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Gotham - Light The Wick - Review

“Gotham” laid out the Court of Owls’ master plan this week, but because the show’s still four episodes away from the finale, “Light The Wick” felt a little wheel spin-y.

The episode begins with Captain Barnes – while the amused Mad Hatter looks on – being abducted from Arkham Asylum by the Talon. Unsurprisingly, the Alice Tetch virus is pivotal to the Court of Owls’ plans and Barnes is the last carrier of it. And then I literally clapped my hands with glee as it’s revealed the Court called in Dr. Strange to consult (and sidebar – Strange exposits that he cured Fish Mooney’s condition off-screen, so we’ll be seeing her again soon, no doubt). Strange not only manages to extract the virus from Barnes’ blood, but is able to weaponize it into an aerosol. As Kathryn later spells out, the Court’s plan is to use a distribution device (which was the item shipped to Dock 9C) to infect the city and let its citizens tear Gotham down with their own hands. If this scheme sounds familiar, it should, because it’s pretty much the plot of “Batman Begins.”

Gordon, of course, is the fly in the ointment. Again, I find it a bit of a narrative cheat that the Court has allowed him anywhere near their operations, not when they’re this close to their endgame. In any case, Gordon manages to obtain Kathryn’s fingerprints – her last name is Monroe and she’s (obviously) from one of Gotham’s oldest families. This leads him to her home, where he finds a hidden key card to a Wayne Enterprises facility. A looped-in Lucius suggests a particular off-site lab and that’s where Gordon and Bullock stumble across the escaped test subject. They’re saved by Strange, who is smartly playing both sides and who barters for his freedom with a sample of the weaponized virus and his research. But Gordon is forced to blow his cover when Kathryn puts the moral squeeze on him by planting a test bomb at a society luncheon. And later, desperate to eliminate Gordon before he can implicate her, she decides to sic Barnes on him. Not looking forward to that; Michael Chiklis has been so hammy since Barnes’ transformation.

Also sniffing around the Court’s business are the Penguin and Leslie. Having sussed out what really happened between Gordon and Nygma last week. Oswald pays his old pal Jim a visit and promises to make a similar public spectacle unless the Court gives him Nygma so he can exact his revenge. Gordon ends up having to use Penguin to escape the Talon and rescue the women and children at the luncheon, but assures Oswald that having Firefly torch one of their assassins will put him on the Court’s radar. And indeed it does, as the episode ends with Penguin being abducted by them and finding himself face-to-face with Ed in opposite cages.

As for Leslie, she’s still voicing her suspicions about Frank Gordon’s death and knows there’s some secret she’s on the outside of, but she’s rebuffed repeatedly by Gordon, Bullock, and (though he’s clearly unhappy to do so) Lucius. Now, I get that they are trying to keep her safe, but there was a touch of “Wimmin be crazy!” and “How DARE you accuse me of something I’m totally doing!” about the writing of this that I really didn’t like. Wouldn’t it be better to just tell her, instead of letting her bumble around in the dark? She might even get some satisfaction from helping take down the organization responsible for the virus that ultimately led to Mario’s downfall. But nope, no women allowed, so a fed-up Leslie seemingly quits her job. We’ll see if that sticks; I could see the show writing the character out altogether.

Speaking of female characters not doing great, Selina. Ivy goes looking for her and is informed by Tabitha that she’s in intensive care at the hospital after her “fall” out a window last week. Refusing to accept the doctor’s perfume-prompted admission that there’s nothing they can do to save her, Ivy takes matters into her own green hands and fills the hospital room with plants that heal her (Selina’s “Why does my room smell like a giant bag of potpourri?” quip when she wakes up got a chuckle out of me). It’s all pretty slight, but it ends with Selina swearing to kill “Five.” Curious to see if her near-death and resurrection continues to affect her going forward.

Finally, Bruce’s subplot with the shaman is pretty boring. Through sparring and more memory exploration, the shaman claims he can purge Bruce of the pain and rage he feels about his parents’ deaths and better prepare him to protect Gotham. But given we know from the mythos that Batman is fueled by those emotions, it’s clear the shaman has a motive that’s ulterior. But for now, he manages to manipulate Bruce into staying with him and, after a phone call with a deferential Kathryn, makes plans to proceed to the next phase.

Now that I’ve shed some light on “Light The Wick,” tell me what you thought of this week’s “Gotham” in the comments section.

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