A Look at Gotham- Season 3, Episode 18: “Heroes Rise: Light the Wick”

So the Court has a plan to spread chaos throughout the city and reveal the darker side of Gotham’s citizens.  Stop me if you’ve heard that before.  But hey, other characters return to the scene.  That’s gotta count for something.

The episode begins in the psych ward of Arkham Asylum, where Jervis Tetch spots orderlies escorting away Barnes, who soon manages to overpower them.  A Talon arrives and tranquilizes Barnes, who soon succumbs to the injection.

He’s brought before Kathryn, who tells him that she’d like to see Gotham judged and punished on a large scale.  For that to happen, Kathryn will need the virus inside of Barnes.  But luckily, Dr. Hugo Strange is here to oversee the procedure.

Leslie comes to Harvey with her final report on Frank’s death- she’s stated that the cause of death was homicide, not suicide.  She also wants Harvey to open an investigation into the murder and accuses Jim of being involved with the death or even a cover-up, even though she has no proof.

Furthermore, she suspects Harvey was involved.  Harvey doesn’t believe that Leslie is crazy, just hurt.  At this point with Leslie, is there even a difference?

Over at the Court, the ruling council has elected to suspend all Court activity in order to focus on Gotham’s judgment.  To that end, anyone who has not submitted their list for review and approval should do so today.  Meeting adjourned.

Ivy heads to Barbara’s club and asks if Tabitha has seen Selina, though Tabitha, far too busy counting bills, just tells Ivy to check Gotham General since Selina fell out of a window.

Jim does some sleuthing at the Court and pulls some prints from one of the masks, but in the process, he knocks over a vial containing the virus.  Another Court member enters and informs Jim that the aforementioned list of names is for loved ones who are to be spared from the coming judgment.  Jim writes some names and takes his leave.

So Ivy ends up at Gotham General and learns from a nurse that police found Selina on the street.  Ivy gives the nurse a whiff of her perfume and wants to know that Selina will be fine, but the most the hospital can do is make Selina comfortable.  Ivy order the nurse out and promises to heal Selina herself.

Hugo Strange isn’t a fan of being held or Kathryn hovering over him while he works, but Kathryn reminds Strange that he had no problem nursing Fish Mooney.  Although Strange took that as a challenge since Fish was about to die.  Kathryn asks if Strange accomplished what the Court requested, and he takes her to a chamber housing an unwilling victim.

Strange explains that, before, the Tetch virus could only be transmitted through direct contact with Alice’s blood.  He then loads it into the chamber and it’s sprayed all over the victim, who soon flies into a rage.  So success, Strange has managed to weaponize the virus.

The Shaman oversees Bruce’s physical training.  Bruce refuses to keep fighting, but if he defeats his opponent, he can go free.  Bruce believes the Shaman is lying, but here’s his chance to prove it, so he keeps fighting while the Shaman encourages Bruce to harness his anger.

When Bruce loses, The Shaman says that Bruce was defeated so easily because his rage blinds him.  He seeks to control it, but it’s controlled him ever since his parents died. Rage and pain are two sides of the same coin and the Shaman can release Bruce from the pain of that night.  After that, nothing will be able to stop him.

Having run the prints, Harvey calls Jim and informs him of Kathryn’s last name- Monroe- and gives him her address, where Jim plans to break in and see what he can find.  Harvey then tells Jim about Leslie wanting to open an investigation into Frank’s death, and how he lied for Jim.  Harvey worries that Leslie is going to a dark place.  Also, one of Harvey’s pals at Arkham told him that Barnes was transferred to an undisclosed location.

When Jim leaves, he runs into his pal, Penguin, who has brought Firefly with him. Oswald is here for Nygma, as Jim was the last one who saw him before he escaped police custody.  Penguin is also curious about the Court and suspects that Jim handed Nygma over to this organization.  Jim wants Penguin to back off, but no can do.

Since the Court doesn’t like publicity, Penguin will give them just that unless the Court deals with him in a civilized manner.  As such, he gives Jim a phone that only has his number programmed, and he’ll expect a call by the end of the day.  This is a favor, after all, since Jim and Oswald are old friends.

