Gotham: Season 3/ Episode 13 "Mad City: Smile Like You Mean It" – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

You know, something I’ve learned about Gotham is that it never will try to put you completely off. What I mean is, while it may experiment with a new villain, a new twist on an old character, it often maintains the things it knows fans would like. Be it Selina and Bruce’s relationship, the new Barbara, or even Penguin and Nygma, it will only push its audience but so far. Which is perhaps why the return of Jerome matters so much. For with his return means not just one of the few welcomed revivals on this show, but a sign that great things are sure to come.

Topic 1: The Fall of Oswald Cobblepot (Penguin, Barbara, and Tabitha)

Everything is going to plan for Barbara. Penguin is losing his mind, especially as he receives a call from Ed making him seem kidnapped, and it is ruining his abilities to be either mayor of Gotham or king of the underworld. Though Barbara is taking things to the next level with killing the bosses of the family and promising Tabitha that when all is said and done, Ed will be killed as well.

Commentary

You know, what I love about this show is that the majority of villains are complicated. For while Penguin is a murderer, among many things, it is hard to watch him seemingly want to trust Barbara, to make a new and genuine friend, but know she can’t be trusted. For Ed, he knows he is awkward and weird, yet there is still this desire and hope to find love, and each time it got stolen from him. Then with Barbara and Tabitha, they are just two women trying to make for themselves a safe space. One in which they aren’t an accessory or pawn but are fully in control of their situation and autonomous.

Making it while this storyline may not be the best or the most interesting, it shows how truly dedicated they are in keeping these villains around not just for the sake of name recognition, but because they are honestly a valued part of this series.

Topic 2: The Complications of Young Love (Selina & Bruce)

Maria reveals she was just playing Selina and while that is accepted, Selina can’t accept Bruce lying to her. However, he explains he was between a rock and a hard place. He saw his beloved happy and didn’t want to break that. So, he made the tough decision of just giving over 200 grand vs. revealing Maria is just conning Selina for his money. Leading to her, naturally lashing out against him, asking to fight, but he can’t bring himself to it. So she just walks away.

Commentary

With the majority of my experience watching teen actors either coming from FreeForm, anime in which they seem to have hardly any emotional intelligence, or in media which seems solely focused on them coming of age meaning their first time having sex, it makes Selina and Bruce refreshing. For while they are very much children still, their characters are crafted more like how teens are written in books than they are portrayed in visual media. Their actions seem to not be reckless as much as well calculated. As if there is this constant fear of losing the other person, maybe getting too close to them and becoming disappointed, and sometimes just waiting for a warning to prove your fears and reasons for being apprehensive were right.

All of that we see in this back and forth between Selina and Bruce. Which, for almost any other show, this one episode they are a couple, the next on the outs, and back again, would get annoying. However, again thanks to the acting and writers, there is this underlying understanding that these two deeply care for one another but have hardly any idea how to keep the other happy and not get hurt in the process. Which is the driving force behind why, 3 seasons in, cute moments like Selina referencing to Bruce as being part of a thing with her is all you need to keep going. Even if she irrationally acts out, even after Bruce tries to thoroughly explain his decisions. For while on the surface the fight seems silly, especially her wanting a physical fight, it is because she is learning how to love and he is learning how to love her.

Topic 3: The Rebirth of Jerome (Jim, Jerome, and Lee)

With this show having the name recognized villains fighting amongst themselves, Galavan long dead, and Barnes locked up, Jim has to have someone new to keep him relevant. So, Jerome is reborn. In good form may I had. For between his scene with Lee, catching him up on all that has happened since he died, and then causing a blackout across Gotham, he has a comeback of epic proportions. One worthy of the closest thing we currently have to the Joker.

Commentary

One of the problems Gotham always has had and will have is that it has to build up Jim Gordon to fulfill his destiny. Something which seems soon to come for despite Harvey being head of police, last I checked, Jim is the one giving all the orders. Yet, the show can’t have Jim face off against Penguin, Nygma, and Barbara over and over. Not only would that be dull, but that would diminish these necessary villains who keep the story going. For, as said countless times, all heroes are only as good as their villains. So, so they can rebuild themselves after defeat, Jim has to leave them alone. Yet, with Jim being the main protagonist, he needs new people to chew up and spit out and, thank the lord, the show has stopped giving him episodic villains to take down. However, it hasn’t really given him, in any of these arcs, a truly interesting adversary outside of Jerome.

Though let’s face it, Jerome being The Joker is his appeal. For be it the laugh or the masterful way he is played, like most of Batman’s villains, Jim benefits by association. Even if his inevitable win over Jerome could possibly kill him or send Jerome to having a B-line storyline.

Things to Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Where in the world is Ivy? Much less Fish? Did she finally die for real? I can’t remember.

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