Season 4, Episode 16: “One of My Three Soups”
Directed by Ben McKenzie
Written by Charlie Huston
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Sinking Ship, The Grand Applause” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Mandatory Brunch Meeting” – click here
Oh, Arkham Asylum! What a place. Only the finest of medical care, you can be sure of that. And it’s just such a fine establishment in terms of recidivism. Plus, they’re clearly top notch when it comes to mental health.
One of the guards forgets her headphones, while the other rocks to Alice Smith. This lets Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) out of his cage, letting others like Scarecrow (David W. Thompson) out of theirs, too. So begins the grand plans of Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan). Three crazy fucks, all together! I dig it. A gruesome and wild opening sequence. Lots of insane criminals out of their cells for a carnival of madness.
Captain Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is trying to keep up his lie of being the “hero cop,” and Dt. Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) is alongside to make sure he doesn’t forget it, either. So, the cap gears his men and women up, sending them into the chaos unfolding out of Arkham. Soon, Tetch phones rhyming to Jim setting the games in motion; it’s always a game.
Jim and Harvey head to the location Tetch gave them. They find a bride and groom standing below a wrecking ball. A gang of men get out to hold Jim and Harvey back. The Mad Hatter’s got an elaborate scheme setup, as usual. And he’s raving relentlessly. “No more saving,” he tells Gordon, crushing the married couple like bloody flies on the pavement.
At the GCPD, Bruce (David Mazouz) has dragged Selina (Camren Bicondova) with him. They’re up to some risky business. They’re looking for Valeska’s file; well, Bruce is the one looking, and Ms. Cat’s the one actually GETTING the file itself. Bless her heart.
I’m continually most interested in what Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) did to Barbara (Erin Richards). She has a strange glow under her skin, her hand like a flare running across it. Coming back from the dead’s a bitch. Her memories are all but killing her; sort of a great metaphor for memory, no? She comes to remember when Ra’s fed her the Lazarus water, giving her life again. “You shall become the Demon‘s Head,” he tells her, gifting her the League of Shadows.
Now, the League are on their way to Gotham, called by their new master. In fact they’ve already arrived.
The next Mad Hatter trap has a bunch of people on buildings all around a whole neighbourhood, every one of them prepared to jump. If Jim and Harvey get too close, they jump. If the clock strikes 12? They still jump. Harvey willingly puts himself in the line of suicidal fire, trying to determine what radio station Tetch could’ve used to spread his hypnotising message. Leads to the inevitable: Harvey’s infected by the Hatter’s words when he tracks down the station.
Jerome hides out with his uncle, who’s not a good guy. Him and a buddy are taking the opportunity of the nephew’s impromptu getting out of the joint by doing something nasty to him, involving a “too hot” soup. Who happens to turn up in the middle of it all? Bruce Wayne. This pits the kid against a massive dude, giving Jerome time enough to get the upper hand on his uncle.
At the diner, Bruce fights the big guy, and Jerome watches on laughing hysterically. Until our Cat gets there with her whip to equal the footing. I love that we’re seeing the beginnings of what would be Batman v. the Joker, as Bruce finds himself in the typical ethical problem he’s usually in with the Joker (even though they CLAIM Jerome’s not actually the Joker; whatever), constantly battling him and never being able to allow himself morally to kill him.
The League of Shadows – the men, anyway – believe a woman can’t lead them. The women of the League feel differently. When Barb is challenged, she quickly puts that to rest. Except it really pisses the rest of them off after one of them gets fucked up. Barb has the power of the Demon’s Head, she merely has to unlock it and understand it wholly. She commands their respect, calling them to bow down. The women of the League gun down their male counterparts, and they pledge allegiance to Ms. Kean as the new Demon’s Head. In turn, their newest leader agrees to learn what’s asked of her. This is going to get super interesting. I love this all-women version of the League here, not sure if it’s ever been tackled in the comics. Particularly with a ruthless Barb at the head.
Jim gets to the radio station, stopping Tetch. Now he has to get the whole game to stop. He has to shoot a hole in the Hatter’s hand to get any info. Tetch essentially put a failsafe in there to prevent even himself from calling the whole thing off. There’s no way out from stopping people jumping. So, Jim goes out over the radio pleading to the people on the ledges: “Save each other.” And they do, preventing a mass suicide across Gotham City. Doesn’t stop Gordon from feeling guilt, his head weary from holding secrets from the people he’s pledged to protect. His old pal Harv’s got good advice over a drink, though.
The inmates are still loose in Gotham. Jerome and Scarecrow have intercepted Tetch being transferred. There’s more madness to come!
This was a fun episode. It always gets really twisted whenever the Mad Hatter’s around. My kind of depravity. That wrecking ball kill was BONKERS. What a series Gotham proves to be even after four seasons. “Mandatory Brunch Meeting” is up next.