A Look at Gotham- Season 4, Episode 13: “A Dark Knight: A Beautiful Darkness”

Everybody loves Ivy on this installment of Gotham. Also, time to check in on Jerome and Penguin. This is “A Beautiful Darkness.”

The episode begins with Ivy and Selina entering a home, where Ivy uses her perfume to enrapture one of the owners into letting her in. She does so and soon the entire family is put under Ivy’s control and soon paralyzed. With the family frozen, they’re left helpless as Ivy and Selina begin robbing them of their belongings.

When Selina goes upstairs, Ivy lets Mr. Roland Charles, played by Alexander Blaise, know that she’s not here to rob him. She knows that he tortures plants in the name of science. Ivy grabs a briefcase and asks Charles if he knows how the plants feel. Soon, he’ll share more than them than she ever could have imagined. She scratches and infects him with the same toxin previously used on Selina last time.

And that’s when Selina returns, with Ivy saying that she gave the man what he deserves. The two leave as plants come out of Charles’ mouth.

Over in holding at the GCPD, Chaz Carmichael, played by Joseph D’Onofrio, wants Jim to let him out so he can report to his boss, Sofia Falcone. If he got pinched, Jim is to give her a call. But Jim isn’t really concerned with Chaz right now. Or Sofia, for that matter.

Then Harper alerts Jim to a crime scene. He and Lucius are brought to Roland Charles’ home and it’s revealed that Charles worked for Wayne Enterprises. The same toxin used on the previous victim acts as psychedelic. The family claimed that it was two women- a redhead and a brunette. The redhead is the one who committed the murder and she left with his briefcase.

But according to Lucius, Charles worked on standard projects at Wayne Biotech, nothing complex. As Jim goes to check with Selina, Lucius calls Bruce and tells him that Roland Charles has been murdered.

Speaking of, Ivy looks over Charles’ files and tells Selina that Roland had it coming. Ivy wants to know everything about Project M, and everything in said project would have to have been approved by Bruce Wayne. Selina, though, regrets getting involved and heads off in a huff, leaving Ivy with her shrubs. But Ivy is fine on her own. She’s ready to show everyone just how strong she is.

Over at Wayne Manor, Bruce awakens from one hell of a hangover and finds Ivy there, though he doesn’t recognize her. She’s here to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. A groggy Bruce is surprised when Ivy asks him about Project M, and then recognizes her when she calls him Billionaire Boy. As she kisses him, she again asks about Project M.

Then we cut to Arkham Asylum as Penguin as having a less than pleasant time with the inmates. Nearby, Jerome tosses a Joker card in Oswald’s direction before joining him. He’s always been a fan of Penguin, but expected more from him. And yet Oswald has just moped around for the last six weeks.

He can’t leave, though, because Sofia Falcone is holding someone important to him. And if Penguin escapes, Sofia will kill them. Jerome hates such a boring tale, and the last boring inmate suffered for it. Jerome plans to cure Oswald of his attitude and will find the entertaining that he knows is inside of him. When he does, the two will have so much fun together.

Back at Wayne Manor, we miss the story of Project M, but it’s not what Ivy expected. Bruce’s name is the one on the company that murders Ivy’s friends, though Bruce didn’t mean to upset her. Despite Bruce’s naiveté, Ivy still believes that he’s guilty. She then scratches him, but promises that what he experiences will be slow and painful. Even still, it’s what he apparently deserves.

As Bruce seizes on the ground, he finds himself in a vision, bound with vines, and sees that Ra’s al Ghul of all people is about to operate on him. Though he doesn’t call himself Ra’s, he’s Dr. Green Thumb, and he slices off Bruce’s face. Ra’s tells Bruce that he’s, of course, dying. He then wraps a towel around his face.

Jim again goes by the Sirens club to speak with Selina, but Barbara informs him that she’s not present. But Sofia is, and she wants a moment alone with Gordon. When Barbara leaves, Jim wants to know Sofia’s arrangement with Barbara. Luckily, Sofia hasn’t told her anything, but she wants Chaz freed from the GCPD. Even though Jim is content that Chaz brought the arrest on himself.

Sofia changes the terms of the deal: the deal is what she says it is. And Jim covered up how Lazlo died, so if word goes out, the GCPD will be destroyed. Jim believes that Sofia will go down with him and calls her bluff, but the conversation is cut short when he spots Selina.

Back at Arkham, Oswald is dragged before Jerome, who wants to cure him with the laughing cure. The game? Make Jerome laugh, and Jerome orders Oswald to do a clown dance. So the inmates converge on Oswald and put him in a pretty little dress. Oswald sings his sob song about how he’s been betrayed, but Jerome isn’t interested.

He tells Oswald that he’s trapped in a prison of the mind, and Jerome is offering the key. As the inmates poke and prod Oswald, he soon charges at Jerome, but he’s intercepted before he can reach him. This leads to a failure for the day. As such, Jerome will try again tomorrow.

