Gotham covered a lot of ground with this week’s episode “The Primal Riddle,” giving us a lot of information from most of the show’s main characters. Let’s take a look at how things are panning out.
After finally giving Nygma his villain name one week and then completely avoiding him the next, The Riddler returns in full force this week. With — at least to his knowledge — Oswald out of the way, he wants to focus on something he remembers Professor Strange say about a mysterious organization actually running things in Gotham. Enlisting Barbara as his cohort, much to the dismay of Tabitha, Ed first barges in on a performance of Hamlet (or was it Macbeth), threatens one member of the audience and then kills the actor on stage, leaving behind a box with a riddle written in iambic pentameter:
“I am a man who holds the high position,
Who shows two faces to all those he rules,
A friend, a criminal and sometimes politician,
Gotham, my constituency of fools.”
With Penguin “dead” he can only mean one other person: Mayor Aubrey James, who resumed his role after Oswald’s disappearance. Tainting the mayor’s danishes, Nygma’s plan to get the GCPD to bring James to him works as his plan with Barbara to cause havoc at the hospital distracts Harvey long enough for Ed to take the mayor. After somehow tapping in to Gotham’s local TV channel — it seems the bad guys can do this with relative ease — Nygma threatens to kill the mayor unless someone gives him the answer he seeks: who runs Gotham?
The mayor reveals the Court of Owls is running things but he doesn’t know anything else. Jim calls Nygma and tells him he has the answer but he’ll have to come to the GCPD to get it. Jim also knows Nygma is working with Barbara and he tells Ed that she doesn’t know everything. Ed agrees and the station clears out so he can meet with Jim, but when Jim begins to toy with him Ed tries to set off the bomb around the mayor’s neck. Surprise, Tabitha set up a signal blocker so James scurries away and Jim tells Nygma to take a ride with him to get his answer.
Jim and Ed actually have a nice moment in the car together, reminiscing back to the time when they were friends, when Jim and Lee had dinner with Ed and Kristen. It almost brought Ed back to a moment of sanity, but that was short-lived as a car arrives. Kathryn invites Nygma to get in, and then she thanks Jim for his loyalty to the Court. Meanwhile, Barbara is pissed that Jim got to Nygma before she could get the answer to who is controlling Gotham, and equally upset that Tabitha helped Jim. Barbara is so consumed with finding out about the Court that she says she’ll never be in control … a real slap in the face to Tabitha who says, “Don’t you mean we’ll never be in control?” I see a rocky road ahead for these two, especially with Butch also pushing Tabitha’s buttons.
The Court of Owls
Jim is still playing Kathryn as far as his interest in being a member of the Court. At one point she tells him there is turmoil coming to Gotham and that the city needs him. Unfortunately, Lee is starting to get a little too deep into the investigation into his Uncle Frank’s death, telling Jim that the autopsy revealed someone removed the bullet from his head, a mob trick to cover a murder, and believing Jim knows more than he’s telling her, also forcing Harvey to cover for him as well. Does Lee think Jim killed his uncle? She’s still angry with him about killing her husband … and why has he not yet told her the truth about that? It’s one plot point that’s really annoying. I’m sure the GCPD could have found that knife by now. But it plays into this plot that gives Lee suspicions about Jim’s involvement in his uncle’s death.
We didn’t get any of the real Bruce and his training this week, focusing more on Not Bruce and his mission from the Court. His interaction with Alfred as they play a game of chess seems cheery on the surface, but I’m still pretty certain Alfred knows this is not Bruce. And unfortunately for Not Bruce, he learns his own time is limited as a sudden nose bleed forces him to meet with Kathryn and a doctor, where she reveals the process that created him was not perfect and he is dying. But Not Bruce seems to have developed a soft spot for Alfred and wants to know that no harm will come to him. That’s not something Kathryn can promise.
Not Bruce also meets with Selina, surprising her in her apartment and revealing he is not the real Bruce. At first she doesn’t believe his story but when he tells her she needs to leave Gotham before something bad happens, she does realize he’s not Bruce because the real Bruce would try to save everyone, not just her. She pushes things a little further, telling Not Bruce that he’s no one and he doesn’t matter which hurts him deeply. David Mazouz perfectly portrayed that hurt with just his facial expression, and you actually felt sorry for Not Bruce. And then he had to go and ruin it all by pushing Selina through the window, falling several floors to the alley below, motionless, eyes open in a death stare.
Penguin & Ivy
With Ivy convincing Oswald that she has the means to help him build his army of freaks, they make a treat to a wintry location where they find Victor Fries alive and well, but he can’t leave this place for any warmer climate without his suit. Luckily, Oswald has it and convinces Fries to join them. The next stop is a factory where Firefly is working because she can handle the extremely hot and molten metal. After he boss berates her, Penguin and Ivy tell her she doesn’t need to work there, and she agrees, throwing molten metal in her boss’ face. Now that’s how to quit a job with flair. After arriving back in Gotham, Penguin sees the news of Ed’s antics with the mayor on TV. He has a busy day ahead of him.
By the end of the episode, Nygma is in the hands of the Court, and Kathryn formally welcomes Jim into the Court’s inner circle. And what of Selina? As she lies dead or dying in the alley, many, many cats swarm around her making the comparison to Catwoman’s “origin” from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns quite obvious. The question is will the cats have something to do with her “rebirth” or will Oswald or someone else, perhaps Ivy, find her and bring her back to life? Outside of Professor Strange, Ivy seems the most likely to have the ability to help Selina. Or possibly Not Bruce gets her back to the Court and in the care of Professor Strange who will be making a return appearance in the next episode.
What did you think of this episode? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.