It always leads to Ace Chemicals, doesn’t it?
The episode begins with some men running for their lives while an individual in a radiation suit sets off fireworks that release a poisonous gas. This gas, in turn, sucks the life from the men.
Gordon, meanwhile, speaks with the general about Walker’s escape. Bottom line is that Walker and Eduardo are out of the picture. Unification can begin now, but unlike Walker, this general can take action unless something happens to destabilize Gotham City again. Good luck.
Meanwhile, Harvey’s search party has not found Alfred yet. Bruce has been pulling double shifts with the search parties and working himself to death. Jim, though, tells Bruce that he needs his rest, as he needs the boy sharp. Neither knows what could’ve happened to Alfred, but they know that he can take care of himself. Meanwhile, Harper’s group came across something…weird.
We return to the bodies as Harper tells the two that the men with Z’s carved on their bodies were affected by a chemical agent. Also, they have mustaches on their faces for…some reason. The three enter what looks to be a film set. Harvey wonders if this is Zsasz, but chemicals aren’t really his thing. Unification could be hard with someone out there using chemicals.
Jim then recognizes a Narrows gang which is out of their territory. Well, Jim and Harvey know where to go for answers.
Bruce, meanwhile, comes across a newspaper with the main headline discussing the Wayne murders…and they’re all over the wall, too. He then spots what he thinks are his mother and father going into the subway, so he gives chase.
He winds up at the tunnels that Jeremiah’s followers dug and he spots one of the pearls from Martha’s necklace. With that, he heads into the tunnels.
Leslie gets a visit from Barbara of all people, as she needs medical assistance. Leslie isn’t looking to help the person who tried to kill her, but Barbara says that her child is innocence. Also, though this isn’t Jim’s business, he arrives. He tells Leslie about the bodies, and she’ll go outside while Barbara and Jim work out their…differences.
So Leslie leaves. Barbara maintains that Leslie is the best doctor in the city. She told Jim because he had a right to know, but she says that his involvement ended when their moment ended. Though Jim doesn’t exactly think that Barbara is right to be a mother.
Further and further Bruce goes into the tunnels. He finally arrives at Wayne Manor and finds both of his parents, alive and well. Brue demands to know who these people are, and ten in enters Alfred as well. Oh, and there’s another guest, and his name is Jeremiah, who welcomes Bruce home. Bruce is surprised to see Jeremiah alive, but of course Selina couldn’t kill him that easily.
Jeremiah needed time to finalize his project, especially when he’s come bearing gifts in the version of gasoline cans that he could use to blow up Wayne Manor. As for what Jeremiah did to Alfred, as well as these “parents,” Jeremiah explains that they’re an innocent couple based on bone structure and build. Some plastic surgery turned them into the Waynes. Alfred, he was in the Green Zone at the wrong time.
Today is an important day for Bruce. Just look at how Martha and Thomas are dressed: it’s the same way they looked when they were killed. Jeremiah wants Bruce to relive that moment because this was the most important day of Bruce’s life. Jeremiah didn’t get to be a part of it, and now is the time to rectify that. Time for Alfred to bring out dinner. They’re on a tight schedule, after all.
Over at the docks, Oswald and Selina watch an attempted escapee get blown up in the river, as it’s filled with mines. Then Selina remembers that Jeremiah was digging a tunnel under the city. The plan is to wait until the night to check the Dark Zone. Oh, and the poor bastard didn’t die. He tries swimming to shore. I said he tries.
Jim tells Leslie that Barbara’s child is indeed his, though Barbara thinks different. Leslie spots a chess symbol on the wall, which the members use to mark their movements.
Okay, we’re back at Wayne Manor already, as Alfred prepares dinner for the Waynes and Jeremiah, who recalls details from Bruce’s upbringing. Jeremiah finds Bruce’s taste in food odd, but Bruce wants Alfred and the imposters gone. Still, Jeremiah wants every detail exactly right. To top it off, “Thomas” puts some pearls around “Martha’s” neck. Jeremiah asks Bruce what it was like losing his parents.
