It can be surprising how long a feud can be dragged out. Just look at Romeo and Juliet; no-one even knows what caused the massive feud between families that makes up one of the main themes of the book. All it can take is a single spat and a spark of anger before everything is consumed by flame. This raging fire is so fierce that it can blind you to the point where you can’t see the true culprit through all the smoke. All that remains is the burnt, charred corpse of your rationality and the resurrected undead corpse of your hate, ever present. In the end, it’s much easier to hate than it is to love or forgive. Before long, it will start infecting those around you, who did nothing wrong, like a virus. People who just want to see a simple circus show and enjoy their evening. People like GCPD detective Jim Gordon with his new girlfriend: Leslie Thompkins. And he’s really not someone you want to be on the wrong side of.
In stark contrast to the previous episode, this episode of Gotham focuses on a far less sinister and more down-to-Earth, yet still mysterious case. When a fight breaks out between some circus performers who have a family feud with each other, Gordon steps in to try and defuse the situation. Eventually, he discovers the body of a snake charmer who previously performed in the circus. Unfortunately, the circus performers are less than helpful, blaming each other for the horrifying murder and fighting even at the GCPD police station. A blind fortune teller seems to have the lead that Gordon is searching for but he is completely dismissive of him and refuses to believe he can help with the case through his ‘supernatural abilities’. This episode shows us the conflict between Gordon and his new girlfriend Leslie, who is willing to lend an ear and listen to what the fortune teller has to say. There are some nice scenes where Leslie attempts to get Jim to change his attitude and at least investigate what the fortune teller told them. Sadly, this didn’t turn out to be a meaningful development for Jim who I have to say, really needs to get his head out of his ass. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that it’s pointless to introduce some challenging ideas to a character only to prove said character was completely right in the end.
As well as this, we are introduced to a new, minor character called Jerome Valeska. He’s the son of the murdered snake charmer and is obviously distraught at her death. I have mixed feelings about him. On the one hand, his acting was absolutely superb, reaching the levels of Nygma and Penguin, two of my favourite actors on the show. On the other, he doesn’t seem to be all that important. Sure, he has a large role in this episode but it seems like Cameron Monaghan’s acting is going to go to complete waste. Judging by the episode’s ending, he doesn’t look to be coming back, at least for a while. To be honest, he isn’t really in this episode all that much either only really appearing at the beginning and the end. Hopefully he’ll become a more major character in the future because I’d love to see more of Monaghan’s acting on display.
Fish was also present in this episode, furthering her newfound power over the prisoners to arrange a meeting with the leader of the prison. That’s really all she does but she makes quite a big show of it. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy this part of the episode. Somehow, she managed to persuade one of the prisoners to allow himself to be beat to death, painfully and slowly for the good of the everyone else. If that sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. No matter how persuasive you are in your speeches, you can’t just get someone to throw away their life like that. I was pleased however, to see Butch who had been missing for quite a few episodes. Unfortunately, the happiness I felt at his surprise appearance near the end of the episode was quashed when it was revealed that Zsasz did something to him to make him Penguin’s own personal brainwashed slave. It’s a cool and terrifying idea, but it sadly means that Butch is now completely devoid of his former personality, one that he’s not likely to get back.
Bruce also made a speech this episode, one directed to the board of Wayne Enterprises. I was almost proud to see him remaining so calm and collected while telling the entire board of one of Gotham’s most powerful organisations how he thinks they’re all crooked and corrupted criminals. It was a far cry from the start of the series where his character description was pretty much ‘angsty, emotional teenager’. Despite this, he still doesn’t seem to have got any smarter in making decisions. I criticised Gordon in the early episodes of Gotham for also painting massive targets on his back and I direct this criticism to Bruce now too. When Alfred thinks it’s a bad idea, it’s a bad idea; that’s simply a fact.
Overall, I didn’t much like this episode. It shared a lot of similarities with my least favourite episode in Gotham so far: The Mask. A villain who barely appears and whose motivations aren’t clear, the nonchalance at a character’s fate(what happened to Scarecrow?) and pointless subplots such as the whole feud in the first place. Gordon just says ‘Get your shit together’ and all of a sudden they realise they’re wrong and want to name their kids after him. Well, it wasn’t all bad. At the very least, Bruce didn’t carry out another bully beatdown. This episode could of been a lot worse, but it could of been a whole lot better too.