Pretty Hate Machine definitely didn’t play out like a typical Gotham episode with a slew of unexpected twists. I almost wish this was the season finale as it makes for an amazing cliffhanger filled with lots of questions.
First up, Edward Nygma has reunited with his fellow outlaws: Barbara, Tabitha and Butch. They need a name? Gotham’s Royal Four? FourScore? I’ll take suggestions. He rallies the troops to prepare for a war with Penguin, who’s one Mr. Freeze and Firefly short of an army. Tabitha nabs Selina and they convince her to give up Ivy’s hideout in exchange for the one thing better than friendship loyalty — saving her own skin.
Hard to blame Selina since Ivy has kinda been a terrible friend all season. But just when Nygma has Penguin and Ivy dead to rights, Fish returns and casually takes Penguin for herself. This was a case where I really wish the showrunners could have kept Jada Pinkett Smith’s name out of the credits. The Penguin/Riddler subplot seemed the most obvious time for her appearance and that would have made for a nice surprise without the tip-off. While I rarely say this, it was fun seeing Fish back and mysteriously working on her own schemes.
Gordon visits Lee, who’s got an Alice Virus-influenced hotness makeover. Not that Morena Baccarin needed much assistance on that, but bad girl Lee is fire! Lee doesn’t have a lot of time for Gordon’s pleading and promises to help him. But unless ol’ Jimbo has mastered Beatrix Kiddo’s palm strike, being buried alive isn’t all that helpful.
Lee did leave Jim the virus though and after a ton of deliberation, Gordon finally takes the virus. The transformation is immediate as Gordon starts going off tearing through things and not worrying about any rules. Are we sure Lee didn’t give him a placebo? This is pretty much every day Gordon.
Meanwhile, The Sensei offers Bruce the opportunity to pass judgment on the Court of Owls exec board who ordered the death of his parents. Bruce is hesitant so Sensei orders the neck slicing himself. Bruce is surprisingly not pleased with himself for not making the call himself. The Sensei isn’t too worried as he just wants Bruce ready when he meets his master. And for his big moment when it’s time for a dark hero to rise. Interesting.
Given all the work he did in Pretty Hate Machine in interrogating Hugo Strange, tracking down Bruce twice and killing Sensei, Alfred may as well be deputized. I liked that the episode didn’t just have Alfred’s love break Bruce’s conditioning. It’s going to take more effort. Sensei wanted Bruce to trigger the bomb, which would unleash the Alice virus throughout the city. He still delayed, but Sensei pushed the trigger just as Alfred shot him.
With his dying breath, Sensei tells Bruce to track down his master, The Demon’s Head. Uh-oh. Bruce still wants nothing to do with Alfred and gets led out as the virus begins spreading through Gotham.
I have no idea how this season is going to wrap up, but I’m loving the unpredictability and uncertainty heading to the finale.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio and Jeff Neumann/FOX