Face-Off | Gotham “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies” Review
Gotham has been on an amazing run since they’ve been back from the Fall break, and the final episode before yet another break (we know, we aren’t happy either), gives us more Jerome. While Jerome was the main draw in this episode, the impact he has on Bruce is what really elevates the episode.
Jerome, as I have mentioned in just about every review in which he is a part of, is an absolutely fantastic character. He pulls everything that we all know and love about his supposed character (The Joker) and melds it into one crazy demented persona. Since the only thing he can remember in this episode is wanting to kill Bruce Wayne, this episode features the most impactful scene that is sure to lead the grudge match between the two in the future.
When he does kidnap Bruce, he takes him to a carnival that is reminiscent of the carnival in The Killing Joke, a twisted place in which carnival games are replaced with humans. A simple game of whack-a-mole with a Joker-like spin turns into Gotham citizens having their heads hit with mallets, while a dunk tank turns into a tank filled with Piranhas. Bruce did intervene in an attempt to save the man by pushing Jerome when he was throwing at the dunk tank target, but Jerome simply pushes the button anyway.
After the dunk tank scene, we see Bruce trying to withstand Jerome stapling his arm, that is after he stapled a piece of his own face back on. It truly shows the beginnings of Bruce starting to stand up for himself and the citizens of Gotham. But, the main event featured Bruce and Jerome having a showdown in a mirror house.
This showdown represents a coming of age for the soon-to-be-batman. In this scene, Bruce turns from hunter to hunted and after a few thrilling fun-house mirror fakeouts, Bruce gets the drop on Jerome. He has the chance to kill him, but Bruce pulls back after giving Jerome’s face a smattering of punches. Later on, Bruce explains to Alfred that there is that fine line between justice and vengeance, and he knows exactly where that line is. Thus, his first rule of becoming The Batman is born; he will not kill.
Batman’s one rule is one of the most well-known across comic book lore, and it just so happens to be the one that the Joker attempts to force him to break over and over again. I absolutely loved the fact that this was brought up so early on in Bruce’s life. The change from Bruce in season one to season three is absolutely monumental. In season one, he felt more like a standin for a character, but now he is a force to be reckoned with.
As for actually apprehending Jerome, it went a very “Joker” way when Jim literally punched Jerome’s face off. Besides that scene and a few very minor scenes beforehand, we didn’t get too much from Jim and the GCPD crew. I was hoping for a bit more interaction between himself and the crazed madman Jerome, but I am sure that will be coming sometime in the future. While Jim only had a few scenes, we did get quite a few from Gotham’s fallen Mayor, Oswald Cobblepot.
This is one of my favorite plot lines since it involves a handful of great and diverse characters in Gotham, namely Ed, Oswald and the Barbara/Tabitha duo. Ed has set up a handful of tests to try to prove to Oswald that it was impossible for him to love anyone else, but when this fails to happen, Ed is literally at a loss for words. I kind of wished that he had given some witty retort; the silence just felt a bit off for the character. The setup for this entire plotline has been spanning a couple episodes, and it ends with quite the bang here. It is interesting to note that the final scene between Ed and Oswald is quite reminiscent of the scene between Penguin and Fish Mooney a couple seasons prior. It’s clear foreshadowing that Oswald will return, and there’s a strong likelihood that he won’t be exactly the same Oswald that was shot and pushed into the water.
The final scene dealt with a teaser of sorts with a “fake” Bruce with two members of The Court of Owls. There’s really not that much more to mention because their involvement and fascination with Gotham is still a bit murky at this point. They clearly want Gotham so survive long enough; we just aren’t sure exactly what reason that is. All the Court scenes, even those in previous episodes, have always felt a bit obtuse for my liking. It’s the long con, and I’m hoping their plans are revealed to us sooner rather than later.