A Look at Gotham- Season 3, Episode 10: “Mad City: Time Bomb”

So with Captain Barnes locked away in Gotham City, it’s time to turn to the most important thing to hit Gotham City in years…Mario and Leslie’s upcoming marriage.  Oh, and this strange group about owls or something like that.  This is “Time Bomb.”


The episode begins with Carmine, Mario, and Leslie discussing the upcoming rehearsal dinner.  With everything going on, Leslie has taken a few days off of work in light of Barnes’ actions, but she maintains that what he did was due to the virus.  In addition, the lab analyzing Alice Tetch’s blood has developed a test to see who is infected.  It’s a step towards finding a cure.


As the three leave, someone attempts to bring the car around, but once they turn on the ignition, the car explodes.  I hate when that happens.


When GCPD later arrive on the scene, Carmine pulls Jim aside with a theory: some of his old enemies have resurfaced because Mario is getting married.  Though Carmine is retired, he won’t stand by after something like this, but Jim doesn’t want Carmine tearing up Gotham to get revenge.  He gives Carmine his word that he’ll solve this, and Carmine gives him one day.


Over at Penguin Manor, Oswald gathers members of the five families to discuss the state of Gotham City in light of Barnes’ downfall.  People will be looking to Gotham’s finest for protection, so Penguin proposes a 50 percent increase in protection fees.  In enters Barbara, who informs Oswald that Tabitha and Butch are missing.  Oswald, though, hasn’t seen Butch since the Red Hood fiasco.

Tabitha has been hiding Butch ever since then, but she hasn’t checked in with Barbara as of recent.  Oswald scoffs at the notion that he was involved.  Rather, he offers Barbara a chance to lower her gun and apologize.  Barbara soon retreats, figuring that Tabitha and Butch must have run off without telling her.  Oswald warns Barbara that if she points a gun again, Olga will be the one to clean her brains off of the floor.


When everyone leaves, Oswald calls Nygma to ask if he is finished yet.  But Nygma needs to work through his grief in his own way.  True, but Oswald wants him to work faster.  Nygma gets back to work with his hostages: a bound and gagged Butch and Tabitha.  Butch tells Nygma that he will regret this and tells him to let Oswald know to do his own dirty work, but this has nothing to do with Oswald.

However, when Ed brings up Isabella’s death, Butch has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.  And since that’s the response Nygma wanted, he begins the shock therapy.


Over at GCPD, Lucius Fox tells Gordon and acting captain Bullock that the car bomb used a mercury switch with military grade plastic, which is high-end for a mob hit.  More than that, the explosive was laced with an accelerant that made the explosive burn at ten times the heat of standard C-4.  Whoever did this didn’t want anything left behind.  Bullock has an idea of a potential lead: an ex-military guy by the name of “Fuse.”


So Harvey and Jim check it out and find Fuse dead just as he was prepared to leave town.  After inspecting the bed, Jim finds a folder filled with documents on times, locations, and surveillance photos.  Jim realizes that Carmine isn’t the target.


And in record time, Jim arrives at the hospital where Mario works in order to prevent him from being killed by a pair of assassins on a motorcycle.  When the attackers flee, Jim tells Mario that he is the target.


Over at Wayne Manor, Alfred prepares frittata for Bruce and Selina, who are in the middle of research to learn about the key.  Alfred doesn’t want anyone leaving the manor if someone is after them, and Bruce agrees.  He goes off to the study for more research, but Selina thinks that it’s just, in fact, an old key.


At the conservatory, Ivy cares for the plants and asks Alfred to turn off the alarms so she can put the plants outside.  Alfred refuses, so Ivy asks him to smell her perfume.  When she’s close enough, she gets Alfred in a trance, so that’s the perfect time for Ivy to ask how to turn off the alarm.


Back at GCPD, Jim tells Mario to lay low in case he has any enemies, even though the marriage is tomorrow.  Mario figures that Jim wants the wedding canceled, but Jim needs Mario to trust him since whoever is coming after him will keep coming.  Mario figures that as long as there’s a target on his back, Leslie isn’t safe.  So Jim asks Bullock to keep an eye on Mario while he goes off to talk with Carmine.  And be subtle about it, Harvey.


With Oswald out, Barbara again stops by the manor and ends up speaking with Olga, who notes Barbara’s expensive looking ring that Barbara soon hands over.  Olga likes how Oswald treats her, but she’s not a fan of Nygma and doesn’t get why Oswald likes him so much.  As for Nygma, Olga remembers that Ed talked about receiving a special delivery, but nothing came to the manor except a bill.


Despite the shock therapy, Butch still tells Nygma that he’s never heard of Isabella.  In fact, he goes as far to say that Isabella didn’t really exist if she fell in love with Nygma of all people.  Not something you say to the man who can shock you.  Ed turns his attention to Tabitha, who learns that Ed wants to break Butch’s heart before killing him.  An eye for an eye, but in this case, Ed will take a hand instead.


Selina figures that there is something on the key that can’t be seen, so she dissolves it in vinegar and baking soda.  After some bickering about their sort-of relationship, Selina takes out the key, which does indeed have an engraving.  Upon closer inspection, Bruce sees that the engraving is a bird- not just any bird, but an owl.


