Season 4, Episode 13: “A Beautiful Darkness”
Directed by John Stephens
Written by Tze Chun
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Pieces of a Broken Mirror” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Reunion” – click here
Ms. Ivy (Peyton List) and selina (Camren Bicondova) are out testing the new and improved Poison Ivy powers. They march themselves into a beautiful home, intoxicating anybody in their path. Ivy can command them to do anything she wishes. Although while the Cat goes to rob the place, Ivy has her own agenda. The man of the house, Roland Charles, tortures plants “in the name of science” for Wayne Enterprises. She’s there to set the scales of justice right for nature. Oh, this could lead to some interesting places. She uses her darker powers on Mr. Charles, which doesn’t quite sit right with Selina.
Captain Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has a Chaz Carmichael (Joseph D’Onofrio) in his holding cell. The guy tells him he works for none other than Sofia Falcone (Cystal Reed), and that lady’s still one hell of a sore spot for ole Jim. Nevertheless, the GCPD are called out to the crime scene where Roland is displayed like a house plant with shrubs growing from out of his throat. Cpt. Gordon goes to the scee with Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk), who fills him in on the witness statements and the toxicology, et cetera. They at least know that Selina was involved somehow, and that Charles worked with pesticides and plant-related experiments. Fox decides to give Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) a ring: “We may have a problem.”
What exactly is Project M?
While there’s surely some worth in investigating Project M it seems to me that Ivy’s heading down a dangerous road of obsession. And it’s clear that our Cat won’t have any part of it, she’s horrified by the events of their would-be robbery. Now, as a lone wolf, Ivy’s even more troubling.
What about young Bruce? The lad’s been partying hard; too hard. Doesn’t help that he has Ivy turning up unexpectedly at his mansion. “I‘m here to speak for the plants,” she tells him. That’s a little hippy-ish, not so much villainous. When she asks about Project M, we see Bruce’s interest peaks. Before he can do anything, she lays a kiss on him, and he’s intoxicated by her herb druggery. This is how she gets her information. Following Bruce’s confession he gets a tiny cut on the neck. He won’t die quick, he’ll go slowly until he’s in full “bloom.”
Is the Joker turning up or not? Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) is definitely kicking around. Yet the Gotham team, including Monaghan himself, keep telling the fans that this is not the Joker. Even though he has the smile, the card keeps getting dropped, and on, and on. Either way, Jerome is getting better acquainted with Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), who’s not exactly having a great time in Arkham Asylum. These two will have a strange relationship, no doubt.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce lies helpless on the floor with plants growing inside him. Then he has a vision, in which he sees Ra’s al Ghul a.k.a Dr. Greenthumb (Alexander Siddig). It’s a gruesome vision. Bruce gets pruned; Ra’s takes his face off.
Elsewhere at the Sirens, Jim meets Sofia. They discuss their tenuous deal, which doesn’t particularly bode well for Cpt. Gordon harbouring those secrets. All the same, Ms. Falcone’s power is fleeting in a place like Gotham City, especially with her father dead and gone.
Penguin’s dragged in front of a bunch of Arkham inmates to perform for Jerome. The pride in Oswald makes him refuse, until he’s made to put on a clown suit. This only prompts weeping from the poor soul. Jerome keeps urging him to perform, and the crowd forces him to dance. Still, Penguin fights back, earning him a beating.
When Jim catches up with Selina he winds up figuring out that Lucius lied about what he knew. Could be too late for Mr. Fox, as Ivy’s already turned up at the GCPD, and she’s in the process of hypnotising the man into telling her everything else there is to know about the fabled Project M. When they get to the GCPD, Jim and Selina see that the entire precinct is obsessed with Ivy. When he calls her “a psycho,” this almost sends the place into a panic.
In his death vision, Bruce is faceless. He wanders through a dreamy place where everybody is quite different, and nobody recognises him, of course. Jim, Barb, Pengin, the whole of Gotham is there. Bullock (Donal Logue), too, holding a rooster. And somebody is wearing Bruce’s face.
At Arkham, who comes to visit Penguin? None other than Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), who’s come to lord over him. He wants to make his nemesis jealous. However, he also reveals, unknowingly, that the Riddler still lurks within him, and this could prove to be Oswald’s way out.
Oz has bigger problems. He has to make Jerome laugh – “or else.” What exactly does or else entail? Make the man laugh or die, I guess. Penguin manages to slip out of things initially, but he’s caught. So, he resorts to the only thing he can think of in the moment: some miming. And it works. Until Penguin kicks the shit out of Jerome and throws him in a mime cell. That only makes the man laugh harder.
Then there’s Bruce, withering away in a poison dream. He sees Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) burst through the window at Wayne Manor, to take him away someplace. He’s brought to the alley where Thomas and Martha were murdered in front of him. On a nearby building is perched a shadowy figure who speaks to him and tells him: “This is where I was born.” It’s the looming, fateful figure of Batman in Bruce’s future, reaching out to him.
Project M ways creating “Lazarus Water,” belonging to Ra’s – it stimulates growth at a rapid rate. Lucius has now led Ms. Ivy right to it. No telling what she’ll do now. All I know is it’s nothing good. On her way out of the lab, she runs into Cpt. Gordon. She has Fox by the throat, too. She gives him the option to let her go, and in the process saving Lucius and Bruce both. But he must hurry.
“I am the one you cannot escape”
Bruce sees another vision of himself in a cave with the shadowy figure of his mind. Soon enough, he’s brought back to life with the antidote, as Jim and Lucius make it to the mansion in time. Will this metaphorical dream – of Alfred symbolically delivering Bruce to his destiny, his ultimate fate – have the power to change the young man? Yes, I believe it will.
In other Gotham news, Ms. Falcone is taking a meeting with Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). Yeah, that’s great news, especially for Cpt. Gordon. Interesting, and devious.
In Arkham, Penguin figures out, from his new bud Jerome, that there’s an escape plan afoot. Something wild. Yet Oz refuses, which I don’t think is a hugely intelligent idea. Not with a guy like Jerome running the shop inside. Little Pengy’s got himself a plan, as well. He’s getting in touch with the Riddler.
And the terror of Poison Ivy has only just begun by the look of things. She’s not done by a long shot.
Exciting episode, and it only gets me excited for more! There are lots of interesting things poised to happen over the last bit of Season 4. Glad to see Bruce turning a corner, if only because Alfred’s such a great character and I want to see him back in Wayne Manor.
“Reunion” is next. Wonder if we’ll see some chaos? You can be sure of that, Gothamites.