Season 4, Episode 21: “One Bad Day”
Directed by Rob Bailey
Written by Tze Chun
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “That Old Corpse” – click here
* For a recap & review of the finale, “No Man’s Land” – click here
After Jeremiah Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) set off those bombs there’s still one problem: Captain Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is missing. The GCPD’s worried, obviously. Even though Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) is leading the charge to find Jeremiah and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), as well as trying to keep hope in everyone that their Cap’s alive. Other cops are wary of following Dt. Bullock, after he led them into a slaughter at the hands of Professor Pyg.
But there’s other things of concern going on. Like Jeremiah and his new followers, those who once followed Jerome. This is a creepier, more subtle maniac of a Joker than we’ve seen in other adaptations of Batman stories. It’s great to see those comic book + Burtonesque colours all over him, the pale face and red lipstick in perfect juxtaposition. On top of it all, the Joker’s got the GCPD in an extremely tricky situation. He’s going to level the Gotham, unless Dt. Bullock and the PD can evacuate the city in 6 hours, so he can reboot it all over again in his image.
“Every artist needs a blank canvas”
At the Sirens, Barb (Erin Richards) and Tabitha (Jessica Lucas) get a drop-in from Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and Mr. Butch Grundy (Drew Powell). The lads have been doing some torturing to get info. Oz is reaching out to Barb and Tabitha only from necessity, really. He entices Tabitha with hopes that Dr. Strange can help return Solomon to Butch, if only they get the money. This pulls the ladies into the plan.
Bruce gets to the GCPD where he talks to Bullock. He feels guilty because of Wayne Enterprises building the “next generation generators” that Jeremiah turned into bombs which are now threatening the whole city and the lives of everyone in it. Harvey sends young Master Wayne back home, advising him not to put himself in any further danger. He then gets a call from Alfred (Sean Pertwee). Only, it’s not; it’s Jeremiah, who does himself a bit of taunting, and also gives Bruce instructions to meet him.
And what about Jim? He’s been taken somewhere, looked after. Where? The Narrows. He’s under the care of Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin), after Ed Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and his guys found him after the blast. The Doc doesn’t seem to be rushing him out the door, either. She’s got the Captain of the GCPD mildly sedated, “easier to handle.” Either way, Jim’s only concerned about Gotham. He took some plans from the bunker, and Lee takes those with her. He’s not used to this lack of control, not being the one to helm the ship as they try to save Gotham.
Bruce takes Selina (Camren Bicondova) with him to the rundown warehouse where he’s meant to meet Jeremiah. He sees a screen, on which men beat Alfred, who’s tied to a chair. The butler screams into the camera, bleeding. And there’s nothing Bruce can do. All the while the pale faced maniac is watching; always watching.
In that warehouse, Jeremiah stumbles onto Penguin and the others, a bomb-laced trap of their own at play to make demands: $50 million. This doesn’t last long, Mr. Valeska uses an RPG to detonate the bomb himself. Once again, he’s got the upper hand. And he’s changing terms for Gotham – he’s blowing the place sky high once he gets outside the city limits.
Poor Bruce is being driven towards madness. The Joker believes, like his brother, that “one bad day” can be the difference between a normal, good person, and a horrible, horrific one. This is when Scarecrow (David W. Thompson) comes around to introduce a bit of toxins to Alfred. Our Cat almost ends up in the clutches of Scarecrow, too. Yikes! Lucky that she can kick serious ass.
We see Nygma and Jim pushed into working together, to save the Narrows and Gotham as a whole. They bump up against each other, as the Cap doesn’t believe Lee could love the Riddler. Certainly, Ed’s got his doubts. Otherwise he wouldn’t be so desperate, needing reinforcement from a man he hates to validate his hopes. A well-written scene that I love! Duelling wounded male egos. Eventually, Gordon knocks Ed out to try making an escape.
Through the warehouse halls, infected by the fear gas himself, Bruce is having a psychedelic experience akin to a brutal trip on mushrooms or LSD. After a little while, he barges through a set of doors where he locates Alfred. The butler’s laughing, going insane. He pulls out a switchblade, cutting the corners of his mouth into a bloody smile. He cackles more and attacks Bruce with the blade, forcing Bruce to fight him. It’s not actually the butler, though. The fear gas is just making young Wayne see awful visions. Selina’s found the real Alfred, alive and well!
The next phase of Jeremiah’s plan is resting on the trigger of a detonator. He and his followers are in a bunker, readying themselves for Gotham to be toppled. Although they see a TV report with none other than Jim, front and centre; not blown up. Simultaneously, Harvey is getting instructed over the phone by Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) on how to disable the generator bombs. It’s a little confusing. Add to that the fact Jeremiah changed things since drawing the schematics. Harv takes a chance, disconnects some wiring, and wouldn’t you know it? No booms. A hero.
That means Jeremiah looks like a true fraud to his followers, between no detonations and Cpt. Gordon being alive. Might be more troublesome if he hadn’t anticipated just about every possible situation. He’s rigged a room in the bunker for a nasty purge by fire.
“… you’ll hear the sounds of a new world being born.”
All alone now, Jeremiah has no friends. Enter: Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig). Even with their different desires, they have common ground – they both loathe Bruce. This could actually bring the white-faced, red-lipped psychopath and the undead leader of the League of Shadows together. If so, watch out.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce and Selina are intruded upon by Jeremiah, who shoots the Cat right in the abdomen. Oh. My. God. We can’t see our Cat go yet? Can we? I won’t have it.
Now we’ve got to wait a week until the finale. “No Man’s Land” has such an interesting name that I can’t wait to see what they do with this episode; if you’re a comics fan, you’ll know all about it.