Alfred, however, figures that Bruce just having the key could be seen as breaking the deal with the masked woman and the people she represents.  Bruce still wants to contact with them to let them know that Ivy didn’t know what she stole.  Speaking of, Ivy is nowhere to be seen. Nice going, butler.  Alfred gets a call from a man who wants the necklace in exchange for Ivy.


So the three arrive at the exchange point and head down a manhole to meet the people holding Ivy.  The leader of this group, Luka Volk, played by Costa Ronin, warns Bruce not to trust Kathryn.  She will betray Bruce just as she and her group betrayed Volk, as he and his comrades are working to destroy Kathryn’s group.  And what is the name of this group? They call themselves the Court of Owls.


Jim informs Carmine that Mario, now a target, but now safe at GCPD.  With military grade explosion and a sword wielding assailant, this doesn’t feel like a mob dealing, so Jim wants to know if Mario is mixed up in something.

Carmine still believes that Mario is nothing like him, so Jim figures that Carmine doesn’t know something.  Jim gets a call from Harvey, who tells him that Mario has left the GCPD to take care of this matter himself.


Barbara, now going under the last name Nygma, arrives at a bondage shop and asks the merchant, Todd, played by Brian Charles Johnson, that she was looking for a package that was apparently already delivered.  She then asks Todd to show her how a particular device works.  Todd, like an idiot, demonstrates it in a way that gets him stuck so Barbara can begin the torture.

She needs to get information from Todd on Tabitha’s disappearance, so she demands to know the combination to Todd’s safe.  He gives it up and Barbara gets what she needs without letting Todd go.  Nice going, Todd.


Butch awakens just in time for Nygma to show off his mini guillotine.  He sets the timer for 55 seconds and tells the two that it can be stopped with the press of a button.  When the timer hits zero, the spring loaded blade will be released.  However, if Tabitha stops the guillotine, . It can be stopped with the press of a button, but if Tabitha pushes it, the button will also send a fatal shock of electricity to Butch.  It’s that or Tabitha loses a hand.

Or, you know, Nygma could avoid wasting time and just remove Tabitha’s hand himself.  Just a suggestion.


Back underground, Volk explains to Bruce that initiates of his group, called the Whisper Gang, wear masks to ensure their silence until they become full members.  The Whisper Gang are notorious smugglers that used to number in the hundreds until the Court of Owls betrayed them after offering a partnership.  Many went back to Ukraine, but others stayed back in order to enact revenge.

Which brings us to the key, which opens a safe in one of the Court’s buildings.  Inside said safe is a device that can apparently destroy the Court of Owls.  The Gang captured a member of the Court, but even they don’t know what’s inside the safe.  The Court just fears it would fall into the hands of their enemies.

Selina figures that the Court would know who stole it, but turns out that the safe originally had two keys and the Court still has one.  Bruce tells Volk that he stood down because he thought there was no way to defeat the Court of Owls.  If what Volk is saying is true, then that’s no longer the case.


Jim arrives at a jewelry shop where an armed Mario is using himself as bait.  Jim figures that Mario is protecting a secret if he’s going through all this work.  Assailants soon enter the shop and attack Mario and Jim.  While Jim manages to subdue and arrest his attacker, Mario chokes his to death.


Back to the sadistic choice, Butch, maintaining his innocence, is instructed by Nygma to plead to Tabitha, not him.  Figuring that Butch will die one way or another, Nygma enacts a new deal: if Tabitha loves Butch enough to sacrifice her hand in exchange for his life, Nygma will free them both.  Tabitha tells Butch that she likes him, but she isn’t in a love place.  Nygma figured that Tabitha would say that.

So Butch tells Tabitha that he’s enjoyed these past few weeks and it’s fine if Tabitha doesn’t love him.  He still loves her.  For a guy like him, that’s enough.  Then Butch confesses to killing Isabella, but he says that he did so by shooting her.  Huh.  In the end, Tabitha refuses to push the button, so when time is up, it’s bye-bye to Tabitha’s right hand.


Realizing how Butch’s story clashes with how Isabella dead, he sees that Butch didn’t kill Isabella after all.  He heads out just as Barbara arrives.


Back at GCPD, Jim, Mario, and Carmine observe the one remaining assailant when Bullock arrives with bad news: the assassin is to be transported to a federal facility upstate, meaning that somebody wants him out of the GCPD precinct.  Jim asks Mario about what happened between him and the other assassin.  Jim wants Mario to tell Leslie what happened since she deserves to know the truth.


In interrogation, Carmine believes that he knows who sent the assassin, but since he figures the assassin won’t talk, Carmine resorts to force.


In the captain’s office, Bullock gets used to the role and tells Jim that it’s not too late for him to tell Leslie how he really feels.  The talk is interrupted when the two see, on surveillance footage, Carmine dealing with the assassin.  Falcone fishes out one of the assassin’s teeth and is ready to take care of this matter his way now that he knows who hired the assassin.  He also warns Jim to stop pursuing the matter.


At the docks, a masked man attacks Volk and Dmitry before asking if he found the second key.  A fight breaks out until the masked man overpowers and kills both Dmitry and Volk.


