Fox’s “Batman-without-Batman” soap opera is the most amazingly weird show on television. For every episode this season, Deadshirt’s own Sarah Register, Kayleigh Hearn and Max Robinson discuss the good, the bad…the beginning? of little Bruce Wayne, skinny Oswald Cobblepot, and Jim Gordon sans ‘stache as they try to find their way in the misery-soaked, work-a-day world of…GOTHAM.
Gotham, inexplicably, goes back on hiatus after this week until April. Luckily, this episode is completely bugnuts. Folks, it’s Crazy Clown Time.
JEROMEMANIA IS RUNNING WILD ON THE GCPD
Max: Raging Crime Juggalos are rioting in police headquarters and people barely care. GCPD Central is under siege every week!
Sarah: You would think the GCPD would start having drills for gaudily dressed theme gangs by now.
Kayleigh: “At least it wasn’t the bondage assassins this time.”
RIDDLER’S PULLIN’ A MAURY REVEAL ON THE PENGUIN
Max: Nygma tying Oswald to Isabella’s crushed car cube, all crying like John C. Reilly when he’s being buried alive in Step Brothers. Here’s the thing: Nygma is 100% correct that Oswald doesn’t really understand what love is.
Sarah: I love that the security guard asked Oswald what he did before he cut him loose, because in Gotham that’s a very pertinent question.
Kayleigh: I have been very critical of his role this season, but Nygma going full-Riddler with a Rube Goldberg death trap was perfect.
GORDON AND LEE PLEASE STOP BICKERING LONG ENOUGH TO SAVE A CHILD’S LIFE
Max: Man you kill ONE blood-infected lunatic fiance and your ex never lets you live it down.
Sarah: Honestly, why the hell is Lee still working for the GCPD at this point?
Kayleigh: Pissed Off Mob Widow Coroner: This Fall on FOX, right after The Mick!
JEROME LIVES AND FOLKS, HE LOVES SCHTICK
Max: The Bruce/Jerome scenes in this episode are great. Jerome breaking the big Court of Owls plot device out of spite, Bruce playing on Jerome’s vanity! Good stuff.
Sarah: I love how Jim was like “DUH, he’s at the circus”.
Kayleigh: Every Gotham mid-season finale has to end with Bruce Wayne being the kidnapped ritual sacrifice for a secret cult.
Max: Okay we were ragging on the GCPD’s lack of security earlier but murderous nutjobs just come and go at Wayne Manor like it’s Grand Central Station.
MAN GORDON KILLS A LOT OF DUDES IN THIS EPISODE HUH?
Sarah: No one is exactly tracking GCPD’s ethics violations at this point anyway.
Max: God bless Sean Pertwee’s cockney violence lunatic Alfred, screaming cockney nonsense at clowns.
Kayleigh: RIP Krusty, Doodles, Bim Bam, and Sparkles.
Max: JEROME DRESSES LIKE THE CONEY ISLAND MASCOT AND TAKES OVER A CARNIVAL. BRUCE WAYNE: CLOWN BABY. I LOVE IT.
Sarah: Bruce’s clown-eye was On Point, but when Jerome drew a bloody frown on Bruce’s lips, it too closely harkened that controversial Batgirl alternate cover for me.
Kayleigh: Captive Bruce is basically me in 2008 when all my art school friends insisted I watch Repo: The Genetic Opera.
ASMR: TABITHA TELLS YOU ABOUT HOW YOUR MOM DIED
Max: Guys! It’s Butch! Butch is back!
Kayleigh: I hope Butch eventually gets a rocket hand that fires a punch at Penguin.
Sarah: I loved his “aw shucks” when he realized he had to carry an unconscious Penguin. What a lovable mook.
Max: Butch is a loser, even in victory.
JEROME’S JUST GONNA SHOOT A CANNON FULL OF KNIVES AT BRUCE WAYNE
Sarah: This should not have been as effective as it was.
Max: This year’s Lollapalooza is wild.
Kayleigh: Bruce picking his handcuffs with a staple Jerome shot in his arm is baller as hell, no joke(r).
BARBARA IS SO GOOD
Max: Just want to shout out Barbara’s dress in this episode, which made me and my roommate both go “…nice”.
Sarah: I wish Barbara would push a rotary phone towards ME with her stiletto.
Max: Barbara pointing out that Oswald keeps calling Isabella “Isabel”. Barbara slumming it among the super-criminal elite will never get old.
OF COURSE THERE’S A KILLER CAT AND MOUSE GAME IN A HALL OF MIRRORS
Max: This is the MOST “Batman” Bruce has been on this show and I’m HERE for it. The dramatic high point of this episode is two unhinged teenagers just whaling on each other.
Sarah: I’d argue that the dramatic high point was when Jim LITERALLY PUNCHED A MAN’S FACE OFF and didn’t barf.
Max: Gordon punched Jerome’s face off and Bullock was like “Buddy, you did it! :)”
Sarah: That’s going to be Harvey’s wingman pitch for years to come.
Max: Bruce won’t kill but he DEFINITELY wants to beat the hell out of clowns now. In all seriousness, Alfred *making* Bruce say he won’t kill before he STARTS HIS BATMAN TRAINING is The Good Stuff.
Kayleigh: I wonder if this was influenced in any way by the backlash to kill-happy Batfleck.
Sarah: This is an insanely clever take on Batman, even if it’s accidental. The comics like to play with the chicken and the egg theory when it comes to Batman and his villains, with canon stories usually concluding that it’s Batman’s presence that opened the door for his gallery of costumed rogues. Gotham clearly asserts that it’s ultimately Jerome (in addition to Bruce losing his parents) who “creates” Batman.
Kayleigh: I know there are comics purists who sneer at the idea of Teen Batman fighting Teen Joker, but David Mazouz and Cameron Monaghan really make it work. Bruce choosing to become a hero in the stapled-on face of Jerome’s clownish nihilism really works.
THE COURT OF JAMES REMARS
Max: Fake Bruce is back and a graduate of the Court of Owls Finishing School For Clones.
Sarah: David Mazouz has some serious range for an actor his age. He’s completely won me over on the idea of bb Bruce even being on this show.
Kayleigh: This show is so good in the “Character Actors Playing Hitherto Unknown Relatives of Our Heroes” department.
THINGS LOOK BAD FOR THE PENGUIN
Max: Gotham’s all like “Hey remember the pilot? Anyway here’s Oswald getting shot amongst some weird gay Hannibal shit”
Sarah: This ain’t exactly a cliffhanger—that bay is like a trashy Lazarus Pit.
Kayleigh: This episode had a lot of “Why don’t they just shoot him?” moments with the Penguin, so it was pretty satisfying that they didn’t wimp out on Nygma pulling the trigger. Oswald experienced one true moment of selflessness, and it led to his biggest downfall yet. Gotham, baby!
Oh hey, whatever happened to Fish Mooney and Hugo Strange?
Max: WE’LL FIND OUT IN TWO MONTHS. MAYBE!
Gotham airs Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern on FOX.