After some stakeout work, Jim enters Kathryn’s home and investigates.  He examines one of the drawers and finds a Wayne Enterprises access badge hidden underneath.  Kathryn enters soon after and Jim, with nowhere to hide, comes clean and tells her that Penguin is back in Gotham.

Furthermore, Penguin knows that Nygma’s disappearance is related to the Court, but Jim demands that Kathryn give him a seat at the table.  He’s tired of being left in the dark.

After all, Jim has done what Kathryn has asked and feels he’s proved his commitment.  So he wants to know about this judgment.  Kathryn tells Jim that Gotham is sick and the people have become numb to crime.  To heal the city, the people must be forced to take notice, and the Court will do that by showing the citizens their darkest selves.  Kathryn will consider Jim’s request, but she still wants him out of her house.

When Jim leaves, he calls Harvey and informs him that he knows about the weapon the Court will use to judge Gotham.  He doesn’t even wait until he’s a considerable distance away from Kathryn before making the call.  Gotham’s future commissioner, folks.

At GCPD, Jim tells Lucius and Harvey that the weapon is the Alice Tetch virus.  He just knew that.  If the Court isolated the virus and transformed it any number of compounds, it could be released on a large scale into the city.  After Mario broke into the hematology lab, the rest of Alice’s blood was destroyed, but the Court doesn’t need Alice’s blood specifically- just a sample of the virus she passed along to people she infected.

Hence the Court’s need for Barnes.  Jim shows the Wayne Enterprises card, and Lucius remembers that when he worked in R&D, there were only a half dozen off-site labs.  Barnes would have to be in a small, isolated spot that the Court can control.

Ivy brings in some special plant trains that she uses in case of emergency, which will be useful for Selina right now.  Thankful for Selina’s help in the past, Ivy promises to be present when Selina awakens.

The Shaman decides to take Bruce back to the first time he felt rage after his parents’ death- as that anger could one day consume Bruce, so it must be removed.  Bruce doesn’t have to give up the memory, just the destructive emotions associated with them. This is his way out of holding onto that anger.

After all, Gotham needs a protector and Bruce needs a purpose. The Shaman takes out one of his needles and reminds Bruce that this must be his choice.

So the Shaman sticks Bruce and the two flash back to Thomas and Martha’s wake. Despite being surrounded by friends and family, Bruce felt alone.  However, all the attendees talked about is how this traumatized Bruce, never mind the fact that Thomas and Martha were now dead.

No one seemed angry about what happened, so Bruce hid in his parents’ room.  He reveals to the Shaman that his father was supposed to be buried with a pair of cufflinks that Bruce had bought him the year before.  And Bruce still has them to this day, but it’s now time to let them go.

The Shaman brings Bruce to a safe, where Bruce inserts the cufflinks.  Now free of the power that the cufflinks held over him, Bruce snaps back to reality, where he passes out. The Shaman promises that he and Bruce will make Gotham pay.

Jim and Harvey use the Wayne Enterprises keycard to enter a rundown lab, where they’re attacked by the crazed subject from before.  He overpowers them for a bit before he’s injected and knocked out by Hugo Strange.  He explains that Kathryn has the virus, but he doesn’t know where she’s going.

But he does know that the Court’s delivery mechanism for the virus has arrived, but needs to be tested.  As such, there’s time for GCPD to prevent the Court from spreading the virus throughout the city.  However, if the Court sees that their lab has been compromised, there’s nothing stopping them from just releasing the virus right away.  Also, if Strange is taken into custody, the Court will know that the GCPD is onto them.

Harvey naturally suspects that Strange may just call the Court once he and Jim leave.  To show his goodwill, Strange gives Harvey and Jim both his research and a vial of the virus compound that he kept from the Court.  Yes, Strange is playing both sides- if he helps take down the Court, he could ask the GCPD to cut a deal, but if GCPD fails, he’ll still look loyal to the Court.  Clever.  Strange hands over his materials and bids the two good luck.