After all, Jeremiah lost his family, too. Bruce contends that none of this is real and that Jeremiah is trying to manipulate him, but it will never be real. But Bruce is still thinking about the night his parents died, and that’s all Jeremiah needs. He did offer Bruce the chance to be his best friend, after all. But if they can’t be friends, then they can be connected in other ways. How? Well, we’ll find out later, in due time.
But we must cut the dinner short. Jeremiah has a date with the Waynes. He exits and starts a timer for the explosions, so Bruce better find Alfred and fast.
As night falls, Leslie and Jim arrive at the Ace Chemicals facility. Inside, dozens of workers are preparing a concoction. Jim tries to get one of the workers to talk, but they’re all repeating the same mantra, so they’re all hypnotized.
Who would be behind except none other than Jervis Tetch? The Mad Hatter orders the workers to attack, so Leslie and Jim must fight off the workers and Ecco as well.
So Selina comes to Barbara and tells her that Penguin is looking for a way to get his stolen goods out of Gotham. But hey, Selina wants to kill Oswald and get revenge for Tabitha. She’ll find a way out of Gotham, but she’ll need Barbara’s help with moving the stuff. Selina is slightly worried since Barbara is pregnant, though.
Over at Wayne Manor, Bruce tells Alfred that there’s a gas leak and there are only a few minutes before the building blows. So the two rush through the tunnels just as Wayne Manor goes kaboom.
Alfred’s memory is back, though, and he remembers getting hypnotized by Jervis Tetch. As for Wayne Manor, it’s gone, but there are bigger things to worry about now. Alfred’s leg may be hurting, but he’ll be fine. Right now, Bruce has to find Jeremiah.
Jim figures that if Ecco is here, then Jeremiah is also alive. Jervis offers to hypnotize Leslie and Jim, but Jeremiah might have other ideas. Jim apologizes for getting Leslie involved, but she knew what she was getting involved with. Jim tries to get under Jervis’ skin, calling him Jeremiah’s lackey, but Leslie figures that without his games, Jervis has nothing.
Ecco whispers something to Jervis, and he then pulls out a pocket watch and asks if she’s running from her past. Well, time to get hypnotized.
Selina brings Oswald to Jeremiah’s tunnels just as Alfred arrives, as he’s surprised to see her with Oswald. Oh, and Selina learns that Jeremiah is indeed very much alive and reenacting the night that Bruce’s parents were killed. Alfred asks for Selina’s help, but Selina turns her blade on Oswald, saying he deserves to die.
Still, Alfred reminds Selina that Bruce needs her, so she rushes to aid him. At the very least, Oswald tells Alfred how to reach the Green Zone.
Still on the hunt for Jeremiah, Bruce arrives at a theater and sees Martha and Thomas watching The Mark of Zorro. However, instead it’s Jeremiah playing the main role, and he wonders what drew Bruce to this role. Then several participants are wheeled out to face Jeremiah. But then they get to the point where the film was too frightening for Bruce, who asked his parents to take him out.
As Thomas and Martha leave, it’s time for the final stop down memory lane. Jeremiah then confronts the Waynes in Crime Alley and tells Bruce that he’s realized no matter what he did to bond him, some gunman in an alley would be who would be tied to Bruce the most. But Jeremiah wants to be the star of the show. If they can’t be bonded by love, then it will be by hatred.
Bruce figures that Jeremiah killing two random people who just look like his parents won’t do that, but Jeremiah has an answer for that. He tells Thomas and Martha to turn around, and it turns out to be Jim and Leslie. Between all of these misadventures, fate brought Leslie and Jim to Jeremiah. He figured that he would kill the man that Bruce considers his second father, as well as Dr. Thompkins.
After that, Bruce and Jeremiah would be bound. Unifying the island with the mainland will arrive soon, but Jeremiah will disrupt that with his chemicals. That’s when Ecco arrives. Jeremiah explains that Jervis hypnotized them so that they would awaken once the pearls hit the ground. This is all for Bruce.
Before Jeremiah can fire, Selina arrives and whips the gun out of his hand. Ecco starts the countdown for the chemical-laced fireworks while she and Jeremiah escape. There’s no way to stop them all, so Jim gets in the truck with the fireworks and drives off, while Leslie is left to go to Harvey so others can get to cover. He manages to drive them into the river just before the timer reaches zero.
