s turned even more chaotic than before with Strange’s experiments running around free.
What’s Ms. Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) up to lately? She’s running a nice place of her own, along with Tabitha (Jessica Lucas). We see that Penguin is trying his hardest to rebuild that empire he once had, offering to provide shelter to anyone who requires it. Most of all, he’s putting a million-dollar reward for Fish; dead, alive, or “chopped into pieces.”
On the streets is one particularly interesting experiment from Indian Hill: subject 514A, who looks exactly like Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) and Ivy Pepper (Clare Foley) nearly run into him in an alleyway. Speaking of Mr. Wayne, he and Alfred (Sean Pertwee) are coming back from a little hiatus they took away from that dark city. The young billionaire’s uneasy, knowing there are harder days ahead.
At a bar, Gordon receives a visit from Ms. Vale at the Gotham Gazette. She’s curious about Indian Hill, the lack of arrests, no investigations into Wayne Enterprises. She is also not interested in the “you must not be from Gotham” routine, knowing there are a lot of secrets under the city’s surface.
Penguin goes to see Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) at Arkham Asylum. The riddling forensics expert is wasting away in there. He still tries helping his friend with an analogy about Alexander the Great and “the Gordian knot.” Not quite a riddle, but certainly helpful to Oswald.
Fish uses the help of the young Cat to get where she needs to go, as well as some of her henchmen like Marv (Victor Pagan) who share her powers. They’re breaking into a medical warehouse. Fish’s powers allow her to hypnotise and instruct everybody and anybody. Although we do see she’s wearing out a little, the powers may take a toll on her. Just as bounty hunter Jim shows up at the same place tracking down leads. She and Mooney reunite, after all this time. Of course the former detective has to do a bit of fighting, wouldn’t be a day in the life of Jim Gordon if that weren’t the case. Not long until Fish and her monster friends get away.
At a board meeting for Wayne Enterprises, Bruce speaks to the men and women of the board. He’s laughed at by someone, so Alfred calls him out hard. Regardless, the young billionaire knows who the traitors are amongst the company. He tells them anybody involved with the shady shit must contact him, or else the press will be given all the proof of corruption he’s gathered. Naturally the word gets back to the Court of Owls. They’re putting a quiet hit out on the Wayne boy.
Barbara gets a couple nasty lads show up at her club. They’re under the impression they can come in and take what they want, so she plays along for a second before she and Tabitha kill them like the bad asses they’ve always been. Don’t fuck with these ladies. Bad for your health.
With some sly work, Jim finds Ethel Peabody (Tonya Pinkins) in a quaint apartment. She agreed to testify against Hugo in exchange for freedom. Gordon is there to discuss Fish. He’s mostly using her as bait to draw Fish out. Instead, some of the monsters are there to steal Ethel and kick a bit of ass. This also gives Ms. Vale the chance to snap a photo of a winged man hanging from the building’s window, Jim hauling him back inside.
Lots of stuff to piss Cpt. Barnes off at the PD. He’s not happy with Jim running around the city causing a mess, especially considering Ethel’s been taken. There’s something else going on, too. Barnes isn’t well, he’s getting worse. Something tells me we’re going to see a transformation, sooner than later.
Fish confronts Ethel, asking for a solution. There is none; just stop using the powers. Problem being Fish doesn’t want to do any of that. Apparently, though, Strange is the only person who can help her, and he’s been whisked off someplace secret. After Ethel is dispatched, little Ivy turns up. When Marv – a reverse “fountain of youth” – is sent after her, Ivy falls into a drain pipe, carried about by rushing water. Oh, god.
And at Wayne Manor, Alfred is taking all precautions against the “shadowy cabal” Bruce has egged on. As they get ready to hit the hay for the evening, a masked man sent by the Court of Owls emerges from the darkness. Alfred fights him tooth and nail before being knocked unconscious. When Bruce comes to try and help, he’s drugged and kidnapped.
Nice start to Season 3. Looking forward to all the new plots and some new characters that are cropping up already. Plenty of exciting things brewing.
“Burn the Witch” comes next.