Much to the chagrin of Gothamites across the globe, Gotham returned for three episodes before going on another hiatus. While the news isn’t ideal, the Winter Finale was, for lack of a better descriptor, absolute perfection. Gotham is in shambles after the city-wide blackout, and the Court of owls looks out at the city with little care. Jim Gordon’s father assures the Court that the city will be safe in Jim’s hands, and though the Court wonders about Papa Gordon’s loyalties, they decide to let the night play out.
As riots break out across Gotham, Edward Nygma’s revenge plan comes to fruition. Oswald ad his two lackeys arrive at the warehouse to find Nygma safe and sound and utterly not kidnapped. Ed shoots the two goons, y’know…loose ends and all that, and directs Oswald’s attention to Isabella’s totaled car. The mayor tries to tell Ed that he ha nothing to do with her death, and it results in Edward hitting him across the face. He ties Oswald to the hood of the car, and in true “Riddler Style” explains the plot for The Mayor’s untimely death.
Above the car hangs a well positioned barrel full of acid, suspended by a chain. The chain is kept in place by a block of ice, but once the ice has melted the barrel will tip, and well…bye, bye, birdie. Oswald finally admits that yes, he DID kill Isabella, but that he did it out of love for Edward. Ed tells him that real love means sacrificing your needs for another person; it means putting someone else before yourself. He leaves The Mayor to his own devices, but as the ice starts melting and the acid begins to splash free, a security guard stumbles across Oswald. He manages to free The Penguin just as the vat of acid fully tips over, ultimately saving his life.
Back at his mansion, Cobblepot runs into Butch and Tabitha. The duo were ransacking his house, and when he threatens their lives, Tabby threatens him right back. She wraps her whip around his throat, and they continue to exchange death threats and snide comments. Butch and Tabby are set to bring Oswald back to Barbara, but Butch gets impatient and pistol-whips Oswald into unconsciousness. Tabitha snarks that Butch will have to carry him, to which he groans and mutters “Aw, Crap.”
In the Sirens Nightclub, Penguin wakes up to find himself strapped to a chair. Babs attempts to convince him to locate Edward, while Oswald recaps their entire plan – though he mixes it with a lot more sass. He believes they teamed up with Edward to help him exact his revenge on “Isabelle’s” murder. (seriously, you’ve gone through all of this and you still can’t remember her name? Get it together, Ozzy.) and now the want to take out Nygma. Barbara hands him a phone and essentially tells him that he can either call Ed and live, or he’ll die. Oswald starts laughing hysterically, before looking to Babs, who is rightfully confused by the reaction; He starts whispering about how he finally understands what Ed meant about love, and says he’d rather die than give up the man that he’s got such feelings for.
Edward steps from the shadows, frustrated because he wanted to prove that Oswald couldn’t truly love. Oswald is overjoyed because his love is genuine, but his happiness is extremely short-lived. In an interesting Parallel to Gotham Season 1, Cobblepot finds himself at the docks, once more standing between icy water and the barrel of a gun. This time though, Jim Gordon isn’t there to fake it for him. As Oswald pleads for his life and tries to explain how this type of cold-blooded murder will change Nygma forever, Ed pulls the trigger. Oswald falls into the water, looking utterly devastated and betrayed – Could this really be the end of The King Of Gotham?
At the GCPD, Harvey, Jim, and the police are struggling to subue the mass rioting that Jerome caused. O’ Faceless One’s speech not only brought out the scum that worship him, but he also touched on the apparent inner crazy person that lies dormant in most Gothamites. Bullock and Gordon try, amidst the chaos, to determine where Jerome is hiding. Jim has a theory that if they take out Jerome – whether it be by arresting him or killing him – the followers and rioters will cease their rampage. Jim goes to Lee for help, considering she’s the only one Jerome spoke with and let live. he asks if Jerome mentioned anything of importance, though it’s obvious Lee wants little to do with him. She angrily tells him that Jerome thought it was hilarious that Jim killed Mario, and that when they found each other they could laugh it up. (Honestly, Lee’s angry sass is my favorite thing.) She goes on to explain that Jerome simply wanted to catch up on the times after his death, and how the last thing he remembers is attempting to kill Bruce Wayne. It clicks for both of them that that’s where he must’ve gone, so Jim heads out.
At Wayne Manor, Jerome has Alfred and Bruce trapped in the sitting room. one of the goonies with our favorite Proto-Joker picks up the Court of Owls statue. As Jerome looks it over, Bruce tries to explain that it was his father’s – He keeps it purely for sentimental reasons. Jerome drops the owl, and at first it doesn’t break. He picks it up, comments on how sturdy it is and shrugs, before tossing it over his shoulder. It shatters against the fireplace, and honestly Alfred looked like he was ready to cry. Jerome gets prepped to kill Bruce, but Bruce tells him that he’s disappointed in the performer’s choices. Jerome takes the bait and demands that BabyBat explain further. Bruce tells him that Jerome needs an audience, after all he’s about to kill Bruce Freakin’ Wayne! A death like that deserves flair! Jerome agrees, though he mentions that he knows Bruce is just stalling for time. He orders three of his men to stay behind and kill the butler, before dragging the young Wayne boy out of the mansion.