Bruce follows Jeremiah into Ace Chemicals and battles him on a walkway that is suspended above a vat of chemicals. Bruce hits Jeremiah over and over, while Jeremiah taunts him about their connection. Bruce tells Jeremiah that he means nothing to him, but Jeremiah strikes back, wanting Bruce to understand that he is the answer to his questions. Without Jeremiah, Bruce is a joke without a punchline.
But then Bruce manages to evade Jeremiah just as the guardrails give way. With that, Jeremiah plummets into the vat of chemicals.
Then we cut to Nygma, who is surprised to see that Oswald has come to him for help. Naturally, Ed is livid that Penguin would come to him, but still, Hugo Strange did save Ed’s life. The two of them have been at this for so long, but here they are, in this room, together. It means fate has different plans for them. As Ed lowers his gun, he wants to know Oswald’s plan.
Penguin tells Ed that Gotham is no longer a city, but a prison, and it’s time that they escaped the madhouse.
Over at the precinct, Leslie joins Jim as he’s learned that the unification will not happen. No action will happen from the government for at least a few months. Jim isn’t surprised, but Leslie reminds him that it could’ve been worse. Jim figures that each time he tries to turn things around, they end up much worse.
Leslie then asks what Jim was about to say before Tetch put them under. Jim would’ve said that he wishes he could go back and do things differently and better. Yet that feels like a long time ago, and things have indeed changed. After everything Leslie has gone through, now Jim is having a baby with Barbara of all people. Crazy shit, I know. Leslie wonders what would’ve happened if she hadn’t lost her baby with Jim.
Jim then asks why Leslie is here. She wants to be understanding, but Jim let her down. As for what it means for the two of them, you can’t change the past, so they must live with it. Jim tries to stop Leslie from leaving, but she slaps him…and then kisses him.
Jeremiah is resilient, as he is not dead. Bruce and Selina stand next to him in the hospital, as Bruce tells her that Jeremiah is no longer a threat to either of them. He thanks her for coming to his aid, and she contends that she should’ve done something when Bruce’s parents were killed. Still, Bruce tells Selina that she’s done enough. Has she, though, Bruce?
Hang on, did Bruce actually get Jeremiah out of that chemical vat?
Oswald brings Ed to his home and the two find Barbara waiting for them. Ed immediately realizes that Barbara is pregnant because she’s apparently glowing. Oswald offers Barbara the opportunity to come with them. Yes, he killed Tabitha and Barbara wants revenge, but does she want to raise her child in a war zone like Gotham City? She could just come with them.
Luckily, Ed found a way out of Gotham through a submarine that can track mines through sonar. Where is this submarine? Well, they’ll have to build it.
Barbara then goes to try and kill Oswald, but she can’t bring herself to do it. At least, not for the sake of her child. But she’ll never forgive Oswald. That much, Oswald can understand. Oh, and Oswald doesn’t get to learn who the lucky father is, either. Well, that’s disappointing.
But you know what’s not disappointing? This episode. We step away from Eduardo for a bit and bring our attention back to Jeremiah Valeska’s sick obsession with Bruce Wayne. In addition, we learn about the grand scope of his plan to unite the two in a bond, if not in friendship, then out of love.
I can get on board with this idea not just to set up the future battles that Bruce Wayne would have with this character later on in his life. But from a storytelling perspective, this makes more sense than Bruce being united to Jerome. Since Jeremiah was introduced, we’ve seen Bruce try to help him in various ways, not the least of which included Wayne Enterprises funding Jeremiah’s generators.
So when Jeremiah continually refers to Bruce as his friend, it’s more convincing coming from him compared to Jerome.
What better way to turn Bruce’s world upside down and link him to you for life than by making him relive the night his parents died? This episode felt like a take on the episode “Perchance to Dream” from Batman: the Animated Series, but instead of a happy world where Bruce’s parents were never killed, this is Bruce’s own personal hell where his parents are now played by impostors and he’s reliving the night they died.