On the rooftops, Selina evades Gordon, but not before he can stop her from jumping across a building. She brings up how she was at Charles’ home, but she was only there to rob the place. Jim wants the name of the redhead, and Selina tells him that it was Ivy, who has gone through some recent changes. No shit, Selina. Roland died because he worked for Wayne Enterprises. Jim realizes that Lucius wasn’t entirely honest…

Speaking of, Lucius is working on Charles when Ivy arrives. She wants to know about Project M and tells Lucius that Bruce revealed everything, but Lucius knows where it is. And he will take Ivy to it. But first, Ivy wants to be told that she’s beautiful. Lucius easily obliges.

I’m not going to begin to wonder how Ivy got all the way to the GCPD medical examiner’s lab.

Back to the convulsing Bruce. In his dream state, he’s still without a face and finds that none of the familiar faces recognize him. Even another Bruce Wayne has no idea who this mysterious person is and demands that he leave. Butler Bullock asks Bruce if everything’s fine. It is.

Jim arrives at the GCPD with Selina and learns from Harper that Lucius left with Ivy. As for why no one, you know, stopped her, it turns out that everyone is under the effect of Ivy’s charm. And until it fades, according to Selina, the people will do everything for Ivy. And they don’t take kindly to Ivy being called a psycho by Jim.

We return to Arkham, where Penguin learns that he has a visitor. It turns out to be a giddy Edward Nygma, who has come to gloat. Ed at least has a purpose and friends, and he wanted Oswald to see that. But Oswald knows Ed and realizes that something else brought him here.

Ed says that nothing else is going on, as he just wanted to see how miserable Oswald is. Oswald promises that once he’s out, he will wipe the smile from Nygma’s face with a chainsaw. But then, Nygma reminds Oswald that he has no friends and no one can help him escape. He is utterly alone. With that, Ed leaves, but he’s left Oswald a riddle. And it’s here that Oswald realizes that the old Ed is still there, and he’ll help Oswald escape.

Back at the GCPD in the medical examiner’s lab, Jim replays the audio tape of Ivy interrogating Lucius about Project M, and he learns, courtesy of Lucius, that there’s a secret Wayne Foundation facility near the edge of town.

Harper soon arrives with two other officers, and they’re still not happy about Jim calling Ivy a psycho. But hey, both Jim and Selina love Ivy. So much. Of course Selina does, though. She’s been with Ivy for every recasting yet. Yeah, the officers don’t buy it, so Jim and Ivy go on the run.

That evening, Oswald’s sleep at Arkham is interrupted when he’s again brought before Jerome, who again wants to cure Oswald with the sudden death round. However, it turns out that it’s Dietrich who was brought before Jerome instead. And he gets electrocuted when Oswald goes on the offensive.

He grabs a deadly spork as a weapon and tells Jerome that maybe he’s in a prison right now where Jerome can’t get to him. He begins to mime, so Jerome grabs a weapon and…he suddenly can’t attack Oswald with it.

Penguin brings Jerome into an open side where he begins to beat the ever living hell out of him, and that manages to get a laugh out of Jerome. In fact, he asks to be hit again, so Oswald does.

Dream Bruce continues to entertain his crowd when Jim suddenly asks how long he thinks he can hide. He points him toward the city and says that he will find him eventually. A smoke grenade crashes through a window, followed by Special Agent Pennyworth, who whisks Bruce away from Wayne Manor.

At the aforementioned facility, Lucius brings Ivy to a room containing Project M: which is a glass of green liquid known as Lazarus Water, courtesy of Ra’s al Ghul. As for what Ivy will do with it, she’s going to make miracles happen.

Back in Bruce’s vision, Special Agent Pennyworth can’t release Bruce Wayne. He has a mission to bring Bruce to him, a shadowy figure that’s scaling the scaffolding. And it’s here that Bruce realizes he’s in the same alley where his parents were killed. He calls out to the shadowy figure and asks why’s here, and the figure explains that this is where the figure was born. It then leaps down at Bruce.

Jim finally arrives at the facility, where he runs right into Ivy and Lucius. Ivy tells Jim to drop his gun or she’ll kill Lucius, so he complies. She tells him that she planted a seed on Bruce Wayne, but if Ivy is allowed to go free, she’ll hand over the antidote that could save Bruce’s life. So she leaves with the Lazarus Water. Lucius’ jujitsu classes don’t do him any good when Jim gives him one swift punch that snaps him back to reality.

With Ivy gone, but the antidote in their grasp, they rush off to help Bruce.

Still in his dream, Bruce awakens in a cave where, across from him, stands the shadowy figure. This figure is the one who Bruce cannot escape, the one he cannot kill. Bruce realizes that the figure is him, and the figure separates into many, many bats that rush towards Bruce. they charge towards Bruce.

