Season 3, Episode 16: “These Delicate and Dark Obsessions”
Directed by Ben McKenzie
Written by Robert Hull
* For a recap & review of Heroes Rise, “How the Riddler Got His Name” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Primal Riddle” – click here
“Gotham has fallen ill,” Kathryn (Leslie Hendrix) announces to the Court of Owls. There is a weapon being built. It will cleanse the streets, after which the court will rebuild anew. They vote unanimously in favour of this plot, even Frank Gordon (James Remar). Thus, “judgement has been passed” and “Gotham must fall.”
In a lonely, unknown stretch of snowy mountains, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is kept in a cell, at some temple-like building. There, the Shaman (Raymond J. Barry) is in charge. The old man tells the young billionaire the court is a mere “tool.” The goal of the Shaman is not clear. We’ll see what madness happens here.
At the GCPD, Dt. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is distracted, while acting Captain Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) is still looking out for Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), the Riddler on the run. Aside from that, Jim is looking into his father’s apparent car accident death, wondering if the truth his uncle told him about is a genuine truth. And there are certainly suspicions.
Then there’s Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), surviving by the grace of Ivy Pepper (Maggie Geha). It’s not exactly thrilling for him, though she saved his life. They stay at a deserted estate where she keeps lots of intriguing plants. He just wants to get back to some revenge. To start, he asks Ivy to send a message to his loyal dummy Gabe (Alex Corrado). All she needs is a pretty please.
In the graveyard, Jim meets his uncle. Frank’s trying to reel his nephew into their plan, he tells him all about the weapon the court is bringing in to destroy the city. Well, it’s all a twisty, turny, messy situation. We also hear that twice throughout the history of Gotham the court has rebuilt, similar to now. For the time being, Jim is still buying his uncle’s story. Not long after Harvey calls Jim to tell him the man who killed his father had a lawyer paid for by, you betcha, Carmine Falcone (John Doman).
Penguin is sending Gabe to start building an army, to tell his disciples the former Mayor and crime boss has returned to the city. However, Ivy questions Gabe’s loyalty. She suggests using some of her plants to get the truth. He laughs it off, and shoos her away. Should’ve listened, ’cause the big dumb mobster isn’t trustworthy. Tsk, tsk, Oz. You need friends, buddy!
Up in the mountains, Bruce leaves his cell, then tries making a run for it. He moves down several identical hallways, but they just seem to stretch on endlessly. He cannot find a way to escape. Like going in a loop, he’s back at his own cell again, the Shaman waiting inside. Almost as if he’s stuck in a carnival.
Later, Jim goes to see Carmine, even if it’s risky. He asks about the Court of Owls, and he confirms its existence, plus his “mutually beneficial” partnership with the court. After a few questions, he’s told that uncle Frank is the one who ordered the hit. Jesus. That sends the nephew over to see his uncle, pointing a gun to his head. Frank admits what he did, saying they need to remedy his death, get justice, save Gotham. Rather than do that Jim arrests him. Or, tries to, anyway. His uncle fights him off, giving him info about the weapon coming to the city. Still hard to tell exactly what Frank’s playing at, ultimately.
Jim and Harvey are trying to figure out how to search for the weapon without causing utter mayhem. This drives the former to call his old flame, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), the new Queen of Gotham’s underworld. Yeah, that’s gonna turn out real nice. She goes out to do some torture with Tabitha (Jessica Lucas), tracking down any info about 9C, the dock where the weapon is meant to arrive. A crate came in marked Indian Hill. Shit.
In the mountains, Bruce is being shown “keys” to the mind that the Shaman has produced. They’re about to get into some freaky shit. Like some third eye madness. The Shaman takes the young man back to Gotham. Right back to the night Thomas and Martha Wayne were murdered in cold blood. They watch the whole thing like a film reel: “You‘ve never left that alley, Bruce.” This training, whatever it is, has got me hooked. Need to know what the hell’s happening. Regardless, these are the first teachings that will lead him towards becoming Batman.
The mob are going to auction off Penguin for murder. That is, if Ivy can’t get the two of them out of hot water beforehand. Gabe and the boys take pictures, to prove Oswald is still alive. Ivy uses her potion to manipulate one of the men into killing the others, so she and her new buddy Oz get a gun, gaining the upper hand once more.
Some really bad news for Jim – the Court have decided he has to die.
Again, Jim and Frank meet, discussing the weapon from Indian Hill. They each hold a gun on one another. The uncle’s meant to kill his nephew. He won’t, he’d rather Jim join the court, and work from the inside out. I wonder, will the detective go along with the plan? Because Frank has decided to commit suicide, leaving his nephew behind to finish things. Lord, I never saw that coming.
After Bruce has more visions with the Shaman, he comes to see the purpose of being there. He is meant to be the new “protector” of Gotham, a “symbol against fear.” Yes, these are the beginnings of his alter-ego, Batman.
With a new friend, Penguin might have the confidence to take his revenge. He isn’t alone anymore, not with Ivy around. She’s suggesting they start an “army of freaks” from Indian Hill. Might be right where she and Oz belong.
Man, I love this show. Just gets better and better, darker, more devious, strange, wild. Cannot get enough! “The Primal Riddle” comes next.