Gordon sneaks his way into Wayne Manor to find Alfred surrounded by armed thugs. Al catches his eye and decides that mouthing off to the thugs is the best way to distract them. The decision works out in his favor, and together he and Jim take out Jerome’s goons before making their way back to the GCPD. Jerome brings Bruce to the boardwalk carnival where he had taken over and was using the games to torture people. They paint Bruce up like a sad pitiful clown, joking about how he wouldn’t make a good circus member. Afterward, the unruly troupe makes a pit stop at the Dunk Tank, where a man is being suspended over Piranha-filled waters. Jerome winds up to hit the target with a baseball when Bruce pushes him. Childishly offended by the “obvious cheating,” Jerome pushes the button anyway, and Bruce is forced to watch the man die. Having some facial struggles, Proto-Joker re-adjusts himself with a stapler before deciding to put a few in Bruce’s arm. he gets no reaction after the first two staples, which very obviously irks him, but as he moves higher for the third staple, Bruce begs him to stop.
Back at the GCPD, Jim is trying to ensure Jerome didn’t say anything about where they were going, to which Alfred responds that he hadn’t. Harvey interrupts with a list of places that Jerome’s followers had been – one of them being the boardwalk. Jim mentions that Jerome had grown up in the circus, and they decide that the boardwalk carnival is the best place to begin the search. They, meaning Jim, Harvey and Alfred (because let’s be real, no-one is stopping that man from finding his boy) head out in the hopes of ending this once and for all.
At the carnival, Jerome introduces Bruce Wayne, tied yet again to a pole. (We’re at least 98% sure that BabyBat is dreadfully sick of being kidnapped.) He decides to send the last Wayne off with a bang, literally, by aiming a cannon at Bruce’s head. He loads the cannon with a cannonball, a bucket of knives, and a bucket of nails. Jim and the gang bust in and start fighting off the crowd, and Bruce uses the distraction to begin his escape. Jerome manages to light the cannon’s fuse before making a break for it. What he doesn’t see is Bruce, using one of the staples in his arm to pick the lock to his handcuffs. In a suspenseful moment, just after unlocking one cuff, he drops the staple and has to dig another one free.
Bruce escapes at the last possible second, leaving behind a completely destroyed wooden pole. He catches Jerome’s eye outside a “hall of mirrors” attraction, which of course baits staple-face into following him. Armed with a gun, Jerome fires into various mirrors, all while attempting to verbally taunt Bruce. However, Bruce tells Jerome that he wanted him to follow, before tackling Proto-Joker from behind. he pins Jerome down and starts punching him so hard that his face begins to come loose. Bruce grabs a shard of glass with the intent to stab the mad man beneath him, but when he catches sight of himself in the mirror, he stops.
Leaving Jerome to his own devices, Bruce steps out onto the boardwalk once more, only to reunite with Alfred. As they’re hugging it out, Jerome points a gun toward the boy and his butler. In another parallel by the Gotham Writers, Jim Gordon is forced to act. Instead of Mario holding a knife over Lee though, Jerome is aiming a revolver at Bruce Wayne. Gordon’s reaction is what alters in this scenario; instead of going trigger-happy again, he runs up in time to hit Jerome so hard that his face comes off. Take from that what you will, dear readers. Personally, I think it speaks volumes about Jim’s loyalties and what he’s willing to do for the people he loves.
Regardless, the day is saved and the city begins to go back to normal. At Wayne Manor, Bruce and Alfred are recuperating and coming to terms with the night’s events. We finally begin to see the first true inkling of Batman come to light, when Bruce admits that he desperately wanted to kill Jerome, but ultimately decided not to cross that line. Alfred tells him that wherever Bruce’s training may take him, he’s got to have rules, and that’s rule number one: No killing. They get to work cleaning up their home, while back at the GCPD, Harvey and Jim are wrapping up the case.
Harvey tells the detective that once the doctors re-attach Jerome’s face, he’ll be locked up. Of course, the writers can’t resist making a crack about how Gordon gets to say he ACTUALLY punched a guy so hard that his face came off. ( I mean…I couldn’t resist saying it when I saw it happen, so…I feel you Gotham Writers.) Back at his apartment, Jim is visited by a ghost from his past, his father’s brother, Frank. The Gotham “Winter-Finale” ended with The Court of Owls revealing they’d concocted some sort of devious plan involving Bruce’s Doppleganger from Indian Hill, BabyHush. What they plan on doing is unclear, but Alfred and Bruce better get to work on super-gluing that owl back together. I haven’t found a specific date yet, but I can tell you that Gotham returns in April, so keep a weather eye on the internet for updates, and as always, thanks for reading!