Over at a hospital, while Tabitha is taken into patient care, Butch tells Barbara that he’s ready for war with Oswald and Nygma.  Barbara, though, is too focused on Isabella and soon pieces together who loved Nygma and doesn’t want to share him.  Barbara wants more than vengeance.  There’s no need to go to war, they just need to start one.


Carmine presents Kathryn with the tooth, confused since he’s always done what the Court has done, even against his own wishes.  Hey, he got them Indian Hill when Maroni refused to sell, but now the Court now wants to kill Mario.  Carmine swears that if Mario is harmed, he will retaliate with everything that he has.

Kathryn isn’t bothered by Carmine’s threats, as she’s sure that Carmine won’t win.  But if Mario dies, winning won’t be the point.  Gotham will burn.  Kathryn feels that Gotham is on the brink of chaos and only the Court can save the city.  The Court will expect Carmine’s assistance when he’s called upon, but until then, Mario is safe.  With that, Kathryn leaves Carmine.


Back in his crappy apartment, Jim receives a visit from Leslie, who was on her way to the rehearsal dinner.  Mario told her what happened and how Jim put his life on the line.  She still believes that Mario is a good man and she asks Jim to say what he has to say.  Jim admits that he missed his chance to make Leslie happy, but more than anything, he still wants that for her.

Perhaps saying goodbye is all they have left or they haven’t done it properly yet.  And with one kiss, Leslie bids Jim Gordon farewell.


She heads off while Mario, watching nearby, is distracted by two random men.  As a voice in Mario’s head tells him that Leslie loves Jim, Mario attacks the men and declares that Leslie loves him and he will never let her go.

With Barnes out of the picture for now and Mad Hatter now in Arkham, Gotham put a lot of attention this week on multiple storylines.  Compare that to the previous episodes, where the bulk of focus went to dealing with the Mad Hatter, and it seems like Gotham would devolve back into a mess at trying to juggle different, potentially unconnected plots.


But that wasn’t the case here.  “Time Bomb” was a pretty good episode that took advantage of the three plots, advanced each of the storylines, and even managed to tie two of them together, so I expect some of these plots to cross paths as we approach the mid-season finale.


I feel that it’s inevitable that Jim and Leslie will find their way back together, and with Mario infected by Alice’s blood, this could be the way Gotham makes that happen.  At various points in the episode, Jim is told that he should be honest with Leslie on how he feels about her.  There’s clearly still some chemistry between the two and I am certain that the kiss won’t be the last intimate moment that they share.


Not to mention that, like in most triangles, one or two elements have to be plagued with jealousy.  While Jim may still have feelings for Leslie, I doubt he would go out of his way to sabotage her relationship with Mario.  But Mario, having now seen Leslie leave Jim’s apartment and knowing that Jim told Jervis to shoot Leslie, has more reason to dislike Gordon more than he already does.


So why is he a target?  It’s a reveal I’m looking forward to because it would shed light on whatever Mario and Carmine may be keeping from everyone else, but it’s also a way to rope Carmine back into the game as he deals with the Court of Owls.  And given his vast sphere of influence in Gotham City that we’ve seen since Season One, I buy that he’s had involvement with the Court in the past.


And this is a good way to tie into Bruce and Selina learning more about the Court through the key and their run-in with the Whisper Gang- another element that Gotham has cherry picked from the New 52, by the way.  But with the kids having found the key, the Court is coming after them as well, so I would expect Bruce and Selina to cross paths with Jim soon.


Plus, I’m glad that Gotham hasn’t had the relationship be the forefront of any scenes Bruce and Selina have.  It comes in small increments, but Gotham doesn’t put too much attention on it.  The show acknowledges the challenges in the ongoing relationship and gets back to the plot.  It’s nice that the show is taking its time with Bruce and Selina, rather than spoon-feeding their bond to us, as was the case in Season One.


Meanwhile, you would think that a smart guy like Nygma would put the pieces together as far as Isabella’s death, but he puts Butch and Tabitha through the sadistic choice that’s no different than Jervis making Jim pick between Leslie and Valerie.  By the way, I’m curious how Nygma got the drop on Tabitha and Butch.  He doesn’t have any henchmen, as far as I know, and he’s not a strong guy, so how’d he capture the two so fast?


Well, regardless, Barbara is the one to figure out who killed Isabella and that Penguin pines for Nygma.  And it looks like her next move is to use this information to drive a wedge between the two.  Plus, while Nygma isn’t smart enough to see the bigger picture, he did at least manage to hurt Butch by taking Tabitha’s hand.


You know, I’m starting to think that Barbara doesn’t even need Tabitha and Butch at her side for any sort of support.  She can clearly walk into any party or gathering no questions asked.  Hell, she could sit in the captain’s chair at the GCPD and I’m sure few of the cops would question that.

With the mid-season finale coming up next, Gotham is shifting its focus away from the Mad Hatter and focusing its attention on the protagonists dealing with the Court of Owls. As powerful as the Court is, and with Carmine Falcone ready to get involved again, things are no doubt going to get hectic as Gotham City heads for war.

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