Gotham’s writers clearly have no interest in making anything predictable. A Beautiful Darkness had a little bit of everything from Gordon looking like a competent cop, Penguin vs. Joker, a Poison Ivy murder spree and Batman? Yep, Gotham’s unpredictability continues to be its greatest strength making for another highly enjoyable episode.
Ivy and Selina are reunited and robbing and it feels so good. Or at least it does until Ivy goes off script and kills the Wayne scientist whose home they invade. Ivy has
greener greater plans than making a few bucks hocking stolen goods. She wants justice for her green pals.
Selina is still very much a talk the talk criminal, but when it comes time to walk, she’s not about that life yet. When Gordon tracks her down thanks to the witnesses mentioning a girl with a whip, she quickly gives up Ivy. I’m not sure if this is intentional or not, but the Gotham writers are making a great case for why Selina will grow up to have trust issues. She’s the junior partner with Barbara and Tabitha, Bruce is inconsistent and Ivy keeps getting crazier. And these are her closest allies.
A Beautiful Darkness shows why the writers needed to evolve Ivy from the more playful, childish portrayal Maggie Geha provided to the darker, more comic book take Peyton List is delivering. List is really just missing an exclusively green wardrobe and maybe a leafy tiara from being a perfect Poison Ivy.
Thanks to her special powers, Ivy gets the entire GCPD against Gotham — a not so novel idea that is played more for laughs instead of life or death for Gotham and Gordon. The ‘Ivy is awesome’ reminds me of the Tom King ‘Everyone Loves Ivy’ arc, which might have been inspired by this episode.
Ivy got some vital information from a hungover Bruce about Project M and dosed him with her poison as well. Instead of a quick kill, Ivy left him to suffer and hallucinate. For Bruce, those hallucinations turned into a somewhat ominous premonition of his future life complete with Great Gatsby style parties, Ra’s al Ghul returning, Penguin wearing a top hat, Gordon rocking a mustache…and Batman?
Project M is actually Lazarus Water, but Lucius was smart enough to leave his cell phone and make a recording before Ivy hypnotized him. Gordon arrives in time to save Lucius and get the antidote for Bruce, but he’s forced to let Ivy escape. The classic hero and supervillain confrontation.
If dealing with Ivy wasn’t enough, Sofia is still lording her deal with Gordon over him at the worst possible times. Sofia is smart enough to know Gordon will eventually stop caring about disappointing his fellow officers and teases she’ll get to him another way…through the people he cares about, namely Lee. Uh-oh.
That would have been good enough for a solid episode, but A Beautiful Darkness goes for extra credit with Penguin’s stay at Arkham. Ed or is it The Riddler(?) comes by to gloat about Penguin’s predicament, but the farewell riddle encourages Penguin that he can battle his old rival in a game of wits.
For now, he’s got to survive his cell neighbor as Jerome is running the asylum and is need of entertainment. Jerome thinks Penguin has potential though and begins questionable motivational efforts to rekindle the Penguin’s old homicidal tendencies. But does Jerome really want to unleash this side of Oswald? Probably not, but it’s going to make for some fun TV.
Cameron Monaghan plays Jerome just like a young Heath Ledger’s Joker from the line delivery and body movement. Monaghan does it in a way to not come off like a rip off and rewards Gotham for attempting The Joker in this universe.
Ivy might have unknowingly created her worst enemy as a sobered up Bruce now seems convinced he knows his destiny. He’s not excited about being a vigilante, but knows it’s unavoidable and he definitely can’t do it alone. Bruce calls Alfred back to the fold. Bratty Bruce was getting close to running its course so I’m glad the writers moved along. The theme of this season is The Dark Knight after all. Now it’s time for Bruce to start playing the part for real again.
File Closed: A Beautiful Darkness showed Ivy can be a major threat, kickstarted the Penguin and Joker alliance and sobered Bruce up making for a very productive and eventful episode.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/FOX