All rise for the honorable Nathaniel Barnes as he delivers his verdict to the accused: James Gordon.
The episode begins with Nygma surprised to see Oswald alive. Indeed, Penguin came back from the dead just to kill Ed, or, The Riddler, as he’d prefer to be called. But Nygma is right where Ed wants him.
So Selina attempts to live up to her promise of killing the clone, but when she confronts him at Wayne Manor, he manages to get the better of her. At the very least, the clone is happy to see Selina, pushing her out of a window notwithstanding. Selina calls the clone a cheap knockoff of Bruce and stabs him, but he survives.
Alfred intervenes, giving the clone an open opportunity to knock out Selina. Alfred notices that, despite being cut, Bruce isn’t in any pain. He demands to know where the real Bruce is, and the clone reveals that both he and Bruce are serving a greater purpose. Alfred engages the clone in a fight, but like Selina, the clone manages to overpower and eventually knock him out.
Elsewhere, The Shaman and the real Bruce Wayne arrive at a location far away from Gotham City. Where are they? This, turns out, is home.
Leslie awakens and tells, of all people, Mario, about her crazy nightmare and a virus that brought out the darkness of anyone infected, even Mario. Mario asks about his darkness and Leslie reveals that it was his jealousy of Jim. Leslie then remembers Jim shooting Mario on their wedding night, but here he is right now. He then slices across his wrist and lets his blood drain into a wine glass.
Leslie then wakes up back in reality and knocks over hear nearby wine glass.
At GCPD, Jim and Harvey discuss the Court’s potential safe houses hiding the virus. Kathryn holds a tenement building near Miller Harbor, but it, along with the other safe houses, could be holding secret rooms. Harvey suggests that Jim wait for Kathryn to call since she trusts him, but he’d prefer to do this quietly so Kathryn wouldn’t find out.
So the two go looking at one of these basements and find a crease in the wall. There’s always a hidden passageway. They find a crystal glass statue that, when light shines on it,, reflects a map of Gotham City on the wall. The white markers on the map could be the Court’s secret locations.
Before the two can speculate further, an explosion gets their attention as Executioner Barnes arrives to punish Jim for his crimes.
Unable to get to Jim, Alfred asks Selina about what the clone said, but all she remembers is something about Gotham being judged. Alfred believes this is the Court’s doing and is adamant that Bruce is alive and wants to look for him, but Selina won’t help since she doesn’t see what good it would do her.
Alfred figures that Selina is still upset about Bruce not telling her from the start about Maria still being a con artist. Alfred tells off Selina, saying she’s no better than her mother, and mandates that she never return to Wayne Manor.
Over at the crime scene, a witness tells Bullock that a man matching Barnes’ description drove off in a delivery truck. And chances are Jim went with him.
Oswald sharpens a blade when Nygma admits that he never loved him, but also tells Oswald to get over it. Nygma’s at least here to find out who rules Gotham, but Oswald is more upset about Nygma destroying his empire. And no one who kills him lives. Oswald threatens to call out to the guards if Nygma tries to escape, but Nygma prepared for that. He didn’t poison Oswald’s coffee- just stole a dart that he planned to use on a guard.
But no time like the present, so he uses it on Oswald instead. When Nygma picks his cell lock and escapes, he’s quickly subdued and beaten by guards while Oswald, who got the guards’ attention by banging his food tray, passes out.
The Shaman promises to free Bruce from the rage of his darkest memories, and there’s one final step to take: taking away the pain from the night Bruce’s parents died. But Bruce must be willing. The Shaman instructs Bruce to lock Martha’s pearls in the safe to be free of the pain, but Bruce can’t bring himself to do it. So the Shaman decides it’s time to tell Bruce the truth.
Jim finds himself chained to a chair in a courtroom with Barnes and Kathryn at his side. Kathryn laments having such faith in Jim, as he could’ve helped with Gotham’s future. She knows Jim took her key card to Hugo Strange’s lab, and since Strange said nothing about it, Kathryn will speak with him soon.
