If there's one thing that's an absolute on Gotham, it's that Jim Gordon will always be one miserable S.O.B. So, if anyone thought for one minute during the opening of Gotham Season 3 Episode 1 that things were going to be all sunshine and roses for Jim, they obviously need to have their head examined.
Jim Gordon is not destined to be happy.
I can't imagine for one minute, even if Lee didn't have a new boyfriend, that she would've been happy to see Jim. He abandoned her. He basically killed their child. He chose Gotham (and Bruce) over her after he escaped from prison (though she couldn't have know that, but she would've found out).
Even 20 bouquets of roses every day for 20 years couldn't make up for any of that.
So, I'm relieved Jim didn't get the happy ending he thought he might after Gotham Season 2 Episode 22. Besides, I like him better as a bounty hunter than doting husband to Lee. It suits his mood, and I was never a fan of that 'ship anyway.
Six months after Jim's heart gets stomped on, we get to see Jim in action. There's a croc (or something) on the loose looking for certain life-saving drugs at the local pharmacy. Break and take seems to be its motto, and while the pharmacist may think a shotgun will save the day, proto Killer Croc (maybe) has other ideas.
Any chance you want to go quietly?Jim
Jim has no chance against this huge spiny-backed thing, but gets lucky when the Jurassic Park wannabe gets run over by a truck. It was nice knowing ya.
Barnes and Mayor James hold a press conference about the unfortunate escapee, and that's when we meet Gotham Gazette reporter, Valerie Vale. The girl's got sass (and lots of tough questions). Even though we've only known her for one episode, I'm already in love with her. She is pushy without being obnoxious, smart, and knows how to get things done.
And she's refreshing. OMG is she refreshing. She just adds spark to the show you didn't even know was lacking until she showed up on the scene.
And while I miss Jim and Bullock together, I'm liking Jim and Vale together a lot more. She fits perfectly with his new career choice. Besides, Bullock has Lucius now (another delicious new partnership Gotham has thrown at us), and I'm pretty okay with that.
Vale: Someone should do a story on you.
Jim: Not interested.
Vale: Yeah, me neither, actually.
Vale latches onto Gordon fairly quickly, and the two sort of work together to find Fish Mooney and bring her down, which doesn't really happen, but it's fun watching them play off each other during their quest.
Fish has apparently been hiding for the last six months and probably would still be hiding except that Penguin is obsessed with her and wants her found. Thanks to a snarky remark from Jim, he decides to offer a million bucks to whoever finds her.
I want Fish Mooney, and I will give one million dollars to whoever can bring her to me. Dead or alive or chopped into pieces. I want her.Penguin
Why he waited so long, who knows, but this little offering sets in motion the action for the rest of the hour.
We found out from Lucius that the monsters are seeking immune-suppressing drugs because they're starting to die which is accelerated every time they use their powers. Though, it only seems to be Fish that is being afflicted by the DNA change. Her little army of monsters, with Selina's help, manipulate Vale who unknowingly leads them to Ms. Peabody for answers.
After she tells Fish what she wants, Mr. Anti-Fountain of Youth, Marv, works his magic on her, and, poof, Peabody is gone having met her maker in the worst way possible.
While everything is fitting together nicely, and I'm enjoying the ride so far, I have to wonder if someone released a dummy drug into Gotham's air while we were away, because the logic of these characters is questionable. For example, wouldn't Fish have just skipped the middle man (Peabody) and gone directly after Strange? He's daddy after all and would be the ultimate answer-giver.
But, I guess we need to know how little Ivy is going to turn into grown-up Ivy, and as we find out, Marv is the answer. I have to admit, the way it was done was pretty clever. Good job, show.
I also like that we got to meet some of Strange's other monsters including Man-Bat, possibly proto-Bane in female form, a speedster, and others I'm sure we'll get to know as the season progresses.
Elsewhere in Gotham, Barbara and Tabitha are working together again after having opened a nightclub called The Sirens. I'm not a big fan of Barbara this hour as I found her over-the-top obnoxious with her crazy laugh and look. Is this all part of the Jerome effect? Because, if it is, I don't like it. Give me back Lori Petty, please.
I wish Tabitha had the main role in this partnership as her character is a lot more even-keeled and there seems to be a lot lot more chemistry between her and the rest of the cast than there is with Barbara.
I was quite embarrassed for Barbara when she popped that cherry out of her mouth as an offering to the territory boss. It was just so overdone and unnecessary, and I'm not looking forward to 22 episodes of an over-the-top, whacked-out Barbara. Why can't she be somewhere in between instead of on either side of the spectrum? Frustrating!
Penguin showed off both sides of his personality this hour. His soft side is still intact even if he remains a vicious villain (he shot that territory boss in the head without nary a thought). He's been visiting Nygma, bringing him gifts (biscuits, people, biscuits!!) using him as a sounding board to express his fears about what Mooney may have in store for him, because she didn't kill him under the bridge the night of the escape.
Nygma eases his mind by reminding him penguins eat fish. And he made him a little penguin origami! So cute!! It's such a bromantic moment, and I can't wait until Nygma gets out of Arkham so we can see more of these two together. He is getting out of Arkham, right Gotham???
Nygma: Details can be distracting. Sometimes a simple solution is best. So, no matter what she is planning, remember: Penguins eat fish.
The biggest head-scratcher of the hour, though, was why Penguin hasn't killed Tabitha for killing his mother. I get his loyalty to Butch, but that was his mother. He loved his mother above all else. Not that I want Tabitha gone. I like her a lot and really feel her character is being underused (can't we have a badass female character in the forefront, Gotham?), but it makes no sense that Penguin would let such a travesty go.
Bruce has matured even more since the events at Indian Hill. He confronted the board about the Court of Owls, though he didn't really call them that, and demanded to meet them face to face. The Court of Owls then sent Talon after Bruce, and while Alfred put up a good fight, he never really had a chance.
Overall, Gotham's season premiere was a solid start to what's going to be an exciting season. Despite some head-scratching moments, we were given some interesting threads that will be fun to follow as the season progresses. Fish wasn't as obnoxious as I thought she'd be (she handed that trophy to Barbara), Valerie Vale is a refreshing addition, the monsters are going to be a lot of fun, and Bruce is going to be awesome!
- Was it just me or did the necklace Ms. Peabody was wearing look like the Court of Owls mask?
- Fascistic meathead culture. Oh, Lucius, you just made my day.
- Barnes is looking sick, but he's still a mean bastard.
- "Penguin is a liar and a murderer." Oh, Jim. Are you sure you're not talking about yourself?
- I wish Butch and Tabitha would get back together. They were so cute!
- Doppelganger Bruce - what's he up to?
What did you think of "Better to Reign in Hell..."? Do you like Valerie Vale? How do you think Gotham Season 3 will shape up? Leave me a comment below.
If you missed any of the action, you can watch Gotham online anytime, right here via TV Fanatic!
Lisa Babick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.