Dreams are a funny thing. They can be fantasies we only see in our sleep, or they can tantalize us with the things we want most during our waking hours. Dreams are a major theme on this week’s episode of Gotham, “Rise of the Villains: Tonight’s the Night.” As Barbara dreams of her almost-wedding to Gordon, Bruce dreams of finally getting the answer to who killed his parents, and Theo dreams of his revenge plan finally coming to fruition. Of course, these dreams are all dashed by the end. For now.
We begin inside the messed up mind of Barbara Kean with an insane nightmare that perfectly encapsulates both her deepest desires and deepest fears, all revolving around her one true love. Barbara’s dream begins with a sweet wedding rehearsal for her and Gordon but quickly devolves into what can only be described as a truly awful acid trip beginning with her marriage officiant turning into Penguin and ending with Barbara sitting in a church with a straightjacket and a gag in her mouth while watching Lee and Gordon tie the knot and laugh at her in the process. When she finally does wake up, she notices a shiny white bow and the present attached to it. As she opens the box, we don’t get to see what’s inside just yet, but we are treated to the note. “Today. Love, G.” Just what is Galavan sending his maniac mistress?
Speaking of Theo, the sun has yet to rise and he’s already up ruminating. He now realizes just how big a problem Gordon could be to his plan, especially regarding Bruce, so he knows it’s time to get Gordon distracted while he attempts to finally manipulate Bruce into turning over Wayne Enterprises. How on Earth does he think he can make this miracle happen? By giving him the one thing he wants, of course: The identity of his parents’ murderer. That means it’s finally time for Barbara to get her wish as well: Today is the day she gets to kill Gordon.
Of course, Gordon is too busy underestimating just what Theo and Barbara have in store for him. He follows protocol and goes to Capt. Barnes with his all-too-correct theory that Theo is in fact the villain behind the recent dark times in Gotham City. And of course Capt. Barnes tells him he’s got jack squat in terms of evidence. Harvey hints at a dark way that he could get Theo to talk, but it’s all about doing the police work and getting solid proof for Barnes. And just as Lee and Gordon argue about going after Theo, Barbara waltzes into the precinct.
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Barbara and Gordon face off in an interrogation room, but rather than her recent violent antics, we see Barbara tell Gordon to rough her up a little until breaking down when Gordon tells her he still believes she is a good woman. Gordon then plants a kiss on Barbara while Lee, Bullock, and Barnes watch from the two-way mirror, clearly trying to manipulate the feelings Barbara still has for Gordon to change her ways. Barbara tells Gordon she has to show him something, and when he asks what it is, she says it’s a surprise. But from her quick flip-flop of emotions to the way she seemingly stared right at Lee through the two-way mirror, it’s pretty obvious that Barbara is still on the path toward Gordon destruction. (Side note: Are two-way mirrors basically useless at this point? Seems like everyone knows precisely where people are standing on the other side, despite being shrouded.)
Gordon, Bullock, Lee, and Barnes all debate on what to do next with Barbara. But this is Gotham, and there would be no story line if Barnes didn’t ultimately side with Gordon and let him play out Barbara’s plans. So off the former couple goes, despite Lee’s insistence that this is a bad idea. Gordon should realize by now that when it comes to Barbara, Lee is always right. Lee continues to try and stop Gordon until the final moments before his team of new Strike Force agents are ready to move out, but even she knows it’s an impossible task. “You see an abyss, and you run towards it” she says about Gordon’s tendency to feed into Barbara’s plans.
Meanwhile there’s Edward’s sad, creepy side story. Ed brings Miss Kringle’s body on a final picnic before burying her and gives the body a toast that proves his mental decline: “I was a broken man, Miss Kringle, two halves at war with each other. But thanks to you, I am whole. I will not forget you.” As he tells Kringle one final riddle (“I take you by night, by day take you back. None suffer to have me, but do from my back), a random hunter stumbles across Edward’s picnic, and Ed ads to his growing body count. But when Edward leaves to find his bone saw and returns to take the hunter apart, he notices his sandwich has gone missing and finds a trail of blood leading away from his campsite. Considering his terrible position, he can do nothing else but follow where the blood leads.
NEXT: A not-so Red Wedding
As Barbara continues her game, Theo meets with Bruce for his next step. He asks Bruce about his greatest wish, and Bruce answers as expected: He wants to find the person who killed his parents and provide some eye-for-an-eye justice. Theo says his dream is to make the city great, but he needs Bruce’s help, and he’s willing to return the favor. He tells Bruce that Wayne Enterprises has turned into a corrupt, evil corporation with accusations of toxic-waste dumps and so much more. Theo offers to buy Wayne Enterprises so that Bruce will no longer have to worry about cleaning up his family’s name. And just to give Bruce incentive, Theo tells him that he has the true identity of his parents’ killer but will only give him the answer if he agrees to sell the company.
