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‘Gotham’ Gives Us a Few Memorable Moments in an Otherwise Unremarkable Episode

We’re now into the back half of Gotham’s final season, and I have to admit that I wasn’t blown away by this week’s installment. Of course, neither was anyone else (literally), which is part of the problem. You can generally rate Gotham episodes based on the number and size of explosions, and we only get one this week that I can remember. But it’s a pretty big one, so that has to count for something.

Although “Ace Chemicals” isn’t the most exciting hour of Gotham we’ve seen this season, it does have some memorable moments. Having Jim and Lee stand in for Thomas and Martha Wayne is a nice touch, and it redeemed yet another forgettable rehashing of the murder of Bruce’s parents. I was a little frustrated that the writers chose to go down that path yet again, but it makes sense in the context of Jeremiah’s obsession to connect with Bruce, and the parental substitutions at the last-minute give it a fresh feel. I’m not sure they were the right people for the job, though—Bruce seems to like Jim well enough, but how much time has he even spent with Lee? Besides, if you need to find a surrogate parent for Bruce Wayne, isn’t Alfred the logical choice?

We also get what appears to be a Joker origin story (sort of), and while this one isn’t the first (since we’ve had multiple Joker-esque characters), it’s the most traditional. Cameron Monaghan wasn’t even alive yet when Jack Nicholson’s Joker took a similar fall, but I’d like to think the scene was an homage to a cinematic legend all the same.

Then, of course, there were the moments that stand out because of how gloriously stupid they are. The entire scene with Jim and Lee in the police station is priceless—it’s almost as if the writers grabbed the cheesiest love scene they could find and said, “Let’s do it this way.” Sappy dialogue, a slap, then a passionate kiss? The only thing that would have made it funnier is if they’d slapped each other multiple times before rolling around on the floor. And, of course, all this is happening while Barbara’s carrying Jim’s baby. Amazing.

The other laugh-out-loud moment came at the end when Ed revealed his amazing plan for getting off the island—building a submarine. Really? So you’re just gonna find all the parts to build an airtight submarine, plus you’re gonna make sure it’s equipped with sonar to detect the mines in the river? Good luck with that. And Ed’s supposed to be the smart one.

The other big piece of news is that, because of all the chemicals in the water, the powers that be on the mainland (presumably the federal government?) won’t reunite Gotham with the mainland until they can ensure that the river’s safe. The people can thank Jim Gordon for that one, but at least no one dies because of airborne toxins. So things could be worse.

Random thoughts:

  • Speaking of movie callbacks, the destruction of Wayne Manor reminded me of the end of the first installment of the Christopher Nolan trilogy. It’s a nice touch.
  • Speaking of Wayne Manor, are we to assume that it’s not actually in Gotham? I guess that should have been obvious to me since it’s on several acres in what looks like the countryside, but I’d admit I’ve just never thought about it.
  • Turns out Selina just wanted to kill Penguin all along, which makes sense. But I still say her scenes with Penguin over the last couple of weeks have been kind of pointless.
  • Barbara Kean has become one of my favorites this season. “Murder halvsies” isn’t exactly a legal term, but if I ever try a case where two defendants are accused of conspiracy to commit murder, you can bet it’s gonna show up at some point during the trial.
  • Did I miss something, or did Eduardo Dorrance essentially become Bane last week? If so, why wouldn’t they bring him back this week? Will we see him again? I don’t really care (there are too many villains anyway), but it just seems like a waste if they don’t.
  • I can’t decide if the Jervis Tetch/Ecco pairing is fascinating or annoying. I’m leaning toward the latter. Besides, Tetch is only back this week because people need to be hypnotized, so I’m guessing we won’t see him again. And I’m fine with that.
  • Submarine or not, the trio of Ed, Oswald, and Barbara should be a lot of fun to watch.
  • MILD SPOILER: it looks like we can expect mutants to come out of the toxic river and invade Gotham next week. And I wouldn’t expect anything less.

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