Indeed, all it does take is one bad day.
The episode begins with news that James Gordon is missing. At the precinct, Lucius goes to Harvey and informs him that there are no signs of life at Jeremiah’s bunker. Still, Harvey believes that Jim is alive and tells the precinct that Gordon will indeed return. First responders are on the scene and everyone needs to be searching for Jeremiah Valeska and Bruce Wayne.
Some officers aren’t keen to following Harvey, given what happened last time he led them, but Harper stands up for Harvey. Then Alvarez tells Harvey that Jeremiah wasn’t in the bunker- he’s outside.
Indeed, Jeremiah has arrived with Jerome’s followers, now loyal to him. He takes out a detonator and announces that there are bombs planted around the city. If Jeremiah hits the detonator, Gotham is blown back to the Stone Age. It’s a dead man’s switch- more advanced than Jerome’s. Even if Jeremiah’s thumb loosens, boom. Unlike Jerome, Jeremiah is a builder.
Every artist needs a blank canvas, so the city has to go. He’ll detonate the bombs in six hours and wants the city empty when he does. Nobody has to die, of course, except Jeremiah takes out another detonator and activates it, blowing up a nearby clock tower. Six hours.
Barbara and Tabitha drink at the club when Butch and Penguin arrive, along with the now beaten man from Jeremiah’s club. Penguin informs Barbara and Tabitha that Jeremiah has plans for Gotham, and this is an opportunity for cash and glory. Penguin finds himself short of manpower, so he’s willing to go 50-50 with Barbara.
And with the money, Butch might be cured of his condition, as Hugo Strange ran Indian Hill. He can fix Butch, but it won’t be cheap. Naturally, Barbara is against the deal, but soon buckles when Tabitha implores that she take it.
Harvey speaks with the mayor about evacuation when Bruce enters the precinct to know the truth. He explains that Jeremiah was sprayed by Jerome’s gas, but he then blames himself for Jeremiah’s actions, since he funded this project. The schematics should be in the Wayne Enterprises R&D lab. Lucius should be able to help with that. Harvey, focusing on Jim’s whereabouts, tells Bruce to go home and be with Alfred.
Then Bruce gets a call from Alfred’s phone, but it turns out to be Jeremiah. Bruce demands to know where Alfred is, but Jeremiah reminds Bruce that he could kill him any time he wants. But they’re best friends, and Jeremiah will prove this today. He gives Bruce an address and tells him to show up an hour, and if he tells the police, Jeremiah will know.
However, Jim Gordon awakens in the Narrows, where he’s welcomed by Leslie. Nygma had Jim followed, apparently. Jim’s surprised that Leslie didn’t kill him, as is she. As for what she plans to do, no idea. Jim wants to get back to work and stop Jeremiah. As he pulls out his painkiller, he realizes that he’s in no condition to go anywhere yet, so he asks Leslie to find the blueprints from Jeremiah’s office.
But these plans won’t be going to Harvey anytime soon, as Jim isn’t the only one who can save the city.
Bruce recruits Selina to join him in locating Jeremiah, and she’ll be here whenever she needs him. They arrive at the address, but don’t see anyone. Bruce figures that this could be a trap, so Selina decides to head in first by scaling the rooftop.
But Bruce decides to use the door. He calls out to Alfred, but suddenly sees displays of Alfred being beaten and tortured.
Riddler is aghast that Leslie wants to help Jim, as he just wanted to hold him hostage. But if they solve Jeremiah’s plan, then they can trade the information for clemency. Riddler senses that there’s more going on with Leslie and Jim, but she’s adamant that she’s past that part of her life.
Riddler still likes his plan better, but if Jeremiah’s plan proceeds, everyone- including the people of the Narrows- will be affected. Riddler eventually agrees, if this is what Leslie wants. But he’s only doing it for her.
Back at the precinct, Harper updates Harvey on the evacuation as panic continues in the streets. Lucius presents the schematics from Wayne Enterprises. The bombs can level a city block when super charged. Lucius can disable, but can’t find them because they were created to be networked together. The bombs are connected by a nervous system- if the brain is found and destroyed, that will prevent the bombs from detonating.
Jeremiah, meanwhile, watches Bruce go through his transformative experience. He tells a henchman that Alfred is to be killed, as he’s no longer of use. But then Jeremiah is surprised to see Penguin and Barbara’s combined forces in his stronghold. His henchman is bound and gagged, and it seems as if Penguin has the upper hand, so the group has its own demands, in the form of $50 million.
Jeremiah doesn’t exactly have that on him, but Penguin figures the mayor can make that happen with more time. That way, the others get their money. And in return, Jeremiah gets his cord relay.
Jeremiah agrees to the terms, as he’s more reasonable than Jerome. That and smarter. He makes a call to arrange the money with the mayor. Tabitha, though, doesn’t want to hand over the cord relay if Jeremiah can destroy Gotham, but Penguin figures that after they get the money, they can still kill Jeremiah, give the core relay to the police, and become heroes of Gotham. And cure Butch.