But Jim isn’t backing down, as he knows the Court ordered Peter murdered and drove Frank to suicide. Kathryn leaves Jim in Barnes’ hands, as Barnes is well aware that Jim is an enemy of Gotham. And thus, Barnes starts the Trial of James Gordon. And of course, he will serve as Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
Over at Arkham, Leslie speaks with Jervis Tetch, who is enjoying his time in Arkham. He notices Leslie isn’t looking like herself and asks if she’s plagued by nightmares. Funny thing is, she never blamed Jervis for infecting Mario. She figured she would blame the lunatic, so she went after Jim instead. Then Leslie asks why Jervis infected Mario instead of her. Why did Mario have to suffer?
Jervis remembers how Leslie looked at Jim during the tea party incident. Her love for Jim is what doomed Mario. To Jervis, Jim doesn’t deserve love. So he infects Mario, Leslie blames Jim, thus turning her love into hate. And it certainly worked. Yet Mario is dead, and Leslie gets to live, blaming everyone but herself.
Penguin wakes up and finds Nygma back in his cell. Neither of them know why they haven’t been killed yet and since Nygma’s one meeting with Kathryn, he’s heard nothing from upper management. He’s just overheard chatter that the Court plans to attack the city.
The two realize that, though they want to kill each other, being locked in these cages won’t help them, so they have to work together. However, there can be no sabotage, no murder on the premises, and after they escape, there should be a six hour window. They can plan on murdering each other later. The two agree.
The Shaman takes Bruce to one of his own memories, as a past version of himself speaks with a member of the Court about the Wayne murders and what will become of Bruce Wayne. In the Court’s defense, the Waynes threatened exposure, but The Shaman stabs the Court member anyway. The Shaman explains to Bruce that the Court was just a means to an end so someone else could maintain order in Gotham.
But who is this someone else? We’ll find that out later. The Court’s day is over and they must pay for their crimes. For this to take place, the Shaman will need Bruce’s help.
At the trial, Barnes rails on Jim for standing against Gotham and justice, saying that they could’ve worked together to clean up the city. Jim admits that he’s guilty for shooting Barnes and sending him to Arkham, so the sentence is death by beheading.
Jim calls the Court a pack of murderers and talks about the plan to unleash the virus, but Barnes has believes the virus has given him strength and clarity. He said as much to Leslie when she visited him and asked if Jim would ever kill Mario. Just like Jim, Leslie didn’t understand. Jim figures that if Leslie came to Barnes, her takeaway is that Mario was indeed insane.
Barnes at least gives Jim one last request, and Jim does have one: he’d like his badge. After all, he deserves to die wearing it. As a fellow soldier, Barnes does understand that and agrees to grant Jim this request. But when Barnes gets close enough to him, Jim activates one of the bombs on Barnes’ belt, forcing him to throw it before it explodes. GCPD then rush on the scene, but Barnes leaps out of the window and flees.
Back at GCPD, before Jim can search Kathryn’s townhouse, Harvey gets a call and learns that Strike Force is bringing Kathryn into the precinct. However, Alfred rushes in and tells the two that Bruce has been abducted by some shadowy organization. Jim explains that he’s been investigating the Court, but they never once mentioned Bruce.
As for why the Court would want Bruce in the first place, Alfred mentions the little break-in that he, Bruce, and Selina engaged in early in the year when they stole a now broken crystal owl they hoped to use as leverage against the Court. Jim and Harvey remember finding a similar owl and seeing the map showing the Court’s secret hideouts. They ask if the one Alfred found can be reassembled since theirs has gone boom.
Nygma and Oswald put their plan into action. Ed slashes Oswald’s throat, but when the guards search him, turns out that it’s not blood gushing from his throat, but Jello. The two use this distraction as the opportunity to murder the guards and escape.