And that’s when Bruce is revived by Jim, who tells him that Ivy’s toxin attacks the brain. Whatever Bruce went through might have been pleasant, but not real Bruce, though, saw what he really is. He knows that what he saw was real, and Jim says that he’s lucky to know who he is. But Bruce disagrees. Jim didn’t see Bruce’s destiny.

However, Jim has seen his own darkness. He reminds Bruce that there are people in this world who care for him, so he shouldn’t fight this alone. He promises to check on Bruce tomorrow, and then Bruce tells Jim that in his dream, Jim had a mustache. Dangerous toxin indeed. When Jim leaves, Bruce decides to call Alfred to tell him that he needs his help.

Jim returns to the precinct, where the officers are no longer hypnotized, just embarrassed. Gordon tells them that finding Ivy Pepper is their top priority. Then Sofia calls Jim to talk about their deal, and how she might destroy herself if Jim went down. She likes being the Queen of Gotham, but she doesn’t need the Pig. There are other ways for her to hurt Jim.

And it turns out that Sofia is talking to her sister-in-law…Leslie Thompkins. Oh right, forgot about that.

We return to Arkham, where Jerome pays Penguin a personal visit to thank Oswald for giving him the laugh of the century. Oswald wonders how Jerome has everyone under his thumb. He could clearly escape whenever he wanted, so why stay? Oswald realizes that Jerome is planning something, and he is…something spectacular. He needs to find the crème de la crazy, which is why Jerome needs Oswald.

However, when this is over, the world out there will be the real asylum. Oswald thanks Jerome for his kind offer, though he doesn’t expect to be in Arkham much longer. Jerome, though, is confident that Oswald will come around. They always do. When Jerome leaves, Oswald hands off a letter that is to be sent to Ed Nygma.

Ivy, meanwhile, takes some of the Lazarus Water and her blood and combines them in some soil, and a plant sprouts to life. Oh, and she’s in someone else’s home. She blows the toxin from the plants at the couple and watches as plants soon burst from their bodies. And the plants have never looked more beautiful.

Often on this show, as a season ramps towards the finale, we get a Batman rogue whose plan is to plunge the city into madness, whether it’s Jervis Tetch, Jerome, and now Ivy. For someone who started off as a mere side character, she’s now front and center with her plan to, I assume, use her abilities, the plants, and now the Lazarus Water to, as she told Selina, make Gotham her bitch.

And I get that, but this show cheats a bit. For one, that Ivy’s toxins place the victim in some sort of hallucinating state, I feel, is something that should have been established with her first victims, not the second time around. Not even a hint of it last time- just plants sprouting out of the victim’s body. But here, that happens in addition to the victim seeing some vision.

Also, the vision’s length varies, I suppose, depending on how Ivy scratches? Because she promised that Bruce’s demise would be slow. Almost an entire episode’s length, in fact. It’s a nice way to connect Ivy’s storyline with other characters, although the show does take shortcuts and conveniences to do so.

The bulk of the Ivy stuff was mostly a chase, with Jim and Selina trying to catch up with her while she got Lucius to bring her to Project M. And though it was humorous to see the entire precinct love-struck over Ivy, I still find it laughable that she walked into the GCPD and got as far as the medical examiner’s lab without resistance. Did she touch or blow onto every single officer in the building?

But since she’s using the Lazarus Water, that is at least a good way to have Ra’s live on in her.

Speaking of Ra’s, how about Bruce’s dream? So we see him coming face to face with this show’s take on Batman. Interesting that Ivy’s abilities would give Bruce such an on-the-nose and oddly specific dream that applies to his future, down to Jim even having a mustache. A detail that Bruce absolutely had to note when he was revived.

But yes, Bruce sees his destiny when he’s brought back to the alley where his parents were murdered. For the most part, it works. From being inspired by Azrael to his vigilantism, Bruce’s development into the man we’ll know him to be later has been handled pretty well. Though at this point, this continuity hasn’t established his fear of bats, so I imagine that’s part of what the vision accomplished.

Gotham always seems to get a shot in the arm whenever Jerome is around and this was no exception. So Monaghan’s got the Heath Ledger-esque voice down, he’s tossing a Joker card at Penguin, his plan is to turn the city into the real asylum, and he’s perfectly fine taking a few punches.

As has often been the case with him, he’s practically the Joker in everything but name. But I do like Jerome tempting Oswald, who looks like he’s focused on getting through to Nygma, and that he’s been able to take over Arkham with everyone bowing to him. But the two want different things: Jerome is all about chaos and pathos, while Oswald, for the most part, wants order and stability.

The two do not blend together at all…which makes them perfect for each other.

Even though the Ivy stuff wasn’t as interesting as the plots involving Bruce or Jerome and Oswald, “A Beautiful Darkness” was still a good episode that gave Bruce his first encounter with The Bat and set the stage for what should hopefully be a wonderfully insane partnership between Penguin and Jerome.

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