So now to find a cure.  While Harvey heads to the GCPD to work with Lucius on a cure, Jim gets a call from Kathryn, who tells Jim to meet her at 331 Smith Place so Jim can move onto the next step and prove that he’s worthy of the light.

Bruce’s training continues and he starts to gain the upper hand of his opponent, showing what happens when he removes destructive emotions.  The Shaman asks how Bruce felt during this fight, and Bruce admits that he didn’t feel anything.  The Shaman offers to take away Bruce’s pain so he can return to Gotham with power he never thought possible.  Weighing his options, Bruce orders the opponent to rise so they can continue fighting.

Jim meets Kathryn at the location, where he’s forced to surrender his gun and phone.  They’re at a gathering for the Daughters of Gotham, who are just window dressing.  Kathryn’s family has been on the Court since it’s founding and is one of the oldest in Gotham.  She shows him an aerosol dispersal bomb for the Alice Tetch virus.  The test victims for it are the party attendees.

But in an open space, the radius of infection is half a mile.  Kathryn sets the timer for 15 minutes and tells an underling to place it in the middle of the room, as she wants to be sure Jim is ready to make tough decisions.  If Jim tries to stop the bomb, Talon has instructions to execute Jim on the spot.  As the clock ticks down, Jim tries to speak with the Talon when the other underling returns to let them know that the device is in place.

Getting nowhere with the Talon, Jim calls Penguin and talks aloud about where he is, with the Talon unaware that Jim is revealing everything to Oswald.

While Lucius works on the virus, Leslie enters and demands to know what Jim is doing. Lucius just tells Leslie that Jim is trying to prevent what happened to Mario from ever happening to anyone else, but that’s as much as he reveals.  A disappointed Leslie figures now that Lucius is just like the others and brushes past him.

With the click ticking down, Jim decides to fight the Talon, but he ends up on the losing end and is about to die before Firefly intervenes and blasts the Talon through the window with a fireball.  Penguin still wants to talk to the Court, but Jim is focused on removing the bomb.  When the area clears, Jim seals the doors just as the aerosol dispenses the virus.

The Shaman calls Kathryn and informs her that things are progressing well and Bruce Wayne believes in the destiny that the Shaman has mentioned.  He plans to leave with Bruce tonight and hopes everything will be in place by the time the two of them arrive.

While Oswald is unaware that he’s just received an unexpected visit from a Talon, Ivy brings even more plants to Selina’s hospital room.  Selina soon awakens, removes her bandages, and tells Ivy that she’s going to Wayne Manor because she needs to kill someone.  What is it with characters on this show wanting to kill someone as soon as they wake up?

Also, did the cats revive Selina and she just had a delayed reaction?

Whatever.  Jim arrives back at GCPD, where Leslie is packing up and resigning because of the people Jim has infected.  She doesn’t like how Jim has taken everything away from her, and she would ask for the truth, but she doesn’t believe he knows what that is. Having had enough of this, Jim admits to killing Mario and tells Leslie that Mario was going to kill her.

More than that, Jim is fine with Leslie blaming him and her leaving, but that won’t help.  To answer the question of how Jim could just walk away, it looks like Leslie knows how Jim could do that.

As Kathryn realizes that the key card is gone, Oswald is put into a cell opposite Nygma. Well, that’s an awkward reunion.

Kathryn apologizes to Barnes for her curt behavior, as the two of them have the same desire for Gotham.  And Jim Gordon, who she thought she could trust, threatens to undo her work, so she wants Barnes to kill Gordon before that happens.  Barnes breaks free from his restraints and declares that he will be Jim’s executioner.

So an organization that controls Gotham City from the shadows is helping with Bruce Wayne’s training while also preparing to cleanse the city by showing the citizens their darkest selves.  This involves spreading a substance across all of Gotham that could drive the people mad.  Seems like a pretty unique and scary idea.  Does it sound familiar?

Hey, if you want to make the blatant comparisons between this episode and the League of Shadow’s plans in Batman Begins, go for it.  Gotham might as well be begging for it at this point because the similarities are that evident.  But I don’t find this approach anywhere near as interesting as what Ra’s al Ghul’s plan of using the Scarecrow’s fear toxin in Batman Begins.

