They don’t call it the “mad city” for nothing. Questions of sanity still abound in Gotham. Questions such as: Why did the Court of Owls chloroform Bruce and kidnap him to a meeting he himself requested? For the aesthetics of it all, probably.
The only Court shot-caller whom we’ve seen isn’t a complete stranger to Bruce. She’s been at Wayne Industries parties, confirming Bruce’s theory that the secret society isn’t so much secret as it is hiding in plain sight. Kathryn (if that’s her real name, and it probably isn’t) correctly assesses that Bruce’s parents passed their compassion gene to him; she counters his threat of bringing government attention to their shady dealings with a threat of her own. If Bruce doesn’t cease all investigation into their activities — including the murder of his mother and father — everyone Bruce loves will be at risk. With no ace in his back pocket, Bruce acquiesces. “Needless to say, you’ll not see me again,” Kathryn coolly offers, and we’ll see about that. Her manservant knocks out Bruce once more for the trip back home.
Bruce is returned to Wayne Manor unharmed, leaving me again wondering why they couldn’t have just sent a car. Alfred embraces him, obviously shaken he hadn’t been able to protect him in that moment. Bruce tells him about the deal and they’re both surprised he went for it. Bruce will keep his end of the bargain, he agrees, but Alfred wonders aloud if the Court of Owls will follow through on their own promise. Since Kathryn found Bruce’s ultimatum so boring, there’s no compelling reason why they should.
They’ve been wrapped up in their own business, it’s true, but Bruce and Alfred seem preposterously detached from what’s going down in the streets of Gotham. Meanwhile, Valerie is still looking to make her name on the Indian Hill escapees with her reluctant partner. She breezes into Gordon’s seedy bachelor pad (“You don’t bring women here, do you?”), interrupting his spiked morning coffee and offering him another chance to get the bounty on Fish. Val needs to find her source again and figures Gordon might have some advice on how to do it. “She’s a petty thief, a street kid,” Valerie says. “I like her, though, she’s got style.” Gordon does that smile-grimace thing, because he has a pretty good idea who’s been feeding Val her tips.
Unsure how to find Selina, Gordon takes Val to Sirens to ask his sadistic ex for the intel. Barbara could not be more delighted to see him walk through her door. “Oh. My. God,” she breathes. She snaps at Valerie as she would at any woman by his side, and pointedly asks Gordon how the absent Lee is doing. She’ll tell him what he needs to know about Selina, Barbara says, but only in exchange for a kiss. It’s the games that tire Gordon, even if he’s gotten better at playing them. He turns to leave, and the part of Barbara that can’t disappoint him surfaces briefly. She mentions something about an old bank. Suddenly desperate, Barbara begs Gordon’s attention a moment longer and recaps a disturbing dream where she had to push a crippled Jim around in a baby carriage. Valerie and Gordon don’t stick around to hear the particulars.
NEXT: In the garden of Eden