The Gentle Art of Making Enemies was another incredible high point for Gotham. This episode had a little bit of everything and it was done masterfully. Between Bruce facing off with Jerome and Ed confronting Penguin, it was hard to choose the standout moment. And that’s hardly a problem.
With Gotham plunging into chaos after Jerome’s blackout, the GCPD was busy trying to stop a full-spread riot. And predictably overwhelmed as usual.
Ed meanwhile finally had Oswald where he wanted. He set up a beautifully comic book villain death trap Oswald escaped thanks to the convenient arrival of a helpful security guard. Maybe a little too convenient…
Tabitha and Butch grabbed Oswald and brought him to Barbara. I’m not sure if the writers are ever fully going to explain this dynamic, but those three are great together. Barbara wanted Oswald’s help to track down and kill Ed — no sense in splitting Gotham four ways when three is easier. But Oswald refused finally realizing love wasn’t about selfish ambition, but sacrifice.
Ed thought he had Oswald figured out, but didn’t count on his love coming from a genuine place. I was glad the Nygma/Barbara/Tabitha/Butch alliance wasn’t being dissolved that quickly. There’s too much potential for this crew to really reshape the Gotham underworld in a way Mayor Cobblepot never made a priority.
Despite Oswald’s pleas and declarations of love, Ed couldn’t get pass the fact Oswald killed the woman he loved. For a moment it seemed Ed was going to buckle and kick off some silly shipper nonsense of an Oswald/Ed relationship. Thankfully the writers went the smart way and had Ed shoot Oswald and send him plummeting to the river. Oswald just can’t escape this scenario, can he?
While he sicced the rest of Gotham’s voiceless on the city, Jerome was focused on one thing — killing Bruce Wayne. I love that Cameron Monaghan is just going all in with his Joker by way of Heath Ledger spin. Monaghan is able to add just enough elements to make Jerome the character who eventually could become Ledger’s Joker without being a poor imitation. Gotham might never fully see The Joker, but Jerome is all it needs. The carnage at the world’s dangerous circus truly felt like it came right out of the mind of The Joker. It was horrifying, deadly and captivating. Every scene in Making Enemies featuring Jerome was fantastic and not entirely due to Monaghan.
David Mazouz has really upped his performance of Bruce Wayne. Earlier in the series, he came off too stiff and flat. Now he’s starting to become believable as the boy who will become Batman. It was completely bad a$$ when Bruce used the staples Jerome stuck him with to escape the cannonball death trap. Not to be outdone by Nygma, Jerome went with the massive overkill with a cannon stuffed with knives and nails.
Making Enemies heavily focused on the Jerome/Bruce face-offs culminating in a Dark Knight Returns homage in the mirrored room. Bruce taunting Jerome in the house of mirrors really conjured up a Batman vs. Joker feel. Bruce beat his enemy and understood the importance of valuing life even one as unhinged as Jerome. The series is going to have to really step its game up to have a better Batman scene without having Bruce in a cowl and cape.
Gordon managed to get in on the action too saving Bruce and Alfred from a Jerome ambush and punching his face off. Gotham doesn’t shy away from disgusting and gross moments, but this might be the new number one. The big takeaway is that Bruce knows he can accomplish whatever he’s setting out to do while upholding one rule — no killing.
The Court of Owls lurked in the perch watching the chaos unfold. Kathryn and a new Owl (James Remar) plotted their next move, that to some degree involves the Bruce clone. I was hoping he wouldn’t return any time soon as there’s only so many times the clone/duplicate gimmick can work. But he might not be the real problem as the new owl is Gordon’s uncle Frank. That’s no good.
The same absolutely can’t be said for The Gentle Art of Making Enemies. Gotham is really starting to prove a rewarding experience for viewers who have stayed with it. This was a terrific episode that has me stoked for the return from the winter break.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/FOX