So which would you choose, attend a Mandatory Brunch Meeting and join the Legion of Horribles or win some cold hard cash at The Riddle Factory with Gotham’s best game show host The Riddler. This episode followed on from last weeks and had great texture and layering to it. The script written by Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt and Director Maja Vrvilo and the cast were superb.
I do recommend if you have not already to read the comic The Riddle Factory. Cory Michael Smith who plays Edward Nygma certainly considers it one of his favourite comics which he read when he joined the cast of Gotham and hoping to do some kind of adaptation. I was very impressed how it has been taken to page to screen and was visually exciting.
Mandatory Brunch Meeting started where it ended in last weeks episode. Bruce Wayne has arrived at Saint Ignatius school. A palatial empty hall, Bruce walks towards the double doors that are in front of him. He opens them, the Headmaster is stood looking out of the window Bruce speaks first and introduces himself. The Headmaster asks if he can help Bruce, Bruce gets to the point and asks about Jerome Valeska. The Headmaster didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Jerome Valeska but he did meet his friend the man with the top hat and it quick to see that he has been hypnotised by Tetch. A clock ticks as Bruce asks more about what Tetch wanted. Tetch wanted information about a student that had graduated ten years ago, Xander Wilde. No information was given on why Tetch was looking for Xander but Tetch did leave a message for Bruce. The Headmaster turns around and he has explosives attached to him and is holding the detonator switch in his hand.
Captain James Gordon and Detecive Harvey Bullock arrive and make their way quickly inside the building. Bruce is trying to convince the Headmaster (Steven Hauck) that he is hypnotised and doesn’t have to do what Tetch has told him to do. The Headmaster thinks Tetch is depending on him. Jim tells Bruce to step away, Bruce encourages the Headmaster for him to hand over the detonator but he can’t. Bruce points out the clock to Captain Gordon which Jim shoots a bullet to stop the clock from ticking in hope it will break the hypnotic spell. Which it seems to for a moment but the Headmaster raises his hand as his pocket watch is another hypnotic trigger. Jim shouts for everyone to get down as the Headmaster presses the button on the detonator and explodes.
Jerome Valeska welcomes Mr Crane, Mr Freeze, Firefly (which see the return of the original actress Michelle Ventimila ) and Oswald Cobblepot to the first official Mandatory Brunch Meeting. One of the waiters still dressed in his Arkham Asylum uniform is having difficulty serving the food. Jerome spontaneously names them The Legion of Horribles in which he asks a chef to write it down. Whilst he was in Arkham he came up with a plan which he could turn Gotham into a Mad house, he is now on the cusp of making it happen. First Jerome thanks Mr Oswald for holding the brunch, in which Oswald is happy to help out an old friend. Mr Crane is developing a new chemical compound which is coming alone dreadfully in which Jerome liked his pun. Mr Freeze being the science man, Jerome needs a lab a big lab which Mr Freeze see no problem in getting. They only Legion of Horrible that is missing is Jervis Tetch with information that Jerome needs. Carl the waiter gets told of for serving the food without his tongs which I have to admit had me chuckling as Jerome went from calm to sinister in seconds. Firefly wants to know when he plans to take over the underworld but that isn’t in Jeromes plan as he just wants to paint the town as he is an artist. Tetch returns and Jerome grin is bigger then ever as the information that Tetch has for him will bring all the elements together. Myself personally I thought Oswald looked completely sure whether he wanted part of this unknown plan but at least Oswald could take back the underworld.
Alfred is back this week and is present as Jim questions Bruce about what he knows about Xander Wilde. Bruce has never heard of him and that name wasn’t mentioned at Jeromes uncles diner. If Bruce knew he would tell Jim but Jim questions if he actually would. Jim does have a point in that Bruce could of been killed but I think Bruce would of definitely passed on any information he knew any. Alfred tells Jim that he has made his point and then it’s Jim’s turn to ask Alfred if he knew Bruce was going after Jerome. Alfred confidently answers that he did even though Bruce looks at Alfred which made me think that Alfred actually didn’t. Jim final warning that if Bruce gets involved in the ongoing case Jim will press charges. There is a look behind Alfred’s eyes that would happily knock Jim out but he says nothing and takes Bruce home.
Harvey has been talking to an administrator at Saint Ignatius. Wilde is child prodigy and now works as a top Structural Engineer at a company called Meyer and Hayes. What does Jerome want with a structural engineer?
Jerome is sharing a elevator with an older lady she is looking a little apprehensive as Jerome stands next to her with a shot gun and tries to whistle along with the music in elevator. Jerome informs The Receptionist that he is here to see Xander Wilde and no he doesn’t have an appointment. The receptionist isn’t going to stop Jerome from seeing him as Jerome casually puts his shotgun over his shoulder and points Jerome in the right direction as she runs a way. Jerome tells her not to bother contacting security as they are now headless (this line had my fellow Dc world team member John Hammond in fits of laughter!) Jerome makes his way to room where a meeting is being held. Jerome clicks the shotgun which gets the attention of the people in the meeting. Jerome tells them not to get up as he won’t waste their time. Jerome has a business proposition and if they give him the information he needs they won’t get turned inside out. The older gentleman who is holding the meeting begs Jerome not to hurt anyone but Jerome wants to know where Xander Wilde is but he definitely isn’t in the building, Xander has never set foot in the building. Jerome shoots one of the men at the meeting table, Mr Hayes becomes anxious as he tells Jerome that he has always communicated with Xander through a proxy. Jerome finds this funny, with the shotgun pointed at Mr Hayes he demands to know where he can find this proxy.
Jim and Harvey walk out of the elevator to people running and screaming. There are gunshots as Jerome runs down the stairs to greet Jimbo his old buddy and pal. Jim and Harvey take cover with guns aimed. Harvey takes a shot at the pillar Jerome is behind and calls him clown boy, he starts the joke “knock knock” Jim looks behind him and firefly puts a wall of flames between Jerome, Jim and Harvey as he makes his escape.
Harvey confirms that no one has ever met Xander Wilde and he did go through a proxy to handle any dealings with the company. Hayes did know the identity of the proxy but unfortunately he not talking anymore, Harvey indicates to the body bag. With no driver license and no other trace Xander Wilde seems to be a ghost. One thing for sure Jim and Harvey have come to the conclusion that Jerome finding Xander is personal. Jim notices a drawing of Wayne Plaza on the wall the designer is Xander Wilde. So they need to go and speak to Bruce and Harvey remarks that he isn’t going to be thrilled to speak to Jim.
A group of people are gathered and are waiting quietly. Spotlights shine on a stage a lean tall figure in his now trademark green suit and black bowler hat. “What time is it?” The audience answers “its riddle time!” The Riddler asks the audience again “what time is it?” It’s Riddle time at The Riddle Factory. The stage is set with a big green question mark in the background. A lady assistant called Leila stands next to wheel that she spins to choose which terror the contestants will face if they loose. Ed introduces the first contestant Lars from The street Demons. Like all good game show host Ed talks about the hard times he has fallen on but Lars is happy to be there with The Riddler and Ed admires his spirit like a true person from the Narrows. How does the game play in The Riddle Factory? Ed asks Lars a Riddle then Lars asks The Riddler a riddle and if he gets them both right he takes home cold hard cash. Leila prepares the timer and the riddle is “I am heavy forward but backwards I am not. What am I?” Lars repeats the riddle and is sure he knows this and guesses the hour glass. Ed stands in the spotlight with his thumbs facing downwards to reveal Lars is wrong. The answer is ton. T.O.N spelt backwards it is not. Leila spins the wheel of misfortune as the crowd chants. It lands on Ed’s personal favourite rabid sack of rats. Lars tries to get away as Doctor Leslie Thompkins appears in the crowd, Lee tells Ed enough. Ed asks what brings her majesty down to his part of The Narrows. Lee hasn’t seen Ed since they put Oswald on ice. Ed is doing far better then what Sofia Falcone is from what Ed understands in an impressed tone. Lee tells Ed whatever he is doing is over but Ed speaks to the audience and tells them he has been informed by their Queen that she wants to shut them down. The audience boos and Ed hears democracy the people have spoken and Ed reminds Lee his name is The Riddler. They stare at each other for a moment and Lee decides that she will be the next contestant on The Riddle Factory. If she wins The Riddle Factory gets shut down if The Riddler wins it stays open.
A blonde lady enters an apartment carring groceries she locks the door behind her. By her expression she knows someone is in the room. Jerome comes out from a corner and asks if she has any ice cream? She isn’t shocked and tells Jerome she was wondering when he would come. Jerome finds this flattering and asks little miss proxy where Xander is. But she won’t tell Jerome so he gets out his knife maybe this will persuade her. Proxy who we find out later is called Ecco (Francesca Root-Dodson) points out a large cage in the room. Jerome thinks she has a large dog but it’s actually for Jerome and she is going to transport him. Ecco knocks Jerome out with two moves and contacts someone on her cellphone that she has Jerome.
Grudy is drinking alone in a bar when Oswald walks in. Grundy is wearing a flat cap and tweeded suit. Oswald calls Grundy Butch and is a little surprised when he sees his pale face. Oswald moves closer and heard Butch was different and is honest Oswald likes his new look. Grundy wants to know what Oswald wants, he starts with Grundy probably knowing about the Arkham breakout. Oswald goes on to explain he has just come from brunch with Jerome Valeska and he has big plans for Gotham. Grundy is curious but Oswald isn’t really sure but Jerome mentioned something involving paint. Oswald is confident that Jerome will flame out and this will give Oswald the chance to reclaim the underworld. The truth is which makes Grundy chuckle is that Oswald needs a good man like Butch by his side. With Grundy’s brut strength and Oswalds brains they will be unstoppable. Grundy is happy to be on his own as he already did that job once before. Oswald finds this amusing as all he sees is a man with nothing. Grundy warns Oswald to be wise in what he says to him as he is definitely not the same man he used to be and neither is Oswald. With one last try at reminding Grundy how they used to run the town together they were friends. When Oswald mentions getting their old lives back Grundy gets angry and grabs Oswald by the throat as he will never get his old life back. Grundy tells Oswald to look at him as Tabitha will never love him again and the slaughter swamp turned him into a monster. Grundy throws Oswald flat on the floor and tells him to get leave and if he ever sees Oswald again he will pop his head off like a flower.
At Wayne Manor Bruce wants to get something straight with Jim, one minute he wants Bruce to stay out of the case then next minute Jim wants his help. Jim ignores Bruces annoyance and tells him they believe his father Thomas knew Xander Wilde. Alfred explains that Thomas Wayne kept notes and dates on all meetings and climbs a ladder to find the diary associated with Wayne Plaza. Alfred opens the book and finds the entry of when Thomas went to meet Xander. The location address is Anisley Drive out by the old rock quarry, Bruce realises that this man must of been important for his father to go out of his way and meet him. Jim is definitely know thinking he isn’t just recluse hiding from the world Xander is hiding from Jerome.
Jerome wakes up in a cell of concrete which he finds interesting as he chuckles to himself. There is a camera which Jerome calls out as encouragable or is that himself. Somebody is watching Jerome on lots of television screens he knows exactly who is watching him. An alarm goes off there is a car approaching. Harvey and Jim use their torches to try and find the house as they are surrounded in woodland. Jim shows his badge to the camera and tells the person who is operating the door that they have come to see Xander Wilde. Jim and Harvey enter tentatively, Ecco is there is greet them and take them to Xander. Jim asks how long Mr Wilde has lived in his underground construction, Ecco answers in a methodical manner six years. Ecco talks into entry pad which opens the door. Jim thanks Mr Wilde for seeing them, Xander is stood with his back to them and when he turns around Xander is identical to Jerome. Harvey says what I was thinking “there are two of them.” Jim draws his gun as Xander expected a visit from the Captain.
Xander asks if he can put his hands down. Jim apologises as he did take them by surprise. Xander tells Jim to call him Jeremiah as that was the name his mother gave him. Jeremiah feels he owes Jim a debt of gratitude for solving his mother’s murder and putting Jerome in Arkham where he belongs. Jim mentions that Jerome has never mentioned Jeremiah, this doesn’t surprise Jeremiah as his mother’s letters mention Jerome never spoke of him again after he left. Jeremiah also lived at the circus and he was taken away from Jerome for his own protection. Jeremiah explains how different he and Jerome are. From an early age Jeremiah excelled in Math and design where Jerome showed it in the mutilation of alley cats. On Jeremiah tenth birthday Jerome held a cake knife to his throat and attempted to set fire to his bed. He describes it living in a nightmare, Jeremiah’s Uncle came in the middle of the night and took him away to Saint Ignatius and that was the last time he saw his mother. With a new name, new life but Jeremiah knew Jerome would come for him one day. Jim and Harvey want to move Jeremiah to a safe location unknown to them he already has Jerome imprisioned. Jeremiah won’t leave his safe fortress and feels the safest in his home. Jim persues the fact that Jerome as managed to get the name of Jeremiah’s proxy from his boss but Jeremiah now claims the name he gave to his boss was a fake. Harvey and Jim remain quiet, Jim frowns and decides Jeremiah is lying. Jim has noticed all the television security monitors are switched off. Jeremiah uses the excuse he is busy and doesn’t want Jim to touch the screens because they are sensitive, Jim ignores him and when one of the screens switches on Jim sees Jerome doing yoga. I am glad to see that Arkham Asylum have excellent recreational classes available to their inmates. Harvey turns to Jeremiah and sarcastically “oh yeah I would say that’s pretty damn sensitive.”
Back at The Riddle Factory, Riddler announces that a gauntlet has been laid at his feet. Ed shares with the crowd that Doc Thompkins thinks she know what is good for the people of The Narrows and doesn’t think have a live Barracuda stapled to your forehead is entertainment. Lee tells Ed to get on with the show. Leila prepares the timer The Riddler riddle to Lee is “I can be broken without being held. Given then taken away. Some people use me to decieve but when delivered I am the greatest gift of all. What am I?” Lee remains quiet as she thinks, Ed is delighted as she doesn’t know. Lee confidently tells Ed of course she is stumped he’s The Riddler but he will give her the answer. Ed chuckles and doesn’t see why he has too, Lee knows deep down Ed wants to give her the answer. Riddler refuses to be manipulated like that dope Ed, Lee disagrees as she helped Ed. Riddler continues to tell Lee that she lied to him as she promised to fix Ed. With ten seconds left to find the answer Lee knows the answer as Riddler has just given it to her. Lee admits Riddler was right that she promised to fix Ed but she didn’t. The answer is a promise. With the next round coming up Riddler is sure Lee won’t beat him.
Jim demands Jeremiah releases Jerome to the GCPD. Jeremiah still refuses as he sees his home more secure then Arkham. Harvey sees a red alarm going off and announces the loonies have arrived. Tetch, Scarecrow and Firefly have managed to get into Jeremiah’s home. Jeremiah won’t leave without Ecco has she has devoted her life to to him. Harvey warns him that they will probably will use Ecco against him and Jim promises they will come back for her. As a child Jeremiah studied Labyrinths and designed his house like one and he only knows the way out.
It is built on 100 acres and there are 73 dead ends. It took the top maze expert to find his way out took him three days. If Harvey knew he was going to walk so far he would of brought a sandwich. Jeremiah leads Jim and Harvey around more corners when they come face to face with Ecco who has been hypnotised by Tetch. Ecco who has some serious martial arts moves punches Jeremiah who falls to the ground and then takes out Harvey and Jim. Ecco takes hold of Jeremiah’s arms and marches him away from Jim and Harvey. Jeremiah asks Ecco where she is taking him and she answers methodology that she is taking him to Jerome. Harvey distracts Ecco as Jim hits her over the head. Jeremiah carries on walking through his maze and comes to a sign on a purple lit wall saying “the end.” Jeremiah hears Jerome voice saying “hello brother.” Jeremiah turns around, Tetch and Scarecrow are behind him. Finally in one of my favourite scenes of this episode Jerome and Jeremiah finally meet after 14 years apart. Cameron Monaghan does a fantastic job portraying two completely complex characters.
Under his hysterical laughter Jerome comments on how great Jeremiah looks as he always thought he was the handsome one. Jeremiah wants to know how Jerome got in the maze? They may not look the same anymore but Jerome still thinks the same as Jeremiah as he payed attention to the drawings of labyrinths that Jeremiah drew as child. Jerome has been waiting for this moment alone with Jeremiah for 14 years and calls him a coward for running away in the night. Jeremiah pleads his case that he told their mother that Jerome was insane but she would not listen to him. Jerome has always blamed Jeremiah for things that have gone wrong in his life but the truth that Jeremiah believes is that Jerome was born bad. The really interesting part of this scene is that Jeremiah admits to lying to his mother about Jerome putting a knife to his throat and setting the bed alight, and of course he has lied to Jim and Harvey. But Jeremiah was sure Jerome would of done that to him at some point. Jeremiah emotionally mentions that Jerome killed their mother in which Jerome definitely believes she deserved it.
Tetch and Scarecrow walk around a corner and finds Jim and Harvey. Tetch begins to talk but Harvey refuses to be hypnotised again and runs after them screaming aargh, which has to be one of the funniest scenes in Gotham. Jeremiah wants to know what Jerome wants from him. Jerome will eventually kill Jerome but he will turn him mad first with the rest of Gotham. In the distance you can hear Tetch shouting lets go and the sound of gunfire. Jerome grabs Jeremiah around the neck and warns Jim and Harvey not to come any closer or he kill Jeremiah. Jim knows this is a bluff as Jerome would of killed Jeremiah already. Jeromes kisses Jeremiah on the head and gunshots are fired as Jerome escapes, Jim and Harvey follow out the door and end up back in the woods.
Its round two at The Riddle Factory. Riddler has given Lee enough time to think of a riddle. The hourglass is turned and Ed is ready for the riddle. Lee begins “what three words are said too much. Meant by few but wanted by all?” Ed laughs at the ease of the riddle and goes to say the answer but can only say the first two words “ I love”. He tries again but still can’t say it. Lee steps towards him and wants to know what Ed can’t say. Riddler reminds Lee he isn’t Ed anymore. Lee presses for the answer and Riddler knows what she is doing trying to awaken a love that isn’t there. If it’s not there then Riddler would be able to say the words, but he won’t say it. Time is up and the crowd start to chant the docs name.
Oswald gets someone to help him carry in a barrel of slaughter swamp water. As soon as Grundy sees Oswald he grabs him and reminds Oswald what did he say earlier. Whilst being squeezed by Grundy, Oswald manages to tell him that he can reverse his condition. Grundy wants to hear more, Oswald shows him the barrel of slaughter swamp water and assures him that Professor Hugo Strange will be able to cure him. Oswald urges Grundy to join him and they will find Hugo Strange together. Grundy genuinely thinks he is going to be stuck like this forever, Oswald again with his persuasive nature tells Grundy he doesn’t have to be. Grundy agrees to join Oswald but he needs to deliver on his promise and he definitely isn’t Oswald friend. Oswald is willing to live with those terms.
Riddler spins his wheel of misfortune in a empty room. Lee asks why did he open his club in The Narrows? Ed could of set up anywhere in Gotham but Lee believes he wanted her attention. The people of The Narrows love Ed but actually they came for the money. Lee can give them what they need but she needs the help from Riddler. Why should Riddler help Lee? Because Lee knows what Riddler really wants, he loves Lee and he has loved her all along. So Lee did realise that Ed had developed feelings for her. Riddler spins Lee around and puts a knife to her throat claiming she is wrong. That was Ed who had feelings not The Riddler, so Lee tells Riddler to kill her. But he can’t do it. Lee asks what is his record for robbing how many banks in a day which is three. Lee thinks he can do better and Riddler warns Lee that she is playing a dangerous game. Lee turns around and she definitely knows as she is one of the intelligent women in Gotham. Riddler and Lee share a passionate kiss, which I believe to be genuine lust. Of course Lee has a game plan and maybe so has Riddler.
The GCPD goes quiet as Harvey and Jim arrive with Jeremiah. Harper is the first to approach and Jim explains that the man who stands before her is Jerome’s twin brother Jeremiah. They need to put Jeremiah in protective custody so Harper takes him away. Jeremiah thanks Jim and Harvey as he would not be alive. Harvey wants to know what Jim is thinking. They know that Jeromes plan is to turn Jeremiah mad and the whole of Gotham. The question is how is Jerome going to this, Harvey thinks Gotham is already mad.
Jerome is playing Russian roulette with his hand gun and poor Karl the waiter is his victim when he eventually shoots him and it doesn’t make Jerome feel any happier. Scarecrow announces their test subject has arrived and Grundy and Oswald walk through the door as Jerome comments how big Grundy is. Oswald makes it quite clear that Grundy isn’t Jeromes test subject but a welcome addition to the team. Jerome looks Grundy up and down and decides because he is scary looking, Jerome likes it so Grundy is now part of The Legion of Horribles.
Tetch arrives with an unwilling business man who is Jeromes test subject. The business man pleads for Jerome not to hurt him, Jerome assures him it won’t hurt a bit. Scarecrow stands in front of the man and sprays his new chemical formula which has a purple mist. Grundy and Oswald watch managing to suppress their shocked faces at what they have just seen. Jerome watches as the business man begins to laugh hysterically, his face has gone a pale white and his grin gets wider the more he laughs. Jerome is very happy with the results and wants a lot more made, whilst everyone else is shocked at what they have seen especially Tetch. There is a great Easter egg in this scene from the original Batman movie. It’s very similar how the Joker managed to get chemicals into people’s grooming products and turned them pale, hysterical laughter and crazy. I can’t take credit for connecting this scene to the movie as John and Derek from Gotham Tv Podcast discussed it.
The next episode of Gotham airs on Thursday 12th April. Another intriguing title “That’s entertainment.” The Arkham inmates are still running freely in Gotham and they’re only getting more difficult to catch. Gordon develops a plan, but reluctantly has to turn to Bruce for help. Meanwhile, Barbara finds out just how far her new friends are willing to go for her.