Since Jeremiah is put on hold, he goes for plan B and blows up his henchman and the core relay with a rocket launcher. After all, what’s insane about having a back-up plan? The building is within the blast radius, and Jeremiah will detonate them as soon as he’s far away. He promised six hours, but thanks to this turn of events, he’s changed his mind. Jeremiah’s henchmen open fire.
Bruce’s game continues as he hears Jeremiah’s voice. All it takes is one bad day to turn a man to lunacy. The images of a beaten and tortured Alfred come up as Jeremiah announces that he sees something special in Bruce. To awaken it, he’ll have to lose everything dear to him. Then the Scarecrow comes up on screen as Alfred is sprayed with the special gas.
Jim is brought before Riddler, who makes it clear that he’s only helping Gordon because he’s with Leslie. Also, Jim doesn’t believe that Leslie would ever truly love Riddler. If Ed needs Jim to validate it, maybe he doesn’t really believe it, either. Okay, Riddler wants to settle this right now. Jim tells Ed that Leslie isn’t who Ed thinks she is. Even if she’s with him in every way.
In the end, Jim figures that Leslie needs something from Ed. And once she’s done, she’ll get rid of him. However, Leslie has been with killers, if Jim is any indication. Fair point. Perhaps that’s why she isn’t with him now. Riddler explains the labyrinths, one way in and one way out. The red rectangles on the map overlap with black ones. These may not be plans, but the end result.
The end result that Riddler creates is an overview of Gotham City. Once certain buildings blow up, they create the labyrinth that Jeremiah plans to create. Riddler wants this information to get to the mayor first so their discretions can be forgiven. However, Jim can’t figure one thing out. He points out one mistake and when Riddler gets close enough to inspect it, that’s when Jim punches out his lights.
The firefight continues with Barbara and Tabitha putting down Jeremiah’s henchmen. And now they have no core relay, so this went about as well as you’d expect.
Penguin calls Harvey with information and tells him that the six hour time limit won’t be honored. Lucius makes the connection of the bombs communicating with each other. The system can be disrupted when the first bomb in the sequence is removed.
And like that, Jim arrives back at the precinct, where he receives a warm welcome from his fellow officers. No time to explain his escape, but he’s got a map of every bomb that Jeremiah has planted.
Back at Jereome’s stronghold, while Bruce continues to search for Alfred, Selina runs right into Scarecrow. She fights off the henchmen and Crane long enough for Scarecrow to eventually fall back, saying that Bruce Wayne will be driven mad.
At the same time, Jim is brought up to speed on the bomb neutralization plan when Harvey plans to go off to alert the bomb squad. Jim says that Harvey should let the bomb squad handle this, but Harvey is adamant that he go, as he needs this.
Bruce continues to watch Alfred be tortured from all angles as he finds himself sprayed with a fear toxin from every direction. But he rushes into a room where he soon finds Alfred, sitting in a chair. He takes out a switchblade and begins carving open his mouth, so let’s put a smile on that face. And he can’t stop laughing.
He rushes from the chair and swipes at Bruce and a fight breaks out between the two. The enraged Alfred tackles Bruce while Selina turns off the fear gas. She then hears banging from a locked room and someone stumbles out when she opens the door.
Bruce struggles to hold off Alfred, telling him that he’s stronger than this. As the blade gets closer, a gunshot puts Alfred over the edge. Selina arrives and tells Bruce that he only saw what Scarecrow wanted him to see. Indeed, the real Alfred is alive and well, as he tells the young man that he’s indeed alive.
Harvey arrives at the site, but there’s no bomb squad in site yet. With Lucius on the phone, Harvey heads in and decides that he can’t wait anymore, as there’s no telling when the bomb will go off. So Lucius starts walking Harvey through the process when the bomb begins making a noise and turns red. Thus, Harvey will have to work fast.
However, it turns out that there are two breakers, not one. Harvey could break both, but there’s the chance that all of the bombs would explode in the process.
Back at his lair, Jeremiah greets his legion. He arms himself with a detonator and tells them that after years of hiding away, today is the dawn of a new Gotham City- one where everyone will be free. But then Jeremiah sees Jim on television as he tells the world that he’s alive. And worshiping a pale imitation of Jerome is just sad. Still, Jeremiah can still hit the switch and give birth to his new world.
As Harvey settles on Eenie-Meenie-Miney-Moe, Jeremiah hits the switch and…nothing happens. No explosions, no madness, no chaos…no nothing. The followers turn on Jeremiah, but he finds their fickleness hurtful. More than that, predictable.
He seals them in the room, locks the door, and presses a button that sets the room ablaze.
Well, everything burns.
Back at the Sirens’ club, Penguin believes the plan was worth the risk. Barbara wants Penguin to leave, and Butch won’t be going with him. However, Penguin knows where Hugo Strange is- he does now, anyway- and Tabitha may be able to persuade him since they don’t have the money.