Kathryn is hauled into the department, where Jim asks where the bomb is being hidden and why the Court abducted Bruce, but Kathryn just toys with Jim. She claims to know nothing about the bomb and points out that, contrary to what Jim believes, she’s not the Court’s leader.
Alfred returns with the shattered owl- thanks, Jerome- and Bullock gives a call to someone who can rearrange it. But he also lets slip that Jim is interrogating Kathryn, so he storms into the interrogation room. A calm Kathryn isn’t up for a game of ‘good cop, bad cop,’ but as Alfred tells Kathryn, he’s not a cop. And with that, he stabs Kathryn through one of her hands.
Bullock heads into the atrium and finds Barnes, who has entered the precinct, knocked out the officers with knockout gas, and is laying waste to the department. As Jim, Harvey, Alfred, and Kathryn head out, Barnes proclaims to Jim that he must still carry out his death sentence. He drops down from the rafters and engages Bullock, Alfred, and Harvey in a fight.
But when Kathryn orders Barnes to stop this nonsense and take her home, Barnes isn’t a fan of Kathryn declaring his ‘justice’ as nonsense, so he decapitates her. Never let it be said that Gotham doesn’t go dark. As Barnes prepares to finish Jim in his former church, Jim blows off Barnes’ left hand. He then tells Barnes that he agrees- the GCPD is a church…his church. With that, he knocks out Barnes.
Penguin and Nygma end up in an alley. Nygma asks Oswald how he intends to win, given that Barbara runs the underworld and gangs. True, but Oswald has an army of Hugo Strange’s monsters, but even if he was alone, he’s confident that he could still take down Nygma. With that, the two part ways.
Leslie returns to the department to get a few things, but tells Jim that she wouldn’t have come if she heard about what Barnes was doing. In fact, she thinks that maybe Barnes realized that there’s no justice. After all, Jim hasn’t paid for the pain he’s caused. At least she’s willing to pay for what she’s done. As Leslie heads off, Jim tells Harvey that there’s someone above Kathryn, and her death will just force the real leader to act.
In Dreamland, The Shaman tells Bruce that the Court must pay for what it did, so Bruce at last places his mother’s pearls into the safe. Back in reality, when Bruce thinks about his parents’ murder, he feels nothing. A Talon joins the two and the Shaman explains that the Talons have served the Court since its inception. But the process and training do more than remove all feelings.
To exemplify this, the Talon obeys when the Shaman orders him to cut off the smallest finger on his left hand. He does so without reacting at all. The pain of memories can scar, but also define us. Taking away allows the mind to become clay that the Shaman can mold. The Shaman vows to destroy the Court, and in doing so, Bruce will become the perfect weapon, so long as he does whatever the Shaman says. Bruce complies.
At GCPD, Jim, Alfred, and Bullock look at the reassembled owl statue, when Alvarez tells them that Barnes escaped his transport to Arkham. More than that, the virus sample from Hugo Strange is gone. And besides Jim and Lucius, only one other person has the combination to the safe. Can you guess who?
Yup, it’s Leslie, who injects herself with the virus.
It’s occurred to me that the Court of Owls is a bit of a joke in Gotham. Maybe more so than the Order of St. Dumas. Or at the very least, upper management could use a clean sweep, which will no doubt happen in light of Kathryn’s death. But consider: you have this shadowy organization that’s run Gotham City from behind the curtains for years. Many of the members are stoic, others are trained killers.
So pray tell, why did Kathryn fail to make an impression as an intimidating presence? I can’t call her a leader because, as she stated, she doesn’t run the Court, but she was certainly high up there. And yet she winds up giving Jim one too many chances and not being more suspicious of him than she should. Not that she needed a contingency plan for everything. She’s not the Joker, after all.
Thus, when she gets decapitated, it doesn’t feel like some massive win or triumph. For one, her death wasn’t the result of the GCPD. And second, she poked the bear. She encouraged Bullock to kill Jim, but she put her foot in her mouth when she made light of his justice. She wasn’t wrong, but she had to have known that Barnes would retaliate. For someone who is normally calm and collected, it was a boneheaded move on her part.
With that in mind, the sequence at the GCPD did have some fun moments. Not Barnes’ attack itself, though. We’ve seen the precinct attacked so many times that I’m surprised there are any officers still alive. But things like Alfred stabbing Kathryn I found refreshing. It further shows his devotion to Bruce, but gets him involved in the action as well after spending so much time at Wayne Manor.
Also, it was an opportunity for Alfred to work with Jim and Harvey, and credit where it’s due, they do make some progress. Sure, it takes no time to find the owl, but they do investigate it and before Jim can even pay Kathryn a visit, Strike Force has already brought her into the precinct. It’s not top notch detective work, but given how little there is on Gotham, it’s better than the random hunches and coincidences.
Plus, the brutality. Gotham has had its graphic moments before for a show that airs at 8 pm, but decapitating Kathryn and Jim shooting off Barnes’ left hand were surprising. Didn’t add to the tension, but every now and then, Gotham will throw in something gnarly to balance out what’s otherwise pretty tame violence.
Sticking with Alfred for a moment, I’ve always liked how he’s not above calling Selina out on her crap, and this was no exception. Even though Bruce has screwed up on occasion with Selina, he still cares for her. But Selina has frozen him out, so Alfred isn’t in the wrong when he compares Selina to Maria as far as her not being there for Bruce. Not that Selina had to be around for Bruce 24/7, but at least hear him out.
So if Kathryn isn’t leading the Court, perhaps the Shaman is closer to pulling the strings. Or someone else. Again, we know that Ra’s al Ghul has been cast, so perhaps the League of Assassins is the real culprit. What’s their plan for Bruce, I wonder? They’re training him to become a symbol, but the Shaman wants complete control over Bruce’s mind, as if Bruce himself were to become another Talon.
Otherwise, why even bring in the Talon as an example of what Bruce could be if he removes all emotion? Bruce Wayne is defined by his pain and loss, and he’s at the point of feeling nothing when it comes to his parents’ death. All that’s left is for him to become stronger. Well, maybe the Talon was just an example of the kind of soldier Bruce could be over time.
Despite not being the main plot, I found myself invested in the back and forth between Oswald and Nygma. They’re acting like petty kids and their bickering is humorous, but they do make the most of a bad situation when they’re forced to work together. By the way, more stupidity on the Court’s part. I’d hate to think such an intricate, covert organization could still possess such incompetent guards.
And even once they’re free, Ed and Oswald realize that they’re still going to war. In the middle of everything happen in Gotham, they have this civil conversation about how they’re going to kill one another and who has the better army. This is the kind of dark humor that Gotham does well. It doesn’t happen often, and it’s more often with the villains, but I love the love-hate relationship between these two.
Can’t say the same for Leslie. It’s taken long enough to realize that she’s blamed Jim for something Jervis did, but at the same time, Leslie has been in the crosshairs in a city where anything can happen. And Jim is such a magnet for danger that Leslie’s life would be in danger if she associated with him. But since Mario’s death, she’s become more unlikable. Most of her scenes since Mario’s death have been confrontational.
And I can’t sympathize with a character who is always coming off as antagonistic. Now that she’s taken the virus herself, I would put good money on Jim having to put her down unless there’s a cure she gets within these last few episodes. And hey, Barbara didn’t become interesting until the show made her crazy. Maybe unleashing Leslie’s dark side will make her more appealing to watch.
With the season finale approaching, there’s a lot left up in the air here. Barnes is in the wind, Kathryn’s death is certain to shake things up at the Court, and the villains are preparing for war just when the Court is also preparing to unleash a virus on Gotham. With Leslie giving herself the virus, Jim’s troubles aren’t about to get better anytime soon. And will Bruce truly give himself over to the Shaman to become stronger? We’ll see.