Season 4, Episode 19: “To Our Deaths and Beyond”
Directed by Scott White
Written by Peter Blake & Iturri Sosa
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “That’s Entertainment” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “That Old Corpse” – click here
Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) gets tested by the women of the League of Shadows, they want to ensure she is the Demon’s Head. And, as far as the ladies are concerned, Barb isn’t passing, either. They tell her Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig) was so effective because he “saw the future” at all times.
On the streets of Gotham City, Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) and Selina (Camren Bicondova) take his pre-Batmobile car for a spin, as they test out all the neat features. Seems that the Cat got a call from Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas). So, they go down to see her, and they meet the men of the League of Shadows. Tabitha wants to help Barbara, believing she’s under a type of possession. Turns out, the League are planning on bringing Ra’s back from the dead. Except the young Wayne advises against it, knowing Ra’s wanted to die and have him take over. However, they use Bruce’s blood to start the process.
And from the grave, an undead Ra’s rises.
The GCP find five bank robberies happened in a single night. Ah, the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) and Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin), surely! This has got Cpt. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Dt. Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) curious. So Jim, of course, heads down to the Narrows.
Speaking of, Lee and the Riddler are running things as usual. But Ed seems disenchanted with the whole thing, particularly seeing as how part of him – the Nygma part – loves her. She’s got him around her finger. Poor Ed is always being manipulated, despite the Riddler side of him being ultra smart.
They’ve got other things to concern themselves with, though. Such as Butch aka Solomon Grundy (Drew Powell) and Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) on their doorstep, wanting to get in on the moneymaking. More than that, having Oswald around tickles the paranoia of Ed beneath his Riddler personality, as the Penguin knows his old pal all too well.
Now that Ra’s is resurrected, he’s pissed, too. He didn’t want to be woken up, and he wanted to leave things in Barbara’s hands. The men of the League advise against that. This is also when Tabitha finds out Barb has to willingly give up the Demon’s Head power, which we all highly doubt she’ll do. Could prove lethal, no?
Well, Ra’s goes to see Barbara again after all this time. He is less than impressed with what she’s been doing since he left. She’s mostly thinking on a small level, the Gotham level, whereas it’s a much larger, more vast power with huge implications. Things soon get nasty. Ra’s insults her hopes of being a “reincarnated queen,” which makes Barb mad with rage. This begins a fight between the old Demon’s Head and the new, including the women of the League. Eventually, Barb makes it out, though Ra’s is right on her trail. Luckily she gets a lift from young Master Wayne. Fucking WILD!
At the Narrows, Jim has a post-shooting reunion with Lee, as he’s tracking down the Riddler. Obviously she’s not going to give her tenuous friend over to the GCPD. She’s also a bit righteous for a woman engaging in crime and exploitation in her own ways. However, she and Jim are a lot alike. They both have sins for which they feel they have to atone, and for which they NEED to atone, definitely. They’re simply doing things by their own brand. Lee’s path is, for now, a bit darker than Jim. Although Cpt. Gordon is no angel.
Bruce and friends go back to Wayne Manor, where Alfred (Sean Pertwee) waits. They discuss how to go about defeating Ra’s, but Bruce already knows: he has to be the one to kill Ra’s, just as he was the one through which the man was brought back to life. It’s all prophetic and shit, y’know. Nevertheless, Alfred and Bruce + Tabitha and Barb is a little tricky, not exactly a relationship built on trust. Just blind faith for now. They’ve got to get their hands on that embalmer’s knife again, as well. Alfred and Tabitha do good work together, all the same. Everyone pitches in to get the knife back.
Nygma is continually slipping back into psychosis. The Riddler and Ed are constantly at war, two viruses battling for superiority in one vessel. The intellect v. emotions warring against one another. It’s never clear which side will come out on top in the end. That’s part of the macabre fun of watching his situation unfold; or, unravel. Looks as if the Riddler is winning right now. He’s gone behind Ed’s back, to have a big chat with Mr. Cobblepot, telling him all about the bank jobs.
With the embalmer’s knife in their possession, the group of for-the-time-being friends are at odds. Barb won’t let Bruce be the one to wield the knife, and the Cat has no choice but give it over to her. She really doesn’t want to, yet there’s not much choice. Barbara takes the ladies and leaves the two men in her dust.
Cpt. Gordon and Dt. Bullock are looking into the banks, after running into dead ends about the bank robberies. Yet Jim is going too hard, and mostly hotheaded over his talk with Lee. Eventually he calms down, then he and Bullock uncover “security protocol” made the banks move their funds from 45 branches to a secure location; exactly where the Riddler and Dr. Thompkins are headed. Only the Riddler has double-crossed Lee, with Penguin and Butch, so it’s a whole other situation at this point.
Over at the Sirens Club, Barb receives a visit from Ra’s, who only wants the Demon’s Head power back. She gets in close to him before stabbing the embalmer’s knife in his chest. Nothing happens. So they fight, and Ra’s gains the upper hand. Bruce shows up throwing a wrench in things. This allows Barbara time to figure out how to wield the power of the Demon’s Head, seeing into the future. Nonetheless, she’s forced into giving back the power after Tabitha’s life is threatened. Thus Ra’s comes back, full strength, and he even cracks the embalmer’s knife: “Today is not the day that I die.”
Well, we see that Ed has won out after all. He’s actually double-crossed Oswald and Grundy, locking them into the bank and proving himself Lee’s friend thick and thin. This puts Penguin in a shitty spot, though Grundy might get them out of there before the cops get there to arrest them. And still, Ed/the Riddler is mixed up, despite the fact he seems lucid at times rather than psychotic. While he runs off, Lee gives herself up for arrest outside to Cpt. Gordon, to his and Bullock’s surprise.
Once again, Barb is back to running a nightclub, no longer the leader of a bunch of ninjas. She and Tabitha are a bit closer again, too. But the women of the League of Shadows haven’t left. They seem impressed with her, and so they bow.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce winds up talking with Ra’s, who talks of a “cataclysmic event” that will “purify” the city. He says it will also turn Bruce into a “dark knight” of Gotham. Oh, my. This is starting to get especially intense.
Damn fine episode! This back half of Season 4 has been great, from one episode to the next. Overall, Season 4’s been cracking. Love the characters, and love how they’ve adapted all the various stories/plots into this prequel world of Gotham City.
“That Old Corpse” is next time.