Season 3, Episode 20: “Pretty Hate Machine”
Directed by Danny Cannon
Written by Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “All Will Be Judged” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Destiny Calling” – click here
The Court of Owls is meeting. The Shaman (Raymond J. Barry), their leader, is there to “pass judgement,” along with Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). He advises the young man: “Let blood avenge blood.” Then, the leader orders the court killed. The Talons step up, cutting every throat in the room. He wanted Bruce to give the order, though the latter says he will not hesitate in the future. This is where we already see, again, the dilemma of a Batman not yet Batman: he does not feel right about killing, no matter who the victim, what they’ve done. He believes in justice.
In the meantime, Dt. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Captain Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), Alfred (Sean Pertwee), and the GCPD infiltrate the council’s building, finding everyone dead. All except for one man, still barely alive, who tells them about the leader and Bruce. Oh, my. The butler won’t believe in his young master’s compliance, but they’ve still got no genuine leads. So, they’ve got to plug away, best they can. Not to mention Jim is worried that Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) has injected herself with the Tetch virus; Harvey doubts this seriously, but we know the difference.
At the Sirens, Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) lets Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), Tabitha (Jessica Lucas), and Butch (Drew Powell) know about Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) still being alive, maybe having an army of “monsters” behind him from Indian Hill. Could be big problems for all of them.
Jim goes to Lee’s place, confronting the infected doctor. The Tetch blood is running through her veins, getting at her darker self. She’s punishing herself, believing it was her fault what happened to her husband. The virus brings out her dark attraction, her “deepest desires” for Jim and his mixed up life. It also brings out her madness, and that relentless, brutal strength, as well.
In a safehouse, Penguin hides out from his enemies with Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) and Ivy Pepper (Maggie Geha). The Cat leaves – though gets stopped in her tracks by Tabitha – then Ed and Butch bust in. It’s all a trap that Oswald arranged. He presses a button, trapping the other two inside the apartment while he and Ivy slip free.
Again, we see Professor Hugo Strange (BD Wong). He has a little reunion with Bruce, and also the Shaman. Hugo’s there to bring them the bomb. Seems that the Shaman serves someone else above him, they’re still planning on detonating the bomb to destroy Gotham. Afterwards, they intend the young billionaire to be the “dark hero” who’ll rise from the rubble, and the kid is hypnotised, indoctrinated into doing whatever the old man tells him to do. Shit, this is scary.
But Harvey and Alfred, they’re on the Shaman’s heels. Alfred finds Bruce, but the Talons and the Shaman aren’t ready to relinquish the boy. The butler won’t give up. That’s when Bruce steps forward, spouting the mind controlled words he’s been imprinted with, and the Talons beat his butler down. Alfred manages to get back to Harvey at the GCPD, only for them all to watch infected Dr. Thompkins walk in, telling them she’s got Dt. Gordon in a very precarious situation: he’s buried in a coffin, six feet under out by the Falcone cottage.
Lee has a walkie talkie, so everyone can hear Jim while he’s stuck underground, buried alive. She explains nobody will find him. But there’s a way the detective can get out of there, he just has to find it first – it’s a syringe filled with the Tetch virus. Only an hour of oxygen left. It’s either infect himself, or perish.
Up top of the cop shop, Alfred hangs Hugo off the building by his tie, trying to suss out more leads about Bruce, the plot on Gotham, et cetera. The butler needs better tactics, so he offers the professor freedom in exchange for Bruce; he finds out they’ve gone to Wayne Enterprises, the bomb is set to go off at 5 PM. But Strange warns about Bruce: “His mind is no longer his own.” Speaking of, the Shaman’s trying to make sure he keeps Bruce under his thumb for the final act of Gotham’s demise. Promising that the kid will meet the true master behind everything in their city.
With no time left underground, Jim is faced with taking the virus. Harvey urges him to do it. The detective refuses: “I won‘t become a monster.” Right at that moment, Alfred calls Bullock to let him know about the bomb detonating. It’s a rush on all ends. When there are no more options and the walkie talkies are out of range, Gordon takes the virus. Not only to free himself, to hopefully save Gotham. Not long after, the GCPD find the coffin and syringe empty, Harvey calls for cops to head for Union Station. And at the PD, Dr. Thompkins gets out of her cell.
At Sirens, Barb and the others are using Selina to try luring Penguin in, using Firefly. The Cat says she’ll do it if her friends aren’t hurt, and she gets paid, of course. Meanwhile, Penguin and Ivy are at that rundown estate trying to figure out their next steps, waiting for Selina to apparently show up with Firefly. This doesn’t thrill Oswald, he senses a setup coming. Sure enough, trouble is right on their doorstep when Ed and Barb and the rest get there. The Riddler wants his old pal to say his name before dying. Instead of any murder, Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) turns up for her “little Penguin.”
Watching over the city, the Shaman tells Bruce to detonate the bomb. Right as Alfred comes to find his boy, urging him to choose a different path. The Shaman makes the young man press the button, which prompts the butler to shoot him dead. The old guy’s last words speak of the “demon‘s head.” The kid rages at Mr. Pennyworth, and the bomb still goes off in the middle of the city.
Down at Union Station, infected Jim takes on the Talons guarding the bomb. But he’s too late, certainly. The Tetch virus bomb explodes, right with Jim in the room. The infected blood disperses into the air. People all over the station are infected.
Mass panic is about to commence. Season 3 nears the end with “Destiny Calling” next.