The Demon’s Head | Gotham “Pretty Hate Machine” Review
Gotham’s latest episode, “Pretty Hate Machine,” embarks on what I feel is one of the hardest episodes in TV, the episode just before the season finale. The writers have to entice just enough to get the (two-part) season finale the proper oomph, but it can’t appear as simply a transition to the finale. So, was “Pretty Hate Machine” the perfect teaser leading into the two-part finale of this season of Gotham?
Gotham has three huge plot points running in diverging directions. Lee is twisting Jim up and forces him to make a huge decision, the Nygma/Cobblepot feud introduces a trump card for one of the characters, and Bruce is about to make a decision that could alter the entire show. But with these very separate plotlines going in very different directions, they somehow seem to be able to hold it together quite nicely.
As we saw in the previous episode, Lee (Morena Baccarin) took the last known vial of the Tetch virus, and she went full on baddie in this episode. Just as when Barbara went to the darkside, Lee got a kind of makeover with the typical dark clothing ensemble, but she did exude a villainous persona throughout the episode. The costume only amplified it so. In this episode, she puts Jim in such a situation that could be a unique story telling opportunity, but it could also lead to some weird situations with a character we’ve come to love.
In the scene, Lee buried Jim alive with the last remaining parts of the Tetch virus. So, his only way out is to inject himself with it and literally punch his way out. I can’t wait to see how this affects Jim. It emphasized Barnes’ lust for justice, and it took Lee’s vendetta and love for Jim to highly erratic levels; will Jim be the one spared from the dreadful side effects?
The Nygma V. Cobblepot feud continues here, and Cobblepot finally outsmarts The Riddler. Cobblepot allowed him and Ivy to get “caught,” and Nygma and his crew walked right into it. It’s a shame they didn’t show (or even mention) how they got out because I feel that could have been an interesting aside to the feud. The pivotal point of the episode between the two is when Cobblepot’s and Nygma’s squads (including Barb, Butch and Tabitha) are squaring off, and an old character makes a return and completely changes up the game. Enter Fish Mooney. She proceeded to simply whisk Penguin away. Who knows whether she will put the whole thing where Cobblepot attempted to kill her aside or not. It will certainly be entertaining to see where she sides, since she presumably wants to be the queen of Gotham once again.
Finally, we have the storyline with the Temple Shaman and Bruce coming to a head. The Temple Shaman tried to have Bruce give the order to kill the entire Court, but his hesitation forced the Temple Shaman to make that call. Later on, Bruce is forced with another pivotal moment which showcases his indecision with the path he is headed down. They have the bomb with the Tetch virus at Central Station, but Alfred gets there to cause Bruce’s hesitation once again and The Shaman hits the button. He also mentions that he must seek out the demon’s head, whom we presume is an allusion to Ra’s al Ghul.