Gotham, Season 1 Episode 16 Review: “The Blind Fortune Teller”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

It’s another long recap this week, so skip to the bottom if you just want the review! The start off this week’s episode of Gotham in the comfy Wayne Manor where Bruce is sleeping on the couch. Penguin’s enjoying himself a tad more as he watches his Ma sing on stage, though the other club members don’t seem to be enjoying it that much. Meanwhile, back in the prison Fish has already started off her rule with an iron grip, though she seems to have more control over herself that Barbara, who comes back to her home after a bout of partying only to meet Selina and Ivy. She’s looking for Jim, who’s out watching Haly’s Circus with Dr Tompkins. They watch the Flying Graysons (!) and some circus clowns before it all turns rather ugly with the two batches of performers beating each other up. Penguin’s mother receives a frosty applause the other side of town when a man boos his mum and Oswald takes him out with some glass.

In the circus Jim finds out that the Lloyds and Graysons have been fighting in the circus for a long time, and that this particular fight was over a snake dance called Lila. She’s nowhere to be seen and they find only her son who knows that she’s missing, despite her reputation as a party girl. Jim gets her son to release Lila’s snake and when they follow it they find Lila’s body. Fish calls together her prison people and tells them they need to make sure they don’t end up as the transplant donor parts. She tells them she can’t get them all out alive, but at least some of them might make it. At the GCPD the circus gets taken in for questioning, much to the amusement of Harvey. Jim questions the Lloyds and Graysons as to why the families are feuding and it all seems to be behind a three generations old feud.

Fish Mooney decides to talk to the jailers and tells them that they’ll be given the prisoner alive in exchange for items such as water and blankets. When the jailers refuse she orders her men to kill the prisoner which results in a stand off. At the GCPD a psychic decides to give them a message which he claims Lila sent him from the other side. Bruce decides to meet with the Board of Directors from Wayne Enterprises which Alfred still claims is a bad idea. Barbara tries on clothes in front of Ivy and Selina in order to impress Jim, who’s on a date with Lee. She figures out the meaning of the psychic riddle and asks Jim to go with her to check it out, even though he doesn’t believe in what the psychic said. However, as they investigate further they find a bloodied axe with the markings of The Hell Fire Club, a Satanist Club who haven’t been active in over a decade.

Together the two of them go back to the GCPD and interviews the psychic. Jim is convinced that Mr Cicero helped Jerome cover up his mother’s murder. Mr Cicero eventually divulges that he is Jerome’s father. The latter begins to cry before he begins to giggle like a maniac, switching personalities. He eventually admits that he killed his mother because she nagged him too much. As Jim and Lee make out together after the case Barbara walks in, stunned to see them together. In Penguin’s club Zsasz comes in to tell him that Falcone believes he’s messing up over the club because it has such bad numbers. Victor whistles and Penguin turns around to see Butch, who’s been tinkered with by Zsasz to be utterly compliant to any commands.

In the morning Bruce shows up at Wayne Enterprises and begins to ask questions. He tells them that if the matter isn’t investigated properly he’ll look into possible legal action after the next shareholder’s meeting. Back at the organ transplant prison Fish Mooney is told she is given a deal, where one of the guards is held underground as she’s taken to the see the boss.

This episode, whilst enjoyable was a little up and down in comparisons to some of the show’s better ones. My main excitement was upon seeing John and Mary Grayson, the parents of Dick Grayson aka Robin/Nightwing, since I’m a big fan of the character. That being said, the big hype for the episode was that it was the origin story of the Joker. Cameron Monaghan as Jerome (and possible Joker) was a told gift, with his quick switch into Joker character brilliant and as disturbing as it should have been. Given that we’ve seen a lot of potential future Batman villains (already five appeared this episode aside from Jerome), he’s instantly one of the more interesting and creepy people on the scene. It’s fairly fitting that even if this is the Joker’s origin a lot is still shrouded in mystery. Despite the reveal of his ‘father’ it seems like Jerome is cleverer and more perceptive than to not know the truth. It would surprise me if some point down the line he makes up other stories about his childhood until we’re not sure which one is real. The Gotham writers left enough haziness for the origin of the Joker to be played with, and this was very fitting considering how his murky is past is part of what makes him such a fan favourite. Unfortunately, a lot of the other points in the story were a little weak or pointless. We seemed to skip over the weird bit with Barbara and her parents only to get to another weird bit where she’s taking fashion advice from Ivy and Selina. Tompkins gets more defensive over a psychic than she needed to be (even against Jim), and Fish roused a whole rabble of people via some random family speech that makes you wonder if the people held hostage are really so exhausted and gullible to trust a woman who they’ve seen be duplicitous already. The Penguin storyline this time was a slow burn before we got to Zsasz and Butch, and I hope next episode we’re going somewhere with it, as opposed to just shoving Oswald at us every week because he exists. Bruce’s brief outing was at least interesting by way of showing the character of the young man who would become Batman. Always on the outskirts of the action because he has to exist but can’t be running with the cowl just yet, his own  personal investigations help us at least see how he becomes such a good detective as well as how he manages to eventually take command of his company once more.

Ups and downs this week for Gotham but thanks to the creepy yes-it-was-worth-waiting-for turn by Cameron Monaghan as well as a multitude of future references and hints, we at least had some fun along the way.

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