Normally we all might think twice about selling our family’s legacy to a man who would emotionally blackmail someone with this kind of important information. If Theo were really trying to do what was best for the city, wouldn’t he want to turn this murderer into the police with all of the supposed evidence he has? But because Bruce is not yet the man he is destined to become, he actually is entertaining the possibility of selling Wayne Enterprises to find out this all-too-important answer. He asks Alfred how long it will take to train and become the man who can spark real change for his family’s name, but Alfred doesn’t have a timeline and understandably so. How could anyone predict how long something like this would take?
Bruce tells Alfred about Theo’s offer, and he thankfully sees through the offer to its extortion core. But Bruce is adamant that the offer warrants consideration. “There’s a fine line between extortion and negotiation,” Bruce replies. Alfred replies that at least there is still a line and tells Bruce that his father’s legacy is him. Here we see Bruce break down in a heartbreaking scene: “Alfred, am I wrong if I just want it to be over? I just want it to be over,” Bruce cries. Alfred comforts him and tells him he’s not wrong.
As Theo’s plan hits a crucial moment, Gordon attempts to turn Barbara away from Theo and back to the side of good. Gordon tells Barbara that he knows this whole trip is a giant trap and that Theo is very clearly manipulating her. Barbara doesn’t give up her friend, but Gordon is not quite willing to give up. As Barbara tells Gordon that she still loves him and believes he still loves her, Gordon’s police car is hit by an oncoming truck. Barbara gets out of the car and stands over Gordon, who is barely able to regain consciousness before getting a surprise injection by Barbara’s co-conspirators.
Gordon wakes up tied to a chair in a church as Barbara walks down the aisle in the wedding dress she already bought when he first proposed. Barbara’s ready for her fairytale wedding, complete with a similarly tied up Father Callahan and some random hostages to serve as witnesses because, as Barbara reminds us, “that’s the law.” Barbara tells Gordon that he shouldn’t act surprised. He knew he was going into a trap, but he kept going, thinking he would be able to stop the bad guys as per usual. When Gordon tells Barbara he doesn’t want to die, Barbara says otherwise. “Aren’t you tired of hiding your true self? Tired of lying to yourself? To Lee?” She asks. Gordon taunts Barbara, saying he doesn’t lie to Lee, and with that, Barbara brings Gordon’s current squeeze out for some proof on this matter.
Despite Barnes throwing Bullock out for insubordination when Bullock ignored Barnes’ order to pull back from Barbara’s trap, Bullock is the only one doing smart police work at the GCPD to find Gordon at the moment. Thankfully Barnes gives Bullock a little leeway and heads down to Gotham Cathedral while Barbara taunts Lee about Gordon’s “true identity.” Gordon keeps Barbara talking and she reveals that Mayor James is still alive and stashed away on China Docks. But quid pro quo, Clarice. Barbara tells Gordon to embrace his darkness and tries to convince Lee that she doesn’t know her boyfriend as well as she thinks by threatening to reveal the truth of how Gordon was reinstated to the GCPD. But joke’s on Barbara: Lee already knows.
Of course, that doesn’t stop Barbara from her little game. She pulls a knife on Lee and threatens to carve her face up just to prove that she loves Jim more than anyone, but she is stopped for a quick second by Lee who asks where Barbara got her wedding dress. Yup. Seriously. In that second of time, Gordon is able to break free of his rope shackles (who uses rope in this situation?!) and pulls a gun on Barbara.
NEXT: A meeting of the evil minds
Gordon tells Barbara not to make him kill her, and she replies with a great line, “Make you? You long to kill me.” Fortunately for Gordon, he doesn’t have to make this decision as Bullock, Barnes and the GCPD storm the church. Gordon wounds a masked Tabitha as Barbara runs away, but she waits for Gordon to find her upstairs before attacking him one more time. As she charges, the former couple almost go out the window. Gordon catches Barbara, but she lets go of his arm and falls. Fortunately for the GCPD and unfortunately for Barbara (and the Galavan siblings), Barbara’s fall is broken by some hedges. Lee and Gordon make it out safely, but their relationship is certainly tense.
Gordon tells Barnes about Mayor James’ whereabouts and the GCPD find the former mayor with his head still stuck inside a box. The former mayor gives up his torturers right as Bruce is about to sign away Wayne Enterprises to Theo. Thankfully Bruce changes his mind, and Theo is arrested, but before Theo takes an epic punch to the face courtesy of Gordon, he throws the file containing the identity of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s murderer in the fire.
Just when it seemed Edward’s story line is pulling farther and farther away from everyone and everything else, “Tonight’s The Night” takes an epic turn. Edward finally finds a mobile home where the trail of blood ends but is knocked on his back and out of his glasses by a mysterious figure. When Edward finally gets his glasses back on and his flashlight back in his hand, the figure is revealed to be none other than Penguin. Penguin is losing a lot of blood from his gunshot courtesy of Tabitha and begs Edward for help. Could this be the first great meeting of villains? I think it’s time for two of the (arguably) best baddies on Gotham to come together and do some truly terrible and entertaining things.