Hell, it’s hard for me to tell if the Court has covered all of its bases.  The organization knows that Jim is an outsider, works for the GCPD, and he might not have the Court’s best interest at heart.  And yet, he’s fully integrated into the organization and no one thinks to pay extra close attention to or be suspicious of him in case he ever tries to break rank or sabotage the Court’s plan.

I would think that Kathryn wouldn’t be so quick to let Jim in on the bigger plans just because he asked.  In fact, keeping him in the dark would have kept him and the GCPD from figuring out the extent of the Court’s plan for Gotham.  On that, Kathryn never spelled out that the plan was to use the virus- just show the citizens their darkest selves.

Jerome did that when he plunged Gotham into darkness, so not sure why Alice Tetch’s blood is Jim’s first guess.  It’s as bad as the random hunches he had back in the first season.  A lot of the legwork is done by others.  Jim gets the access card, but Harvey is the one who learns that Barnes has been moved, Lucius has the knowledge to work on the virus, and Strange provides the research.

What little Jim provides is because the plot demands it or because others around him don’t pay more attention.  He saves the people at the party from being infected because Firefly and Penguin arrive at the right moment.  Even worse, Kathryn doesn’t even stick around to make sure that Jim doesn’t interfere.  It’s like leaving the hero in a death trap and just assuming that everything goes according to plan.

And setting the timer for 15 minutes?  Another convenience right here since Kathryn could’ve set it for, I dunno, three minutes or even 60 seconds.  But with 15, she’s giving Jim more than enough time to figure out a plan, as if she expected him to try and stop the bomb.  Hey, maybe in addition to wanting the virus inside of Barnes, she also intended for him to kill Jim all along.  But I don’t expect that kind of foresight with this show’s writing.

That’s not to say Jim contributed nothing besides some hunches and getting his ass handed to him a few times.  Him ranting at Leslie felt cathartic and I enjoyed hearing him lay into her for giving him so much crap all this time.  Part of this has to be the writing.  I would think Leslie would be over holding a grudge at this point, but since Mario’s death, she’s become as insufferable as Season One Barbara before Gotham made her crazy.

She’s not wrong about Jim keeping something from her, and her packing up and leaving makes me think that she’s going to be put in danger.  Maybe if this virus spreads, an infected citizen will attack or subdue her, thus doing what Mario would have done had Jim not interfered.  Plus, Leslie has done very little as of recent besides chew Jim out, so if this is a way to remove her from the equation for awhile, I’m all for that.

So for Bruce to fight, he must remove all emotions.  I suppose it’s nice that he’s never mentioned that particular memory at the wake or the cufflinks to Alfred at all.  Or if he did, we don’t see until now how it affected him, as it seemed, again, that he’d move past his parents’ death at this point.  But Bruce seems to be buying into the training thus far, though the Batman foreshadowing is still on the nose.

If I had to guess, Ra’s al Ghul should make his debut sometime soon and he no doubt plays a large role in this.  Hey, if the show is going to borrow elements from Batman Begins, may as well go the full nine yards.  And Ra’s isn’t being used on Arrow at the moment, so not like there would be any overlap between networks.

Speaking of, even though their roles were limited for the moment, it was nice to see Barnes and the Mad Hatter for a bit.  Well, I guess we should just call Barnes the Executioner at this point.  But having Jervis Tetch and Barnes rolled back into the fold helps tie the current events to the earlier portion of the season and shows that the Court had more plans for Alice Tetch’s blood.

Also, with Oswald and Nygma trapped in the same spot, I imagine that after the spat they’ll no doubt have, they’ll have to work together in order to take on the Court.

“Light the Wick” was okay.  It’s nice to have other characters like Jervis, Barnes, and Strange wrapped into the fold, but the Court not paying closer attention to Jim shows how inept the organization can be at times.  But hey, if the Court wants a crash course on how to cover all bases with this sort of plan for Gotham City and make sure everything is accounted for, maybe the group should watch Batman Begins.

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