Rage against the machine
Two pieces of the puzzle are quickly coming together for the Court of Owls’ plan to devastate Gotham, but there’s one wild card they seemingly were not expecting: the return of Oswald Cobblepot from his watery grave. With the Riddler currently indisposed, the Penguin has time to shill for the good guys with his Freak Army in exchange for access to his old frenemy. He even helps stop Kathryn from giving a portion of the town’s most powerful citizens some bitter medicine. But it all spins out a little too cleanly with Penguin’s help, doesn’t it?
Let’s start from the top.
The episode begins with Kathryn’s assassins paying a little visit to Arkham Asylum to see one very special patient: Captain Barnes. Kathryn might not be able to get ahold of Alice Tetch’s blood to extract that mad virus directly, but Strange can siphon it off of one of the most potently infected victims, and that should do the trick just fine. It’s now weaponized and airborne.
Lee’s still snooping around for further details on Frank Gordon’s death and has herself convinced that his COD was homicide, not suicide, based on the fact that the bullet in his brain was replaced — a classic sign of a cover-up, in her professional (and personal) opinion. Harvey asks her to stay away from the case and insists there’s nothing going on, but she can see through the ruse and takes personal offense to being lied to. But Harvey’s got no time to change her mind right now because…
Jim is attending the newest Court meeting, wherein Kathryn informs everyone that Gotham’s demolition is imminent. He’s out of time to play coy about it. He decides to find out what he can about Kathryn the old-fashioned way: by running a print off of her mask after the meeting is adjourned. Jim is almost caught in the act, but he thinks on his feet by playing dumb about the loved-ones rescue list that they’ve been asked to fill out and manages to get the prints to Harvey.
Once Harvey runs the print and gets Gordon an address, he decides he’s got to go to Kathryn’s house and try to find out what he can about the weapon in person. It’s a dangerous recon mission, but he’s out of options at this point. En route, though, he runs into the Penguin, who wants answers on what happened to Ed Nygma. Penguin has a sneaking (and accurate) suspicion that the Riddler didn’t so much escape his custody as he was handed off to the Owls. Gordon tries to pull a “not now” on him, but that’s not gonna cut it. Penguin hands Jim a phone with instructions to facilitate a meeting with Ed and/or this secret powerful society by the end of the day, or else he‘ll pull Riddler’s trick and try to smoke them out with a fiery publicity stunt.
Eventually, Jim makes way to Kathryn’s lavish townhouse and sees that it’s surprisingly normal — well, normal except for the secret drawer that contains a Wayne access badge, which he quickly pockets before Kathryn and her security detail walk in and find him. He has no means of escape, so he plays it off as though he’s only there to find out details about this grand annihilation scheme and what it’s all for.
Now, either Kathryn knows what he’s really there for, or she’s just that quick to pass positive judgment on these Gordon boys, but she decides to fill him on what she’s really after.
“Gotham is sick,” she says. “To heal the city, we have to force them to take notice by showing the people of Gotham the darkest part of their souls.”
Just from that, Jim’s heard enough to intuit that the Alice Tetch virus is somehow involved, and that’s when, boom, he connects that revelation to Barnes’ transfer to another facility. Jim and Harvey loop in Lucius Fox, who’s able to narrow down what the access card means — that there’s another offsite R&D lab where Barnes is probably being stowed away for blood sampling. With a shot of detective work, they’re able to narrow that list down to just one location.
It’s all coming together a little too conveniently for Jim’s taste, especially once they enter the facility with absolutely no security on site. It doesn’t take them long to discover, though, that the reason there are no guards at the gate is that they’ve been slaughtered by patient zero, whom Strange first tested the Alice Tetch plague on.