Jeremiah goes over his schematics and plans, realizing that Jim got one of the blueprints. So he’ll have to start again. But then he hears a voice and it turns out to be Ra’s al Ghul, who tells Jeremiah that he saw a vision of Gotham in flames. Jeremiah would rather work alone, but Ra’s implores him not to be rash. After all, he could use help instead of working alone.
Jeremiah is confident that he doesn’t need help, but Ra’s says that this is about more than Gotham. This is about Bruce Wayne.
Jim pops by at the Narrows to thank Leslie and present her with an offer: leave Gotham City and start a new life somewhere else. Alone. Jim can’t change the past or pretend to recognize whoever Leslie is, but whatever happens when he walks out the door, he will always care for Leslie. And Riddler is lurking not too far…
Harvey arrives back at the precinct and orders the officers to keep looking for Jeremiah. After a bit of silence, the officers give Harvey a round of applause for his work. That and saving the city.
Over at Wayne Manor, as Alfred heads off to recover, Bruce thanks Selina for her help, saying he doesn’t know what would’ve happened if she wasn’t there. He goes in for the kiss and she accepts. She asks why Jeremiah is so obsessed with Bruce, and Bruce remembers if the death of his parents was the one bad day that drove him insane. Perhaps Jeremiah sensed that and wanted to bring it out in him.
But the day is not over yet, as Jeremiah suddenly arrives and plants a bullet in Selina’s chest. He’s quickly tackled by Alfred, who begins to beat the hell out of him as the episode comes to a close.
We’re coming up on the season finale and should be approaching the cataclysm that Ra’s spoke of earlier, and now it looks like he’s a step closer to getting there with Jeremiah at his side. I didn’t think that Gotham would have Ra’s appear in this episode, given how much the episode had to balance the other characters as well, but to the show’s credit, I think the balancing act works just fine here.
It helps that unlike past endeavors, everyone here is focused on the same, larger threat. Barbara doesn’t have the Demon’s Head anymore, so we have no reason to dwell on that right now. And since Penguin, for whatever reason, doesn’t just call up Victor Fries or Firefly for added muscle, he’d turn to her for help, as well as sweeten the deal for Tabitha by promising to help cure Butch.
Unless it’s in a stinger at the end of the finale, I wouldn’t bet on seeing Hugo Strange this season, but just the show teasing his return for next time, should the show get renewed. But there’s enough going on right now that the show doesn’t need to find a way to squeeze him into things, too. Butch’s condition reversal can be handled next season.
Curious what becomes of Leslie and Riddler. I hope this show is better than to trap the two in a love triangle with Jim, given that he still cares for her and how easy it would be for Riddler to go on the offensive. But it’s good that both Leslie and Ed are sticking to their guns as far as where life has taken them, not to mention wanting to help if they receive clemency for what they’ve done.
As was stated last week, they’re committing crimes, yes, but in the grand scheme of things, what they’re doing isn’t for their own benefit- they’re doing it for the people of the Narrows. That doesn’t make it right, but Jim at least understands their perspective. Plus, Riddler had a real point. He’s done wrong, but Jim doesn’t have a clean record either, and it helps that someone on occasion remind Gordon of his past crimes.
Although Ed should be smart enough to realize when Gordon is trying to dupe him, but moving on from that.
This was an important episode for Harvey. While the show hasn’t touched upon it in awhile, we see that the officers don’t see him the same way since he led them into a trap. Though there’s been no indication that he’s been getting the cold shoulder, him putting his life on the line to save the city was a risky move that could’ve killed him. Especially since he could’ve just waited for the bomb squad.
But this was a decision that he had to make, and while I never thought he would have died, there’s no telling what would’ve happened when dealing with Jeremiah. In the end, he saved the city and earned the trust of his colleagues, so at least they’re on good terms again.
Onto Jeremiah’s plan. It’s true that he’s much more intelligent than Jerome ever was. His plans don’t seem as random and he’s more cunning in his approach. His plan to drive Bruce mad, straight out of The Killing Joke, did show how Jeremiah wants to prove to Bruce that it just takes one bad day to turn someone mad. Indeed, maybe that started when Bruce’s parents died.
Alfred going mad would’ve tipped him over were that real, but it was pretty clear that this was just the result of the toxin. Still a gruesome sight to see Alfred carving a smile into his face, just in case you wanted to know how he got those scars. And still a traumatic experience for Bruce, who already blames himself for Jeremiah. In a way, they’re already linked.
Then there’s the other Killing Joke homage we get. Since there’s no Barbara Gordon in this universe yet, we instead get Jeremiah coming into Wayne Manor- seriously, the security here sucks- and shooting Selina, thus making her a coffee table edition. If the thought of Alfred going insane was one thing, now Bruce must contend with the reality that one of his best friends has been seriously injured.
With the season finale upon us, Gotham City is in panic due to Jeremiah’s actions. But now that the seemingly sane man could join forces with Ra’s al Ghul, we could be headed for the aforementioned cataclysm that could awaken a Dark Knight in Bruce Wayne and thus change his life forever. We’ll find out if this all ends by fire in the season finale, “No Man’s Land.”
See you then. And here’s the trailer for the finale: