Another great episode from Danny Cannon executive producer, director and this weeks writer of this episode of Gotham. Louis Shaw Milito who has directed several episodes of Gotham since season 2 is back for this creepy, freaky stylish episode.
I don’t feel I need to keep reminding everyone that season 5 is the last season of Gotham, but I am disappointed when the main cast members of Gotham are not being used in all 12 episodes. This episode has no Penguin, and he was missed. Alfred is certainly being underused as well. I fully understand that the season is half of what it normally is and there are stories to tell and finish. But I really want to see the main cast to be in all 12 episodes.
Will Thomas the boy who came looking for Jim at the end of last weeks episode is being examined by a nurse. Captain James Gordon explains to Detective Harvey Bullock how Will became an orphan. His parents died in an home invasion a few weeks ago after the bridges came down. Will was then taken to some kind of factory with a dozen other kids, where they were all chained together. The gang that holds them is called The SoothSlayers. Their district is Brenton near the water. Will broke free from his restraints and walked 9 miles to find Captain Gordon and tell him about the tunnel that is being dug. Jim and Harvey have no idea what kind of tunnel but it must be an attempt to leave Gotham city. Harvey remembers the old abandoned water works by the dock in Brenton. Will starts to panic as he knows the others will get punished for escaping. He begs for Jim’s help.
I am really enjoying the character direction of Captain James Gordon this season. I also think Harvey is a good reminder to Jim that emotions are high and with Penguin having a bounty on his head he needs to be careful. It’s also the annoyance at the government and their opinions which are no help to Jim and the city comes across really well. He makes a decision to go The SoothSlayers to rescue the rest of the children Jim realises he has to go through Siren territory. They also have to enter 3-4 miles into the Dark Zone and they don’t really know what they will encounter there. Barabra has vehicles but she won’t be particularly happy to see Jim.
Dependable Lucius Fox is also proving to be a good calm addiction to ‘team good guys’ as housing for the children will be needed when Jim and Harvey return with them. Harvey isn’t as confident they will return.
Robinson Park is another location in this weeks episode. Bruce Wayne has arrived and uses a torch in the darkness as he believes this is the location of The Witch. This is Bruces final hope to help Selina. Gotham getting the atmospheric creepiness of Robinson Park spot on as Bruce walks through looking for The Witch he sees dead bodies being covered in ivy vines. I assume this is their source of food. Three men appear and ask if Bruce is with her. Bruce doesn’t know who they mean but they mean The Witch. Bruce explains he has come for her help, one of the men call it her magic. He asks Bruce to look around at what she has done to other people who have come for help. He proudly explains to Bruce that they have The Witch locked in the a room so she can’t do no more harm. Bruce is keen to see her, the men explain further that she talks to the plants that are feeding on the dead.
At this point I had a feeling that The Witch is Ivy Pepper. In her locked room they put salt on the floor which makes her helpless but Bruce insists talking to her. Bruce pretends his brother is missing and that possibly she took him and this is why Bruce is desperate to talk to her. Then they can do whatever they want to her. The man is convinced Bruce’s brother is dead and there is no hope but Bruce just wants 5 minutes with the Witch. The men step aside and let Bruce look through the window of the room. Bruce shines his torch on a familiar person he whispers “hello Ivy.”
A rock version of Ring of Fire is playing at the Sirens. Barbara is drinking heavily. The Sirens nightclub certainly has a different feel as flood lights move around and light our main two characters. Jim approaches Barbara confidently but cautiously. She isn’t pleased to see him. Barbara laughs as Jim needs a favour but she hasn’t forgotten that he stood by and did nothing when Tabitha got murdered by Penguin. In a rage Barbara screams and tells everyone to get out of the club. Jim asks if she is plotting revenge on Penguin. Barbara definitely thinks something needs to be done about Penguin, Jim warns her of his army. In a calmer moment between Jim and Barbara it’s good to see these two characters sharing more screen time again. Barbara knows everyone is slowly dying but some people get to choose how. Jim is genuinely sorry for what happened to Tabitha but he is trying to stop the city from falling apart. Barbara thinks it too late for that. She also wants to know what the favour Jim wants. Jim explains his plan of needing transportation to where the SoothSlayers are. Barbara tells Jim where the transport is located, Jim leaves quietly as she shouts out “here he comes Gotham your judge, jailer and most hated son.” In Barbara’s evident grief she quietly cries.
Jim and Harvey drive into the dark zone and even the rain looks dangerous. Arrows start being fired at the armoured cars and Harvey isn’t a fan of arrows. Welcome to the Badlands as another gang turn up with their faces painted as the day of the dead.
Gabriel is one of the many children children enslaved to the SoothSlayers. The gang wear gas masks and definitely have a pre Bane feel about them. Sykes the main leader explains to Gabriel that everyone has to work harder as Will escaped. You can see the exhaustion on Gabriel’s face as he pleads that some of them have not slept in two days. Sykes removes his mask which has smoke inside of it and tells Gabriel to breath it in for energy and it will let him see the future. The tunnel they are digging is to get over the mainland so the SoothSlayers can do business. Gabriel knows the tunnel won’t work as they have only dug a 100ft in a month and it’s already leaking. Sykes doesn’t want to hear this negativity.
Sykes is called outside and asks who should of been on watch. He recognises Jim straight away and considers it their lucky day. If they kill Jim they will be bullet rich. As Harvey and other officers take position at the side of the SoothSlayers, Jim asks them to put their weapons down. Jim’s deal is give him the kids they have captive and they will leave. Sykes denies they have any kids. Jim walks towards Sykes and takes some keys and gives permission to Harvey if they move he can kill them.
The children are cautious as Jim enters the room but reassures them. Gabriel realises Will is alive and made it to Gordon which gives the children hope. As Jim unlocks the chains he explains about the green zone and a safe place for them.
We get a classic Harvey Bullock moment when Sykes asks him why someone would be a cop? Harvey in his unique way replies “the Halloween shop was all out of gas masks, so it was either this or sexy nurse.” With not liking Harvey’s reply Syke decides that maybe the cops have not got enough ammunition. Again Harvey holds his own as he informs the SoothSlayers that Penguin gave it to them. Which doesn’t make sense to Sykes as Penguin wants Jim’s Head. Sykes decides to take out Harvey but Jim shoots first then orders the children to move quickly. Harvey gets a cattle prod in the back, the children manage to make it to the vechicles and Jim knocks Sykes out just as Harvey was going to be shot by another member of the SoothSlayers. Sykes is furious when he sees his workers escape.
Peyton List has done a fantastic job as being the third Ivy Pepper. I am not saying that Clare Foley and Maggie Gehia didn’t in the other seasons of Gotham but this evolution of Poision Ivy has moved on to next level very nicely. Bruce walks towards Ivy very cautiously. She wakes and focuses on Bruce and says his name and hopes for help. Ivy denies killing the men outside her room and is sure Bruce will believe her. Of course Bruce doesn’t believe her after all the last time Bruce saw Ivy she poisoned him and sent him into a psychedelic dream. Ivy claims it’s the park and the trees that killed the people as her protection. Bruce gets to the point quickly in why he needs Ivy help and explains about his friend being shot and not able to walk. Ivy admits she would say no to helping Bruce but she has noticed the park has been behaving differently since they have been cut of from the rest of the world. Ivy has seen things growing in the park that she has never seen before. The men start banging on the door as time is up. Ivy goes back into the dark and tells Bruce about a seed that is growing under the oaks. It is said to have magical qualities and when ingested will heal tissue and bone. Her deal is if she finds it for Bruce he helps protect her against the men outside the door.
Edward Nygma story is getting weird with each episode and I love it. There has been some great theories floating around of who exactly could be making Nygma do the things he is doing and waking up in strange places. In this episode Ed wakes up and he has padlocked himself to the bed and is delighted when he wakes up and thinks he hasn’t gone sleepwalking. Ed makes a visit to the bathroom and talks to himself and is convinced this has been brought on by stress. He hears quiet groans from behind the shower curtain. Ed takes a quick look, there is a man tied up in the bathtub. He denies to himself no one is there. The groaning gets louder, Ed armed with a plunger rips of the mans tape over his mouth and asks who he is? The man who is in pain can’t understand why Ed doesn’t know who he is. The man is actually a member of The Street Demons gang. Ed should know this because he brought the man back. Ed asks if he has any idea why? Ed wanted permission and the man would not give it to him. Permission for what? The man can’t remember, so Ed comes to the conclusion that he needs to beat the information out of him again.
Jim and Harvey take some of the children into what they think is abandoned hotel. Harvey notices the burning candle on the window still which indicates someone is around. The hotel itself is spooky, dark and you can almost smell the mustiness coming through the television screen. Jim sees the candle as symbol of leading people to safety, maybe there are good people still in Gotham? Harvey makes a face of I don’t think so. Jim goes to look around, Harvey checks the radio for a signal. He is hoping the other officers that made it back to the GCPD will come back for them. Jim heads up the stairs and asks Harvey to check the basement, not something he is thrilled about in a creepy hotel. What could go wrong?
The Mother has returned. We saw her briefly in the season finale episode of season 4. She stands and watches Garbriel and the other children gather some clothes. Jim walks down a dark corridor and enters a room that has lamps lit. Jim calls out as a young boy makes him jump. Jim reassures him that he is okay.
Meanwhile in the creepy basement Harvey has come across clothes, a plate of several pairs of reading glasses, removed teeth and the fire in the corner is burning human bones. As soon as Harvey sees the plate with detached fingers he shouts for Jim as The Mother try’s to attack him.
Nygma continues to beat information out the Street Demon. He agrees to tell Ed. Nygma wanted to know where the Street Demons base was as he wanted to be sure the boss would be there. In a fantastic moment Cory Michael Smith acts out all the different personalities that we have seen of Ed and Riddler over the last four seasons. The man thought Ed seemed a little stiff, a man of few words and dazed. This is interesting to Ed as he doesn’t recognise this side to him. Ed unties the man so they can go to the Street Demon base.
Ivy and Bruce come out the room and the men are waiting. They are scared of The Witch as Bruce explains who Ivy is, she grabs a knife and kills them all. With a blade to Bruces throat Ivy thinks he is incredibly naive. Bruce really thinks Ivy didn’t need to kill those men. But Ivy wanted too and she wants answers from Bruce. He explains that their friend is hurt and sounding convincing Ivy shows concern that Selina is the one paralysed. Then Ivy shows her real feelings towards Selina as she is still angry about Selina destroying the Lazarus water. Ivy wants Selina to suffer but Bruce doesn’t believe that as Ivy and Selina have known each other for a long time. Ivy wasn’t lying when she told Bruce about how the park is changing. She is nourishing the earth with the dead. It consumes them, then flourishes. The movement of the plants creeping towards the dead bodies as Ivy and Bruce stand in the centre is a wonderful realistic detail in this scene. Ivy wonders what would grow from Bruce if she buried him. Bruce agrees with the men that Ivy killed, she is a witch a murdering callous witch. Bruce can see no good left in Ivy as she would help the park flourish and it would be full of blooms and colour. But it smells of death. Ivy calls it a work in progress. Bruce disagrees as it’s a nightmare. Ivy asks Bruce to leave her alone if she helps him. Bruce doesn’t answer either way. Ivy tells Bruce to follow.
Jim talks to the boy he found in the hotel and he can’t remember his name. His parents have been murdered by a gang and a lady found him. Who? A ghost he claims. But she can be very cruel. Harvey shouts for Jim and tells him about a crazy woman who is killing people. The boy says this is the ghost. Jim doesn’t believe in ghosts and the boy explains how she makes him call her Mother. They run into another room but the boy with a creepy look on his face closes the door on Harvey and Jim. The lights go out and a flashing lightbulb starts and the boy explains through the door this will make them dizzy and feel not so good. The boy encourages Jim and Harvey to give into it light. Harvey shouts out again as Mother is stood behind Jim and starts attacking him. Jim knocks her to the ground, Harvey grabs a chair and smashes a window to bring natural light into the room. Jim asks the woman who she is, she is the only mother that the boy knows. Harvey thinks she is crazy as she takes people’s stuff and burns their bodies. Mother looks at it as she is protecting the boy. When she found him he was barely alive and the gangs would of killed him or worse. She kicks Jim and manages to escape through a secret door in the room.
Ed is at the Street Demons base and wants to know where everyone is. The boss is dead on the floor behind the pool table. Street Demon asks Ed if he did this? Ed can’t honestly remember. On the wall in paint is written “Penguin was here.” Ed knows that it’s mostly likely not Penguin as he would not leave a message like that. Whoever did leave that message has just started a war.
Ivy leads Bruce to the oak trees. She places her hands in soft earth and brings out a seed. Ivy explains that it will wrap itself around her spine and repair the cartilage. Bruce wants to know if it will cure Selina. Maybe it will cure Selina but it will depend on how strong she is. One thing Ivy can guarantee Selina will change forever. Bruce asks in what way? Some say that the dark angels unlock the true nature of a person. Ivy asks if Selina would be able to live with that and can Bruce. He hesitates and Ivy asks what is wrong as it’s like Bruce doesn’t trust Ivy, which he doesn’t. Bruce asks where Ivy is going but she wants to keep that to herself and reminds Bruce the seed will die if it’s out the ground for too long. Bruce runs to Selina.
Jim and Harvey run down the stairs of the hotel. Gabriel and the children were concerned as they gone a long time. Harvey is rushing everyone out of the hotel and tells Jim that not everyone wants his help. They move outside cautiously and Jim breaks into a car. The SoothSlayers turn up in big wheeled trucks. Sykes wants his workers back and he will let Jim and Harvey go. Jim stands his ground with his gun aimed. The other gang turn up from earlier who have painted faces who look like they celebrate the day of the dead. The leader wants the prize for Jim’s Head.
Loyal Alfred is at the hospital with Selina when Bruce arrives with the seed. Selina isn’t doing well. Alfred asks if Bruce found The Witch, which he tells Alfred it was Ivy. Alfred asks Bruce what he is holding in his hand. When Bruce explains it can help Selina, Alfred is surprised Bruce trusts Ivy. Bruce feels he has no choice. Alfred is willing to help Selina as much as Bruce but Alfred sees Ivy as a killer. Selina is awake and wants the seed. Bruce confesses he has doubts about the seed. Selina knows she was wrong to try and kill herself but nothing has changed. If Ivy wants to kill her, Selina is willing to let her have that. Bruce hands over the seed and she swallows it. In another powerful scene from Selina she talks about Ivy. She knows she has lost her mind but after Ivy lost her parents she slept on the streets. Selina tells Alfred and Bruce about the time back in season one when she found Ivy cold and sick. Selina looked after her, showed her how to get food and a roof over her head. Ivy got better and Selina kept checking on her almost everyday. To Selina, Ivy may look older now but she will always be that little girl. Bruce and Alfred smile at the memory as Selina starts to sweat and convulse.
The SoothSlayers and the day of the dead gang is disagreeing who gets Jim Gordon. Both gangs move towards Jim and he shoots the leader of the day of the dead gang in the head. A heavy vechicle arrives and starts shooting the other gang members. Everyone is dead and Barbara jumps down from a huge vechicle that is fully loaded. Barbara has had a chance to think about their last conversation, as she walks to the SoothSlayers vehicle, Sykes goes to shoot her. Barbara is impressed, Jim used his last bullet to save her. Barbara doesn’t consider them square as she knows exactly what she needs Jim’s help with. Jim asks again but he knows Barbara wants Penguin dead.
The Haven is the place in which Lucius has found to house homeless civilians of Gotham. Lucius comments that he heard that people were hunting Jim for Penguins offer. Barbara makes it known that she helped Jim. Jim is keen to see what Lucius has found and is impressed. The Haven is filling fast with people, a family thank Jim as they have been drifting from place to place. Now they have somewhere to stay.
The doctor discusses with Bruce and Alfred how the seed that Selina took sent her body into shock and her temperature sky rocketed. Everything then stabilised but Selina was in pain so she is sedated. The doctor suggests Bruce comes back in the morning. As Bruce goes to leave he sees Selina’s bed empty and window open. Selina appears and calls his name. She can walk and Bruce calls it a miracle. She is better and in fact better then before. Again in a fantastic moment for this character Bruce hugs Selina and she opens her eyes and they change into cat eyes.
Ladies and Gentlemen of Gotham Catwoman is born…
This episode was a great episode for Jim and Harvey. It showed area of Gotham city that they have not dared venture into since the blackout. I missed Penguin and Mr Penn. We still need more Alfred so I will rate this episode 8.5/10.