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Gotham - S3E1 - Mad City: Better to Reign in Hell

Previously on Gotham

Season three begins with Gordon without his badge, working as a bounty hunter in the monster-ridden streets of Gotham. He continues to search for information on the Indian Hills escapees and why their powers seem to be killing them. Meanwhile, Bruce’s doppelganger is getting into trouble and Barbara and Tabitha open up a nightclub called The Sirens.   

Hear ye, hear ye! Gotham is back and full of monsters, creatures, and crippled things. Just when you think the first two seasons had done enough with the pumping of well-known and obscure Batman villains, we get another seasons-full in just one episode! At least allow us to chew some before you give us another spoonful.

The writing in this episode wasn’t bad. The main characters all seemed to work their way back to one another so that we get a semi-clear picture as to where their stories are going. Fish is looking for Hugo Strange to fix her and her monster crew, Gordon’s in a bottle of beer pining over Dr. Thompkins, and Penguin’s looking to get revenge on Fish.

The premiere opens with Gordon making good on his season 2 finale promise: He found his Dr. Thompkins, but it was not the reunion he had hoped for. She was with another man and looked to be very happy. We then fast forward to the present where we find Gordon giving up his badge to work as a bounty hunter for the GCPD, all broken hearted and grumpy. If you really think about it, has anything changed? His main job seems to be bringing the Indian Hill escapees in to receive help for their afflictions.

With Dr. Thompkins out of the way, there’s room for a new love interest: Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung), who is a reporter for the Gotham Gazette, and has been tracking the Indian Hill escapee story. And she’s all about our depressed former GCPD detective. It is funny watching someone bug Gordon as much as he bugged others the past two seasons with his constant berating and questioning. He eventually agrees to help her on the story.

Images: FOX

Images: FOX

Meanwhile, Fish Mooney and her “monster squad” are out looking for a drug that can help them. Hugo Strange’s experiments are now killing them. Fish finds out from Mrs. Peabody that if they continue to use their powers they are going to die. Fish does not like that one bit and decides to get a second opinion from Dr. Strange himself.

While Fish are out looking for the cure, Penguin is looking for her and he’s offering a million dollars to anyone who can bring her in alive, dead, or chopped up into little pieces. He is going crazy wondering why she did not kill him when she had the chance after escaping from Indian Hills. His only solace is his weekly talks with his brother from another mother, Edward Nygma.


Barbara and Tabitha, who have just opened a new night club named Sirens, are very interested in Penguin’s reward. And Gordon was also titillated by Penguin’s cash offer. But none can find her - well, none except Ivy, who will be able to buy alcohol the next time we see here.

Bruce is back from his fact-finding mission to discover who’s behind the shadowy organization in Gotham all while staying off their radar. He confronts the Wayne Enterprises board of directors with his findings and lets them know that he knows there are members from the organization on the board. He threatens to release his evidence to the public and they show him and Alfred the Talon (Brandon Alan Smith).

So let’s take a look at the villains the showrunners have served us so far. In no particular order, and we will save the familiar faces for last, we have “Ridgeback Monster” (Michael Montgomery), who could be the Killer Croc character many of us just saw in the summer movie Suicide Squadbut then he dies so I don’t think so. Next, we have the character “Sid” (Michael Lorz), who is a speedster and working for Fish Mooney. I don’t think he has any relation to the Flash universe, but you never know. Then we have “Nancy” (Bianca Rutigliano), who is all leathered out, has a breathing mask and super human strength. We have a man with bat wings, who we can assume is a “Man-Bat.” We get to see a character named “Marv” (Victor Pagan), whose touch turns people into aged corpses. There are others like Donald the Wrecking Ball (Jonah Young) and a version of “Livewire” named Electric Devendra (Teniece Divya Johnson).

All this and that is not even taking into account the villains we already know like Penguin, Nygma, Fish, Tabitha, Barbara, and Butch. There’s Bruce’s doppelganger, which could be the shows reach for the Batman villains Lincoln “Talon” March or Thomas “Hush” Elliott, which would be really cool. And if we really want to get technical there is Ivy and Selina…well, more Ivy than Selina. Anyway, there are so many villains here I think the catch line of, “All will be judged” has every opportunity to come true.

Gotham S3E1
  • 7/10
    Plot - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Dialogue - 6/10
  • 5/10
    Action - 5/10
  • 5/10
    Performances - 5/10


This premiere was the same-old, same-old with a plethora of villains, but the writing was better than it has been. It goes all out with its campy comic book dialogue and characters, and has no shame in it. Taking the show at face value it is decent as long as you go into it with the understanding you are going to get a faux-drama with plenty of comic book glitz and very little substance. But it’s okay every so often to watch a geek’s version of E! News right?

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About Michael James (88 Articles)
An Air Force brat and former bluesuiter, Michael was raised all over the country, but calls the southwest his home… although you would not know it since he currently resides in the nation’s capital! (For now…?) He is also a reformed government black suit and tie guy who now gives back to the world one child at a time as a child therapist. He was brought up on Star Trek NG, Buck Rogers and old BSG TV shows and he loves most things Geek (TV: GoT, BSG, Fringe, Walking Dead; Comics: Image, DC, Marvel; Movies: Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, Serenity, The Avengers, Man of Steel (I know!), Pacific Rim, and Edge of Tomorrow. His perfect time would be traipsing around the world with his family and his two dogs, discovering and experiencing all kinds of ridiculous adventures. Too bad he doesn’t have William Bell money!

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