We don’t get any sort of one-on-one conversations between Bruce and the new Thomas and Martha, and that’s fine because his focus isn’t on them supposedly being alive. But rather, the goal is to figure out Jeremiah’s master plan. While Jeremiah may mean nothing to Bruce, Valeska wants to be the star of the show.
Jeremiah would be the one thing that keeps Bruce awake at night, if he wasn’t doing that on his own by exhausting himself while searching for Alfred.
So, as Jeremiah says, their bond won’t be out of love, but hatred. Within the context of Gotham, I think Bruce will still have Jeremiah on his mind despite saying that he means nothing to him. It’s because of Jeremiah’s repeated attempts to get inside Bruce’s head and make a long lasting impact that set him apart from any of the other rogues featured on Gotham.
People like Oswald or Nygma or even Selina have crossed paths with Bruce, but they aren’t the center of his life like Jeremiah wants to be. Jerome was about rampant chaos, but Jeremiah has his sights solely focused on doing this dance with Bruce forever. It’s what happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object, as you know.
There were tons of nods to Batman lore here. As mentioned, the Jeremiah and Bruce stuff had shades of “Perchance to Dream,” the confrontation at Ace Chemicals was right out of Batman 1989, and Wayne Manor being destroyed was evocative of both Batman Begins as well as it already being in a ruined state in Batman v Superman. Hell, even Alfred saying “Never” to Bruce in that particular way was reminiscent of Begins.
Another added touch that reminded me of “Perchance to Dream” was the inclusion of the Mad Hatter. Admittedly, he was nothing more than just working for Jeremiah, but I’ve always liked Benedict Samuel in the role and the presence he brings to Jervis Tetch. After all, Jeremiah and Ecco aren’t hypnotists. Why not get Tetch to handle that? It’s a nice way to rope him in, even if we don’t see him again for the rest of season.
Though all of this did put a damper on the planned unification for Gotham City. Tough luck for Jim, who already has to contend with this headache as well as Barbara and Leslie on top of that. The man can only do so much, and I do like that he’s trying to be a part of Barbara’s life for the sake of their child. Why Barbara would freeze him out when she was so willing to admit her pregnancy in front of Leslie is beyond me, though.
Still, I like that Leslie acknowledged the loss of her child, although I still don’t like that it happened off-screen and that Jim only learned about it through Bullock. That dangling thread always felt flimsy for me, so I’m glad the show addressed it. Neither Leslie nor Jim can change things, but with their kiss, I wonder if the two may indeed become an item by series’ end.
After all, Barbara apparently doesn’t want Jim as part of their child’s life, so why not go to Leslie? At the very least, Leslie isn’t insane…or under the influence of the Tetch virus anymore.
Sticking with Barbara for a moment, I can buy Selina going to her as a way for them to screw over Oswald, though I don’t really think Selina had that much of a friendship with Tabitha. Sure, the three were close, but if anything, Tabitha had more of a connection with Barbara than Selina. Hell, Selina wasn’t even there when Penguin killed Tabitha. In the grand scheme of things, I just don’t think she’d give much of a damn.
But, as Oswald pointed out, Selina does believe in an eye for an eye, and Oswald had every reason to kill Tabitha as revenge for her killing his mother. By the same token, she in turn has every reason to seek revenge for the death of her friend, even though they weren’t that close. It’s a nasty cycle that would have continued, but at least Alfred was there to remind Selina that Bruce needed her in the moment.
Plus, Oswald was able to figure out right away that Selina had screwed him over. So of course he could go to Ed because at the end of the day, they both want a way out. Hopefully they get it.
I must say, though, the idea of Penguin and Riddler on a submarine just makes me wish that Selina and Jeremiah could somehow join them. Then we could get a true recreation of the 1966 Batman movie. But that’s just the nostalgia talking.
So Jeremiah is, for the moment, no longer a threat, while Penguin is pushing forward with his plan to get out of Gotham City. What will happen with the unification going forward? Also, what about Walker and Eduardo? They’re still out there, so you know we should expect them to set their sights on Jim. We’ll find out next time. See you then.